'Dil Se' kaho, Rahman and Slumdog ki Jai ho!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rahman has composed music for more than 130 films "but he remained relatively unknown in the United States until the unexpected success of Slumdog Millionaire." Rahman has finally bridged the gap between Indian and western audiences. The finest modern musician has won two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Song categories. 'Dil Se' kaho, Rahman and Slumdog ki Jai ho!

"Like any good artist, A.R.Rahman is not a traditionalist, he's a revolutionary. He uses all the revolutionary things that come from all over the world in his stuff ... hip-hop beats, electronics .... and there's an incredible inquisitiveness and playfulness in his music.[Hans Zimmer]." "Jai Ho, or Victory to You" is a testimony to this. He has mixed Hindi lyrics and Indian pop melodies with influences from Arabic, Japanese and Spanish music.

"Sheer diversity of his styles: from Swinging brass bands to triumphant anthems; from joyous pop to West-End musicals", Rahman's music from Roja to Slumdog Millionaire has given lightening effect in the hearts of millions. He once said, "I can relate to the film because I take life positively and feel that even after great depression, something good will come out." A profound sense of humility and spirit incarnated in his music has lifted millions from the oblivion of sorrow to the summit of hope, love and possibilities. Themes he created for hundreds of movies have moved the emotions of millions. Not only his music, his journey filled with sheer determination and hard work will continue to inspire generations to come.

"Slumdog Millionaire is the work of an artist at the peak of his powers. India is Boyle’s palette, and Mumbai – that teeming “maximum city,” with 19 million strivers on the make, jostling, scheming, struggling, and killing for success – is his brush. The portrait that emerges has been executed with bold strokes, vivid colors, and striking images [Shashi Tharoor]."

Many "have protested that the film shows Indians as conniving, unprincipled, and ruthless, and that the only compassionate people in the film are a pair of white tourists who give the protagonist some money....If some of the larger-than-expected profits are directed toward the slums where the movie was made, the protestors are quite likely to fade away. What they want, after all, is a share of the glory [Project Syndicate]."

Even if Slumdog Millionaire had not swept the Oscars, it would have stayed in the mind's eye a long time.

Pakistan issue is deep rooted in historical mishaps - Part 2

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Most of us in India and around the world are very critical of Pakistan for it's apathy towards fighting terrorism. The blame game is not going to work neither for India or Pakistan nor for the world at large. Pakistan is a victim of successive leaders/dictators, right from Mohammad Ali Jinha to Pervaz Musharaff, who have attempted to rewrite it's history for their own narrow motives. The present civilian government is under tremendous pressure to act against terrorism on it's soil. On one hand, it cannot blame it's past for the present problems, on the other hand it cannot ignore the international pressure. After decades of repeated mistakes, Pakistan is finally realizing the fact that it's problems are deep rooted in it's own mishaps. 

Read details of all misadventures of Pakistan and it's leaders in Part 1 of this article.

The roots of Pakistan's problems can be traced to undivided India's Freedom Movement. The "divide and rule" policy of British Raj, Mohammad Ali Jinha's differences with Congress and his own political ambitions, the infamous partition, Kashmir Conflict, Bangladesh liberation war (1971 Indo-Pak War), the cold war and subsequent balance of power in the world have all contributed to current mess in Pakistan.

Successive army dictators, from Ayub Khan to Pervaz Musharraf, "have attempted to rewrite this 'unfortunate country’s' history for their own narrow motives [Kamran Shafi]." Country's socio-economic development was given a backseat. Cultural developments were dominated/influenced by Shariat. Proxy wars fought by Pakistan resulted in widespread militancy and illicit drug trade. Prolonged political instabilities coupled with "military and ISI dominance" deprived the growth of democratic ideals. As a result, today, internal affairs of Pakistan are uncontrollable. The militants inside and around Pakistan have become exceptionally strong (blame it on US policies during cold war). Terrorists in Pakistan, once nurtured by United States and Pakistan, are becoming threat to the whole world. Pakistan's nuclear capabilities are adding to the fear and there is a clear apprehension of nuclear weapons falling in the hands of terrorists.

Today, the crisis in Pakistan is not because of the innocent civilians but because of it's rulers and their narrow motives. The problem in the region can never be solved by guns alone, India and rest of the world must understand that Pakistan's problem is deep rooted in cultural differences, socio-economic problems and political instability. What we need is not the prolonged postmortem of the past, but rigorous pursuit of new opportunities to bring the peace. Passing the blame on Pakistan is not going to do any good, the world must compassionately understand the situation and help Pakistan to realize it's political stability. Fortunately, civilian government is in power, they are facing problems because of misrule in the past. World need to understand that, Pakistan need some time to clean up the mess created by dictators. Terrorism can be fought with collective efforts and diplomatic paths should be continued with tenacity.

