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What role did we play in the Mumbai terror attack (guest post)

December 2, 2008

Now that the Mumbai situation has been resolved, it’s time to take a step back and ask ourselves a lot of questions. While watching the news, I was stuck by one statement taken from someone on the street and more than anything else I feel this is the question we need to ask ourselves, not why it was so easy to take over three landmarks, not what ideology justifies this carnage, not why it took so much time for our administration to respond; but when will we hold our politicians accountable? I feel this is the deeper question we need to ask.

I need not wax about how irresponsibly the whole situation was handled by our ‘leaders’! But are they the only ones to blame? What role did we play? When did WE take a step to make them accountable? Do I really have a right to ask for accountability when I did not even vote? I’m not proud to admit it, but it’s the truth and I hope I never make that mistake again. My voter’s ID will and should be a reflection of my right as a citizen of the largest democracy and not as a mere ID card! How many of us fuming over the feeble response from our politicians, over their quibbling and finger pointing, has take the that simple step of even voting?

And I know the argument of all who didn’t vote, about there not being any politicians who are worth voting for! Well, in which case, go and make your point that you don’t think anyone who is standing for our elections are eligible to rule over us! Yes, we can do so! It’s called Rule 49-O!

We don’t have to enable incompetents and criminals just because we don’t have anyone else to vote for! Please do check the sites and inform ourselves first and fore most!

Irrespective of whether I voted or not, I still do have the right to ask for accountability. Irrespective because willingly or not, I have agreed to respect the laws and rules set up by them, in exchange of taking care of my country for me!

Before setting up any agency against terrorism or a new intelligence center, should we not have a system were anyone, you or me, can ask, ‘Why have you, our politician, not kept the promises? When will they come true? What are you doing with our taxes?’

Should there not be a website where registered voters can raise issues? where, if enough people are asking the same question, then immediate action be demanded from the minister in charge?? Where, irrespective of whom politicians say they represent, the voice of the real people are heard?? Oh wait… there are some sites for the same!! Check [this link] and [this one].

If there is already a site like this then why don’t we know about it before? And this is where we should ask questions of the media! Is it not the responsibility of the media to inform us about rule 49-O? It was always there (since ’66), but should they not remind us at every election of our rights, especially about rights which has an immediate effect? Why is that we get more news about our cricketers and actors than rules and reforms? Agreed, they are not sensational enough to pull in all, but new channels seem to forget that their primary purpose is not entertainment, but information for empowerment!

I am hearing enough now, in the media, how the people are angry over our government’s incompetence. But this is not the first time these questions have been posed, or first time they are being expressed. Here are some links: [1] and [2].

The difference now that this is the first time it’s being expressed on such a large scale. What is the point of expressing popular opinion? Or do they express only popular opinion? What about opinions which are valid and relevant though they are not as urgent or immediate..yet! Do we have to wait for half a dozen bomb blasts for news channels to convey how the public feels?

End of the day, being part of a democracy means being part of the solution. We cannot with good conscience pass the blame entirely to our politicians. If they did or failed to do something it is, first and fore most, because we empowered them to do so!

And remind ourselves we are not victims but empowered ourselves. Vote. This is where we begin. Be part of the process. After all we are the people… by, for and of! There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Mumbai 26/11. These three days are those we never want to see again anywhere in India. We should do all we can to make sure it doesn’t. We are not helpless. But we have to help ourselves.

Take some time to inform ourselves and those around us. Hope this ranting has been of some use and not taken too much of your time…
Take care all.

This post was written by Divya Uthup Pittapally from Kerala. She was working as an IT software professional in Chennai and now she is back in Cochin for her MBA. Divya, thank you for this passionate and constructive piece of writing.

Related Reading: Our elected representatives don’t really represent us
What or whom do we blame for our terrorism deaths?
Does India need a Prevention of Terrorism Act?
Is voting for a political party better than voting for the candidate?
The middle-class in India is not voting!
Don’t want to vote? Then register your no-vote!

48 Comments leave one →
  1. December 2, 2008 6:54 pm

    awesome! very interesting. just yesterday we were talking about the 49 (0) vote…. and a lot of people might opt for it! i will be glad of course!

