Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sarkozy's 'fatwa'?

What is the difference between Taliban and the current French President Nicolas Sarkozy in regard to their attitude towards Women's attire?
Not much.
Both have their own views about what women should not wear and want to impose them on women living under their political territory.
Both do not care much about a woman's right to decide what she should wear.
Both have their own views regarding what is Islamic and what is not.
Read what Sarkozy said .
"The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity," Mr Sarkozy told a special session of parliament in Versailles.
Mr Sarkozy also gave his backing to the establishment of a parliamentary commission to look at whether to ban the wearing of burkas in public.
In 2004, France banned the Islamic headscarves in its state schools.
Now the ban will be on burka.Tomorrow it may be a ban on wearing Turban.Then a ban on Tilak or bindi on forehead. Later it will be a ban on . . . . . . . .! May be some Islamic countries will pay back in the same coin and ban wearing of Crosses in public and this will go on and on.
Can banning a way of dressing ever help women get freedom from their "prisons"? Will it give the oppressed women a new "identity"? Are only the burka clad women suppressed?
The way of dressing should be a matter of choice.It is a matter of personal liberty. It should not be imposed by political or religious leaders.
State intervention in such personal matters will only trigger public protest against it and re-in force the burka system. The lesson from Turkey should be remembered. Ban on head scarves in Universities by the fiercely secular but unpopular military backed Turkish Government resulted in head scarves becoming a symbol of liberation from the autocratic rule.It also became a symbol of rural folks revolt against the urban elite.One of the major policy decision the new pro-Islamic Turkish Government took was to amend the Turkish Constitution to revoke ban of head scarves in Universities.
Why Sarkozy raised this issue at this particular time? The anti-immigrant right wing Parties are gaining strength in Europe as evidenced by the results of the recent European Union elections. May be Sarkozy wanted to ride that wave and make people forget the problems of the deep economic recession.
Sarkozy's 'fatwa' may gain him more votes but will it really help the Muslim women?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

More rich you are more the chance of winning an election

More rich you are more the chance of winning an election.
Many of us were aware of this but when we see the actual statistics it is startling. National Election Watch a nationwide campaign comprising of more than 1200 NGO and other citizen led organizations working on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance in India, has published a detail analysis of the Indian Parliament elections 2009. P Sainath, the renowned "journalist for the voiceless ' has written in The Hindu about this giving his insights.
Let me bring you some excerpts from the report and Sainath's comments.
There were 3,437 candidates in the polls with assets of less than Rs.10 Lakhs[1 million], says the report. Of these, just 15 (0.44 per cent) made it past the post.
But your chances soar with your assets. Of the 1,785 candidates in the Rs. 10 Lakh-Rs. 50 Lakh group, 116 (6 per cent) won. This win-ratio goes up to 19 per cent of candidates for the Rs. 50Lakh-Rs. 500 Lakh segment. And of 322 candidates in the Rs. 500Lakh-plus or platinum tier, 106 (33 per cent) romped home
Let us see this again
Candidate's Asset ------Chance of winning
Less than Rs 10 Lakhs ---------0.44 percent
Rs 10 Lakhs to 50 Lakhs--- --- 6 percent
Rs 50 Lakhs to 500 Lakhs ----19 percent
Above Rs 500 Lakhs -------33 percent
So if you are super rich you have one in 3 chance of getting into the Lok Sabha.
In other words if you are worth over Rs. 50 million, you are 75 times more likely to win an election to the Lok Sabha than if you are worth under Rs. 1 million.

If you are in the super-rich category there is high chance that you will get a cabinet post also.
23 of 64 Cabinet Ministers [more than 1 in 3]whose asset worth is in the public domain fall into this Rs. 500 Lakh-plus category. In the entire Cabinet, only one falls into the less-than-Rs.10 Lakh group.[ That is understandable.There were very few to choose from the 'poor' category]
Many MPs were reelected with handsome margins. You might have thought that they were re-elected because of their good work done for the people in their constituencies.We are not very sure how much they had done to uplift their voters,but we are sure how much they have done to help their bank balance.See this statistic.
Average individual increase in assets of a re-contesting MP is 287 percent[2.75 Crore].
So the Indian Parliament is a rich man's club. Entry is for the rich and when you enter, there is a high chance that you can increase your assets by several folds by the end of your 5 year term.This will also ensure your re-election. A win-win situation, right?
Sainath says the irony is all this is happening in India the

"One that still has 836 million human beings who “get by” on less than Rs. 20 a day. Which ranks 66th amongst 88 nations on the Global Hunger Index (just one notch above Zimbabwe). Which has plummeted to rank 132 in the United Nations Human Development Index (one slot below Bhutan) as our billionaire count has risen. That wallows below Bolivia, Botswana, the Republic of the Congo and the Occupied Territories of Palestine in the HDI rankings. And never mind being worth billions — 60 per cent of adult rural Indians simply do not have bank accounts".

For whom these rich Parliamentarians will legislate for? For themselves or for the common man?

Note: These statistics are based the Candidate's declared assets. Now if you include black money the assets may increase by 5 to 50 times.