Peace does not come from the barrel of a gun but is achieved when cultural differences are respected and the fundamental rights of all are recognised and upheld [Desmond Tutu].

Pakistan issue is deep rooted in historical mishaps - Part 1

The roots of Pakistan's problems can be traced to undivided India's Freedom Movement. The "divide and rule" policy of British Raj, Mohammad Ali Jinha's differences with Congress and his own political ambitions, the infamous partition, Kashmir Conflict, Bangladesh liberation war (1971 Indo-Pak War), the cold war and subsequent balance of power in the world have all contributed to current mess in Pakistan.

1. When Lord Curzon adopted the policy of "divide and rule", little did he know that his narrow imperialistic approach would one day affect the world peace. The unity and integrity between Hindus and Muslims was impeccable before British came to India. During 1857 Revolt, Bahadur Shah Zafar was proclaimed the Emperor of Hindustan, mutineers considered him as a symbol of "united India" against the foreign (British) rule. Swami Shradhananda was allowed to preach from the pulpit of Jama Masjid. There were many glorious instances of Hindu-Muslim fraternization. But British did exactly what they needed in order to break the unity, i.e. to divide Indians and rule over them. Lord Curzon decided to divide Bengal province citing administrative reasons and pronounced that easter Bengal will be Muslim majority area and Wenstern Bengal will be Hindu Majority area.

Mistake 1: Muslim League okayed Bengal Partition and allowed different policies for Hindus and Muslims.

2. In 1933, a group of Punjabi Muslim students led by Choudhary Rahamat Ali floated the idea of Pakistan. Ali demanded a separate national status for Muslims for which he coined the name 'PAKISTAN' - 'P' for Punjab, 'A' for Afghan province (North-West Frontier Province), 'K' for Kashmir, 'S' for Sindh and 'TAN' for Baluchistan. No one took this demand for separate state seriously until 1937 when Muslim League formally accepted the idea. Muslim League and Congress failed to realize the true motives of British policies and engaged themselves in repeated confrontation. Subsequently, Muslim League opposed Congress and forced the then Leaders of Congress to accept the demand for separate nation.

Mistake 2: Congress and even Britishers tried to convince Muslim League to give up the idea of Pakistan (Ex: in August Offer 1940, Cripps Mission 1942, Cabinet mission plan 1946) but Mohammad Ali Jinha would not be satisfied with anything less than the partition of the country.

Had Mohammad Ali Jinha and his followers avoided their parochial attitude and inclination towards partition on religious grounds, all the problems in the region could have been obviated by United India.

3. In the aftermath of Partition, the princely states of India, which had been left by the Indian Independence Act 1947 to choose whether to accede to India or Pakistan or to remain outside them. While most of the princely states decided to join either India or Pakistan, Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir decided not to join any of the newly formed countries. The history will remember Maharaja Hari Singh for his indecisiveness. If he had made a timely decision to join either India or Pakistan, the question of Kashmir Conflict would have never arose. When Azad Kashmir forces and tribal Pathans attacked Kashmir, Pakistan gave every possible support to them. Maharaja Hari Singh desperately needed Indian support to avoid the invasion. Indian Government demanded Maharaja Hari Singh to join Indian union if his state needs Indian military support. Subsequently, he signed the Instrument of Accession. India dispatched it's military to Kashmir and routed Pakistan supported forces. United Nations intervened and asked both India and Pakistan to hold the plebiscite to decide whether Kashmir should join India or Pakistan.

Mistake 3: At that time, the Indian and Pakistani governments agreed to hold the plebiscite but Pakistan did not withdraw its troops from Kashmir thus violating the condition for holding the plebiscite. Later, under UN's revised conditions for plebiscite, Pakistan accepted to hold plebiscite but India refused. Plebiscite was never held and Pakistan continued to support militants in the region. Thus paving the way for building safe haven for terrorism.

4. Before 1971, Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan and was called East Pakistan. In 1970 Pakistan Elections, "East Pakistani Awami League won 167 of 169 seats in East Pakistan and secured a simple majority in the 313-seat lower house of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament of Pakistan). Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman presented the Six Points to the President of Pakistan and claimed the right to form the government. After the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, refused to yield the premiership of Pakistan to Mujibur, President Yahya Khan called out the military, which was made up largely of West Pakistanis.