  2. ahumanbean permalink
    December 2, 2008 7:00 pm

    The Man In The Mirror – background sountrack!
    Hmmmm…if this 49-0 bit is true:

    If we vote for nobody, who is going to steal our money a k a rule our states?

    We need a Scandinavian model, or a purely private CEO who’s accountable to a Board and to the larger public via a website+paper.

    I’d suggest people who’ve already made their money and built their houses: along with ground level Panchayat reps who’ve proved their worth in the past. Most likely they will all be women!

    Heck, they should be pre-dominantly women – without husbands pulling strings a la Lallu/Rabri

  3. December 2, 2008 7:10 pm

    compulsivewriter, from what I know the 40-0 is just a way to get people to the voting booth. It is a vote, even if it is a no-vote. It shows some positive action, rather than apathy. It shows that people are making their voice felt.

    Human Bean, They should have an additional rule in which if there are about 20% no-votes, get a fresh round of candidates. Me too thinks that women without men pulling their strings are a good bet, at least 50% of politicians should be women!

  4. December 2, 2008 7:54 pm

    very nice information…i was having these questions in my mind and when I posted a post expressing my views, i got comments asking these questions…
    even i believe its high time we stand together and start helping ourseleves in a hope not just saying “Arrey yaar, akela tu kya karega”….coz, this society is million of “Indivuduals” and I believe an individual can do something….
    Awesome input from Divya….Truthful and straigh from heart

  5. December 2, 2008 8:10 pm

    “The exact implications of Rule 49-O from the perspective of winner declaration are unclear. It may be, given the present state of The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, assumed that a winner will be declared irrespective of the number of ‘non-votes’. However, a note of every ‘non-vote’ will be made with the Election Officer, and the total number of non-voters will, presumably, be available under the Right to Information, Act”

    There. I read about this 49-O a few days ago and a lot of people seem to be falling for it :/
    To me, Democracy is an illusion of choice. And 49-O is for people who haven’t fallen for it yet.

    Its like letting an animal choose its butcher. And with 49-O it can say ‘I don’t care who kills me’. Wow, that made a lot of difference!

    I would like to see our politicians take part in live debates like those during the american elections. Enough of making stupid comments on tv against his opposition. Lets see him face his opponent without any piece of paper to read from.

    And to all those pro-democracy people, a question.
    Who do I vote for if I want PartyA at the National Level, PartyB at my State and PartyA for my City? and Why the crap can’t I decide who is made the first citizen of India, the one who can simply suspend my rights (during ’emergencies’ ofcourse)?

    I would how anyone, including politicians, can completely agree with whatever a particular party says/does/believes.

  6. wishtobeanon permalink
    December 2, 2008 8:38 pm

    Hi Nita, a good post…Yes, the media needs to be responsible and provide information to empower the citizens of the country. The television especially has a major role to play as it it viewed by uneducated and illiterate people too. Indian citizens need to press the government for transparency. Indian citizens have a right to know where their tax money is going. We can’t say that India is a democracy until and unless the government(national, state and city) is transparent about it’s work and people have a say by voting for different issues that affect them.
    Are there any other political parties other than the usual Congress, BJP, Janata Dal and CPI that people can vote for? We know that all these parties are tainted. Is there any new party that has an untainted past and does not have criminals as members? Sorry to keep bothering you with these rants and questions!

  7. December 2, 2008 8:40 pm

    Nice and thought provoking article. Who ever is the politician, we will still have to demand service. Even if all of us vote, we would still have to choose between devil and deep seas. Its better to come togeather and demand action from whoever is the elected politician. It is the lack of accountability in our public sector that is hurting us the most. We will have to demand that accountability. It is our duty as responsible citizens.

    Destination Infinity

  8. weneedchange permalink
    December 2, 2008 9:12 pm

    first of all a request , i have been following several of your blogs. and quite like them, so please do not quit blogging. In the context of the present topic i wish to say that in spite of existent rule (49/0) one might still be reluctant to exercise this choice for fear of safety.Hence one more option in ballot paper saying “None of the above” is quite apt.

    Just taking a break! 🙂 – Nita.

