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WE CARE FOR CHENNAI [This Network is not currently active and cannot accept new posts] | | Topics
CAS Makes us MAD . . . Whats your opinion ??Views: 111
Apr 03, 2005 1:26 pm CAS Makes us MAD . . . Whats your opinion ??

Govind Srinivasan

I am glad that WCFC is gathering momentum, coutesy the CAS issue. 35 posts in 11 days with 9 participants! Good progress!

You can skip reading this posting and come back to it, if you are tired now after a long work schedule or don't have patience to read this lllllllllllong posting.
I am watching the debate keenly, but couldn't contribute my thought or idea in overcoming the CAS problem, since this issue is not agitating my mind so much. Not that I am a minimalist or that I am withdrawn from the worldly pleasures of enjoying a TV show or a movie. But it just doesn't strike in my mind that the WCFC, with its existing strength and reach, may not be able to take up this cause with an undying spirit and tremendous zeal, which are probably the least required attributes to confront not only the CAS issue, but many other ones, equally or more important too.

Here is an anecdote I would like to share with you here, from the book "A Tiger for Malgudi" written by RK Narayan. The story goes like this.

The villagers are incensed by the danger that persisted with a tiger around, making a hide and seek in the village. The tiger creates a terror. The villagers, at last, muster courage and meet the District Collector asking for his intervention to make the village get rid of the Tiger. The Collector tries to pacify the villagers and explains what action he proposes to take.

Not satisfied with the answer given by the Collector, which does not excite them to believe that the Collector would do something meaningful, the villagers continue to harp on the issue, with everyone starting to speak out that makes the Collector feel that he has to step in and turn the tables on them and buy peace for some time.

Here goes the story, what happened between the Collector and the villagers.

The Collector, being a man used to such representations, just said: " I will look into your case. I can't promise anything. How do you know that there is a tiger around?"

"We saw it"

"How many of your saw it?"

"All of us ......" said the deputation.

"How many persons live in your village?"

They looked at each other in consternation, being unfamiliar with numbers. "More than a hundred, sir", ventured an elder.

"Have all the hundred seen the tigher?" asked the Collector.

"Yes" they chorused.

The Collector fixed his gaze on someone arbitrarily and asked "How big was the tiger?"

The man blinked for a minute and then indicated with his hands some size, whereupon another man pushed himself and said, "He is wrong. The tiger was this big ....."

A heated argument started, many others joining for and against, until the Collector said, "Silence, are you both talking of the same tiger or two different ones? Was there one tiger or two or three?"

Someone said, "Five in all, sir. Four cubs and a tigress, which were shot."

"Who shot them?" asked the Collector.

"Some shikari from the town ...."

"Which town?"

"We can't say, sir, we don't know."

"Did they have a licence to shoot? Who gave them licence?"

The petitioners, feeling they were being dragged beyond their depths, became tongue-tied.

The Collector observed them for a moment and said, "Have you brought your petition in writing?" They looked terrified, having no notion of the world of letters. The Collector felt compassionate and said, "I can't take action unless there is a written petition. Go to a petition-writer .... you'll find one in the verandha of the law court or at the market gate. Get the petition engrossed on a stamp-paper of one rupee and fifty paise, and leave it my clerk at the office. Then I'll fix a date for inspection and take action .... For all I know there may be no tiger whatever. You may be imagining! One mentions one tiger and another says five!" And he permitted himself a dignified grin at the joke. "However, it is my duty to look into it, if you have a grievance.

The deputation of villagers had to visit the Collector almost once a week, spending time and money to no purpose. From within the jungle where their villages were situated, they had to trudge ten miles to the highway and wait endlessly for a chance lift in a passing bus or lorry. At the Collector's office they could see, after much waiting, only the Collector's clerk, who took their petitions and then directed them to satisfy further official formalities. At the end of the day they returned to their villages, dreading lest the tiger should waylay them.



I am leaving this story to your imagination as to how to connect it with the issues we are talking about in WCFC, including CAS.

Here is my take on not only the CAS issue, but many others too.

