Saturday, December 29, 2012

Threads of Perpetuity

Let me first declare that I am no woman rights activist. I cannot pretend to be an expert on gender either. However, I am compelled by a very selfish urge to write this - I like to be able to feel that I exercise my choices with freedom. Certainly, a social person acts with free will only rarely, but it is the assurance that she can is the essence of this article.

All this must sound trivial to you for it has been said again and again for centuries now. And this is exactly why I choose to highlight it because the most audacious things seem to happen under our nose often.

We have raised our concerns with fervor and agony in the recent rape case. The demands encompass almost the whole state administration- legislative failure, pathetic police administration to insufficient and inefficient justice system. I have come across articles talking lengths about how the patriarchal system  continues to oppress the lesser citizens - the women. My agenda in this article is to compel the reader, especially the "She", to ponder over the relationship between free will and the brother-sister relationship in Indian culture.

Year on year, the Indian sister ties the Rakhi to her brothers. Vows are exchanged unsaid. The brother pledges to protect her from any evils that might cast her shadow while she prays for his long and prosperous life. What goes unrealized is the process of socialization that occurs in the event. By virtue of a sacred string (Rakhi), the female is socialized to depend on the male while the male comes to believe that he ought to be her savior. The most intense part of this socialization is that it starts in the childhood and goes on till life ceases.

My female friends can counter the claim regarding the exchange of any vows. They might argue that they celebrate Rakhi only as a festival and do not pray at all, and that does not change the position that they are caring sisters. But what they don't realize that they help to perpetuate the age long tradition that started when a sister tied the first Rakhi to her brother in hope of protection.

Let me elaborate further. From the smallest of matters to the most grave ones, the sister relies on her brother for rescue. When a young woman is teased sexually to the extent that she cannot take it anymore, who does she run for help? Not the police, not the mother, not her female friends- but her brother. (Okay, I cannot rule out the possibility that she might discuss it with her female friends, but my experience tells me that it is only a way to vent out her frustration and not an actual cry for help. ) In case she does not have a brother, she runs to the next male closest to her. And the savior responds with all he's got. Obligations fulfilled.

Now imagine the furor of the brother if the Indian sister chooses to ask help from the institutions that are actually meant to help her above him. What started as eve-teasing changes to family (or male) pride. No wonder the shame comes to haunt the victim and her family and not the perpetrator. The Indian male needs to feel that he is a father (the provider), brother (the savior) and son (the successor).

In the Indian brother-sister relationship occurs the submission of certain rights and acceptance of obligations by both parties.  A friend of mine told me that she had to reveal the details of her relationship to her brother because she felt obligated as a sister. While there is nothing wrong in her letting her brother know that, it is the feeling of obligation that concerns me. I don't think the obligation runs both ways.

How does this affect the free will of the sister then?

First, any kind of obligation demands the submission of (at least a part) of free will. Especially when the party enters it unknowingly. The "privileges" enjoyed by the Indian sister have a cost associated. No free lunches as they say.

But deeper than that is the sense of dependence that creeps in slowly and silently. Your loving brother happily (and proudly) stands in the railway reservation queue for you while you submit your confidence as the cost. Even if you are conscious enough to exploit this relationship to get your things done easily, you essentially help in perpetuating the dependence. And it is a simple fact - dependence and free will don't like each other.

My intent is not to attack the sanctity of the brother-sister relationship, but to reveal what conspires beneath it. Next time you tie the Rakhi to your brother, be conscious of the fact that you are tying the thread of perpetuity - of male dominance over the female.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sweet little nightingale

Sit on my shoulder
Oh my sweet little nightingale!
And while I play
Your favorite tune
Chirp, tweedle
"Hurray! Its my day."
Take a swing
With me, dance
Tonight is gala
While I take my favorite stance.
Say "Oo Lala!"
Flap your wings
Once, twice
Make a wish
When I close your eyes,
To the Heavens, and above
And the lords will conspire
To bless you with love
And to enliven your desire
Oh my sweet little nightingale!

