Sunday, August 31, 2014

Caste Away!








Recently over a conversion with my teen age son, who yet has not been exposed to realities of the world, courtesy his over caring parents, asked me “baba, what is this reservation thing, its in every day news papers?’. I was trying to think what & how to explain the scene, so thought of best way i.e. to write down & when I started writing I myself realized the complexity of the issue. Sharing the same with here….
 


“When we choose a mobile network, do we check whether Airtel or Vodafone belong to a particular caste? No, we simply choose the provider based on the best value or service. Then why do we vote for somebody simply because he belongs to the same caste as us?” ….Chetan Bhagat.

No need to introduce the famous IIT’n turned writer who is famous for his motivation speeches as well for his social views. Each day a common man from so called open category like me read a news paper & there is something about reservations may it be on caste or religion! This is one subject which is never spoken openly in our country like man –woman relationship which science calls sex. As if a person is having views against reservation then he is tagged as anti lower class or anti social or hypocrite; and if a person is speaking for reservation then he is against development of new India or old fashioned or must be from lower caste!

Now before we go deeper in to the issue of reservation, we need to understand what’s the concept reservation is? As well what is lower caste & what is upper caste? Well, our country has been made of numbers of religions, thousands of castes & equal numbers of tribes; it’s so confusing that even God can’t be sure about exact numbers of castes we have here. I really wonder who in first place derived the caste concept. As tribe one can understand that before civilization comes in picture when there was no religion, the tribes exists. But religion came along with so called civilization came & I personally think castes are generated by the rulers for being able to rule on such a heterogeneous structure of society. As if you see the names of the castes they are mostly generated from the kind of job the people used to do. For example how Chmhar i.e. cobbler can be caste of some one? As agreed some guy may be doing that work for his earning but if the next generation starts doing some other job how they can be called as Chamhar? Same logic is applicable to other such castes too.
Tribe’s yes one can understand as if someone has been born in some tribe obviously he will be tagged as tribal. But then again except a very few tribes like korku/ gond & even jarwas in Andaman Nikobar, are these the days of tribes? As every day under the name of urbanization & growth we are not only destroying habitats of thousands of animal species but even the human species too! At the same time growth, development, mechanization all these things are replacing humans which for generations doing specific jobs, so we are displacing them also.

Here the reservation term came in picture. When nearly      67 years back we became independent, entire Indian’s then were one against the British rulers, so there was no question of any reservation for any caste or tribe or religion. We all were equals while fighting with the British, so from where all the castisum came in so called secular India? After independence British were gone & first time in the history of this large diversity wise rich country there was democracy, as or else we were always been used for being ruled by one family or some foreign ruler but never democratic we were! So  then people started realizing that only some castes or class or religion people have access to all good things in life, may it be power or knowledge or education! Then the wise in our Govt came together & came with a solution that there should be some privilege should be given to the underdogs which for ages have been deprived from the knowledge or education, which in a way is key to development or growth. So it was suggested to give such people who are from certain castes or tribes, a special quota in education as well all Govt jobs, so they can start from a step ahead in comparison to the so called upper castes! This was the first time when the term reservation came in picture as this quota for some castes & tribes which were backward in comparison to other castes was called as reservation!

Very little our wise rulers then, knew that this good intention decision is going to take most ugly turn in future of this so called non-secular country & there would be a time when this caste factor will become a key to all the forth coming developments of this country including even elections! As then itself thy have made a mistake by categorizing human on behalf of their birth & not on actual living condition. I am neither against nor for on the reservation subject, as this isn’t the object of the sharing. What I am trying to analyze is has the reservation really helped this country on two aspects i.e. one, whether the country as whole has been benefitted by the concept of reservation & second is has it really helped to the castes or tribes for which this has been implemented?

Sadly if we keep for a while the first aspect aside, even the second aspect i.e. upbringing so called backward castes & tribes hasn’t been experienced, that too even after nearly 60 years of implementing the concept of reservation! Well,   60 years make nearly two generations & even if agreed as these castes were underprivileged for ages & two generations is too small a time span for changing the positions, yet the outcome is not encouraging, as with liberization the opportunities have been also increased much more than the social format of life then! No more we have some family or a king ruling entire State with his lords only having access to make fortune for their own families. So considering this fact I will say the concept of reservation on basis of caste & tribes has been failed completely. As what our present system has produced is, now there are only three castes or tribes in this country, one is rich, second is middle class & third is poor!

