The Diesel Vehicle Ban

The Diesel Vehicle Ban

Like all bans, I would imagine that the reason behind the ban of diesel vehicles entering Delhi city is entirely different. Far too often the social causes are used as a reason for the banning something. It is the government or society trying to implement its own agenda under the garb of “Greater Good”.

Yes the air pollution is bad in Delhi. But it is so in many other cities too. What makes Delhi so special? Is it because of its status as the Capital of the country? and thereby all the VVIPs. AAP reduces the electricity tariff and water bills in Delhi? Apart from it being the state they rule, are we saying that other cities in the country do not suffer from these problems?

But coming back to the ban. Let us look at who benefits from the ban on all vehicles older than 10 years. And please… lets not talk about how the quality of air will improve. This quality has been bad for many many years. I still remember 15 years back getting off the flight and the air quality hitting you. So who benefits? Vehicle manufacturers of course! I am wondering if there is an estimate in terms of how many vehicles older than 10 years exist in Delhi/NCR? Given the fact that the automobile population is highest in this region, it would be a very large number that will need replacement.

People shouting for banning the diesel vehicles completely. What is your motivation? Is there a certifiable proof that it is the diesel vehicles that are leading to this? The new age diesel technology is very different from the one that used to exist. Probably on par perhaps with petrol. It is not the vehicle that causes pollution but the poor quality diesel that goes into these automobiles. Of course it is an entirely different issue that the government and the Oil PSUs probably make more money on selling petrol than they do on diesel.

Of course, this ban will also help corrupt officials line their pockets.

My belief has always been that greater good is never ever the reason for the so called actions taken for greater good. Yes some good may actually come out of it but that is not the reason.

Let’s look at this whole controversy on size of the image on Cigarette packs. 40% or 85%… do these policy makers really think it will cut down on smoking?? I would like to know the data of how much did the smoking come down once the images were introduced on the packaging! Oh and it can be from any country and not just India since according to a minister, there is no proof that smoking causes cancer in India. If the governments think that smoking is bad, why not ban every single tobacco product? No wait… banning beef is lot more important right now! Government the world over will never ban these products simply because these products form a very healthy chunk of the revenue. I have a feeling that the way this image controversy will play out is that there will be a negotiation whereby the image size may not go up in a big way but the tax component surely will.

Anyway, call me a cynic for being a non believer in social causes, the fact is that the reason behind people, government and society taking up these causes is always well hidden and never what is shouted from every roof top, every newspaper, every tweet etc. etc.

Causvengers


Been a very long time that I have posted anything. Lack of time, too many things that I wanted to write about and a writer’s block… add them all up and that is the excuse… the real excuse.

Hopefully I will get regular again.

So coming to the title of the this post. I am not very good at coining terms but this one is kind of a mix of scavengers and avengers. scavengers for a cause is how I arrived at this term. I think it becomes quite evident as to where I am going with this post and I could stop right here but then, like I was telling someone the other day, very rarely are my posts less than 400 words.

We have become a society of Causvengers. Not because we believe in a cause but because linking up with a cause gives us some mileage and a traction in social media. From an individual to brands to corporates, we are constantly on a search. Is there any cause that we can latch on to… make it go viral.. have it trending.. let the data show how well we did. How many retweets… how many likes… how many shares… Once that is done, hunt for the next one…

This really is a cycle. Some start the trend… some ride the trend and create their own ‘followers’.

The single minded objective is ‘social visibility’. We don’t really bother about the cause once we have moved on… Just like the news channels of today. Arnab Goswami will rant about an issue for a few days or even just a day and then move on. It makes for good TRP.

Create a controversy… and there will always be people taking sides and keep the conversation going.

Often the governments do that. A mindless controversy to keep the attention away from real issues. Start a fire.. sit back and let the media and social media keep stoking the fire…

There will be enough and more causes to latch o n to.. and if there is nothing that quite fits in with what you want.. create your own…

Road rage killing? Road rage will trend for a while. Meat ban in Maharashtra? hell yes! now that should be good enough for a couple of weeks at least… Nothing ever gets achieved beyond a lot of hot air… the life goes on… Internet has not only cut down our attention span, it has also led to this ‘click happy’ activism.

So next time when your fingers are itching to click or tweet or share.. ask yourself why are you doing it…

‘Foot in the mouth’ disease


Mr. Azad, this is a far bigger disease than the one you have quoted and then scurried around to retract! And everyone knows that for politicians, it is a chronic one. Our Prime Minister suffered from it too last week. Make a comment and then claim the next day that 1. Never said it or 2. Been misquoted.