(I composed this  as  birthday message to someone very dear to me.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


कश के धुंए से बनाता
तुम्हारा चेहरा
एक कश में आँखें,
एक कश में होंठ
एक कश में अपना प्रेम..
क्षण-भंगुर है कश,
अपने साथ की तरह
शाश्वत है प्रेम, पर
जैसे तुम्हारी हंसी
और मेरा पागलपन, 
जैसे चिलम
लगाता हूँ तो ही 
चिलम पे चिलम
धुंए पे धुआं...
कश पे कश!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


काश का आकाश..
सतरंगी सपने
सपनो में तुम- मैं.. काश!
काश का आलिंगन..
आलिंगन में स्नेह-प्रेम
प्रेम में तुम- मैं.. काश!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Of Religion

धर्म जोड़ता था कल तक.
अब तोड़ता है..
गर्दन धर मोड़ता है..
त्यागी धर्म तज गया
ढल गया..जल गया
बलि चढ़ गया
स्वार्थ की अग्नि में..
भजन अज़ान सब भस्म
लोभ के हवन कुण्ड से प्रकट
घृणा, हिंसा लिप्त धर्म
चीख-चिल्लाहट के नाद में
तुम्हारा मेरा धर्म, करो
शत-शत शाष्टांग नमन!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

जय Intellectualism

Intellectual बकैती करते रहिये...
सवालों के सैलाब में जवाब कहीं बह गया
पर आपको इस से क्या..
आप तो सर्वज्ञ हैं, अंतर्यामी
कार्यक्रम के श्रीगणेश में
आप मौन मुद्रा में रहते हैं..
इति श्री किन्तु अपने सुवचनों से करते हैं ..
"ये ठीक नहीं हुआ.. ये ऐसे होना था!
वो सब तो ठीक है, पर ...."
आपके "पर" को पर लगे हैं..
यहाँ वहां..कहाँ कहाँ..
पखेरू चिपकते हैं..
फिर रुख बदलते हैं..
इस डाल से उस डाल
सवाल पर सवाल
सवालों के सैलाब में जवाब फिर बह गया
आप "पर-पुराण" चालू रखिये
"पर-नाम" लगाते रहिये..!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Political Alternative Team Anna

Answers to Arvindji’s questions regarding political alternative

Congratulations to the team for accepting junta’s demand for an alternative to the current political system of the country.
Arvind Ji had posed some questions before us, the people of India, and we have attempted to propose workable solutions to them. They have been discussed one by one below.
Before we discuss the questions, let us look at certain facts and figures of 2009 General Elections relevant to answers to these questions.
a) Number of electors: 716985101
b) Number of seats: 543
c) Number of electors per seat: 716985101 / 543 = ~1320415
d) Voting percentage = 58.19%
“Party”: Ahvaan Party
Member”: Ahvaan Party Member who has right to vote in Party matters
“Volunteer” : Ahvaan Party Volunteer without the right to vote
“Website” :Ahvaan Party website
1. What should be the name of the party?
Ans: Ahvaan
Ahvaan means calling for a cause. India Against Corruption has called upon the people of India for systemic change of the political system of India as well as for uprooting corruption. It is apt, therefore, to name the party as Ahvaan.
It will be an ahvaan to the people of India to incorporate within the 5 virtues proposed by Annaji - Shuddha Achar, Shuddha Vichar, Nishkalank Jeevan, Tyag, Apman sahne ki shakti. It will be a call to the people to fight corruption and establish swaraj in the country.
2. What should be the symbol of the party?
Ans: Bigul (trumpet)
During wars in ancient times, bigul was used to notify the engaged parties about the commencement and suspension of the war. Ahvaan is the war against corruption to establish swaraj and therfore, bigul should be used as its symbol to notify people that their war is about to start.
3. What should be the selection criteria for candidates?
Ans: Annaji mentioned 5 virtues of a moral and nationalist person - Shuddha Achar, Shuddha Vichar, Nishkalank Jeevan, Tyag, Apman sahne ki shakti.
Based on these virtues, we have prepared a list of qualifications that should be considered for selecting suitable candidates -
  1. Social work experience
  2. Criminal record (pending/ complete) if any
  3. Educational qualification
  4. Leadership
  5. Awards, Honours if any (like padma bhushan etc)
  6. Achievements at work - innovation
(example: Farmer innovating irrigation process etc)
  1. Sacrifice
(example: army men, doctors who gave up urban jobs for village services etc)
  1. Academic Achievement - (renowned academicians)