WCFC is just sprouting. If we take an issue like CAS, spend our time and energy, we may get tired of ourselves even in the short term. Simple! We are a small number of people. There is not even a single debate that gets a participation of more than 10 members, though we are a 125-member group. Just think of what kind of quality and timely follow-up we can assure for ourselves on any issue, at this point of time, given the fact that it is a just handful of people who are giving life to WCFC. If we are not taking up a cause that can trigger the imagination of a large number of people spontaneously, we reach nowhere. There are greater issues, which crave for attention, a this point of time, when it comes to "making Chennai a better place to live in".

Every one here in WCFC comes with his or her own background, potential and capabilities. We require to consolidate these assets and, first of all, seize every opportunity to see or talk to each other, exchange ideas, effectively network between ourselves with a dogged pursuit and build the momentum carefully and joyously.

It doesn't take any big effort for anybody to say a few lines in an online debate. But it is very difficult to arrive at a consensus and drive ourselves to action, on any issue, with a fair level of expectation about the result.

In fact, we are yet to get a picture as to what WCFC is all about, what it can do, what could be the target areas where we can converge and act, who will do what, etc., etc.

We require to take a few macro issues and continue to work on them as long-drawn strategies. The issues can be anything that cannot be solved very easily. Chennai roads, traffic, sanitation, pollution, water, mishandling of public administration issues by the authorities, etc., etc. are a few areas where we can converge and act. Take even the most infamous COOVUM RIVER issue. We may not be able to solve this issue just by writing to somebody in power or stating a demo before one or other office or taking the issue to court. But it can ignite the imagination of a large number of people, who would start rallying around WCFC and coming into it. We require them.

Once we are known as a pure simple public-spirited group, who want to convert the on-line relationship between ourselves to meaningful real time actions for common good, we can attract a large number of people and thus give a solid base for WCFC.

Most of us know each other only because of the Internet and we have to do everything possible to bring in as many people as possible to WCFC online Network and make all-out efforts to channelize the resulting bonhomie to concrete actions for the sake of public good.

The Internet can prove to be a boon or a bane to WCFC, depending on what kind of satisfaction that it gives to people. There are people, as we know, who would simply say whatever they feel like in online debates and user groups and just be satisfied with expressing their opinions. They may not stir out to participate in any activity. Even if they do so, they may not accept any responsibility. On the other hand, the internet can prove to be boon to WCFC in bringing like-minded people together, who could prove to be change-agents to "make Chennai a better place to live in".

We can certainly continue to debate on CAS and converge on a decision to act further to express our resentment against CAS, in its exsiting form.

But let us remember that our common grievance need not give us a power to consolidate and act in a strategic manner and take the issue to its logical end. We require numbers and also a down-to-earth physical activity, so that we come to know of each other, even among ourselves.

Harish, Gokul, Karthikeyan, Lavanya, Aarti, Mukind, Soeb, Sushi and Prakash are all perfectly right in expressing their view point. Think of Soeb, who is making the debate very lively and is also sharing his wisdom without mincing words and that too, sitting in an another city. Think of the fight-to-finish state of mind of Karthik to put an end to CAS in Chennai. Think of the voluntary effort contribution that Mukund is promising to bring a legal tinge to the issue. Think of Lavanya who is advocating forming up a Committee or Gokul, who is very sincerely putting out what is he doing on the issue on his own. Take Praksh for that matter, who is probably tired with CAS and is resigned to accepting the existing reality or the frustration expressed by Aarti. All of them are making this debate lively.

But the big question is this. Is this issue a candidate that can create a fusion among ourselves? Nothing wrong with debating as many issues as we conjure up. But I feel that the need of the hour is to create an excellent bridge between ourselves and grow rapidly in size. The Internet is absolutely capable of making WCFC grow in numbers very fast. This is possible, only if we introduce this network to as many friends as possible. I said earlier that we should at least be a 300-strong group. That is the critical mass that can sustain anything that we want to do through WCFC.


Private Reply to Govind Srinivasan (new win)

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