Monday, April 20, 2015

The Mining of Poverty

Title: The Mining of Poverty
Type: Socio-Political-Economic Analysis

Abstract:
“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” by Mahatma Gandhi


It is not NEWS that the believers of the ‗divine right‘ from the West as well as the pseudo-democratic champions of the East have both been abusing the rights and minority interests of the vulnerable for a very long period of time; yet, it must be realized that the impact thus created, has been quite severe on skewing the identity of the majority living within the barriers of geographical restrictions who end up bearing misrepresentations and its subsequent consequences.

Our resistance (as Indians) to global disparities and dialectics of internal and external identities that have emerged as a result of these causes has not altered as the majority still live in a state of complacency of ignorance; if not, apathy. Resistance to forced identities has remained unrevoked and the Indian identity that has been skewed on the parallel to favour some hypocritical agendas set forth by funding and funded organizations in the development sector, can be only set right upon the realization of the fact that this plunder and ruin have been silently and systematically hatched, patched and dispatched, ignoring the identity of the majority and of course, with a certain level of deliberated resistance towards this wrongful depiction and misrepresentation.

The following analysis at a socio-political-economic level, aims to disturb the complacency of silence in order to stop manifesting what necessarily does not represent the identity of every Indian and calls for rudimentary, majority response for its reversal.

Sample:
The Mining of Poverty
“The identity of an individual is essentially a function of his/her choices, rather than the discovery of an immutable attribute.” Amartya Sen

India has always been seen as a land of harvest if not by us, at least by the West. As we try to think that gone are those days, when the great whites packed up after reaching our shores and mining us off our riches that they controlled, reaped and shipped to their land to be preserved, wrapped and sold, it is equally pertinent to be a little watchful and realize that today those we believed to be gone, are back in our shores and this time, to mine us off our poverty instead. Their first stop often as they reach our land are the slums, pavements and areas of claimed-underdevelopment, poverty and hunger-their choicest destinations (often with good connectivity through air), where they pull out their point and shoot cameras, to do exactly what it is meant to do-point and shoot-megapixel after megapixel of great whites amidst the poor, vulnerable and unprotected lot in an impoverished nation that will soon get captioned, tagged, uploaded, downloaded and blown up to unimaginable proportions to be presented in slides, posters, brochures, coffee-table stand-alone and anything creative and unimaginable during hair-raising, fund-raising campaigns to a bunch of mesmerized audiences who fill the high-raised bowls of those that seek on behalf of those who are not even aware (nor ever will be.) Thus emerges a breeding ground for forced-need-based communities and strategic-greed-based organizations and the marriage of these two groups have become subsequently complementary for each other‘s survival.

In this rights-based-era we live in, with globalization in vogue, it is not just commodities that are traded yet often tags that come with an unstoppable influx of infused culture-new, foreign and distant to us; and as we stand in awe at the conqueror, we despise our own within the boundaries and step across even if it is in the risk of giving up our culture, traditions and freedom. There is a wide difference between these cross-cultural ideas; like the idea of feeling self actualized and satisfied that according to Western philosophy is possible when facilitated through the accumulation of materialistic resources to maximize satisfaction that is directly contradictory to the Indian philosophy that speaks about the idea of giving up materialism to attain nirvana. The solution to many problems in the Indian context cannot lie in plausible formulae that seems to have worked in the West or elsewhere; owing to the fact that there is a serious discrepancy in the way hypothetical assumptions have been made of Indians and India on the basis of flawed conclusions drawn from misrepresentation and ideas drawn from an equally plausible imagination... (full paper will be shared upon publication)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Walls as a metaphor for the downfall of democracy


Main Theme: Sustainable Livelihood and Poverty Alleviation
Sub-Theme: Right-based and sustainable livelihood approach to the eradication of poverty
Title: Walls as a metaphor for the downfall of democracy
Type: Socio-Political Analysis