  9. December 2, 2008 9:48 pm

    nice post 🙂 I didn’t know about 49-0 rule.At least i know this before i started voting 🙂

  10. December 2, 2008 10:38 pm

    I was not aware of 49-O. Good!! atleast I’ll go till the polling booth from now onwards.

  11. December 3, 2008 4:15 am

    Very nice article. Like others I was unaware of 49-O. But what good would it be? If everyone votes for nobody then what would happen? Would we have president rule? would another party need to be formed? Would that inspire people to form another party? Perhaps like Yuva? These are some questions that arise, but it will be interesting.

  12. December 3, 2008 7:06 am

    Nita, this is a nice post by Divya. Does she also blog regularly? An year ago this option of not voting came into my inbox as a forward. I thought it is some thing that is yet to be implemented. No Govt announcement, No propoganda. Jagore!
    IHM also posted about 49-O some days ago. With this facility perhaps there could be re-election if a significant number “vote for none of the above”, but will that mean we get “clean” candidates worth our vote? Besides after “choosing our butcher” as someone puts it, do we have an option to call back a candidate for nonperformance? We need this too!

  13. December 3, 2008 7:19 am

    Being a citizen in a democracy means being aware of what’s happening in the legislature both at the state and national level, and informing the elected representatives (doesn’t matter whether she’s from the party you support, or whether you voted for her or not – as long as she represents your constituency) of your views on certain issues that are alive and are important to you – either individually or as part of a group/organization.

    Just as we spend an hour everyday working out, similarly, 1-2 hours every week need to be spent on educating oneself about current issues – pros and cons – and discussing them as well as writing about them. That includes finding out how the legislature/parliament works, how bills are introduced and how laws are made.

    We spend more hours watching a cricket match, discussing players’ statistics and records, their performances etc. than doing our civic duty, so 1-2 hrs/week is not unreasonable to spend on issues that affect our lives much more than a cricket match.

    What’s also needed are non-partisan watchdog groups which keep an eye on elected representatives, stance on issues and their voting record etc. and make it available to citizens through a website or a newsletter.

    Whether we want to watch the latest crap from Bollywood, or spend those 2 hours doing our civic duty is a choice that’s in our hands and no corrupt politician can take that away from us. We have so many technological resources and tools that make it easy to organize, when compared to pre-1947.

  14. December 3, 2008 8:46 am

    Stupendous ranting!! 😀
    Divya, I cant agree more with you. Awareness among common people is lacking. Whether the media initiates or the common man himself initiates, finally awareness is important. See, most of us do not know that something like section
    49-O exists. And yes, there has to be an accoutability on the taxes we pay. There has to be a prcess where in we know what the tax we paid is used for. Bigger reforms, in the history, have always only followed big revolutions. So what is it that is required to have reforms? A Revolution! But how do a common man go about with a revolution? Well, does the media have sometime to look at this?

  15. December 3, 2008 9:31 am

    Sahaja, this post was straight from the heart and that is why when I read it, I loved it. At the same time she has given some concrete suggestions as well. We need to point the fingers at ourselves, rather than at others.

    d1g1t, I know what you mean, but there is another aspect of a non-vote. It assumes that the person has familiarized himself/herself with the candidate and has decided that no one is good enough for him. At least that is how I look at it. In India many people do not even know the background of candidates and simply do not bother to vote as when one says that all politicians are bullshit, people sympathise and understand. I think live debates are a great idea as the huge tv watching population will be forced to find out what their candidates are saying.

    wishtobeanon, as you said, the tv particularly needs to play a bigger role, and I thought it was a useful suggestion of Divya’s. And yes, there are other parties, two I know of and I am sure there are others but I do not want to mention them here as I do not know all and I do not want to say that such and such party is good, because it is never the case, it’s a question of how many good people this party has and how many the other has and I don’t think I have enough information to say how many. Actually I feel that it is individuals who are important, we need to vote for individuals. There are good individuals in all parties.

    Destination Infinity, yes, demand accountability from the candidate we have elected.

    weneedchange, well, voting is supposed to be a secret, so lets hope the safety angle doesn’t come up.

    vishesh, yeah, but I hope you don’t do a no-vote. Its always best to choose some good individual, even if he is an independent.

