Market for Public Office

According to news reports, two young men of Mumbai, both scions of political families, have purchased a 6-acre property of Kohinoor Mills in a competitive bidding process at an astronomical price of Rs 421crore. Given Mumbai’s skyrocketing real estate prices, this may well be a reasonable investment. And in a market economy, it is no sin to be wealthy. As Deng Hsiao Ping said, it is glorious to be rich.

Combating Criminalization

In response to Lok Satta’s call, a frail old man walked into our office with incriminating evidence against a prominent politician. It was deeply troubling that this old man, at the very fag end of his life had to approach Lok Satta for redressal of a grave injustice. It speaks volumes about the failing state apparatus. However, I was happy to see the old man’s determination to seek justice. There were many such persons who came forward with valuable information – some of them even braving considerable risk – about the criminal backgrounds of prospective candidates.

Perils of Westminster Model

The events of the past one month in Maharashtra hold a mirror to the crisis in our democratic polity.  Once again, the nation witnessed buying and selling of legislators, party hopping, back room deals, political instability, holding MLAs captive in tourist resorts in other states, a vote of confidence, and the usual scramble for loaves of office in the impending cabinet expansion.  This has been seen in several states all over the country over the years.  Now this culture of ayarams and gayarams has inflicted a grievous blow to India’s most prosperous state.

Deify, then crucify. Lionize, then demonize

I am compelled to talk about a strange syndrome that is endemic among the Indian population. The initial symptoms of this disorder are acute:  the heart begins to beat rapidly, tongue gets tied in knots and the victim temporarily loses all intelligence and memory power.   The chronic symptoms are more dangerous: the victim’s spine slowly loses its strength and then disappears altogether; the knees remain permanently bended.  In some extreme cases (seen in parts of Tamil Nadu and Bombay), the victim is simply unable to get up from the prone position (‘saashtanga pranam’).

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