Atanu Dey On India's Development

The New Startups: Political Parties

Seems like the geeks are diversifying from being entrepreneurs in high tech to being entrepreneurs in politics. They are forming political parties. Aditya Pancholi alerted me to “PARITRANA, the Political party for the Bharat of 21st century” started by a group of very young professionals who share the common background of having gone to IITs.

Paritrana, which means “complete relief from a state of distress,” has set itself the lofty mission

to resuscitate and restore the great traditions of Bharatvarsha’s glorious Golden Age based on the eternal values, and to transform Bharatvarsha into a prosperous and powerful nation and reestablish Bharatvarsha to its rightful place in the world as ‘JagadGuru’.

Transforming India into a great nation is a great idea. But bringing back past glory? I am not qualified to categorically state whether there ever was a “Golden Age.” I think it is a sort of nostalgia, a sentimental attachment to the idea of an imagined past when we were great. Whether India was a world leader (‘JagadGuru‘) in the past or not is irrelevant, actually. Whether India would be a world leader in the future is also irrelevant to me. What I am concerned about is the state of India’s children. If I ever join a political party, it would be one that has the simple goal of emancipating the children of India.

Startups are good, whether in the high technology space or the political space. It is a marketplace of ideas and ideals. Another startup in the political space is Bharat Uday Mission which has as its mission

to create the self-perpetuating cycle of economic and scientific development, by destroying the present self-perpetuating cycle of corruption, population explosion and poverty in our country and we appeal to all patriotic Indians to support Bharat Uday Mission whole-heartedly in attaining this goal .

I am very gratified to note that they have mentioned corruption, population explosion and poverty in their mission statement because I believe that these three related evils are the primary brakes to India’s development.

Swami Vivekanand’s call to the youth of India a hundred years ago has still not been answered. Here is that call mentioned at Bharat Uday Mission:

“Even the least work done for others awakens the power within; even thinking the least good of others gradually instills into the heart the strength of a lion. As you have come into this world, leave some mark behind. Otherwise, what is the difference between you and the trees and stones ? What our country needs are some young men who will renounce everything and sacrifice their lives for their country’s sake. Only such men can do some real work. I too believe that India will awake again, if anyone could love with all his heart the people of the country – bereft of the grace of affluence, of blasted fortune, their discretion totally lost, downtrodden, ever-starved, quarrelsome, and envious. Then only will India awake, when hundreds of large-hearted men and women, giving up all desires of enjoying the luxuries of life, will long and exert themselves to their utmost for the well-being of the millions of their countrymen who are gradually sinking lower and lower in the vortex of destitution and ignorance.”

Where have they gone, the heroes such as Swami Vivekanand and Sri Aurobindo? The lions have departed and the asses and baboons hold court.

I should mention that there is another group called Samudai Bharati based in the US and India which is also in the process of forming a political party. (Will post a link when I get it.) I have had contact with the people of Samudai Bharati. A very motivated and idealistic group.

I wish all these startups success.

Update: Thanks to Praveen, I have the link to Samudai Bharati which states its purpose as:

Based on the principles of Open Society, Free Economy, and Limited Government, Samudai Bharati will participate in electoral politics, to bring about a more transparent, accountable and responsive government, to transform India that is Bharat into a Knowledge Society based on the Rule of Law (DharmaRaj)

  • Praveen

    samudai.org

    These political parties should perhaps have a look at your blog while they are forming their “Ideologies”.

    You have been shouting for quite sometime from the roof tops that “Wisdom is more important than plain good intentions”. I hope the startup political parties realise that, else they are going to end up as the baboon parties of the 21st century India.

    Atanu’s response: Praveen, thank you for the link.

  • http://www.ideablogy.com raman

    i am very less aware about politics but yaa whatevr u wrote surely kicked me to think but me thinking about it wont help as much as the peaders thinking about it will

    http://www.ideablogy.com

  • sanatan

    Praveen,

    Why “Ideologies” in scare quotes? With respect to Samudai Bharati, at least from the attached link, Samudai Bharati seems to driving towards better governance.

  • Praveen

    I think the right policies come above “ideologies”.Utopian dreams about a Bharat Varsha aint help.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Why there isnt a party primary in indian political parties?