    Amit, mashedmusings, 🙂

    Dinesh Babu, I think the no-vote will be excercised by only a small percentage, but if it gets people to get up and go to the polling booth I think its an achievement. As you are aware, in India there is low turnout amongst educated people but most slum people vote.

    Gopinath, No Divya does not blog. In fact she was not keen that her name appear at all, and wanted to simply spread the message. I managed to persuade her (through a blog friend) to give her real name. I only publish guest posts if the writer gives out the real name as I think this is very important for authenticity. And well, there is no guarantee of clean candidates at any time!

    Amit Lotusnova, I agree with you entirely. People need to be aware of the political process, the background of candidates and follow the quotes and actions of politicians closely so that they can make the right decision when the time comes. Unfortunately many educated people are not interested in current affairs and often do not know whom to vote for. To tell you the truth, my young 20 year old maid knows more about the candidate from her area than young college kids her age. And my maid is not even passed the 8th standard.
    She also is politically aware, and knows what her candidate does nor does not do, and what the rival one does or does not do.

    Manoj, I echo your words about Divya. Stupendous ranting!

  16. December 3, 2008 9:37 am

    Well, Nita .. I have difference of opinion here …

    I do not blame politicians entirely for this attack .. As per my knowledge, RAW and IB had already conveyed to the Maharashtra Government that terririst might take sea-route to enter mumbai .. Maharashtra officials conveyed it to Navy which protects the sea-border .. One of the navy officers even checked the boat by which terrorists entered the city but as they had proper papers in place, he allowed them to go ahead ..

    Now tell me, where is the fault of politician here?? .. Ofcourse, they are responsible for our safety but their job is to decide policies and give orders .. They are not gonnna stand on the border with guns to protect .. If everybody would hv performed their duties well then we could hv avoided the attacks .. but politicians are not at all entirely responsible for this awful incident .. This is what I think .. I may be wrong but please guide me what we all can do to protect our motherland and to protest against the officials?? .. STanding in front of gateway of India with burning candles is not gonna help ..

  17. December 3, 2008 9:39 am

    I and my colleague has done enough work on this rule yesterday.

    49-O, also in PRESIDING OFFICER document undersection 17-A, had is not fully understood by media.

    This 49-O is comprised of 2 sections, one is “I Vote Nobody”, which as Nita rightly said is to draw voters to Polling booth.

    There is second clause which was being proposed along with this, which never had got approval.
    th clause is :->
    “If a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received “49-O” votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. “

    Since 1969, it is being proposed, but never got approval. This obvious seeks, political parties vested interest and not public benefit.

    This is similar, to a security person given rifle and sent into war and asked to wait till orders come! and till then he keeps on taking on bullets.

  18. December 3, 2008 10:28 am

    I think now corporate houses should take part in the development of politics.

    They can start by selecting one of metro cities and get “good” youngsters who want to join politics. Then they should fund in the PR process of these youngsters during election time for Legislative assembly.

    If the execution goes good and people get better results from this youngsters as politician then they can expand this to other cities also.

  19. December 3, 2008 11:25 am


    Its a well-written piece. However, I wanted to shed some light on the 49-O rule. There is a lot of ambiguity on this, and apparently a misleading email forward has been circulating, which does not represent the rule correctly.

    While this section exists, and it allows a person to register a non-vote, that non-vote is merely counted and registered. It will have no bearing on the election result.

    For example if a candidate gets 5 Lac votes and if there are 6 Lac non-votes (i.e. people using 49-O), the candidate will still be declared a winner, if he has simple majority over the other candidates. The no. of non-votes being higher than the max votes for a candidate will not ensure a re-poll.

    The EC has made a proposal to the PM in 2004 to include a ‘non-of-the-above’ option in the ballot list (to safeguard secrecy of the ballot) and enact a specific rule which will ensure that there is a re-poll if ‘non-of-the-above’ option is the majority. However, this does not exist today.

  20. December 3, 2008 11:35 am

    Hi all,

    We look into getting into politics as a long term issue, and security as a short term issue.
    We need to achieve both objective with satisfactory solution.