Mass arrests of dissidents began, and attempts were made to disarm East Pakistani soldiers and police. After several days of strikes and non-cooperation movements, the Pakistani military cracked down on Dhaka on the night of March 25, 1971. The Awami League was banished, and many members fled into exile in India. Mujib was arrested and taken to West Pakistan. On 27 March 1971, Ziaur Rahman, a rebellious major in the Pakistani army, declared the independence of Bangladesh on behalf of Mujibur [wiki]."

Mistake 4: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Yahya Khan did not respect the electoral verdict. If they have allowed Awami League to form the government, Pakistan would have harbingered democratic rule for generations to come. Instead, both the leaders allowed their narrow political interests to rule over law of the land. Subsequently, India supported Bangladesh Liberation forces for it's own strategic reasons. Bangladesh liberation was irrecoverable damage to Pakistan and further fueled Indo-Pak hostilities.

5. The Cold War saw periods of heightened tensions and the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–1989) was one of them. Soviet Union forces were supporting the Marxist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government against the Mujahideen resistance. Mujahideens in Afghanistan were actively supported by United States and Pakistan extended all possible support to help Mujahideens win over Soviet forces. Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency program to arm the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Operation Cyclone is one of the longest and most expensive covert CIA operations ever undertaken.

Mistake 5: United states engaged general Zia-ul-Huq to fight a US-aided war by proxy in Afghanistan against the Soviets.  Zia now found himself in a position to demand billions of dollars in aid for the Mujahideen from the Western states. Ronald Reagan's government met all his expectations. Pakistan continued to fight proxy war which in no way benefited it's people. "The war left deep scars to the Pakistani society with the menace of Kalashnikov (AK-47 assault rifle) culture spreading all over the country. Many Afghan Mujahideen later converted to new forms of Jihadist outfits in the shape of Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the early 1990s. The Pakistan and US trained Arab and Afghan fighters later in 2001 initiated a 'Jihad' against US. The links of the spectacular and deadly events of September 11 attack were deeply rooted in the Soviet-Afghan war. Osama bin Laden invested his inherited money into the Soviet-Afghan war to fight the 'infidel communist power' and was abetted by CIA, ISI, US and Pakistani military establishments for over 10 years.[wiki]"

To this day, Pakistan is confronted by the legacy of Zia's policies.

6. The Pakistani military has played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan's history, with military presidents ruling from 1958–71, 1977–88 and from 1999–2008. The first Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956, but was suspended in 1958 by General Ayub Khan. The Constitution of 1973—suspended in 1977, by Zia-ul-Haq, but re-instated in 1991. In 1999, general Parvez Musharraf seized the power from Nawaz Sharif led civilian government and suspended the constitution twice and re-instated.

Mistake 6: Pakistan has proved over the time that, It's harder for them to run a constitution than to frame one! Repeated military coups in Pakistan have given a death blow to the spirit of democracy. Subsequently, Pakistan began a marked shift from the British-era secular politics and policies, to the adoption of Shariat and other laws based on Islam. This facilitated religious fanatics to hate democratic ideals. Pakistan-Taliban peace pact in February 2009 is an example for Pakistan's failed democracy.

Above examples of Pakistan and it's leaders' misadventures are just a tip of the iceberg. Successive army dictators, from Ayub Khan to Pervaz Musharraf, "have attempted to rewrite this 'unfortunate country’s' history for their own narrow motives [Kamran Shafi]."

To be Continued...

[Update: Click here to read Part -2]

Wishing you all a recession friendly V-Day free from 'Sickulars'!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This year's V-Day will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. While the people in recession hit countries are seriously contemplating about recession friendly valentine's day celebrations, Indians are apprehensive about saffron brigade (like Shri Ram Sena). Couple of weeks ago we never heard about Mr.Pramod Muthalik, but now, he is a self proclaimed iconic moral watchdog. The idea of sending 1000 pink chaddis to this 'saffron buddy' might have raised eyebrows, but another self proclaimed champion of women rights, Suchitra Krishnamoorthy, vociferously rejects the idea. (Embarrassed and confused?) Muthalik has reportedly decided to send 1000 pink saris "with love" in response to 1000 Chaddis. The Pink Chaddi campaigners claim that they are more democratic and transparent than the 'Chaddi walas' who were nothing but a bunch of "self-righteous sickulars (seculars)" [DNA]. Time and again, saffron brigade has claimed and reclaimed themselves as moral policemen. The hysteria created due to controversies (and recession in western countries) is making this year's V-Day more special and memorable than ever!

