Issue :   
January 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         January 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Jan' 2018


Need for constant vigilance

Your December issue of the Power Politics magazine is superb. You have rightly observed in its cover story, "Battleline Gujarat," that the process of democratic politics is constantly operational in our country. I would add that this in itself cannot be a matter of satisfaction. Democracy demands constant vigilance on the part of all its citizens. The citizens are expected to keep tabs on day-to-day developments in the country and elect such leaders as would address the problems the common people face in their achieving happiness. Or else, history bears out, there are chances of democracy getting converted into the worst form of dictatorship. Let's not forget what Adolf Hitler and the likes have done to their democracies.
Regrettably, we have failed in the task of keeping vigilance and electing the right people to our legislative bodies. In the process, today there have entered over 34 per cent of people of the criminal background into our Parliament. There are such 'criminal' people in almost all our legislative bodies in the states too. We must abandon our lack of interest in politics.
We must elect such people as really represent and serve us. I hope your magazine would focus on this issue. You could suggest how people in the country should conduct themselves in ways that would lead to the election of genuine people as our representatives. There is a near consensus across the enlightened world community that we must have quality people in our legislative bodies. Only then can the future of any democracy can be bright.
I take this opportunity to thank you for your write up on director Sanjay Leela Bhansale's film Padmavati. You have rightly argued that the freedom of expression is a must in democratic governance. An artiste can always express himself in a reasonable manner in this system of governance. Our Supreme Court has already ruled that the censor board should come to an independent and considered decision on the certification of this movie. The turmoil over the issue has been absolutely meaningless.
I am in agreement also with you suggestion on the current dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir. You have rightly pleaded that the new efforts of the Centre must continue. The youth of the Valley today have new dreams and aspirations. They are not at all interested in the ongoing politics of hatred and violence. This nature and mood of the young must be cashed in upon to accomplish peace and development in the region . I hope our Central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi would adhere to his path of dialogue to foster peace and development in the Valley.

K. J. Vishnu

Scourge of rape

The recent shocking gang rape of a 19-year-old civil services aspirant girl in Bhopal conveys that something is intrinsically wrong and sick with our society. The Bhopal incident is yet another reminder, if one was needed, to demonstrate that little has changed in the country after the rape laws were stiffened in the wake of the infamous 16 December, 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old woman techie in Delhi who eventually lost her battle of life in a super specialty Singapore hospital because of her grievous injuries.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data of rapes in India in 2016 firmly indicate this truth. In 2016, over 34,600 cases of rape were reported across India – repeat "reported" because a large number of cases are never reported in the conservative Indian society where rape is construed as loss of honour. The NCRB data goes on to reveal that Madhya Pradesh and Delhi top the infamous list of states and union territories respectively in terms of the "reported" rape cases.
Also, another significant statistic is that in 95 per cent of the cases the rape victim is known to the offender.
Of a total of 34,651 reported rape cases in India in 2015, in as many as 33,098 the offenders were known to the victims. Yet another important statistic is that after the infamous Delhi rape case of December 2012 – arguably the media's most intensively covered rape incident – there was a 132% spike in the number of cases reported, with a sustained 32% increase thereafter, from 1,636 cases in 2013 to 2,155 in 2016 in Delhi alone.
Clearly, the Central government initiatives to ensure the safety of women–such as National Vehicle Security and Tracking System and setting up of women's helplines—have failed to curb the crime of rape, arguably the most grievous crime after murder. The funds allocated for improving safety of women in public transport have also been woefully underutilized for years.
After the Anti Rape Bill of April 2013, the new Indian law stipulates that culprits are liable to life imprisonment (which is actually 14 years), imprisonment for entire life and even the death sentence in the rarest of rare cases.
This has proven to be far too inadequate. We must be serious about removing the scourge of rape in our society.

A Citizen

Predicament of Rohingya Muslims

Pope Francis For the last few years Rohingya Muslims have been facing "ethnic cleansing" in Myanmar. Recently, the Pope Francis did well to reach out to the suffering Rohingyas who have fled violence in Myanmar. In Myanmar the Pope called for respect for "each ethnic group". He met Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders. According to reports, the Pope did not mention the Rohingya refugees by name as victims in Myanmar. But his view was already well known. He had mentioned their plight on various occasions from the Vatican. On his return to the Vatican, the Pope has said that in his private meetings he was able to go beyond his public words. He has characterized his private meeting with Myanmar's Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing -- commander in chief of Myanmar's armed forces -- as a good conversation. The Pope said, "I did not negotiate the truth. He received the message." Earlier, American Secretary of State, British and Canadian international development ministers, Singapore's Foreign Minister, European Union's Foreign Affairs High Representative, the German, Swedish and Japanese Foreign Ministers also reached out to Rohingya Muslims. I donot know why New Delhi has been lagging behind in this matter. It is sad that New Delhi has looked the other way so far. In Bali, New Delhi did not endorse a 50-nation parliamentarian conference's declaration on the Rohingya. At the UNGA's Third Committee vote, New Delhi abstained from a resolution calling for an end to military action. True, India is not a signatory to any UN refugee convention. But our tradition has been glorious in matters of service to humanity. We have been home to Tibetans, Sri Lankans, Afghans. We have been home to the minorities fleeing violence in Bangladesh and Pakistan. We must conduct ourselves on the issue in the manner in accordance with our golden tradition.

Cauvery Menon

C B Satpathy

The editor regrets that in the December issue of the Power Politics magazine, C B Satpathy has been mentioned as a Nobel laureate. The error was inadvertent