Abstract:
Arundhati Roy in her book, Listening to Grasshoppers, field notes on democracy, mentions, “Today, words like ‘progress’ and ‘development’ have become interchangeable with economic reforms, deregulation and privatization. ‘Freedom’ has come to mean ‘choice’. It has less to do with human spirit than with different brands of deodorant. ‘Market’ no longer means a place where you buy provisions. The ‘Market’ is a de-territorialized place where faceless corporations do business, including buying and selling ‘futures’. ‘Justice’ has come to mean ‘human rights’. This theft of language, the technique of usurping words and deploying them like weapons, of using them to mask intent and to mean exactly the opposite of what they have traditionally meant, has been one of the most brilliant strategic victories of the Tsars of dispensation. It has allowed them to marginalize their detractors, deprive them of a language to voice their critique and dismiss them as being ‘anti-progress’, ‘anti-development’, ‘anti-reform’ and of course ‘anti-national’. Talk about saving a river or protecting a forest and they say, “Don’t you believe in progress?” To people whose land is being submerged by dam reservoirs and whose homes are being bulldozed, they ask, “Do you have an alternative development model?’’[1]
This paper titled, “Walls as a metaphor for the downfall of democracy” aims to highlight the submerging trend of people’s voices along with their rights in the contemporary scenario. Taking into account the case of establishment of a nuclear power plant in Koodankulam and the chronological detailing of how a sustainable livelihood for poverty alleviation model that once pre-existed in the past, depleted under the pretext of bringing forth a futuristic, progressive, development plan; even if it meant by using brute force to trample upon voices of protests of pressure groups that tried to hold the fort for almost two decades and a half. Well, of course, using the rhythm in which walls are raised, as a metaphor, in an attempt to make the otherwise unpalatable digestible.  
Keywords: Democracy, Sustainable Development, Poverty Alleviation, Koodankulam, Nuclear Power, Pressure Group, Human Rights, Politics, Democracy
Note: Paper presented at the National Conference on ‘Sustainable Livelihood and Poverty Alleviation’ held at Tumkur Univeristy in March, 2015 and published in a book titled 'Sustainable Livelihood and Poverty Alleviation' (ISBN: 978-93-82694-21-2)

