‘My dear IT brothers and sisters of Karnataka’

An election season concocts a curious admixture of the awful and the ayyo-rama. On the one hand, the parties and politicians go through their usual charade—the last-minute switch of loyalties, the flurry of freebies, the spin, the charges, the defence—and earn the usual response from voters.

On the other hand, there are the brave hearts who somehow manage to light up a fire in the belly to do something, anything. Call it foolishness, call it overoptimism, call it what you will, but to the overwhelming cynicism that our political increasingly engenders, they provide a soothing balm—for a fortnight.

Last general elections, IITians hurled themselves into the political pyre. As the Karnataka assembly elections approaches the bend, a few do-gooders are popping up. M. Lakshmana of the “Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens” is throwing his hat in Mysore.

In Bangalore, it is Ravi Krishna Reddy.

On his website, Reddy, 33, a software engineer in the Bay Area hailing from Bommasandra who founded the magazine Vikrant Karnataka, makes all the right noises, and quotes the usual suspects, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi. But are good intentions alone enough to come up trumps?

Reddy has written an open letter to his brethren in the Information Technology world to step forward and be counted when it matters.

***

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Bangalore’s IT industry:

I am a software engineer and am seeking your support for “Values and Ethics in Politics of Karnataka.”

I am sure that you have noticed the political tamasha of recent times in Karnataka, and the absolute deterioration of political morality. Power mongering, money, caste and communal frenzy have become the major attributes of electoral democracy.

Bangalore itself has become a haven for real estate and mining magnates.

In such a scenario, in the forthcoming Karnataka Assembly elections, it seems that a candidate will be elected only if he spends tens of crores of rupees; if he gives gifts to the electorate; if he stirs up caste and communal passions, dividing all of us.

No other qualities and sane reasons are going to be considered. People, who do not understand the challenges of our times and our generation, are going to be elected.

All the money is definitely going to be the money that was ill-gotten, unaccounted, black money. People with money are going to buy the election and every party is going to make the mockery of law and the people’s mandate.

The Election Commission has imposed a legal limit of 10 lakh rupees for the election related expense. But, most of the mainstream political party candidates will be spending 10 times more and surely in Bangalore, some candidates will spend 100 times the legal limit.

Make no mistake. Only ill-gotten, unaccounted, black money will be spent in these elections, and with the intention of making more. This is not a fair election. In this system, in these times, no honest man can stand for an election and win.

Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest upholders of Democracy and Equality in the history of mankind, once said, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”

At this juncture, as citizens of India, what then is our responsibility? How shall we respond to this challenge? Just by doing a mere “lip service”? Just by being cynical and selfish? Or, by knowing our rights and responsibilities and follow the path of righteousness?

What will the 300,000+ strong IT employees of Bangalore do?

I believe we cannot afford to be silent and indifferent. I believe if we do not take part in the democratic process, that will be a great sin and an act of betrayal towards Bangalore and Karnataka, the land where we were born, where we are earning a living and paying taxes, where our children are growing up and will be spending the rest of their life.

Can we afford to let thugs, criminals, anti-social elements, petty people be our representatives?

Yours truly

Ravi Krishna Reddy

Also read: If only the educated had been allowed to vote…

Does your vote really count in a democracy?

A people’s manifesto for the 2008 Karnataka elections

A giant leap to stop the criminalisation of politics

Is every result null and void even before the poll?

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30 Responses to “‘My dear IT brothers and sisters of Karnataka’”

  1. Shiva Says:

    Really good intentions, but I would have loved the letter more if it hadn’t been addressed to the IT brethren alone!! And I must hasten to add I am in IT myself.

  2. Poli Hudga Says:

    I might sound cynical but its just my opinion. His “What am I going to do in the coming election?” seems like a mere rhetoric. Just because he is an IT worker(or his unknown past) doesn’t gaurantee or differentiate him from thugs, criminals, anti-social elements, petty people?

    another gaffe … he wants to get elected … “without being influenced by big business or caste and communal consideration.” … yet he appends Reddy to his name.