Recently I was taking study of history of my younger son where I stumbled up on French Revolution. There the cause of revolution is all the powers & benefits of the growth have been centered to first estate & second estate of the State i.e., King & Takers or the Holy Church. And the third estate which includes all other segments of the society including clerk to professionals to farmers, were getting poorer under the burden of taxes, where as all the works has been carried out by the third estate people; so they revolted & that’s French revolution! I think with all the reservation & castes system in place we have still landed in pre- revolution state as rich are getting richer & poor are getting poorer & no matter which caste upper or lower, you belong to or there is reservation or no reservation, the disparity between the two classes is increasing. It’s like those who have got opportunity via reservation on basis of caste are no longer thinks anything why they got this advantage & instead passing that to other needy ones they have joined what earlier so called upper class people were doing i.e. be merry & make fortune of their own families only! So what’s the difference now in both castes? I will say nothing, as with the power & education they also have joined the upper club & that’s the biggest defeat of reservation policy!

It’s high time to analyze the reservation norms & so called creamy layers within the castes criteria as need is to see that a platform should be there where all will be equals! In the process of giving reservations now we have been gone so deep like a person caught in “Quick Sand or Marsh Land”, that now every religion, tribe & caste is demanding reservations & unfortunately we have only 100%  to share but thousands of castes, so what we are going to do? As in process of pleasing every caste with the carrot of reservation for votes, we never realized that we have only one carrot & numbers of takers for it! And this has been leading to riots amongst the castes which were living happily with each other for ages.

Reservation on basis of your birth, which is in control of nobody, was a boomerang & now it’s showing that real victim of this weapon is entire country! Nowadays election candidates are also being chose on the basis of his or her caste & voters numbers from that caste & we call our self a secular country! You open new paper on any day & you read some or other caste or religion is demanding reservation & on that others castes which are already enjoying the reservation protests not to touch their quota & then accommodate new castes in reservation. And rulers are using the reservation carrot without applying any mind to cash the votes! Things have worsened to such a level that some percentage reservation quota is being offered to next generation of Policemen, to get job in police department. Going on the same line tomorrow politicians will also seek the seats in Assembly for their sons or daughters! Have we ever thought what will be end of this race for reservation? In the entire process have we lost faith in real talent or merit? Is the reservation only way to improve? Our politicians & senior bureaucrats visits other developed countries for the industrial & urban growth, have they ever studied how socially these counties has achieved the success as a nation?   

Rich & poor were always two basic castes of the society, so how other countries have managed to breech the gap between these two basic castes, have we ever thought about it? Unfortunately it’s our rulers who don’t want the caste system went away, when in actual the country should have only one religion & one caste & that will be of humanity! And from that angle we should have reservation policy, so as one day there shouldn’t be need of any reservation to any single citizen of this country whatever caste or religion he may be from! I think high time every individual should think from this view & for that let’s speak openly about this aspect first! Or else the track on which our vote hungry rulers are taking us there won’t be anything left to ask reservation for as there will be no country in itself to take burden of any reservation! And before it’s too late, it’s every individual’s duty to believe in our capacity & give justice to it & for that we don’t need any caste card or any reservations! That’s real need of the country!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
(Click the links below)

http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/06/a-journey-of-decade-named-sanjeevani.html


http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Mess called Metro!






Games are won not on wish to win but on determination to win… Sunil Gavaskar.

The little master might have referred above quote to the test series which we lost poorly in England but when I read the news papers & especially the famous or infamous Metro of our city, then I feel how prefect this quote fits here! So much has been written about Metro that I feel by now people must have thought that Metro seems to be only solution for every problem of our Pune city! As, right from Hon CM to every politician from even the smallest karyakarta of the party, NGO’s, Social personality too Media all seems to have this single agenda i.e. Metro on their mind! We are famous for controversies & but no topic related to this city is as fortunate or say celebrity like the Metro, getting so much publicity!

