Even as I write this piece, rain is pelting outside with confused intensity. Lashing from one direction for a few minutes, choosing a breather, wondering for a bit, and then continuing from another direction. The monsoons have been generous to Mumbai so far, even if the बृहन्मुंबई महानगरपालिका (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) would have you believe otherwise. Still plying excuses for it’s rationing of water supply.
The monsoon clouds visited Mumbai this year courteously ahead of schedule. The initial few introductory drizzles were performed with the etiquette of a classical vocalist offering the first stanza as a figurative obeisance to the lords before unleashing the full range. After the first few weeks, where intermittent rain and sunny skies created a steamy ambience, the wheather has been pleasantly cooler since July. Thanks much to the overcast conditions. Since then, Mumbai has witnessed thunderstorms with heavy rains and thunderstorm warnings with neither thunder nor storms. This year Mumbai also experienced window pane rattling winds, ripping off asbestos sheet roofs and the tarpaulin covers on it to protect from leakages. With Ganesh Chaturthi in sight now, the the rains have dwindled in frequency, staying true to custom yet again.
An integral part of a functioning democracy is the Opposition. It’s the Opposition’s responsibility to raise public’s issues because, let’s face it, the ruling party doesn’t need these issues until the next elections. Issues are nothing but pesky distractions for the governing party, well if avoided and better if managed it into being yesterday’s news. So, if the opposition isn’t performing it’s role in making the governing party’s reign difficult, does the system continue to be a functioning democracy?
Politics – Will it ever be a social movement?.
Some ideologies are brandished best by parties who are perennial Opposition backbenchers. The Communist parties of India and the Janata Party of yore are both good examples of this. In both their cases their grassroots organizing capabilities and their internal functioning of raising pertinent issues and agitating for their causes were always encouraged. The central functionaries of both these parties would not try to control such activities, merely bless them. As a result they would prove extremely effective in making the job of governance as difficult as possible. I remember the days when ‘bandhs’ and political unrest because of price rise, shortage of commodities, transport woes, etc. were monthly happenings. Everybody argued, only if the Opposition was a little patient. Only if government was allowed to govern then the public services would be timely and efficient.
Back then, politics was as close to being a social movement as my generation has ever seen.
‘Hi’, popped a chat window on my laptop while reading some news stories on the good ol’ web. It was my 10 year old niece from Dubai. We had added each other to our chat profiles a month ago. Now the communication channels to Dubai are open daily, for at least 4 hours. It’s always good to hear her voice when she decides to start an ‘audio chat’. Today she chose to continue typing. It’s only much later that I figured out, with much clueing in from her, that she chose typing today because she was playing a game simultaneously.
The process of realization of the ideas of India and Pakistan seems to have followed the path of it’s principal founders, Nehru and Jinnah. Both had a convincing idea of India and Pakistan. Both derived it from their family, their neighbourhoods, their education and most importantly the people they chose to call friends later in their lives. Jinnah’s idea of an equally secular Pakistan, but one primarily based on the undeniable right for Muslims to a majority was as convincing as Nehru’s idea of an undivided secular nation with a Hindu majority. Jinnah had to fight for his idea while Nehru appeared the dignified statesman, yielding. The realization of their ideas seem to have traced an unmistakable parallel with their lives. Jinnah’s idea died with him, soon after Pakistan’s conception. India was considerably lucky in receiving the stewardship of Nehru in further crystallizing this idea for 17 more years. His idea, after his passing, over cyclical iterations of selfish and ambivalent governance, is now indistinguishable.