  3. tarlesubba Says:

    you have only stated big picture goals. why should people of jayanagara be specially interested in those?
    what can you do for the local residents and businesses of jayanagara? your noble political views are part of your resume, but at the level of this election, why should we vote for idealogy?

    **

    i hope laxmana wins.

  4. Faldo Says:

    His intentions are certainly laudable. However, his website says he is actually based in the US. Does he not have to be resident in the state to actually contest? He might want to explain how he will take care of his responsibilities if elected. How will he manage any conflict of interests that could arise?

  5. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Few things:

    Mr. Reddy refers to ‘300,000+ strong IT employees of Bangalore’. I doubt if most are even registered to vote in Karnataka.

    ‘the land where we were born, where we are earning a living and paying taxes’ etc.
    But his website says:
    ‘For the past six years, I have been working as a software Engineer in US.’
    Is he still paying tax in India? If not then why the ‘we’.

    ‘I intend to contest from an assembly seat in Bangalore. It will likely be Jayanagar or BTM Layout or any other constituency, with a large concentration of educated people.’
    Sounds a little strange for a to-be Gandhian.

    IT + USA -> wont have much appeal to the masses.

    Just nitpicking :), best of luck to him. Will be impressive if he doesn’t lose his deposit.

  6. Gaby Says:

    Tangentially speaking, wasnt Lincoln the only American Prez to suspend Habeas Corpus!

  7. mayura Says:

    RK Reddy, is Karnataka’s answer to Barak Obama of the US

    :)

  8. Vitlan Potli Says:

    Yes, but the context is; a full fledged civil war was on and it was restored after the war

  9. Bhamy V Shenoy Says:

    I want to comment on my activist freind of mine Laxman since I do not know any thing about Reddy. I also request all those who read this blog to go out of their way to support Laxman in every way possible.

    I hope every one who is interested in democarcy and wants to send a powerful message to politicians on democratic ethics will take part directly or indirectly in electing Laxman.

    He is contesting from a constituency where more than 80% are literate. There are also at least 5000 or more who are parents or associated with NRIs and are familar with the democratic principles. There could be at least 1000 or so who are working in Bangalore may be from Mysore and also know the value of voting for some one like Laxman. Any one who gets 30000 votes or so will be a winner since other main party candidates will be competing against each other and are likely to divide votes among themselves. Finding 30000 votes in a literate constituency should not be an impossibility. Each NRI parent can influence at least three voters like they do in the US. That will imply 20000 votes. In addition Bangalore based professional can also influence three person. This brings to 23000. Out of so many educated (who are not part of NRI parents group), there should be at least 7000 who always complained that there are no good candidates vote for can take part this time and vote for Laxman. This way he can secure 30000 votes to make some history in Mysore.

    I have been associated since the beginning of Association for Concerned and Informed Citizens with Laxman. I came to know a person who is intelligent, works hard and is capable of getting to the bottom of the problems by collecting complex statistics. He is sincere in his desire to make a difference. This does not mean he is perfect. I do have several differences. But it is only in terms of his strategy and not his intentions. Who is to say who is right? Also then who is perfect in this world?

    Therefore we need to concentrate on his strong points. There is not a problem of Mysore that he has not worked on or not familiar with. He has helped many individuals to get their probelms solved.

    He has agreed to resign if he voters are not happy with his performance for any number of reasons like taking bribes, and not taking his responsibilities seriously. He has also declared his assests. This of course put a great responsibility upon the voters to monitor his performance and also his action to ensure he does not enrich himself. Then how many of his opponents (by this time we know who they are likely to be) will declare their true assets? How many will agree to resign if found to take bribes or for poor performance? We know very well about the incumbent MLA who has been nominated again by BJP and how Laxman compares very well against him on several of these criteria.

    For the reasons given above, voters or potentail supporters should look at the positive contribution Laxman has made and will make in the future and take active part in his election campaign. Even those who are not in Mysore can contribute to his victory by talking to your relatives, freinds, journalists and also through this blog.

  10. pulikeshi the last Says:

    What are Krishna Bhyregowda’s credentials?