  • http://seven_times_six.blogspot.com seven_times_six

    I don’t think renunciation and self-sacrifice is necessary for a nation to prosper. What is required is the exact opposite — a strong avarice and ambition to promote one’s well-being.

    India’s problems are not due a lack of “leaders”. It is due to a lack of people not being allowed to lead themselves. For all your insightful thoughts, you do not seem to be cognizant of this.

    Atanu’s response: I agree that the people at large have to do what is best for themselves. But Swami Vivekanand was not asking for everyone to become saints or ascetics. I interpret his statement to be a call for guiding lights.

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  • http://projectoutsourced.com Krishnan Sundararaman

    Completely agree with Mr.42.
    I was much more inspired by Gurcharan Das’s accounts of the struggles of Dhirubai, Birla & Tatas to set up shop in bereaucracy-heaven that was the India of the 60s, as opposed to this misguided Vivekananda exhortation to “renounce everything and sacrifice for India”. Vivekananda sounds like a perfect manager for jholawala NGOs and their ilk.

    Renounce what ? Sacrifice what ? Are Indians Rockefellers, Carnegies & Fords, with umpteen billion worth of possessions to renounce ? Vivek must be placed on the backburner whilst we first make something, anything…once we have enough, we can think about renouncing that.

    Right now, only commodity in surplus worth renouncing is Vivek’s rhetoric, foolish, plentiful and completely tax-free native export of India. From Lalu in the north to JJ in south, Shiv Sainiks of the west to the eastern naxals, we manufacture rhetoric by the truckload.

    Renounce rhetoric.

    Atanu’s response: Swami Vivekanand being pitted against Gurcharan Das? The moon and the six-pence? Shirley you jest!

    I suggest a slow re-reading of what Swami Vivekanand said. A truckload 0f “India Unbound” cannot quite measure up to a page from Vivekanand’s writings.

  • http://www.nachiketa.org/ Nachiketa Version 0.1

    Another thing we could do apart from launching a new party is to go attach ourselves to the existing political parties and influence them. It is tough to connect and garner the real votes in this current India if you appeal to pure intellectual ideology; one should be working with party machinery. Seshans, Manmohans, Abdul Kalams would never be able to build the political party machinery to really achieve anything by their ideology. There are open minded leaders like Chandrababu Naidu (of AP) who is a cross between the modern ideology and the old world politics. If we attach to these kind of folks, we can do much more than starting our own achieve-not-much-parties. Of course I agree that “disappointment is not a reason to not attempt a noble goal”. Another way we can make a contribution to India is do heavy lobbying and influence the polity through money; money is anyway playing part in Indian politics for a bad direction; why not we use the money to influence in a good direction ? Another idea I fancy always is “secret society”. Form a secret society with a hidden agenda; use your intellectual & material power to grab & mould the media for your own ideology. My sentiments may sound bit negative but to be frank, I am excited about these “political startups”.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Seshans, Manmohans, Abdul Kalams would never be able to build the political party machinery to really achieve anything by their ideology.

    This is why if the parties had primaries for all candidates, the party members can influence who gets a ticket.
    Also there needs to be a substantial overhaul on who can run from where.
    Why should some one be allowed to run from 2 places. Also the residency requirement is needed. Why does the fellow get an bunglow in delhi which he refuses to let go of if he is booted.
    In this day of telecom the elected rep should stay where he is and learn more.
    Hell then he would know which Small scale shops run in his backyard and what issues they face.

  • Krishnan

    The kind of renunciation and sacrifice that Vivekananda called for is not renunciation of the world. To quote him “The aim of young men today is to become a clerk or a deputy magistrate (which is another kind of clerk). What good will it do to the country at large ?” The sacrifice he called for was from intelligent, brave young men of that time to forego the comfort and security of a clerical career with the British-run government and the dependence of familial ties and work for the country. A few did do that and India is a much better place because of that.

