Time you become an MP…

You have worked like a dog in the last few years to get to where you are. You have practically spent many nights at your office and yet been an attentive bird chirping at early morning meetings. During audits and vital deadlines you have gulped all the coffee in the world and kept your eyes wide open with a clothes peg. Memories are short with the decision makers when it is time for your performance review though. Every known mental and psychological disorders are at the forefront on an annual basis. From amnesia, to antisocial personality disorders, to dyssomnia,to autism,  to schizophrenia. Of course, none of these are exhibited by you, but by the man who sits on the other side of the table, an able man who acts more autistic than Shah Rukh when it comes to increasing your salary or promoting you and feigns no knowledge of your achievements during the year.

The Boss would sit with an angel face in front of you, peering down at a ten page key performance indicator manual scratching his cherubic chin in utter bewilderment. Key performance indicator check lists have become longer and more complicated over the years. They have become something like a psychoanalysis test. By the time you get to rating yourself at Question No 100,  you invariably land up contradicting yourself and losing focus on the SMART ( Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-limited) goals. Guess who is not looking so smart by the end of this traumatic process? A scrappy piece of paper decides and seals your fate. If you have not ticked the right box, you have unwound a full year’s work. Even if you have ticked the right box, your Boss demands how you got about achieving what you claim and whether it was really YOU who performed the great Indian rope trick.You realize there is more than one person in the room who needs a shrink.

This is fate you may think. You have no choice but to work hard, lick your Boss’s feet, crack jokes that your Boss wants to listen, wine and dine with clients you cannot stand and yet appear you are absolutely enchanted with your job. If you don’t do all this, you need to hire Dom Cob to incept your Boss and plant the idea in his head that you are the best employee he has ever had. Reality is, you cannot afford Cobb and there is no Cobb either. Reality also is that no matter who you work for you are accountable, culpable, obligated to your employer for as long as he has you on a leash. And no matter how many bones you fetch for him, there is no guarantee you will be rewarded with a year-long supply of canine biscuits to chew on.

Yes, you must regret the career choice you have made. You have chosen to lead a stressful life, you have paved the shortest, fastest way to the ICU of a hospital close to you. There is no guarantee that you will live long enough to enjoy the benefits of your hard work. What benefits are coming your way? If by some quirk of fate you exist till you retire, you have to feed off your miserly savings. Are you thinking about getting a pension from the Government? Gosh. A bit on Marslow’s hierarchy of needs theory needs to be revisited here.The money you made when you had a job was spent on covering your primary needs and splurging on your secondary needs.Thanks to sky rocketing CPI figures you forgot to save.  You are not left with any small change after spending a fortune on satisfying your third tier psychological needs. Where did all your tax money go in the last forty years? It has been burped away by your Government.It is laughable to think that you would obtain self actualization when the foundation is crumbling.

There is hope for you though.If only you were an MP, life would be a bed of roses. Are you a super Investment Banker on Wall Street? Did you get a pay hike of 300% this year? Obviously not. Come become an MP in our country, you could even get a 500% pay hike every year. There are very few educated MP’s in this country, most are uneducated or/and rapists or/and murderers. You would be a breath of fresh air.You also get an opportunity to quadruple your net worth every year. You get a remuneration which is a hundred times multiplied by the average Indian wage earner’s. You get perquisites worthy of a King, you have a fleet of cars, an army of servants and even a harem that includes women from Slovenia. The icing on the cake is that your wage is not taxable, the cherry being you have access to every public utility free of charge. You can zig zag across the country for free by Indian Airlines or chug in a train if you want to appear down to earth during elections. Notably, you get remunerated with kick backs and bribes as a part of your basic package. This being of course a discretionary bonus, like a performance bonus usually expressed in percentage terms. Clear a deal worth a hundred crores, pocket ten percent or more, sky is the limit really. If you are lucky to be extremely gifted as you have a natural flair for organization like Suresh Kalmadi, you will be presented with an opportunity to organize grand games and make a few thousand crores too. You will have ample opportunity to visit every single country that has hosted the Olympics to date in order to get some ideas. You can then craftily come up with your plan on how not to organize the Games. You have no Key performance indicator checklists to fill, no Boss questioning you, no yearly reviews, no meetings to attend, no time to keep, no work to do and your salary just keeps rising. So long as you appear “busy” and occasionally interact with the media or once in a way you throw pots and pans in parliament, you will be fine. Being an MP is a show about nothing, a bit like the Jerry Seinfeld show. You would be living in a world of fantasy, a la la land where you can sit in a pretty merry-go-round for the rest of your life and you can finally achieve the much evasive self actualization. About time you give up your current job. There is one small glitch to becoming an MP, you need some investment money  and you need clout. You must try to gather these quickly, no other investment gives you phenomenal guaranteed returns.One more thing, just try to keep Mamma happy, else you may land up the way Scindia, Pilot and Rajshekar Reddy did.Hey, but you can afford to hire Cobb and incept her if you wish.

Do read Pritish Nandy’s blog too – http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/extraordinaryissue/entry/is-your-mp-underpaid

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114 Responses to “Time you become an MP…”

  1. Lakshmi Jag Says:

    Right on Sharmila….Kudos to you. Loved your list of DSM -IV disorders and your description of performance scales. Loved reading it, right amount of humor to keep the readers from getting depressed with the reality of the situation. Looks like AB took your suggestion and is coming up with new blog ideas.

    Lakshmi

  2. Thanks Lakshmi. Pretty sad of affairs really. Do you reckon AB did? WOW, yes, I could see some difference today and yesterday though.

  3. Thanks Lakshmi. Pretty sad state of affairs really. Do you reckon AB did? WOW, yes, I could see some difference today and yesterday though.

  4. Sumit Goyal Says:

    hello sharmila……….nice blog…
    sumit

  5. Great Article, Jai Ho

  6. Sharmila,

    My boss is a monkey. I can say this without fear as I am using a pseudonym and you don’t know my boss.

    But nonetheless he is a better monkey than I am. So deserves better than I do. I have remained in the same company and same discipline for 18 years and I have enjoyed every moment.

    The secret of my success was in inverting Maslow’s triangle. I started top-down!