We have been reading about the Metro since more than five years & let me clear in the first clear, I am no authority on Metro or traffic planning, all I am interested is analyzing the scene on the basis of what I have been reading in media like every common citizen of this city! We have read that Metro is the next in thing & which will change the future of this city & this too from nearly now over six years back. Before this analysis lets understand what is the Metro, as many even may not be knowing what is Metro in actual! Well, for those lucky souls, Metro is nothing as interesting as some new age supersonic jet airplane but it’s a form of railway which has a dedicated route within the city or call it track & unlike our regular railway or local in Mumbai, Metro can travel right within the city either on over head tracks or underground, without disturbing the city life around, at least that’s what is expected. Then the coaches or bogies are not open like the regular railway, that’s one more difference & it’s mainly to carry the city traffic & not connecting two cities. Obviously the cost per kilometer length is much higher than the normal railway line & so is the operating cost too.

Now you have got the concept of Metro then let’s see what’s scene in our city. As I mentioned some six years back the dream named Metro has been introduced to us, after that lot of water has passed under the bridge named Govt on this front. But still no one, even the Hon Cm can’t guaranty when actually Metro will start as right from the routes to form of the Metro i.e. whether it will be overhead or underground every aspect which should be freeze, has gone in to just discussion & like the famous Sunny Deol’s “Damini”  movie dialogue , its just “Tarikh pe tarikh”, we have just been reading about new assurances & announcements about the Metro. First of all lets know  as its being projected that Metro will solve all the traffic issues of the city, it’s not so. The routes in combining both i.e. Pimpri Chinchwad to Swargate & Vanaj to Ramwadi, its hardly 31 kms in total. The city after merging new villages & in combination with PCMC has spread on nearly over 650 sq kms & that’s large area. Also the growth isn’t planned, people travel crisscrossing the city; for many travelling isn’t more than 7-8 kms & that too not in straight line, so question is why they are not taking present available public transport? Answer is simple as there isn’t any such! The PMPML or more popularly known as Pune Municipal Transport has failed miserably on providing a sustainable option for public transport & nothing has been done to strengthen the same is also a fact.

So a question for common man like me is till Metro don’t come in existence why the available means of public transport is not being improved; as we have witness the fiasco of BRT i.e. Bus route transport & on this background when even to start the Metro its being taken more than six years what warranty our rulers are going to give about successful implementation of Metro?

After confirming the routes & nature of Metro, which by my knowledge is now will be above the ground then comes the rest of formalities which has been laid by Central Govt, like formation of a separate company to monitor the Metro but what we read in media confuses us more as there is no such company formed yet & on the top of it State Govt & Central Govt including every person related to Metro is making statements so much contradictory to each other that even a sane person will go mad reading them! State Govt & ruling parties in state says they have compiled everything asked by Central Govt & its new Govt which is of opposite party, is biasly behaving & holding up the Metro of the city. Central Govt & the people of opposition in State says it’s the negligence of State Govt which hasn’t fulfilled any norms laid by Central Govt & that has caused delay to the Metro. And in this fight there isn’t approval by Central Govt till date to the Metro, so no question arises about budget provision for the same!

In the mean time, has even Hon CM even went ahead & declared the date of Metro bhoomipuja, whereas there even is no appointment of some post as Special Operating Officer for the Metro; which is again a mandatory condition! And joke is the person who has been appointed at this post has been sacked & new biodata's have been called & there is no response to the call is the latest news! Obviously no wise person will like to become scapegoat of our rulers, is what I guess! My my! So much of fuss over a route of just 31 km!
What all this shows? Are we incapable of even finalizing one railway track in city which is supposed to be Oxford of the East! Is there no one in entire Central Govt or in State Govt or in city civic body, who will come forward & take the responsibility of making the Metro a reality? I think all concerned don’t want to take any risk of losing this battle which has been already lost; as it’s said that the battles are win or lost in planning & on paper & what happens on field is just execution of what has been planned!

Following the track of paper work if we go by what media says then the delay itself has caused nearly five thousand crores rupees of increase in costing of Metro i.e. today it will cost over some eleven thousand crores & each year’s delay will add on some seven hundred crores of rupees in the costing. Looking at figures again a poor common citizen like me will think that on one side we are not making provisions of merely some hundred crores of rupees for the PMT, then again what’s guaranty that this kind of money will be generated in time & will be made available to the Metro? As some ten percent of amount has to be shelled out by the lock civic body i.e. PMC, means with today’s figures one thousand crores of rupees PMC will have to provide, & from where this money will be generated? One answer is by giving addition FSI to the properties along the Metro track. Well, what if these properties won’t come in time for the development? And also what about the infrastructural requirements of the city which will increase by four times due to this? Even today we don’t have enough funds to buy the reservation lands & the classic example is land under BDP i.e. bio diversity park on the hills. It’s said some one thousand crore rupees will require to acquire these lands & we haven’t yet taken the policy decision for the same & each passing day these lands are falling victim to illegal development & slums! So with such poor track record what’s fate of Metro this even a small kid can tell!

