Sunday, March 1, 2009

Should they not live on to have their “Sonams”?

Khushwant Singh – Ji, plese reflect upon:
We are bringing to your kind notice a case of heart -rending murder of a very newly - married young couple of Punjab. The couple dared to have their love marriage according to the law of the land, viz.according to the Special Marriage Act of 1954. This legitimate act of theirs was looked down upon as an inexcusable crime. They were mercilessly killed in the name of “honour-killing”. Ms Ravinder Pal Kaur and her lover Mr Balkar Singh of Punjab got determined to have their marriage. Ms Kaur married her lover on January 01, 2009. She did it against the will of her highly arrogant parents. For obvious reasons the couple approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court to direct the police to provide them necessary protection. The High Court did direct the police of both the districts of Amritsar and Tarn Taran to provide security to the couple as they were constantly receiving threats from the girl’s parents. The police for reasons best known to them practically ignored the High Court direction. Mr Kabul Singh, father of the girl, along with his son, Rajbir Singh and two cousins, Jatinder Singh and Sarmail Singh, shot the couple dead on 25. 01. 2009 in full public view. This has to be described as the cruelest face of Sikhism. The God - fearing assailants chased the Hero and killed him while he was buying some edibles. The unwritten law in states like Punjab and Haryana is that the police people are to stand motionless in case of honour-killing.

What would the parents do with a “widow” daughter who has already brought bad name to the family? Hence she should be murdered. So the killers ran to the house of the slain Balkar Singh. Seeing them from a distance poor Ravinder ran for her life. The assailants chased her and fired at her indiscriminately, killing her on the spot. No hue and cry on such inhuman honour-killing. No NDTV discussion. No political reaction. Sir on the other day you as one of the most eminent columnists of our country wrote about the sad demise of one of your relations. Your 60 plus relative, Happy, mother of a grown-up daughter, Sonam, working in distant Dubai, died of massive heart attack. This news led you to be stunned with disbelief. In your well - considered opinion, Happy was full of vitality and happy laughter and she should have not died at 61 without enjoying her life to the full. Nothing wrong here Sir. We have to forget about any Happy dying naturally at 61. Sir you are 94. You have clearly enjoyed your life to the full. Kindly look beyond and think of poor Ravinder Pal Kaurs and Balkar Singhs. Should not they live, say, up to 61, to have their own grown - up Sonams, taking jobs in distant Dubai? Should not the people of Punjab feel ashamed of the twin murders that so ghastly took place on 25 January, 2009?

Singh Ji, you are requested to refer to the news item relating to the twin murders that had come out in the Deccan Chronicle of 27 Jan, 2009. Kindly compare the same with your emotion loaded write –up on the sad demise of your relation, Happy as that have come in print in the Deccan Chronicle of 1st Feb, 2009, Chennai.
The Indian nation-state has remained mute and inactive in the area of marriage, love affairs and love marriage. It has virtualy tolerated honour - killings and the forced suicides of the lovers. Even, the National Commission for Women, the State Commissions for Women at different state capitals, Human Rights Commissions- both at the National and State levels - have chosen to sleep over this broad daylight butchery of Human Rights. Commissions whose basic job is to uphold Human Rights do not bother to do anything to save the lives of young men and women who are in deep love and who are being harassed and tortured and, often, killed by their heartless conservative parents. The members of the National Commission for Human Rights and those of the State Commissions are really afraid of hitting at the conservative and reactionary elements of the Indian society. Each individual should enjoy his or her life to the full. Should not this sound norm apply to the lovers? All columnists including you, Sir, should reflect upon this Social Cruelty and draw the attention of our shameless political and police masters who are in the habit of ignoring even High Court orders. Has the AKALI DAL – BJP Government headed by Mr. Prakash Singh Badal taken any action against the police for dishonoring the High Court orders issued for the safety and security of the couple Ravinder Pal Kaur and Balkar Singh?
Yours humanly,
B. Ramchandra CST Voltaire
Secretary, AMOFOI
121, Dharmavihar
Ph-09238878280, worldamofoi@