4. How will the candidates be selected?
Ans: Candidate selection will be a 4 stage process:
Stage 1:
The above list of qualifications will be circulated and sufficiently publicized among people of the concerned constituency through Party volunteers. Based on these (and any other as found suitable), junta will propose names of their candidates. They can submit the names through following channels:
- website
- Letters
- IAC volunteer in their concerned constituency
To ensure that only genuine people propose names, it can be made mandatory to quote any one of Voter ID Card No./ Mobile No./ Ration Card No. / PAN No.
This process will be completed within 1 month.
Stage 2:
From the proposed names in Stage 1, top 4 candidates with highest number of votes will be selected by the Party
Also, the Party can propose up to 2 names from each constituency who are eligible as per the above qualifications but not among the top 4 candidates.(For this the Party may ask people to fill a detailed online form - requiring subjective answers - and then can select some exceptionally good candidates through a form screening and interview process, in case of Junta not proposing sufficient names, Party may nominate more than 2 candidates as deemed suitable)
In case, Ahavaan does not nominate any members, next two candidates (after selecting the top 4) with highest number of votes will be selected for the next stage.
The maximum number of candidates after this stage should be 6.
This process will be completed within 15 days.
Stage 3:
In this stage, Ahvaan will organize a one day speech programme in the concerned constituency. The six selected candidates will have the opportunity to address the electorate of that constituency, present their agenda and answer their questions.
Each Candidate will be given 45 minutes time for speech and 15 minutes for question and answer session. Thus, the debate will be of 6 hours in two halves.
This will allow junta to know each of the candidate in a better manner and make an informed choice.
Stage 4:
IAC will organize a referendum in that constituency in which people can submit their votes for the final candidate selection. This will again be done through the following channels:
- IAC website
- Toll Free call
- Letter
- IAC volunteer
Again, identification proof may be made mandatory while registering vote.
The candidate securing the highest number of votes in Stage 4 shall be declared the candidate of the Ahvaan party.
5. How to contest elections without spending money?
Ans: Arvind Ji mentioned in his speech that the party will be run through donations and will contest elections through donations as well. These donations can be either in cash or kind (products or services).
We propose the following mechanism for maintaining and using the donations received:
1. There will be two types of funds maintained:
a) Ahvaan Central Fund: This will be the central fund which will be facilitate the functioning of the party at central level.
b) Ahvaan Constituency Fund: This will be maintained with each constituency from where the party is to participate in elections.
It will facilitate election expenditure of the respective constituency.
2. Each fund will have two committees:
a) Accounts Committee:
It will have the power to authorise transactions in/out of the fund. It will maintain records online/register of these transactions.
b) Auditing Committee:
It will monitor and audit transactions authorized by the accounts committee. It will prepare and place it reports on the website as well as with the constituency.
Also, people of a constituency are free to check accounts and conduct independent audits of the funds of their constituency.
There will be at least one person from Party and one person from public as member in each of the two committees. Public members of these committees will be selected/elected by the electors of the constituency and they can be removed by them as well.
3. Cash will be maintained in bank accounts. Kind will be maintained through website in storehouses provided by public.
Cash transactions can be easily monitored through bank statements. Kind transactions will be maintained as follows:
i) Kind donations should be accepted on temporary basis only.
ii) They will be maintained through Ahvaan database and information regarding the same will be made available on website.
iii) They will be monitored by assigning following status:
  1. Committed : As soon as a person commits to donate a particular product or service, it will be updated as committed.
  1. Received: As soon as a particular donation is received, the status will be changed to received.
  1. Consumed: Once the received product or service has actually gone under consumption, its status will be updated as consumed.
  1. Inventory: Donations unused or partly consumed will be assigned this status.
Remark: Party must come out with a solution to either return the inventory items back to the donor or maintain it in the designated storehouses.
Following is a snapshot of an event dated 15/8/2012, Event: Speech/Debate Programme. It shows the last status as updated in the database of various product/services required. The statuses are as on 16/08/2012
Printing Services: ABC Company Status: Consumed
History :
Date: 8/8/2012 - Committed
Date : 10/8/12 - Consumed
Sound Services: ABC Company Status: Consumed
History :
Date: 8/8/2012 - Committed
Date : 15/8/12 - Consumed
Furniture: XYZ Company Status: Consumed
History :
Date: 5/8/2012 - Committed
Date:13/8/12 - Received
Date: 15/8/12 - Consumed
All information will be made public through website and also in hard copy with respective constituencies.
This will not only ensure better management of kind donations, but also transparency.
6. How to ensure that people do not vote for money, liquor, caste etc?
Ans: This challenge essentially revolves around educating electors, and people in general about the power of their vote and its impact on their life and ultimately society.
On one hand, the Party needs to explain the economic impact (poverty, migration, deprivation etc) of voting in return of cash/kind to the gullible voter. On the other, the task culminates into grooming moral and nationalist persons who will ultimately uphold democracy in its true spirit.
It is a massive task, and perhaps the most important. Therefore, it will be time and resource consuming. A constituency will have to be divided into certain zones where the Party volunteers, with the help of local people, can organize activities mentioned below.
a) Presentations:
In areas having electricity, power point presentations using projectors can be shown to people. The presentations will be about Ralegan Siddhi and other such villages where people empowerment has changed the contours of development. Through these simple visual presentation, any other facts/analysis can also be presented to people.
b) RTIs:
The team of India Against Corruption and other activists have already harnessed the power of RTI in urban areas, thus exposing corruption. Volunteers will need to use RTI effectively in Panchayats at all level, educate villagers as well on using RTIs. Villagers must be presented the facts received through RTI and its analysis. For this (a) can be used.
c) Helping villagers in grievance redressal
Many of the rural people suffer in securing their basic rights due to lack of the education. Because they are unable to understand the nitty-gritties of rules and procedures, they end up either paying bribes to officials or deprived of essential services.