I am not going to comment on homosexuality… I have absolutely no views or opinion on anybody’s sexual preferences. But I do have a view and an opinion on people like Mr. Azad and people like him who think they are the custodians of Indian culture and morality. Who gave you the power to be so? What are your credentials? If you ask me.. I believe that people who shout the most.. are the ones who have a lot to hide..

Politicians and moral gatekeepers… the world around you is changing. You surely need to get your head out of the sand and look around.. There are far bigger issues that ail us as a nation.. address them… what two people do in a closed room or wherever is none of your business. People have a life to lead.. let them.

If you really want to do something… then enrich their lives.. make it comfortable… worth living.

There is a lot you can do for the nation and its people.. do those things.

Mr. Azad probably felt that Mr. Sibal was getting more mileage in media and decided to get himself in the news.. Well you had your moment in the sun.

Now if you are over your disease, get around to the ensuring better health delivery system to the people. There are people who die every day due to poor or non-existent health facilities.. How about doing something for them? You are the health minister… right?

Another Independence day gone by


So yesterday was another Independence day… Another day of meaningless words uttered by the Prime Minister of India from the ramparts of the Red Fort. Another day of people on social networking sites talking about Happy Independence Day… There were many who wished me too for my birthday (wonder if it is good thing or a bad thing that I was born on this day)… another day or commercial establishments running fraud sales… another day of watching patriotic movies on tv… another day of media talking about the meaning of independence and what all has India achieved.. or not achieved…

Now till the next Independence Day (or even Republic Day), we will be back to business as usual… Politicians would be back to pushing the country down the drain.. shops would move on to rakshabandhan sale, followed by Dussera, Diwali and Christmas and New Year.

For a generation which never actually realized what it took to gain Independence (and sometimes I wonder if we are really independent), it is very hard to understand the relevance apart from the speil given my commercial establishments and brands or posting messages on facebook.

When “freedom to be” is curtailed by moral and cultural dogmas… When “freedom to be” is controlled by the political and beauraucratic set ups… when “freedom to be” is held to ransom on the streets in the garb of development… when “freedom to be” is cut down to size by the whole education system… when “freedom to be” is controlled  by just perhaps 1% of the country’s population… where is the freedom.

It’s a Matrix that we are living in… when collectively through various media mouthpieces we are told that we are far better off than our previous generation and examples are peddled of the state of well being.

I must confess that I am also living the Matrix life and believe everything that is told to me… living in a state of denial.. of things that are wrong and what needs to be done to correct things that are so wrong… It is not really my problem is it? Sure I will crib and fret but will I do anything about it? Nope I wont… why should I when others are not doing anything about it.

Now I am no fan of Mahatma Gandhi. But watched the movie Gandhi all over again yesterday and realized that for all his faults, the Man had it in him to move the nation as one and shake the foundations of the Imperialistic Britishers.

He did that because he believed in himself and the power of the people. How many of us can stand by our convictions in this day and age? No one I would imagine… and that includes me too. Saw the Bharati ad which is doing the rounds on facebook and how people are getting orgasmic over it… left me utterly cold… Probably I have become a cynic… probably my faith in the Matrix is waning… Probably I am searching for a white rabbit who would take me to Morpheus… and salvation.

Honor Killing?


First up… No killing ever can have the word ‘honor’ attached to it.

Second, the police must immediately arrest all the people who have justified the killing of Monica and her husband by saying its good for the community.

Third, our media needs to stop calling these cold blooded murders as honor killings. Stop sensationlizing these murders and show these communities as murderers.

A while back when the so called racial killings were turning into great opportunity for our media, I had written a post saying that we Indians are one of the most intolerant bunch of people in the world.. And the spate of these killings has proved the point yet again.

Lets not talk about economic advancement and India being a power to reckon with on the World stage when right within the boundaries of the capital city young lives are snuffed out so brutally.

Lets face it… for all the talk about progressive urban India… the mindsets have not changed one bit. Under the garb of protecting our culture, we indulge in violence of the most virulent kind. And this violence would not happen if there was a political will to curtail it. Caste and regional politics ensure that we would continue to live a schizophrenic existence. Its old news but I sure would want to know from Mr Naveen Jindal as to what right he had to support the tradition of khap panchayat.

In this day and age if the political parties are strong enough to care and work for what is good for the country, there would be no casteism, regionalism or these archaic and senseless traditions. Sorry… let me not even call them traditions because any system that promotes and propogates violence cannot be a tradition.

This post would be debunked as ranting of the educated people who do not understand the Indian culture and are influenced by the western cultures (or rather corrupted) but seriously… WHAT IS INDIAN CULTURE. It most definitely is not Mayawati talks about… it is  not the expensive shindig that Karunanidhi is organizing even as I type this… it is not what Raj Thakeray believes in… and the list would go on…

But seriously… what’s wrong with News Media???


