Friday, May 22, 2009

Election 2009 - The Verdict

This is going to be an extremely big post. I don’t expect anyone to read it from top to bottom. You are welcome to read the section which you feel would be interesting and leave a comment. I have tried my best to break down the post into appropriate sections. First timers here who are not interested in Politics are requested to ignore this post and scroll below. I am not an advocate of politics; you might find other interesting topics below  :)

Before we go into the details of election, let me share some data with for people who are not very familiar with India. With more than 1 billion inhabitants, India ranks second only to China among the world's most populous countries. Its people are culturally diverse, and religion plays an important role in the life of the country. About 80.5% of the Indians practice Hinduism, a religion that originated in India. Another 13.4% of the population is Muslims. This makes India home to the third-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan. India also contains the majority of the world's Christians (2.3%), Sikhs (2%), Buddhists (0.8%), Jains (0.4%) and Jews. Eighteen major languages and more than 1,000 minor languages and dialects are spoken in India. Religious majorities vary greatly in different states. Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep are Muslim majority states; Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram are Christian majority; Punjab is mostly dominated by Sikhs; Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim states mainly have Buddhists.

Age Structure:

0-14 years: 31.5% 

15-64 years: 63.3% 

65 years and over: 5.2% 

Sex Ratio:

At birth: 1.12 male(s)/female (2008)

Under 15: 1.10 male(s)/female (2008)

15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female (2008)

Presently there are 8,28,804 polling stations in the country. The campaign for clean politics seems to have paid off. Voters have given a thumbs down to MPs having serious criminal records cutting across party lines. In many constituencies where one or two candidates had criminal charges, most voters rejected them. But in some seats voters didn't have a choice, as most candidates had criminal backgrounds. That's one reason why the 15th Lok Sabha will still have MPs who have criminal cases to their names. The BJP tops the list - 43 of its MPs have criminal cases. The Congress comes a close second with 41 of its MPs facing criminal charges.
A record 59 women were elected to the 15th Lok Sabha, with a majority - 23 - belonging to the Congress party alone. In all, 556 women had contested the 2009 general elections. While the Congress topped the list, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came second with 13 women being elected.
CPI [M]:

The CPM virtually wrote the obituary of the Third Front saying the defeat of the Left in its strongholds and the failure of the alliance in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu undermined any effective presence of the grouping at the national level. A short note taken from Politburo Communique on Lok Sabha Polls : The serious reverses suffered by the CPI (M) and the Left parties in West Bengal and Kerala are of deep concern. The CPI (M) has lost 25 sitting seats from these two states. The CPI (M) has won 16 seats with a vote share of 5.33 per cent, which is marginally less than the 5.66 per cent it got in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. There should be a serious examination of the reasons for these reverses. Both national and state specific factors are responsible for the poor performance. A self-critical review will be conducted by the concerned state committees and the Central Committee, which should form the basis for corrective steps. The Party will make all out efforts to regain the support and confidence of those sections of the people who have been alienated. The full report could be read here. The CPI-M had fielded candidates in 81 seats, but could win only in 16 showing a success rate of 19.75 per cent. CPI, on the two-day meeting of the party National Executive, spoke of the need for "humility and total absence of arrogance" in the behavior and attitude of all Left leaders, remarks seen as a veiled attack on CPI(M) leaders, especially its General Secretary Prakash Karat. "The central committee, in its meeting held in Kochi in January 2009, had worked out the electoral-tactical line and given the direction that the Left parties along with the secular parties should work together to make a non-Congress, non-BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) alternative realisable," Karat said in the latest edition of the party mouthpiece, People's Democracy.

Personally I feel that this result is people’s verdict against the party governance under Pinarayi Vijayan [ Kerala] and Prakash karat [Centre]. The longer the party takes to realize its mistake, the weaker it would become. As a strong supporter of left, I would only wish that the leaders realize that they work for a party which is supposed to be with the working class. I wonder how the comrades who gave their life long earnings and their life for the growth of this party would react if they know about the assets of the party today. The Rs.250-million park named Vismaya Infotainment Centre, set up over 30 acres at Parassinikkadavu in Kannur district, Kerala is run by the Malabar Pleasures India Limited under the party-led Malabar Tourism Development Cooperative Society. Times Now names CPI[M] as India’s third richest party in terms of assets. In Kerala, the CPI-M has buildings, runs hospitals and holds substantial stakes in a television company Kairali TV. The Kerala unit of the CPI-M is the best example of neo-liberalism. CPI(M) sitting MP from Kasaragod P Karunakaran, who won his second term from this northern Kerala Lok Sabha constituency, has assets worth over Rs 25 lakh while his wife over Rs 1.53 crore by way of immovable and movable property. This comes from a member of a party which claims to be socialistic in nature!


