|TOWARDS JUDGING THE MIND-SET OF A GOAN INTELLECTUAL|
Note: These articles are reproduced to justify the ‘COMMENTS’ hereinbelow
Gomantak Times [GT] Editorial - December 14, 2006
No Fascism and No Corruption.
By: Averthanus D’Souza.
We have reached the Rubicon of democratic politics, and the choices before us are very formidable. But we cannot escape these choices if we are to preserve our democratic system for future generations. Unfortunately, for us as citizens the picture is not black and white, but there are too many shades of grey. Some people over-simplify t he problem by posing it as a choice between corruption on the one hand and communalism (or fascism) on the other. The problem of course, is far more complex than that.
Our experience tells us that corruption is not the monopoly of the Congress Party – the epitome of corruption in our society. We know that the BJP is as corrupt. In fact, on the corruption front, one cannot distinguish between the BJP and the Congress. So, to pose the problem as a choice between corruption and communalism is to misrepresent it.
Citizens need to be aware that when we talk about corruption, we are talking not only about individual corruption by which politicians and their subservient bureaucrats make money themselves – and for their political parties; we are also talking about the corruption, which, like rust, has corroded the system of governance. Of course, it can be shown that the avarice, which drives the individual to corruption needs to be extended to the system of governance to make this possible and profitable.
The corrosion of the administrative system is a far more dangerous reality for the citizen than individual corruption of those who run the administration. A recent example is that of the Regional Plan for Goa-2011. This so-called Plan was formulated by ‘outside consultants’ who were not familiar with Goa’s ground realities and based their ‘study’ on data provided to them by various departments. Much of this data was either out-of-date or terribly inaccurate. That the demographic projection was made on the basis of the 1991 Census figures is a glaring example of its shoddiness. The 1001 Census figures were available before completion of the study; but the ‘experts’ chose to ignore this. Another example of inappropriate (and unprofessional) basis of making recommendations was the fact that no ‘on the ground’ studies were conducted. The ‘consultants’ simply took the word of various departments, which had their own axes to grind. The information supplied by the Government was not independently verified. This method violates the very principles of Planning. The Report should have been rejected on this ground alone.
The implications of such shoddy planning are highlighted by the fact that copies of the Draft Plan were given to Real Estate Developers, Industrialists who are looking for places to set up their factories and Loan sharks who are alert to go in for the ‘kill’. The citizens, who should have been the first concern of the planning process, were deliberately kept in the dark about it and subsequent recommendations. It has become clear now, that there was an unholy alliance between the Town and Country Planning Minister , with the tacit
support of the Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues (all of whom have a vested interest in the so-called Regional Plan) and those who, knowingly or unwittingly, are not concerned about destruction of Goa’s natural environment. The present CN categorically said: ‘We are not going to remain ‘villagers’ all our lives. He ignores the fact that it is precisely Goa’s rustic environment, which has been, and continues to attract
urbanities from other cities of India, who have become sick of their habitation in concrete jungles.
If Goa is to become a replica of Mumbai, why will the people come here? Coruption has become the most fearsome threat to Goa’s integrity and to its very identity. That is why many people are seriously thinking of throwing out the Congress Party and replacing it with the BJP.
But, will this solve the problem? Taking all factors into account, and with our experience of the previous BJP government, we can safely say that it would belike jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Apart from corruption, which the BJP also indulges in, we will have the fascist ideology to contend with. We have already seen how dictatorial tendencies tend to exacerbate Goa’s problems. When (and if) we have an assertive CM, who alone knows what is best for Goa, we have a sure recipe for dictatorship. Citizens need to be aware that it is not merely the individual’s hunger for power that can destroy democracy. As far as the BJP is concerned, we are dealing with an ideologically driven party, which has its own definition of citizenship and nationalism. With the BJP, dictatorship is not only a facet of government – it is demanded by its very ideology.
Any one who values human rights and democratic processes should, without any scruples, reject fascist parties like the BJP.
The Congress, unfortunately, is taking the citizens for granted (and also for a royal ride) on the basis of their proclaimed commitment to secularism. In the name of secularism, they have attracted into the party people without principles, whose only ambition in life is to wield power to promote their personal interests.
The Congress Party has, long ago, jettisoned Mahatma Gandhi’s moral values, although it
Continues to pay lip service to the Mahatma and his principles. What is urgently needed is for the Congress Party to be purged of those elements , which have subverted it from within.
In the final analysis, a choice between Corruption and Fascism is no choice at all. Fascism is an undisguised assault against Democracy and all democratic institutions. Corruption (of the Congress variety) is a subtle but more destructive and slow erosion of democratic values. There is really no choice. [end]
Herald Editorial – December 27, 2006
The Role of Civil Society in Goa.
By: Averthanus L. D’Souza.
It has now almost become an adage that war is too important a matter to be left exclusively in the hands of the Generals. Political oversight is essential to prevent war from going completely out of hand. The same can be said, mutatis mutandis, of practical politics. It is quite obvious that politics is too important a matter to be left in the hands of professional politicians. The reasons are all too compelling. Most of the people who are in active politics – whether elected representatives, or non-elected organizational politicians – are quite incapable of understanding the issues involved. They are simply not able to see the larger picture. They make their decisions only on the basis of their own personal interests or on the benefits which can accrue to their own political party or to their local constituents. The motives that drive people into the political arena are always suspect. In most cases, the larger good of the country or of the citizens is certainly not motivating factor.