    Vivekananda himself practised what he preached; one of his goals of the USA visit was to earn enough to be able to alleviate the condition of his people. Idealistic it may seem; but what a grand love for his fellow countrymen ! His setting up of the Ramakrishna mission was another indication how pragmatic he was. He realised that sustained effort beyond his lifespan was required and hence setup an organization to accomplish his vision. The contributions of these silent workers to India is often understated; these people dont get interviewed on television channels but touch the lives of many people with their selfless work.

    It is true that men like Vivekananda and Aurobindo are in scarce supply today. It is especially sad that the same Bengal that produced lions like Vivekananda and Subhas Bose has gone into this rut where no noteworthy leader has emerged in the last fifty years. But these qualities cannot disappear from a race of people and therein lies hope that our country will again produce the likes of these. The least we can do is to read Swamiji’s works again and again and hope that the sublime prose awakens love for the country and people that can produce such men.

  • http://parvativetri.blogspot.com Parvati

    It is like drinking a drop of pristine clear water in a desert – the thought and idealism behind these new political parties move me. But I do not believe that they can sustain themselves or reach a power-level in our country to do anything at all :(

  • http://www.samudai.org piyushgupta

    To all the commentators on this post,

    The most important point is that somebody is making an effort to make a change. One may disagree on the what the method may be, but to bring to about a change in governance it is but necessary to bring about a change in politics.

    Now, some commentators have suggested that how about working with the current political parties to bring about a change, or how about trying to bring about a change from outside? To the latter point, this blog and like many others are making a difference in the way people think. Then there are organisations like Loksatta that are trying to make a difference from outside. But what is really needed is someone to also work from the inside.

    If we agree that work from the inside is also required, lets see what hurdles one is likely to face with the current parties. How many of us think that the current politicial parties with their High Command and control structure will listen to any good idea given by any of us who joins in earnest? How many of us think that if we were to work hard in a constituency, we would be awarded tickets from the High Command? Please note no political party in our country currently hold primaries for nominating their candidates. It is but human nature that those in power are loathe to give it up. So how can this system be changed?

    Well, it is easier to start a new organisation with a different culture than to change the culture of an existing organisation. It this is somewhat true, it follows that we need a new kind of political organisation that is decentralized, bottom-up, participatory, internally democratic, transparent, accountable and responsive. As a member of Samudai Bharati, I can say that we are in the process of building that kind of organisation. We have been working on it for a while now and hope to launch Samudai Bharati in March 2007, with plans to start contesting elections at various levels from around 2014 onwards. We realize that this effort is a generational one, infact an inter-generational one.

    The kind of organisation that we are trying to build will have primaries,will also have checks and balances such that no one person or a group of persons is/are able to hijack it, will have total transparency in the receipt and expenditure of funds, and will consist of largely autonomous local units bound together with a set of core principles, one of which is the preservation of human liberties and not their curtailment, which the current political parties, when they form the administration, continue to do so in one form or another with their penchant for statism.

    In any event, if any of you are interested in knowing more about the organisation in formation, and would like to be part of it, please email us at info@samudai.org or me at piyushgupta.pg@gmail.com.

    Lets work together towards better governance for a promising future.

    Piyushgupta

  • anirban

    Atanu,
    Talking about Vivekananda’s call – here is one man is doing it his own way.

    Do check out http://www.parivaar.org. I would be glad to answer any queries you have.

  • http://www.idonthaveawebsiteandthisisastupidformality.com causten

    dude piyush, your email account isnt working, i tried sending a mail to u. it got bounced.

  • http://www.samudai.org piyushgupta

    Causten,

    Try again. We do receive mails at info@samudai.org.

    Also, I use this account piyushgupta.pg@gmail.com as my primary account and it works all the time.

    Currently, I am in the USA. So, if you would like to give me a call, please call 703-786-3619.

    Thanks.
    Piyushgupta

  • Harish

    Really moved by this move of the FANTASTIC FIVE. May be there’s doubt in everyone’s mind about its success, but one thing is for sure “DREAM HIGH TO ACHEIVE HEIGHTS” AND SO GUYS AND GALS OF THIS COUNTRY PLZ SUPPORT FOR ITS CAUSE without any second thought

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  • rekhasrinivas

    Hey !five stars of future BHARAT, congratulations.Really moved of the thought what i was having in mind.Am a ex defence officer”s wife.And having worked in education field for 17years if i can be of any help to u people I will be extremely happy.My two hands will go hand in hand with u people for any social cause!!!!!!

    i SINCERLY ADMIT THAT i DONOT MIND TO BE PART OF YOUR ORGANISATION.
    Bye
    Mrs Srinivas.

