The renowned hero of the Mahabharata, Karna, when he left the mortal coil, ascended to the heaven and the great charity he had done here was returned to him hundredfold. But, it was all gold and silver; there was no food, as he had not done any food-charity! He prayed to the god of death. So, he was sent back to earth so that he could perform shraddha and donate food and water to make up for this deficiency.
On his return to the higher regions, he had food in plenty. It is these fourteen days that are commemorated in the Mahalaya Paksha.
2. RSS CHIEF SEEKS BATTLE AGAINST GRAFT: RSS Sarasanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat has urged office-bearers and representatives of Sangh Parivar to bring about a change in the society. He was addressing a gathering, samanvay baithak, of various affiliated organizations at Chardham Mandir campus in Ujjain on Aug 19.
He said that Sangh workers must be the medium of social change in the country. “I think if we all work together we can bring about a significant change in the society,” he said, adding that corruption is one of the burning issues in the country and needs to be addressed immediately.
The meeting at Ujjain saw the presence of prominent functionaries like senior BJP leader Dr Murali Manohar Joshi, VHP leaders Ashok Singhal and Praveenbhai Togadia, RSS office-bearers general secretary Bhayyaji Joshi, Madandas ji and prominent functionaries of other organizations. Many issues of national importance including anti-corruption campaign, infiltration on the borders, terrorism, internal security, environmental and many other relevant issues were discussed in the meeting.
3. RSS CALLS FOR COORDINATION OF ALL AGITATIONS: The RSS has made clear that it supports ongoing campaign against corruption by Anna Hajare’s India against Corruption. But its Sarkaryavah (General Secretary) Suresh alias Bhaiyyaji Joshi clearly denied the allegation from some elements that the RSS is funding the ongoing agitation. He also called for co-ordination of all anti corruption movements in the country.
Addressing a press conference in Ujjain on August 20, Shri Bhaiyyaji Joshi categorically stated that the RSS supports each campaign against corruption including ABVP’s Youth Against Corruption, Baba Ramdevs’s Bharat Swabhiman Trust’s campaign against black money & ongoing agitation led by Gandhian Anna Hajare for Jan Lokpal Bill.
Shri Bhaiyyaji also called for all elements of the society to participate in the ongoing agitation in peaceful manner as it is necessary for the solution of such issues. He called for co-ordination of all such agitations too.
4. RAKSHABANDHAN UTSAV IN IRVINE: About a hundred attendees flocked to the Netaji Shakha in Irvine, California on Aug 21st to celebrate Raksha Bandhan Utsav. Orange County Fire Authority Station #26 Fire Captain Fernando and his staff, Irvine Police CERT Coordinator Frank Southern, and President of Maharashtra Mandal Los Angeles (MMLA) Swati Deo were among the participants.
While Swati Deo gave an inspiring speech, Irvine Police CERT Coordinator Frank Southern urged HSS volunteers to enroll in a program by the city to be trained in self-security.
5. BEGINING OF BEGINING: Now after the ignition, it’s about pressing the foot on the pedal. In the avoidable skirmishes between the Bharat Sarkar and Anna Hazare and his associates, the nation got 12 days of high drama and a flurry of low blows. But thankfully, on August 27, we saw the immovable object move to an unstoppable force. The withdrawal of Mr Hazare’s fast came after both Houses of Parliament expressed solidarity with the anti-corruption crusader’s three core demands regarding the proposed Lokpal Bill. Mr Hazare had earlier demanded a parliamentary resolution on these demands — a citizens’ charter, the lower bureaucracy coming under the lokpal’s purview and the establishment of lokayuktas in all states. But coming from the state of ugly deadlock, the parliamentary endorsement was a gesture that was good enough for Mr Hazare to call off his fast. However way one looks at it, the ongoing agitation has finally got the serious attention of the political class, the government included, instead of the earlier tooth and nail resistance in the name of the sanctity of Parliament to a strong Lokpal Bill.
