Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Modus operandi of Amnesty International

Amnesty International has published a report "Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir". The title of the report indicates that security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir are committing human rights violations and there is no accountability for such violations. But, the organization admits that five security force personnel were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment  in the Machil extra-judicial execution where Shahzad Ahmad Khan, one of the person around whom a case study is built, was killed.  The fact that life imprisonment was awarded to the security force personnel indicates that due procedures are followed by the Indian Army.  Then why should Amnesty International publish a report focusing on failure in accountability?  Many of the case studies of Amnesty International in Kashmir follow the same pattern.  Those who are killed are Muslims.  Complaints have been lodged against security personnel alleging extra-judicial killing, in many cases with the active involvement of organizations such as Amnesty.  When the government agencies are following their procedures, Amnesty International questions legality of security operations.  Criticizes the procedure followed by the Security agencies, especially the Indian Army.  Whenever, punishments are not awarded, the Amnesty International suspects partiality in trial.  Suspects the motives and integrity of those who are involved in the process of justice.  Seeks more details such as name and other details of soldiers who were involved in such incidents. Alleges lack of transparency when Army denies such information based on its well established operational rules. 

Further, Amnesty International creates emotional stories, videos of relatives of those who have died in Kashmiri unrest.  The underlying theme and the message of these videos and stories are pointing fingers towards the security agencies.  Public are intentionally misled by Amnesty Internationa reports and communication which are published widely.   Sustained publicity to such stories, videos and reports among the public is creating mistrust about the security agencies.  By focusing attention on Indian Army, the Amnesty International effectively creates a wedge between the Executive, Judiciary, Legislature and Security agencies.  In summary, the Amnesty International is sustaining a sophisticated misinformation campaign against Indian establishment. .  

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Brahminism - distortions imposed on Hinduism

When it is stated that Indian history is a struggle between Buddhism and Brahminism, there is a problem of objectivity.  That is because, of the word 'Brahminism' and questions associated with it.  A series of definitions, explanations, implications, disclaimers and interpretations become necessary  before going forward in the study of Indian history, society and politics.  

1.     Definitions: The word Brahminism is indiscreetly used along with another word Brahmanism.  Some times they are used interchangeably consciously / unconsciously.  The words may be invented in English and applied to portray Hinduism mainly by scholars not trained through traditional methods / not aligned to the tradition / not sympathetic towards the tradition.  Broadly speaking Brahminism refers to AchAra / rituals and lifestyle of brAhmaNa.  Some even qualify that Brahminism is negative aspects of brAhmaNas in the past and present times. In both cases, Brahminism is used in negative connotation.  The word Brahmanism refers to the ism around brahman. This word may include some wider aspects of Hinduism, especially of vEdas and is used relatively positive sense. Still, the word is being used to generate a theory / a presentation of Hinduism / Hindus in modern academic context.  The words Brahmanism and Brahminism are to be related to Hindu, Vaideeka, Sanatana etc for clarity. 

2.     An explanation is required for the necessity of inventing newer words. Why Brahminism is used instead of Hinduism requires explanation.  Similarly, the appropriateness of usage of words such as vaidIka to represent only to brAhmaNa engaged in yajana and not to a shUdra who is knowledgable in purANa, requires a fair explanation. The words brahminism and brahmanims are similar to other such words such as Hindutva, panchama, untouchability, casteism etc used in recent times for discussing / describing Hinduism. Because of this one could have a premonition of enlarging the scope of dynamics of present day confusing discussion with the introduction of Brahminism / Brahmanism. 

3.     Those who are inventing new words to characterize Hinduism must be aware that there is at least an implicit undertaking by them that they have no other intent than seeking truth (what ever good it means) and that they not working towards wrecking Hindu society.   Non traditional scholars need express their commitment not to distort traditional concepts and unbiasedness towards any particular technical term. 

4.  The implication of not explaining definitions of newer words, not providing explanation to usage of specific words, not providing disclaimers preempting ascribing motivations to academic pursuit, is to be understood in clear terms in terms of objectivity and rationality.  

If these precautions are not taken, counter-revolutionaries and irrationalists will become revolutionaries and rationalists.  Whether we need to use the framework of rationalism and revolution to discuss Hinduism is another question.  But, when we are determined to use this terminology, the deadlock situation in freedom-fighter v/s terrorist need not be replicated in discussion on rationalism. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Womens day and India

Women workers of Europe were suffering harsh working conditions in various sectors, especially in garment sector.  By 1909, their protests were manifested as women's day and these events were organized by Socialist/Communist parties of Europe and America. Initial protests/women's day celebrations are recorded in 1910 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  In 1911, about a million people participated in protests/celebrations in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.  During protests, the women demanded suffrage, better work conditions, and provisions to hold public offices. 

