Sunday, August 17, 2008
a voice in the wildreness
gaumukh, august 2008
daniel and i are on our way back from gaumukh and proceeding towards gangotri. though it was a peace retreat, the mind does do what is routine. the issue of public good, government, state and privatization did enter my mind a couple of times during the retreat.
after returning from the journey i was able to jot down some thoughts. given below are some thoughts on the role of a government.
on the role of government (a citizen's view)
welfare of the subjects or citizens is the business of a government. unlike corporations, governments have deeper commitments towards its people. corporations are not created to serve and protect the people. to expect it to behave like governments is foolish. the least we can expect from them is that they do not break existing laws, do not violate human and group rights, do not externalize costs onto communities, do not work on chipping away at the state and its powers and do not suppress freedoms.
the government is the instrument that manages a country during its chaotic and normal times, it is they who are expected to respond and bring life to normal, for all. when the government begins serving interests of share-holders and investors mostly, and starts taking models sold to it seriously, and begins self-mutilation it brings misery to lots of people. this misery may be blocked out of public view, and the corporate media may not provide sufficient space for the displaced, dispossessed and marginalized to express their anger, but all reliable statistics indicate despite "enviable" growth rates and manufacturing of billionaires - the country seems to be transforming into a frontier land again that is being captured, bled, drained unjustly. yes, life is good and and there are many achievements to be proud of, but the reality of unjust and unfair practices becoming the norm is a shame.
there may be rewards and perks to "facilitate" predatory economics and this may be the "in" thing to do, if you want to be part of a club that builds fortunes by pillaging, stripping peoples of their rights, and deliberately preventing governments from ensuring fundamental rights and freedoms. no state is pure or perfect, but when it begins to serve private interests over the public, it fails. it is a citizens responsibility to remind the state then, of its roles, responsibilities and duties.
it is the citizen who gives the politician the right to represent. when the politician develops attitude, behaves and acts in ways that is considered by the citizen as irresponsible, anti-people, self-serving and engaged in undermining the rights of citizens, such a politician loses the right to represent the people. using government offices to make private gains by supporting investments that are anti-people, anti-state (in the sense chipping away at the rights, duties and responsibilities of the state) and entrenching predatory economics is offensive and an insult to the intelligence and compassion that we humans are capable of.