  11. Odd-man-out Says:

    Want to get elected? Here are some free advice:
    Practise that plastic smile from ear to ear.
    Visit every voter in the constituency especially those from the lower strata.
    Keep inquiring about their problems.
    If they are about to receive anything from the government offices or other places as a right, promise to get it for them and use your skill to stop it.
    Make a farce of running around for them for six months and then get it released after extracting the ‘pound of flesh’ in the name of expenses and effort.
    Get your photos done with yours arms around dignitaries like Lincoln, Gandhiji, Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Jyothi Basu, Vajpayee and Kansi Ram using your ‘photoshop’ and put it up prominently in your house and shop.
    ( hey, nit wit, don’t do this with Sonia,Jayalalitha, Mayawathi, Mamatha, Sushama and Uma )
    Get your pictures with the poor published in the local tabloid regularly.
    Get your pictures along with your chamchas posted on hardings at the road junctions.
    Promise everything including the Taj Mahal, Vidhan Soudha, free Tata Nanocar, free mobile and free rice. (Here let your imagination run wild).

  12. Odd-man-out Says:

    Keep dropping names like ‘ When the PM was talking to me’ even if you happened to be one among the millions in the Redfort during his independence day speech or ‘while travelling with Dr. Kalam’ even though he happened to be in business class and you happened to be in economy class.

  13. Aatmasakshi Says:

    Ravi Krishna Reddy and M. Lakshmana and whoever else is planning to stand for elections with the hope of “making a difference” by “not sitting and watching silently” are whistling in the dark and clutching at the straws at the same time, while getting some easy publicity which they can encash at a later date.

    The answer to our rotting political system where money, muscle, liquor, caste, religion, language, etc have taken precedence over issues of development, education, health, infrastructure, etc, is not for “educated” individuals to act as lone rangers and lose, but for us to seek the kind of changes that will make our existing parties and candidates better.

    Even if Reddy and Lakshmana get elected, which they won’t, how will they manage to do whatever they promise on their own? And what’s deal with Reddy appealing to software types alone? Are they blessed with some extra brains or with a greater percentage of civic consciousness which lesser mortals like us aren’t? What is the evidence?

    The point is we wake up just before elections when it is too late. What are we as citizens doing in between elections? When a legislator like A. Ramadas (BJP) runs Mysore’s biggest real estate racket, H.S. Shankarelinge Gowda (BJP) and his son Nandeesh Preetam (BJP) run a virtual parallel economy running, what were Mysoreans doing?

    When legislators like Sa Ra Mahesh (JD-S) beat up mediamen for distributing sarees in contravention of election rules, we look the other way. When D.K. Shiva Kumar and Ramesh Kumar (Congress) use the foulest language against their compatriots, we look the other way. When land sharks, real-estate brokers, miners, pimps, are being given tickets left, right and centre by all the parties, we seem to have no courage to question them when they come to our doorstep or to laugh when they lie through their teeth on TV.

    To expect Reddy and Lakshmana to triumph given such nonchalance is to tilt at the windmills a la Sancho Panza.

  14. H.R.Bapu Satyanarayana Says:

    If we have to change the system we have to start somewhere. let us not indulge in dialectic debate but just go and vote for Laksmana and Reddy

  15. Enemy of the Kings Says:

    Hey, why should the IT guys make all the money? Why can’t corruption be a profession too?

  16. Bhamy V Shenoy Says:

    Aatamashksi is right. Mysorean activists should have taken the trouble to expose the corrupt practices of Ramdas, Shankarlinge Gowda, and so many other political leaders. But some one has to take such an initiative.

    What is one strategy which may work? Through so many small and big initiatives, Lakshman has indeed tried to expose some level of corruption- water supply, Makkaji Chowka, MUDA, Corporation etc. It is true that he might not have exposed these big wheels. Then it is not as easy it is to write in a blog. How many citizens come forward to join such efforts. There is no end to discuss these things and we should. But as Bapu Satyanarayan says, time is now to concentrate on getting elected Lakhsman.