    As early as 1986 I refused to work for the salary. I changed six jobs between 1986 and 1992. And every time I did that it was only to get into a better job, not a better salary.

    I finally found my calling in 1992. I have never changed the line since then. The money accumulates so long as i enjoy my work.

    Thanks, but no thanks. I do not want to be an MP in India.

    Not because of the temptations of the job profile that you have described.

    But primarily because I do not want to represent the people of India. I don’t think they deserve anything better than what they have voted for.

    And those who did not vote deserve much less.

    I am strongly in favor of a good life, money and perks to MPs.

    Firstly, being a MP is not an employment. Lawmaking is not a job. Politics and protecting the interests of a nation is not a profession.

    MPs are the voice of the people they represent. They are chosen.

    If you think this is only on paper please look at countries in Africa and the ME where Ministers are appointed by the rulers.

    We have a dynamic leadership at the grass-roots. I have worked for many of them.

    It is the top leadership that is steering the country to disaster – and note they were not elected first shot — they were appointed first and elected later. For example, Dr. Manmohan Singh was Dy. Chairman of the Planning Commission (post held by Montek SIngh Ahluwalia today). He was nominated for PMs position after Congress came to power and then elected from a safe consitutency in a bi-election – like coming in through the window. Ditto P Chidambaram, Sonia Gandhi et al. The central cabinet is appointed by Sonia Gandhi. Thats where the democratic system has been rigged.

    • Lakshmi Jag Says:

      Reader…….I think Sharmila is saying the same thing. She is not complaining about the democratic process, she is complaining about how the few leaders take it upon themselves to raise their pay scale. Since they are elected, they need to be more accountable to the people. Accountability is missing and the question here, is it the fault of the people for electing them or the leaders who forget about the people who put them there first. Politics is never easy. Reminds me of a movie by K.Balachander called Taneer Taneer, beautifully done and reveals the truth about human nature and politics.

      Good that you addressed Self-actualization first but unfortunately not many people are fortunate as you. Lucky are the ones who can do it….

      Lakshmi

      • Lakshmi,

        I do not understand ‘accountability’ in the context of a law maker.

        Laws can be amended if they do not work. Thats all the accountability expected.

        About unlawful activities like corruption, sedition, land grab, abuse of power etc, these are part of enforcement of law… not the function of the parliament.

        The function of an MP is to represent the people who have voted for him/her.

        This is true in any democracy. Those in other countries are surely paid more than INR 60,000/- per month.

        I myself get several times more than that amount for less than 5% of their responsibility.

        I feel, the power that an MP wields is not by virtue of his/her salary but by the strength of the constituency he/she represents.

        For example, an MP from Central Mumbai, like Murli Deora, is more powerful than one elected from say Ratnagiri district because he represents a strong franchise. Murli Deora has got the Petroleum Ministry while there is no cabinet minister from Ratnagiri.

        The salary of INR 60,000/- per month is lowly. Even a dabbawala in Mumbai earns more than that.

        ===

        About self-actualization.. I wouldn’t advise anyone to follow my example.

        Its more painful than anyone can imagine. It starts with enormous risks.

        Its like living in a jungle where for the hunter a prey is just one meal… but for the prey it is a matter of life and death…

        I survived that stage against a lot of odds and in the process caused a lot of distress to those who supported me.

        My dad, for one, was fed up of hearing that I had quit but held back his words because of my mother and sister.

        They encouraged my madness trusting my feelings more than even I did.

        I was nothing if I was not their pride.

        🙂

      • Lakshmi – Exactly my point of view.

    • I agree with some of your thoughts Reader but differ with a few. Representing the people who voted for you and working for your constituency is a job. Just because you are elected it makes it no different to you attending an interview and getting selected tp perform your job. Of course, there are a few who get in through the side door like Manmohan Singh. Personally, I do not mind Singh, he is leaps and bounds better than the regular rapists and murderers. The problem arises with the system in place for electing your candidate and this is not bound to change even in the long run. The bigger problem arises when able men and women too shun away from wanting to serve the people.

  7. Correction: No correction. I just forgot to toggle the Notify follow-up comments.

    Have to re-submit again.

    🙂

    • Lakshmi Jag Says:

      Cannot argue with a person who is self-actualized. I always follow a quote I read long time ago “the best way to win an argument is to say I guess you are right”. Always enjoy reading your point of view 🙂

      Lakshmi

      • Lakshmi,

        Mysticism creates imaginary tasks and targets.

        In the days of the Varna-Asshrama-dharma when the caste system prevailed, knowledge was passed on within families and clans… and mostly through direct verbal teachings.

        And to prevent the mixing of races, they writers wrote in codes that only their community could decipher.

        It is sad but it is true. And we have to overcome that, giving them due credit for at least recording their work in some form.

        One of the results is that concepts like self-actualization are often mistaken to be in the realm of theosophy or religion. That is not true.

        There are millions of people who are self-actualized even if they do not have the vocabulary to say so.

        Its a ground state. Not the state of a disembodied spirit.

        For example, Ayn Rand was self-actualized even before she wrote her first novel, ‘We the Living’… but for 3 decades after that she struggled to find words to express herself… and finally was able to say it all in Atlas Shrugged…

        Gandhi was self-actualized long before he decided to teach people to fight against the English Administration.

        If you remember, the common man’s automatic reaction to Gandhi was in the title they gave him. He was not called a teacher, guru, a leader or a saint. They called him Mahatma – a great soul. And that title stuck even though the Congress tried to politicize his work by calling him ‘Father of the nation’.

        Self-actualization is a punishing process. But there is nothing else in Maslow’s triangle that can match it.

        You are right about arguing. It is not a way of learning.

        I learn mostly when I feel challenged and that too through books, experiments and conversations.

