Friday, August 15, 2008

Editorial 'Whither this downslide?' in LAW, 15 August 2008 issue


Sri Sri, the great poet of Telugu literature, had long back lamented in these terms the tragic plight facing our countrymen. Even after 60 years of independence, the evils he deplored – corruption, nepotism and black-marketing and greedy selfishness – are growing by leaps and bounds. Inflation and unemployment are racing uncontrollably. There may be considerable development on capitalist lines but the fruits are largely gulped by tiny sections of the people. The great majority are leading uncertain lives, to say the least, and the downmost ten percent are on the verge of starvation and in danger of extinction. Socialism has become a mere catchword and the Constitution is being undermined by its own supposed protectors. Concentration of wealth is touching new peaks, scorning Article 39, and the commons are thrown to destitution saying the inefficient and unlucky deserve such fate in a competitive society. Market economy is assuming ominous dimensions and new sort of East India Companies are being invited. Basic amenities are lacking for common people. Welfare society is becoming a dream of the past. One Abhinav Bhindra no doubt deserves all congratulations, but the basic fact that ninety percent of schools and colleges do not have minimum sports facilities tells the reason for our stark failure at Olympics or elsewhere. With participatory management always held as a laughing stock ideal, the workers have no future or even present. Honest and hardworking peasants are being driven to suicides. Only the rich and the elite are cosy. This is nothing but an oligarchy parading as democracy in an age when even developed capitalist countries are striving for high humanitarian, libertarian and social welfarist principles at least in their domestic arenas. The only remedy seems to be a grassroots revolution, but can ‘we the people’ do that? §§§

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Editorial 'Speaker's Saddest Day' of 31 July 2008 issue of LAW


It is unfortunate that the high office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha has been tarnished and Mr. Somnath Chatterjee has been expelled by his own party for not abiding by its dictate. We are not following the American model where the Speaker is also a leader of a parlimentary party and could even act as a leader of the Opposition, but the Westminster model where he is considered to be non-partisan from the moment of his election to that august post. Whatever be his defaults and blunders as a mere member of the parliament and as chairman of the West Bengal Industrial Finance Corporation and holder of other offices, it is generally accepted that Mr. Chatterjee acted ably and fairly in discharge of his office of the Speaker and won the plaudits from the parliament and of the nation too. Especially during the stormy sessions of the House on 21-22 July on the Confidence Motion moved by the Prime Minister, his impartial way in conducting the House amidst great stress and strain - and what touched my heart, the avuncular affection with which he treated even his political opponents, like Shah Nawaz of the BJP – drew deserving praise from all parties in the country. If anything, he brought laurels to his own party by his sterling conduct of the House as the Speaker and it is incomprehensible how a bunch of inexperienced leaders of that party could decide that ‘he seriously compromised the position of the party’ and that too in such a summary fashion on the very next day after the trust vote. This is but a kind of fascist organizational anarchy, and certainly not a marxian democratic manner. Somnath Chatterjee lamented it as the ‘saddest day’ in his life. It is truly sad also for all those who believe in democratic norms that can alone guide any parliament or political parties successfully towards the construction of a really democratic welfarist society * * *