    It is not an impossibility to get Lakshman elected as I explained in my response. This is not just theory I am talking about. I had been there 15 years back where Lakshman is today. I had been to every house in slums and rich locality. I had done more social work than most of my opponents jut like Lakshman. Just like Lakshman being an engineer, I was one from IIT. Most promised to vote for me. Only few kept their promise. Some might have thought that by voting for me they may waste their votes. Some were looking at my caste. Many lieterate did not take the trouble to come to vote. But many more thought just like some responding to this blog that though I am a deserving candidate I may not win. And their prediction came true. But if only they were more positive things could have been different. If we the literate unite, games that are played by the political leaders spening crores could be stopped. Let us change the direction of Mysore’ history by thinking optimistically.

  17. Dheerendragopal Says:

    Sari ..Ninthakalrappa elexion ge.
    Namdhu ondhu Vote yirli..mane manege OOgi prachara maadava

    mundhin saarige naanu ninthkatheeni…aadhre Duddu yavanathra aayithae
    henda ..seere anchakke ???

  18. krishna Says:

    Its time we really understood where our cheap politicians are taking us please spare sometime and go out and vote and ask the rest of the family to vote for the right candidates.

  19. Boring journalist Says:

    The letter should have been addressed to not only the IT fraternity but tot he entire educated class.
    The present day election results have been going awry and distorted mainly because of the non participation of the educated class in the people, with the kind of gusto and zest with which the rural voters do.
    The educated class talks big, indulges rhetorics and discusses the ills of democracy but when the time comes for casting votes, they quietlystay indoor under thepretext of watching TV or doing some domestic job rather than go and vote/
    I consider them as hyenas of the political system, the people who know how talk big and and how not to be decisive when it comes to brasstacks.
    Poor Reddy he has taken the trouble to address the fraternity, which thinks it is below its dignity to vote in elections.

  20. Pulilkeshi the Last Says:

    S. M. Krishna attended Southern Methodist U in Texas before going to Yale on a fellowship. B. K. Chandrashekhar won spurs at Oxford as did the late M. V. Ghorpade.

    We are what we are today.

  21. Gururaj Says:

    I have the experince of working with an ‘educated and well qualified’ independent candidate who stood for assembly in early 1960s in Bangalore to do something about corruption, casteism, nepotism and so on.. A dozen of us spent our spare time every week supporting him and nearer the election days took 3 weeks’ annual leave to give our convassing a big push. We raised money and spared our own cash to meet the expenses including his deposit. He lost the deposit and the congress party candidatewith a well-oiled party machinery behind him ramped home as the victor. We leant a few lessons from our experience. First, ideals appeal only to the so called educated and they seldom bothered to vote, even in 1960s. Second, the masses who vote belong to the so called underclass who are by definition not the educated bunch and they look at an independent with disdain. They need a brand , an icon, and need a particular kind of cajoling, a skill which we design engieers singularly lacked. Third, these ‘uneducated class’ of voters if I can call them for want of better term, are not stupid, and they know that a vote for an independent with ideals is a wasted vote. They know from their experience that if they voted a corrupt and the most undeserving candidate to win who identifies with an established party, they have at least some chance of getting some thing done from him. Fifth, these voters argued to us that what is the guarantee that our ‘ideal candidate’ will keep his ideals once he /she won. They used to give examples of a few. It was only about 15-16 years after independence, and ideals were fast taking leave of party candidates who were before men of probity.

    In Western democracies that I am familiar with , it is the underclass who vote in numbers while the ducated bunch are ready with their excuses. I lived and worked in Ohio and all that time the Senators who pandered for the church-going and bible-quoting mob were the winners, and Senator Kerry stood very little chance in getting the votes from them as only they who voted with a bible in one hand!!