        Thats probably because of a genetic disorder. My dad had low BP, mother had high BP and I am hyper-tensive… my mind goes blank if I become anxious! Like blows a fuse in the cerebral cortex… can’t find words in that state…

  8. Oops… I need a Angelic break… forgot again… sorry

  9. Reader,
    I doubt if a Dabbawala earn that kind of money per month for doing nothing. I saw a documentary on them some time ago. It was fascinating how they run entire network successfully for so many years. Probably a guy with Master’s degree in Business Management couldn’t have done it. Its really amazing how systematically and smoothly the entire operation is run by bunch of almost illiterate ppl.
    No Dabbawala gets the perks one MP gets through out the year for doing nothing. But you are right…..its ppl’s fault who elect such candidates. I am not sure what other options are /were available to the masses. Its a pity that they send illiterates,goons,rapists,murderers and Film Stars as their Representatives instead of some decent,educated intellectuals (if any available to drag themselves into that muddy,bloody,filthy politics)
    To maintain one MP gov has to spend taxpayers’ hard earned money in sum of 12 million in Indian currency(if I am not wrong)….wow! India indeed is a Rich Country…..Its just few stupid farmers with suicidal tendency and some laborers and beggars come in way… or else……Hmmm…!

    • MonaLisa,

      Let me defend my perception.

      Think of a housewife as an elected member of a conventional Indian family. Father brings the money and gives it to her. The children’s education and all other expenses are paid through that income.

      The housewife spends some of the money on herself. Cool.

      Would the father say, “You are squandering my hard earned money. You can’t look beautiful with face powder. You need a plastic surgery!”

      A nation is no different from a family.

      If the housewife turns unethical the family is destroyed. If she has an affair with the postman, the son will freak out with the neighbor’s daughter and the daughter disappears at nights.

      Divorce is not an option because it is a marriage of choice.

      The only way is to introduce ethical reforms.

      Paying the MPs well is one aspect. MPs should also have a peaceful life to live. They are not sacrifical goats.

      The state would be reduced to anarchy if we did not save them. Like a single father who wouldn’t know how to raise children.

      • Reader,
        You can defend your perception as you please. However the example you gave doesn’t sound very convincing to me. In this case i feel it other way around.

      • The example sounds better since 50% of the MPs with portfolios and power are women.

  10. Reader – The point is not only about making more or less than a dabawala, it is about not even doing what the dabawala does and yet getting paid for it. Of course, Deora has a greater opportunity to make more money given significant kickbacks he would be entitled to as compared to an MP from Ratnagiri who has no oil wells to climb into.

    • Deora is Mukesh Ambani’s man. So, that tells the whole story.

      What I am trying to say is that the KPI associated with elected MPs performances are not related with their income.

      An MP is a law maker and the driver of policies. Mayawati may look like an eyesore to an American Senator but she is a savior for all the lower caste untouchables in UP.

      I still call them untouchables because of the unhygienic lives they lead. No healthy person would enter their houses or eat with their children.

      She is teaching them good culture. And they are reforming now. Hopefully in a feew years they will be as good as the rest of the nation.

      We cannot connect Maywati’s extravagant earnings to the work that she is doing.

      Same applies to Mamta Banerjee in West Bengal or Modi in Gujarat. They are miles ahead in social reforms than Bihar, Tamilnadu, Odissa or Kerala. Their challenges are different in each state.

      A visionary politician cannot be replaced by a blue collar MBA.

  11. Reader – starting with self actualization and working downwards is as rare as a bird of paradise. 🙂

  12. Lol…..Reader…! When did that happen..!? 50% female MPs..?! That too with protfolios…!? wow..! India has progressed a lot…Indeed..!
    Yet….Do they really deserve rise in their basic pay scale 300% to 500%…!? Don’t think so….!

    • A 300% percent rise has given them INR 60,000 per month which is US$ 10,000/- .

      As voters or owners of their services, we cannot sound very generous and demanding.

      They are claiming it democractically through a parliamentary process. Thats a good thing.

      There are worse ways they can get that money and more if they want.

      Why not support the process? At least they are pretending to be democratic about it if it is not true in reality.

      Miltant groups like Shiv Sena simply walk into the houses of the people and extort money at the point of a gun. They earn about INR 100 million each month in Mumbai city alone.

      Why shake the foundations of the building because the color of the paint is not good? INR 60,000 per month is only a symbolic salary even if it is a 300% raise from the INR 16,000+ they were getting earlier.

      A sheltered dependent should never mock his guardians.

      Once the guardians withdraw their shade, there will be utter chaos and destruction. Printed currency and bank balances will have no value after that.

      My view is: Save the guardians, no matter what their short-comings.

      • Correction: Not US$ 10,000/- pm just US$ 1000/- per month

        Thats probably less than the amount Vijaya Mallaya spends on tissue papers to clean his horses in his stud farms…

      • Dont think it is fair to drag Mallya or Ambani into this. Their ways to wealth is slightly more legitimate than the ones in question.

      • Reader,
        Ha..ha…A sheltered dependent..!? who depends on whom is a question mark..!?
        Reforms and amendments are always necessary in favour of nation and its citizens…not vice versa.
        Why does one feel obligated and find it necessary to convert the amount in US$..!? You earn in whatever currency and spend it in he same…! what’s so fuss about it..!?
        In this matter they are bigger Dogs(want bigger Bites) than A Guy like Bush who pat his own back himself and doubled his own pay which was 100% (only) in his presidency.
        Comparing them with Shiv Sena or any Industrialist doesn’t justify this hike anyway… Who knows how many MPs cut deals beneficial to them during their perod of serving The Nation and building their wealth in enormous amount in a very short period of time…then why do they need pay raise..!? Is it that they are running out of White Money..!? And to show the official Expenses are getting difficult to save their faces…!?

      • Sharmila, MonaLisa,

        I will try one last time.

        The strength of a goon or an industrialist comes from their wealth and nuisance value.

        A politicians strength comes from the number of people who believe in him/her to protect their rights.

        We are not in the US where industrialists are trusted by people to become law makers. The elected politicians position in India is that of a ruler.

        They are not eomployees. They are above the law, above the industrialist and also empowered to change the laws,

        Their so-called ‘salary’ is an expense account. But it does not entitle us to feel generous and demanding like blue-collar executives.

        I feel it is reasonable.

      • lol @ militant groups like shiv sena 😛

      • Ninad,

        It is true. Shiv Sena has a lot of ‘firsts’ on its name in Maharashtra.

        Bal Thackeray’s father Prabodhan was the first to raise the caste issue among brahmins in Ratnagiri. He is quoted to swear that he would employ a brahmin woman as a maid in his house.

