Make the World Great Again

 

“Can you please go get him and bring him to [my home]. We’ll be waiting for you guys with flags, flowers, and balloons. We will give him a family and he will be our brother.” Continue reading ”  Make the World Great Again”

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Kerala- What lies ahead

Kerala- What lies ahead

 

The long election season finally culminated with the Left assuming power with an irrefutable majority here in Kerala. This election was touted as too close to call by many experts.The campaign by political parties also had a makeover this time moving from the  mundane to a more corporate style.The taglines were a feast for trollers.

But what ultimately tilted the stakes in LDF’s favour was ‘politics’,the tried and tested garden-variety type.The usual lethargy keralites feel with an incumbent government also helped their cause. The influence of religious denominations is evident from the voting pattern and it proved to be the single-most deciding factor in many constituencies. The causes for the defeat will be analysed as usual by the UDF,even though the causes and the remedy are a moot point.

Now for the Left this victory could not have come at a better time. Their rout in West Bengal and CPI(M) losing the national party status might have dampened the mood a bit, but the excitement is palpable. With Pinarayi Vijayan who is known to be a no non-sense administrator at the helm the people too is optimistic. He has been vocal about the development needs of the state and one can hope that the many flagship projects of the outgoing government will continue without any glitch.

But the biggest challenge this Govt is going to face will be that of law & order. The many incidents right after the results were announced  bear testimony to this caveat. The RSS-Left clashes especially in northern Kerala has been a continuing theme and now with an overzealous left cadre and an unrelenting RSS the tensions are sure to reach fever pitch. The idea may seem a little far fetched right now but the possibility of somethng like a President’s rule being imposed cannot be ruled out considering the trigger-happy NDA Govt at the centre. The new Govt will have to tread lightly in this regard. The comments yesterday by some Union Ministers was more of a veiled threat and composure is the need of the hour.

As for the UDF electoral setbacks are nothing new but the magnitude of the defeat requires accountability.It is true that LDF beat them at their own game and their trusted minority vote-bank cashed their cheque elsewhere. The time is ideal for a revamp, if not an overhaul . Shashi Tharoor has correctly pointed out the one silver lining from this election- the many young Congress candidates winning. So it is time for congress to show that they mean business. The first opportunity at hand is naming the Leader of Opposition and the 2021 election should be kept in mind while making that decision.

The role media played in this election cannot be over-emphasised. As Oommen Chandy requested the media to offer full support to the new Govt, not like they offered him there were a few laughs. He said without saying their contribution to his downfall. With our society being overly mediated these days the clout media has on influencing our public opinion is massive. Free will is not that free after all. With Pinarayi Vijayan not exactly a poster child for the media and the watchful eyes of the newly anointed Fidel Castro of Kerala, V S Achuthanandan hovering over his every move the times will be exciting to say the least.

Kiran Gandhi

New Low for Literate Kerala

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Statistics does not always tell the true story. If you go by stats alone, then Kerala is really an enviable state boasting off the chart literacy rates and other Human Development Indices. But the incidents in recent years show that we are in a downward spiral. And today marked another new low when the legislative assembly was turned into a playground. It was the budget presentation day and the opposition were determined not to let K M Mani present the budget. The reason being the alleged bribery charges against the finance minister.

Whatever the reason, the unruly behaviour of the MLA’s is a real shame and adds to the already burgeoning apathy of common man towards the democratic process. Though democracy boasts of giving the power to the people, incidents like these are stark realisation about how helpless the people really are.

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The scenes inside the assembly were reminiscent of a football match gone wild. There were tackles flying around, simulations, biting (yes biting! Suarez would have been proud) etc and both sides had a definite game plan. LDF employed zonal marking and marked the speaker out of his dais. They then broke the speaker’s chair and computer and there was no one to flag them offside. One particular sight to laugh off was the charge of MLA BijiMol. It was reminiscent of one of those runs YaYa Toure makes from midfield. When he goes on such a run, he is unstoppable. Bijimol also looked unstoppable until Shibu Baby John spotted the danger and blocked her off. It was one of those “irresistible force meets an immovable object” moments.