The Metaphor
There was a story once told of a young dreamer, a wonderer and a wanderer who lived his life like a complete stranger. They say, he, above anyone else, knew that he was just a visitor, a passerby on Earth who had nothing to take away with him no matter how hard he tried. Hence he lived; lived a life like life was meant to be lived; sans any trouble or fear to bother him. As he closed his eyes, he still saw light filled with sights of wonder of how the rain fell, grass grew and the dew drops remained; the doe pranced, volcanoes erupted and the fields nourished; the wind blew, flowers pollinated and the bees made their honey… everything under God’s plan was worth a wonder; everything made perfect and fell right into its place in the natural world. His eyes shone as he looked at the mesmerizing sight that lay in front of him… the world was whole and open; everything great and beautiful and he could not wait to share it. He didn’t have a name; perhaps he didn’t need one. He neither had an identity nor any imaginary boundaries nor friends to separate him from others and as far as he knew, he was part of the world and the world was a part of him. He stretched as far as his hands could reach and the winds flowing across the fields, mountains, trees and every passing stream seemed to blow the gentle breeze of freedom through.
Meanwhile, The genesis of the struggle to prevent the commissioning of a nuclear power plant in Koodankulam, a small hamlet in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu, began when an Indo-Russian nuclear power project deal signed on the 20th of November, 1988 took just 29 days for people to understand the gloom that awaited them and triggered a series of protests, marches and rallies and everything possible within the limited legal permit for citizens, living in a right-based era, in a country that claims to run on the fuel of democracy, to rise up in resistance. Further, the hypocrisy of Communism of the Soviet Union was exposed as they explored the corporate corridors of other countries to expand their profit-churning bases. By the turn of that decade between 1989 and 1991, Soviet Union collapsed and as for the leaders who signed the pact, one lost power and the other his life. Eventually, it would only prove to be a curse for anyone whose name, title, corporate or country was named to be associated with the promotion of this project; an act of (pro-natural) God, which perhaps insurance companies wisely took note of and have refused to include the tag ‘death due to nuclear disasters’ under their liabilities to avoid payment of any compensation in the event of such a (t)error occurring.
By 1991, India opened up its economy under the visionary rule of Prime Minister Narashima Rao who in the name of ‘globalization’ stretched red carpets to the very doormats of corporate globally opening the very gateway of India for them to enter. Corporate culture was the name of the game and soon, the profit-oriented corporate world became a visibly-hideous transparent cloak that covered every throne of the political system regardless of what it was named.
Soon, more of our people’s representatives who would later come to power were quick to prove that the power that they got was only a means to an end to fuel their tanks with arson to condone people’s rights and shut voices of dissent (… Just as they give a ‘’V’’ sign in other parts of India to commission projects by mining corporates who get away with establishing hospitals to treat cancer under the pretext of their CSR initiatives which wouldn’t have been needed if mining was not done in the first place besides labelling and marking those who attempt to protect India’s ecology and geography as ‘’grave internal threats’’ as the easiest way to get rid of them. Amongst many other things, I wonder who the actual ‘’grave internal threat’’ are (?!)). Supplementary agreements to the nuclear deal like the one made on the 25th of March, 1997 by D. V Deve Gowda, the then Prime Minister of India and Russian President, Boris Yelsin were signed to commission a project report to just push forth the project.
By 1997, close to a decade past the initial agreement that was signed, the only notable change that seemed to have been made was an alarming increase from the initial estimated cost of INR 6000 crores to a re-estimated INR 17000 crores as the end-cost for the completion of the nuclear power project. Further, over the years, the elected babus in charge of our treasury would also agree to pay an interest to this mega sum for the delay caused due to the resistance of the people and soon, the nuclear power project which would shell a 20000 megawatt nuclear energy, was envisaged into the ‘Vision 2020’ chartered plan of India. Thus was ready a plan for the people, by the people, of the people, to the people… just that it did not take into account ‘the people’ whose life revolved around the ocean that would be immediately affected.

The Metaphor (Contd.)
Meanwhile in the story we started with, one day, our man woke up from a slumber. For the first time in his life, his heart squeezed deep and pounded hard against his chest… he knew something was out of place. He saw a few strange people in strange clothes circle around him like a wild beast circles its prey. But the new people seemed kind; they recognized the man’s reaction as ‘fear’ and reassured him mentioning once in a while that they were there only for his good and they cared about him. They promised they were well guided by some giant book called a ‘’constitution’’ that they had just come up with and it even had a concept called ‘development’ no one could refuse. ‘’It was after all for everyone’s good,’’ they said.
Soon there were machines that reached the meadows, trampling on the pristine grass. More people joined the few and they called themselves ‘the work force’. Bricks, cement, iron and sand were mixed and soon the work force forced itself to work. As our man panicked at the sight of the structure taking shape around him, people said that there was nothing to fear and it was just a wall. A wall for his safety and for his own good. Very soon, the walls covered all four corners and trapped everything within. Nothing more of what once he saw was in sight and all he could see were walls and nothing more than him trapped within.
Says Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his book, The Discovery of India, “The Indian peasant in India more than anyone else, it is on his progress and betterment that India’s progress will depend.”[2]