    I have put up debate on my blog Chair game started what about security?.

    Can we make good changes in constitution with current quality of politics and politicians.

    Please let me know what you think!

  21. December 3, 2008 1:47 pm

    Sunny, I am not surprised that the second clause did not get approval. Getting tickets for contesting elections is linked to all sorts of things, including payment, favours, favouritism etc. Imagine what will happen when the candidature cannot be guaranteed!

    SaTaN, I doubt that the corporate houses will want to get involved. Times of India did this campaign but I do not know how the winners are doing.

    Nirav, I agree that there is some misleading stuff about the rule on the net. It is important to remember that the rule as it exists today is simply to get voters to the booth. If the second clause existed, then some practical use could be made out of it. As it stands now, this no-vote is simply a way the voter is saying that I know about the candidates and I choose to vote for on one.

  22. December 3, 2008 3:40 pm


    I am still on a look for if a common person (united say 30 Lacs. signature.) can help approval or removal of any particular clause in constitution.

  23. December 3, 2008 3:52 pm

    Just as an update on rediff:
    I am Mad! staffer and Bollywood film-maker Suparn Verma’s blog post asking Mumbaikars to gather outside the Taj Mahal hotel on December 3 at 6 pm has set off a huge response and citizens fed up of the way their city is taken for granted have vowed to be there.

  24. wishtobeanon permalink
    December 3, 2008 7:41 pm

    I am watching news as I type this. I am glad the people have come out to voice their protest. I only hope the govt. does not translate ‘action’ to war against Pakistan. That is the last thing we want as violence only begets more violence. I hope sense prevails…
    I cheer for the fellow Indians who have come out on the streets!

  25. December 3, 2008 9:42 pm

    Soham, sorry I am replying to your comment a bit late, somehow I missed when it arrived. I too have read about the intelligence inputs but as far as I know the home ministers are the heads of the security. They direct and lead.

    Sunny, you can start a petition then.

    wishtobeanon, the gathering in Mumbai was a great success. I saw it on tv too. Lots of voices and anger. This should have happened earlier. when the mumbai train blasts took place. But I guess this one on the taj is the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

  26. December 4, 2008 1:50 am

    A good post:-) As many I was also unaware about the 49-0 rule. But whats the use of that, at the end of the day we will have the presidents rule which in turn will be the central party’s domination in the state. What I would suggest is why dont we youngsters take this as a lesson, start a awareness program to the public, we bloggers start a community to help the public, replace the chief ministers and the minister’s, instead of begging and blaming them for a change, why dont we be the change! Bloggers and visitors please let me know your comments.

  27. December 4, 2008 12:05 pm

    I was not aware of the 49-0 rule, until I read the post. I agree with Nita’s comment and I was wondering if Gandhi’s quote ,”We must become the change we want to see in this world” would come into play here.

  28. maitreyee permalink
    December 4, 2008 2:02 pm

    I really have to say that we cannot only blame the politicians b,coz we vote them so in one case it was our mistake for choosing so undynamic politicians

  29. December 4, 2008 7:59 pm

    ELECTORAL REFORMS recommended by T S Krishnamurthy should also be implemented to make sure we have the Right to vote for ‘None of the Above’, as one of the options when we vote using Electronic Voting Machines. Read about the proposed reforms by our Election Commission here,

    And you’ll see why no political party agrees to implement them. They will have to tell us how much wealth they have, their criminal records and much more.

  30. stud.boy99 permalink
    December 5, 2008 3:05 am

    i was reading the exchange of comments across the border…

    first, Manmohan says.. “outsiders will pay a price… “, pak army challenges that they are ready for war…

    then Pranav says.. ” no no, we do not want war, we just want fugitives otherwise we have right to protect ourselves “… pak responds “strike any paki terroritory and it means war…” and gave their typical response, give proof (which ultimately they will reject as they have done in past)

    someone said Pak are “fragile democracy”, SO INDIA should be careful not to break it and bring dictatorship…is it india’s responsiblity to bring democracy to pak.. how has it helped india anyway by having democracy there… sharif was a democratically elected PM, still we had kargil war..