The prices of all essential commodities are through the roof. Common man is suffering big time.

The current government is going to complete the so called 100 days (or has it already?) and what have they got to show?

The economic situation is bleak. People are still losing jobs or living in a state of disguised unemployment (working but not getting salary on time)

Corruption reigns everywhere

AND YET THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS NOT GETTING COVERED OR BEING ANALYSED.

How can anyone be interested in a politicial party which is on death bed and waiting for the plug to be pulled?

Do the news channels seriously think that a billion plus population which is trying very hard to make a living is interested in what Brajesh Mishra said… or the book by Jaswant Singh… or the fact that he has been sacked from the party… or what Advani said or did during the Kandahar hijacking… or What Sardar Patel did or did not do in 1945????

Seriously… who cares. If anything, the only people who would really care is the current government. They must be happy that the spotlight is not on their failures to govern and deliver on the 100 days promise.

Let me give you an example of how news media has become completely blind to what is happening to the people. This example is apart from the tripe that we get to watch on TV or read in the paper.

Few days back on BBC (one of the most respected news channels), towards the end of news, a guy joins the two who were reading the news and discussing the current events. This guy gives the latest unemployment figures in England.. which by the way have gone up. A min of that… and while he is still talking about the figures… the woman anchor asks him… “So what is your favorite cocktail?”. The guy wants to complete what he is saying about the unemployment and he is again interrupted by the male anchor asking about the cocktails.. because they want to move to this competition that is happening in England somewhere about the best bar tender!!!! Wow… talk about dumbing down and being callous.

Somewhere in an effort for increased eyeballs, viewers and readers, news people have forgotten what their profession is all about… WAGs are not stories… Salman Khan interested in buying an IPL team is not a story… Harbhajan Singh in his humvee is not the story.

Get real… get accountable… make the government accountable… Terrorism is here to stay and we would never be able to combat it or control it because when dealing with fanatics is not easy… So get rid of those stories about who gets Interpol red flag or how the government was right about Hafeez or whoever… Tell me why are the prices rising and what government is doing to bring down the prices.. Tell me why my money is not enough today for even the basic essentials… question.. interrogate… grill the government.

Stop wasting your time on the inconsequentials.

Unless the news media is also part of the larger political strategy to keep the common man away from asking these pertinent questions and bombard him with trivia and make his mind numb!

What good is government funding?


Does any government really believe that all the money that is allocated for various social and infrastructure projects actually works?

Analyse all the government efforts towards rural upliftment, removing poverty, creation of jobs, infrastructure. How many of these projects have been successful? How many projects were completed on time? How many were completed without any cost overrun?

“Garibi Hatao” was a Congress slogan way back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Since then, except for maybe a max of 8/9 years, it is the Congress which has been in power. 30 years plus and we are still talking of people below the poverty line.

We have had reservation for certain classes of people for as long as I can remember and yet ‘dalit’ is still a huge vote bank and it should not have been if all the so called efforts were actually working.

Slums that have been around for so long… Government has promised to make them disappear in 5 years… How??? Will there ever be a political will to remove them? What happens to the whole vote bank then? And more importantly… where will the money come from?

Every infrastructure project gets delayed… in most cases they are delayed endlessly… China probably started the Tibetan railway project same time as we started the Kashmir railways. They are over and done with and we are still realigning the tracks!

Bandra Worli Sea Link is another case in point…

Government spending is all about making pleasant noise and that too only for themselves… the population that is likely to benefit never gets to hear it or understand the implication… more importantly they never get the benefits meant for them… all the money disappears in transit…

Where is the accountability? Who is responsbile for schemes to be completed on time and the benefit actually reaching the people it is meant for? And who checks the authenticity of all government claims?

Does the government use any project management software? Are the officials expert enough in managing the projects? What are their management qualifications?

If the government wants to be transparent enough… why can’t it create a website where anyone who wants, can track the progress of the project? why should we invoke RTI for the information?

Why are the tax payers left wondering about where their hard earned money goes?

I have a question for all those who have been saying that this budget would be very good in the long run… How will the deficit go away? how will we get a 9% growth this year? What are the short term measures to revive the economy and hopes of the people who are suffering because of the downturn??

Why is this post so full of questions?

It probably is because the government is completely clueless when it comes to managing the nation and its economy. One statement that perhaps symbolized this was the one Mr Pranab Mukherjee supposedly made on CNN-IBN on the evening of the budget presentation – “I don’t know why the markets tanked!!”