Abhi Writes
Published in

Abhi Writes

Governance

Source: Google Search

9 Nov 2011: ts a crisis of value and a crisis of values. The outstanding debt of the government is the economic value that it has consumed but not created….and it is misplaced values that have gotten us here…lets correct the values first….and then we will find ways to unlock value….there is a way out

**

21 Dec 2011: Infra activities are mildly important but not urgent tasks — refiling your smart card, long pending purchases, tiny modifications that will make life easier (like automating some payment with a standing instruction). These are like infrastructure — even if poor, life goes on. Doing these once makes things easier for the long term. Invest in your infra activities — in the short run the lack of urgency won’t justify the time put in. But in the longer run, they will free up mind space, make life smoother and let you accomplish more

**

23 Jan 2012: For boosting GDP, instead of focusing on domestic consumption, infrastructure spending or FII investments, the government needs to focus on the most fundamental driver of GDP — Women.

**

30 Jan 2012: As the BMC Elections come closer, its time to channelize our collective intent for a better city. What we focus on increases and reality is shaped through our thoughts and conversations.

Lets consciously make every conversation that of possibility, and every thought that of hope. Lets pray for our city. Lets act, in small steps towards making our shared vision real.

After all, its our home.

**

19 Feb 2012: Naxalism is the biggest security threat India faces, said our PM

By turning a blind eye to illegal mining, authorizing uncontrolled deforestation and submerging lands and livelihoods for mega-dams, you have ended up manufacturing discontent and rebellion as natural outcomes.

The same people who peacefully co-existed with nature for centuries, today have taken up arms and have become the ‘biggest security threat India faces’

PM-sir, unfortunately, its those very politicians in your (and opposition) ranks who have driven this — they are perhaps our biggest security threat

**

21Feb 2012: Enough of discussions about voting et al — time to start figuring next steps. Irrespective of whether anyone voted or not, here are a few things we can start doing

BIG STEPS

a. Revisit your citizen’s charter — if you have none, refer to the others floating around. Create a list of issues of your ward. Kickstart a discussion on starting an ALM or a LACC in your area

b. Organize a meet your councillor — get the new councillor to meet the citizens, and discuss his party manifesto as well as his specific plans for your ward over the next 5 years. If not that, at least individually go ahead and meet your councillor

c. Trace your ward’s development plan to see what changes and expenses are planned for your ward (still figuring this one out)

SMALL STEPS

a. Move from a problem oriented discussion about the city to a solution oriented discussion

b. No crib campaign — 10 days of no cribbing about the city

c. Support, join, donate or contribute to one of the several local civic engagement organizations working in the city

**

7 March 2011: Wishlist for the new Councillors:

1. Inspiring messages on banners instead of your mugshots (you are not as good looking as you imagine)

2. More spaces for art and culture (we DONT want to go to malls and buy…we want affordable concerts, theatre, art galleries and other ways to have lots of fun!)

Source: Pinterest

(2.1 : Replace taxes with subsidies for international and national bands and musical acts)

3. Relaxed deadlines, atleast on Saturday nights (What’s a city that sleeps at 12? And why should partying people at 5 star hotels have all the fun?)

4. Cops who are stricter about eve teasing and traffic rules, and lenient on moral policing (we’re grown ups)

5. A transparent way to complain and track those complaints (and allow us the right to ‘close’ those complaints when we are satisfied that they are resolved)

**

24 Feb 2013: Unity is a great thing, but if the evil collude, it creates harm. But even greater harm is created if the good stays divided.

In fact, the act of refusing to align for a larger good — that refusal, even if it is done by the good, is an evil act — because it only strengthens the evil.

If ‘clean politics’ cannot work together (they are really stuck up on their shade of ‘clean’) they must forget about making any larger change, accommodating the greys and being inclusive.

Everyone wants a better India, but then each one also probably wants to be the only one who made it happen, wants to go down history books or wants it to happen their way — and I honestly don’t think that will work, we will just end up becoming even weaker.

So dear Aam Aadmi Party Loksatta Baba Ramdev Nav bharat and all the other forces for good….here is praying and hoping that we all come together very soon. And for people within these ‘pockets of good’, I hope and pray that we push towards unity.

**

25 Feb 2013: You may not do anything in politics but politics will continue to do a lot in your life.

In Lagaan, Guran (pic attached) says ‘Maara toh kya maara? Bade shaitaan ko maara!’ (I managed to get rid of the large evil, in context of the movie, the British)

The biggest evil (bada shaitaan) is in the political arena — and till we do not get down into the battlefield and go after it all out, we will be flirting with tiny problems and feel good solutions — little systemic change.