Advani's Criticism of Sonia Gandhi: Quite Unfair

It is quite unfair on the part of Mr. L.K Advani, the Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP to raise the question of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi exercising "authority, without accountability" and the Prime Minister Dr Manamohan Singh having "accountability, without political authority" (The Hindu, 27 Feb 2009,p12, Advani's press conference). He should refresh his memory that Mrs. Gandhi, as the number one leader of the Congress Party, was all set to become the Prime Minister of India soon after the 14th Lok Sabha Elections in 2004. Mrs Sushama Swaraj, a frontline Leader of Advani's Party, became very much upset and she threatened to do political hara-kiri - that she would go bald, put on white saree and sleep on the floor... if Mrs. Gandhi were to become the Prime Minister of India. Her strategy was to whip up orthodox Hindu sentiments and create communal tension in the country. Reason: Mrs. Gandhi was not born as an Indian, therefore, she should not became the Prime Minister of India. This was a silly, illegal and mischievous argument. And Mrs. Swaraj ought to have been prevailed upon by Mr. Advani and Mr. Vajapayee. This did not happen for reasons best known to Mr. Advani and Co. It is quite good and legal on the part of Mrs. Gandhi to become the head of the Congress Party and to become a Member of the Indian Parliament. Mrs. Swaraj had no grievance here. She did all sorts of things to prevent Mrs. Gandhi to become the head of the Union Government. In any case Mrs. Swaraj was outwitted by Mrs. Gandhi who chose Dr Manamohan Singh to take oath as Prime Minister of India. This was the political reality. This was created by the BJP five years back. If this was wrong, then the BJP should hang its head in shame. Politically, we are not yet as forward as the people of the USA. Without any hitch Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, the leader, representing the African- Americans, has become President of the USA. There is no Sushama Swaraj there to cry hoarse. In the post - Obama World, Mr. Advani should restrain his colleague Mrs. Swaraj and pave the way for Mrs. Gandhi to become the Prime Minister of India in the upcoming General Elections. Two centres of power, about which the BJP was the prime progenitor in 2004, would disappear in 2009 and the BJP must disentangle itself from the RSS power centre at Nagpur. The kettle should stop calling the pot black.
Yours humanly
B. Ramchandra CST Voltaire
Secretary, AMOFOI
121, Dharmavihar
Ph-09238878280, worldamofoi@

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why and How the Swiss Constitutional System is so Laudable?