In the discussion in Parliament that preceded the rapprochement, parliamentarians finally set their cards on the table regarding the issue at hand. Especially forthright were the two leaders of the Opposition of the two Houses, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. Even though we are yet to be clear about the kind of effective Lokpal Bill the government says it wants to pass, the fact that the nation’s legislative body has at last come together to go beyond homilies is most satisfying. Mr Hazare has spoken about the “victory of the Jan Lokpal Bill being a partial victory”. He and his associates now hope that the government convenes a special session of Parliament to pass the Bill in a month’s time. Considering that Parliament will now be debating the pros and cons of each of the various drafts of the Lokpal Bill, which will then be looked at by the parliamentary standing committee before Parliament passes the law, we would actually consider 27 August’s achievement as the ball set moving.
At stake is firming up the most effective Lokpal Bill with safeguards to prevent its misuse. So while a deadline keeps the legislation of this landmark law from slipping away into the horizon, a month should be a working deadline. What must be ensured is that the foot is not taken off the pedal. While views and counterviews will continue to float about on the method used by Mr Hazare to make the nation’s lawmakers forge an effective law against statutory corruption, Mr Hazare has unleashed a genie that cannot be put back in the bottle: the will of the people. Consider 27 August’s breakthrough — or climbdowns — as the beginning of a beginning. (Editorial, Hindustan Times, 29 August 2011)
6. SPONTANEOUS SUPPORT TO ABVP’S ANTI-CORRUPTION HUMAN CHAIN: On 26th August students all over the country manifested their enthusiasm in support to anti-corruption human chain by ABVP. Students showed their commitment to uproot corruption from country by forming human chain in more than 350 districts, 800 places in which more than 4 lakh students participated. There were big congregations in the cities like Nagpur, Bangalore, Patna, Lucknow, Ghuwahati, and Ranchi.
Since last few months outrage is seen in the society all over the country against corruption especially in student community. ABVP is organizing various activities under the anti-corruption agitation to exhibit outrage of students across the country. From last few days, under the leadership of ABVP, students on many campuses are agitating symbolically against corruption by tying black ribbons.
7. MI VAASTU AHALYA MANDIR CHI: “It is not just a story of a building named ‘Devi Ahalya Mandir’. It is the documentation of multifaceted activities of the ‘Rashtra Sevika Samiti’, witnessed by this building over a period of 45 years. It is a brief account of the selfless service and achievements of the countless activists of the Samiti,” remarked senior journalist, writer and former editor of Tarun Bharat, D B alias Mamasaheb Ghumre while releasing the book Mi Vaastu Ahalya Mandir Chi penned by Swati Shahane at Laxmibai Kelkar Hall, on August 6. Vandaniya Pramilatai Medhe, Pramukh Sanchalika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti, Shrikant Joshi, senior RSS Pracharak and President of Devi Ahalyabai Smarak Samiti Sumantai Sarnaik prominently shared the dais.
8. GLOBAL YOUTH CONFERENCE TACLKES WORLD ISSUES: The University of Manchester selected Vishal Ladwa, ex-president of NHSF, Manchester University, to attend the 22nd International Youth Leadership Conference (IYLC) in Prague.
The annual conference, tailored specifically for students, focused on the cross-cultural exchange of ideas, fostering international relationships among young people, with the aim of nurturing future world leaders to discuss and collaborate on world politics.
It brings together a diverse and select group of young people from all over the world to learn and challenge ideas of justice, culture, international decorum and leadership. A group of 80 students came together for 5 days ( last week of July) from over 32 countries including Egypt, Australia, South Africa, Israel and Puerto Rico to name a few. The variety of experiences and thought-provoking ideas that were shared is what made the conference truly unique.
Simulations of International Bodies
The week-long conference included simulations in the form of UN Security Council meeting, an International Criminal Court Pre-Trial, European Parliament Session and Foreign Embassy visits.
The UN Security Council enabled group members to debate and articulate their views against each other over growing concerns regarding energy security which has been at the forefront of world issues since the Fukushima disaster.
