A PEOPLE’S MANIFESTO FOR THE 2008 ELECTIONS

Call him what you will, like him or hate him, agree with him or disagree with him, there is no denying U.R. Anantha Murthy‘s zeal as a tireless public intellectual.

While the political parties count their electoral chickens even before they are hatched, and while most of us helplessly watch the nanga naach of money and muscle, the 76-year-old Jnanpith Award winning Kannada writer has rightly swung the limelight on what the parties should do to secure our votes—and what they should deliver once they come to power.

Anantha Murthy has come up with an 11-point “People’s Manifesto” for the 2008 Assembly elections, and invites readers to add their own suggestions to it, to modify, change and alter his own.

***

The salient points he makes are (loosely translated):

1) There should be a ban on mining which has corrupted all our political parties.

2) Children should have access to high-quality common schools at least till the 10th standard. There should be no discrimination among children and they should have a common experience of childhood.

3) The future growth of our cities should keep in mind the requirements of elders, children and the disabled. Every locality should have parks and libraries. There should be bicycle paths and easy means to cross roads.

4) Poor minorities with self-esteem should be given access to education to help them obtain jobs in the public sector. There should be reservation for them.

5) The reservation privilege should be taken away from those who have already enjoyed the benefits of reservation, and given to those who haven’t obtained its benefit.

6) There should be restrictions on the media and and candidates who seek to exploit the elections by creating enemity on the basis of caste, community, religion and language.

7) The acquisition of agricultural land for the setting up of special economic zones should be stopped.

8) Farmers should get the right price for the produce they grow.

9) Instead of encouraging the setting up of giant chain-malls, small local shops should be patronised.

10) Instead of American style development which endangers the environment, we should go in for sustainable development which benefits the greater common good.

Also read: The U.R. Anantha Murthy interview

The mahaan elastic buddhijeevi of the year is…

Not one single intellectual among the right

‘Who’s Anantha Murthy? What’s his contribution?’

Acknowledgement: Mahamed Ismail

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36 Responses to “A PEOPLE’S MANIFESTO FOR THE 2008 ELECTIONS”

  1. Anonymous Guy Says:

    1. Change the election process in some way that money is the least important deciding factor. Every possible idea can be considered – even rule by a single ‘royal’ family whose needs are taken care of so they can focus on the people should be considered. Finance for the next election cycle should be just an afterthought in a leaders mind – not the prime aim in life.

    2. Think of your neighbourhood first, then your village town or city, then your state, then your country, then the world. Improve yourself and only then talk about larger things (Think I heard this in some talk from Prof. Nanjundaswamy).

  2. ananthu Says:

    Pseudo secular manifesto is it ?? How come only mining and sez is targeted .What about the real estate mafia led by the Congress and Janata Dal S.

    Ananthamurthy seems to be Selectively picking up some points and trying to make it look like a moral issue.

    Any talk of naxalities or Rowdyism cant be expected from this so called intellectual.

  3. Indian Says:

    Hi Point 4 is in direct contradiction to point 6. Bloody Communist!!!

  4. Poli Hudga Says:

    haha .. every one has freedom to dream :-)

  5. pragmatic Says:

    whats so great about URA coming up with these points? Infact, are these points not so loosely thought of that they lack a sense of direction? Why does poor people of only minorities get reservations? Are they no poor in the majorities? He might be a damn rich dirty brahmin, but not all are.

    sumne koorOdu eeyappana jaaymaanadalle illa!

  6. pragmatic Says:

    and banning all mining activities just because politicians are exploiting the mines is so stupid idea! only URA can come up with this! moron kahin ka!

  7. Abhi Says:

    I guess URA is missing one last point:
    12. BJP should not be allowed to contest the elections :)

  8. Aatmasakshi Says:

    I suppose churumuri is the first site in the world to be read by visually-challenged people.

    The introduction to the people’s manifesto, at least the one on my computer, clearly says that “Anantha Murthy invites readers to add their own suggestions to it, to modify, change and alter his own.” Meaning, the manifesto is not cast in stone.

    Yet the fact that we find it so easy to sidestep his invitation and play the usual game of affixing labels such as “pseudo-secular” and “bloody communist” means we may be able to solve all our problems except ideological blindness.

    On an aside, I wonder how many South Indians would like point no. 7. Instead of “dodda dodda maalugalu” URA proposes “sanna sanna maalugalu”!

