Offbeat Pharma : It has been 65 years since Independence and it is time to reflect on what we have achieved
It has been 65 years since Independence and it is time to reflect on what we have achieved. Our Founding Fathers gave us a great constitution which laid out a new vision for our Republic. Our freedom movement was led by the educated elite of India who put public service before self, gave their lives for the movement and set very high standards. Sadly after Independence, the educated elite seem to have forsaken politics focusing on their economic empowerment. Their interest in governance and politics has declined, they have send their children overseas to be educated and many have settled there and generally they seem to have reduced their stake in India.
Over the last 65 years we have seen political power come down to the bottom of our social pyramid, fully empowering all sections of our society, thereby creating a very vibrant, fully representative democracy. Each group has formed its own lobby, the caste lobby, the minority lobby, the Dalit lobby, the Backward Caste lobby, the language lobby etc. Democracy is a system of competitive lobbies and the admixture of such lobbies creates a diverse polity and takes care of all interests. However there is no lobby for the educated layers of our society or the urban section. As a result our cities have degenerated and quality of life and administration has declined, policies and governance is out of tune with our needs bereft of the intellectual capacity needed to manage and govern a large, complex economy in a globalized world. The result is there for all to see, high corruption, crony capitalism, caste ridden policies, neglect of urban areas, decline of merit in public administration and glorification of the mediocre, increased violence, stultified justice, a bad law and order situation and declining respect for the rule of law.
In every society around the world true progress has come when the educated middle class has participated in political activity and governance and that is the missing piece in India. Lately there have been movements led by the educated middle class, the Anna Hazare led anti -corruption movement, the movement for better governance and freer information and renewed interest in governance. The anti -corruption movement is morphing into a political movement with set goals. But a lot more needs to be done to improve governance. A direct link with candidates for political office is needed including part funding their elections. Only then is a direct link established between the governed and those governing.
We need the educated middle class and the elite to be fully engaged in governance and work with our political leaders to push for better policies and better governance. For that purpose in Bangalore, concerned citizens have formed the Bangalore Political Action committee (BPAC). This is an initiative for better governance and better execution of policies. The BPAC would create an Agenda for Bangalore which would be inclusive and for the betterment of Bangalore and all its citizens. It would then gather funds and offer some part of the legal funding needed for candidates who would fight the elections and on a nonpartisan basis. It would focus on candidates and not on political parties. It would help fund those candidates from any political party who they reckon are honest, open and collegial, open to new ideas, democratic by nature and who they can trust to be reform oriented. This would also give an opportunity for independent candidates to enter the fray and give confidence to concerned citizens who want to get into the political arena and who cannot afford the funding need for this battle. The funded candidates would need to support the Agenda and work for its fulfillment. Since the agenda would be broad based and for public welfare and nonsectarian, it would draw support from the Manifestoes of political parties themselves.
The BPAC would fund candidates for the City Council, legislative Assembly and for the Parliamentary seats, but all for and from Bangalore City.
The BPAC would also continue its engagement after the elections, meeting funded candidates frequently, lobbying for good legislation and producing regular reports for the public. The Members of the BPAC would not contest elections, nor have an ideology except good governance nor pursue any agenda for their benefit. The focus would be public service and public good. Hopefully this would contribute to the deepening of our polity and better engagement with the political leaders so that our hope of a better society is realized.
Many more such initiatives are needed but above all the educated middle class and the educated elite need to participate in the political process and engage with political leaders. They can no longer afford to stay out and moan and groan about bad governance.
T.v. Mohandas Pai
Vice President B.PAC