    recently phrases like “india only has limited options” and “just banning the LeT is sufficient enough for future” are being floated around.. and this is friday today, just one week has gone past since the massacare ended in mumbai..

    just wondering whts the common person’s role in the ongoing communications across the border?? how are we to respond to this “insensitive” and “irresponsible” nature of indian government and the belligerent nature of pakis…

  31. December 6, 2008 7:12 am

    How can any elections be free and fair if we have to choose from amongst the Devil and the Deep Sea? We don’t even have a Democracy if we don’t have the right to vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE

    The biggest proof, of how good these reforms are – is our Politicians’ resistance to it!
    Sad situation, but we are entirely not helpless.

  32. December 7, 2008 8:18 am

    Enough is enough.

    We know we will only get what we seed. So is the current netas. They are the produce of this system which is based on Money, Power and threat. The whole idea of social service is lost. Whoever do social service wont join politics and if they do this system wont let them do.

    To ye kab tak chalta rahega. Are we just spectetators? Is this system is good enough to give us leader like Obama? When you need money to get tickets for elections from any national parties how can you expect them to serve you after investing so much in it. Sooner or later they will earn back the money they invested.

    Enough is Enough As we lost complete faith in current political system, We will not sleep this time ki sab thik ho zayega. This Big question is in front of whole country This is the time we shall do something before these wounds start heeling..

    Lets found the solution together.

    Can we do it……………………..YES WE CAN

  33. December 7, 2008 8:19 am

    We know we will only get what we seed. So is the current netas. They are the produce of this system which is based on Money, Power and threat. The whole idea of social service is lost. Whoever do social service wont join politics and if they do this system wont let them do.
    To ye kab tak chalta rahega. Are we just spectetators? Is this system is good enough to give us leader like Obama? When you need money to get tickets for elections from any national parties how can you expect them to serve you after investing so much in it. Sooner or later they will earn back the money they invested.
    Enough is Enough As we lost complete faith in current political system, We will not sleep this time ki sab thik ho zayega. This Big question is in front of whole country This is the time we shall do something before these wounds start heeling..
    Lets found the solution together.
    Can we do it……………………..YES WE CAN

  34. December 7, 2008 9:18 am

    Ram, best to be part of the system, which means that bright young people need to join the government in some way. Will this incident motivate them to do that? I don’t know.

    Nandu, we must become the change is what I agree with!

    maitreyee, yes good to blame ourselves first and only once we take responsibility can we start to change things.

    indianhomemaker, I think they have to declare their assets etc, but that is not happening honestly. In our country, there are rules and if some people just don’t follow them to the letter. Also I feel that if voting for none of the above translates into the candidates being disqualified then it will be a very useful thing. That would be true democracy so that party tickets are not handed out to favourite candidates, but to those who are loved by the people.

    stud.boy99, it is sad to know that these things are not in our control. It is in America’s control. We are following the American diktat because America needs Pak to fight their own war on terror.

    Manoj, unity is what is important at this time and its time that people stopped being communal. We cannot expect the politicians to change, we need to change and one way is to join politics and not exploit communal feelings. I hope the new young generation in India considers politics as a career option.

  35. Vinod permalink
    December 7, 2008 10:10 am

    I find this optimism and clarion call to rise of Indians a refreshing change from the pessimism of the previous generation that did little more than crib about “the system”. If more of the young Indians take up politics with the intention of cleaning it up for present and posterity then India will surely shine.

  36. December 9, 2008 1:10 pm

    Nita, I dont Think Politics can be a carrer option cause what we want is people with selfless interest, with motto to serve the country and same thing can be happen only when you have side by side decent carear atleast.
    This is time to unite the people of India specially the youth to make the Governement listen our Voice. We have already put a lot of thoughts on Blogs and paper but this is the time we shall act to gather. Lets find out the ways to trasform this anger and agression to the productive energy for the future.

    Manoj, I personally do not believe that any person is selfless as such. I think as long as we have honest and hardworking people they can do the job. We don’t even have that at present. But yes we have to find ways to transform our energy to the future of India and I am sure that it will happen. – Nita.

