22/01/06

have no bread ? eat ega.

a conversation between a babu and a citizen :

citizen: ega ? i still don't understand what it means .
babu: ( a little sarcastic) you needn't, because it would be cooked and delivered to your doorstep as egp.
c. what's an egp, does it contain eggs?
b. no, but it may contain grain as a nutrition supplement.
c. may contain ?
b. it depends, you see, on the availability of funds and stocks. and work.
c. work ?
b. yes, you have to pay in work for whatever you get in return.
c. work ?
b. like filling up trenches.
c. oh ?
b. and digging up trenches. or whatever you in the boondocks consider 'productive assets'.
c. so it's a dole?
b. definitely not. we tax the rich and pay for this programme.
c. (now really interested) you mean you tax the rich and pay us?
b. no, we tax the rich and make you work.
c. that means we would get all that you take away from the rich?
b. no, you might get the minimum wage.
c. who gets the rest?
b. what do you mean?
c. i mean who gets the rest of the money from the taxes after you pay me?
b. the pm says 'institutional mechanisms' would be set up to deal with that.
c. (disgusted) deal with whoever steals the money ?
b. no, to see that there is a 'timely transfer of resources' ?
c. who gets transferred ?
b. whoever fails to show 'transparency in maintenance of muster rolls and payment of wages.' ?
c. what ?
b.whoever says you worked for 30 days when you only worked for 3.
c. who ?
b. your programme officer.
c. why should he say that i've worked for 30 days when i've not worked for a day ?
b. because he's not transparent - he should tell you everything about the scheme the day you register.
c.( feeling he's the one that's transparent) nobody tells me anything.
b. don't worry. now everything has to be put down on paper and recorded. you'll also get a job card....don't pawn that.
c. and then?
b. you apply for work.
c. i can't write.
b. that's okay, the panchayat will help you.
c. what's in it for them ?
b. 50%.
c. you mean they take away half of what i get paid ?
b. no, you idiot. they get half of all funds for the scheme.
c. who gets the other half ?
b. the programme officer decides that.
c. i work for nothing ?
b.you get paid for whatever work you do.
c. (scratching his head, making rapid calculations on his palm) the officer gets 50% and the panchayat gets another fifty..please sir, what do i get?
b. (exhausted) you get paid for 100 days of work.
c. what work ?
b. (#$%..!) whatever work the panchayat assigns you.
c. (thinking of his past experiences) what if they don't ?
b. you get paid anyway.. at least a part of the minimum wage for not being given work after applying.
c. ( warming up to this idea) what if i gave you a part of that.. you know..so that i
keep getting whatever money..
b. (frowning) yes.
c. ...without being assigned any work..
b. (feigning anger) that's illegal.
c. (grumbling) i won't get any work because the sarpanch doesn't like me. i voted for the opposition..
b. you can complain.
c. what would happen then ?
b. the programme would be stopped in the whole district.
c. ( wondering how that would help ) who thought up this scheme..a sardar ?
b. oh, it has its supporters... a belgian who likes yatras.. an italian who doesn't... a bengali who didn't like the ias... ....
c. (lost in thought) i can ask sagar anna for help.
b. who is he?
c. he heads the racha (..konda dalam, he almost says, but stops )... maybe i can give him something..
b. who ?
c. the sarpanch.
b. i told you the whole programme would be stopped if there are any reports of corruption.
c. so how do i get any work?
b. you apply for it, you are assigned work and then you get paid for it.. every week ..or after two..weeks..maybe. you know how it is..
c. what if i don't get paid ? (now getting wiser) don't tell me ... i shouldn't complain..
b. i didn't say that..you could tell the gram sabha.
c. that's what i did when he siphoned off money from the housing scheme to build another floor on his house.
b. and ?
c. he hates my guts now.
b. so why don't you talk to the other leader then..the one you voted for..
c. no one listens to him now..they found fwp rice in his cowshed...
b. don't worry, they can't stop the payment..i'll be there.
c. what's in it for you ?
b. 50%.
the citizen walks away, thinking of sagar anna.

10 comments:

Ramadoss Magesh said...

Hi Kuffir,

Off Topic-- Related to your comment in Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta's blog. Why dont you seriously put up counter points to regular P. Sainath's writing. That would really help in getting a much balanced perspective. And you seem quite informed about the basic facts as well. Just a suggestion.


