Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Seven Demands by the Voters from the Candidates / Parties- Dr.Ishanand

Seven Demands by the Voters from the Candidates / Parties

            Anna Hazareji and a number of enlightened and concerned citizens have various anti-corruption plans for the coming national election (2014) to bring pressure on the political parties. Besides, opposition to corruption is the primary objective of the AAP (Am Aadmi Party) led by Arvind Kejriwal. Here I shall enumerate some of the anti-corruption measures suggested by different experts and wisemen. The substance of these measures, with minor variations of time and space, has to be placed before each candidate in particular and the political parties in general, as conditions for their legitimacy and eligibility.

(1)        No convicted criminals or goondas be candidates for election

The Supreme Court has advised the political parties not to choose any convicted criminals for contesting the election. The government with the connivance of other parties, had opposed this advice and had prepared an ordinance against it. But Rahul Gandhi, the Vice President of the Congress, had the good sense of going against it publicly (September 2013). The result is that soon the political leaders like Laloo Prasad Yadav found themselves in prison. The implementation of this Apex Court Advice can partly heal India’s corruption cancer. Rightly therefore, Rajeev Dhavan a constitutional expert wrote in TOI: “We know that our electoral democracy is, in part, a goonda-driven democracy. Criminals are candidates. The Supreme Court ripped apart overt protection to criminal legislators. All the political parties wanted to revive this protection by ordinance. Rahul Gandhi has had the courage to defy the Congress policy on this, which led ultimately to the overturning of the ordinance” (TOI, “Fixing A Flawed Democracy”, October 4, 2013, p.12).   

(2)        No ticket to politicians unwilling to support the anti-corruption structures

Lokpal–Jan-Lokpal–Lokayukta, “with teeth”, albeit with minor variations, do seem to be the widely accepted anti-corruption structures. In the main text I have pointed out how a number of democracies, both Western and Eastern, have adopted such structures with good results. But by and large, the powerful politicians of India, both on the regional and the national levels, are opposed to these structures “with-teeth”. A typical example is the opposition of a powerful politician like Shri Narendra Modi to the Lokayukta appointed by the Governor and the Gujarat High Court. His unwillingness to oppose corruption is very obvious in the Lokayukta Bill “without teeth” passed by the Gujarat Assembly, seemingly pressurized by Shri Modi. When the Lokpal and Lokayukta have executive powers, “teeth” (e.g. KPK of Indonesia), then only can they take us a long way in our fight against corruption. Regional leaders like Miss Mamata Banerjee are opposed to Lokayukta on flimsy grounds.

(3)        Tickets only to the supporters of pro-poor programmes

When the government undertakes any project for the development and progress of our country, it is vitally necessary to take seriously the following talisman-like norm given by Gandhiji:

“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny?... Then you will find your doubt and yourself melting away.” (Taken from a Gandhian card sold in Gandhi Ashrams)   

To realize how vitally necessary is this talisman, before planning any project for development and progress, the following Indian realities should be before the mind of the planners: (i) still the BPL people constitute almost 30% of Indian people (about 35 crores), (ii) for the quality of life, India is far below the majority of developing nations, (iii) the raging controversy in India about ‘growth with equity’, ‘inclusive growth’, ‘trickle down economy’ and the like.

(4)        Transparency with regard to the source and amount of election expenses

Already in the text I have pointed out that the problem of financing the election expenses is a delicate one and it persists even among the democracies of the developed world. On the one hand, it is enough to make MLAs and MPs corrupt even before winning the elections, if they have taken money from the goondas, mafia-dons, black marketers and the like criminals. It is easy to understand how these tainted candidates would become representatives of the criminals who financed their election campaigns. On the other hand, election is a very costly affair. If the government, the election commission, the political parties and the candidates come together and rationalize the expenses, we can save the Indian democracy from becoming ‘a republic of the corrupt, for the corrupt and by the corrupt’. The minimum demand from the MLAs and MPs should be that they should be transparent with regard to the source and amount of money spent for their election campaigns.  

(5)        Commitment to stop hate-campaigns

            Indulging in hate-campaigns against different linguistic groups (Shiv Sena like parties), religious groups and caste groups is against national unity and integrity which all the representatives of the people have to uphold.

(6)        Promise to seek first the welfare of the nation and then only the good of the party

‘Electoral politics’ and ‘vote-bank politics’ have been the bane of Indian Democracy. Parties are for the state and the state is not for the parties. The good of the party does not necessarily mean the good of the people or that of the nation. No party in India seems to be free from the corruption-breeding vote-bank politics. There are umpteen examples of rejecting excellent developmental projects and of introducing populistic programmes at great cost to national exchequer. 