The International Criminal Court simulation showcased the pre-trial of Muammar Gaddafi, where the accused stood trial for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
The American Embassy set the stage for the long awaited panel discussion based on the topic of global challenges faced by future leaders. It was an honour to be chosen to represent UK for the 5-person panel question and answer session to all delegates. Other countries included Israel, Egypt, Indonesia and Australia highlighting the diverse spectrum of political to economic challenges faced by countries.
Students Challenged and Tested
Throughout the week, delegates were pushed out of their comfort zones to challenge and test themselves through the medium of simulations and workshops. This came during the run-up to the European Parliament simulation which allowed delegates to express their creative flare through the lobbying and campaigning. The simulation proved that even on an international level there are no barriers in world politics but only challenges; which way we see a difficulty is our choice.
This conference allowed delegates to experience the wealth of beauty that various cultures have to offer and being exposed to such experiences at such a young age will allow future leaders to approach world affairs through a responsible, ethical and caring manner, highlighting the Hindu notion of – “the whole world is one family” (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam) because national boundaries are only lines drawn on maps; it was our thoughts and visions of creating a better future which drove us to a commonality. – by Vishal Ladwa, NHSF UK.
9. REVISED EDITION OF 'RASHTRIYA SWYAMSEVAK SANGH' RELEASED: “Nanaji Deshmukh was indeed an extraordinary personality. He, through practical deeds, taught the people what the RSS is. Through this book he explained the Sangh ideology to the masses,” said RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pracharak Pramukh Madan Dasji while releasing the revised edition of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a book written by Nanaji Deshmukh in 1979, in New Delhi on August 6 at Deendayal Research Institute.
Ram Bahadur Rai, who has written the foreword of the revised edition, said the sequence, facts and reasons for the division of Janata Party cited by Nanaji in the book are fully correct.
10. DEFAMING RSS - LEGAL NOTICE TO DIGVIJAY SINGH: Senior RSS leader from Maharashtra and national convener of Samajaik Samarasata Manch, Shri Dada Idate issued legal notice to Congress Natioanl General Secretary Digvijay Singh. Ratnagiri based criminal lawyer Adv Pradip Parulekar,has served a legal notice to Digvijay on behalf of Mr Idate for his repeated objectionable and defamatory comments against RSS and other Hindu organisations. Adv Parulekar has also warned that, when Digvijay Singh made these comments, Congress Party has never distanced itself from his views and hence Congress Party is also party in this case and if Digvijay Singh does not apologizes for his comments regarding his comments both ( Digvijay and Congress President) may have to face criminal case.
11. SAMSKRIT LANGUAGE: Sudhishta Mishra, who converses in Sanskrit with his six-year-old daughter Mimansa at home, teaches spoken Sanskrit in camps organized by Samskrita Bharati, an NGO, says, "Earlier, there would be 10-15 people attending a camp. Now we get 50-60 people." These 10-day camps are held every month all over the country for anyone willing to join; there's also a 14-day residential camp for teachers in Delhi. "Mostly young professionals attend these camps. When I ask them why they want to learn, a majority says they want to read the Bhagvad Gita, Ramayana, books on ayurveda in Sanskrit."
B Mahadevan, professor of production & operations management at IIM Bangalore and member of the Central Sanskrit Board, believes it's the novelty factor than something more substantial that is attracting the young to Sanskrit.
"There's a lot of research on Sanskrit in the IITs," says Prof R Subbakrishna of the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore. A portal of IIT Madras promotes Sanskrit through self-study, while IIT Bombay has a Cell for Indian Science and Technology in Sanskrit. The increasing interest in Sanskrit studies, tattoos and Hindu rituals in the west is partly responsible for the attention the language is getting at home. Interestingly, the number of people claiming Sanskrit as their mother tongue has seesawed in the last 30 years. In 1981, it was 6106; in 1991, 49,736, dropping to 14,135 in 2001.
Subbakrishna agrees that the number of individuals propagating the language has increased. There are also at least three Sanskrit newspapers being published – in Kanpur, Gujarat and Mysore.
12. VERMONT PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL WELCOMES "KIRTAN THERAPY": A non-profit effort Call and Response Foundation, established by Jennifer Canfield has been holding weekly kirtans to the fifty patients and 300 staff members of Vermont State Hospital—the highest-level psychiatric care facility in the state—in the North East of the United States.
