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Santosh Nair

The Sabarimala Verdict: Will the women really make an advent into the Sabarimala cavalcade or would they wait?

Santosh Nair

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Putting the Sab on Sabarimala has virtually turned out to be the Kerala Temple’s lesson on inclusion. Riding over a deep-seated prejudice towards the women devotees the judgement may not have probably won over minds but it has given it an upstart.

Women devotees between 10 & 50 years of age were barred from entering the sanctum sanctorum of specific Ayyappa temples as the deity was a celibate. Women were required to carry age-proof documents for the same.

A 4:1 verdict was pronounced by the apex court in favour of women.

Ironically the lone judge who voiced a contrary opinion was a woman herself. Justice Indu Malhotra felt that the court should avoid interference in the absence of an aggrieved person from that section or religion who could have taken the trek to Sabarimala as a petitioner.

Justice Malhotra also opined that the deity was protected by Article 25 of the Constitution, that could have a bearing on the beliefs and practices of a religion. However, Lord Ayyappa has manifested in the form of a Naishtik Brahamachari in over 1000 temples where such restriction does not prevail.

The Pandalam Palace expressed apprehensions over the verdict. The Managing Committee Chairman P. Ramavarma Raja observed that it is likely to create controversies and problems across the society. The Sabarimala Melshanti has accepted the court verdict albeit disappointedly.

India Today columnist Angirasa Shresta argues that the temples should then not insist on the removal of footwear also prior to the entry for the same amounts to discrimination and is not followed in a church as well.

Justice Fali Nariman, A. M. Khanwilkar, D. Y. Chandrachud and the CJI Dipak Mishra were extremely vocal against the motion and sought immediate revival of gender parity. “To treat women as children of lesser God is to blink at constitutional morality,” said Justice Chandrachud. “Social exclusion of women on grounds of mensuration is untouchability and is anathema to the constitution,” said CJI Dipak Mishra.

Sadly enough, the women folk who form the cornerstone of this movement, for whom the huge battle is being relentlessly fought through the corridors of the judiciary has embarked on a #Ready to Wait campaign, preferring to wait until the age of 50 for “darshan”. The bulk of the Indian women are extremely God-fearing and hence have an unfailing faith in Ayyappan much more than the judiciary to meet their wants and desires.

Justice Malhotra was relatively correct about the need of petitioners for this case to take it to its logical conclusion. If the bulk of the women devotees are not inclined and prefer to wait, till the time they reach the age to climb the Sabarimala, so be it!!

The apex court, although well within its right to pronounce the verdict, the Ayyappa pilgrimage may yet be a manly affair with a meagre share of the usual elderly women in the group.

It would be quite a while before the younger generation of women would delve into Sabarimala cavalcade to experience the thrill along with spirituality and contentment!!

This could be a few generations away though!!!

 

Santosh Nair

The Incidental Prime Minister

Santosh Nair

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Dr. Manmohan Singh was indeed a reluctant aspirant to the PMs chair!!

A hard-boiled, thoroughly competent bureaucrat may find it stifling to barge into the whirlpool of real politick where the breeding essentially lies in apportioning freebies by deftly camouflaging the reality.

As a finance minister, Dr. Singh forged ahead on a path that led to the glorious era for Indian industrial prosperity. The opening of the markets in phases was innovative and won him accolades from world leaders and economists. India went through its golden age during that period under the stewardship of P. V. Narasimha Rao!!

It was ironically a strange twist of fate, firstly for him to don the chair of the Finance minister and later the Prime Minister. Mr. PVNR called him a day before to offer him the finance ministry and similarly, Sonia Gandhi made him a PM, firstly because she could not take the chair, secondly as it would take quite some time before she could turn around Rahul from his wayward ways!!

As he said later in an interview, both his nominations were accidental!!!

Dr. Singh never won a Lok Sabha election and had to take a back-door entry to Parliament through the Rajya Sabha!! Unlike the Modi wave that catapulted our current PM to a position of sovereign power, Dr. Singh acted as a proxy to other leaders in the making. Regrettably, the Indian electoral mandates are reserved for candidates who hold sway to the voter’s mind. Dr. Singh was unfortunately slated as a doer more than a person to leverage the vote banks!!