Instead of making individual statements in news papers, why not a single concerned department has published a white paper is a report about the facts of Metro & its viability giving clear idea about the responsibility of individual organization regarding Metro?
And today only I came across a write-up by Mr. Shashikant Limaye, former Special Officer for Metro, he said this is just first phase as so short route can’t solve any problem of traffic but there has to be network of Metro all around the city. Like Delhi Metro started with 60km length & now it’s going towards 300km mark; same is happening with Bangalore. And this is what even I have seen in cities like Paris or Singapore where the Metro tracks covers entire city & then people use it at fullest. At the same time the Metro has to have back up by equally efficient network of road transport; so we will be needing PMT as filler & its importance don’t go down by entry of Metro. So what are the plans for these infrastructure activities is equally unclear.

One may as usual ask what this all has to do with real estate? Well real estate survives on infrastructure & good transportation is very basic need of any city. People can’t live just within four wall but they need to go out of them & earn their bread & so as their kids needs to go to school & so on. Take example of any good city in urban history, it does have traffic problems & only those cities have survived which has found solutions to the traffic problems. Take example of Bangalore, many people have migrated out of the city just because the city failed to solve two basic problems, water & traffic. People get frustrated in every day struggle of travelling to work place & reach back home! Mumbai’s local’s success we all know & properties near to local stations have always been in demand. As already in today’s carrier oriented life every minute of the day counts & if we are wasting it in travelling then its unproductive time & each such minute spent in travel generates more stress in the common citizen of the city. Here is where importance of fronts like Metro or entire traffic solutions comes in picture!

Unfortunate that there is no pressure group formed by the real estate segment of the city or the residents in the millions of units they have build, which will urge the rulers to stop making false or confusing announcement & instead show some action on the front of Metro as well entire traffic scene. Media is also busy in giving publicity to such statement of the leaders which carry no value in actual for the common citizen. Instead they should be asking these concerned personnel’s to bring the truth about the Metro in light so the common man can focus his power towards the right person who can deliver the solution to the problem. After all no one is against Metro but the way we have made the mess of it, the common man is losing the faith in the system & once that happens not even Metro will be able to restore it!

What Metro needs is not budget provision or a special company but a determination to make it a reality & a person who can assure that determination to the common man of this city. And unfortunately in the city of over sixty millions, that one person is missing, making the Metro a Mess!




--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
(Click the links below)

http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/06/a-journey-of-decade-named-sanjeevani.html

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

http://www.punecorporation.org/GRS/Complaint/LaunchComplaintCitizen.aspx

Think Green, Think Life


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Thursday, August 14, 2014

My City, My Country!









You will ever remember that all the End of study is to make you a good Man and a useful Citizen...John Adams.

John Adams was the second president of the United States, having earlier served as the first vice president of the United States. I am always fascinated by the quotes especially from the people who were & are at the positions from where they could or they have changed the course of the history or made one by themselves! US president is surely one such post & who better than a person at this post can write about the citizenship. All over the world people are curious & fascinated by the country which actually has never been ruled by any neither has ruled any other country, yet their culture , way of living & attitude towards the nation or the city they live in has been the matter of study for many!
Pertaining to our today’s topic i.e. my city, the quote from the US president has such a depth as how many of us have understood the importance of being useful citizen? 

