Democracy at Crossroads

Sivaramakrishnan AStarred Page By Sivaramakrishnan A, 23rd Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Democracy and Freedom go hand in hand. Sadly, they have proven to be elusive to vast majority when few call the tune whoever is in power. The lofty ideal of government of the people,by the people and for the people remains a mirage for most. Time for the next positive step.

Minority Holds Sway

Having reached the pinnacle of what we set out to achieve, climbing one mountain after another, making sacrifices galore, many are stretching their legs after crossing the golden gates of democracy! But things are not hunky dory anywhere. The harsh truth is few seem to enjoy more than equal rights by the way they call the tune. Is it because they pay the piper and thereby make an investment that is most rewarding? The majority is left to wonder after every election, why they lose out all the time? Democracy proves an enigma for every country. The financial crisis was brought about by unbridled greed of the few, but they have managed to make even the poorest foot the bill. Greed has impoverished the world. We have analysed the causes for our present predicament from every angle, but do not change our habits all the same! Insanity is persisting to do the same acts but expecting different results as Einstein said. Even the supposed lower species do not repeat their mistakes!

Slip between the Cup and Lip

Democracy and freedom are wonderful concepts - having the power to elect the government of the people, by the people and for the people. That empowers everyone and anyone has the ability to become a leader. There are no birth rights bestowing authority to lead. The field is wide open. In fact, it is meritocracy in action; the best among us to show their worth and receive the honor to lead. There are many in every generation with the passion, limitless energy to punch above their heights to show their prowess. Then the vast majority do their part and sit back – just foot soldiers. But sadly, democracy has not worked that way. What we see from outside is not what is reality obviously. Our leaders are caught in the labyrinth of cobwebs of intractable workings; checks and balances that they have to struggle against. But we do see few thriving whoever is in power as if by magic. They are always in the inner power circle, manipulating the workings!

Malady and unfairness of the system

When democracy does not deliver, prove ineffective to the most disadvantaged, our collective conscience should hurt and play a part to fix the system and even overhaul it. Every day lost is a blot on the conscience of those who are tasked to see the system is well oiled. We see in the poorest countries, the glaring effects of the rich getting richer and the poor sinking to hopelessness, hoping against hope for a better future. When bureaucracy also dances to the tune of the rich or favoring them in their day-today dealings, the poor becomes worse off. The whole edifice of democracy and freedom is conspiring against them! What an irony at play when the majority is helpless in a democracy! Is there any way out?

Malaise Holding Down Democracy

Decision making paralysis: The checks and balances are there for a purpose but they should come under open debate. Their glaring inadequacies should be tackled on an on-going basis to fine tune them without let-up. We need to act not a day soon as the system is coming under severe stress. Leaders are obviously elected based on agenda placed before the electorate and when elections are decided on those premises, why should they be stymied to carry out the agenda? The reality is a minority is able to stall the majority‘s interests. Then what use elections?

Bureaucracy in developing countries: The biggest stumbling block for the poor to enjoy their rights is the bureaucracy. They are kept at bay while the rich find ways to get ahead. That means all are not equal even in democracies; the system fails to deliver!

Transparency: Despite Information Technology’s ability to breakdown human walls, there are still wheels within wheels in the functioning of democracies. Lack of transparency favor the thick skinned bureaucrats. The general public still bears the full brunt of bureaucratic intransigence.

Archaic Laws & Regulations: Many countries are still shackled by laws and regulations that are a throwback to eras no more relevant. Time they overhauled them en masse. We have court cases going back decades. Justice delayed is justice denied, but the system has imprisoned the vast majority. An irony in supposed free countries, an all pervasive sense of helplessness and resignation!

Divide and Rule: We are emotional fools still. It takes a wily politician just few words to divide us down the middle. We are at each other’s throats and the real issues are soon forgotten when imaginary ones take hold. It is an easy smokescreen for politicians to make use as and when necessary. Our real enemies are poverty, rich/poor divide, injustice, but those that are not really relevant to ordinary citizen side-track the attention needed.