Doesn’t mean everyone goes and joins a party — but it does mean each one of us becomes politically aware and wakes up to the possibility of creating a change through active citizenship and supporting clean politics

**

1 April 2013: Given the kind of coverage media has given Arvind Kejriwal, I think its time to start creating decentralized local media — newsletters that come out with 10,000 copies distributed in the neighborhood, a community radio broadcast 1 hr a day, a public display board for the area’s classifieds and views.

This could be supported by local businesses who want more targeted advertising. We need more voices to be a part of the jungle — many different ones, not a few loud ones that drown out all others that don’t harmonize with it

**

24 April 2013: In a month from now it will start raining. Then ‘suddenly’ there will be potholes in the city. We will get irritated, angry or just exasperated, almost as if it is the first time this is happening.

Question is — if we know this is coming, can some dedicated action-oriented Mumbaikars come together to do whatever they can to minimize the damage? Can they figure out what always goes wrong and with help from media, the online fraternity, activists and clean politics gang make sure that it gets minimized?

Maybe they will totally fail — but doesn’t hurt to try!

Some ideas and plans along these lines…message if you’d like to pitch in

**

1 May 2013: 53 years ago and after the loss of 105 lives, the struggle for an independent state finally succeeded and Maharashtra was created out of the Bombay presidency.

This was never taught to us in History textbooks and strongly downplayed — most of the people I know still believe that Hutatma Chowk (Fountain) is dedicated to India’s freedom fighters (no it is not. It is a monument to those who struggled for a separate state POST independence).

Such deliberate omissions lead to an incomplete understanding of what is happening today and the forces that are at play — more than anything else, History contains valuable lessons for us.

I love my state and I am proud of Maharashtra — yet, equally concerned about what politics has done to the state that has been at the forefront of India’s growth engine.

**

29 Oct 2013:As we prepare to elect our new Prime Minister, this is also an opportune moment to examine our idea of India.

Over six decades ago, when we decided to constitute ourselves as a nation, most of us were not present to define what our values would be. Like the word ‘socialist’ in our preamble — how many of us want a socialist state? Or the word ‘secular’ — and what that means in the way we deal with ‘minorities’? And the word ‘democratic’ which, when basic needs are not met becomes vote buying.

We also need to think of our relationship with history — are we going to avenge destruction by Muslim rulers 5 centuries ago or are we going to mostly forgive and forget all past (including 1984 and 2002) and look forward? We need to examine our relationship with dynasty and entitlement — are we going to throw it out from politics but continue it in our private lives?

And we need a rethink on the idea of “Indian Culture” — who defines or owns it? How much access to we as a generation have to modify (the traditional definition of) it, to adapt it to our times?

Today, we are networked and can have conversations that include way more people than ever before in our history. It is a privilege to have access to such technology, as well as a responsibility.

Are we going to use these spaces and opportunities to lazily indulge in politician bashing, or are we going to go into questions that really merit examination?

Because, I believe, that the answer to Modi vs Rahul vs AAP debates will naturally emerge from the answers to these questions.

**

2 Nov 2013:

Why I would vote for AAP in Delhi Elections

If I’d be in Delhi, I would vote AAP.

Analysis may lead me to accept Congress or BJP — but it will always be with the feeling of ‘accepting a lesser evil’

With AAP it is a different story — a story of courageous idealism, and a dream of a different way of organising our society (vyavastha parivartan).

And my vote for AAP would be to affirm that idealism.

Source: Google Search

There is an intellectual elite who looks at the hard core ‘left-ness’ of AAP and rejects it. “Common man will decide price of vegetables” and “Let’s not pay electricity bills” — not a party that everyone will want, particularly the powers that be. And I personally disagree with many of these aspects.

Yet, AAP promises to be internally way more democratic than either Congress or BJP.

Which means, in the future, a group of people can join the party, and through informed discussion and debate, steer the policy of the party too. It is up for grabs — it is decentralised and democratic both in intent and action. This has been my experience of it.

It is not easy for any new party in India — and yet AAP has struggled and survived. What it needs at this stage is fence sitters to jump into the ring, to put their skin into the game.

Because India, in the long run doesn’t need an incremental change. It does not need a more efficient running of the same defunct system. It needs a systemic overhaul.

And that can be promised either by an AAP or by a transformed Congress / BJP (which is more internally democratic, decentralised, clean etc).

Either ways, a vote to Congress / BJP will only affirm their current directions or actions. But a vote to AAP (which may or may not lead to its ultimate victory) will send a signal to everyone across party lines, about what you stand for.

And a proactive leader like Arvind Kejriwal is a delight to watch — a role model for others of his stature, in that he is actively engaging with his constituency.

When we were struggling for freedom, there must surely have been groups of people sitting on the fringes, watching closely and commenting, but never taking sides. If only they would have truly asked where they stand, and taken the leap, freedom may have been faster to come by.