As the PM of the country, Dr. Singh, unlike his dutiful mannerism tried hard to establish an identity for himself, during the UPA1. He even threatened to resign if the nuclear deal was not pulled through, irrespective of the political fallout with the left. Although the ploy did work, he fell prey to the boundless corruption in the party that left him accountable and clueless.

Politics does need different types of skill sets to hold on to power. Money forms an integral part of many such shady deals. Reportedly a lot of money changed hands to balance the power equation in UPA’s favour after the left deserted the coalition.

The coal scam created another furore amongst the opposition. The Coalgate as it was called concerned with the allocation of the nation’s coal deposits. In its draft report issued in March 2014, the CAG’s office accused the Government of India for allocating coal blocks in an inefficient manner.

Dr. Manmohan Singh had to face the brunt almost singlehandedly. Incidentally, this was an area where he lacked the proficiency that a Sharad Pawar or an Amit Shah would excel in!!

UPA-2 encapsulated him to a shell from where resurrection was beyond the bounds of possibility. His core competencies were disquieted which led to his dismal economic performance.

“History will be kinder to me than the media” said Shri Manmohan Singh, as the coal scam got underway implicating him as well!! The realization finally dawned on him that politics is far murkier than he could ever fathom!!

The Accidental Prime Minister is the grave saga of a genius who was entrusted with the reins of the nation, to be handed over to the rightful heir during the time of his coronation!!           

Sadly, in India, a genius is not mentally conditioned to hold a political post like that of a Prime Minister!!!!

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Santosh Nair

The bane of internal migration

Santosh Nair

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The political diaspora can ill afford to oppose something like internal migration!!

In a bid, to protect their nationalistic stance and outlook, leaders like Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati and others need to take a more holistic view related to migration considering their impending inroads into national politics.

While Vijay Rupani, CM of Gujarat offering an 80% job reservation from the state and 25% of the same, from the same locality is comprehensible as he cannot think beyond Gujarat with Narendra Modi around and the Late Mr. Balasaheb Thackerey and his family’s objection to the extensive migration to Maharashtra of first the South Indians and then the North Indians, because the Sena considers Maharashtra their fiefdom,   Kamalnath’s scrapping of state concessions for companies employing more than 30% of workers from other states is, to say the least, a strategy extremely myopic in nature.

The CM of MP may be in line with the designation he seeks but falls short of the eminence and prestige when compared to the positions he had held in the past in the union cabinet. He has been a national leader par excellence and part of the core group.

It may be noted that the Shiv Sena is viewed with a lot of antagonism in the North, particularly in Bihar and UP, however, these states do not concern the Sena as well!! Modi needs to be alert and tread cautiously considering a widespread Gujarati bandwagon that he shoulders (Amit Shah, Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, Adani…)!!

Article 15 is explicit about human rights. It says that state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. State Governments are expected to enforce rules adhering to the constitution than choose to be non-compliant.

It is immoral, uneconomic and unconstitutional!!!

Supreme Court judgement in the case of Charu Khurana vs the Union of India in 2013 upholding the rights of Indians to freely migrate and take up employment anywhere in India is a clear example of the freedom guaranteed by our constitution.

Fifteen thousand immigrants from the northeast fled from Karnataka fearing assault and forty thousand from Northern states rushed back home from Gujarat after they have been targeted for the rape of a minor by reportedly one of them!! The myriad challenges faced by these folks considering the diversity of languages, culture, identity, documentation, social entitlement, housing and financial services and political exclusion are colossal. A further addition to their angst in terms of fear and anxiety could only aggravate their stay.

Corporates also need the freedom to choose candidates with the type of skill sets that is aligned to their need. People form the cornerstone of all organizations and hence the right selection plays an optimum role in the growth of the industry. Selecting from the available set of people would be detrimental to the progress of the company and hence the nation as well.

Internal migration is hence an important component in the process of growth. An industrial revolution brings in additional revenue to the state concerned which in turn may be utilized to aid the process of education and rehabilitation.

Maharashtra is a glaring example of a well modelled economy that is a combination of the effort by both the locals and the migrant community. The satellite townships like Mumbai, Pune, Nasik, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar etc are growing in leaps and bounds. Undoubtedly it is the most prosperous state in India and the merit goes to the state administration. Since they are national parties they had to embrace migration despite the Shiv Sena’s resistance!!

The other State administration should also be tasked with the building up of job opportunities for Indian citizens. The northern Hindi heartland endorses a religious / casteist approach that draws the politicians towards polarization. Caste and religion is prime and forms the chunk of the vote bank here. Politicians finds it extremely within their reach as they are the low-lying fruits!!

