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Lousy Critics: Please stand up!


By Prabal Atreya, Bangalore

Austerity. Rahul Gandhi. Shatabdi Express. SM Krishna. Shashi Tharoor. Five-Star facilities closed. Pranab Mukherjee. Shashi Tharoor again. Twitter. Cattle class. Jayanthi Natarajan. Ashok Gehlok. Media. Blogs.

Most of us reading this piece would have gone through at least a few of the above mentioned in some way or the other, in the last couple of days. The austerity drive by the government that’s been labeled by the media, so-called intelligentsia, and the learned bloggers all around the country. Can’t blame them, it’s this country which has such a tarnished image about the politicians. Such has been a polit-bureau’s image that the common man does not want to distinguish between the age-old practices and good practices that are on the process.

As if Rahul Gandhi and his invisible army of advisers were not aware of the fact that he cannot board a Shatabdi Express every now and then; that this drive could only aggravate his image as a lausy example for the larger Indian crowd. But it was taken, more so for his colleagues. A drive was required. Within those days, an expense list amounting to a humongous Rs.183 Crores came out open. Given economic conditions, a tax payer’s money is to be dealt more appropriately. Besides, conditions aside, it is definitely a good practice to have a check on the expense and become leaner in the operations. The government is showing signs of managing rather than work. That’s the only new perspective that’s coming up in all the recent drives. The drive is not just about all MPs and VVIPs taking economy class air tickets and chair seats in trains but about all such practices that the so-called HOLY COWS could take that reduces cost and thus better utilization of funds. I seriously recommend management classes to all critics to have a different perspective. We do not recognize Indian Politics professionally for sure. But at least, we could start acknowledging the facts and the drives and changes that are happening across. My quest into the matter saw other comments in blogs like cutting down travel cost with audio and video conferencing. Good thought. Likewise, there could many others we can come out, but only when we sit on the table with the same mindset.

Who would have cared to take note of a Union Minister staying up in a Star Hotel? This is not the first time for sure. Unless our dear Pranab Babu would not have carried those instructions to vacate their suites. What he meant there was transparency, much like a Finance head reaching out to other departments, that it is actually sending wrong signals to the people at large. Putting it in a much better way just because the men in question, S.M. Krishna and Shashi Tharoor, conduct and display the highest level of integrity. They have a proven track record. Bangaloreans still remember the CM Krishna days, so does the Marathis, not every Maharastrian would have loved to see a Kannadiga Governor given their territorial issues. Not to forget Tharoor’s race for UN General Secretary; he would not have been counted, had he not performed and delivered earlier on. I would go blindly, when they say the bills were being paid from their own pockets. This episode could have been easily dealt with, internally. What came out in the whole episode is a discipline, a transparent action, a drive that we can’t afford to do it anymore and misuse government funds. A sincere message. A common man needs to understand. Eyewash! It had been going on since ages. But these definitely look more productive in terms of actions. Do you observe some changes, do you? Understand that drives and initiatives are happening across the board in the political arena. Which is good, and we the common man, can only welcome those.

Home Ministry. PC brought in some reforms there. Timeliness in his office. The finger print log-in devices that are being installed in the Home Ministry and the responses of ‘finding-it-tough-to-deal-with’ employees are definitely good signs for us to see and acknowledge. Soon, other offices would follow. Babugiri in Sarkari offices has to be abolished. I’d love to see the same drive happening on the District Commissioner’s offices in the country. Now don’t rush for the cost hurdles associated with finger print devices, there are hundred other ways to track employee discipline; IAS officers, you guys are the best, be a change and come out with some methods and implements. Imagine the productivity. Imagine a common man coming in, getting his work done in a 30 minutes time. Against those- “Aajke Sir meeting ee, kaalke aayo” whereas the truth is he/she is not willing to do so on the given day. What PC drove is brilliant; and where else to started other than the Home Ministry itself?

This austere effect reached the ever-travelling Mr.tharoor. Professional Hazards. He twittered around as his practice. The smart man that he is, chose a smart line. For God’s sake, just because he’s representing the government. does not mean he can’t speak or write on a lighter note. Tharoor is well-read, in fact would understand Indian sentiments better than many. And we feel should good to see such dynamic people chairing important govt. portfolios in the country. English is still a foreign language in India, we still think Indian. And it’s okay to not take note of anything or anyone who gives a normal weightage to words or phrases being used. Jayanthi Natarajan, another learned person, a woman face of the ruling party, being a spokesperson, had to come strongly keeping in mind the larger sentiments of the country. But I am sure, deep down; she too understands where it came from. Later, the PM went above all and accepted it was all in good humor, thank you Manmohanji. But yes, the political atmosphere has to take on these issues too, give due treatment (in this case, ignoring is the best treatment) if we are to believe that the system is coming of age. Concentrate on the larger issues and ignore the trivia.

But it’s not the political establishments alone. It’s the intelligentsia, the irresponsible bloggers, media working 24/7 for their TRPs, who are equally the villains. Why do we have to be unduly critical about things, more so, when they are driven for a positive change? Why do the intelligentsia, keeps challenging the people at power; when he himself never made his way up there, he can’t. Media houses found the formula; pick the dictionary up, get the most unpopular word and make it the most hunted in google. The blogger would test his articulation skills, get into a bashing mode. The crème de la crème of the society, working in the corporates, practices the best in operational excellence in their respective business models, but fail to recognize the same being displayed at a political level. The truth is, we have not recognized politics as a profession. A politician’s job is as skillful just like the bypass surgery you do, expert hands like the anti-hacking software you code or dedication in the way you exceed your client’s expectations. How many of you and I, the lousy critics would take up politics or for that matter, any of the Administrative services. We sweat out by the name of Civil Services exams, and here we are, ready to criticize on every other action. If I can’t be an agent of change, the least I could do, is acknowledge a change, educate others on the change. But please, for god’s sake, be constructive rather than a destructive critic!

Today is Ninthoapa (Monday)

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