Saturday, October 3, 2009

'कुणाच्या खांद्यावर कुणाचे ओझे ' 'Kunachya Khandyavar Kunache Ojhe'

'कुणाच्या खांद्यावर कुणाचे ओझे ' Kunachya khandyavar kunache Ojhe

A direct translation of this sentence means 'Who's burden on who's shoulders'. And that is exactly what is happening in politics today. My party has decided to field a candidate who has been a congress baiter and a congress hater all his political life. Not he has been given a ticket for my constiuency - Mahim - Shivaji Park where I have been working deligently for several years, addressing and solving problems of the citizens. I have been working relentlessly for improving the quality of life of this wonderful constituency.

Now that Mr. Sarvankar has been given a ticket to contest the elections, the burden of chosing the 'right' candidate to represent the people is on the shoulders of the people of this constituency. I am also surprised, disappointed and disgusted by the way some people in my party have been functioning. The injustice meted out to me by the 'party leaders' is a clear indication that the Congress in Mumbai is on a road to disaster. Mr. Sarvankar is rightfully disappointed by the treatment meted out to him by the Shiv Sena, but then he should have also thought of the injustice done by him by hijacking my right for contesting the elections in Mahim - Shivaji Park.

I refuse under protest to help Mr. Sarvankar in these elections. How can I support a right winger Hindutvavadi Shiv Sainik who is not even aware of the Congress philosophy? How can I support the very elements who I have been fighting against?

I need your comments and help in fighting this injustice.
Till then, the burden is on your shoulders.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jyot se jyot jalate raho....

Jyot se jyot jalate raho....

The decrease in the costs of computer hardware has been proportionate with the increase and proliferation of computers in India's population. The number of Internet users in India is about 16% according to the National Readership Survey and it is increasing at a rapid pace.

This has created several avenues for like minded people to connect with each other using Facebook, Orkut, Twitter and blogs. The wonderful theory called 'The Six Degrees of Seperation' was theorized as far back as in 1929 by Karinthy. The theory states that it is possible to connect to another person in the world using only six steps or intermediaries. Meaning we are separated from any other person in the world by just six steps. How true it is in today's world of advanced networking.

I have started my facebook profile and hope to connect with you all. Do visit my Facebook pages and write on my Wall. Let's connect, interact nd build a better society for our future and for our present.

Click here to visit my Facebook profile

Saturday, August 1, 2009



When there are waves, there is turbulence, sometimes leading to chaos. Luckily, this time, when Mumbai experienced the highest waves in 100 years, the raain gods had mercy on Mumbai and this wonderful city was not flooded. We were saved from a potential disaster like July 26, 2005.

But there are many other waves that are 'striking' the city incessantly. There have been strikes by the doctors, the teaching community is on an indefinite strike and soon the Maharashtra Government employees, the State Transport employees have given a call for a strike. These waves are, sooner or later, bound to hit the normal life of all Mumbaikars and I am sure, a settlement will be reached soon to prevent a disastrous situation.

Coming back to the sea waves, it is surprising that some channels keep giving adverse views of the water logging situation year after year. As soon as it rains, we find the the cameras of some channels trained on very typical of places like the Santacruz subway, Hindmata and Parel area and the Wadala and King's Circle area. This is probably because the reporters have never lived in Mumbai. This water logging problem has been prevalent for years now and the reason has been the unique geographical position and the structural properties of this city. When the city is faced with heavy rains during high tide, the water does not flow into the sea, leading to water logging. This is going to stay as no government or agency can now raise the level of the ground so high above the sea level. I do not wish to dwell on the education and experience levels of the reporters.

Let us face it. We, as citizens of Mumbai have systematically been destroying what is dear to us... the city of Mumbai. We have cemented large tracks of land, which prevents the seepage of water into the ground, making it flow onto the roads, leading to water logging. We have destroyed vast areas of the ecologically sensitive mangroves making Mumbai more prone to floods.

On one hand, we have water flooding and on the other hand, we face water shortage every year. With the population of the city growing, it is but natural that there will be a strain on resources.
The late Hon.Prime Minister Shri.Rajiv Gandhi always promoted a scientific temperament. And we, as responsible citizens should find a logical, scientific solution to these problems. Rainwater harvesting is one such solution to reduce the water shortage crisis that the city faces every summer. Even if 2 percent buildings in the city adopt rainwater harvesting, it could make a tremendoues change in the situation.

