The election is coming!

Will Donald win again? No the election is in India not the USA but you’d be forgiven for thinking that politicians are much the same the world over. No not because of corruption, that’s true, or supporting their mates in business, that’s also true or being primarily focused on self interest rather than the good of the community, tick tick tick. All probably true. . It’s also about how they choose to focus on often non-issues to polarise the community, exaggerate them to create even more divisions of us and them and shift us even more to the right.

Well we’ve known an election is on the cards here because…

The local paper for weeks on end has had a headline complete with the PM’s photo , no wait a minute it’s an ad paid for by the govt to tell us how successful they are. Now the date has been set, the model code of conduct is in place and such crafty practices are not allowed.

We in Mysore also have the honour of supplying indelible ink for the elections. Once painted on someone’s finger it stops them biting a second time!

This is all getting exciting!

Our guests often ask..

Why is there so much rubbish/litter/garbage in the street?

fact is we don’t know but as always we have a view….

There is no simple or easy answer.

We offer the following to help sort the wet from the Dry! It’s in no particular order and it’s taken from what we’ve heard and experienced. Non of it represents the official view of the management.

Elitism. There’s Always someone else lower in the pecking order to clear up after me, it’s beneath me.

Options. There aren’t any. There are few bins, what’s to do? Oddly enough bins have suddenly appeared in the most unlikely places. Like here at the bathing ghats.

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Easy. We have a daily collection, a shrill whistle informs us he’s coming and to put the rubbish outside. If we miss him then it easy to walk up the street and dump it. People don’t like storing rubbish at home. It’s dirty innit?

Ignorance. People just don’t perceive it as a problem. The middle classes might blame it all on the lack of education.

keeping up Human behaviour can’t keep up with changing technology. For example: Chai was previously served in terracotta cups, meals were on a leaf. These were thrown down and those materials were biodegradable, it created no problem, except the unsightly mess. Nowadays we have plastic but we behave as if our waste will disintegrate and safe to just through down. It’s not, obviously!

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Insignificant there are so many other things to worry about, people don’t have a long term view and don’t see it as a problem

it’s always been like this. One interesting connection is to do with race and culture. Travellers or Gypsys in the west may have originally travelled from north india hundreds of years ago. There might be a connection. They are scrupulously clean inside their caravans (here’s Manjula outside a traditional one in the UK) but just outside it’s a complete mess. Maybe there is a cultural aspect that we don’t understand.

But hang on, look how clean this site is.

P1070840Individualism. Me and my own patch. I’ll look after my own home and doorstep but beyond that, nothing matters.

Blindness. It’s not noticed. Its out of sight out of mind.

Careless?

it’s a real issue locally. Just recently there has been a sterling effort by the city corporation and their teams to keep on top of the rubbish and clear it away within the day. But still people just carrying on dumping…. To make matters worse some people are forever setting fire to the rubbish in the streets.

OK it’s a big problem but change is possible, otherwise we’d still have to tolerate the Brits!

Here’s an interesting take from a blog comparing the north and south. Click here

Before anyone gets all smug. It’s been a worldwide problem. The U.K. had a campaign sixty years ago to keep Britain tidy. The logo is still used today here in India. There are moves afoot, local and national campaigns and citizens taking action.

So let’s leave the final word for a campaign group based in Bangalore. Click here…. it’s worth a look and take part in their mini quiz ..

So its not true that…

Unbelievable

You may find this hard to believe. We often joke about safety issues in India.

Just look at these photos. What do you think they are?

Picture one

Picture two

Picture three

Picture one is of a lamp post in Mysore. See the man walking by. The card, poster thing attached to the post is at about his head height.

Picture two is a close up of the same post. Look between the two photos, the white cable shows that it’s above the card/poster. It’s difficult to tell but just above and to the right of the white cable are two bits of wire. Now look at picture three.

Picture three, this is also on a lamp post and much lower down, inside the box thing are two red cables.

Any idea what all these cables are for?

In a morning on my way to yoga a guy drives up on his two wheeler and disconnects the two wires that you see in pictures one and two. There’s usually a spark. It switches off the street lights.

Yes, you’ve got it! The way to switch on and off the street lights at dusk and dawn are two wires hanging from one of the lamp posts. The first is way above head height but easily reachable when sitting on a bike, the other is reachable from just walking past.

Now that’s what I call f**king dangerous.

austerity rules!

I know it’s not fashionable but loved working for local government in the UK from 1986 for twelve years. It was a real challenge, government always is,  but felt we made some radical changes and I made a significant contribution whether it was funding innovative not-for profits, getting to grasp with environmental impact through agenda 21, consulting local people and dramatically changing services for minority communities and especially disabled people. That was then, now it’s in a dismal state.

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It’s often useful to see how others see us. Check this article.

“The disaster in Northamptonshire did not arise from nowhere. Since 2010, when David Cameron became Prime Minister, Britain’s Conservative-led governments have responded to the impacts of the global financial crisis with a program of austerity. In line with other European countries (but unlike the U.S. and China, which passed stimulus packages), the U.K has sought to manage its debts and repair its economy with a relentless trimming of public spending. For the past eight years, these cuts have presented a complicated picture. In some areas, like education and health, budgets haven’t actually gone down; they have just failed to keep up with the needs of a diverse, growing population. But central funding for the nation’s four hundred and eighteen local authorities—Britain’s busy quilt of local government—has fallen by fifty per cent.”

