Guest post by T.R. Ramaswami

The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals. We are all familiar with a Herd of cows, a Flock/Clutch of chickens, a School of fish and a Gaggle of geese. However, less widely known is a Pride of lions, a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens), an Exaltation of doves, an Army of ants, a Swarm of bees, Troop of monkeys, etc.
Now consider Baboons. They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and least intelligent of all primates. And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons? Believe it or not … Congress! Now ‘congress’ is also used to denote that familiar nocturnal activity that results in families. No wonder the country is probably being ‘congressed’?!

Owls, considered wise in western culture, are given the collective noun – ‘Parliament’ – presumably because parliament is a group of wise people. But owls – ie ulus – have a negative image here in India. Now if you translate “parliament of owls” into Hindi – you get “uluon ka sansad”!! Look how the translation also retains the cultural image!

Parliament is famous for forming Committees – that’s the collective noun for vultures! Again so appropriate! Incidentally the various collective nouns for politicians are – FIB, CHAOS, EXPENSE, SHAME & CORRUPTION. Now can Lokpal do anything to a congress of baboons and an uluon ka sansad, before the country gets ‘congressed’ and only the vultures are waiting for the pickings?




Guest Post by: T.R. Ramaswami

In some form or the other a Lokpal bill will definitely be passed by Parliament. However this Lokpal is only an apex level investigative authority who will act when a complaint is made. How different he will be from the CVC or CBI or whether the same fate befalls this office remains to be seen. There is no point having an investigative office when the system allows the corrupt and criminals to get in. That drain must be blocked with an effective net – NOTA.

If NOTA gets the highest votes, all candidates in that constituency lose their deposits. If such a candidate wants to again participate in the by-elections, his party will have to bear pro-rata cost of the election. That will solve the cost questions that are always raised. This is for all elections – from Gram Panchayat to Lok Sabha. Once the people know that their vote now really counts, watch the turnover at the polls. We can also progress to voting on the net or even mobile booths. This will solve the inertia problem that now exists and which netas want to continue by making it cumbersome to vote. The idea is to bring the polls to the people and not make people to go to the polls. Once there are a billion Lokpals such a system will be very difficult and costly to subvert – power will be in the hands of the people. The apex Lokpal will have fewer complaints.

It is perhaps the power that NOTA can wield that is making politicians and even the media, which is part of the establishment mafia, keep peculiarly silent on this issue.