        Bal Thackeray is an alumni of the JJ school of arts where he started off as a political cartoonist and created the ‘Marathi Manoos’ (Marathi Man) issue. His son Late Bindu Madhav (died in a car accident) was like Sonny Corleone.

        His first political gimmick was ousting ‘Madrasi’ (all south Indians were called Madrasi) from Mumbai. These days it is UP Bhaiyyas.

        The main business initially was extortion and protection money from the film industry, diamond merchants, textile industries and five star hoteliers.

        Finally at the premiere of a film called Shahenshah in Pune Bal Thackeray played the Hindu card.

        Mumbai is divided in territories. Colaba, Mohammed Ali Road, Harbour line, 7 bungalows Andheri, Versova, Millat Nagar, Mira Road etc were Haji Mastan, Yusuf Patel areas now divided up by other smuggling syndicates. We will soon get a dramatized glimpse of this dark world of drugs in a film called ‘Shantaram’ being made by Mira Nair with Amitabh Bachchan (who else?).

        Ghatkoper was earlier with Vardharajan (Kamal’s ‘Nayakan’) and other smaller areas like Dongri etc were with small timers like Gawli.

        Most of Mumbai is still under Shiv Sena. Further East, Panvel, Uran, Alibagh are under their other division called Agri-sena.

        Since the rise of religious extremism in India Shiv Sena has developed closer ties with Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Patitpawan Sanghatana, RSS, etc.

        Their financial clout and mafia-like hold on businesses in Mumbai make them formidable powers not unlike the Sicilian families in New York dramiatized by Mario Puzo.

        From a child’s admission to a school, to ration cards, employment, construction, business loans, banking, merchant trading, entertainment, manufacturing, trade unions, stock markets, local governments et al… Shiv Sena is present in every breath of Mumbai… the commercial capital of India – a 2 trillion dollar economy!

        The ground reality is very simple and stupid. I can draw a portrait of Bal Thackeray and present it to him and go home with a gift in cash or kind that will last me for a lifetime!

        He lives like an emperor… with an empire to boot! An outspoken admirer of Adolf Hitler’s policies.

        The film Sarkar II was based on a real event when the CEO of Enron had to seek Thackeray’s permission before going to the Chief Minister for the Dabhol Power Project.

      • What you wrote is true but, if it wouldn’t have been Shiv Sena, it would have been the D-company, the Chhota Rajan or some other mafias ruling its share. Maybe Kripashankar Singh or Abu Azmi even. I would take Shiv Sena anytime. Thanks a lot.

        Thackeray doesn’t agree with Hitler’s policies, he said he likes some of his qualities.

      • Ninad,

        Cool.

        In Mumbai and practically most other places, both ‘mystics of the spirit’ and ‘mystics of the muscle’ run protection rackets.

        I have never chosen either.

      • Well it’s ideal not to chose. But when the muslim mob is 2 days away from burning your house, you will know who to turn to (circa 1993).

      • Ninad,

        An army soldier or a shiv sena volunteer are as human as I am. I would rather learn to fight like them than sacrifice them to save myself.

        The civil riots of ’93 was a small glimpse of the Punjab border in 1947. People were cut into pieces by the roadside.

        During the partition each punjabi and sindhi fought with swords and guns for himself and his family. Many killed and many got killed.

        In a situation like that every one is by himself. The land becomes a battlefield where no one is safe especially those who have something to lose.

        If a young Hindu or a muslim boy can fight for me, why can I not fight for myself?

        Civil riots are not organized wars. There are no rules and no food and medical supplies waiting to nurse the injured.

        In short,

        It’s not possible to be spiritually free and physically bonded or vice versa. Either both are free or both are enslaved.

        The two cannot be seperated. A soul without a body is a ghost; a body without a soul is a corpse – both are useless without each other’s functions.

        If I submit my beliefs to extremists I will be subject to physical slavery too. It goes with the package.

      • Very inspiring use of words. However you won’t be believed unless you prove your courage.

      • Ninad,

        Sorry if that hurt you. I wasn’t trying to convince you about anything. Just stating what I felt.

        I am a cyber soul. Not a real person. I don’t exist.

  13. Aishwarya Says:

    Hi Sharmila,

    Back after Onam celebrations…

    Thinking of how life comes a full circle. As kids, Onam was about gifts, games, masti-filled times spent with cousins and friends, and payasam to the heart’s content. As we became young ladies, Onam was about looking our best – choosing the perfect Travancore sari with the most unique ‘kasavu’ (ensuring that its the rarest and no one has one like it!) with a matching silk blouse stitched to perfection. And on the day of the festival, draping the sari with utmost care, accessorising with traditional gold jewelry, adorning the long braid with a string of fragrant jasmine flowers, and completing the look with kumkum on the forehead and a touch of sandal paste. Making the pookalam on the courtyard, dancing, and singing was the highlight. With motherhood, things changed. Dressing up our kids, their gifts, games, watching them help with the pookalam, and teaching them how to eat from a plantain leaf and to enjoy the sadhya in the order that the dishes are served took precedence. As we hear their squeals of joy and laughter…watch them listen with rapt attention to tales of our glorious past, we look on with pride and happiness. Hopefully, the torch of tradition has been passed on and will burn bright for generations to come…

    Love,

    Aish.

    P.S. Sorry its unrelated to the post. Will catch up soon.:)

  14. Anand Khare Says:

    Madam,

    I am a strong believer in boss’s might. Whatever your boss’s competence level may be, he is always fully equipped to harm your interests. So, if someone doesn’t carry on good with his boss, my free suggestion would be to seek a transfer under some other boss or if one is having real guts get the boss transfered to other place/post.No KPIs,KRAs and Business score cards can help you good performance reviews, if you are no good in boss’s eyes.

    Coming to MPs salaries. 16000 to 54000 is not a great hike.I am not sure if they were getting DA. If yes, then it is equivalent to merging DA in salary. The inflation is high in India, and at current tax rate they will be left only with 40K to spend with. Their expenses are high. Many people from their constituency staying in their houses having free lunches and dinners. Irrespective of the fact that they voted to candidate who lost or never voted at all. MPs have staff of around 20-50 persons depending on their stature and seniority. All of them eat,drink at MP’s expenses.

    The better way of salary review would be through a pay commission instead of hiking ad justifying their own salaries.