B Ramachandra CST Voltaire
The Swiss political system has been so nicely designed that it does not give any scope for any political leader to have any frustration or political deprivation. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Again, Power corrupts, lack of power corrodes. The Swiss people have well understood the truth embedded in the aforesaid two normative values. That is why the Swiss people are fairly represented and justly governed. This is again because Switzerland is not a Monarchy, but a Republic; not a Unitary State but a Federal Union; not a Theocratic State but a Secular one. The total population of Switzerland is about 7.6 million. Even then it is a solid Federation of 26 Cantons. There is no concentration of power at any level with any particular political functionary. The Swiss Constitution does not provide any office of the President on the model of the US or any office of the Prime Minister on the model of Great Britain-the two worst Monocracies in the present day world. Each of them has been based on the unfair Ist-Past-the-Post system of election. There is no official or non-official Opposition in Switzerland. There is no such office as the Leader of Opposition in that country. The Swiss representatives-elected on the List system of election- are seated in the Legislature not according to their respective party labels but according to the Cantons- (Provincial units)which they represent. Party lines or party rivalries are kept to the minimum. Pandemonium or disorderly behaviour or attempt at playing- to- the -gallery gimmicks, as we very often see in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha ,State Legislative Assemblies in India is absolutely absent in Switzerland.
Besides, Initiative and Referendum- the two instruments of Direct Democracy- make the Swiss System all the more laudable. That was why Victor Hugo (1802-1885), the pro-European French Humanist and human rights Activist had remarked: “Switzerland is the future of the world”. But the saddest of things is this. The Swiss Political System, though it guarantees the highest degree of politico-electoral justice, has not yet been copied by any other country in the world. A political leader who is very much keen to have the decisive power with him or her can never opt for the Swiss system of pluralistic governance. Precisely for this reason and for the reason that the ordinary voters and the intellectuals are not that much democratically conscious to demand fundamental changes in their respective Constitutional Systems, Switzerland has, therefore ,remained the only democratic country in the world.
Switzerland is small in size but great in importance. It is a multi-lingual and multi -religious country. It does not suffer from any linguistic or communal clashes. It has ensured such a standard of life that there is no poverty of any kind there. Two of its cities, Zurich and Geneva, have been respectively ranked as having the 1st and the 2nd quality of life in the World.
All intellectuals having genuine love for real democracy and democratic values should come forward and campaign for immediate introduction of proportional representation and collective pluralistic government in each and every nation, be it the USA, the UK, India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka. Had there been Swiss form of democratic government right from the beginning there would have been no partition of India. All leaders belonging to all ideological political formations –Leftists, Centrists and Rightists- would have been fairly represented in the Legislature and all the important leaders of all the leading parties would have been honourably accommodated in the Federal Cabinet on the basis of equality and human dignity. No leader then would have entertained any fear of being subjected to the dictates of a Prime Minister or a President.
The Swiss Executive is never subjected to anything called a Vote of Confidence or a Vote of No Confidence. The Swiss system is not tainted like the Indian one with the 3.5 crore JMM pay-off case or cash-for-vote incident that happened on 22nd July 2008 on the floor of Lok Sabha in the context of Prime Minister’s Vote of Confidence motion. In addition, the term of political office in Switzerland is fixed for four years. There is no provision for any by-election there. No scope for defection, no scope for horse-trading as it was done by the BJP in Karnataka in 2008. MLAs of other Parties were asked to defect to the BJP and then they were made Ministers. The unethical MLAs resigned their MLA seats. By-elections were held at the expence of the State. The clever voters have elected the Ministers who fought the By-elections on the BJP ticket. This sort of dirty politics goes on under India’s British model of Parliamentary Democracy.
With the abolition of the Cabinet form of Government, with the exit of the office of the President, politics of black-mailing, leg-pulling, criminalization of politics etc. would disappear and there would be no Hindutva terrorist attacks on the Malegaon Muslims or the Kandhamal variety of attacks on the Christian minorities. Nor there would be any such attack by the SIMI or ULFA variety of terrorists. In the same way Israel and Hamas, the LTTE of the Sri Lankan Tamils and the Sri Lankan government would all live in honour and peace if the above named rights are codified in each and every Constitution of the world.
Philosopher J.S. Mill was in full support of Proportional Representation
By Switzerising the Indian Politico-Electoral System we would be practically honouring the Politico-Electoral Ideas of John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), the Great British Philosopher of Utilitarian Humanism. After the French Humanist Voltaire (1694-1778), it was J.S. Mill – the author of the Books : On Liberty (1859), Considerations on Representative Government (1861) and Subjection of Women (1869) – who emerged on the socio-political horizon as the greatest champion of Freedom of Speech and Expression. Additionally, Mill became the greatest exponent of women enfranchisement and proportional representation. He campaigned for concretisation of his ideas. Time has come for the entire humankind to give justice to the reformist ideas of J.S. Mill. That way we can ensure high level of socio-politico-electoral-economic justice to one and all.
What should be done in India:
The Constitution of India has to be partly retained and partly redrawn. The provisions contained under the Preamble, under Part III (Fundamental Rights), under Part IV (Directive Principles of State Policy) and under part IVA (Fundamental Duties) are by and large very good. Therefore, these provisions must be substantially retained. But the form of Government, the nature of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary as provided under Part V (The Union: The Executive, the Parliament, the Supreme Court) and under Part VI (The States) viz. Articles numbering from 52 to 237 should be taken out and new provisions should be inserted in such a manner so as to ‘Switzerise” the Indian Politico -Electoral system- and the same should be carried out both in letter and spirit.
The Gains that would accrue because of Switzerisation
Dereservation of the Policy of Reservation
1- The vote-bank politics based on caste reservation, the nuisance value of religion in politics – all such dirty sectarian things would go away with lock stock barrel in consequence of Switzerisation. Love Marriage,propelled by Prayerless English Medium Quality Co-eduction,would reduce hereditary professionalism or caste occupation to zero. As a matter of fact, caste and creed would cease to be the determinants of political behaviour and, thereby, the policy of reservation would be dereserved and the dirty reservation politics would be assigned to the dustbin of history. There would be no Mayawatis, Mulayam Singh Yadavs, Lalu Yadavs, Ram Vilash Paswans, Prakash Singh Badals and S. Ramdosas in Indian Politics. The whole Part XVI on “Special Provisions relating to certain classes” – such as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Anglo-Indians – starting from Arts 330–342 would be taken out of the Indian Constitution. There would be perfect equality and human dignity among all the Indians.
2- The character of Indian Democray would be much much better on Account of Wholesale Switzerisation
i) The Indian democracy does not have good image. When H.D. Devagowda, as a Prime Minister, was having his minority Unite Front Government three things were quite visible. The BJP that was having the highest number of seats in the Lok Sabha was sitting in the Oppostion. The Congress that was having the next highest number of seats was the supporting party of the Devagowda Ministry. Mr Ramakanta Khalapa of a Goan Party was just having two MPs in the Lok Sabha. He was the Law Minister of India. He was the government with two MPs.
ii) Because the Opposition is not there to oppose and expose, it is there to vitiate and disrupt and paralyse the House so as to make it disfunctional. No wonder, on 22.12.2008, the Lok Sabha passed 8 Bills within 17 minutes without debate. This could happen because of the notoriety of the Parliamentary Democracy borrowed from Great Britain. The Leader of Oppostion in India has become virtually the Leader of Disruption.