Best regards,
Magesh

kuffir said...

magesh : thanks for your kind suggestion.
i believe in taking a little from everyone : including mr.gurumurthy , the globalizers and the scattered naxal groups and the environmentalists.
as for p.sainath, i've been reading him since the days he sometimes used to stand in for k.a.abbas' last page in blitz. he is an incredibly honest journalist..and very insightful. an honorable man, as the bard would say..(and i can say that for many rss workers i've met in my life too) but he still paints only the popular picture and one very biased in favour of certain interests in india, in my view.
and he effectively fans the frustrations from the crisis in agriculture into anger at policy reform that occurred elsewhere. he directs you to think along a certain direction and this i find objectionable.

Venu said...

Hi Kuffir,

Some great satire there. Who's the bengali who doesnt like IAS btw? And do you run all your writing through a program to convert all letters into lower-case? ;-)

Was browsing through your blog, after reading the great points you made back on Uma's blog. Its a frustrating experience for me, reading Sainath. On the one hand you laud him for his sober and empathetic portrayals, and on the other hand you have his sudden vituperative attacks against reforms. Again I agree with what you say above: he shows improbable causations from policy to the agri-crises.

I read one of your earlier posts on Jayati Ghosh. She keeps spewing rubbish on a regular basis on Frontline. Check out this article in which she defends reservations in the private sector, saying that they are efficient: http://www.flonnet.com/fl2222/stories/20051104004110800.htm
The implication is clear: if private companies are deliberately avoiding the 'efficiency' that can be got from reservations, it must mean that they are prejudiced and discriminating. Mayawati would be proud of her.

re: this post, and the post on vaartha proprietor.
I wonder if we will ever be able to do anything at all about the tyranny of the status quo in India.

Venu said...

And btw, are you a journalist?

Ramadoss Magesh said...

Hi Kuffir,

I too have a lot of respect for Sainath's writings. Though have not been reading him much these days as I to an extent share the sentiment expressed by Venu on Uma's blog..


have stopped reading him these days because I know there is no longer anything new he has to say.

But it is very impressive to read your clear articulation. Am also curious.. r u a journalist..whats ur profession..

Best regards,
Magesh

kuffir said...

venu:
she's in the national advisory council (nac)... you've probably already heard of her..the link is in my blogroll..
no, i'm not a journalist..but my profession requires me to do a lot of writing and i'm trying to escape from the terrors of grammar and punctuation on my blog.. it's also the reason why i blog less than i feel like doing..
i think you made a lot of sense on uma's blog too..
i wasn't exactly pouring praise on sainath when i said he's honest..he's honest in reporting deaths.. which a lot of vernacular reporters (print & tv) have done it too..and in more detail..but to the big city readers this is news.. and you know sometimes the messenger can become the messiah..so they swallow the diagnosis and presciption (supported of course by a lot of more vocal 'committed' economists & politiciansin the media & other forums) he cleverly hints at in his reports.. that in my opinion is definitely not honest.. when a journalist tries to subvert a reader's right to think on his own.. wouldn't you find that objectionable ?

magesh:
'I know there is no longer anything new he has to say.'
you said it.

Mridula said...

Ah, I have missed the larger context presented in the comments. Have a lot of digging to do.

Ramadoss Magesh said...

Hi Kuffir,

Hope u got to know of the new blog..

http://theotherindia.org/

It would be good if you could present articles there. That would badly need a perspective like that of yours.

Best regards,
Magesh

Cosmic Voices said...

Hi Kuffir,
Nice name(though i dont know what it means), and nice blog (though i need to dig a lot deeper).

I have been following sainath since 5 years. And till I read these comments I never realised that "messenger can become the messiah".

It would be nice if you could show the other side of particular story reported by sainath.

And finally, I too agree. He has got nothing new these days. Just spruced up his writing style with a little more satire.

kuffir said...

voices from eternity: glad you like the blog. it's mostly my own opinions and interests ( you might find some.. like my posts on telugu folk movies not interesting, perhaps) but i urge you to express your opinion freely on whatever you may disagree with.
yes, sainath.. there're a lot of holes in his reasoning.. but people don't dare to question him because he reports on such a sad topic.
about kuffir, i've read a few posts on your blog and i guess you do know what 'kufr' means... kuffir is someone who practises that..(though the spelling is not the popular one).
again, i'd like to add that i'm more concerned about expressing my opininon about all kinds of subjects, in the vein of a kuffir, and not just about any religion.

 
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