YES, we struggled to meet the changing and growing needs over twenty years ago and now there is far less money available. It’s a scandal.

here is the full article

Strike!

The Pourakarmikas who clean our streets and collect our rubbish are gradually coming back to work. They’ve been on a strike related to conditions of employment (promised contracts not having materialised) and pay.

Their timing has been spot on as the big event of the year in Mysore starts today. We can’t have litter filled streets now can we? Well some might wonder if we’ve been able to tell any difference in the ordinarily messy streets. Well we have. It’s been even messier. It’s one of the many things that visitors just can’t get. How come people just dump their rubbish in the streets. We’ll return to that subject.

Douglas and I

Donkey loses legs!

Road Trip …. with a great geezer.

Attention!

Douglas and I spent the day together travelling from York to the Deep South!

It helps me realise how important it is to keep connected and spend time with those we might not ordinarily come into contact with….

… age difference 36 years!!

It was a great, fun journey and took maybe six hours (this disUnitedKingdom is a VERY BIG country, or so the Brexiteeeers think) taking in an extended lunch (talking) and unplanned detour (my battery ran out and talking).

Talk time was on a ratio of 9-1 Douglas to me). You may find that hard to believe but absolutely true.

Douglas is the father of Liz and grandpa of my sons Ben and Ol.

I’m clearly a donkey and my hind legs have now fallen off.

What a character! Aged 97 he retired from the army decades ago!

His final rank being lieutenant colonel (pronounced leftenant, in some inane British attempt to prove we’re not French. It’s a French word!) his experience is vast especially in logistics and management, nuclear armament transport (his daughter and I and Ben, years later would be demonstrating against those very things), the first Army helicopter outfit, suez crisis, parachutist, internal army machinations (like all organisations), and he’s an intelligent, thoughtful, aware guy and not the rabid Tory you might expect.

So thanks Douglas. Top man, great time and conversations.

It helps remind me that we just need to give people time and recognise that wealth is in sharing our knowledge, experience and opinions.

At ease

Banana Republic

Am I seeing things or is that a straight banana?

First let’s talk about Banana Republics. Well actually that’s a bit unfair. The state that’s probably got most bananas is the least like a banana republic. Generally over the years they’ve had reasonably coherent and stable governance although they’re maybe losing their way more recently. That’s Kerala.

Back to the point.

We’re in Karnataka, where we had a state election last week.

The result was ‘hung’ as they say between three parties: the BJP, Congress and JDS with no one party having an overall majority. The Governor (until appointed he was an active BJP politician, which is not allowed but let’s forget that, he is however supposed to be independent and above party politics), who has authority in these matters, swore in the leader of the BJP (yes, his party, no no no he’s independent remember) after the election.

This is the party with the largest number of elected representatives (called MLAs) but they did NOT have an overall majority. Got it? Yeddyurappa, the leader was given fifteen days to prove he had an overall majority, which he hasn’t ….

Woah, hang on a minute the two other parties with a combined strength had an overall majority and one was the incumbent ie previous Government. They also have signed letters from the MLAs (members of the legislative assembly) , as proof. So surely they were invited to set up the Government as a coalition? Er, no.

The BJP leader was not only sworn in he will not have a cabinet but is already making decisions on revenue expenditure, without even putting together a budget or knowing the financial situation and he’s got fifteen days to prove he’s got an overall majority. But remember, he hasn’t got an overall majority. So how will he solve that problem?

Ta ra ta ra

buy Them? Surely not.

The wonderful, patient, trusting (actually they don’t trust their politicians) people of Karnataka, registered, listened, deliberated, ok some were bribed, queued up, to cast their vote for a person carrying some sticks, a flower or a hand (symbols of each party as so many of the voters are illiterate) got a mark on their finger so they couldn’t vote twice…… used their precious fought-for- vote to elect MLAs who represented specific parties.

It’s useful having parties, by being a member of a party it helps us understand what they stand for in terms of policies, values, future of the state, that sort of thing …. but hang on, if they we’re to switch to a different political party immediately after the election…. for money? Or a job in government. Doesn’t that sort of invalidate the system? Is this real?

Wait …. is it a bird? Is it a plane? Noooooo it’s Super- Court, well Supreme Court….

STOP PRESS

The Court takes action…..

and forces the BJP to prove they can form a government. The BJP chief Minister has now just one day to bribe as many of the MLAs as possible to get his overall majority. Shameful.

So that’s how the largest democracy in the world is currently working out here in the south. So how about the longer established democracies, they working well? A shining beacon for the others to copy? Er well no, Donald being Donald in the Useless US is making a right old pigs ear of things but it’s a mistake to think that. It’s going to plan, it’s working, he’s shifting that society and the administration where he wants it to be, if only he could find the napkin he wrote the plan on, he might have an idea how he wants it to end.

What about the mother of all Parliaments? Well the disunited Britland has the most incompetent Government and opposition, and what’s called the second house is causing too much trouble messing up the mess that is Brexit so the Governments party is going to increase its membership so that it votes its way. Marvellous, now that’s a Banana Republic of the cold cold north.

Equally shameful.