The Right to have Economic Justice through Meaningful and Fraud-proof Employment.

Clearly, it has to be stated that all other Rights of the individual would pale into insignificance in the absence of the Economic Right. The economic system- whether Marxist, Mixed or Capitalistic- has to be finally resolved in the light of all the practical knowledge and bitter experiences faced so far. If the capitalist system is really that bad it should not be sustained by “Economic Stimulus Package”to the tune of $700 bn by any government anywhere. Let that system collapse. Let it not be bailed out with the state money. The leaders of the world, namely, the French President Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy and the German Chancellor Ms Angela Markel and such other leaders and economist like the Nobel Laureate Mr Amartya Sen and Eminent humanists like Mr. Richard Dawkins of Great Britain must get together in an Economic World Parliament to discuss the corporate frauds hitherto practiced by Satyam Computers, Enron, Union Carbide and such other agencies like Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and so on and so forth and devise a fraud-proof system of global economy. The statement of Sarkozy who is not necessarily a Marxist or a Socialist has to be taken into consideration .On January 9, 2009 while addressing a Conference on the future of Capitalism in Paris, Mr.Sarkozy blamed the financial speculators for encouraging a system fuelled on debt. He called financial capitalism based on speculation as “an immoral system” that has perverted the logic of capitalism .He termed capitalism as a system “where wealth goes to the wealthy, where work is devalued, where production is devalued, where entrepreneurial spirit is devalued.”All aspects of immoral practices, as practiced by Mr.B.Ramalinga Raju, the ex-Chairman of the Satyam Computers, must be done away with. The world must be globally and economically integrated and there should be a global currency, say, Globo for all the member-states of the global community. This way there would be economic justice for each and every individual of the world. There should be redistribution of wealth. Individual earnings should not vary widely as it does in present day India. A wage earner roughly earns Rs.1500 every month and lives in a slum or in unhealthy surroundings while his President lives in a massive palace called the Rashtrapati Bhavan and receives a monthly salary of Rs.1, 50,000 and many other perks of office. Nor is this all. In India Mr Ram Mynampati, the digressed acting CEO of the Satyam Computers used to get Rs 2.91 million every month, annually the same coming to 3.5 crore . With this sort of economic disparity there is bound to be insurgency from the ranks of Maoists and Naxalites.
All economic dealings, all earnings, all deposits in banks, all financial transactions, all contributions to political parties must be made transparent. No tax havens anywhere in the world – in any of the tiny territories held by the United Kingdom, the USA, France, Japan etc. This would take away immorality from the world of money and business. Each individual family in each and every nation must have a reasonable amount of land area to have its worthwhile living. There should not be anybody as a landless poor to be exploited and tortured in any manner.
All right-thinking people should get organized globally as well as nationally and agitate and educate the electorate so that the system of election, the system of governance, the system of marriage and the system of education and, last but not the least, the economic order and such other things are modernized and Switzerised and all the five rights listed above are ranked as Fundamental Rights for their citizens in their respective National Constitutions.