Despite voices lifted by world leaders and technical experts, every sound made against the nuclear project or against the dangers of nuclear energy, proved to be only as unheard as the voices of the people from the ground. Simple and humble fishermen and those involved in fishing-allied occupation who were living an otherwise traditionally accepted, culturally admired life, recently termed ‘’sustainable livelihood’’ became silenced witnesses of an agony unfold in front of their eyes as the nuclear power plant at Koodankulam took form and took a venomous shape.
As others who neither cared nor bothered, pretended to be ignorant and apathetic, the people of Koodankulam and its surrounding area were perplexed with the idea of a nuclear power plant for various reasons that include:
1.      The reactor being set up without sharing the safety and evaluation reports made up experts with the public
2.      The know-not about what will happen to the people who would be displaced from around the ‘sterilization zone’
3.      The safety precautions and disaster management measures that were yet to be brought in place to protect the people living in close proximity to the reactor, who would have to be evacuated in case of an emergency
4.      The precautions taken for emission control
5.      The quality of the material used for construction which were said to be substandard by the very workers and contractors building the plant
6.      The durability of the plant built close to the ocean in case of a natural disaster like the tsunami or its likes that is not uncommon in those parts
7.      The ability of the our national security force especially the navy who find it difficult to protect our fishermen who might have to protect this structure in case of a terrorist threat
The ‘right to fear’ seems to be the only right left, sanctioned and accepted, that remains with the people. And as far as that right might stretch, the people concerned about the existence of a nuclear power plant around civilian population wondered why at a time when the US of A and Russia have refrained from building a single nuclear plant for over 2-3 decades, having learnt their lessons from the Three Mile Island tragedy, the tragedy at Chernobyl and the recent tragedy from Fukushima, isn’t it interestingly strange that in India alone, everything outdated-product, idea and people included-phased out from the rest of the world, is always seen as a new entrant into the market. Are we just an emerging junkyard of the West?! Again, with India just limping back from the Bhopal tragedy to even arrive at a judgement that took a jolly good 3 decades, by the time during which the main accused himself lived a decent life and died a natural death, leaving us with no one left to judge, would we need a better illustration than this to demonstrate how swift our justice system is to handle a situation if it happens again?
With many questions left unanswered (still), by the turn of the century, with the phantom of the most feared Y2K bug gone, a new bug called the Year 2000 Koodankulam (Y2K) bug was approved by the Centre and money was released to begin the excavation work for the nuclear project on the 23rd of June, 2001. Thus began our excavation of a pit big enough to contain people and their rights along with their pleas, tears and anything else left in them to shed; thus began in parallel, the excavation to dig a giant grave for democracy.

The Metaphor Ends
Moments after he realized what had just happened around him, he stunned himself awake and arose to let out a scream… a scream of despair, a scream of helplessness and a scream to be heard. Again, the people he had met at first came along with some more special people, dressed in special robes to tell him that everything was alright. Unconvinced, he said that nothing was and insisted that his freedom be returned to him; the freedom especially from the structures they now called ‘’walls’’. The others had now planned their laced and coached speech perfectly and had learnt to deliver it even better; they said he was a barrier to development and it was not civilized of him to reject movement in the path of building a future ahead of him right now. They said it was too late for him to ask for anything and were ready to sacrifice him for the sake of the wall. When he asked one more time for his freedom, they said that ‘’freedom,’’ was a concept. They urged him to dream beyond the walls; dream of the meadows and the high mountains and the stream that flows; they asked him not to stop dreaming… ‘’That is where freedom lies,’’ they said. It didn’t take long for the man to wonder… what was it that he was experiencing for real before the walls were built around him then?!
Rabindranath Tagore in his speech delivered in the US of A in 1925 mentioned, “India has never had a real sense of nationalism. Even though from childhood I had been taught that idolatry of the nation is almost better than reverence to God and humanity, I believe I have outgrown that teaching, and it is my conviction that my countrymen will truly gain their India by fighting against education which teaches them that a country is greater than the ideals of humanity.’’[3]
Today, in this land of the Gandhi-the magical barrister who once returned from the West to gain our long lost freedom, who is seen not more occasionally than once less too often on the silver screen of a movie theatre managing to give us a blockbuster and perhaps nothing more, Gandhian values and views of ahimsa and non-violence are seen more as one’s vulnerability to be cornered, harassed and abused when followed just as the protestors of Koodankulam realized two and a half decades later since they began their fight for right and justice. Right from the 1st of May, 1989 when a transport bus was driven into a crowd of protestors in an attempt to disperse them to the 10th of September, 2012 when police lathi-charged and opened fire on the protestors, people have relentlessly tried every other way to withstand the brutal force of the brutes to sustain their livelihood. Yet, it moves. The High Court on the 31st of August, 2012 gave a ‘go-ahead’ sign to the nuclear power project to operate which incidentally seemed to be a clear sign enough to signal the ‘go-to-hell’ to democracy.
Says Amartya Sen in his book, The Idea of Justice, “The force of a claim for a human right would indeed be seriously undermined if it were possible to show that it is unlikely to survive open public scrutiny. However, contrary to a commonly offered reason for scepticism and rejection of the idea of human rights, the case for it cannot be discarded simply by pointing to the fact-a much invoked fact- that in repressive regimes across the globe, which do not allow open public discussion, or do not permit free access to information about the world outside the country, many of these human rights do not acquire serious public standing. The fact that monitoring of violations of human rights and the procedure of ‘naming and shaming’ can be so effective is some indication of the reach of public reasoning when information becomes available and the ethical arguments are allowed rather than suppressed. Uncurbed critical scrutiny is essential for dismissal as well as for justification.’’[4]                                                                                    