  9. Alok Says:

    Some modifications and alterations…

    1. Better regulation of mining activities, combined with investigation of assets of all officers posted in these districts.

    2. Clean up mid day meal scheme. Give Panchayats the power to dismiss errant teachers. Every child must be within 5kms of a school.

    3. Existing parks will be maintained, where possible with public funds, or with the assistance of RWAs. Tax breaks for corporates who “adopt” a park or fund a library.

    4. Scholarships for students who cannot afford to study higher because of economic hardships only. No further reservations on any basis.

    5. No disagreement.

    6. No restrictions on media, but the law already exists for those who try to do the same.

    7. No acquisition of any land by the State for SEZs. All acquisition has to be made by the promoter of the SEZ.

    8. Improve roads and communications to rural areas so that farmers can sell their produce quicker and and cut out the middleman.

    9. Encourage large scale retail. Small scale retail isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

    10. Make the State Level PCBs stronger (with more powers) and better funded to tackle environmental pollution.

    11. Hang, draw and quarter Deve Gowda

    12. Shoot people who make renaming places, cities, stations and roads their personal agenda

  10. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Aatmasakshi,

    The nature of internet blogs invite these kind of responses. Name-calling, ad hominem attacks, responding to the tone as opposed to the content etc. are all part of the game.

    Just have to get used to it and mentally filter out what is not interesting.

  11. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    Churumuri, Churumuri, why dost thou persecute us by giving this man what he craves–publicity and more publicity?

  12. Bhamy V Shenoy Says:

    What a pity! URA could have used his writing skill better by taking help of some social worker with intellect to pen People’s manifesto. The current one is not a manifesto at all. It is not even a wish list.

  13. TKM Says:

    Aatmasakshi has a point.
    Anantha Murthy invited readers to add their own suggestions to his 11 point ‘manifesto’, to modify, change and alter his own’ meaning its neither final nor comprehensive.
    Where are the ‘other’ points’?
    Well, may be the blind cannot read but they can think.
    This ‘lot’ cannot even think.
    Not surprisingly some do not even like others making a stand on behalf of the deprived, exploited or down trodden.
    ‘Bloody Communist’? That fits the saffron goons better.
    Obviously,they cannot tolerate the fact that in spite of being a Brahmin, he has not joined the ranks of the putrefied ‘saffron’ brigade.
    Aatmasakshi, the mentally challenged cannot come up with anything other than calling names.

  14. pulikeshi the last Says:

    Whether novel or jaded, the ideas are OK. The next step for URA is to tell us how to implement his program. Almost everything he advocates can be accomplished by radical redistribution of wealth. I say “almost” because utopias are a product of the imagination rather than that of a culture, especially ours which has paid homage to stratification and amassing wealth by any means for centuries.

    We have to establish “common schools” first before sending our children there. What are common schools? How are they to be funded? A country which secretively spends thirty per cent of its national income on defence is not likely to rush to improve education. There is nothing more dangerous than an educated electorate.

    Fight the power of the media, big business. Yes, sir, but how?

    Isn’t there a viable way of extracting and selling ore?

    Cities like Bangalore are already grown. Where do you put parks and bike trails? Can we really make the lives of our older citizens better without thinking about population explosion? To think that India can support a population of 1.1 billion souls is pure nationalistic self-deception.

    Help minorities. Yes, but how, especially when everybody clamors to be part of a minority?

    Protecting the farmer. Yes, how? The days of India as a primarily agricultural society undergirded by fragmentation of arable land are long gone. The government telling our farmers what to grow, when to grow it, and how much to grow should have made this clear to us.

    If Mankuthimma can buy for fifteen rupees something that costs twice as much at our kiraani angadis at a chain store, why would he do his shopping at the former?

    America’s share of pollution and global warming is an unforgivable twenty-five percent. A damn alarming statistic. We don’t need to follow the American model. But how are we going to retire all energy wasting contraptions? From Ambassador cars to electric plants?

    URA’s last suggestion. It is an invitation to fascism. Are there any parties that pass muster in terms of considering the well-being of people? They all need to be demolished. What’s left then?

    These are my modifications, amendments, reservations, or whatever you want to call them. I wonder how many responses to the content of my post, if there are any, will be free from non-sequiturs and ad hominem bullets.

  15. dharma Says:

    Deccan Herald
    Hotel faces KRV ire over BIA taxi service launch!
    Where are we heading? Is KRV so powerful. If so, where is the future.
    Are they linked with the RED LEFT?