    In my personal opinion. what is questionable is the pension? Why pension just after five years of tenure.Why pension to Rajya Sabha members? They are already obliged by getting elected/nominated to RS.No where in the world this kind of charity is admissible. ONE GETS PENSION LIFE LONG. This is the real burden on tax payer.Many MPs are in age group of 25-35. They are eligible to get a pension next fifty years even if they never get elected again.

    Anand

    • Anand – Thanks for your views on this. No salary at the expense of the exchequer should be jumping 300% YOY. Secondly, MP’s do not pay for their fringe benefits, we pay for it through our taxes. The Basic allowance that the MP gets is adequate and he can put it all away in savings. I agree with a pay commission review but I doubt this is bound to happen. Also, the salary is a meagre part of the benefits that these MP’s enjoy, they have everything catered to them free of cost and they live life king size. Making a fuss about their salaries is neither not acceptable or justifiable.

  15. Sharad Maheshwari Says:

    Hello,

    Nice written article, really amazing sense of humour. Will love if you write something more on women development, empowerment, and environmental woes.

    KUDOS,, keep roaring,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  16. Sharad – Thank you very much. I have written a few articles on the right to education and on women’s reservation. But, I most surely will write more as you suggest.

  17. Hi Sharmila,

    What a lovely write up again! This one reminded me of the one that you wrote on “AMMA”! This has it all…Humour, Satire and of course the basic issue of the privileges enjoyed by our undeserving MPs all at the cost of the taxpayer! I love the way you write!

    Shubha

    • Shubha – Thank you very much. I wish the satire to be a message, sometimes messages are more easily put across with light banter than serious loaded stuff. What do you think? and thank you heaps again. I am sorry for the late reply.I seemed to have missed this one yesterday.

  18. Aishwarya Says:

    Sharmila,

    I remember looking out from the window of our college hostel in Moscow in the wee hours of the morning…watching the road cleaning machinery/snowplow at work. How clean their city is… Even children drop their chocolate wrappers into the nearest bin, not on the street. Change of scene. Here at TVM, I watch street sweepers, mostly ladies, forming groups and chatting every morning. When they run out of topics, they swish the broom about a bit. Perhaps they think…whats the point?, someone is going to litter, urinate, or spit any minute now. So, do they deserve a payhike or do we deserve a sweeper at all? After all, our taxes contribute not only to the MPs’ salary, but to all govt servants and to the road itself!

    Whether its done in one clean sweep, like the CWG, or piecemeal like an MP’s salary – its daylight robbery. But what did we expect from robbers? To share the booty?!

    What we need is the right to choose how our taxes are utilized…what we want is…Utopia. Its like a child asking for the moon…

    Aish.

    • Aish – Wonderful to hear about your days in Moscow. Whatever said and done Kerala is amongst the cleanest states of India, but what you say about attitudes is prevailing all over India surely.

  19. Freedom of speech … …. thats all we are left with.

    A long time ago, a poet called Iqbal wrote the song:

    Saare jahan se achcha, Hindostan humaara… which is now the signature tune of the armed forces.

    In those same days, Sahir replied to him with this one. (This was filmed by Raj Kapoor later)

    Cheen-o-arab hamaaraa, hindostaan hamaaraa
    Rehne ko ghar nahin hai, saaraa jahaaN hamaaraa

    … … … China and Arabia is ours, India is ours
    … … … We don’t have a roof on our heads, but claim this world is ours

    Kholi bhi chhin gayi hai, benche bhi chhin gayen hain
    Sadakon pe ghumtaa hai, ab kaarvaan hamaaraa

    … … … Houses have been snatched, benches are taken
    … … … Our caravan is now roaming on the roads

    Zeben hain apani khaali, kyon detaa varnaa gaali
    Woh santari hamaaraa, Woh paasabaan hamaaraa

    … … … Our pockets are empty, why else would we hear abuse
    … … … From our own guards and our own protectors?

    Sahir

  20. THis is Raj Kapoor’s dedication to Sahir’s song:

  21. Anand Khare Says:

    Reader, Aishwarya,

    Great views.

    1. Street sweepers=MPs

    2. Sahir is very relevant perhaps more relevant today.

    Anand

  22. Sharmila,

    Was that a satire?

    I could have sworn you wanted me to be an MP!

    Here I was going all lyrical about my ministers, and almost ready with a song and dance sequence for the next level – sort of changing gears – and hoping that I would be assured of your vote in the near future!

    Well, now that I get your point I guess you are not going to vote till you think all MPs are weasels, no matter how strong a case I try to make for them.

    Your feelings are justified in some ways, I suppose.

    MPs occupy a lot of space.

    Long ago, there was one Mr. K who sat in the living room sofa once and I could have sworn that the sofa was built around him by the carpenter and the fashion in those days was to have tight fits… he sort of spilled over in parts, if you get the scene…

    For conversation, he was the type who could numb one’s faculties.

    I recall the discussion was about exhibition rights of some films.

    My mother was the Vice President of the Karnataka Sangh and wanted to exhibit Kannada films once a week in a theatre called M in the city.

    She needed Mr. K’s patronage as the distributors from B’lore were demanding a rather large piece of the cake.

    I remember there was an impressive list of films… Huliya Haalin Mevu, Gejje Pooje, Ghatashraadha, Premad Kanige etc… Mother explained the whole plan to him.

    “Mr K, ” She said, “We need to get a license”

    He seemed rather foggy about the subject. I don’t think he knew she was in the room. His attention was drawn by something on the ceiling and his lower jaw had dropped two inches.

    “Yes, Yes,” he said, rather dreamily, “Err… what did you say?”

    “License”

    “Yes. License… license.. license” he said, getting the idea, and repeated the word a some more times just to be sure.

    “License for what?” he asked finally.

    “Film exhibitors license for Kannada films in the city” Mom said all in one breath.

    “Yes, yes” he nodded, “I love films. I saw The Great Escape last week. Steve McQueen was wonderful… but you said Kannada films…”

    “Yes”

    “Why Kannada… won’t make any money… our city goes for the foreign stuff.. get Jackie Chan or Gregory Peck.. you know Devanad looks like a bonsai of Gregory Peck… ”

    “Mr. K, your not listening.”