“We didn’t know what kind of a response to expect,” says Jahnavi, who also performs with kirtan group Gaura Vani and As Kindred Spirits. At start, most of the patients seemed unresponsive, staring off into the distance.
“As we continued to sing, a lot of patients moved to sit closer to us,” Jahnavi says. Many began to clap, and some even tried their best to sing along, a notable change from their initial response. After the forty-five-minute performance, hospital staff told them, “You have no idea how much you’re doing for the patients. During the kirtan, those who are normally unresponsive to therapeutic attempts responded with emotion. They became animated and full of life in a way that they never do otherwise. And from past experience with other kirtan performances, we know they’ll talk about it for a whole month afterwards.”
13. BALAGOKULAM CELEBRATE SRIKRISHNA JAYANTHI: Balagokulam in Hyderabad celebrated Sri Krishna Jayanthi at ECIL. Janmashtami day evening, they bought out a splendid procession, “Shobha Yathra” through ECIL ‘X’ roads. More than 2000 of devotees including children dressed as Krishna, Radha, Sree Ram, other characters like Vasudeva and Krishna were present in shobha Yathra.
Gokulam is the place where an ordinary cowherd boy blossomed into a divine incarnation. It is here that Krishna’s magical days of childhood were spent and his powers came to be recognized. Every child has that spark of divinity within. Bala Gokulam is a forum for children to discover and manifest that divinity.
14. SWAMI VIVEKANANDA ON POSTAL STAMP IN MALAYSIA: To commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda (1863-2013), Ramakrishna Mission Malaysia observed the release of the ‘Arise, Awake!’ postal stamp on Aug 2. The stamp takes inspiration from the holy man’s famous quote “Arise, Awake! Stop not till the goal is reached”.
Centre president Swami Supriyananda said with the release of the stamp by Pos Malaysia, the mission was gearing up to celebrate Vivekananda’s 150 years in a fit and proper manner appropriate to his universally respected stature as a world teacher, thinker, leader, prophet, pathfinder and humanity benefactor.
In line with that, a series of Personality Development programmes for youths through Vivekananda’s life and message are being planned for two year, 2012 and 2013, all over Malaysia.
Also present at the event were Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, Bharat general secretary Swami Prabhananda, and Toh Puan Uma Sambanthan.
15. BOOK ON MADHAVRAO MULE RELEASED: “Madhavrao Mule was solely dedicated to the cause of the motherland. He represented an entire generation of RSS,” said RSS Sarkaryavah Bhaiyaji Joshi while releasing a book on him in New Delhi on August 1. The book, published by Lokhit Prakashan, Lucknow, has been written by Shri Suresh Sathe. “The Sangh history has a chain of dedicated people and Madhavrao Muleji was a prominent link in that chain. He joined the Sangh at the age of 12 and his entire life was dedicated to the Sangh only,” said Shri Joshi.
Speaking on the occasion, LK Advani said writing about Madhavrao Muleji is like writing the history of the RSS.
16. HINDU HERITAGE CAMP 2011: Balagokulam’s annual Hindu Heritage Camp at Billerica, Massachusetts for children, held on August 12 – 13, was an event that had over thirty participants. This two day camp covered a lot of Hindu Culture, concerning shlokhas and kathas. Two different age groups enjoyed many different games, Niyuddha (Ancient Bharatiya Martial arts), arts and crafts, and many other activities! Surprisingly Avartan Dhyan (Deep Relaxation) was a favorite! The idea about HHC was to have kids meet other kids and to be introduced to Balagokulam, a weekly two hour program (in most locations) of fun, cultural activities in a friendly environment.
17. INDRESH JI AND KARNATAKA CM RELEASE BOOK ON ‘COW PROTECTION’: A book on cattle protection in kannada entitled “Gou Sampattu mattu Rashtreeya Arthikathe” was released in Bangalore by Anwar Manippady, senior muslim leader and Chairman, minority commission, Karnataka. Indresh Kumar, Senior RSS functionary along with Mai Cha Jayadev, Senior RSS Pracharak, D V Sadananda Gouda, Chief Minister of Karnataka, released the book at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Hall of Race Course road Bangalore.
