Monday, July 26, 2010

Surprised in Jammu City about Srinagar

Today, I got pleasantly surprised as I was entering Jammu city for the first time in my life. Ending my Ladakh biking trip, I am to take a train back to Mumbai tomorrow.

I had an impression of a city comparable to Srinagar. While Srinagar is the summer Capital, Jammu is the winter Capital of Jammu and Kashmir. So common logic implied that both the cities would be similar in development and progress.

I was by far under-estimating Jammu.

Jammu city is a clean, modern well planned city that has wider roads with quite a few fly-overs. It has a six lane bridge, the likes of which is even unseen in Delhi and Mumbai. Interestingly, the bridge is so wide that one lane is used for casually parking vehicles for a lazy evening chat.

I wonder what is to blame for this stark difference between Jammu and Srinagar. Is it the local governance? Is it terrorism? Is it something else?

While in Sonamarg yesterday, I was having an interesting discussion with two local shop-keepers. They were openly antagonising the local governance. They were strongly opposing the dictat of Omar, Farookh, Mufti and the whole gang.

Ironically Omar thinks otherwise. Please read this article that was published in the Hindu.

Frustrated, the shop-keepers were saying, "They should go and stay in their villas in London and America...Kashmir does not need them... India is giving enough money to the state but everything is being used for personal benefits and to buy properties abroad. They added that Manmohan Singh is a good person but if our own people are corrupt, then what is our future..."

Then they said something quite remarkable. They said, ".. there is one person who is a good politician. Karan Singh from Jammu side is a good man and thinks about the state and our people..."

Frankly, I dont know if Dr. Karan Singh is from Jammu but now that I am in Jammu, it surely looks like he is from Jammu...

Srinagar is one of my favourite cities. I wish for as much development to happen over there as I have seen in the Jammu city. I pray that Srinagar also gets a Karan Singh as a leader working for the development of the region.

Omar perhaps need to get out of his ivory tower.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Political thought: Changing the way politics is done and perceived.

Politics today suffers from chronic In-breeding. The cause of all the political myopia, the lack of depth in political innovation and the deepening of the structural flaws in the system.

While China is winning diplomatic battles across South Asia in Sri Lanka, Australia, Burma etc, we are still struggling with an in-efficient, toothless, direction-less democracy.

Today, we are facing a dire need for a paradigm shift in political thinking and in the perceptions of politics in the minds of the common electing population. We need to think of ways to facilitate better implementation of developmental politics.

In my previous blog on 'Political In-breeding', I had mentioned about a model to reform political thinking to create developmental strategies rather than strategies just to win elections. This blog post is an effort in that direction.

Like any school or any education institute, which is known by the quality of its students, a country is also known by the quality of the people governing it. The education institutes get the quality by the strict entrance examinations or merit requirements.

For a country, it is not as simple.

For a second, even if we assume to having the best brains to run the country, would they be able to run the country to development? I wont think so.

How would they know how to run a country? How would they know the theories of management, the theories of International Relations, the theories of Financial Prudence, the theories of Industrial and Manufacturing economy and similar millions of other theories essential to govern a country to development?

Today, we neither have a proven model to filter-in quality talent to run the country, nor do we have a model to educate the filtered talent to run the country well. Some may argue that we have the Indian Administrative Services. My response is that I am clearly focusing on democracy and on the elected members of the society, who gets the power from the support of the masses to run India.

So this narrows down to two points of inflexions which can change the way politicians do politics to run the country:
  1. Making of a new Politician
  2. Educating the new Politician
Both these point require out of the box analysis with details to arrive at a model that can be implemented. I would write on each of these points in detail in two separate blog posts (just to keep each post easy and short to read)