Many will wonder as usual where the topic is going but in the crowded front page with news about Metro  mess or road potholes & public transport chaos, one small news rather an appeal by the local body i.e. PMC has gone unnoticed by many. It was a about participation of the citizens in the annual budget of PMC regarding the works around our neighborhood in the jurisdiction of PMC i.e. Pune Municipal Corporation, a public body which is supposed to keep this city in good shape. As usual not many must have noticed it but it is very important step by the PMC & its nearly fourth year of such it making such appeal to the citizens. We are very much eager to criticize organizations like PMC which are public bodies & we need any reason for that, right from over flowing garbage bins to potholes on roads, when ever PMC fails to deliver  every segment from the society, right from politician to media all are ready to throw stones at PMC!  But at the same time conveniently we forget our role or our responsibility towards the city as or else the very members of the PMC i.e. corporaters would have shared rather promoted this news to their voters. As well the media which is all aware about the rights of citizen & which lashes out PMC for every failure, would have on their own given publicity for the heartwarming appeal to the public to participate in various works which the city needs.

We often meet people who complain that there are so many things which are needed to do around where they live, work & Govt does nothing. May it be damaged footpath or a stinking public lavatory or roads without divider or a need of speed-breaker on a heavy traffic road or road signage’s or trees to be planted, a public garden or a bad maintained natural water body like nallah or a lake in our back yard & the list goes on! I often wonder when we Indians are so keen about maintaining d├ęcor & ambiance of our homes or offices why we turn a blind eye towards the outside of our work place or our home. Here we shrug our shoulders & say what I can do? Its job of PMC, don’t I pay my property tax & income tax? Well, is it enough to call ourselves a responsible citizen? When we call an organization like PMC as public body we conveniently forget that we are the public & unless we share our responsibility towards our city, just PMC isn’t going to be sufficient for the mammoth task of keeping this city in good condition!

Though rather than just appealing people abruptly for their opinions about the works in their surrounding, PMC can take a much better stand by sending a detailed form with lists of works the citizens can suggest along with the property tax bills they send. This will ensure two things one the citizens will get a clear idea about the type of works that needs to be undertaken & a message will be sent that a tax payer is entitled to suggest these works as his right by paying the tax to the local body. Also this will be then a much better systemized effort as the data also can be gathered proper format as well in advance to budget. As just publishing in a news form, it may not reach to the masses & then people should know in which format they have to fill the information & where this information has to be submitted & what happened to my suggestion i.e. feedback system is not there right now.

All the best cities in the world are not better places to live just because of the rich structures or advanced systems they have like Metro or Escalators; but they are good cities because the citizens in these cities consider the city as their own & assist the local bodies to maintain the city. Right from segregating the wet & dry garbage to maintaining traffic discipline by not jumping unmanned signals, many things we can do for the city. And it’s the small efforts by every individual towards the city is what makes a city good!

This year we will be celebrating our 68th Independence Day but have we really understood what independence is! As we still feel everything out of our home & office isn’t our duty! We call it public property & say Govt will take care of it & we conveniently forget that’s the Govt is us only! We are required to tell us what our rights are & what our responsibilities towards the city in which we live & we say we are proud citizen of the free India! If we can’t give justice to simple things like participating in making our city better then what we are going to do for the country? We can’t even segregate dry & wet garbage which is being generated in our own house & expects Govt to do it & yet give you a clean city! Unless it’s no rains we don’t curtail water use which can be a life for many who always have lesser supply of water down the river. We jump the signals which are unmanned & then we expect the Govt to provide camera on the roads to monitor the traffic! 

We always think a miracle will happen & all will be good but we forget that even the freedom wasn’t a miracle but it’s the public which made it possible. Same way our city which is detirerioting fast, won’t be saved by any PMC or some good commissioner or one officer or a leader but its duty of each of us who calls themselves Punekar!

For developers also it’s a warning as I repeatedly say, it’s because this city is good so people are buying homes to settle for their future in here. So it’s our duty too, to keep the city in best condition & that too from the eyes of a common man & not just from our ivory towers! The developers should make their clients aware about every such news & guide them to participate in such moments, remember when we call ourselves developers; it’s the entire society we are supposed to develop & not just few hectors of our own land! Or else one day there will be nothing left to appeal such will be the condition of the city & we only will be responsible for that day!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Please do visit my blogs to know about our philosophy at Sanjeevani !
(Click the links below)

http://visonoflife.blogspot.in/2014/06/a-journey-of-decade-named-sanjeevani.html

http://jivnachadrushtikon.blogspot.in/

Social Side of Sanjeevani ! (Click link below)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65629150@N06/sets/72157627904681345/

For any of your complaints about city, log in at link below

http://www.punecorporation.org/GRS/Complaint/LaunchComplaintCitizen.aspx

Think Green, Think Life