Party Volunteers need to take up their grievances and help them secure their rights in order to establish trust and credibility. For example, they can help villagers in securing ration cards, BPL cards etc.
d) Speeches and story telling
Speeches have done wonders all around the world and this is one area which other political parties have not applied often. Effective orators from Ahavaan and others will have to be deployed to deliver speeches in regional languages. The speeches and stories should incorporate stories from mythological texts like Ramayana, Mahabharat which are sacred to people.
For example, Ram-Sabri, Krishna-Sudama against caste system.
e) Nukkad Natak
Nataks have been effective in rural areas on various issues. Aspiring drama groups can be invited to perform to sensitize people. Ahvaan should arrange for their transportation and accommodation.
f) Assistance to local entrepreneurs
Party volunteers can provide technical, legal and other assistance to small/medium projects of local entrepreneurs and deliver outputs to ensure credibility.
g) Organising bhajans deploying local bhajan groups to impart moral education
For each of the above task, vounteer teams should be instituted moving from one area to another. This will ensure that these activities are taken up simultaneously by various teams.
These activities should be carried out on a continuous basis irrespective of election timings. In this way, Ahvaan can keep the movement alive throughout.
7. How to ensure that Ahvaan candidates when elected as MPs, MLAs, Sarpanchs etc don’t become corrupt?
Ans: We propose control mechanism over MPs, MLAs etc from two perspectives - control by Party and control by Junta. In general, political parties in India have only exercised control by Party. In order to ensure accountability and transparency to Junta, mechanisms must exist to allow control by Junta.These control mechanisms have been discussed one by one below:
A . Party Democracy:
It is the most vital tool in controlling the functioning of any Party and its members. History of India since independence has seen erosion of inner party democracy and its ill-effects.
- First, Nehru became PM after he was selected by Gandhi, despite the party elected Sardar Patel. Though Patel was humble enough to accept Gandhi’s farmaan, people argued (and still argue) that Patel could give a better leadership to the country.
- Congress Party has suffered from the lack of it since the time of Indira Gandhi which created the high command within the Congress.
By Party: All decisions affecting the Party as whole will be taken only through voting.
By Junta: This will be ensured through mechanisms discussed below.
B. Junta Darbar
By Party: It will be mandatory for an elected Ahvaan functionary to hold Junta Darbar in his constituency. The gap between two consecutive darbar’s cannot be more than 45 days.
Party will put the minutes of each Junta Darbar on the website as well as with the respective constituency.
By Junta:
Apart from the mandatory Junta Darbar already mentioned, Party will empower people to demand Junta Darbar at their will. For example, if 25% of people in a constituency demand Junta Darbar (through website, SMSs etc), then it will be incumbent upon the elected Ahvaan functionary to hold it in that constituency.
By Party: As discussed in Q.2, the respective Auditing Committees will carry out monthly audits of Party accounts.
By Junta (Social Audit): People other than the Audit Committee mentioned in Q5. will be empowered to conduct audit of the Party Accounts once in 6 months.
A mechanism needs to be devised to allow only 1 social audit in 6 months so that the functioning of the Party is not hindered due to social audits.
Grievance Cell
By Party: Party must have such a cell where people can record their complaints, their difficulties etc.
There will be two levels of Grievance Cells - Central Grievance Cell and Constituency Grievance Cell.
The Central Grievance Cell (CGC) will be maintained through website. It will allocate the grievances to respective members for redressal based on origin and type of grievances.
It will also prescribe time limits within which the redressal must happen after discussing with the concerned Member. It will prepare the action taken report on grievances and update the grievance status accordingly.
Each constituency from where the Party contests election will have its own grievance cell. It will take up grievances allocated to it by CGC as well as grievances registered with itself.
By Party: Following will be put on website as well with the concerned constituency within a week and accessible to public.
  1. All transactions in/out of the Central Party fund
  2. All transactions in/out of the Constituency Party funds
  3. All Party decisions as well as decisions taken by elected Ahvaan functionaries with respect to their constituencies
  4. Audit reports of the Auditing Committees and Social Audits
  5. All court cases registered against Party members and their status
  6. All grievances registered with the Party grievance cell
  7. Performance appraisal reports
  8. Audio Visuals used, for example - Video of the Speeches of the candidates, Presentations, Video of Nukkad Nataks etc.
By Junta: Party will empower people with the right to information regarding its members’ information, its funds, its decisions etc. There will not be any secrecy clause in the Party Constitution. This will ensure absolute transparency within the Party.
Performance Appraisal
By Party: Party will carry out the performance appraisal of each elected Ahvaan functionary once in 6 months. Weightage will be accorded to the following:
- Achievements against the promises made in the manifesto.
- Number and type of grievances registered or allocated to a particular constituency
- Action taken on the grievances by the concerned Member.
-Other Achievements
This appraisal report will be presented to the Party as well as put on website and the respective constituency to which that functionary belongs.
Strict Punishment
By Party: There should be absolutely zero tolerance for corruption within the Party. Party membership of a person will be deemed terminated automatically as soon as he is convicted in any case of corruption by any court.
In case he is judged not guilty by an upper court, Party will vote in order to reinstate his membership. Only when 50% of total membership of the party and ⅔ of present and voting approve will he be reinstated. The voting results will be published on website and with the concerned constituency.
In case the Party believes that a prima facie case exists against a Party member, it can suspend his membership through voting.
Similar procedure can be adopted in case of severe criminal cases like murder, rape, communal violence etc in which the court has taken cognizance of crime.
By Junta: Junta can punish the elected functionary through right to recall (when available), by not electing the offender again. In absence of the right to recall, it can demand that a membership of a Member be terminated. In that case, if 66% people in a constituency vote for removal of a Member from Party, the Party will have to remove that Member.
Various teams will be created for carrying out each of the above mentioned tasks by the Party. Members to these teams will be elected by voting in the Party. These are:
- Accounting Committee
- Auditing Committee
- Performance Appraisal Team
- Information management Team
- Grievance Management Team