    “Yes.. I am” he said, “You want a license to make Kannada films, but I don’t see why you want to do that. Its okay if you wish. Go ahead… but”

    “NO!” She broke in, “I don’t want to make films. I want to bring the films from B’lore and exhibit them here for our community.

    “Ah.. oh” he seemed to go into a trance. After a short spell, during which his gaze ran along the money-plant inside the room, he came back to life and said,

    “Okay… apply for the license… make sure you bring Kannada films… we must do something for our community… ”

    And after a while he left…

    He was our MP, not very bright as you might have noted, but served the purpose.

    • Reader,
      Am I glad or what to find at least one of us

      so……Optimistic about current situations…!? 🙂

      What Democracy is all about…!?
      Is it not For the ppl,By the ppl……!? Then that makes MPs-ppls representatives – A person serving at higher level in the System. For which they receive remunerations+ perks. Which makes them ‘Public Servants’ not the Kings with unlimited powers of their constituencies. Its a different story that they choose to act more like the second one abusing the power their position offers.
      There salary and expense accounts are two different things as far as i understand.

      • MonaLisa,

        What is the point in imagining things?

        Every single MP is a multi-millionaire. A few pennies as legitimate salary does not change the mean sea level.

        The reason they act as rulers is the reality of our independence.

        There was no country called India till the independence in 1947.

        It was a collective of 350+ Kingdoms ruled by the royalty in England.

        The entire administration, governorate, collectorate etc in India were designed to serve the King who was living in London in a stone Palace with attached bathroooms. (I am told that the queen has now installed modern fittings.)

        That administrative system in India remains the same even to this day. Only the King has been replaced by the politician.

        This hysteria about salary and accountability etc is just democratic hocus focus.

    • Aishwarya Says:

      Reader,

      I have a question. How did you get him out of the sofa? Was the carpenter called to dislodge the impacted MP? Or did he leave with the sofa attached to his numb…b…behind?:)

      Kidding. Loved the comment…

    • Reader – I love your Mother’s spirit. I would love to become an MP one day, but who will vote for me? I need to act dumb to get elected. Tough 🙂

  23. Sharmila,

    I don’t know if you will write on the news headlines today about China’s entry into PoK territory Gilgit.

    But if you do not mind, I would like say something in support of that.

    It is the best thing that could have happened in today’s condition. China has done something that India could never have done.

    China is a communist state. The boundaries for expansion of fundamentalist terror will now be set. With Russia massacring the extremist on its territory and China following the same code, the terror groups will now be held back except in parts of India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Eastern Isles of Philippines.

    The USA also gets a slap on its face for supporting Pakistan all these years. The US either did not expect China to move in or allowed it to do so to enable itself to move out of Afghanistan and Baluchistan asap.

    Another advantage is that China gets access to the Middle East. This will increase Asian dominance in ME and dislodge the British and US hegemony in the region.

    China can offer nuclear power and other technologies as good as anyother UN super power.

    India has nothing to lose. We have never existed in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. the place was never accessible from Indian kashmir.

    If we have nothing to lose, we have nothing to fear.

    • A chinese peace keeping force is religiously neutral!

    • Reader – If there is one country I do not think is good for India besides Pakistan it is China. China is ensuring that we have scores of problems to face with our immediate neighbors in order to distract ourselves from getting more powerful. So long as we engage in the petty wars around us, we continue to lose sight of the bigger threat called China. Despite China being a communist state they will feed the terrorists to fight us. They do so already with the Maoists, they will now successfully do so with the ones in Afghanistan / Pak. China will destroy it’s own homegrown terror like they have done successfully with the Uighars but breed the ones outside in it’s own interest. It is foolhardy to think China entered Pak without much support from the administration there, India obviously can never do it. Even if India wants to, the sissy govt will not allow it. We need a hardliner who is willing to take the plunge in Pakistan.

  24. Reader,
    Dragon focus on expansion of their territories…Probably that makes them act like ‘Religiously Neutral’….Whether its POK or Arunachal or some other area. They can convert all into Buddhists…
    First Tibet, now Pok then Nepal, Arunachal…on & on they march…
    Sometime ago Obama declared to start withdrawing troops in 2011 and will be out completely from Afghanistan by 2012. And now the news that Dragon gulped Pok….is that some kind of arrangement between China and Pak to keep India in check or something else…!? Could Afghanistan be next target…!?

    • MonaLisa,

      No one can be converted to Buddhism. Its a God-less religion. Every one is born buddhist and then baptized by the parents and priests into whichever religion they belong.

      The Chinese accession of the Gilgit region is the right-of-way for construction of the highway through Karakoram. Techinically its just business.

      The presence of US & China both in Pakistan is an interesting cocktail.

      I feel India had nothing to worry.

      There is no one in the world who wants to destroy our land, water and forests. Everyone wants to occupy the land, replace the government and employ the working class.

      Since we are mostly the working class, we may only see a change of employers.

  25. Reader,
    Did I say destroy…!? By expanding their territories the way they could…They just want to be the sole share holders of it…
    Change of employer is not a new thing for India. It has been depressed for almost 1000yrs before freedom…so…

    • MonaLisa,

      There cannot be a sole shareholder in a global economy.

      The owners of the Foreign Direct Investments and MNC don’t live in India. That’s to the tune of INR 7 billions.

      Any set of rulers must deal with investors even after physically occupying a land.

      Changing the parliament and constitution will not displace the owners of the holding companies in Texas and California. Nor will that affect the working class.

      The days of looting and scooting are gone.

      Anyone who occupies a territory has to protect the land and the people. The looting anyway is done by remote control overseas.

      The choices for governance today are Talbanism, Maoism, Sonia-ism (ruling by proxy), democratic socialism and Lassez-Faire Capitalism (the last one is a dream).

      What difference does it make to a citizen in India if an Ambani is rich or the Chinese politburo?

      These are not the days of living ideals.

      This is a pragmatic world. Just marry the richest and strongest.

      • MonaLisa,

        What I meant is that we live in an era where individuals are not bound by ‘Social Contracts’ as described by the likes of Adi Shankara, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Nietzsche, Jean Paul Sartre, Kent, Marx, Gorky, Chomsky etc.