Delhi is at a similar stage — and since we have only 1 vote, the vote can be either for some pragmatic incremental improvement or an ideal systemic overhaul. However impractical it may seem, I believe we need the latter.

I pick up the broom.

P.S :

I personally feel rejecting free markets is a bad idea — for example regulating fees of private schools will take away incentive to innovate. Instead, top-end private schools could be encouraged to make their quality of teaching available to other schools through partnerships, technology and teacher training.

Similarly forgiving water bills is a bad idea — instead an EMI option or a micro-financed loan to pay for the water is a much more sustainable option.

P.P.S: (Disclosure)

I have engaged with India Against Corruption providing training, as well as with AAP Mumbai.

These views pertain to Delhi Assembly elections ONLY.

10 March 2014: Every party and politician worth their salt is promising ‘development’ and growth.

But what ‘development’ is desirable development is out of the conversation altogether. And out of our consciousness as well.

Maybe it is the hangover of our historical poverty or a marketing-fuelled drive to consume — either ways the path of unquestioned development will be disastrous.

Source: Pinterest

If more development is going to create more exclusion of the have-nots, more illegitimate robbing by the state and a mindless pursuit of more then I want to be counted out as a supporter.

But, if we are willing to have a conversation around what development is worthwhile for us as a nation — I believe it is a conversation worth having.

**

14 March 2014: For better or worse, those in power will have to be a part of transforming the current systems and social structure. Even though they enjoy most privileges of our world and have a vested interest in maintaining status quo.

They will join in only when they see how being stuck to the benefits of the system (Money, fame and power) is stopping them from growing beyond their primal needs. When they see that they are as caught in the endless cycle of consuming, exploiting and controlling (if ever), they will join in too.

We won’t be able to convince them, nor lecture them from a moral high ground. All we can do is hold compassion in our hearts for them and continue our work.

I hope they join in…..without their participation, transition to a new world that works for everyone will be an endless struggle. As it is shaping up right now.

**

8 Dec 2014: The Delhi rape has very little to do with Uber — rather, it has to do with the consciousness and culture of the city.

Technology by itself is neutral — and not to blame at all.

What this is really about, what we need to be very clear about — is that these repeated assaults are about sexual repression in the hinterland around the city, about oppressive power structures that leave no space for people to feel powerful. Also, men know that they can get away with such crimes because law makers don’t enforce laws.

More than anything else, it is such irony that the city which is the center of power, where all our elected representatives sit, and which we call our ‘Capital’ does not have the ability to provide something as basic as safety for women.

If we apply only an iota of the power and intelligence that resides in Delhi to this problem, I can imagine a Zero-Rape Delhi in the next 3 years.

It is time we get our act together — acknowledge our collective shame and failure, and do what it takes to make Delhi what it truly deserves to be: our capital city!

5 July 2016:

A proposed manifesto:

- We will shift our travel times to off-peak hours whenever possible

- We will work from home when we can

- We will pool our cars as much as possible

- We will use buses and trains when we can

- We will get a cycling-only track adjacent to the highway

- We will follow lane discipline

- We will use smaller vehicles

  • We will no longer put up with this

**

29 Mar 2017: Our previous generation pressed the accelerator. Everything got faster (and supposedly better, bigger).

Such speed is great on a highway — but now, humanity is approaching a sharp turn.

Our generation then, must consider pressing the clutch and the break.

Clutch is the reflective pause disengaged from the current story.

And the Break lets us slow down from our break-neck speed.

If we can do this, we give the next generation a chance to turn the steering wheel, without crashing our beautiful car.

**

16 April 2017: As right I would say to Right — this is our time, let’s leave no stone unturned…lets make India great again! Let’s do it well and do it with all our spirit and energy

As right I would say to Left — can we please move forward…as the nation converges like never before, can you constructively support rather than only critique?

As left I would say to left — it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee…it’s time to organise…to dialogue with those we can’t tolerate…it is time to huddle…

As left I would say to right — an India that doesn’t include all voices all aspirations and all concerns is not the India we can be proud of nor does it reflect our spirit as a civilisation…

As my own voice I would say that it is time to reimagine our ways of politics and economics beyond left and right…lets not hold it too tightly cos a few generations from now, no child will care whether we were left or right.

But they will live into a world that we co-create….

**

29 July 2017:

United Peoples

The capacity for real sacrifice lies with individuals.

Governments, corporations and NGOs (as entities) are dedicated to their own survival.

But we, with our capacity to love and empathise willingly take steps ‘against’ our thriving for the well being of others.

Hence, what can save the world really is not United Nations or United Corporations or even United NGOs. They will act in sync as long as their self interests match.