  37. Chirag permalink
    December 10, 2008 1:22 pm

    Nita, we didn’t play any role and nor will we ever do that we are comfortable siting at the fences and criticize the govt and morons who are running it but we may never be a part of it.

    Have you ever heard anyone say he wants to be a politician? So if we won’t get into the gutter who will clean it?

    Even if we all vote it will make a difference, even if it is a little difference. But yes you are right, people need to get into politics too, the right people. – Nita.

  38. December 10, 2008 7:00 pm

    We have a political system that chokes anyone who chooses to come up on their own. If u r disillusioned with the current system, there is nowhere left to go. 49-O is ambiguous with respect to the result of the election and most ppl will choose to vote for a person, rather than opt for it.
    It is time we had a relook of the political system in the country and attempt to reform it so that the people’s voice is properly heard and accountability is taken care of.

    welcome to my blog Arby. I agree that 49-O is ambiguous and not the solution. And yes we will certainly reform our country and voting helps, right from the time people turn 18. – Nita.

  39. December 11, 2008 8:58 am

    @Divya Uthup P, thanks for the post.
    @Nita thanks to you too.
    a) If “I do not Vote for Anybody” doesnt bring about that effect described in the second clause that sunny mentions, is there any point doing it?
    b) am all for that website measure if its going to work, in the US they have cells that scan for such things and action is taken. Over here with only ten percent people having access to the Internet, it might not be that strong though.

    But still something is better than doing nothing at all. If not the govt, Press might notice and take it up.

    c) Nita this is for you – u know here there wasnt even a token ‘ref’ to this disaster in a NEIGHBOURing State in school – children hadnt talked about the Ahmdbd blast, nor this one. Dont you think this to be strange? And dangerous? Shdnt we have agressive citizenship programs in schools with them havng a voice too? Or at least efforts at building it up? It is worrying me no end, whats the point of going to school everyday if I dont learn anything at all about my own country and if am not sensitive about whats happening to it? Its like being apathetic when your own house is being broken into, wdnt you say?

    Why blame politicians when we are not making the right efforts to bring our children up the right way? We ARE not doing it at all! We are not even allowed to “teach” these days, we simply are asked to supply them with cramming material to pass exams – worksheets and handouts, are you aware of that

  40. December 11, 2008 9:13 am

    “Manoj, unity is what is important at this time and its time that people stopped being communal. We cannot expect the politicians to change, we need to change and one way is to join politics”
    @ Vinod, yes. It can only happen if the process of sensitizing them about our system from adolescence itself. I wish we had agressive, strong, effective Citizenship programmes in schools to use. The way we do Social Studies and History now is ineffective. doesnt produce insight or love of country. The school doesnt teach teenagers to THINK for themselves anymore, in fact we do all we can to CURB individualism, CRUSH thought and creativity – grilling “CONFORMITY” – so we get a crop of non-thinking youngsters who just go get a job, get married, and develope intellectual ennui by age twenty five.

    Unless they are very very strong to be the indiv there were meant to be.
    Secondly, unless they have very responsible parents who do the buffering at home. Or they have been under very strong individual teachers.
    I think all the indivs youngsters who write here belong to the second group and only a minority.

    How do we get the Majority, Nita? Where do we start? I despair.

  41. December 11, 2008 2:15 pm

    @ Nita : And what is the reform that is needed? Everyone has been calling out for change and reform, but there aren’t many answers out there. Ppl r looking for guidance, but not finding any.

    I think if it is something that we all can do easily and immediately it is finding out who is standing for elections from our constituency, getting oneself registered as a voter and going out to vote. This is the minimum thing than can be done. As a class, the middle class needs to get out there and vote. – Nita.

  42. December 11, 2008 3:49 pm

    Voting is the minimum we can do. But we need to find out what more can be done. I think what we can do is to form a Platform where like mind people can voice their views and same time we make sure that more and more people shall join it. We shall make a group of people who are sincerly want to join politics and make some difference to sociiety.