        Today, no individual has any duties towards anyone except those that are enforced by the terms and conditions of his employment and the civil & criminal laws of the judiciary.

        Sometimes, I wonder what the army officers say these days to inspire soldiers in a war. In the history of this planet, the people of this region that is now called India have never invaded another nation. They have always fought in defense.

        What can anyone say today if one wants to ask an Indian solider to fight. Protect what? Preserve what?

        The soldier himself is a paid employee like the MP. Why should he die for the politicans and their vote banks? Whoever wins the wars will re-employ him as a soldier or a watchman or a security guard. What has he got to lose?

        We don’t care because we are not taken care of…

      • Reader,
        If physical occupancy of the land is useless and meaningless then there shouldn’t be any war between any two nations,any feud among families or interstate differences.
        The law of Governance differs according to the ‘ism’ they believe into.
        Were those the foolish ones who faught for freedom of India..!?
        Man..! According to your opinion I believe whosoever ask and claim for your territory, should be granted happily and given to them on a silver platter without a hitch…

      • MonaLisa,

        I didn’t say physical occupation is meaningless and useless. I said it is not the same as earlier.

        Today we do not see wars for occupation as in the medieval era of the English Empire.

        Today’s occupation is sponsored by blue-chip industries in the stock markets.

        They explore territories, find some natural resources and try to deal with the government of the place. If the deal does not work out they force the owners out.

        So, I feel, these days its all about the usage and exploitation of the land that matters.

        For example, even after 65 years of occupation India and Pakistan did nothing in the Gilgit area, mainly because the spot is too high in the Himalayas and inaccessible. China has built 32 tunnels across North of Ladakh through a place called Aksai Chin and is making a road right up to Karachi.

        The people of Pakistan were given their land in the partition by the English. They did nothing with it in the last 6 decades. The result is it is being torn into pieces now.

        The exception to this rule is places where the occupants are a nuisance. Like, Kuwait during the reign of Saddam in Iraq. Oil companies in Kuwait indulged in horizontal bi-directional drilling and drew oil from under Iraqi territory. As a result, Saddam destroyed 600 wells of Kuwait in 2 weeks.

        Or the terror groups who engaged the US in their run upto 9-11.

        Physical occupation has now changed its meaning.

        As the world progresses, no country is left behind. If a ruler or a government does not join the developed world, they are dispossessed one way or another.

        There is a shortage of resources in general and science has invented great uses for practically everything on the planet.

        No one is allowed to sit idle on them. Either deal, or move out.

        The freedom that our father’s generation fought for and achieved is not the same as the freedom that we struggle for today.

        Perhaps that is the essence of the whole subject.

      • MonaLisa,

        Thank you. I think you lead me into the exact issue.

        Freedom – what it means to us today…

      • MonaLisa, Sharmila,

        I wish Sharmila would write on this topic of Freedom – what it means to us today…

        Its such a big subject…

  26. Sharmila, MonaLisa, Aishwarya

    Vote for Reader! Here I go…

    • Aishwarya Says:

      Kaash agar aapne British comedy ki jagah Hindi mein kuch post kiya hota… mein aapko hi vote deti…ab toh mujhe sochna padega. MP banna itna bhi aasaan nahi, Readerji, chahe voters sirf mahilayen hi kyon na ho…

      🙂

      • Aishwarya,

        50% of the votes is a winning total… at least that is what the hedge fund manager was saying.

        And the census of 2005 says, among the married couples in India half the population is women.

        So, I am going to wager on them… unless you feel I should try to keep some options in the other half too…

        Err.. may be.. hmm.. what do you think… may be not…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reader,

        What I think is…since half the population among married couples is women, we are straight and our future is bright. Kerala has the highest female:male sex ratio, so…how is your Malayalam? Or would you like to wait for the 2011 census?:)

      • Aishwarya,

        I am not good at statistics.

        I don’t know what is the meaning of highest ratio of female:male sex.

        I always thought female:male sex is the same as male:female.

        Why is it that everything has to be different about Kerala?

        Shashi Tharoor got hitched recently, and I was told that he married the same woman whom he proposed one year ago… I would have thought one year is enough time for a gentleman to gather his nerves and realize his folly…

        But, it’s okay I suppose… God bless him…. I fancy it was Bill Shakespeare who said that in each life some rain must fall… or was it Arundhati Roy?… forget my name next…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Oops…thanks for reminding me, R…I must vote for Tharoor…married the love of his life…and spent Onam with the children of an orphanage here at TVM…he’s my man…I mean…my MP…

        Dil to hai dil, dil ka aitbaar kya kije…:)

      • Aishwarya,

        Unfortunately, the female MP from my state had once gone to an orphanage and I am told by informed sources that she has firmly resolved she’ll never go to any orphanage again.

        All the children in the orphanage were calling her ‘Amma’… she felt very sorry….

        Imagine, if Tharoor went to that orphanage and all the children called him ‘Appa’… how embarrassing…

        🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reader,

        I suppose there are ladies who resent being called aunty/amma etc. There was one reality show where an actress was a jury member. One of the participants, a 12-yr-old, called her ‘aunty’. The 30s-something actress was outraged. “How dare you call me aunty!”, she bellowed. The child was crestfallen.

        Hota hai hota hai…

      • Aishwarya,

        Not that ‘Amma’ in particular, I was thinking of the tryst of Tharoor and his wife Sunanda.

        Imagine, Tharoor going around and children calling him, “Appa, pangalka sugham aano”…

        Poor Sunanda would spend all the time comparing the children’s faces with Tharoor…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Lol, Reader…negative campaigning dont bring in votes, do they?

        I loved the attempt at Malayalam…really good…with a little tweak here and there that is…

        “Achha, thangalku sugham aano?”

        Pangal is sister. Translit: “Father, how is my sister?” Yikes… 🙂

      • Aishwarya,

        Thanks for the translit.

        Sunanda is a Kashmiri Pandit, so she wouldn’t know anything beyond Appa or Accha… in fact Accha might sound like Achcha, good…, in which case Shashi Tharoor would feel safe.

