25 Thursday
March 2021
Partly free. Completely deaf

How does it feel to know that in the last 7 years the world’s largest democracy has become an elected autocracy? The change has happened gradually by muting the media, passing one law after another, arresting any one who raises their voice against the government, in a Tweet or a Facebook post. Some for speeches they didn’t even make, because they could have. Some for saving patients in a hospital who’s oxygen supply was cut off.

We have free elections in India, but after elections MLAs are herded into planes and kept in resorts, where they are bought and sold for unimaginable sums of money. Media remains quiet or distracts people with random headlines until governments are sworn in at 4 am with the President’s blessings! The courts remain blissfully silent through it all.

In states where the opposition manages to make the government, they are threatened with President’s rule, laws are amended to overrule Supreme Court verdicts and powers snatched from publically elected governments to ensure that no development takes place.

It must be quite difficult to allow a model of governance flourish where government schools have become better than private ones. Citizens across the country then aspire for better schools in their own state. And how can these parties give them better schools when their plan is to sell off government school lands to their cronies to ensure they make more money, fund more elections?

No. Good governance in states cannot be allowed. Their ideas can be stolen and added to one’s election speeches, they have no intention of following them up with action anyway. Why do they need action, when people are happy to vote on mere speeches alone? Jumlas are more than enough to win elections.

The LG stopped Delhi government’s home delivery of rations but within a week BJP announced home delivery of rations scheme in Bengal. They criticise free transport for women in Delhi buses, but promise the same in their election manifesto. If only voters would ask them where have they implemented free bus travel for women in UP, Gujarat, Goa, Haryana, Uttarakhand or Madhya Pradesh ? All these states are ruled by them. Have they implemented these policies ANYWHERE?

In the last 7 years, voices of Indians have gone unheard. No justice has been given to students in universities beaten up by goons and police. Muslims and civic society protested CAA NRC. Customers of cooperative banks with accounts frozen indefinitely. BSNL employees. Bank employees. Visakhapatnam steel plant employees.Doctors protesting dilution of medical treatment and education. Parents protesting school fees hike. Labour unions protesting arbitrary change in labour laws. Lakhs of farmers protesting Agro-industry laws for more than 4 months now. No one is being heard.

This govt only believes in speaking. Taking decisions without taking responsibility. Refusing feedback, even from their own ministers. And lying through their teeth even inside the Parliament.

On the 91st anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom I hope your conscience prickles for the monster you have helped create.

A Deaf government. A silent people.And a partly free nation.

Dr.Sarika Verma
AAP spokesperson South Haryana

07 Sunday
March 2021
More women in public service.

Women are the fulcrum around which a household revolves, as a wife, a mother, a daughter in law or daughter. It is important that more women come into the public sphere and take up roles of responsibility.

Girls do better than boys at school, entrance exams and colleges but not as many women make up the senior management in companies. Many Indian women take a sabbatical from work when they enter their thirties to raise a family and allow their careers to take a backseat. One must acknowledge it is very frustrating for educated women to give up their careers, the family misses out on an additional income and no country can hope to become an economic super power if half their workforce sits at home to fulfill their domestic responsibilities.

The concept of work from home has become a reality due to the pandemic and gives parents more flexibility to manage children and careers without sacrificing either. India must change the work policy to allow working parents the opportunity to work flexible hours, fewer hours per day and get paid on a per hour basis.This should apply to both parents.

Additionally more women should take up roles in public service as society will do well to benefit from the empathy of women leaders. Countries like New Zealand, Thailand with women heads in power managed their pandemic lot better than Brazil or USA.

Many women and girls lend their voice to environmental issues. Clean air campaigns, plastic pollution, zero waste lifestyle and climate change movements are supported by women across the globe.

Women continue to break the glass ceilings in the workspace. They must now take their place in Public service. India has 78 women Members of Parliament, 1 woman for 7 men MPs, a sad 14%. UK on the other hand has 220 women in the House of Commons 33% the highest number of women till date.

Haryana deputy CM Dushyant Chautala has been wanting to institute 50% reservation in all elections for women. Is reservation the only way women will come forward in politics or will their husbands/ father/ father in law/ brother keep becoming the proxy wherever a woman is elected?

This millennium belongs to women. I hope more women will come forward and take their place under the sun so we help create a better world for our children.

Dr.Sarika Verma
ENT surgeon Gurgaon