Saturday, 24 October 2009

Beaten up, beaten down

Bret Lee throws a bouncer every ball because Bhajji irritates him. This is because, Bhajji earlier had a verbal argument with Bret’s friend Andrew. Andrew is an aborigin by origin. Andrew complains that Bhajji called him Monkey – a racial slur – while Bhajji insisted he was misinterpreted. He only called Andrew as ‘Maa-ki’ (means ‘Mother’s…’ - An Indian slur, not racial, something like ‘son-of-a-….’). Now Bhajji is really scared of Bret because he has to face another bouncer which may break his head.

Well, these fighting people, even if they don’t want to, have to face each other. Their encounters fetch all some good money. They travel to each other’s countries, play cricket and are loved by people in both. They are their stars.

We know Bhajji, like Bret or Andrew on the other side, loves his motherland. So he stays where he belongs. But his friends are not as successful or famous like him. Although the friend belongs to a well-to-do and an ambitious society, he exercises his option to travel to migrate to countries where he can earn more, and live better. One such place Australia, he meets Bret’s and Andrews friends. Some are unemployed, and have to go to job-centers to look for work. Bhajjis migrant friend may have to go there too. Plus, they meet at many other places, like marketplace, pubs, streets and so on. Most are unable to make good friends, because their different upbringing and thereupon, the culture makes them different people. Similar to Bangladeshis and Africans, who come to Bhajji’s country looking for work. Oh, how can I forget, Bhajji’s own country has its own internal migrants too.

There are small skirmishes and fist fights between these culturally different people. Some fights flare up as big ones, some bigger ones into protests.

And, critics and writers get some material to write.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Panchayati Raj and PIM

Dear reader, perhaps you would like to throw some light to this cloudy question of mine - especially the ones in the water sector. The questions relates to the governance and water sector in India.

We all know Panchayati Raj was formalized in the country in 1992, famously known as the 73rd constitutional amendment. This made mandatory for the villages to have their committees, known as Gram Sabha Panchayats. The reason of this change was to empower villages with self governance so these Gram Sabhas could make independent decisions for their villages. Now, this is big. Change certainly won’t come fast and the government is supposed to play a role of hand holder to this process.

But the water resources sector which basically thrusts on agriculture (95% of its schemes) has an important lowest level grouping, popularly known as Water Users Associations (WUA). For example, when a new canal or its minor supplies water, the beneficiary farmers will form a WUA . Technically, WUA’s are a simple farmer participation method incited in almost every part of the world as a decentralized method of management. But in India this all is done in the pretext of Panchayati Raj. While WUA’s cut across political boundaries of Panchayats they have nothing to do with these Panchayats. The latter are nowhere in the picture. Naturally because of the specialized task like the crop yield expected from these WUA’s, there is still top down approach to the way these WUA’s are managed, if I say the least.
Also, such an approach takes thrust away from addressing issues such as equity, ecology, sanitation and so on.
Now, isn’t this also a slight deviance from the constitution as well?

I will look forward to your comments.