Make Democracy Deliver

From my observation, the majority is held to ransom by few who enrich themselves pursuing a political career as a business that gives the biggest returns! They treat their country as a personal fiefdom. The resources should belong to the people to be enriched by each generation, but sadly they are frittered away without accountability and sustainability. The hopelessness of the poor is palpable when their elected leaders prove equally bad as the previous ones or even worse! It is if they are given injections to make them sing a different tune, mostly of helplessness, after every election! Then the thought of the next election takes hold and repeated ad nauseam!

Setting a common agenda for countries to uplift the plight of the poor is paramount whoever is in power. Then clear road map is designed to reach this legitimate goal. These are inalienable rights of the citizens and should never be compromised. Bureaucracy should be held in check through transparency helped by Information Technology. The present ways where the poorest bear the brunt of the negative forces should be tackled head on. There is a plaintive cry everywhere that democracy has failed to deliver but the saving grace is the horrors of communism and totalitarianism are still green in our memories. When they fade away, democratic systems will be easily discarded when someone comes in as the savior to uplift those who had lost hope. Not a wholesome thought by any means. We should not lose something which is better than others just for the reason we do not know how to make it work. It is too much of a price to pay for our inadequacy. Democracy and freedom are too precious to be cast away!


Image Credits: All Images are from Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons

Links to my recent posts:

Have We Reached the Peak of Achievement?

Who Am I?

Love and Hate Emanate from the Same Source

Are We Not in Heaven Now?

The Priceless Peace of Mind

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Mark again for your support; appreciated - siva

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author avatar Songbird B
24th Mar 2013 (#)

A powerful and emotive article Siva..You always write with great clarity and innate wisdom my friend. A passionate and powerful Star page! \0/x

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Songbird. Your words encourage me to put my best foot forward. Sadly, democracy and freedom have little value when the poorest are neglected and the rich get richer through taking advantage and manipulating the system - siva

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author avatar Songbird B
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Isn't that the truth my friend! Thanks for such a great article..\0/x

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you again Songbird. I always feel a sense of collective guilt when humanity as a whole looks the other away while facing the many injustices around. Even the poorest countries pay through their nose importing the latest armaments when their real enemies are at home - crime, loot, selfish pursuits of leaders and the list goes on. We need to stop producing weapons of mass destruction and then bemoan others are trying to get them. Is it not hypocrisy, plain and simple? siva

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

The last but one line of my reply should read - We need to stop producing weapons of mass destruction rather than bemoan later that others are trying to get them.

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author avatar Rania, Jamie & Reni
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Siva, good article.

Uthrania Seila

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Uthrania for your support and comments - siva

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author avatar Retired
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Ditto what Songbird said, Savaji. Clarity plus compassion = wisdom

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Rama-ji. What a coincidence - my wife just left to have darshan of Amma here in Singapore - siva

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
24th Mar 2013 (#)

In theory democracy is great but in practice it does not seem to work so well, somebody always wants different.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Mark. My lament is what use democracy if the majority's interests are not under the radar, or rather few get away with more than legitimate dues - siva

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author avatar M G Singh
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Fact is democracy is ok for a small city like Athens. Its impractical for large countries like India. Nice post

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks Madan. In India, wily politicians make a fool of the electorate. There is outcry over their excesses in the internet, but that is drowned in the cacophony of noise pollution and lack of follow up. Those who can right the wrongs are afraid to tread the waters, made a cesspool by incumbents in the game! But we have to slowly feel our way through worse than crocodile infested rivers to reach another shore - that does justice by the poor. Democracy without rule of law is anarchy - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Many of the world's democratic institutions were setup at a time when the majority of the population either did not have the knowledge to get involved or the skill to do so. with an increasingly educated population and more people willing to get involved our institutions of democracy need to change in order to reflect the real will of the people.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Peter. We need a new direction to make democracy and freedom more meaningful and effective for the vast majority to enjoy their fruits. Maybe, Information Technology can help us to reflect more their aspirations and thinking - siva

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
24th Mar 2013 (#)

What we are practicing in our country is a selfishness and vote. Democracy is not just an election... our political parties know that but don't seem disseminate the knowledge to the mass... nor they practice themselves...