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The minister had to read the Budget highlights from the media room. There  were vandalism of even greater proportion outside with stone pelting and Vehicles set ablaze. This is by far the most energy ever spent in an assembly session in Kerala’s history. It is the general public’s loss that their glorified representatives couldn’t channelize it towards something creative.

NEHRU- THE FOOTBALL GENIUS

Sports metaphors are often the most apt tool when it comes to describing life or a situation within life. In that regard, football is the most ideal as for every situation in life there is an analogous one in football. Sometimes everything is going well for you and you are on the front foot, attacking, putting the opposition (obstacles) under pressure. Sometimes you just have to absorb pressure and defend for your dear lives. And there are times when you get battered and leave the field wondering what the hell happened. Be it football or life, to get through it you need some kind of strategy and planning.

When India got independence, it was like a football club going through transition. And Jawahar Lal Nehru was given the job of manager entrusted with the task of rebuilding. When a new manager takes charge of a club, he tries to build a team around his philosophy. When Nehru took charge, his philosophy was clear. He was a socialist and a champion of democracy. Nehru believed that democracy and civil liberties had to be basic constituents of socialism, and were inseparable from it. Even though he was vested with ultimate powers ( like a Manager who cannot be sacked), Nehru was aware of the perils of ruling with an iron hand. He did not want to impose his policies (be it formations, training styles or team selection) without societal consensus. He even argued that in the absence of a broad societal consensus, any radical steps towards socialism would invite the danger of fascism. He also condemned all recourse to violence even for a noble objective like socialism. So he was like a manager who did not want his players to put flying tackles and elbows in, even if it could get them a Champions league title.

Nehru’s immediate task was harnessing enough resources for the state coffers. When a club goes on a success streak, it is natural for some other clubs to try and emulate them. In our case, Russia was that club. The resilience of the Soviet economy during The Great Depression was proof enough for us to try to model our economy on their lines. Nehru looked upon rapid economic development as basic for India’s independence and unity and for the removal of poverty and implementation of his social welfarist policies. The three pillars of Nehru’s development strategy were planning for rapid industrial and agricultural growth (like increasing the club’s revenue by merchandise sales, sponsorship deals etc) , a public sector to develop strategic industries (finding potential talents through football academies) , and  a mixed economy. Every Manager has a key player, the one on whom he relies the most. Like Cristiano Ronaldo for Carlo Ancelloti or Eden Hazard for Jose Mourinho. For Nehru, it was the Public sector. According to the Industrial Policy Resolution of 1956, which he helped draft, the public sector was expected to ‘augment the revenues of the state and provide resources for further development in fresh fields’. Unlike Cristiano Ronaldo, Nehru’s key player did not perform on the big stage. Even though it didn’t yield immediate results, it is true that Nehru was building a team for the future.

There are certain managers who condemn simulation or diving. They are strongly against it and reprimand the players indulging in simulation. Nehru was one such manager and the simulation in Indian context was the evil of ‘communalism’. He even described communalism as the Indian form of fascism. Communalism was an internal weakness. It was as dangerous as doing a sliding tackle in the penalty box. Even though he condemned Communalism, his failure to induce a struggle against communalism as an ideology is seen as a failure. He believed that planning and economic development and the spread of education, science and technology would automatically weaken communal thinking and help form a secular consciousness.

One of the silver linings of Nehru’s illustrious manager career was his foreign policy. It was like a domestic club achieving success in the UEFA Champions League. He used foreign policy as an instrument to defend and strengthen India’s independence and to protect India’s national interests and to develop the self-reliance, self-confidence and the pride of the Indian people, even while serving the cause of world peace and anti-colonialism.

There are different criteria for assessing the success of football managers. Some consider the number of trophies he won while some may consider how attractive football his team played. Whatever the criteria be, Nehru did exceedingly well. As in any Manager’s career, there were some setbacks. No true assessment can be done without having a clear understanding of the exigencies of the time in which he was at the helm. It was a time when even the smallest error could become egregious ones; the faintest whispers could become the loudest roars. It is indeed his triumph that we are still following the basic philosophy imposed by him. The many Managers ( Prime Ministers) that followed him did not tamper with his ideology. And that will be the legacy of Nehru, paving a way for us in the darkness and making us love the game so much that we are now fast emerging as the best in the business.

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