  16. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    4) Poor minorities with self-esteem should be given access to education to help them obtain jobs in the public sector. There should be reservation for them.

    Choose one: Madarasas or Modern Schools. You cannot have “education” in Madarasas and seek benefits like reservation.

    6) There should be restrictions on the media and and candidates who seek to exploit the elections by creating enemity on the basis of caste, community, religion and language.

    Do do! Most unaffected will be BJP!

  17. Sathya Says:

    Yaako URA didn’t name Modi. wILL WAIT TILL the results are out. Then somemore points can be added.OK.

  18. gatekeeper Says:

    URA makes perfect sense. Thank god somebody dares to still uphold good old values such as common schools (against donation-driven ones), suggests steps to deal with the rising tide of communalism and the reckless commercialization and rowdiization of out politics.

    More power to URA.

  19. Prashant Krishnamurthy Says:

    1) Give powers to the Lok Ayukta to prosecute the corrupt, including ministers and the chief minister.

    2) Get rid of the “District in-charge Minister” system which has diluted the powers of the local authorities and only created additional power centres.

    3) Hold one session of the Assembly each year in a non-Bangalore city, preferably Belgaum, Hubli-Dharwad, Mangalore, and Gulbarga.

    4) Come up with a 6-month, 12-month and 24-month plan for the Bombay-Karnatak and Hyderabad-Karnatak regions.

  20. goutam Says:

    Mr. Murthy you are an old man. let us be realistic. We are the future. We want all this. So please follow the popular rout to success.
    This is from a VOTER, we want some changes please
    The Congress party has promised TV, Reduced interest etc. We want more. If any party can give all this, we will vote you to power.

    Free cable connection, preferably TATA sky(boycott will not affect)
    Free power for TV
    Free Gas stove and cylinder
    Free bicycle for all students
    Free education for all, at all levels
    Free refill
    Free tooth brush and paste
    Free oil for body massage
    Property tax exemption for all
    Free bus pass for all Govt servants, Farmers, Ladies , Children and the old
    Double increment for all Govt servants
    Free vegetables and fruits to all sick people.
    Many more thing, will come up with a better list!!
    Tax free budget for the full term

  21. Melange Says:

    1. Dismantle the Indian bureaucracy, completely. It is one thing to pass exams and another thing to have the creative genius to build a great nation.

    2. Switch to Presidential style Politics. Dismantle the party system. Every elected representative should be an independent with no affiliations to any party.

    3. Enforce a knowledge test on the basics of democracy and governance before letting a person vote. The right to vote should be earned, not given to every uninformed scum.

    4. Ban all religious organizations (Yes, this includes communists). Let religion be an individual quest. There should be no right to congregate on the basis of identity.

    5. An equal, centrally controlled school education system, that hires the best and pays them high wages. This, of course, should not exclude private schools for those that can afford it. The higher education system should be completely privatized.

    6. Finally, No country that has pretensions to being an equal opportunity society should allow a product called “Fair and Lovely”: Fucking disgrace!!

    A great country is built on the freedom of choice and extreme individualism: This fosters incredible creativity and makes for a great civilization.

  22. Pulikeshi the last Says:

    We all sound pretty much like URA even as we disagree with him. In all these responses we say that such and such a thing should be done. By whom is the question.

    Let’s start with that rickety document. Rewrite the constitution.

  23. Sathya Says:

    G, one more may be added, free burial/cremation for all at state expenses. That means Govt will take care of everything from womb to tomb. Go on offering and people will go on receiving. Free is free to everybody in all walks of life. Jai Karnataka Political Parties!

  24. OtherWise Says:

    Point to add:
    1. Intellectuals should be banned from (unnecessarily) commenting on anything and everyting.

  25. JAS Says:

    Since NONE of the above suggestions in URA’s manifesto will ever happen in my lifetime, I suggest you make 1 final suggestion -

    1, Give H1B visa to ALL qualified Kannadigas.

    That way all qualified Kannadigas can get out of Karnataka & live happily in USA where all the above suggestions have been met since 1900. Great schooling, bicycle path, park, beach, chain mall, small shop, whatever you want. If you want Kannada you pay $14.95 for Udaya TY through Dish Network, you can have Kannada also, right here in USA.

