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Re: Re: Turnabout (fwd)

Mail from Utkarsh mistakenly sent to me by him. Meant for the group!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 13:44:07 -0700
From: BDP India <bdp.india@mailexcite.com>
To: Sanjeev Sabhlok <sabhlok@almaak.usc.edu>
Subject: Re: Re: Turnabout

>The primary goal, I believe, is still the first one: >document the best ideas, and be very, very specific >about what you (anyone on this list or outside) would
>actually DO if allowed by the People to do what you >want to do.


I am in complete agreement that we should put our best ideas in specific
terms as what we will do for India if allowed by the people of India, but
what I also want to point out that we can discuss this for years. I am
sure over the years government has institued number of commissions and
committees to look at India's problems. We are merely collecting this
research. I am not sure that a group of people should just work on
collecting research and then debate it to extremes before really going out
and try to implement these ideas. What I am proposing at this point is
that we do both. We keep on debating these issues and as well look at the
organizational issues of a group who can bring more people in the
organization to debate as well see we can impact any of the policies at
any level. That can be done by establishing anorganization with local
chapters. I am not sure that if we will ever go out and tell every person
in detail of policy formation we will discuss in this forum. 

>We have too many ambitious people trying to go about >the business of
politics in India without the >slightest clue about what is the cause of
the problems >in India, and how these problems can be solved. Or, >they
might simply be parrotting some outdated dogma >without doing their own
research on discovering the >truth. I don't care, and most educated
Indians >- who have disengaged themselves from politics - don't >care
about "good intentions," nor even "dynamic >action" per se. I care for,
deeply and sincerely, the >best ideas, the best solutions. I care for an
open >mind which is willing to set aside his or her biases >and explore
the "ideal" or optimal way of doing things >in a given situation.
Therefore, if we wish to attract >the bulk of the educated classes, and
the >uneducated, too, we must respect their innate cynicism >of anyone who
dabbles in politics. We need to respect >them by showing Each of them how
and why the ideas >that we have hammered together, are better than other
>ideas floating around. 

I think I have always agreed to do that. But I am not sure that we will
get the best ideas or the best people if plan to just discuss for months
or years to come. I do not even propose to be a political party. I am
proposing a citizens group challenging policy formation and policy
implementation at each level. I am proposing a group who goes out and
question the absurd ways of things being done in India. I am not sure if I
can do it myself. But I am sure that if I have another 1000 people in my
city who all agree to make a change on certain issue, then the chances of
a change are much better. 

>At this stage, unfortunately, (a) the ideas are not >yet the best: the
debates have just begun and (b) most >of the best people are still not
>willing to join the debate since they have never heard >of this debate,
and >those who have heard of it, think, logically, that >this is one more
group >wishing to go for politics before knowing what they >will do. 

I think we have defined broadly what we stand for. We are going into
detailes as how do we achive these broadly defined principles/goals. And
that can still go on. Because even if you defined the best manifesto and
agenda there is no garentee of any change. There are numerous very good
products, but they do fail if they do not have a plan. 

>I will personally not be a party to a political group >unless I know for
>sure that it is genuinely clear about its goals and >methods. Let me hear
>more about what you or anyone else has to offer to >India.

>Persuade me, Persuade the common man, Persuade the >common mother of
three children in the village.

That is what I am talking about. We will not convince an average citizen
discusssing solution of Indian problems in air conditioned offices in the
US. We need people who live in these villages with the common man. To get
them we need to go out there. The only way we can be there in each village
and each city by creating an organization not necesserily a political
party to get them involved with us. 

>On whether this action plan is the "miraculous missing >piece of the
puzzle" that India is lacking today, I >seriously doubt it. I think India
>does not know itself. It does not know what to do, >where to go, how to
show itself to the world. Clear >knowledge of its abilities, goals,
>methods: this is what India is lacking today. I showed >you some of the
>statements made by Indian "leaders" on the Tata-SIA >airlines case - just
>an illustration - and you can detect complete >confusion about what they
>want, what they are afraid of, and so on. Brownian >motion: is this
country >of India. Hither and thither, thither and hither. >Pillar to
post. Post to >pillar.

I think most of the average people in India know what we can be, what we
want to be and surely what our problems are. What we do lack is the
courage of its citizens to do the right thing. May be we are a scared
race. May be 1500 years of slavery has gone into the blood. 

>Let me bore you a bit more and re-iterate my humble >view on this, for
>whatever it is worth. Action plans without clear ideas of what IS to be
>done are completely futile.  Nothing will come out of this unless you, I
>and others, here, and elsewhere, agree to the fundamentals outlined in
the >Preamble, Manifesto, Agenda and Policy Framework. And these are not
yet >ready, even in the draft. I detect this great urge everywhere to "do" 
>something. That is nothing but the urge to Brownian motion, something we
>should leave aside at the moment.

I agree with that we do not have defined policies and processes. But I do
not agree that the urge is to do something. Rather the urge is to inform
and bring more people under an organization to question the absurdity
around them. 

>I would rather we have five people who know exactly >what they want, and
>then these five particles, together, can help organize the remaining
>millions of Brownian particles.

I am not sure if the five particles who are ready to discuss today will do
any thing more than discussion ever.

>Also, remember, at this preliminary stage of debate, I am not bound to
>agree to what you think and vice versa. After the debates, we both and
>many others, here, will agree on what we want. The vision will emerge
>clear like a crystal. If no such vision emerges, then we will go back our
>own business of life, as usual.

I am not sure that we will ever agree on all the issues to the nth detail.
I feel we should go on knowing that we agree on the basic principles. As
the time goes on we will keep working on the details. 

>In 1998, therefore, let us focus our energies on this >immediate task. As
mentioned in the previous mail, >please contact all people whom you know,
>all alumni associations, etc., and ask them to join in >the debate. 

I do not know that by 1998 we will have answers to all the questions to
all the problems in India. I think it is a continuous task. I can tell you
with some experience that if we go to people with just the thought of
discussion, I am not sure as how many people will be interested. But I
think that we have a better chance of bringing more people in debate if
have an action plan as an organization with goals of bringing some real
change to the status quo. 



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