To Conclude, let me just take this opportunity to make it loud, clear and in bold that the road of oppressive development where ‘’democracy’’ is nothing more than a word used to cover a repressive monster, ‘sustainable livelihood’ and ’poverty alleviation’ will remain nothing more than a mere mockery of additional words spelt right at the face of the human spirit. Especially those faces that once had it all, and lived a life not knowing what freedom was until it was taken away from them in the name of bringing in ‘’development’’ and in the name of ‘’democracy’’-the meaning of those words that only a few who control it seem to know. Has ‘’freedom’’ then, become a rationed commodity for a few to own or could they that claim to know, explain the concept of freedom and its detachment from democracy to them that stand lost, searching for the same within those hovering walls of development please?..    

Reference: [i], [ii], [iii]            


[1] Arundhati Roy, 2009, Listening to Grasshoppers, field notes on democracy, New Delhi, Penguin Books
[2] The Discovery of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, 1969, Bombay, Asia Publishing House
[3] The World’s Greatest Speeches, Nationalism in India by Rabindranath Tagore, 1999, Mineola, New York, Dover Publications
[4] Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice, 2009, New Delhi, Penguin Books



[i] Dr. S. P. Udayakumar, The Koodankulam Handbook, 2004, Tamil Nadu, Transcend South Asia
[ii] Newzfirstbureau, The Koodankulam timeline: 24 years of struggle, 9th December, 2012 retrieved from http://www.newzfirst.com/web/guest/full-story/-/asset_publisher/Qd8l/content/the-koodankulam-timeline:-24-years-of-struggle?redirect=/web/guest/full%20story as on 12th March, 2015
[iii] Reasons against Koodankula nuclear power project, Dr. S. P. Udayakumar, as on 10th March, 2015 retrieved from www.dianuke.org/thirteen-reasons-against-the-koodankulam-nuclear-power-project/

Thursday, January 29, 2015

To Say The Least

Within the context of prayer, as a family, we make an earnest attempt every morning to begin our day with a prayer; and well, as far as prayers go, there are numerous requests that come to my mind to be laid before the crucifix. Sincere attempts I do take not to miss any request and to prioritize the special ones from members of the family and from the circle of friends and then to include the asks on behalf of people who do not ask and for those who cannot. Besides this, there are loads of asks I have which I am sure God as a witness must be busy handling as well including; those un-digestible incidences of injustice and violence we get to watch on the media for a starter. Before long, I have a never-ending, overflowing list of asks filled with applications and supplications.