Author Anwar Manippady announced that the money obtained by selling this book will be donated to Seva Bharati activities in Karnataka.
18. NAVY GETS ITS 2ND INDIGENOUS STEALTH FRIGATE: INS Satpura, the second indigenous stealth frigate of Project 17 class of the Bharatiya Navy, was commissioned by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma on August 20. INS Shivalik, the first of the class, has already been commissioned in April last year while the third ship INS Sahyadri is in final stages of construction at Mazgaon Docks Limited.
The commissioning of INS Satpura is significant on the backdrop of the recent operations of navy against Somalian pirates and the growing aspirations of the force to be the blue water navy.
19. ITBP DEPLOYMENT ALONG CHINA BORDER: Undertaking its first major expansion since 1978, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) is setting up 35 new border outposts to plug the existing gaps in defences along the Himalayan frontier. These posts will complement the existing 142 outposts manned by the force to guard the Line of Actual Control and the international border with China.
“At present, the gap between two posts varies from 50 to 130 kms. We intend to reduce this to an average of 20 kms,” ITBP Director-General, R.K. Bhatia said during a visit to the force’s Basic Training Centre at Ramgarh near Chandigarh on August 20.
20. RSS URGE TRIPURA CM TO OPPOSE COMMUNAL VIOLENCE BILL: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) has urged Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar to oppose Communal and Targeted Violence (Justice and Reparation) Bill 2011 drafted by National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Sonia Gandhi.
Executive Council member of RSS Ram Madhav who is on a tour of North-East Bharat as part of RSS’s nationwide campaign against the bill met the chief minister on Aug 30 and urged him to oppose it on the plea that it was unconstitutional and would ‘destroy Bharat’s fragile communal harmony’. Chief Minister gave a patient hearing and assured to study the bill when it would be put forward by Centre and then take an appropriate measure, sources said.
21. NRI-LED TEAM INVENTS CHIPS THAT MIMIC HUMAN BRAIN: A team of IBM researchers, led by a Bharatiya-American scientist - Dharmendra Modha, who is originally from Porbander and graduated from IIT-Mumbai - has claimed to have developed a pair of artificial computer chips that can, in some ways, “emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition.” that “are expected to learn through experiences, find correlations, create hypotheses, and remember mimicking the brain’s structural and synaptic plasticity” according to an IBM release. The two prototype working designs, unveiled on August 19, are not biological in nature but use digital silicon circuits influenced by neurobiology.
22. COLOURS OF PUNJAB ON ITALY STREETS: Sikhs celebrated the inauguration of a new gurdwara in Italy’s Po River Valley, where many members of the community work as livestock farmers. A helicopter dropped petals at the event in Pessina Cremonese, which was attended by Sikhs from across northern Italy. Mayor Dalido Malaggi thanked the Sikh community for reviving the regions declining farming sector. The Pessina Cremonese gurdwara can hold 600 people is one of the biggest in Italy.
23. WEST BENGAL TO BE RENAMED PASCHIMBANGA: A consensus to rename West Bengal as Paschimbanga has been reached at an all-party meeting on August 19 to change the nomenclature of the state. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee suggested the new name and unanimity was reached on it. (When will we change the nomenclature of India as ‘Bharat’?)
24. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Dr.Shankar Tatwawadi, former samyojak Vishwa Vibhag came to Bharat on Aug 24. Shri Ravikumar, sahsamyojak, Vishwa Vibhag, is on a tour of USA from August 23 - Sept 20.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: All know the way; few actually walk it. – Bodhidharma.
JAI SHREE RAM
Lt Navdeep's last encounterLast week, as the entire nation was engrossed with Anna Hazare's agitation, the news of the death of a newly commissioned lieutenant in Gurez sector of north Kashmir was barely noticed. It was buried in a corner of most dailies or seen as a running ticker on news channels. But the incident bears recounting in detail. For, it accentuates how young men in uniform are fighting to protect the country's borders, even as the youth is fighting its own battle against corruption inside it.