The BJP has been rejected by the people as it could not offer anything beyond its communal agenda combined with rightwing economic policies which the people had already spurned in 2004.The rabid communal rhetoric of the likes of Varun Gandhi and Narendra Modi dominated its election campaign. The magic of the saffron brigade’s aggressive brand of Hindu nationalism, which saw BJP’s meteoric growth from a mere two seats in 1984 to 184 in 1999 General Elections, could not make a dent this time. It is evident that Varun Gandhi’s hate speech this time around seemed to have gone down badly with the people despite him winning his own constituency handsomely. BJP was completely routed in the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, with Congress bagging all the seven seats, that too with huge margins of over one lakh votes in all constituencies. BJP has admitted that it had lost influence in its stronghold of urban, middle and upper class voters along with Sikhs, causing the party dearly at the hustings.
Though the media sings out loud that Election 2009 marks the victory of Manmohan Sing, I see it as a victory of the youth icon of the Congress – Rahul Gandhi. This time, there are some young faces in the 15th Lok Sabha - over 70 MPs, below the age of 40, some of them first-timers, yet brimming with confidence. Sycophancy has always been part of the Congress culture, but this time the focus has shifted from the mother to Gandhi junior. The Victory of Congress could not be sung to completion without talking about the most promising MP – Shashi Tharoor. He is elected MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala with a stunning margin of close to 100,000 votes. 
For people who don’t know about him : Dr.Shashi Tharoor is an Indian diplomat, politician, and author who served as the UN Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information between June 2002 and February 2007. In 2006, he was the official candidate of India for the office of United Nations Secretary-General, and came second out of seven official candidates in the race. He is an author, journalist, human-rights advocate, humanitarian and adviser or fellow of various institutions, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Aspen Institute, and the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. Shashi Tharoor was born in London. His roots are in Palakkad, Kerala, India. He completed a Ph.D. at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Massachusetts, where he also earned two Master’s degrees. His Ph.D. was awarded when he was 22, a Fletcher record. Details on books he wrote could be found here.  
 “The governing coalition led by the Indian National Congress sailed to a surprisingly decisive victory in India’s grueling parliamentary elections, vaulting Manmohan Singh, a soft-spoken economic reformer, to a second term as Prime Minister, and sweeping away the prospect of political instability in the world’s most populous democracy,” said the New York Times on May 16.

The Times, London, said the election results would help in consensus and unity. “That means the ruling coalition should face fewer internal divisions over reforms desperately needed to stimulate growth and spread its benefits to the 880 million Indians who live on less than 2 dollars a day," it said.

“Congress wins election, Singh to remain PM: India votes for hope; rejects religion, caste”, said the headline of Daily Times, the Pakistani newspaper, on May 17.

Performance scored over identity politics, inclusive agenda scored over communal agenda and regional parties demonstrated they can have their space along with national parties if they deliver. This was the message of Election 2009 in India. In India, the first coalition government came to power at the centre in 1989 when V.P. Singh became prime minister with support both from the Right and the Left. Since then the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have also given in to the compulsions of coalition politics, forming the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) respectively with the help of various regional parties. In the results of the 15th Lok Sabha polls declared Saturday, the UPA emerged as the largest coalition with 270 seats in a house of 543 and the Congress as the single largest party with 206 seats. The last time the Congress won more than 200 seats was in 1991, when its tally was 232. The UPA also has the support of four independent MPs, taking it beyond the halfway mark of 272. With BSP, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal offering support from outside, the strength of the treasury benches has gone up to a comfortable 322. 

Congratulations to Congress led UPA. The markets reacted positively with a 20% hike on the first day trade after the results were announced. Lets hope that this positive vibe would remain through out.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

words - the unconventional way

the silence around deprives me of my sleep
I smile when I read "1 new msg received"!
the moon up above has a sarcastic smile
the bats and those owls think I am insane
for why have I chosen to be here in the balcony
when I should have been in my bed, having blissful dreams!
I tell them "I miss her" and they give me this look - 
"addiction ain't easy - grass, pills or love"
I miss her like crazy, wish she was here!
let the wind hear me and echo my prayer.

PS: I thought of writing about politics today. But then I thought I would wait till the CPI[M] Polit Bureau meeting scheduled to happen this 18th and 19th. I would have more to write then! :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

in dreams, in love

you make me dream and live those dreams
holding hands, whispered endearments
shades of life is evidently new
your smile makes it rainbow hue.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

the festival of festivals start today!!!

