Sunday, February 25, 2007

Vote for??

Last week, i fulfilled a fundamental duty (have'nt we heard that term somewhere??).
I cast my vote!
This is the 4th time since i've gained eligibility and never before has the person i've voted for won!!
So, for the first time, my vote counts!
Now, elections bring out various facets of ordinary people. The candidates overnight become local celebrities and new professions are temporarily created (like the auto-announcer (literally))
Now, that's a separate line of thought.
What i've been thinking about is that this is probably the first local election in which there has been such a stupendous canvassing expenditure!
We are talking about ordinary people who are contesting for the post of a municipal corporator.
For each ward, there are atleast 4-5 contestants and each of them has done their best to try and get elected.
Now, there can only be one winner. What about the expenditures incurred by the rest?? In most cases, ordinary people (read as Not Rich) contest. Where is this money coming from? and why is the government allowing it?
Now, what will be the salary of a corporator? Max 10000/- pm. Not more than that. Now, in their term of office, will they even be able to make back what they've spent to get elected thru their salary?? By Expense, i'm not talking about behind the scenes allegations of buying the votes or giving the voters cash or gifts. Up Front, each candidate (more so for bigger party contestants) hires a multitude of vehicles ranging from jeeps to rickshaws for the entire duration of canvassing permitted time and that's not free. Each of them have had bike rallies multiple number of times and that's not cheap. Most of them have huge signboards and acrylic banners at every junction in their ward and that costs money! Hand-outs, Newspaper, Radio and TV Ads, posters on vehicles. We really can't even gauge their spending.
Now, commercially, there has to be a return on investment. So, our system is virtually guaranteeing corruption. Why do we crib later that these leaders are corrupt when we elect the ones who've canvassed the most??
In our ward, there had been Zero publicity for the BJP Candidate. In fact, till i went into the booth, i did not even know that the party is fielding a candidate from here. And the person was an unknown.
She did not even get a deposit.
Now, why do we blame the person whom we've elected that they're the stink of our system and with other such creative insults?
There is an entity called Election Commission and it's pretty powerful too. Why is there no action taken at the root level?
And, this time, there is no Mayor candidate for Vizag. They said after the corporators are elected, the party which wins will field a candidate (and that person will buy out the corporators support) who will be sworn in as a mayor. No wonder they become corrupt. Where will they get all this money from otherwise??
It's time we think about a change. A change at the root level.
Any ideas?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tiruvannamalai- and my confusions!!

There are some things in life which are unexplainable / inexplicable. I'm not talking here about the the Stone Henge or how Roger Bannister ran the first sub-minute mile.

Tiruvannamalai- Abode of Arunachala Shiva and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi- is one of those things for me!
As a young boy of 16, Sri Ramana attained Self realisation in an instant and left his home town to reach Arunachalam (and he never again left the town). After some time spent in the temple, he went up the Arunachala Hill- to Virupaksha Cave, where he spent 17 silent years meditating and contemplating on "Who am I" and later, he moved further up the hill to Skandashram and spent another 7 years, again mostly in silence. The last years of his incarnation were spent at the ashram at the foot of the hill and he left his body there in 1950 (more info at )
Now, for a life mostly spent in silence, there is hardly reason for other people to get attracted around him. There were hardly any instances where he gave discourses to devotees or ordained them onto a spiritual path. As said earlier, that is why, it is inexplicable (in terms of logic), the reason why millions and millions of people flock to Tiruvannamalai. Even more confusing is the aspect that the majority of the visitors are foreigners (mostly Europeans), but are so at peace in the surroundings and stay on for months and years! Now, Bhagavan never spoke a word of English- nor was it the era of recordings, broadcasts and translations. All the books on the library (with the exception of a few verses in tamil) were written by devotees and not by the master.
In fact, most of the people in the place were not even born by the time Maharishi left his body in 1950!!
Now, i've decided to give up Logic here (as it seems to be serving no purpose). This is something we can't understand at a physical level!
It is something else that is bringing people in from far-flung corners of the globe to this place.

There is an abundance of Positive Energy in Tiruvannamalai and on Arunachala Hill. It is this energy that brings together people irrespective of Religion, Age, Background, Upbringing and even Language.
There cannot be a person who steps into this place and comes back exactly as the same person who went there!
Something inside us (which we never knew existed) will awaken!