Destiny played a strong hand in Navdeep's life. He graduated in hotel management, did an MBA and then decided his career lay in the armed forces – just like his father and grandfather before him. Navdeep joined the Officer's Training Academy at Chennai, was commissioned in March and joined his first posting, a month later, with the 15 Maratha Light Infantry in Kashmir.
With his cherubic looks, Navdeep was immediately termed the baby of the unit. But the young officer from Gurdaspur soon proved to have nerves of steel. One of his fellow officers says he was a "pucca daredevil – a true fighter". A description that Sandeep, his younger brother, says fitted him well. "If he had to do something, he would just go ahead and do it. He was afraid of nothing," he says. A first posting is always a special one for an army man. Sandeep says his brother was excited to be in Kashmir. "Whenever he spoke to us on the phone, he would say he was lucky to be doing a job he liked, and in such a beautiful place." It was during one such conversation that the topic of militants came up. "I asked him if there were any terrorists in Kashmir now," recalls Sandeep. "There aren't many," he had said. "But if there are any encounters, I want to be a part of it."
No one knew his wish would be granted so soon. Navdeep's tryst with destiny happened last Saturday, barely five months after his commissioning. Army sources have termed it the biggest-ever infiltration attempt in J&K this year. Some have even compared it to Mumbai's 26/11. In its scope and execution, it does have chilling similarities. Twelve terrorists dressed in black commando combat dresses and armed to the teeth with AK-47 rifles, Chinese-made 7.62 mm pistols and communication devices attempted to infiltrate the Line of Control (LoC) using inflatable rubber boats on Kishnaganga river, considered the defacto LoC between India and Pakistan. The infiltration was spotted at 12.30 am. By 12.45 am, an ambush party – the 'Ghatak' platoon commanded by Navdeep – reached the spot. In the exchange of gunfire that followed, the officer shot dead three militants. When a bullet wounded his 'buddy', Sepoy Vijay Gajare, he shifted his firing position to ramp up the attack – killing another militant. In the process, a bullet pierced his head. The infiltrators beat a hasty retreat. Six fell into the river and were swept away, while the bodies of the remaining six were taken. Navdeep was airlifted to the unit hospital. But he was already dead by then. He was 26.
A day before, Navdeep had spoken to his family. He was engaged though the date for marriage wasn't fixed. "Chhutti milne par dekhenge (we will see when I get leave)," he had told his sister Navjot with a laugh when she ribbed him about his marriage. That time will never come.
His story has moved many, especially after a tribute by Sarvar Bali, a college student, began appearing on the internet. A few lines from the tribute are a testimony to the part played by Lt Navdeep and countless other soldiers: "As your parents head into the evening of their life, memories of your valour will be their most precious possession. Whenever your mother will think of you, her eyes will mist over but there will be more stars in them than you ever wore on your shoulders. Your father may speak quietly about you but no one will miss the swell of pride in his chest. For your siblings you will always remain the real hero, and even for your community and village. A school or a road may well be named after you and you will become a part of the local folklore. You died Lieutenant, because when the test came, you decided that you could not let down your family, your clan and your comrades, who always expected you, without ever saying so, to do your duty. You, Lieutenant, have done more than your duty and made your memory their hallowed possession. Lieutenant you did not die in vain!"- (The Times of India, August 28, 2011)
TIME TO CONSIDER SECOND REPUBLICThe crisis of governance in India cannot be resolved without considering radical political reforms that would lead to the creation of a new republic. We must take a hard look at where we have gone wrong and why we have been unable to achieve the goals we had set for ourselves six decades ago. Other republics have evolved; so should we. The time has come for a Second Republic
Faulty governance is an old problem of India; criticising this Government or that is unlikely to solve it. The root of the malaise lies in the system which in turn is set by the Constitution. The Supreme Court has opined that the basic structure of this national document cannot be changed. The only way out then is to call for a Second Republic. Since the French Revolution of 1792, France is in its Fifth Republic. Since the unification of Germany by Otto von Bismarck in 1871, Germany is in its Fifth Reich.
