What is a republic? We have heard this go around a lot, let’s hit the dictionary.
Wordweb tells me two things –
- A form of government whose head of state is not a monarch
- A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
Well, today is the 63rd anniversary when we technically “became” a republic. 63 years ago, on this day, we formally had a constitution in force. After all these years, I don’t understand why we need a holiday. It is attributed to the celebration that we are supposed to have for having becoming a republic. While I bask in my ‘freedom’ of speech that my friends in some countries may not have, it is imperative that we ponder upon the rising hypocrisy we are living with.
2012 has been an eventful year, as the ones previous to it were – Big fish got caught in scams. Ministers were caught watching offensive videos. Family politics ruled. We had our most successful Olympics so far, but more money was burnt playing a tournament of a pseudo national game. A terrorist was hanged. We had an exodus from the south to the east. A budding psychiatrist was gang raped causing international uproar. With all of these and more happening; is there actually a point in being busy priding ourselves of being a secular, socialist, democratic republic? I agree that things cannot change in a day, but if Republic day, Independence day, Gandhi Jayanthi, etc are to inculcate national pride and patriotism in us; I feel they do a shoddy job! If Gandhi were to be alive today, I think he would have wanted us to work all the more instead of watching a bunch of movies or going out on a fun trip.
Sad to see that we live in extremely hypocritical times – Goddesses are worshipped but women are raped. Criminals can plead innocent and walk free, but a person posting her opinion on Facebook would be arrested. We pride ourselves for our cultural heritage while today it is merely a fancy term which few of us truly understand. We ban realistic films quoting secularism; religion serves more as a dividing force rather than bringing people together. Bundhs are respected (feared) more than protests. Bureaucrats rule the roost while lay-men hunt for someone who can provide them with free rice or TV.
It is high time we focus on grass-root problems rather than live in the glorious past.
Every year should be seen in comparison with its previous year. An annual poll must be conducted and a specific number of issues need to be identified to be solved within the next year. An action plan is to be made and presented to the public within a timeline. By the next year, progress that has been made on these specific problems is to be documented and presented to the public on lines of the annual budget. I don’t see how progress can be achieved in the current setup where accountability is virtually absent.
An example run would be something like this –
Step I – Polling results of issues at hand as on 26th Jan 2013
- Ensure safety of women in cities and villages alike.
- Mitigate religion oriented communal issues.
- Encourage education of children >5 years old.
Step II – Action plan presented at the Annual Action Plan Convention on 31st March 2013
- Ensure safety of women in cities and villages alike.
- Create a separate security wing specializing in human safety – rape, child abuse, domestic violence etc
- Develop a task force and agenda to recruit police officers specifically for the security wing. Provide appropriate monetary benefits to encourage enrollment.
- Develop a training program to effectively utilize the newly hired man power.
- Chalk out a plan for having counseling sessions directed at parties responsible / affected due to the problems listed – men, women, in-laws; with primary focus being on reaching out to the remote corners of India. [These sessions would help overcome male dominance / perversity which I would say is the root cause of the issues listed]
2. Mitigate religion oriented communal issues.
- Appoint a committee to select religious leaders from each religion to participate in a parliament of religions. Priority to select a candidate is to have understood his/her religion and interpreted its teachings correctly.
- Convene a parliament of major religions practiced in India with participation from influential members of each religion. [This would allow healthy exchange of thoughts and open up people to the fact that no religion is superior to the other]
- Develop an agenda to have religious discussions on a public platform across India with participation from these influential people from all religions. [This would help in reaching out to the masses to promote communal harmony]
3. Encourage education of children >5 years old.
- Estimate number of children who do not have access to primary education.
- Develop a training program for teachers to be hired in government schools.
- Recruit teachers as necessary with a student:teacher ratio being 30:1. Train them as per the new standards mentioned. Offer monetary / fringe benefits to encourage enrollment.
- Deploy these trained teachers to identified government schools.
4. Announce the budget for each of the points mentioned above.
Step III – Annual Review Presentation – 26th Jan 2014
- Budget allotted: X
- Amount spent: Y.
- Deficit / Excess: X~Y. Quote reasons.
- Mention specifics regarding progress made on each issue.
- Present the action plan for next year
If an ordinary guy like me can think of options in an hour, I am sure people sitting high up in the ladder, people whose decisions move things through our sluggish system can think of better and more plausible options. The very sense of being a republic is lost in today’s times. In spite of all the rant, I am disappointed that I am not able to do anything to change things. I am just hoping something knocks some sense into at least some of those even remotely concerned!