        Negative publicity is good for brand promotions… for creating a momentary spike in TV ratings…

        It doesn’t work for polticians…

        Politicians play with the time value of rumors… ; in management jargon its called grapevine… in our office we call it ‘Lungi’ News… ; something that people say off-hand while wearing a lungi…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reader,

        I was kidding about the negative campaigning for Tharoor too.:)

        I wholeheartedly agree that he is the GenNext in politics here, but too sophisticated for localites perhaps…they even turn their nose up at his Malayalam accent…cut the man some slack I feel. Just a personal opinion.

        The ‘lungi news’ has piqued my curiosity. Firstly, do men gossip?? Secondly, do they wear lungi to the office? Thirdly, should we perk our ears up for the latest rumors when the lungi is being worn?

        🙂

    • Oops… did you mean I was negative campaigning about Tharoor…

      Oh no… not at all.. just kidding…

      He is the GenNext on the political stage of TVM.. if he can play the LDF signature tunes…

      He stills sounds too sophisticated to catch the attention of the trade unions who hold the sway during an election…

  27. Sharmila, Aishwarya, MonaLisa,

    And if you suggest I could hire the service of some ‘experts’

  28. Sharmila and all,

    Here is an explanation of the CWG expenses:

    • Aishwarya Says:

      Reader,

      If everyone is MP, I would like to be Speaker – just to hush the ‘meaningless drivel’.

      Dream on, Aish.:P

      • Aishwarya,

        Yes… absolutely… splendid… topping…

        But why do you want to be speaker?

        Have you noticed that in the Lok Sabha, everyone except the ‘Speaker’ is talking.

        Last week in the house, there was one episode when BJP and Congress MPs were hurling abuses at each other for two hours over Kalmadi’s adventures…

        The Speaker kept saying “Baith jao, shant ho jao, aap bainth jaiye, nothing will go on records…. ” She finally gave up and sat quietly listening to the din…

        And then they sang the national anthem…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        What a pity! That must be why she has those earmuffs on all the time…

    • ha ha ha ..love it

  29. Aishwarya,
    Love of His Life..!? Is it not the Third for both..!? Mr & Mrs Tharoor..!? India…indeed progressed a lot….! 🙂

    • MonaLisa, Aishwarya,

      Here.. here… Aishwarya better answer that… Tharoor jaroor gabad karta hai…

      🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reader,

        Huzoor, Tharoor zaroor gadbad karta hai…kya karen? Politics hai…golmaal hai bhai sab golmaal hai… 🙂

      • Aishwarya,

        Hmm.. I have seen Sunanda Pushkar’s photographs. I think I should fight for this woman’s liberation!

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reader,

        Liberation? From what? She seems content ‘in captivity’. Woh aapki…whatchamacallit…dhundh ki pari nahi hai…woh ‘Yahi woh jagah hai, yahi woh fizaayen’ gaake nahin aane wali…jaane dijiye na…:)

      • Aishwarya,

        Its a man thing. You may not know. We always fight for the liberation of beautiful women. What we do with them after that is not open to debate.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reader,

        *Roll eyes*…*shrug*…*look heavenwards*…*sigh*…Men!!!

      • You are welcome…

        🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Aaarrrgghhh…! x(

    • Aishwarya Says:

      MonaLisa,

      Third time lucky. 😉

      • Hahaha…..Aishwarrya…! One can get lucky as many times as he/she wish to…
        No biggy…….But…
        Where does Love come inbetween..though….!? 🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        MonaLisa,

        IMO, its difficult to be lucky in love once, leave alone thrice…i.e., with true love…the love that gives goosebumps…not the love in between that plays gooseberry!

        Hopefully, they have been lucky in love this time…and I wish them happiness.

        Sigh…I am a die-hard romantic…I better shut up now.

        🙂

      • Lol…Aishwarya,
        Didn’t I say ‘ one can go for it as many times he/she wants…!?’ No biggy….
        That Goosebumps kinda thingy is called Infatuation….Not Love…! 🙂

  30. Reader,
    The Governance does make a difference to that particular nation and its ppl. Think about it if China occupies Indian Territories or Pak. Would there attitude be the same towards land and ppl of India…!? I don’t think so… and that’s where it makes a huge difference, who occupies the land. Insider or outsider..!?
    An inside governance can fold easily to outside pressure however it might have some consideration for the country and ppl regardless. In case of outsider governance their motto would be to get max benefit of he ppl and land,utilize the resources at max capacity, without feeling obligated for well being of the citizens.
    There are two different scenarios- 1. One can get a job in china or HK and live into those countries abiding their rules.
    2. They occupy your territory, apply their rules on you and you live and work under them abiding new rule introduced to you.
    If you see no difference in both situations then let time take care of it.
    BTW Freedom is an over rated thing too. we don’t know how free we are and would be in future. who knows who’s keeping eye on whom or peeping directly in to your every day to day affairs. some things can prove to be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

    • MonaLisa,

      Hope Sharmila is reading this.

      You have said in so many words what I have been trying to say all along, while you, Sharmila and Aishwarya bullied me into agreeing to become an MP…

      We have to save our systems.. our politicians, our people…

      Cursing them, pulling them down only gives an opportunity for outsiders to invade our space. A divided house can never stand.

      Our criticism must be limited to internal change.

      I was trying to explain the same to Ninad yesterday but I couldn’t get my message across.

      I find that a spineless police constable is more human than a gangster. The constable may be a bumbling idiot yet I would join him in his effort to maintain law and order than join a gangster who wants to skin me alive.

      The basic principle is: Freedom to choose and live is more important than freedom to die.

      Why does it take 100 comments for us to agree on anything?

      Perhaps its my tone and language…

  31. Reader,
    Are you not mixing up two different/separate issues…!?
    Don’t get me wrong but when it comes to Indian Governance ppl have right to expect the astuteness and ethical approach from the rulers/representatives- elected or appointed. They bear burden to prove that and themselves when they possess that position. If they don’t play their cards right or show the courage where & when needed then they are totally useless. Instead they just worry about their chair and money,they sure are inviting enemies like china & pak in….
    An outsider is always an outsider….eg. Muslims – even after thousand years they don’t consider India their own land- own country. when time comes they sit on lap of Pak. Dragon possesses enormous power and marching towards occupying the position of Super power-no.1.
    If that happens we might see an uncontrollable tyrant
    in near future.

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