It takes will power... peoples will power and political willpower to implement such schemes. This government and the party is committed to improving the life of the citizens of Mumbai and the country. Yes, sometimes it does take time, as what has been done cannot be undone by just wishing it away. But the commitment is there, the will is there to make it happen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Politics and the New Media

When you say that the world is covered by a network of computers, it is also important to note that half the world's population does not have electricity. However, it would not be prudent on the part of anyone in politics to ignore the ever growing population of 'netizens'.

The National Readership Survey puts about 16% as the growth rate of internet users in our country. Add that to the 16% population which already uses the internet. These figures may not be huge in themselves, but with India's population, the figure touches crores.

Researches have pointed out that political parties in India use their websites more for informative purposes than participatory. However, I can clearly see the trend changing, with political parties becoming more and more modern and tech-savvy in their outlook. The benefits of using new media technology for political communication can be manifold.
  • New media are cheaper
  • They have a possibility of tremendous reaching power.
  • They are easier to create and to edit/modify.
  • They provide more interactivity and hence more participation.

Today, in India, it is extremely important for the politicians to reach the young, tech-savvy generation who would rather visit the internet for more information than go to a 'political sabha'. I strongly believe that contrary to what is believed by many people, the younger generation is wise, mature and are exposed to realities of life faster than the older generation. I remember that when I wanted to wear my first pair of jeans, there was opposition from my parents saying that I was wearing trousers made out of gunny bags.

The point I am making is that there is a generation gap with every generation. There are bound to be differences of opinion, but that does not mean one is right and the other is wrong. What the younger generation lack is a feeling of belonging, a chance of participation in the political process. The older generation has experienced the Independence Struggle, three wars with Pakistan, and the Emergency Rule. The younger generation has experienced ready-made independence and the electronic media boom, along with growing infrastructure, modern facilities and a growing economy. Hence there is a disconnect with the past realities.

I am trying to address and bridge this gap in these generations. And I am in the right position, because I am neither in the older generation, nor in the younger one.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Innovating Political Communication

Innovating Political Communication

Exploring all means of communicating with people you stand for is more than just an initiative. A politician can be your representative only when he clearly understands your needs even before promising to fulfill them. Obama’s campaign in the run up for the presidential polls in America was a precise example. One important aspect of his campaign was the extensive and effective use of the online medium.  With over 700 million Indians below 35 years of age and most of them net savvy too, online communication can prove to be effective here too. While door-to-door campaigning still remains the primary approach but a word or two on your desktop will be more enriching.

 A plethora of websites on Indian politics provide us with complete information on elections, which include exclusive news features and interviews with leading political personalities, opinions and analysis of noted experts, headlines from leading media across India, profiles of politicians and their parties, an overview of 50 years of elections in India, etc. And to make it entertaining gaming portals have some interesting political games such as Vote a Leader, Political War, Who Wins, Vote Fun, Segment War, etc. One can even choose one’s prime minister with the click of the mouse! But it’s not that easy as we all know.

During the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the Internet had accounted for less than 1 per cent of the advertising budgets of the political parties. Today, the digital media makes up at least 10 per cent of the budget. The existence of our political parties in cyberspace indicates that internet is the new arena for politics. For example, in order to enrich our knowledge about the party, the website of the Indian National Congress lists out everything from the party’s history to its current standing in the country. Moreover, apart from English, the website is also available in Hindi and Urdu. Many of our political leaders such as Sonia Gandhi, President of INC, Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary of INC, Gurudas Kamat, Sanjay Nirupam, Priya Dutt, Milind Deora and Sachin Pilot also host their respective websites. Other parties like the BJP and the CPI (M) have also taken the same course.

This is helping in attracting substantial attention from the youth and also encouraging their participation in democracy. Internet is not only being used as a tool to promote the party’s agenda but is also facilitating interactivity with the common man and his representative. Various day to-day issues are being discussed in the form of blogs, chats and opinion polls. Online campaigning is revolutionizing political communication but is at a nascent stage now. Although only a fraction of voters can be accessed online due to technological constraints, each opinion is valuable.

Hopefully this blog will enhance our communication and go a long way in understanding each other’s perspectives.