India and Italy

India and Italia

Unexpected connections…..

It’s a little light relief..

India and Italia, begins with I and ends in A

Some of the best Veggie food in the world…, India and Italy.

What seems like chaos on the roads, Italy and India.

Do you get the Drift? It’s uncanny really. I’ll continue…..

Corrupt politicians, India and Italy.

Politicians in Jail, India and Italy.

Politicians who should be in jail.

The need to bribe public servants to just do their job,

The highest concentration of wood inlay artists in the world. India (Mysore) and next is a village in

Italy…

Sexist society, well OK thats everywhere.

male dominated, Patriarchal society, Italia and India.

except at home Where the big boss is mamma (Italy) and amma (India) , who serves their little ones, fusses and feeds their children until well into their teens and sometimes beyond

The family and it’s extensions are pretty big in both countries and children, particularly boys, are worshipped,

so, Extended family, children focussed, India Italy.

People who squeeze children’s cheeks, India Italy.

Spoilt boys who become little Princes, India and Italy.

And what’s all that about not getting round to things until the last minute, if at all, ever? Maybe Manana was not from Spain after all…..

there are some bits which are not so easy to be light hearted about…

Preoccupation with skin colour between north… light and south, dark.. (southerners, work in the fields, of course!)

And that’s playing safe, without getting into the politics

And who’s responsible for these uncanny links…. I wonder?

Banana Republic 3

Phew

The attempt to allow a party (BJP) to establish a Government (in Karnataka) without an overall majority denying the opportunity to a coalition of other parties (Congress and JDS) fails

The BJP ‘Chief Minister’ (Yeddyurappa) resigns.

“Much of the credit for this Congress-JD(S) victory goes to the Supreme Court, which overturned Vala’s [the state a Governor, with a role like the British Queen] decision to allow the Yeddyurappa government 15 days time to prove its majority. The governor’s decision was surprising, as Yeddyurappa himself had reportedly asked for only one week.

In a rare display of promptness, the Congress-JD(S) combine left no stone unturned, moving the Supreme Court twice – first by challenging the governor’s decision to call Yeddyurappa to form the government and then again to get the nomination of the controversial pro tem speaker, K.G. Bopaiah, reversed. They also moved their MLAs around frequently and built public opinion against the alleged bribery attempts !by the BJP.”

Full article here

Real Message From Karnataka Floor Test is That Modi, Shah Are Not Invincible

Check the article here

So what can we take away from all this?

It’s not a Banana Republic?

The opposition seems to have got its act together to collaborate and to challenge the the BJP machine. Let’s hope it can continue that same energy and effectiveness in Government. It shows how best to beat BJP in next year’s national elections so it has national significance.

The robust institutions, in this case the Supreme Court as a brake on the BJP juggernaut.

That was all a couple of weeks ago. The ‘dynamic duo’ of Congress and JDS in coalition are now creating a Government.

The ministers are appointed and we wait with baited breath for some coherent Governance aka serving the people 😉 just look at the list above. The caste of each minister is listed and therefore just shows what the issues are. Many people vote according to community aka caste. Now there are arguments from individual ministers and communities that their ministerial responsibilities are not good enough! Good enough for what? Serving the community? Making a difference? Leaving a lasting legacy? Probably not …. if the comments of friends and neighbours are anything to go by it’s whether it creates enough of an opportunity to make money.

The lessons for elsewhere.

Let’s not be smug. This sort of shenanigans is found the world over, admittedly with cultural variations.

The Donaldness in the US is also testing the rules to the absolute limit, some would say clearly stepping over, bashing through or stomping on them, nepotism is just one of many examples. It might indicate that the rules and the institutions that ensure action and accountability aren’t quite working to ensure a ‘fair’ and robust system.

On the other side of the ‘big pond.’

In the chaos that once had an Empire, yes the disunited kingdom (UK) did once have an Empire. I’m not supporting colonialism just pointing out that there may have been at least one point in the past when they could actually manage something. Now they clearly can’t organise a party in a Brexit micro brewery.

Wherever in the world we’ve lost sight of the real focus. All this should not be about party, power at whatever cost or manic pursuit of dogma or money. Surely is should be about doing the best for all its people.

I can feel the innocence and naivety oozing from my every pore. 😉

Banana Republic 2

It gets worse.

So to remind you. The BJP who got the largest number of seats has been given by the Governor (BJP) fifteen days (now shortened after the intervention of the Supreme Court) until today? To demonstrate on the floor of the house that they have an overall majority, (which they didn’t get at the election so they will have to poach Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to increase their numbers).

Are you still awake?

Now the president (BJP) , remember he’s supposed to be independent and above politics has appointed a temporary speaker (chair of proceedings) also, you’ve guessed it, from the BJP. This is completely against protocol as it’s usually the senior most MLA that gets the role but he’s Congress so that won’t do, will it? The newish speaker has been in the job before who was censured by the Supreme Court for his….. partiality in a previous situation, involving the same main character Yeddyurappa and corruption.