One day, as we sat down for our family prayer, Rachael, our two and a half year old daughter, noticed a picture of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross slipping out of the Bible; the picture depicted a complete agony of pain and suffering that was visible on His face and the picture lay prominently exposing the violence and injustice He had endured on the cross and the dripping blood from the open wounds that seemed to be instigating the curiosity of the child. She asked with the utmost child-like curiosity who it was and why He was given a 'time-out'. Not knowing if it was the right time to tell a child the greatest story ever told, leaving it to the consequence of the sequence of events that just unfolded, we stopped to tell Rachael the story of Christ who died on the cross. She patiently heard it all.

Towards the end, she asked, "Why did they do that to Jesus?!" to which all I could say was, "Because He was a good Man." and thought I could teach her the rest later. Watching her absorbed with the picture I got up to leave and just as I was about to do that, I saw her rub the wounds of Jesus in that picture and say something repeatedly. I stood still for a moment and listened and heard her say looking at the crucifix, "I am sorry Jesus..."      

Hearing that, made me wonder why I never thought of saying so far... "I am sorry Jesus". All that I have been doing was add further burden to the cross obsessed with my supplications and agonized selfish needs. And remembered, Mathew 18:3, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" and was glad I could learn this lesson from a child.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mad Uncle Sam

The US of A has been boggling during the past couple of days with crimes committed against the blacks by the authoritatively armed whites... well, whats new?! The more reasonable and extremely rare sensible and reasonable American must have thought that things might be different now that America has a black president and white rapper for a change... well, how sadly disappointed they must be. With the ability of the American police going up to choke slam people to death and shoot children with toy guns to death, nothing has changed much and tensions did flare amongst people who went to the promised land to try their luck with lady liberty. Meanwhile, their president, their carefully selected leader and early bird Nobel peace prize winner Barrack was concerned about other things in life,  on the radio show 'On Air With Ryan Seacrest', he was worried about picking clothes for Christmas for his "fashionable" wife; he reportedly added, ""On Christmas Day, she will look at it and say 'That's very sweet honey...' and I never see her wear whatever I bought." Well, this is the point where I should reserve my comments and start puking.

Somehow meanwhile, one amongst the rarest of rarest few Americans who I had mentioned earlier, in an interesting twist of events, caught a black woman stealing 5 eggs from a shop. When he figured out that she had stolen the eggs as a last resort to feed her hungry family, he let her go with 7 more eggs in the basket paying for it from his pocket. Incidentally, decently, he was an American, a white and a police man too. Now there seems to be hope for even the dead on the ventilator.   

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why Some Scream

Ever wondered why we scream and shout when with some people many times and in anger all the time? 
Perhaps that is how distant we feel from the person we are arguing with; and the loud noise is only an indicator of the distance we unconsciously feel while with them. We whisper and are comfortably silent and silently comfortable with people we love and are at ease with. 

Bridge the distance and keep that voice down if you please...

Zero This

"0 (zero)" is a number that fulfills a central role in mathematics as the additive identity of the integers, real numbers, and many other algebraic structures. The concept of zero as a number and not merely a symbol for separation is a discovery attributed to India, where, by the 9th century AD, practical calculations were carried out using zero. Indian scholar Pingala (circa 5th–2nd century BC) and his contemporary Indian scholars used the Sanskrit word sunya to refer to zero or void. In 498 AD, Indian mathematician and astronomer Aryabhata stated that "sthanat sthana? dasaguna? syat" i.e. "from place to place each is ten times the preceding," which is the origin of the modern decimal-based place value notation. The oldest known text to use a decimal place-value system, including a zero, is the Jain text from India entitled the Lokavibh├óga, dated 458 AD, where shunya ("void" or "empty") was employed for this purpose.

Yet, even after knowing all this and for so long, why do we teach our kids, even in India to learn the number system like our white baboos knew beginning from 1, 2, 3, 4... instead of beginning with 0, 1, 2, 3, 4...?! Are we eternally cursed to remain under the white man's shadow?! How long?!

A Distant Dream From Frozen Memory


A thousand thoughts;
Not a single grounded.
A hundred dreams;
Not one anchored.

Floating like a feather yet
heavy as the anvil,
He stops to turn; to turn, to watch those lonely footprints 
in grains of memories wash away, with every gulping wave by the sea.