  • krishna mani mishra

    hi! you have proved the saying
    “HUM TO DARIYAN HAIN HUMEIN APNA HUNAR MALUM HAI,JIS TARAF BHI CHAL PADENGE RASTA HO JAYEGA”

    i m also thinking the same.and really ur parties ideas will definately change the india or bharat uday will take place

    friends please carry on and i m always with you at all the moment and hoping day by day no of persons in ur list will increase.

  • http://www.bharayudaymission.com Rakesh Anugula

    Please dont have any doubts about Bharat Uday Mission which is going to be registered as a socio-political organisation by 2010. Iam sure that with its strong ideology, it would definitely arise as a hope for the common people of our nation. I am having a great experience with this organisation and i appeal to every patriot to join it and work to build a great nation.

    WE HAVE ONLY ONE PASSION
    THE RISE OF A GREAT NATION

  • amit loya

    it’s good to hear the great “Bharat uday mission”.But this cannot be achived just by politics..first the minds of people r to be changed.& most importantly the internal problems like communal violence,poority r to be minimised.

  • http://sonofindia.blogspot.com Arun Kumar

    First of all about PARITRANA , why did the geeks decide fo form a political party rather than just get a high paying job sit back and post stupid comments on the net ?
    Well its because they got fed up with the system .I am sure they must have had bad experiences with “bad governance” .While forming the party they might have been filled with fire till the tip , this explains the ideology .
    Many say politics is not the way we can change the system , but thil diry politics exists no other way will survive .
    We should give these guys a break a try to help them in any way that we can rather then just saying that it could have been done better .
    We should pay more attention to their intention rather then how good they are at framing an ideology.
    As i can see of today more and more engineering and medicine students are joining them .Did i mention that more and more engineering and medicine students or thinking about politics, well this is a change in itself !!

  • Rajeshkumar.K

    The concept of youngsters forming a political party alone is significant enough at this moment. To get at the ideology from what their statment reads, would be criminal, as ideology is to slated to be put in words. and regarding the golden age and all, lets not make unwarranted statements, if we presume we do not knwo, we will leave it at that. i hope Paritrana will stand tall as a model to others saying, you guys too can do it. we have seen movies and that has not kicked us hard enough, hopefully these parties would. And seriously as much as an expert one might be, it would be insane on his part to even dream of criticizing something at such a nascent stage. so lets stop bothering abotu are they dealing with teh right problems, and start hoping that they would survive the muddy waters of politics and emerge strong for whatever good cause they stand. then another could prioritise the issues and start fighting for it. let the models be set by these, without beign treated to words of critics based on theri perceptions of somebody else’s imagination.

  • http://www.bharatudaymission.org/hyderabad/chapter_hyderabad.htm Srikar

    Thank you all for your support, I am from Bharat Uday and we need your support more than anything. As many said, other than just chalking out our idealogies, we are doing our homework. yes, we will need the support of the masses, as someone above pointed out, we should instill a sense of responsibility in all our fellow Indians. and this cant be done in a day, it`ll take time, but its possible and we are working towards it. most of the members of the Bharat Uday mission are students and are full of josh. We are slowly growing. gud to know that many such organisations(read Samudai Bharat & Paritrana) are comming up. We should all work together, our main aim is a Developed India,developed in all fronts, minus poverty, corruption and controlling the population growth.

    Thank you all once again for ur great support. Come, join us at Bharatuday Mission.

  • http://www.bharatudaymission.org/hyderabad/chapter_hyderabad.htm Srikar

    What I feel, seeing so many students comming together to make a better India, its the same as how our great freedom fighters started out. Yes, thats the reason we call it the second freedom struggle. People from all around the country are sensing the need for a change and are comming out strongly against the system. That is what we need. A huge Revolt!