This is gona be a loooong post. Those who does not have the patience to read the post may watch the three videos published towards the end of the post. The videos are narrative. Start with the first cos the videos are in order.

Pooram is an annual temple festival held in central Kerala (Thrissur, parts of Palakkad and Malappuram) after the summer harvest. Most pooram festivals have at least one ornately decorated elephant being paraded in the procession taken out of the temple precincts. Thrissur Pooram is the annual temple festival of the town of Thrissur in Kerala, India. It is one of the most colourful temple festival of Kerala which attracts large masses of devotees and spectators from all parts of the State and even outside.

Thrissur Pooram is celebrated at the premises of the Vadakkunnathan Temple, situated on a hillock (Thekkinkadu maidan) right in the centre of the city, on the Pooram day in the month of Medom (April-May). Processions of richly caparisoned elephants accompanied by percussion ensembles from various neighbouring temples culminate at the Vadakumnathan temple. The most impressive processions are those Thriuvambadi Bhagavathy from the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple and the Paramekkavu Bhagavathi from Paramekkavu temple. The celebrations which last for over 36 hours includes parasol displays and firework shows.

Thrissur is best known for its mammoth Pooram Festival, which is the most colourful and spectacular temple festival of Kerala. Thrissur Pooram, attracts large masses of devotees and spectators form all parts of the State and even outside.The legends and myths behind each festival of Kerala are many, varied and equally interesting. Since the word pooram literally means a group or a meeting, it was believed that every year the dynastic gods and goddesses of neighbouring province met together for a day of celebration. This usually happened on the pooram asterism of one of the spring months.

The gods and their entourage arrived for the meeting on colourfully decorated tuskers. Even today, the converging of these divine processions at the festival venue is an awe inspiring sight. The pooram draws to a close with mind-blowing fireworks displays in the evening and in the wee hours of the next morning.

Celebrated Malayalam month of Medom (April-May) in every consists of processions of richly caparisoned elephants from various neighbouring temples to the Vadakunnatha temple, Thrissur. The most impressions are those from the Krishna temple at Thiruvambadi and the Devi temple at Paramekkavu. Pooram is an assemblage of suburban deities before the presiding deity at the Siva temple in down town Thrissur. The Pooram celebration is held at the Thekkinkadu grounds.

Thrissurpooram was introduced by Sakthan Thampuran (1775- 1790), , the Maharaja of erstwhile Kochi state. The Pooram festival is also well-known for the magnificent display of fireworks. It is celebrated by two rival groups representing the two divisions of Thrissur Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi vying with each other in making the display of fireworks grander and more colourful. Each group is allowed to display a maximum of fifteen elephants and all efforts are made by each party to secure the best elephants in South India and the most artistic parasols, several kind which are raised on the elephants during the display. The commissioning of elephants and parasols is done in the utmost secrecy by each party to excel the other. Commencing in the early hours of the morning, the celebrations last till the break of dawn, the next day.

There is a little history to the festival which says that before Thrissur Pooram, a one-day temple festival was held at Aarattupuzha, 12 km south of the Thrissur. Temples located in and around Thrissur used to regularly participate in the ceremonies. All was going well until one day, chief of the Peruvanam area of Cherpu denied access to other temples to uphold the supremacy of Namboodiri. Namboodiris is the dominant brahmin caste in Kerala. Prince Raja Varma, the architect of Thrissur, decided to put an end to Namboodiri supremacy and assuage the wounded confidence of his subjects. Rama Varma undertook the task of renovating Vadakunnathan temple, which was earlier bounded by high walls and was controlled by Namboodiris. He took on himself to look after the temple and made it open to all. He invited other temples with their deities to Thrissur to pay obeisance to Lord (Sri) Vakunnathan, the deity of the Vadakunnathan temple. The Prince also directed the main temples of Thrissur, Thiruvampadi and Pamamekkavu, which had never been under the control of Namboodiris to help other participating temples. It is said that the Prince also chalked the schedule of the 36 hours festival. The Pooram was thus made open to one and all. This also explains the secular nature of the festival.

Friday, May 1, 2009

get the msg!!

Ten constituencies in India's terrorism-scarred financial capital and its suburbs were among the 107 holding balloting Thursday in the third phase of India's month-long five-phase general election. Celebrity industrialists and silver screen stars waited in queue under the summer sun along with Mumbai's hoi polloi in the great equalizer that are elections. Even if Politics has never fascinated you, Mumbai elections would sure catch your attention. A look at the newspapers would do the trick!

A msg to all the politicians? Are they trying to say "fuck the system!" :)