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My take-away from the Subramaniam Swamy talk at the ML Foundation’s 2nd Anniversary

“Choose a point, any point, and launch right in, as long as your approach is positive, your cynicism of any is balanced with pragmatism, and your overall goal is to try and leave more than just your immediate family in a better state than what they were in”

There were various high points at Moneylife Foundation’s second anniversary function organised in Mumbai’s Veer Savarkar auditorium on Sunday, 5 February 2012, and like the saying about beauty lying in the eyes of the beholder, it would be fair if I provided a disclaimer here first—I am an unabashed fan of Subramaniam Swamy’s tactics and strategies. Just like I am a fan of Mahatma Gandhi’s tactics and strategies.

Very briefly, these could be described as “positive agitationism”, if they could be classified. It helps if one adds the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer concept to this approach, realising that the beauty in the larger picture that unfolds is that there is no ‘ownership’ to a result process, as is commonly held to be so important.

So, choose a point, any point, and launch right in, as long as your approach is positive, your cynicism of any is balanced with pragmatism, and your overall goal is to try and leave more than just your immediate family in a better state than what they were in.

In other words, if your horizons extend to trying to improve matters for more than just yourself or your immediate near and dear, then you have certainly come to the right place. That was the biggest message which was being pushed out into the people thronging the hall, overflowing beyond capacity, and into the wide open world through an assortment of media.

# Elections in India, are they rigged as much as the IPL auctions, or is it more, or less? These are qualitative aspects, and considering that the IPL budget is in multiples of what the general elections cost in India, then there is a quantitative aspect here too. In short, if the stakes are high enough, then anything can be rigged. The fact remains, even the spy drones used by the Americans could be brought down by the Iranians. So would we think the stakes are higher with India’s elections which use an electronic voting machine (EVM)?

And at the heart of it are these EVMs, which are considered infallible, untamperable and technologically superior to all other electronic machines in the world. By our babus. Despite being almost a decade old. How absolutely incredible it is for the government and the Election Commission to believe that their EVMs are perfect; is best answered with another question—how many of us believe that ATMs, working on almost the same technologies, are fool-proof?

# A lot has already been reported about the outcome of the court cases initiated by Subramaniam Swamy variously. There also exists some reportage on the three-pronged method advocated by him—the Anna Hazare route of a series of new laws, the mass mobilisation route by Baba Ramdev and others and then the route which encourages using the existing system, laws and rules to achieve a common goal—reduced corruption.

However, according to Mr Swamy, the most important component would be to inculcate a positive attitude and remove cynicism in all approaches. This includes the drawing room and coffee-tea chatter that many of us subscribe to. Each small candle in the corner of a dark room and a mosquito at night would be two very good symbols—you have to be positive and do your little bit.

# The efficacy of the 3+1-month automatic sanction route for investigation and prosecution against government servants of all ranks has yet to be put to the test. This will not happen unless and until more people actually take this forward. Again, analysis is great, but reality is truth so the message that went across is that here is a Supreme Court judgement on the subject and here are you, the people, the Sovereign.

What this means at its simplest, to me, is that (a) in case of an issue, I file a complaint against a public servant or even a public authority with the local police station. If, after three months, I do not see progress, then (b) I file a simple RTI application with the same police station asking for information on progress of complaint. And if I still do not get a satisfactory response for any reason, then (c) I take the correspondence and approach the highest court in the land, the Honourable Supreme Court of India, by way of a simple letter to the Registrar there.

# At the heart of Subramaniam Swamy’s dream for a better India would be what he called the 10% rule. In other words, if even 10% of the people in power did their jobs honestly, then by the law of increasing returns, as well as by better use of perception management techniques, the laws of increasing returns would kick in and provide results in multiples. This is eminently possible, though some pragmatic aspects remain which; however, with modern technology and media dissemination methods can be overcome.

The reality here, however, is that in the considered view and opinion of some very senior people in governance who do come in the extremely honest category, 10% is very ambitious on date. And there also, the danger of being run over by “the system” for trying to be extremely honest is ever present. So, maybe Mr Swamy needs to add the concept of possible self-sacrifice to the 10% honest rule, too. The corridors of power are awash with vigilance cases, and more, against those who tried to buck the corrupt system.

He did say a lot more, but brevity has to find space too, so this much for now. These examples provided above are simply some of the ones that appealed to me. But everybody has a different takeaway from any form of social interaction, and more so if it is inspirational. This is meant to be nothing more than mine, that too a very brief report, and for a complete view, please read the other articles on the subject or better still, watch the whole proceedings, available online now, at the Moneylife website or also at MoneylifeTV on YouTube

(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved actively in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves. Mr Malik had a career in the Merchant Navy which he left in 1983, qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, a love for travel, and an active participation in print and electronic media as an alternate core competency, all these and more.)

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COMMENTS

a v moorthi besides TIHAR

5 years ago

EC has repeatedly offered to tamper the EVMs but so far neither Swami or his friends like Jaya has done it and after winning last election Jaya has stopped her cry baby act. ATMs are tamper proof and every transaction is electronically recorded. Rather today some banks have have orgnised cash replenishment in such a manner that the cash bin is sealed from currency chest and installed in ATM and balance in cash bin comes to say less than Rs 10000/- that bin is taken out and replaced another one with approx Rs 14.4 lakhs so even cash misappropriation by staff is eliminated. except these there is nothing to dispute with Swami

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