My Own Op-Ed

Well I’ve always wanted to write one, this seems the one place which won’t hand me a rejection slip. Moreover, at last, I think, Ive got something  to say that merits being called an Op-Ed.

News headlines in India on 15 May 09 read “Elections too close to call” , “Exit Polls – Fractured Mandate”, “Weeks of horse trading ahead” and so on and so forth.  On 16 May, Indian voters hit all these experts for a six, proved that they can no longer be taken  for granted and that it is now about time someone credited them with plain, simple common sense.

But first the election itself. Except for the odd violence here and there,  perhaps the largest single security operation undertaken by this country was an unqualified success.  60% of the 714 million electorate apparently cast their vote.The verdict was sealed and delivered within a day. The Election Commision did a job that none want to take on and did it with elan.

At last, a very very clear mandate was given to India’s oldest party. Again most of the experts give credit for victory to the Nehru – Gandhi dynasty which controls it. I think they deserve a lot of credit, this time round. Yet I also think that were it not for the unassuming, mild, honest and efficient Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, this verdict would not have been as decisive. At last we have one party, the Congress, which has been asked by the people – rich, poor, urban, rural alike – to give us governance, unencumbered by petty chieftains who with not even 10% stake held the Government to ransom earlier. It is still a coalition, but it is a coalition of the willing, not one stiched up by political expediency and horse trading.

Another redeeming feature was, and this will gladden Harb’s heart too, most of the hoodlums and dons have been shown the door in no uncertain terms.  Some even fought from jail and some others, who were debarred, fought through proxy by getting their wives and kith and kin to stand. Most have been told their days are gone, face the consequences and the law first, before you come back to us.

The poor rural voter was often accused earlier of voting along religious and caste lines. This was true till recently. This time round though, all those who thought caste was a political bond and made up for lack of performance felt the recoil of the common man in no uncertain terms. Similarly those who exploited and banked on religion as a political tool tasted defeat. Their sell by dates have long passed.  Those who delivered governance over the last few years were rewarded and it is  wonderful  to think that we have at last matured as thinking people who  voted on performance and performance alone. Many voters may be illiterate, uneducated and living in abysmal poverty but they now want things and are not going to waste their precious vote on sentiment alone. Foolish promises must now on give way to performance.

The majority of the electorate was under 35, perhaps it is their new found interest in what concerns this country is what brought about this change.

There’s a lot more that can be said, but it is enough to-day to let the Congress celebrate its victory and let them start tomorrow earning points for 2014. Opportunities such as these don’t come often. They need to grab it now and establish themselves. They have been freed from the left yoke, which shackled it  with unmatched arrogance,  there can be no more excuses.

To-day there is just one word that most Indians carry forward  –  optimism.


About Dara

Just me. Love golf, political history and meeting new people, even though I am not great at social conversation. "If you have nothing to say it is better to let people think you're stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubts." (someone said that) :)

15 thoughts on “My Own Op-Ed

  1. derek says:

    Dara, you give me chills. I am so excited to read your post. I am not familiar with the politics of India but it sounds like optimism is in the air. I feel it is contagious and it’s catching on around the world.

    Humanity is maturing and the common person in the big countries are leading the way.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It is great to hear what is going on from a real person instead of the filtered media.

    I will be interested in your future posts letting us know how things unfold.



  2. Dara says:

    Thanks Derek,

    Yes the catch word still remains optimism. Yesterday when the stock markets opened for the first time after the results, within 5 minutes they shot up so high that they hit the upper trigger and trading was stopped. It resumed two hours later and had to be shut off again for the day because the rise and rise and rise was beyond market limits. We will gradually hit earth again soon.

    As far as I am concerned, two things have elated me. We have avoided what was expected to be weeks of horse trading and petty squabbling over the spoils of office. With one group being given the clear mandate to govern, continuity and a smooth beginning has been ensured. Governance can resume with hardly a stumble. The opportunity is now available to actually do something worthwhile and to fulfill all those dreams of a stronger, happier country. The mood here is the same as it was there when Obama won. The major difference being that here the result was quite unexpected and has come as a huge, huge relief.

    The other major benefit is that youth has appeared at long last. Much of the winning strategy was planned and executed by a young man who decided to take risks. It was music to hear him saying he wanted to spend the next few years trying to convince young people to step forward and join politics. He himself is born into a political family which many Indians call the first family. He had the honesty and the courage to say that he wanted to change the system of which he is a product. That was when he won me over. With his exuberance coupled with the maturity and wisdom of a frail, gentle, honest, simple and sincere Prime Minister, maybe we have hit upon a winning combination.