In India, the debate on whether to celebrate V-Day resurfaces every year this time around. Different people have different views, Muthalik has one view and Pink Chaddi campaigners have another. People with different mindsets may not agree on women going to pub and enjoying on par with men, but we all can surely agree on finding better ways to protect our cultural heritage by not beating up women in public just because they went to pub. One person's ethics and values cannot be imposed on other person, unless it is acceptable by both. If people like Muthalik try to enforce their ethics and values on others, it's simply not democratic. It's against our fundamental right to freedom. More they enforce, more they loose. The only way to influence and fine tune the contemporary culture is by setting high moral standards for themselves, inspire others to follow and let everyone discover their inner strengths of love, compassion and intelligence.

To ensure the law and order on Valentine's day, union home minister P Chidambaram and NCW chairperson Girija Vyas have asked Karnataka government to take "preventive and punitive" action. Now that, Mr.Pramod Muthalik and his goons are arrested under preventive detention laws, you can go out and buy a (recession friendly?) gift to your valentine.

Wishing you all a wonderful V-Day free from 'Sickulars'!

Related articles posted earlier:

Voter Facilitation Centers: One more chance to get your Voter ID card before 2009 General Election

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There is some good news for those who have not yet registered their name in electoral roll. The Election Commission of India has set up "Voter Facilitation Center" for expediting the process of voter registration and other services (Ex: updating your registration information) related to electoral roll. Voter Facilitation Center (VFC) is a single window facility for voter registration and Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC). Election Commissions in various states have setup websites (Ex: Karnataka EC site here) which provides adequate and relevant information about the office of the Chief Electoral Officer and the various activities conducted by the department. Various important forms are also available on the site for download purposes.

Voter Facilitation Centers (VFC) will function from 11th Feb 2009 in various Urban based Assembly Constituencies (in Karnataka, for other states refer to your respective election commission website). VFCs are citizen friendly centers to facilitate citizens on electoral roll issues and Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) card. Following are the functions of VFCs.
  1. Voter Facilitation Centers (VFC) will assist the citizen to know whether his/her name is included in the electoral roll.
  2. If the name is not included, he/she will be assisted to get his/her name included in the electoral roll.
  3. VFCs will assist the citizen to carry out modifications inthe electoral roll, if required.
  4. VFCs educate the voter on his/her respective part/poling station.
  5. VFCs will generate and distribute EPIC.
  6. VFCs will ensure that within 10 days, the elector's request in Form 6,7,8 or 8A is acted upon and the result known to the citizens.
So, you can get your voter ID card within 10 days.

What's the first step?
Call up or visit the nearest Voter Facilitation Center. The details of address, contact information (including mobile numbers) of Voter Facilitation Centers are here (Voters' Facilitation Centres in Karnataka). Get appropriate forms (i.e. for registering/updating info etc..). You can download the forms from election commission's website (Click here or here to download forms), print and fill it up with all the necessary details.

What all documents you need? 
You just need two documents. Address proof and Age proof. Those who are staying in rented house, your rental agreement will be crucial. It's the most important legitimate document to prove your residential address. If you are a student, get a Student Declaration Form signed by your college dean/principal/registrar and submit it along with your voter registration form. Besides, you will also need to submit an age proof document.
Submit your duly filled application form along with address proof and/or age proof. Allow (maximum) 10 days for Voter Facilitation Centers to work on your request and follow up accordingly. VFCs will ensure that your request (for new Voter ID/update one) will be served within 10 days. Registering your name in electoral roll cannot get simpler than this (at least as of now!).

Why should I get my Voter ID Card?
Well, some of you might say, "what the heck, i know that!", but there are many who are still ignorant, if you are one of them, read further. Two answers.
  1. To Vote: You must have the Voter ID (EPIC) card to exercise your democratic right to vote.
  2. Legitimate proof of your citizenship, address, age, etc... You can use Voter ID card as a proof of your identity in all the government offices and all most all non-govt offices/organizations.
More over, I would say, to stop blaming politicians. Quite often we end up electing criminals to make laws for us. Most of us vociferously blame politicians for all the wrongs. All of us who are crowing about bad politicians ever voted? Did we exercise our franchise? "Isn't casting a vote the duty of the common man? If you have not liked a politician or political party, did you cast your vote against them? If you have found that no political party is worth your vote, did you take care to ensure that your vote is not cast to anybody by going to the polling booth and not voting for anybody?[More]". Get your Voter ID, make your vote count in 2009 general elections!