  26. Melange Says:

    To reiterate the point over the great Indian Bureaucracy!!
    Read below:
    http://education.guardian.co.uk/egweekly/story/0,,2271578,00.html

    Should one weep or laugh?!

  27. MariShyami Says:

    JAS: “Give H1B visa to ALL qualified Kannadigas.”

    Small correction: ALL Kannadigas except the leftist URA who can be exported to Russia or China.

  28. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    JAS–

    You point out a major contradiction in URA’s thought process. He is crushed that India is Americanized, yet he wants our cities to be like American metropolises.

  29. Tanay Says:

    ನಾವೆಲ್ಲ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಹರಟೆ ಕೊಚ್ಚುತ್ತಿರುವ ಹೊತ್ತಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಅನಂತಮೂರ್ತಿ ಜನರ ಮನಸ್ಸಿಗೆ ಕೆಲಸಕೊಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಸಿನಿಕರಾಗದೇ ನಾವು ಅವರ ಪ್ರನಾಳಿಕೆಯನ್ನು ಬೆಳೆಸಬೇಕು. ನಮ್ಮ ಕನಸುಗಳನ್ನೂ ಸೇರಿಸಬೇಕು. ನಮ್ಮ ರಾಜಕೀಯ- ಹಣದ ಅವಲಂಬನೆಯಿಂದ ಅಥವ ಹಣದ ಕತ್ತರಿಯಿಂದ ಹೊರಬರುವ ಹಾಗೆ ಮಾಡಬೇಕು. ನಮ್ಮ ಆರ್ಥಿಕ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆ ಕಾರ್ಪೊರೇಟ್ ಬಕಾಸುರರಿಗೆ ಈಡಾಗದಂತೆ ಮಾಡಬೇಕು. ಗುಬ್ಬಚ್ಚಿಗಳಂತೆ ಸರಳವಾಗಿ, ಸಹಜವಾಗಿ ಈ ನಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬದುಕುವಂತಾಗಬೇಕು…..

  30. Anon Says:

    URA has been more interested in politics. I feel he misses a lot of good things in life because his vision is clouded with politics.

  31. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    Just happened to remember. When Kumaraswamy broke his power to make Yed CM, URA, whose faith in Indian democracy suspires in every word he utters, did not mind fascist President’s Rule. Morality cannot bend with every wind. Remember Indiramma who said she had to suspend democracy only to save it?

  32. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    Doddi buddiyore,

    Yaake sumkaagbuttiddeeri?

  33. pulikeshi the last Says:

    Tanay–

    Murthygalantha harate kochchuva prachanda berilla.

  34. Muthukaruppan Says:

    We are a corrupt society. I meant Mankind. The corruption is ANAADI like the Vedas! But in India, it accelerated at a speed beating light’s (300 k km) when the British, highly puffed up with a false sense of superiority came and totally perverted our ancient system rooted in Vedic wisdom [strictest rules which were RELIGIOUS INJUNCTIONS THAT COULD BE VIOLATED ONLY WITH THE SURE REWARD OF HELL . The Europeans - the British far more than the Portuguese and the French who too colonized - indoctrinated India so much that pseudo-scholarship and pseudo-secularism took very deep roots - so deep that even after six decades of Independence, these pseudos pose a challenge, and due to their abominable inferior intelligence, want the Mleccha civilization and culture to pervade India. The lovers of mankind want that Indian culture be propagated and prevail in the best interests of mankind and indeed the whole ecology. Even if some drastic steps are thought of to bring our laws closer to our ancient cultural values, the pseudos make sure, by their strategy of casteist and religious divide-and-rule influences on the ruling clique.
    To cut short this line of argument, what we need to understand is that our democracy CAN NOT function on present organization and methods, which are a copy from the West, where they have, according to their own anti-establishment man, Noam Chomsky, failed miserably. [He says whilst p Americans today do not want wars to grab other nations' resources, the 'elected' democratic governments, ruled by weapons and other affluent sections' lobbies, hijack the government to do what is prohibited by the electorate. Chomsky says that whether it is the Democrats or the Republicans coming to rule the roost, per popular mandate, the real power is invariably wielded only by the lobbies representing abundance of a decadent capitalism.]