One of the most striking deficiencies of the political system is the fact that elected politicians do not have a sense of accountability to their constituents. The moment they are elected, they assume an air of superiority over their voters. They often ( and brazenly) declare that they know what is best for the citizens. They are not prepared to consult their constituents on important projects which they actively promote or collude with. They begin to treat their constituencies as their own private fiefdoms. The electoral system as it exists today is the very antithesis of democracy. It allows, unqualified – even criminal – persons to get into the legislative wing of government. It is truly amazing that precisely those who contravene the Law are in position where they formulate the laws of the land. This is democracy turned on its head.
The electoral process, and the means by which so-called ‘representatives’ of the people are elected to positions of influence and power is a total mockery of the rights of the citizens to govern themselves. It does not need very close scrutiny to see that the system, as it exists today, has become obsolete and dysfunctional. What is urgently needed is a radical overhaul of the system.
Unfortunately, in this cesspool of political manipulations, many small groups have grown up like mushrooms. The think that they can turn the system around, and that they can offer better government to the citizens.
A cursory look at the type of people who have started these new political parties, and the candidates who are being fielded in the elections by these newly formed parties, will show that they have no understanding whatsoever of what the real problems of democracy are. They are just so many more donkeys being added to the pack. Packs of donkeys which are expected to do the work of horses. Intellectual pygmies who are posing as the saviours of democracy. They are like mechanics who are hoping to get the work done by using obsolete and discarded tools. They are camel drivers who are trying to pilot supersonic aircraft.
It is not without good reason that it is said that politics has become the last resort of the scoundrel.
It is the situation, then, completely hopeless? Not necessarily. The time has come for all upright and civic minded citizens to exert themselves vigorously to cleanse the political arena of the parasites and rats who have invaded the system.
The second need is for citizens to make an effort to understand the labyrinthine way in which the system works. Thirdly, citizens have to awaken to an understanding of the issues involved. What is being termed as ‘civil society’ has a much larger and more important role to play in cleansing the Augean stables of current politics. The cleansing of the system has to be done from outside the political mainstream. Joining the political mainstream only adds to the magnitude of the problem – as long as the system itself is left intact. Not all so-called NGOs are capable of making a dent. NGOs like the Lions Club, Rotary International, Giants International etc. are basically business oriented groups which seek their own business advancement by colluding with the ruling political establishment. Superficially, they espouse some charitable cause, but this is only a public relations façade to give them social credibility. Groups like Lok Shakti, the Peoples’ Movement for Civic Action, and occasional groupings of citizens to challenge decisions of the government, have been seen to make a significant impact. There is a need for these groups to be strengthened to enable them to become social forces to be reckoned with by the government. Of course they should be cautious of being infiltrated by the political parties, who are always on the prowl to ‘take over’ promising civic or environmental movements. The Goa Civic and Consumer Action Network is a very good model to be followed all over Goa. It is only such vibrant and ‘activist” groups of citizens, which, even though they are not “political” in the conventional sense of the word, exercise considerable political pressures on the establishment. The tendency to enter the electoral fray and field candidates in elections should be consciously resisted. These civil groups should play the role of social and political watch-dogs, which keep the politicians and the bureaucrats on their on their toes. These are the civil society groups which can enforce accountability o fall public servants. These groups can (and should) come together on a common platform to resist unacceptable measures proposed by the government. The massive show of unity and solidarity to oppose the Regional Plan for Goa -2011 is a striking example of what civil society can achieve. There is more to be done by such means.
We have intentionally reproduced the above two articles by Averthanus D’Souza so that his mind-set maybe visible. As far as his first article is concerned, we are with him all the way. But we fail to understand how an intellectual person like him could end the perfectly analytical write-up by saying ‘THERE IS REALLY NO CHOICE’. Earlier, at one point, when he had published an Open Letter to Sonia Gandhi, he was on record to have told her that quote YOUR CONGRESS PARTY IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR GOA unquote. In this article, he denounces the corrupt Congress by saying ‘The Congress Party has, long ago, jettisoned Mahatma Gandhi’s moral values” having forgotten what he had told Sonia Gandhi a little earlier. We call this absolute inconsistency. And such inconsistencies in an intellectual is totally demoralizing.
As far as the second article goes, we really feel sorry for a person who was, so far, considered by us as ‘Highly Intellectual’. We know that he was a member and the President of the People’s Movement for Civic Action [PMCA] for a long time. We would like to know from him why he has come out of the movement when he is praising it so much. We fail to understand how anyone can cleanse anything from outside when he says “The cleansing of the system has to be done from outside the political mainstream.” This gentleman was invited for the brain-storming deliberations that took place prior to the formation of this party. He declined giving some unrealistic reasons. Perhaps he has a point when he talks about cleansing the system from outside – by writing stupid articles like these for one.
Averthan, for some unknown reasons, is taking a dig at this party when he says “A cursory look at the type of people who have started these new political parties, and the candidates who are being fielded in the elections…….” We sincerely believe that the pack of donkeys that he has preferred to mention here have been permanent stabled inside of his brains. We mourn the wasted Goan Intellectual in him who has allowed donkeys to drive away the horses and mess up the whole place. At one point, we did expose Averthan for his ‘fundamentalist stand’ during the battle that was created by ‘DA VINCI CODE’ We had correctly placed his priorities which unfortunately did not remain on the side of reason. With these two articles, he has proved himself totally senile. It is either that or he has a problem of focusing. He wants to tell us something but ends up telling us something totally absurd. Goa positively cannot afford the loss of intellectuals like Averthan. We hope and pray that he makes a come-back, soon.
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