Some more details:
  1. Voters' Facilitation Centres (VFCs) in Urban Constituencies in Karnataka. Find the address, phone numbers of nearest VFCs or voter registration centers (In karnataka).
  2. The Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka. You can find all the details regarding your registration, electoral rolls, updating your info etc.
  3. Click here or here to download forms.
  4. FAQs at jaagore.com.
  5. A guide for the Voters.

Related Articles posted earlier:

Election system ain't broke, no point in (media) trying to fix it

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Freedom of the press does not mean that the editorial board can report whatever they want to. Media has the right to report the 'news' and let people know the current position of that 'news'. The moment they start reporting their 'opinion', the very foundation of press freedom is shaken. Right of media lies in right of people to be informed about the truth. The way recent controversy, over Chief Election Commissioner's 'recommendation' for the removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, is being reported reflects media's apathy towards analyzing constitutional provisions and the truth behind CEC's recommendations.

Media must not prevaricate the truth by taking biased stands. It must not create the confusion and panic by projecting it's biased views and opinions. Blame it on unprecedented competition in the media (print as well as electronic). I honestly believe that attitude of the media can be changed neither by stricter laws nor by self regulation but only by commercial failure of the 'news market'. Media must treat the ongoing election commission issue as learning curve raised due to 'constitutional confusion'. Office of the Election Commission is truly sacred in democracy and it should never be tampered with.

There are three important questions we need to answer before deciding whether CEC's recommendation can potentially tamper the integrity of election commission and threaten it's functioning.
  1. Is constitution clear about removal of Election Commissioner?
  2. Does Mr. Gopalaswamy has all the necessary evidences to show that Mr. Navin Chawla is 'not clean'?
  3. Can the standards, procedures established in EC and the legacy left behind by likes of T.N.Seshan allow any threats to EC's functioning?

1. Is constitution clear about removal of Election Commissioner?
"The Constitutional provisions governing the appointment and removal of election commissioners were drafted at a time when only the Chief Election Commissioner was given a full-time appointment and the election commissioners were appointed on a short-term basis, only during election time, when full-time election commissioners were appointed, the government was informed of the discrepancy and that it must be corrected with suitable amendments" says ex CEC T S Krishnamurthy. Such amendments to the constitution were not made so far.

Article 324(5) of the constitution says, "Election Commissioner or a Regional Commissioner shall not be removed from office except on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC)." In case of Chief Election Commissioner, impeachment (or removal) is explicitly mentioned in Article 324 of the constitution. But in case of other Election Commissioner(EC), constitution is not clear. In the legal circle it is well known that, if the procedure for removal is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution, then appointing authority is solely responsible for removal too. Now, the President of India is appointing authority for EC, only he can remove the EC. In order to provide a check on the executive’s powers and safeguard the independence of the Election Commission, clause (5) was added in Article 324 making CEC's recommendation as a necessary evil. Now, whether CEC has the suo moto (on his own) power to recommend EC's removal is not clear. CEC, Mr. Gopalaswamy thinks he has the suo moto power, while the government thinks he does not.

Ex CEC "Mr. B.B. Tandon and the Election Commission took the provisions to mean that since the appointing authority is the President, the CEC comes into the picture only when a proposal for the removal of an Election Commissioner comes before him from the President for his recommendation." What does Supreme Court (SC) think? In T.N. Seshan, Chief Election Commissioner v Union of India (1995) SC held that, "recommendation for removal must be based on intelligible and cogent considerations which would have a relation to the efficient functioning of the Election Commission." It also opined that if the powers of removal of EC (and Regional Commissioners) is vested with CEC, it "would destroy the independence of the Election Commissioners and the Regional Commissioners if they are required to function under the threat of the CEC recommending their removal." Thus, it is clear that Supreme Court too did not take any position on suo moto power of CEC. It's opinion is equivocal.