  3. derek says:

    Wow Dara
    I am truly excited for you and India. This does sound familiar to what happened here with Obama. India deserves good leadership and examples of the new way our world is turning.

    Back in the IB days I use to say that I was looking for a leader that is humble and confident, I am seeing more and more of these qualities in our new leaders.

    The old dysfunctional type of leadership is passing away and new leaders, young leaders, are forging a new paradigm in leadership. It seems to me that this is happening all over the world as we slip into a new era.


  4. Dara says:


    The more I think about your observation of slipping into a new era the more I see it as being true. Of course there are pockets of turmoil and unrest, but the fact remains that people the world over are putting a price and a voice to their need. Not dancing to the piper anymore. It used to be a mechanical process, one supported a party or person because one had to support someone or something. That is no longer so. The ordinary man in the street is more informed and clear about the type of leadership he wants to see and expects. The leader who senses this is ahead of the opposition.

    I do believe that people, without being aware of it, have brought about the change they wanted. The leader who read their vibes and was in synch with them, managed to beat the opposition. The dance of democracy is responding to a new beat everywhere.


  5. heath says:

    Dear Dara

    Your description of the significance of this achievement, and what had to be overcome for to happen, is passionate and clear. A delightful read. Thank you.

    love, h

  6. heath says:

    Was it Rahul Gandhi to whom you refer, in your comment # 2?

  7. Dara says:

    Yes it is Rahul Gandhi, Heath. To be honest I am not a fan of the Gandhi clan. In many ways they are responsible for a lot that is bad in our politics. However, I think RG has said and showed this time that he genuinely wishes to change the system. For that he has my unqualified support.

  8. derek says:

    The changes that are taking place are not by accident. Most people have not been aware of these changes coming. This may sound a bit nutty and is hard to put into words but there are people who are overcome with an overwhelming sense of compassion and wishful thinking. It kind of overtakes whatever the person is doing and asks for a moment of their timelessness. These people leave their physical senses behind and go to places that are stuck and give a little extra energy to the situation. Like if someone’s car is broken down and they need a little push from a few people to get the car out of the way. The compassion is easy to understand but the wishful thinking part is a bit more mysterious. It has to do with co-creating. In these moments the compassion, love of everything and everyone, is mingled with personal wishful thinking, in balance. What I want mixed with what others want to co-create an outcome. This dynamic is and has always been playing out, but unconsciously for most people.

    In this new era, everyone is becoming aware of this dynamic. Many have hinted at it for thousands of years and now the critical mass is becoming aware of the fact that we have co-created the human experience. All that we love or hate about our human civilization has been created by us, mostly from the unconscious.

    So for many many years, because co-creation has been mostly unconscious, it has been somewhat out of balance. That’s where these people, who take these moments and lend their extra energy, come into play. But now the critical mass is awakening, the common people are becoming conscious of their part of co-creation. This shift in consciousness is the latest in human history and is as profound as our shift from hunter gatherer to an agricultural society. We are going through a fundamental change as a species and the people who lend their energy will be able to rest. For those whom much is given, much is required, but there is a time to rest.

    Be the change you want to see in the world……….yes, and I will add, consciously co-create the world with compassion and humility.

    Humans have the capacity to grow beyond elitism, war, violence and anger. We have the ability to live without fear and suspicion. We are not bound by any law that says we can not live in peace with one another. Just as we mature as individuals, we also mature as a species. We will someday let go of our immature fighting days of adolescence, and become wise elders instead.

    Wishful thinking? Absolutely.


  9. Dara says:

    Dear Derek,

    I was so taken up with your comment that at some point, during the first read, I got lost in admiring your words rather than taking them in. Now a day later, after having digested your thoughts, there is a greater understanding.

    I do not under rate the power of wishful thinking. I put it another way and term it as having a dream. Those who have achieved much, are those who thought big, had big dreams and were definitely wishful thinkers. Those who have changed lives, first changed theirs, that change in them was contagious and motivated others. That influence was sub conscious too.

    We think along the same lines. Change is also a process. It is however a process of our own creation. Whether for good or bad, we contribute to it. The nicest thing about it is that it allows us to experiment, observe and then it allows us to back track and follow the right path. The choice is ours to make and we make it every day, every moment of our lives without even being conscious of it. So when you say that change is no accident I agree completely.