  22. shyodha Says:

    Apologies to burst the enthusiasm over an ‘NRI’ candidate, but rkReddy is a classic pseudo-secularist. Who pretends to be a secular and progressive, but underneath it all is as casteist as they come. He has become polished in his ways, but that does not mean he is much different than, say deve gowdru.
    In the past he has shown his true colors by attacking SL Bhyrappa, Veerendra Heggade and Pejavar Sri for their ‘communalist’ leanings (read pro-Hindu, pro-India leanings).
    He is from the Lankesh school of thought which admires psuedo-secualar conmen such as Anantmoorthy and Karnad.
    The tabloid he supposedly helped to start (I do not want to even take the name of the rag) is nothing but a cheap flier for shady characters who were trained in Lankesh University.
    It is really sad that NRI kannadiga who is bold enough to step into politicking is already just as dirty as the cesspool he is planning to inhabit.

  23. pulikeshi the last Says:

    Nam bomsandrada udga nithkalli. Avana thaava duddidre. Elect aada myaale ounu enu maadthaane annodu mukhya. Obba manusyaninda nam naadu udhdhaara aakkilla.

  24. Odd-man-out Says:

    Hi Shyodha,
    Thanks for the update on RK Reddy.
    Reddy should be admired for everything you said of him.
    Sad I cannot vote for him from this Mysore.

  25. Anonymous Guy Says:

    shyodha,

    Thank you for this info on Reddy. At least he has the right ideas.

  26. Manoj Says:

    For all the cynics in the comments, I think he’s much better than you guys who keep talking about problems and assume yourself to be “educated”. All you know is try to find the problems in everything.
    Shyoda, I think its very sad that you compared Ravi Krishna Reddy with some one like Devegowda. Even I’ve been reading his articles online and that’s his opinion of heggade or pejaavar shree (enough of the dramas of udupi maTas) and I don’t think he crossed any lines while attacking them.

  27. Anonymous Guy Says:

    They have put up an article on rediff about Mr. Reddy.

    Many comments saying that it is suspicious that he is coming back after 6 years i.e. around the time the H1b visa expires. And that he is just doing this in the interim period of 1 year before he can reapply for the H1 again and go back. While this probably unfair, couldnt resist pasting this particular comment:

    “abbe iss ghantaal ko vote kaun dega? independent banke pamphlet baat raha hai, aise koi election jitega? cheap publicity mil rahee hai abhee toh … ek saal baad phir H1 apply kurr dega

    rediff bhee na chootiyonn jaise news report kurr raha hai.”

  28. shyodha Says:

    What I am seeing is that few people are enamoured with the idea of a successful (really? depends how you define success, I guess) NRI going back to fight for ‘people’. Like a Dr. Raaj singing ‘naaniruvude nimagaagi’, trying to make everyone emotional. Only difference is that people such as I, are finding it hilarious.
    But one need to see the company a man keeps, ideas a man propagates to judge him; not get swayed by slogans. Is’nt coining slogans a old trick?
    How many of the ‘supporters’ and doners know what is reddy’s take on successful CM Modi? What is his take on Afzal Guru? The paper he supposedly founded many times published biased and bigotted ideas; made personal attacks on people such a Pejavar Sri repeatedly and did not even bother to apologize when proven wrong. It blamed ‘Sangh’ for the Bengaluru riots because according the ‘sickular’ tabloid, it is a mistake to do ‘Shobha Yaatre’ that hurts the sentiments of certain section. This is the kind of democracy reddy’s friends like to spread. If you like it, go for it. Eventually, we deserve whom we elect.
    How many of you miniscule, educated supporters know that reddy offers ‘laingika swatantrya’ as a remedy for societal ills in one of his self-promotional video? Yes, random and free c0pu1ation is the solution. Who knew? No wonder he actually translated an utter trash (english ‘novel’ that no one read) full of that kind of ‘swatantrya’.
    Please support him and donate; you might get the much needed ‘laingika swatantrya’ in Bengaluru.

  29. PseudoNRI Says:

    Results are out! Despite tons of newsprint and bandwidth wasted on this publicity seeker Ravi Krishna Reddy he got 200 odd votes in Jayanagar! Frigging TWO HUNDRED votes LOL May be there is some truth to news that this was just a publicity stunt and a stop gap arrangement for the NRI “techie” to renew his H1 visa. Find it very hilarious.

  30. Hanuman Says:

    I want comments on reddy brother in karnataka that is in bellary they Cant speak Kannada properly how they improved Karnataka ?

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