  • naveen kumar neeraj

    hi i am naveen.this is a very good step taken by yoyu.you continue your work.i am sure each and every student will be with you.vivekananda said 100 young men can do any thing.they have the ability to change the world.so all the best.
    my best wishes are with you.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/dattaslibrary soumana

    hello all,

    as a teacher i feel there should be a dialogue constantly in our cities and villages and the youth be involved in it. its summer break now and most of our college students dont know what to do except look for low paying summer jobs.
    cant the youth debate on issues like development, sex ratios etc.
    debate and more debate will finally lead to some kind of consensus i think. what direction has india to take in this planet, can any one tell?

    soumana

  • Shiv

    I don’t understand why everybody is so fussy about sacrifice? Personal sacrifice is very badly needed at the moment for the future growth of India. When you talk of Tata’s and Birla’s, India has become a very difficult place to nurture the entrepreneurial talent. The same people when go abroad they find great success.

    The root cause of all this according to me is a corruption in the political arena. It will not set itself right. It needs a jolt, a shock – and I hope that one of such newly founded parties will be able to hit right at the target. As of now, an IIT graduate goes straight to US, gets a 100% scholarship – does his masters and then gets a job of 120 K to start with and lives happily thereafter. Most of these guys will never return to India and neither will India benefit from anyway from their success. If on the other hand, same guy started a new business in India, gave employment to many others and contributed towards the GDP of the country – and shared a place with Ambani’s and Tata’s it would have been a lot better. However, no one wants to do that – because it’s not easy to do business with such a high corruption and inadequate infrastructure – who will set right? – Somebody has to – somebody who is ready to sacrifice a good life for cleaning this mess – and I appreciate the efforts of the people who have started the BUM and other institutions – I just hope that these efforts do not die down by such strong and unnecessary criticism. I guess this the exact same reason for India’s plight – we have a very bad habit of criticizing good work – and we have another bad habit of taking such baseless criticism seriously –

    BUM and others keep up the good work – Majority is with you

  • bano haralu

    Where are the teachers in India’s schools and colleges ?
    We need enlightened individuals to take on the role of a teacher ..then only can we hope to see society change in this growingly insensitive consumer driven global world.

  • vijay

    Dear Sir, U guys r doing a very nobel job nd this will change destiny of India.Right now v Indians r living in a demoncracy where v don’t seen a bright future, which happened in the last sixty years of Independence.

  • Ashok

    as a teacher i feel there should be a dialogue constantly in our cities and villages and the youth be involved in it. its summer break now and most of our college students dont know what to do except look for low paying summer jobs.
    cant the youth debate on issues like development, sex ratios etc.
    debate and more debate will finally lead to some kind of consensus i think. what direction has india to take in this planet, can any one tell?

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  • Surjit Satapathy

    I became very happy when came to know about such a mission started by our youth friends.Now the dream of seeing India as what it actually deserves is about to come true.I would like to request all my friends to have look at this mission and extend your support for all its succcess.Can any one tell me how to take part in the activities of PARITRANA. Wish a very all the best for PARITRANA.

  • bhattathiri

    We believe that each of us has tremendous creative capacity within ourselves and that we are most effective when we have the confidence to bring our authentic voices and visions forward. Our philosophy of using the arts and experiential learning models as tools to facilitate community building, personal empowerment, and leadership development extends beyond our own programs to our consultation work with many organizations and communities. Power of Hope offers trainings, workshops and consultations for youth workers, teachers, artists, and community groups throughout India. Our work weaves skill building with activities that enable participants to develop a deeper level of imagination and passion for their work.

  • Dr.Manjunath

    I am glad to see some one has started this great task. I have big vision of changing education system in India & to change the mindset of people who has taken corruption as a normal phenomenon & very resistant to change. our wish should not be restricted to computer/email exchange. We should look forward for some real changes. True Indians should join this mission.My email csmanju19@rediffmail.com or @yahoomail.com

  • http://www.bdpindia.net N.P. Singh

    In a vast country like India there is room for a lot of new ideas/ groups. Ours is a humble effort and look forward to coming togather with others who share our vision. We firmly believe that there is no alternative to poitical initiative.
    http://www.bdpindia.net/Alternative.html

    Respectfully
    N.P. Singh
    npsingh@bdpindia.net