    Compassion is easier understood than the power of thinking big and dreaming of things. But both are what in to-days modern terminology would be called force multipliers.


  10. derek says:

    Thank you Dara for your comment. I like that you enjoyed and even got lost in my words. That is very important to me. There are many levels of understanding in my comment and the first is unconscious. There is what Mieke called the Benign Scheme at work. A co-created plan, an unconscious conspiracy. Nature, along with people, are creating a new path for humanity to walk down. A new story to tell.

    Before the agricultural revolution we told stories of hunting and gathering. But then there were the few that spoke of settling down and growing our food. They went against everything that as human back then. Those crazy few people would drive sticks in the ground and watch the shadows they made. They told us that the sun and the moon followed a predictable coarse. When the Earth was flat we told the stories supporting this belief. You could sail off the edge and die. But some fool hearty sailors pushed what we believed and proved the stories wrong.

    We have lived a long time telling the story of war. We have lived a long time telling the stories of elitism, that the common people must be governed by a ruling class. We have lived a long time telling the stories of money and power. For ten thousand years the common man has been telling the story that the few control the many. In India you have told the story of the caste system and in the US we have told the story of capitalism.

    But they are just made up stories and we are free to make up new ones. I believe we are living in a time in human history when we are doing just that. I also believe that we are living in a time when we are consciously creating these new stories.

    Because of the internet, humanity has fundamentally changed. Just as we changed with things like, fire, the wheel, sticks in the ground(the calendar), and electricity. Each step along the way changes who we are and how we think. Because I work with young people, I see a new capacity of thought and learning. Our schools here are no longer adequate to teach our young people. They can learn faster than the ‘old school’ ways. Our youth are connected in ways that older people can not even comprehend, and this type of connection is growing exponentially. When I was child I could not allowed to call on the telephone to another state much less overseas. Now the youngest of us all can talk to someone anywhere in the world, for free.

    Yo, in this transition there can be much friction, much fear. There are not just cars breaking down, but whole institutions and belief systems. Just as we closed the chapter of humanity called ‘hunter gatherer’, we now close the chapter of the last ten thousand years. These people who leave their physical self behind to push the broken down institutions out of the way are growing in numbers. I believe it is reaching critical mass and we will see changes happening faster and faster. Ten thousand years of wishing for peace is coming to fruition. When I say peace I don’t mean Utopia, I mean maturity.

    wishfully thinking


  11. Dara says:

    Hi again Derek,

    What a wonderful journey this particular blog has turned out to be. There are just too many things you have said that I agree with and don’t want to repeat.

    What vibes most with me – “I also believe that we are living in a time when we are consciously creating these new stories.” I would like to add that we have always been creating new stories but this is perhaps one of those times when we are conscious of doing so. I also think that this is due,in large measure, to the wide reach of the internet.

    The one thing I envy you is your involvement with youth. If I could change my past, there would be one wish. I would have loved to have had or created more opportunities, in the last 10 years, to have interacted more with young people. To-day I spend a lot of time just observing them and enjoy watching them grasping life and living it, relatively more fully, and I rejoice. They have so much to teach us.


  12. derek says:

    I was at a celebration last night, Dara.
    A young couple came to me and my wife several years ago and asked to rent space in our dance studio to teach Capoeira. To make a long story short, their business has thrived. They now also have a school for music and dance, and last night was their recital, no, celebration. From Brazilian martial arts to classical flute, from hip hop to ballet to belly dancers, everyone was celebrating everyone else. Hundreds of people celebrating our differences. This to me is the future. There is no sum of money large enough to come close to the rewards I received last night.

    The young people of our world today are growing beyond our outdated belief systems and at the same time they honor them with a respect I have never seen in people before. I am truly blessed to find myself surrounded by such wonderful people.

    Dara, with an open heart, it is very easy to find yourself suddenly surrounded by amazing and accepting young people.


  13. Dara says:

    I’ll drink to that and have my own celebration Derek.


  14. Mental Mist says:

    I feel the majority leans towards an equilibrium and peace, here’s to optimism, always! well written!

  15. Dara says:

    Hi Mist,
    Welcome here and for sure optimism will always win.

    What a fascinating blog you’ve conjured up. Congratulations. We would certainly enjoy hearing more from you often.


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