(7)        Legislation to defend the honest whistle blowers

            Honest whistle blowers are the rarest and most precious gifts to our country. They are like light houses which send rays and rays of light far and wide into the dark areas of a port. There are a large number of politicians and bureaucratic officials who grow and multiply in the darkness of corruption. Such people fear the rays of light from these heroic persons. Hence in our country these honest whistle blowers are harassed, persecuted and often eliminated with impunity. In the draft for Lokpal prepared by the representatives of the government a whistle blower is not only not encouraged but also discouraged and victimized. Certainly false accusations with vicious intention have to be punished. In the Lokpal prepared by the government, instead of providing security to these whistle blowers, they are made to look criminals. But our contention is that an honest whistle blower should be protected, encouraged and even rewarded.

(Taken from Dr. Ishanand’s book, “CORRUPTION: A NATIONAL CANCER and Remedies by Scholars and Social Activists”, New Delhi: Indian Social Institute, 2014, pp.231-234)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Gamit Dantkathao – By Fr Raymond Chauhan selected as text book at veer narmad south gujarat university -Surat for M.A.

Gamit Dantkathao – By Fr Raymond Chauhan selected as text book at veer narmad south gujarat university -Surat for M.A.

The Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Surat, has selected Gamit Dantkathao – by Fr. Raymund A. Chauhan sj,as text book for  Semester 4, for the students for theMasters of Arts.(M.A-Gujarati) This book has been placed under the Gujarati Paper 18, Lok Sahitya – 2, so that the students get acquainted with the Folk Literature (Lok Sahitya).

Gamit Dantathao is a book of Gamit mythology. As part of his Gamit Research, Raymund collected, compiled and translated these myths from Gamit Language into Gujarati. It is a bilingual book in the sense that there are narrations of the myths into Gamit Language by the Gamit elders – both women and men and simultaneous translations of the myths into Gujarati by Raymund. There are altogether 19 myths orally narrated by the uneducated elders of the Gamit Tribe from Vyara and Songadh Talukas.

Dr. Ganesh Devi, the director of Basha Research and Publication Center, Baroda, who was conferred with a Padma Shree for his work with the languages of Indian on 26th January, 2014, had invited Raymund to present an assignment for publication in 1998 to a project “Indian Literature in Tribal Languages.” This was published in 2002 by the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. Hats off to Raymund for his great achievement! (Dr Roman Bhatia-Surat)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Release- Fr.Vinayak Jadav

Book Release

On 9 March, in a highly meticulously planned ceremony and amidst a packed Golden Jubilee Hall of Loyola, Fr Francis Parmar, our Provincial released Premni Pankhe, the Gujarati translation of Fr Shekhar Manickam’s English poems On the wings of love by Fr Raymund Chauhan. Raymund’s love of literary labour was duly recognized by Fr Francis who whetted the appetite for the book by situating it in the wider context of Gujarati poetry. Mr. Raghuvir Chaudhary, an alumnus of Xavier’s College and a renowned Gujarati Sahityakar hailed the commendable Christian contribution to education and literature of the state. Kavi Yoseph Macwan and Prof. R.R. Parmar, in their refined prose, gave a literary appreciation of some of the poems. The soulful recitation of some of the original English poems by Shekhar and its Gujarati version by Raymund left the critics puzzled as to who translated which. Novice Hitesh Parmar and Ms Reeta Shah played their due role as the masters of ceremony in making the programme truly a Sahitya Sabha with taste. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


My dear friends in the Lord,
April is the month of elections for us. We in Gujarat cast our votes on Wed 30th April. A large number seems to be taken up by the facile propaganda and dreams of development that would reach down to the poorest of the poor. On the other hand when we look at the national parties around, the picture seems very bleak. People are polarized on the basis of caste and creed. There is rampant corruption all around, reaching all levels. Fundamentalism of all types mars the healthy development of all as equal citizens of this great country.

And yet, we hold on! Ours is the largest democratic island, in the sea of dictatorial regimes all around. In spite of all odds, we have retained our faith in the democratic system. We do hear small, still voices of protests against corruption. We do hear voices extolling the common wo/man. Those who make these noises, may not have been able to deliver; but the protest is in the air.

In that situation, it becomes our duty not only to cast our votes conscientiously, but also to make people around us think for themselves. Like Socrates of old, we need to raise questions against all propaganda to help people think. And above all, PRAY, that the Lord who has begun a good work in this great country of ours, brings it to fulfilment so that the reign of God, reign of righteousness, justice, peace and love is established.

In April we commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar (14-4-1892 to 6-12-1956). Here is an icon for us to emulate. From his own suffering, he learnt the lesson of compassion and worked for the uplift of Dalits. May this commemoration inspire us to dedicate ourselves more fully to the downtrodden women all around us.

This year, April is the month when we call to mind the redemptive Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. We do well to purify ourselves through the Lenten observances. We do well to recall the great events of the Passion, Death & Resurrection of the Lord. But at the same time, we need to look around at the Passion and Death that our fellow human beings are undergoing, day in and day out, often, as a result of development. Development induced displacement, development induced destruction of trees and forests, development induced diversion of water from the parched lands and its tillers to industry and so on. No doubt, we need development. But we need to make sure that the fruits of development reach unto this last! May we all work for that heaven of freedom where the millions today who experience degradation, passion and death, experience the Resurrection. Happy Easter!
A. M. D. G.