  43. sk pillai permalink
    December 12, 2008 3:53 pm

    Has anyone actually read Rule 40-o of the Conduct of Elections Rule 1969. ? From where can we obtain a copy of this document on payment? There is no provision regarding this matter in our Constitution. I also note a lack of clarity in our blogs regarding this point. Could someone please give me more details about Rule 40-0 or better still mail me relevant extracts of this rule ?. I gather there is a Hindustan Times article on this issue. Could someone let me know the date & year of this edition of the news paper. Regards Sushil

  44. December 12, 2008 4:28 pm

    Vote for whom and for what? Will voting for a different party improve things, since everybody seems to be shunning politcians across parties. Have anybody new come up from outside the system and what are the chances that they will be able to form a government and be in a position to do something. Indian politica system has a strong entry barrier, that nobody new will come up independently. I would a call for vote is ambigous as 49-O.
    My two cents on the whole is for India to become a Presidential democracy, so ppl can vote for their own leader. Beyond that, I doubt any reform will result change.

    Arby, I think you have read the latest post on my blog, in which I have written that changes don’t happen overnight. We will keep getting criminal and corrupt people standing for elections as long as they know they are facing an ignorant electorate. The change has to start with us. And there are many small parties which are coming up, revolt india is one of them started by iitians. there are many independents who are good. The main thing is the every drop counts. Each drop will make an ocean one day. – Nita.

  45. December 13, 2008 4:25 pm

    Nita, there are lot of ppl coming into politics seeing the lack of quality of the current set, but the question I asked earlier – Will they be able to do something positive? Will they be able to form a government? What are the chances of them getting elected?
    We’ve had a party formed by IIT IIMs few years back – Lok Paritran or something and they cudn’t do much. It’s not relevant whether ppl r coming up or not.

    Think abt it.

    U’ve mentioned many small parties have come up. There is a strong likelihood that they will be contesting against each other in urban areas (Maybe South Mumbai considering everything), and split votes. The chances of them getting elected are less unless they collaborate and share seats.
    Then there is the case of convincing the voters they are the right ppl to vote for. I do not know abt the infrastructure setup of these nascent parties, but not every Tom, Dick and Harry can setup a political party.
    Finally, if they get elected, will they be able to form a government on their own and if not, will they join hands with the existing ones (In which case their purpose of election may be compromised). Will ppl keep their faith in these parties, if they find that they may take 10-15 years (2-3 elections) to do something worthwhile? The mob has a short memory and they may forget abt the terror attacks in a year or so, like they forgot the 93 blasts or the cash for votes earlier this year (Ppl don’t even mention it now).
    I read ur post on the increasing trend of voting trend, but then the ppl r still voting for the same parties, aren’t they?
    New parties have come and gone. I am afraid the same will continue, if ppl do not have a direction to what they are looking for.

    I guess my view differs Arby. Life will go forward, inch by inch. I have little faith in doomsday scenarios. I remember when I was a teenager I used to tell people that India was going to develop one day (25 years ago) and everyone my age laughed at me. But strangely people older than me, those who had gone through the Independence days believed it too. I have faith in this country and its future. I know the mettle of our people and the resilience of our nation. So lets agree to disagree! 🙂 – Nita.

  46. Divya Uthup permalink
    December 14, 2008 1:54 pm

    Wow! First of all sorry I dint get back sooner… my friend told me that Nita is planning to publish it as a guest post, but frankly speaking I really dint think it was good enuf and totally dint take him seriously…
    Anyways, BIG Thanks to Nita for reaching out and putting out my rant where it can reach out to more ppl… and to Crazy Sam for totally ignoring me and sending it to Nita…he is one fabulous person, though he doesnt seem to know so!! And it feels really good to see so many responses, almost inspiring me to start a blog of my own!!( the key word is almost, so dont ask where my blog is!!)
    Ofcourse the point of the rant is hopfully that it wont end here… like u guys read, there’s a lot more to be added to the clause of 49-O, like dealing with privacy and making the no-vote count… dont know how to make it happen, but if anyone does then lets get started… just dying to get some action going!
    anyways, thanks a lot to all… it’s simply made my day, all that response!! I know it sounds all too idealist, but i really do believe that we can make a difference if we really want to… okie all… will stop my gushing now… take care… and thanks to all again!!

  47. December 14, 2008 5:50 pm

    Cool 🙂


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