The Right to be Fairly Represented

Each individual has to live in a State with honour and dignity. In order to enjoy such a status the State, that exists because crime exists, has to be secular, democratic, federal and republican. In other words, the democratic state has to be based on equal and universal right to vote coupled with the system of proportional election. This privilege is now being enjoyed by 22 countries like Germany, Iceland and Malta The rest of the countries – numbering about 188- including India, the USA, the UK, Bangladesh do not have the just system of election. In 2000 US Presidential election, Mr. Al Gore polled the highest number of popular votes but he was not elected as the President .Because the American system of election is so unjust that he was declared as defeated and his rival, Mr. George W. Bush, became the victor and got into the White House. No wonder, the US expressed its theory of “might is right” in wanton violation of the International Law and in complete disregard of the United Nations and World public opinion and it went ahead to invade the sovereign state of Iraq and has kept it as a vassal state till date.
India is having the dirtiest distortive electoral system called the1st-past- the-post system of election. This election system – borrowed from Great Britain – is archaic and highly unjust. It presents a distortion of democratic opinion. Under this system of election political parties do not exhibit their just representative character. Electoral injustice has been there in India since the first general election held in 1952. The grossest politico electoral injustice has been there all throughout. But sadly enough, the same has been ignored by the political class, the elite and the civil society. All citizens who really value the principle of equality and an individual’s right to vote must rebel against the prevalent system. The unjustness of the electoral system does catch our eye as soon as we put the election results of state Legislative Assemblies and that of the Lok Shaba on the scanner of justice. Here we may examine some of the Assembly Election results of the state of Tamil Nadu. In 1957 Assembly election the Congress Party obtained 45.3% of the votes cast as against the DMK’s 12.8% of vote share. Had there been Proportional election system the Congress Party and DMK could have got respectively 93 and 26 seats. But because of the defective system of Election, the Congress captured 151 seats, an excess of 58 seats. The DMK instead of getting 26 seats got just 13. In 1967, the political picture of injustice touched a new low. The Congress Party polled 41.4% of the popular vote and got only 50 seats. Its rival, the DMK, got 40.6 % of the vote and captured 138 seats in a House of 234. The Congress Party polled more votes than what the DMK polled. While the Congress Party sat in the Opposition and DMK ruled the state. Had there been real political justice which has been promised to all the Indians in the Preamble to the Constitution of India, then DMK could have got just 95 seats, not 138. Similarly the Congress could have got 97 seats not a paltry 50. The reprentative Character – reflected in the Tamil Nadu Assembly election of 1971 was no less unjust, no less distortive. The Congress got 17 seats against 35% of vote share. It ought to have got 82 seats, 65 seats more that what it got. The DMK, on the other hand, got 184 seats against 48.6% of the vote. The DMK should have got 114 seats but it got a huge excess of 70 seats.
In a democracy, it is said that the Minority must have its say while the Majority must have its way. But which “Majority” should have its way? Not surely the majority contrived by the British System of election. The nadir of distortion or the lowest point in politico-electoral injustice was indeed touched in 1977. The AIADMK got 126 seats just against 30.4% votes polled. The DMK polled 24.9 % of the vote but got only 48 seats. The Congress (I) and the Janata Party polled respectively 17.5% and 16.7% of the valid votes cast. Though they polled roughly the same percentage of votes, their seat share was widely different. The Janata Party got 10 seats while the Congress (I) got 27 seats. What about the two Communist Parties? The CPI and CPM got nearly the equal percentage of votes. The CPI got 5 seats (vote: 2.9%) and CPM 12 seats (vote: 2.8%). Had there been the German type of Territorial-cum-Proportional system of election or the Swiss model of List system of election, the complexion of the Tamil Nadu Vidhan Sabha in 1977 could have been quite different. The point to be emphasized upon here is this: The AIADMK with minority of votes (30.4%) became the majority party and ruled the state. All other Parties polling 69.6% of vote had to sit in the Opposition with a total of 108 seats. Thus the political mind of the Indian voter is yet to be upgraded and improved upon to fight against the crippling form of politico-electoral in justice that has been going on in India since1952.
It is heartening to note that Nepal, which was hitherto a dictatorial Hindu monarchy, has become a secular Republic and the Nepalese electorate has elected a Parliament of 601 members based on a synthetic system of Territorial-cum-Propor tional election. Because of this just system of election, Computer Engineer Sunil Pant, Leader of the LGBT Group, has been elected to the Nepalese Parliament (the Napalese Constituent Assembly) on the results of the elections held on April 10, 2008.
The state has to be there to ensure balanced developmental activities and ensure justice to one and all. What sort of state is really required? The state has to be a democratic one. It has to be secular, republican and federal on the lines of Switzerland as governed by its Constitutional Law of May 29, 1874.Thus the right to be fairly represented and to be justly governed has to be there to ensure the highest level of politico-electoral justice to each and every citizen. Neither the Indian Democracy that has been modelled under the British Cabinet form of Government nor the Presidential form of Democracy of the USA provides for a system of just representation. Indeed each of these democracies compares very poorly with that of the Swiss form of democracy. The vote of every voter is important in Switzerland as the Swiss people have the List System of Proportional Representation. The Swiss people are justly governed because their government is neither presidential nor prime-ministerial. Their Constitution provides an all-inclusive, pluralistic, rotational, Federal Council – an executive of 7 members for a fixed term of 4 years.