While Americans were celebrating womens day in February, some countries/groups started on 8th March.   The 1914 observance of the Day in Germany and England was dedicated to women's right to vote, which German women did not win until 1918.  In 1917 demonstrations marking International Women's Day in Saint Petersburg on the last Thursday in February (which fell on March 8 on the Gregorian calendar) initiated the February Revolution.  Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for “Bread and Peace" – demanding the end of World War I, an end to Russian food shortages, and the end of czarism.  Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai and Vladimir Lenin made it an official holiday in the Soviet Union recognizing the role of women in Russian revolution. 

From its official adoption in Russia following the Soviet Revolution in 1917 the holiday was predominantly celebrated in communist and socialist countries. It was celebrated by the communists in China from 1922, and by Spanish communists from 1936.  After the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949 the state council proclaimed on December 23 that March 8 would be made an official holiday with women in China given a half-day off.  

In the West, International Women's Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women's rights and world peace.  

Today, the USA is promoting Womens day  in support of liberalism,  feminism and individual freedom.  Feminists across the world, including India, are supportive of Womens day celebration.  In countries such as India, the Women day is mainly celebrated by Western corporations to enhance engagement levels of women workforce.  This has encouraged other Indian companies to follow the suit.   Interestingly, womens day has become an occasion for criticizing Hindu tradition and culture as the cause of women problems of today.   Specifically, Indian family system, Manusmrithi, and patriarchal features of the society.   Such an attitude is supported by the propaganda unleashed by the religious intolerant groups and atheistic forces antagonistic to the Hinduism.  The womens day has also become an occasion for alleging discrimination against Women in Indian society. The womens day is also a tool for promoting feminism and liberalism in Indian society and creating a favorable bias towards these thoughts in the administration and judiciary. 

Womens day in India should be an occasion for remembering the need to protect Indian women from negative 360 degree feedback on men, and about our societal structures.  Today, the role of women is confusing as they are burdened with multiple roles delivered to be simultaneously.   Respect and recognition for women is more difficult today than in the past.   They face enhanced pressure and simultaneously they are not even assured of basic protection. 

Womens day sets a faulty premise and provides an irrelevant background to address issues of Indian women.   There is no need to highlight Womens day beyond official/governmental requirements if required.  Women issues should be addressed in the context of Indian society without burden of the global linkages rooted in gross insensitivity towards women.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

How to Eliminate Corruption?

Interactions between the public and the providers of government services creates an opportunity for corrupt practices.  When a citizen seeks a service from a government, such as plan approval for constructing house,  or registration of a house,  a bribe amount may be sought by a government official who is designated to deliver the service from the citizen.  Or the official may just be expecting some gift as a gesture of goodwill.  Whatever may be the name given, the transaction of this nature could introduce unequal delays and unpleasant human interactions while delivering the government services to the public.  

The nature of this transaction (bribe, gift or goodwill) has multiple aspects.  The first being, lack of self pride of those who seek money for the job they are designated to perform. The second being, lack of administrative measures and followups to prevent such a trend.  Third is lack of clarity and conviction on the part of the public about the necessity of such payments. Fourth is inherent attitude of people to acknowledge the help and service provided by a person.  

While the first one can be addressed by proper upbringing of children by their parents, the second is a characteristic of good governance.   Third is related to the public awareness, the fourth is one of the basic nature of humans.  

To eliminate corruption, all these must be addressed.  The factors that can be influenced through administrative measures is discussed here.  FIrst thing to be noted here is that the administrative measures should be aligned with human nature rather than in conflict with them.  Specifically, if expressing gratitude is an inherent human nature, the administrative measure should not curb such an expression.   Similarly, the goverment policies, such as education,  should be aligned to instill a sense of pride among people and instill conviction against corruption in them. 

The processess that are followed during providing (government) services could be modified to eliminate corruption.   For example, typically, a citizen is asked to remit a prescribed amount of fee to the government to receive the service.  Government officials who actually deliver the service when expect some money from the citizens, then corruption cycle is initiated.  One way to address this problem is to officially announce an amount for each service to be given by the citizen to the government official who renders the service.  Alternatively stated, the prescribed government fee for rendering the service should have two components.  The first component is remitted to the government exchequer and the second component is paid to the official after receiving the service from him/her.  This accommodates the nature of people to acknowledge the help and service.  At the same time, may discourage officials to demand more money.  

As a further step, a flexible component is to be introduced into the salary of government officials who render services to the public.   The flexible component may be decided based on citizen feedback on the quality of service that they receive.  If the flexible component is more than the second component,  the officials are more keen to receive positive feedback and less keen to receive negative feedback from citizens.  Emerging capabilities of ICT may be used to keep the feedback confidential but still objective and credible.  

For those officers,  who are not in direct touch with the public,  the positive feedback of those who are in touch with the public may be accumulated to generate public feedback.  A positive feedback for subordinates should have a positive effect on the emoluments of the higher officer.  If required, the same mechanism may be extended to other real life stakeholders such as politicians and elected representatives.  

This would bring a positive effect in managing the harmful effects of corruption.  It is not surprising if the corruption is eliminated completely through these kind of measures.