You seriously couldn’t make this up,

More here

In despair, I’m turning away from this soap opera of unbelievableness to some light entertainment.

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.

Dysfunctional state

This might seem a big jump but…. when I first began to realise how senior civil servants were appointed and shifted at a moments notice, here in Karnataka …. I just couldn’t believe it. I previously was a senior manager in U.K. local government. I just couldn’t have done my job if I was continually looking to protect my own back to check that a politician wasn’t going to ‘punish’ me if I’d acted to challenge unacceptable practices or somehow crossed an invisible political red line. How does someone such as a District Commissioner locally manage on a day to day basis or for example challenge corruption, especially where politicians are concerned if in an instant they can be effectively demoted and sent to the back of beyond!

I write this at a time when we’ve just gone through a period when civil servants have been regularly changed as if passing through a revolving door. I mean very senior people shifted every few months, even weeks! How can an organisation function? Maybe that’s the point.

I write this as today we will get the results of the Karnataka state elections.

Check here to see how it now works in the US

It’s Election time

Spot the differences with your elections!

The local paper has news about politicians bribing locals to vote for them. Police/army checkpoints are in the look out for large amounts of money, as in the first news item. Alternatively offering chickens!

But it’s a secret vote so voters can accept bribes, maybe from more than one party and vote for whoever they want! 😉

A common practice is to show images of politicians alongside projects they claim to have initiated. During election campaigns they have to be covered as seen here at a shop for selling generic drugs at cut price. An initiative of the Modi Government.

So what difference does it make?

Stairway to heaven

Stairway to heaven….

I think not!

But it is a new beginning.

We know there are many of our friends in India and around the world looking forward to hearing about our latest tussles with the bureaucracy.

So here it is….

We’ve taken the big friendly giant (BFG) step and now fully registered Mysore Bed and Breakfast with the Police, the City Corporation and the Karnataka State Government. It’s been an absolute ‘joy.’ Yes, really 😉

If you like to see ‘the big picture’ first check the one at the bottom.

Step One

Visit: The Police Commissioner, followed by the local Police Station, to get a letter saying Manjula is a cool chick. No no no…. to show there are no objections ie. she’s a great character, has no record and the Police and neighbours have no objections.

Please note we’re saving you the agony by missing out 90% of the actual experience of visiting and managing the differently organised police service.

Step Two

ok, so you’ve got your ‘get out of jail free’ card, or your statement saying there’s no objection. Now collect up your documents: rental agreement, letter from owner agreeing to you using the house as a homestay, receipt for payment of tax.

Go to the office.

Then sort out the mistakes: redo rental agreement (letter not good enough) and pay extra tax. Spend two weeks trying to meet up with the officials, get letter typed up, and on and on and on… you just wouldn’t believe it…

is it incompetence, ‘we don’t care’ attitude or an intentional wind-up?

Step Three

The registration with the Karnataka Government was relatively straight forward. Complete the online form, upload the documents provided by the Police and City Corporation and rental agreement. Pay the bill, electronically or face the ordeal of going to a state bank queuing up, paying in cash or bankers daft, getting a receipt, scanning it in, uploading it. Forget that option! paid-up…. We now await the visit of the inspectors.

Step Four

Register on line with the Police to have foreigners come and stay and complete the online Form C within 24 hours of each foreigner who comes to stay. We’ll provide more details of this wonderful…. time consuming employment creation ordeal…. later to enable me (Stephen) to fully flaunt my Yorkshire sarcasm.

So we’ve done it. The team has arrived at the top step, we’ve had our highs and lows, we’ve learned to laugh and cry, we’ve met formidable obstacles, gone with the flow, we’ve sunk our flag in the hallowed ground. It’s taken time, almost a year, we’ve grown as a team and Manjula has made it happen. Phew!

She’s a star!

Next…. we’ll we do it all again next year.

The big picture

The A team includes:

Manjula, aka the boss, on point, who has traipsed around all the offices, made endless phone calls, been endlessly put off, turned up at the key offices to find the ‘houdini’ *official/policeman/Babu/patriarch (*delete as appropriate) has disappeared…. gone for lunch, on holiday, maybe hiding in the toilet, who knows? She gets a gold star for determination, fortitude, strength, with just a little innocence in the mix. madam has seriously been through it all!

Akram, auto driver extraordinaire, helping Manjula face the torture, mysticism and labyrinth workings of the Mysore City Corporation, and hiding outside when she faced the officials of the police commissioners office or the helpful smiley chaps at the local Police Station. To be fair he’s an auto rickshaw driver, rightly with an innate fear of coming into close contact with the constabulary.

Vidya and Tanu. Our knight-ettes in shining armour. Being Manjula’s counsellor, advocate, comforter, advisor and support in dealing with the Police.

Stephen, The clerk, computer operator, form filler, recorder and scribe. He lurks in the background. In the belief that to show his pale face will significantly add to the costs of said registration process.

 

Thank you for your invaluable help!