Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Weighing democracy against autocracy

I am just thinking aloud here. One thing is clear. A country's status (std. of living, economy...etc) almost solely depends on the entity in control. So, hypothetically if a country with a well-educated mass is ruled by a not-so-educated military ruler or an autocratic king, chances are the country will digress, simply because the well-educated simply don't have a say. On the other hand, if the government is democratic, there are more opportunities for the well-educated to participate. One crucial element for good participation is the collective cognizance of the need to participate and the will to take a stand. But when the will is there, the passage is easy in a democracy than dictatorship or autocracy, since the only way for an autocracy to progress is the will of the entity in power and not the mass.

What if the mass is not so well-educated? Here things are going to get messy (like it is in India?). I gather that in a democracy the society finds an equilibrium at a certain level (mostly very low). But if the rule is going to be stable, the society is bound to progress at its own pace. Slow or fast again depends on the will of the mass. But the condition in an autocracy is likely to be worse, because the entity in rule is going to make the most out of the limited resources and, with nobody to oppose (political party or "free" press) will likely just sit pretty. It will take a "revolutionary" like Su Kyi for instance to go through hell and the rest is left to chance.

It looks like I will choose a stinking democracy to a stinking autocracy. What if the country is rich? What would I choose then? Probably democracy. What would happen to Pak. if Musharaf is killed? Scary! Democracy, I think, has the cushion to take the shock.

And communism:
1. My friend who fled Vietnam to US narrated how difficult it was to purchase a TV there. They had to fill out a an application book rather than a form to seek government's permission (and pay the bribe, of course!) and keep your fingers crossed for a month or two for approval. It sounds more like waiting for IIT-JEE results. Well, may be it was the communism of yester-years. How about today?

2. I read a centre-page article in The Hindu today. It basically said, China is aging fast. So, the government is thinking of "allowing" people of certain well-developed cities Shanghai and people above a certain economic status to have a second kid. The government decides on how many kids I can have and is thinking of increasing it by one! How magnanimous!

Democracy is what I will choose. For if the rule is bad, there is still hope. If the rule is good, nothing like it. I doubt if I can say that about an autocracy or communism.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Further down the movie lane...

Oscar Schindler (OS) leaves Deuische Emailwarenfabrik (DEF) at the end of the World War, giving Yitzak Stern (OS), his plant manager, last minute orders to distribute the clothes to the girls in the factory workers. YS extends a ring to OS.

(Looks at the ring YS gave him)

Yitzak stern: Its Hebrew for "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire".

Looks at his wife and accidentally drops it, but desparately picks it up, indicating how much he values it. OS looks at his factory workers (who are called Schindler Jews) as he wears it securely in his finger. He steps close to Yitzak Stern and shakes his hand firmly.

Oscar Schindler: I could have got more out.

Yitzak Stern shakes his head in disapproval

Yitzak Stern: There are eleven hundred people all alive because of you. Look at them.

Oscar Schindler: If I had made more money. (Chuckles to hide his tears). I threw away so much money. (Edges closer to tears now..) You have no idea. If I just....

(YS interrupts): There will be generations because of what you did.

Oscar Schindler: I didn't do enough!

Yitzak Stern: You did so much!

They look at each other for what seems to be an eternal moment. Then OS turns to his left and looks at his car that is waiting to take him to safety from the Allied Forces.

Oscar Schindler: This car..... (walks towards it)...Kurt would have bought this car. Why did I keep this car. Why did I keep the car. Ten people right there! (Turns and looks at the factory workers, who look on amazed at his response.) Ten people! Ten more peole. (Now completely disappointed at his realisation, reaches out for his Nazi pin on his coat) This pin! Two people. (Looks at around at others, gesturing towards the pin). This is GOLD! Two more people! It would have given me two more. Atleast one! It would have given me one. One more. One more PERSON!
(A realisation sinks in) A person is dead! (He looks at the pin. As though he couldn't stand the sight of the pin, he stumbles and hold on to Yitzak Stern for balance. Now fully embracing him..) I.....could have more person......(looks at the workers again)....and I didn't....I....didn't!

He couldn't hold his composure any more and bursts into tears as he goes down on his knees still holding Yitzak Stern! Yitzak Stern desperately tries to hold him up but fails. Moved by the Oscar Schindler's emotional outburst, the factory workers gather and kneel around him to console as he continues crying uncontrolably....One of the workers picks up a picks up a factory workers uniform which is going to disguise Oscar's identity and unbuttons it for him. He gets on to the car in the factory worker's clothes and looks out of the window in retrospect of what he could have done, but failed to do. He had saved only eleven hundred while he could have saved one more! The car leaves the factory.

The best scene made in all movies I have seen so far.... From Schindler's List!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Right To Information

When I saw the movie Mudhalvan (Nayak in Hindi), I loved the movie inspite of me. The elegance of a grim-faced Arjun leaving the place after removing an erring government officer on the spot and the sense of purpose with which he announces the introduction of "complaint box" irresistibly touched my what-if-it-happens-for-real sentiment. But I was under no illusion about the tenacity of the Indian govt. officials and their ability to stick to their strength. They always win and walk away with the money they didn't earn. Our money. I really wished for a Senapathi (Kamal Hassan in Indian) clad INA uniform with a knife on hand to walk in front of them. Movies! They always falter to deceive.

But after being trapped in this dark cave of corruption, Indian people have possibly found a crack through which filters the ray of hope! I got to know about the Right To Information through NDTV and looking at the reports it seems to be working at least for some! Most of the revolutionising changes in the society occur due to evolutionary measures. The key for RTI to succeed in a society full of corrupt officials and submissive citizens like ours is awareness. So, here is my two cents (paisas rather!)

What is RTI? Thanks to the sincere efforts of a fellow blogger
RTI Blog: Reports and success stories influenced by RTI.

What else is left? The only thing that has been left for so long. For us to know our rights and exercise them. This is a good chance to redeem ourselves from our own servants. Oh! Before I forget.... Well done NDTV!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Down the movie lane..

Vincent Vega,a gangster, takes his boss' (Marcelles Wallace) wife Mia Wallace to a restaurant at his boss' order. He is scared as hell especially since he knows that Marcelles Wallace has thrown a guy (Antwon Rockamora a.k.a Tony Rocky hara, if you really care) from the 6th floor of a building because he gave Mia a foot massage. (The nigger fell through the glass house and developed a speach impediment, even if you don't really care!)

Mia Wallace: Gives him inviting looks as she tastes the cherry (that comes with the $5 milk shake) still holding it on to her equally red lips.
Vincent Vega: Looks at her as he takes a puff and quickly looks aside.
Mia Wallace: Now she is sipping her milkshake with her eyes still fixed to him.
Vincent Wallace: Tries to avoid her eyes and pretends to be in deep thought, rubs his chin trying to get busy with something. But all he could think of was to take a sip of his coke.

Mia Wallace: (Now, again tastes the cherry giving him suggestive looks. Finally she breaks the silence) Don’t you hate that?
Vincent Vega: Hate what?
Mia Wallace: The uncomfortable silences? (smiles)
Vincent Vega (Looks confused?). Why would you feel it’s necessary to yak about BULL SHIT…. only to feel comfortable?

Good point! I wonder why that is?

When I revisited Pulp Fiction recently......