    Our electoral system must, therefore, be transformed radically so as to prohibit proven antisocial, underworld, criminal and other undesirable forces [both individuals and groups], and must enable only people with proven selfless service to society in various ways aiming to bring peace and prosperity to people. Enfranchisement must be re-thought, to exclude undesirable elements following the antisocial and the mafia and the aggrandizing leaders, as well as religious fundamentalism especially of the alien religions. [I need to point out that since about the 14th cent., religions were thrust on Indians at the point of knite (Islamic demons) and through indoctrination and materialistic propaganda (Christianity), and even in these circumstances the Hindus were allowing them to take roots on the assumption that all religions are equal and lead to the same goal. At this point of time, religious conversions must be banned, even at INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, and existing flock sizes frozen for the various religions. Religious freedom must be redefined under international law, to exclude conversions totally, for whatever reason and under whatever pretext. This ban is long overdue due to the proven failure of religions to bring about global amity of mankind and its 'success' to sow seeds of disharmony and violence everywhere. Xians can provide succours to the needy but shall not convert. Etc.]

    The pseudo-secularists should understand that inter-faith amity is the present historic necessity, and not freedom of religious conversions.

    Well, Muthukaruppan, where does all this argument fit into Karnataka socio political argument. Well, I am not a separatist, to view take Karnataka out of India, and argue for a limb of a body. Separatism of course has become a trait in all the states of India, and for that very reason, separatism is not feasible for any of them. But yes, languages must be encouraged officially, to grow. But linguistic reorganization has NOT helped India in such a laudable objective. It has only spawned separatists in the name of linguistic parochialism, and its other achievement is to pervert our cultural and moral values.

    I have spoken out what is the ONE AND THE ONLY available way out for Karnataka as THE TYPICAL Indian state.

  35. Muthukaruppan Says:

    In my above comments, I forgot to make a referenc etc the great UR Ananthamurthy’s thoughts which I have studied in fair detail and depth. His thoughts can well become the MANIFESTO of the kind of democratic government, for which democracy is not on partisan lines, but which is an uninterrputed continuum in which a small percentage of representatives retire voluntarily, to be substituted by new choices of people. Mining, according to Shri URA, must be banned. As I see it, since we need minerals for our industrial and other requirements, what he means is that it should be a public (state) responsibility. Fine. After all, the reformed democratic process will have no parties since ideologies are illusory concepts, the only political ideology being that of striving for happiness and justice with growth for all individually and as a whole, where happiness is defined not just capacity for boundless materialistic satisfactions but a balanced spiritual-material well being. URA’s others points are also great and constitute actionable components of democratic justice with growth. Common schools providing high quality education, for another ex., is another step he suggests. This is great. We must do everything to achieve materialistic capabilities for sustaining our growing population’s economic needs, and here we can very follow the West’s and Japan’ examples to achieve hat ‘Nobel Prize’ excellence since advances in science are absolutely necessary for our maximum technological capabilities without depending totally on international supplies of technology. However, our higher education did not in the past eschew moral and spiritual values to become integral to any education, higher and lower. Thus, technology can never be permitted to produce bombs to be placed at the hands of nations to destroy others. Similarly, our Gurukulas were observing the strictest moral codes, and no drinking, no illicit sex, and the like, and the “Vidyaranyas” for higher education were far, far from the madding and corrupting crowds so that tranquil education of both materialistic and spiitual excellence would be possible through strict discipline for the teacher and the taught. But in the American/ Western system, it is horrible to see an intolerable perversion here: liquor barons aare allowed to set up liquor shops right within university portals, as quid pr o quo for their munificence. Thus Shri URA’s thoughts are virtually the MANIFESTO, if they can be turned into that, for a drastically transformed democracy of India. His thoughts, I mean, deserve the intelligentsia’s utmost consideration. By the bye, this term [intelligentsia] is not necessarily formally schooled people receiving a high dosage of education, indeed some of such people will be excluded if their ideas are not conducive to the concept of happiness as a marriage of BOTH spiritual and materialistic values. The term comprises, rather, ALL those who hold the twin aim of happiness of individuals and society dear to their heart, possibly with some solid thinking on how to go about achieving them in real life.

  36. mohammed rafiq Says:

    the suggestion of ban on minning is not a good,insted stop maximum corruption,many small scale and medium scale bussiness now depends on miming in north karnataka,in last 15 years no new projets have come in north karnataka the educated engineers are running for the job world wide and other states,consider these issues first,small scale bussiness like shops are going day by bad due to ecnomy slowdown in north karnataka.
    specially in hubli and dharwad the political leaders are just seen wen election are their,no developments in industrial.

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