Amidst the restless waters and washed away traces,
images still in absolute resolute remains.
Passion vibrant and only known to he who sees,
though silent, still calm, triumphant over ruthless waves, slaveless it frees...


Dummies Guide to Win a Nobel Prize

Year 2009: Obama wins the Nobel "Peace" Prize and says he is "humbled" while a few chuckled and called it a "blunder"; yet, the optimists hushed the few cynics and asked them to wait and watch the difference he would make. 

And then...
Total 7: Number of countries attacked by the US during Obama's reign (so far) that includes: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria
640 billion US$: Annual military expenditure of the US and that is just a staggering 39% of the total military expense of the world 
"I am really good at killing people" brags none other than Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign on his experiments with drones

Between Year 620 to 560 BC: Greek Fabulist Aesop writes in 'The Milkmaid and Her Pail', "Ah, my child," said the mother, "Do not count your chickens before they are hatched."

2014 (again): A few of US us are (still) laughing at the one's who give away those Nobel Prizes; and "hey Nobel guys, if you are listening, just keep one for Idi Amin, one for me and one for my Dad too if you have plenty of those." 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Three Wise Men

These are days when we look around in dismay at politics, our politicians who can't be seen separate(d) from it and the political scenario in tote; the only politicians available today, fit snugly into the definition of politics when "poly" means 'many' and "tics" means 'a blood sucking parasite'. We hardly have a chance to make any sensible choice these days in a situation where in the name of majority sensible wishes just get heaped beneath a pile of less chosen minorities. Perhaps Pareto Principle works well here according to Murphy's Law for what must go wrong, to go wrong. Yet, yester-years did see some legends whose dedicated work of selflessness has given us a political foundation strong enough on which today's wobbly structure though shaky and weak still manages to carry on. These Three Men I present are very simple people who led a simple life with high thinking and why, oh why, I wonder don't we have people like this anymore...

Ex-CM of TN, Arignar Annadurai, was known for his literary intelligence and classing it up a bit. There are umpteen stories about instances when he delivered his mettle and this is my favourite: Once a kid when offered a candy, looked at Arignar and told him as a matter of fact, "Did you know Sir, that 'sugar' is the only word in English where 'S' is pronounced as 'Shu'?! Our man turned to the kid and without missing a moment asked, "Are you 'Sure'?! smiled and walked on having made his point...
Incidentally, his funeral entered the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest number of attendees, a 15 million plus.

A rebel, a Communist and a legend, he holds the record for being the longest serving CM from 1977 to 2000 (23 plus years) until his retirement due to ill health; Mr. Jyoti Basu, one of the most loved politician from West Bengal, like in life, a giver, mentioned that his body even after death should be useful for the nation and pledged his body for medical research.
At a time when hideous masks of people who took one Rupee as salary is revealed as we sink our heads in shame, geniuses like this, leave this world literally giving their all and much, much more and above all a legacy of a good life to talk about with pride for the rest of us for a change... Laal Salaam!

Though a school dropout owing to poverty, he became the first to introduce the 'Mid-day meal scheme' so that lakhs of children attending school may have a decent meal atleast once a day; further, he initiated the distribution of free uniforms in schools so that children may learn without any class discrimination based upon the clothes they wear. Even the IIT in the state was introduced during his reign as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Even after being a CM for 9 years he was known as an extremely simple man full of integrity; after his death in 1975, all that he left behind was 130 rupees, 2 pairs of sandals, 4 shirts, 4 dhotis and a collection of books; yet, he has a a road in Chennai and another in Bangalore, the domestic airport in Chennai and an university in Madurai named after him; he was also awarded the Bharath Ratna in 1976. It is both refreshing and a delight to know that the people of my place (Nagercoil) voted him to power in their constituency during his last tenure; Mr. Kumarasami Kamaraj a.k.a the King-maker, will stand undefeated if he stands an election even today and will always remain victorious in our hearts...