Saturday, July 14, 2012


इश्क का फरमान लेकर
वो चली आई
"हुक्म है की आपका  दिल
मुझमें ही अब से बसे..
आपकी यादों पे बन्दे!
साया मेरी रूह का बस..
आपके ये  लफ्ज़, सुन लें.. 
ज़िक्र मेरा ही करें !"

मशगूल अपनी शोखियों में..
क्या खबर उनको?
वो पढ़ रही फरमान..
और हम पढ़ रहे उनको!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


कल वो आयेंगे
ऐसा घर भर में शोर है
बेवजह चूड़ियाँ खनकती नहीं
उमंगों  में ये  कैसी  होड़ है.

दरवाज़े  राह  तकते  हैं
उनकी  दस्तक  की आस में
मचलते हैं डूब  जाने  को
उस छुवन के अहसास में..

चादर  लिपट  रही   है
सिकुड़  रही है, सहम  रही  है
लाज  के तकिये  में मुह  डाले
पहली    रात की तरह

पलको पे डेरा है
यादों का, ख्वाइशों का
मुस्कुराहटों  का
आंसुओं का भी..

डर   का चश्मा  भी है
पर   आँखों   पे..
वादों से  कैसी वफ़ा ?
कैसा   प्यार , कैसा याराना  ?
यूँही तो कसमें अभागी  नहीं

रात ढलती  गयी
शोर कमता  गया
चूड़ियाँ मौन  हैं
दरवाज़े   रुआंसे
खाली चादर, खाली पलकें
कल के इंतज़ार में....
वो आज  भी नहीं आये!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


कोने में पड़ा
दबा कुचला एक अख़बार..
"कोई मुझे पढता क्यूँ नहीं..?
जो हूँ , वो कोई देखता क्यूँ नहीं..?"
हा हा हा!
ठहाकों के बीच गुमसुम
बेबस और लाचार
कल दालमोठ उठाने के काम आया था |
आज दीवार को धूल से बचा रहा है 
मैला, गन्दा अख़बार
कोने में पड़े हुए भी 
खुद को साबित करने की ज़िद है..
उसको क्या ख़बर
कल आँख खुलेगी तो 
खुद को डस्ट-बिन में पायेगा 
मुड़ा-चुड़ा अख़बार| 


अकेला चला मन.. 
अँधेरा-उजियारा उसके साथी..
ख्याल, ख्वाहिशें में उसका ख़ानदान
मोह के मकड़जाल से परे..
परे सामाजिक उलझनों से
खुद से मिलने.. 
उस बोधी-वृक्ष की खोज में
अकेला चला मन..