It is only United Peoples that can have the capacity to engage as the newest children of the Gaia, actively privileging Her.

So individuals and communities come together — invite systems and entities that are humane (are there any?) and start working through challenges with deep democracy.

After seeing the limits of the first four ways — Government, Corporations, NGOs and Movements, we need to create a fifth way — a way of the people and communities that inhibit the first four.

**

17 Aug 2017:

Once upon a time there was a government

Like every other government, it wanted to be re-elected.

In better times, its good work could have brought it back in power. But these were days of expensive elections.

The thousands of crores came from ‘invisible donors’ (they allowed anonymous donations)

Most of these donors weren’t philanthropists but profit-seekers wanting to be paid back.

Who would pay them back? How would they be paid back? And where would they have enough money to fund the next election?

So governments allowed them ‘access’ to our collective assets — no one person has the time to oversee or value these things (like gas basins and telecom bandwidth).

The magicians of business working 16 hours a day transformed these into ‘value’ — creating jobs and wealth for everyone!

Yay!!

Every five years then, we had more stuff but less trees (they made it easier to chop trees recently).

We had spicier media with more convincing ads (somebody needs to buy the ‘stuff’ no?)

We got busier working to fund our buying (and paying the taxes to fund the running of our affairs).

So we had lesser time for relationships, for our kids, for reflection and to really get a sense of what was going on.

Our memories began to shrink, we forgot most things cos the next Netflix series was on. Bubbles by google and massaging by this great website kept us going.

Now, another election will be round the corner.

Hopefully, the donors have been paid off enough to fund the next cycle. Hopefully, the PR company has done an awesome job convincing us that everything’s working just fine.

Meanwhile, the planet gets more heated. Farming becomes more unviable. Education is less likely to give you work (its all getting automated).

But we’re all happily walking along, each thinking that someone else probably knows better what’s going on and has it all figured out.

But my sense is that most of ‘those’ people are out there to fend primarily for themselves (and for us to the extent that we’re their consumers or employees or tax payers).

Beyond that I don’t sense too much care. And, they themselves are riding a tiger — the system that forces them to do this again and again anyways.

There’s no way out that’s gonna suddenly emerge. Its upto you, me and us.

**

20 Sept 2017:

Above everything else I love my government because it lets me continue to be greedy.

It tells me that I can still buy the next iphone and hang out at the Mall while being a green warrior with a missed call.

Instead of thinking about why my fellow citizens submerged under water as protest or whether large dams really work, I can use that time to catch the latest web series

Meanwhile centralized solutions for a diverse country will birth a miracle of unity. We will have proved that man is superior to nature .. that we can shamelessly hoarde n consume on one end and on the other, simply plant trees around interlocked rivers and we will be fine.

It’s a joy to have the convenience of home delivered food and facebook activism extended to governance that doesn’t require citizens to do much.

For my previous and subsequent posts I feel I must clarify my stand.

As a centrist I applaud my government for several of its attempts while continuing to ask questions of it (and of myself)

As a citizen of India in whose name the constitution is framed and upheld I share the dream of a great n powerful nation in a peaceful world.

I also wish we own n live our legacy as an ancient civilization that proclaimed Jai Jagat.

But in a political system funded by profit seeking corporations, governments may need to choose between guarding my interests as a citizen (or of the environment) vs that of corporations

At such times even the most forward thinking n people centric government will have to ensure financial support for re election which comes from its corporate donors

In such a system as a citizen n consumer I feel the need to be active n vigilant not out of a lack of trust but simply out of seeing the dynamics of this system n arrangement that we are all a part of.

**

10 Nov 2018: If I’d have a vote on whose statue should we build as the tallest, I’d vote for Babasaheb Ambedkar.

One, because Babasaheb among all of our leaders has travelled the furthest — from his origins as the 14th child in a Mahar family to being a voice for India’s oppressed is a long long walk.

Two, because he also represents the constitution of India and it’s timeless and eternal values. He acts as a reminder of our agreement to walk together as a nation.

And three, because today, he is an icon of hope and dignity for a large part of our country. His statues make places “teerthsthals”, pilgrimage places for so many.

Of course, we’re wasting taxpayer money in erecting monuments when there are other better uses. And often these symbols end up being mockery of the very people we are trying to honour (like Gandhiji on the currency note).

But then any country or civilisation needs its heroes and heroines to remind itself of it’s essence.

And whether it is Ambedkar or Patel or Gandhi or Tagore or Bose, they’ve all stood for pluralism and inclusion.

Any threat to that is a threat to the very roots of our ancient civilisation and to the idea of India itself

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Abhishek Thakore

Abhishek Thakore

Pushing the edge…..with soft motherly nudges…