The Right to Healthy Life and Personal Liberty

Healthy life gets endangered because of pollution, global warming, environmental disaster or other kinds of sufferings generated out of senseless industrialization and militarization. Every individual, irrespective of social origin, politico-economic background is entitled to lead a healthy, happy family life. For this to happen, there should be a universal scheme of One-child Family and Planned Parenthood .Marriage has to be love- based. It should never be creed-caste-status –based; never to be decided and dictated to by the parents. With the exit of illiberal, theocratic parental authority, each individual would be in a position to have greater degree of social freedom so as to take interpersonal relationships to the levels of exogamy, dignity, liberty and equality.
The greater and wider presence of globe –in- mind type of individuals would surely pave the way for a war-free global political order. As the population of the world would come down, consequent upon mass adoption of One-child Family Norm, no poverty-stricken youths could be there to be recruited, brain-washed and motivated to commit terrorist activities. Really there would be nobody below the poverty line and political leaders would not be in a position to bribe and hoodwink the electorate by providing them rice at Rs. 2 per kg and distributing money at the time of elections. There would be no slums, no unhealthy surroundings for any migrant labourer to live in and become a victim of the crippling AIDS.

The Right to Prayerless English Medium Quality Education

This sort of liberal, scientific standard co-education has to be given as a matter of humanistic right to each and every human child irrespective of his or her social origin or of nationality. The standard of education that is being provided to the children of President-Elect Barack Obama should be made available to all other children all over the world. By this way we can create a world of equals and loving and caring free thinkers-none of them having any hatred or ill-will against any community. There should be no illiterate or ill-educated Kasab anywhere in the world ever to be netted by any blood- thirsty Laskar-e-Toiba (Army of the Pure) to cause horrible terror attacks of 26/11 Mumbai scale. The objective here is to rescue ‘Education’ from the clumsy hands of the Talibanic and RSS forces.