Charismatic Hasnain’s Innings in Kashmir: A Soldier of Heart – Adfar Shah

Charismatic Hasnain’s Innings in Kashmir: A Soldier of Heart – Adfar Shah

Thank God the ‘Afzal’ fallout did not cast any long-term visible impact on the ‘peace’ oriented booming tourist influx to Kashmir Valley this season, contrary to apprehensions of many columnists and Kashmir analysts.Undoubtedly the issue of Kashmir is historically political and the turmoil continues; a bit depressed, but not uprooted. It may take a lot longer and a lot more sacrifices for peace to settle. The bloodshed continues as our vulnerability remains, especially the threat to security personnel themselves. Chaos still prevails and the Aam Aadmi is still scared of both uniformed/ belted forces and the small numbers(militants). The poor trapped Kashmiri is even scared of its own local police for the past bitter experiences with it and the crisis mishandling in the earlier unrests. Though things have improved compared to the past but; encounters continue day in and day out especially in a few sensitive places like Tral of Pulwama district or Sopore (that a few call Geelanistaan now) of Baramulla District. A year ago, a brave army General named Ata Hasnain (Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain) while holding the reigns of Srinagar based prestigious Chinar Corps tried and succeeded in making a difference to Kashmir, be it check on encounters, innocent killings, unaccounted arrests, redress of public grievances or Aaam Aadmi’s respect and freedom, etc,. The General had come with a vision for Kashmir and more than that he had earlier spent a lot of time as a soldier in kashmir and gained an expert insight of the valley.Therefore understanding the context well, he  brought with him a sincere heart as his chief weapon. The General proved his sincerity by his widespread fieldwork and reach out to the traumatised public. Under his leadership, the Awaam (Kashmiri People) heaved a sigh of relief and the Army, which was hated for its big brotherly occupation of Kashmir, earned somehow a respectable public space. In 2010-11, I viewed Ata as a sociologist and now in 2012, as a  trained anthropologist, I am viewing his contribution to Kashmir with a new lens of humanity and cross-culturalism. With either lens, I am full of admiration for his energy and enthusiasm in meeting the masses, irrespective of the...

CORPORATIZING POLITICAL PARTIES- BREAKING THE UNHOLY NEXUS OF BUSINESS AND POLITICS – Ravi Shankar Jha

CORPORATIZING POLITICAL PARTIES- BREAKING THE UNHOLY NEXUS OF BUSINESS AND POLITICS – Ravi Shankar Jha

Introduction Democracy survives and flourishes on views and ideas. It thrives on debates involving such views and ideas and to that extent needs platforms from which these ideas and views may be given voice and representation. It is here that political parties form an important cog in the wheels of democracy. Practice of democracy requires well functioning political parties which may act as platforms from which different sections of the society may get its voices heard. In a democracy, this exercise of giving voice to various views and ideas culminates into that grand spectacle of adult franchise which like any other modern exercise involves huge monetary expenditure for which these parties invariably turn to the corporate world and thus begins the unholy nexus of politics and business. Many problem plaguing various democracies, like Naxalism and other insurgencies in India and gun control laws in USA, have been blamed on this unholy nexus of politics and business. The corporate donors donate huge sums of money but extract their pound of flesh by influencing the policies of the government resulting in flawed and distorted policy making which fuels discontent and taints the credibility of institutions of democracy.  This alleged bias eats into the credibility of institutions of democracy and hinders its functioning. This nexus is also self-perpetuating to the extent that anyone wishing to enter into the political arena in a democracy has to get entangled into this nexus. Statement of problem Given the magnitude of the exercise of adult franchise and the day-to-day functioning of political parties, the requirement of huge corpus cannot also be wished away. Therefore, what we need is a model where the financial needs of these political parties are adequately addressed and this unholy nexus is also broken so that policy making is not influenced in any non-democratic manner. Some solutions have been proposed for this problem, state funding of elections is the most prominent amongst them. However, this solution faces some problems. First amongst them is the problem of equitable distribution of funds amongst various parties as various parties may have varying requirements. It is difficult to decide which party should get what amount of funding. Even if this problem...

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