How can we expect a Constitution which was structured around the Government of India Act, 1935, passed by the British Parliament in order to govern colonial India better, to endure effectively? That the national document does not answer the country’s needs is evidenced by the fact that it has been amended 109 times in a matter of six decades. The USA has had occasion to amend its Constitution 22 times over a period spanning 230 years. The American document has only seven Articles written on 23 pages. Our Constitution, on the other hand, comprises 395 Articles on 236 pages, the longest national document in the world.
Another mistake of our constitutional authors was to adopt the Westminster model of parliamentary Government which mixes the legislative function with the formation of the executive. The members of Parliament and the State Assemblies are elected for making laws but, after being elected, also help to form and support the Ministries; some of them become Ministers and thus form the executive. Making laws and executing them are two separate roles, and should be performed by different persons.
A classic shortcoming of the mix-up of functions was demonstrated by the fall of the first Vajpayee Government in 1999. Mr Girdhar Gomango, a member of the Lok Sabha, who had not yet resigned his membership but had taken over as Chief Minister of Odisha, helped to topple that Government by a single vote. He came from Bhubaneswar and voted with the Congress on that fateful day. Someone elected from a Lok Sabha constituency in Odisha had risen to be important enough to bring down the Union Government!
In any case, a system of Government which has suited Britain, a unitary country of one language, one culture and largely one religion, was hardly the one likely to answer the needs of a vast multi-lingual polity like India, comprising several religious denominations. Moreover, Britain is a monarchy whereas India has no king or queen. The way the Rashtrapati has been reduced to being a rubber stamp of the Union Government makes one wonder why the luxury? When necessary briefly, why cannot the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court stand in?
Another bane of the Westminster model is the probability of coalition Governments. While they may appear stable, many a partner party Minister often pursues his wayward line. There is seldom unity of policy implementation which again leads to poor governance.
The UPA2 is an example. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly clarified that he is answerable for any corruption or misconduct by a Congress Minister. For those representing the coalition parties, he could do little; hence, the 2G scam was not his responsibility but that of the DMK.
That is the explanation for the last seven years. Before that also there have been several coalition Governments, six of which were short-lived. In a total of 86 months there were six prime ministers, Morarji Desai (34 months), Charan Singh (six months), Mr Vajpayee (15 days in 1996), Mr HD Deve Gowda and Mr IK Gujral (34 months), Mr Vajpayee again (for a year in 1998/99). A pathetic picture although it is not as bad as pre-de Gaulle France or post-1945 Italy.
For a change in the system, a model should be similar to the presidential structure. The mechanism of checks and balances is indeed one secret of American governance. The Indian conditions, however, are different; the diversity makes it difficult for one person to represent all the various regions as well as the many sections of the people.
The people of Western Christian ethos are able to function well even with state intervention, be it public enterprises, as in France and Germany, or welfare activity like the British National Health Scheme. The Hindu psyche is tuned to individual salvation. In the Eastern ethos, excessive state intervention is not welcome. India, therefore, needs a minimal state that maintains law and order, ensures justice, protects the country’s frontiers and creates an infrastructure for development.
It is, therefore, suggested that there be a trinity of Presidents at the centre and a troika of Governors in the States; The President, the Vice-President and the Deputy President; likewise Governors for the States. The three would be elected by adult franchise through a direct poll. The overall winner would be the President, the runner up Vice-President and the next highest vote receiver should be Deputy President.
All executive power would be vested in this trimoorti within which the weightage of authority should be distributed according to the percentage of votes won by the three respective individuals. The term of office could be six years but without the privilege of any of the three standing for re-election. Governors would also be denied the right to stand for any other office in their respective States.
The reason behind this denial is to prevent any indulgence in populist moves by the office-holders with the temptation to get re-elected. It is, therefore, likely that the Presidents and Governors would concentrate on good governance as distinct from playing to the gallery. Parliament and State Assemblies should continue to be makers of laws and
act as counter-checks to the executive as the Congress does in the US. A call for a Second Republic needs to be given. (Daily Pioneer Thursday, 01 September 2011)