However, economic progress engenders a pragmatic thought process that calls for strategic leadership.

The Hindi heartland should realize that their leaders needs to be more competent than themselves and work in a direction to meet their economic interest more than their casteist!!

Migration brings untold hardship to the elderly and physically challenged. They are left to fend for themselves in many of the cases. While the developed countries of the world offer social security to their senior citizens that keeps them healthy and fit, most Indians are malnourished at that age and hence unhealthy and diseased.

A nation is not just bound by the geographical boundaries and borders but a mindset that resonates in solidarity during exigencies despite the cultural and religious diversities, a mindset that is nationalistic in a manner suited to their likings and not dictated by external forces.

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Santosh Nair

Mandir will not find any resonance with an empty stomach

Santosh Nair

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The Hindi heartland has indeed flattered to deceive!!

The invincible trio of Shivraj Chauhan, Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh were ousted at the behest of the most fundamental pillar of democracy – the people!!

The power over the ballot box is supreme, sovereign and all-encompassing!!

However, it would make sense only if the political parties reconcile to the electoral mathematics. A win in a constituency would entail polling majority of votes irrespective of the margin of victory. The total number of votes of all constituencies put together or the total percentage of votes polled is inconsequential. Democracy follows the majoritarian lineage.

Polarization works if the electorate is well fed and engaged. An unemployed, famished voter will be compelled to seek redressal for his distress rather than lean to religion. Polarization works only in a prosperous environment where the basic needs are met.

The bone of contention was the issue with regards to the farmers and the growing unemployment in rural and urban sectors. Religion hardly finds favour in the scheme of things here. The cravings for basic human needs takes precedence over religious bonding. Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh failed to bring the previous incumbent back and opted for the opposition or NOTA.

The call for Mandir will find any resonance with an empty stomach!!

The waiver of loans to the farmers is a myopic approach to the problem. While it may address the symptom, the actual ailment will remain unattended. The irony of the issue is that while the inputs to the farming community that includes fertilizer manufacturers and the final output that includes product distributors make their fortune in heaps, the poor farmer from whose location the output originates is in a state of penury!!

An immediate solution to this impasse is a fixation of the MSP (Maximum Selling Price), a step eluded by the government for reasons unknown.

Unemployment has been a cardinal issue despite the government making frenzied efforts to elevate Indian status in the ease of doing business worldwide. The nation has managed to hoist itself in that regard, but sadly investment was found lacking. It is obviously anybody’s guess to apprehend whether the parameters identified to determine business comforts was in tune with the augmentation of businesses in India!!

Another major factor that accounted to the fall of the BJP was its utter disdain to the OBC and the lower caste. Polarization-based on religion is admissible due to a Hindu majority. However, caste-wise dissemination is lethal and politically incorrect. To encourage religious and casteist divisiveness is undesirable in a pluralistic society. The casteist divide may not cease with the SC, ST and OBC but will encroach into various other territories that houses a motley crowd of people from various walks of life!!

Babasaheb Ambedkar (bless his kind soul) must be turning in his grave in utter disgust!!!

None of the above (NOTA), an option designed to disapprove candidates in a voting system, is not attuned to democratic norms. While democracy is based on majoritarianism, it is binding on the voters to either choose a candidate of his liking or vote for the best of the lot. Consensus forms the cornerstone of a democracy where discord and disagreements transcends personal beliefs and ideology!!

NOTA is hence undemocratic and could be done away with!!

Statistical inputs with regards to GDP, fiscal deficit etc on the social media could enthuse an economist who is competent to dwell into the finer points of the data. A common man will be ill at ease, with this data and would look for some visible gains that reflects in his day to day affairs. The GDP gains will be effective only if the same translates into benefits to boost his confidence.

The continuous use of social media should have been limited to the build-up of benefits that are perceivable and attainable!!

It requires a herculean effort to maintain the fine balance between the peoples wants and their desires. While the wants are commensurate to the process of growth, the desires are populist policies whose duration is too short for comfort!!

Despite the multiple term runs, the dismal performance of the governments has left the electorate with little options other than to bring in a change.

However, the noteworthy aspect of the elections is its adherence to democratic norms, which no government could mar or undo!!

No wonder we are still the world’s greatest democracy!!!

 

 

 

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