Friday, September 18, 2009

Reflections on a great life


Three years ago on this a day I informed you of the passing away of my grandfather, Shri Hardas Sharma. He was the instrumental figure in my life who drew me towards social justice and the meaningful role of politics in achieving that ideal. He was a vociferous advocate for policies that lent rural India the dignity and attention it deserves.

Today, when I see the success of India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) I remember him. A former Gram Sabha leader himself, he would be delighted to see that this policy is providing a real building block for Mahatma Gandhi's dream of "Gram Swaraj" (Rural Self-Sufficiency). Also, the Right to Information Act would have been something that he would have used to fight for the rights of the poor and exploited. Were he alive he would have been hopeful for India. Sure, there are huge challenges ahead. Even the NREGA has numerous open issues surrounding transparency and real rural asset development but overall the spotlight now shining on rural India can only do good.

Even though my grandfather left the Congress party post-independence in response to Mahatma Gandhi's message that Congress workers should become "constructive" workers his emotional attachment to the party never really waned. Of course, till this day it remains my greatest regret that my joint appearance with him at his native district Congress headquarters happened to be scheduled for just a few days after his unexpected death. Yet, I believe he would have been delighted by the most recent election results where policy, to a good degree, overrode identity - a cause he fought for all his life.

So, on this day we can report back to him and the rest of that greatest Indian generation that the work to build a nation for all goes on. We have challenges ahead but so do we have courage and determination. For, I believe, that is the ultimate tribute to these departed great souls of India. May they rest in peace.

Rohit Tripathi.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

More Details about India's Climate Report

The Government of India seems more aggressive than ever to challenge the target lobby at Copenhagen. By sending three high profile members of the government to the release of the reports the signal is clear - we are moving forward with no change in our strategy. What is needed is a real internal debate to codify sustainable development. Not just mere national missions with no real sense of accountability. What is needed is a Right to a Sustainable Environment campaign not merely to save the flora and fauna but livelihoods that are tied to the survival, hopes and aspirations of millions who are far removed from this debate.


Ominous Signs for Copenhagen

From our Twitter page at

Ominous signs for Copenhagen. India to use this report to bolster its case against any mandated target on emissions.

Jury is still out on this line of thinking - as long as we are better than the worst we are good enough. The industrialized nations too carry little moral authority on the issue as their per capita emissions are indeed many fold that of India's. So, who gives? The planet?