2. Does Mr. Gopalaswamy has all the necessary evidences to show that Mr. Navin Chawla is 'not clean'?
While talking about "evidential value" of his recommendation, Mr. Gopalaswamy said, "I have no regrets. One should not have any regrets in speaking the truth. My evidence is legally strong and morally stronger". Gopalaswami's letter to the President is 93 pages long, its annexures run through some 500 pages and also include a 150-page response from Chawla to the charges raised by members of Parliament against him. It must be noted here that, the report is not yet made public and media obviously has not read the report before coming to conclusion about validity of CEC recommendations. Even well respected editor of The Hindu, Mr. N Ram, erred by taking pro Congress position (Read More here). Here are some well known facts about Mr. Navin Chawla.
  • At the time of Indian Emergency (1975 - 77) he was secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. Shah Commission which inquired into the excesses during the Emergency, indicted Mr Chawla for having been 'authoritarian and callous' and for gross misuse of power "in cynical disregard of the welfare of citizens". Further, it declared that he was "unfit to hold any public office which demands an attitude of fair play and consideration for others"
  • Mr. Navin Chawla and his wife Rupika Chawla ran the Jaipur-based Lala Chaman Lal Education Trust which had secured MPLADS funds from Congress MPs — A.A. Khan, R.P. Goenka, Ambika Soni, Dr Karan Singh and Mr A.R. Kidwai. Exclusive: Chawla accepted funds for private trusts. The trust was allotted six acres of land by the Congress government in Rajasthan when Mr Ashok Gehlot was the Chief Minister.
  • Mr. Navin Chawla's wife Ms. Rupika Chawla's friendship with Madam (Sonia) Gandhi spans over 30 years! Whether that has any impact on Mr. Navin Chawla (and his alleged loyalty to Congress) is open to debate. Read more here.
  • CEC has reported that Mr. Chawla's loo breaks in between the meetings led to Congress leaders' phone calls. Read More here.
  • Mr.Gopalaswamy has said that, "irrespective of whether Chawla consents to a decision or finds himself singled out by a majority of Gopalaswami and S Y Quraishi, the other Election Commissioner, he appears to be in the habit of conveying all the minutes of their internal meetings to the Congress leadership."
  • More will surely come out when CEC's report is made public.

Now, it's obvious that CEC's report has some merit in it and one cannot decide whether CEC's report was against the functioning of election commission without going through his 800+ page detailed report.

I honestly feel that, though Mr.Navin Chawla is not yet proved guilty, the allegations surely question the integrity of his position in the election commission. As the old saying goes, there can't be smoke without fire. Mr. Gopalaswamy's recommendation throw light on politicization of election commission. Hope Supreme Court can take a clear view and resolve the confusion. I am guessing that Supreme Court will uphold Mr. Gopalaswamy's move if the evidence provided by him are sufficient to prove Mr. Chawla's loyalty to Congress.

3. Can the standards, procedures established in EC and the legacy left behind by likes of T.N.Seshan allow any threats to EC's functioning?
"The Indian elections were conducted by over five million civilian employees, two million policemen keeping guard and everyone of them has acquitted himself with a tremendous sense of duty that not one whisper of doubt on the freedom of the election process has been uttered [T N Seshan]".  We have moved from ballot boxes to Electronic Voting Machines, We have learned to suppress the goons and prevent the violence (recent J & K election is the testimony to the effective functioning of Election Commission), We have gone to the extent of banning ostentatious campaign displays and noisy rallies and required candidates to clean up walls and buildings defaced with their slogans. We have enforced spending limits and made the candidates to submit full accounts of their expenses for scrutiny by independent government inspectors. Our standards and procedures of election are of highest democratic standards in the world. Despite all this, of course, "there were attempts to damage the system but every such attempt has been met and successfully overcome by the will of the people". Thus our standards and procedures established in the functioning of election commission simply does not allow blatant misuse of the very process of election. More over voters of our generation (at least majority of them) are knowledgeable enough to decide who is worth their votes.

Thus it's conspicuous that, there is no reason whatsoever why we should be worried because of CEC's recommendation for removal of Mr. Navin Chawla. "Much graver than Chawla’s alleged bias is the appointment of M S Gill, former CEC, to a ministerial post. But nobody accused Mr. Gill of unfair bias when he was CEC. Indeed, T N Seshan, for long seen as part of the Gandhi camp, proved to be the most fearlessly independent CEC ever. The system ain’t broke, so don’t try to fix it [ET]."

Update - 12/02/09: CEC Mr. N. Gopalaswamy wrote a letter to the editor in chief of The Hindu Mr. N. Ram defending his suo motu power. (In his reply) N. Ram goes on to explain complicated judicial interpretations to prove that CEC wasn't right in his suo motu act. The bottom line is, one can quote the laws to prove some one guilty, but the question here is of natural justice which is above the normal laws of the land. If Mr. Chawla is proved guilty based on evidences given by Mr. Gopalaswamy, then Mr. Ram's case is justifiable only on techinical (legal) grounds, Mr Chawla (if proved guilty) must be punished for his alleged inclination towards Congress.
 

Creative Commons License
This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.