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Selfishness and democracy are enemies but are strange bedfellows in many places. The exalted idea of democracy and freedom are besmirched and abused by elected leaders to the consternation of the electorate - siva

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author avatar Buzz
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Great article, sear friend. Incisive.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Your presence is support itself, dear friend Buzz. Thanks. Namaste - siva

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author avatar Xavier Bage
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Very wise analysis, Siva. If the elements that deviate democracy could be curbed, people could enjoy the fruits of democracy.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Xavier. Those who can make the change are afraid to tread the waters, sadly. It proves many a slip between cup and lip all the time for the silent majority who hopes against hope for deliverance of justice - siva

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author avatar Reni Sentana-Ries
24th Mar 2013 (#)

You identified democracy's problems well, Siva, of which greed by the few is the biggest, who then control the "poor" leaders. They also control the bureaucracy by infiltration with elements sympathetic to the aims of the rich. The "few" then control the political parties with corporate donations via corporations they own. The "few" have also have set up for their own puposes a network of secret societies with which they gained control over the business world. They are the ones who are the receipients of interest payments on national debts and waft those funds into their personal offshore bank accounts with which they then buy up more global wealth. These "few" also control the information media they own for brainwashing the people and dupe them into believing things that are not so - historically, religiously, and politically. Democracy's freedom is their vehicle of control over the masses, for democracy is by its own nature is based on division of the people into parties instead of Oneness which it should be. The world of democracy they control with their money also grants them protection from their own crimes by controlling the judicial system with people sympathetic to their cause. This keeps them safe from ever being prosecuted for crimes against their fellow men and women.

The "horse" these people ride on is money, and so money has become the root of all evil. Only when money will be gotten rid of can the world become restored to an economic condition we tend to believe democracy should take us to.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Reni for your precise and concise analysis. Gandhi's words always ring true - there is everything in this world for our needs but not the greed. Greed feeds on itself and there are no limits. Also, the media is always highlighting wealth as the barometer for success. It gets ingrained in our psyche. We are just going around in circles. Time to break free from this vicious cycle - siva

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author avatar Carol
24th Mar 2013 (#)

A very thought provoking article, many thanks

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Carol for your encouragement; appreciated - siva

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author avatar Ms. Ann
24th Mar 2013 (#)

This is a powerful article, even challenging - it is challenge in that we all have to ask ourselves, "what are we willing to invest to make change viable?" One of my favorite authors is Victor Frankl, who wrote Man's Search for Meaning and here is a quote from his book: "Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." p.122
Good work as always Siva. I applaud you!!!!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Ms Ann for such kind words. Meaningful quote too for us to ponder and do our part. I now feel fulfilled in writing this post. I think of poor countries, nascent democracies, that attained freedom and democratic political system after great sacrifices. The fruits have never reached the poorest who still pay the price for the greed of the elite few. The vast majority can only exercise their franchise - the right to vote - and expect the elected leaders to do their part. But they are played out by the system and the leaders look helpless. There is no end in sight for their plight. Sadly, the newly liberated countries have a fresh set of power centers; so back to square one! siva

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author avatar Shirley Shuler
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Very thought provoking indeed, Siva.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Shirley for support; appreciated - siva

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author avatar Vartika
25th Mar 2013 (#)

You've rightly identified the problems of a democracy. We have a vicious circle which is near impossible to break. For democracies to work, we need an educated electorate, learned and selfless political candidates and right agenda. Unfortunately something or the other is always missing. In my opinion, the only way to improve is to begin with oneself. Lets hoard less, do more noble deeds and do our duties as a good citizen. Somewhere down the line, some sense of balance will be restored.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Vartika for the positive vibes. We all need to do more especially our leaders. The majority can only do the basics - exercise the franchise, obey the law and hope against hope for a better dawn. And we also help others who are more economically disadvantaged than us. Every day we fail to fix the issues, many pass on without attaining true freedom from poverty, injustice etc. Interestingly, Chinese leaders seem more concerned than those in democratic countries in bridging the income gap and they act quickly against injustices even against senior party cadres. But in supposed democracies and free societies, leaders divide us in every permutation and combination! Not good portents - siva

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author avatar madugundurukmini
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Largest Democracy in the World-India

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Yes going by number of electorates - slowly we reach the right destination, step by step. Thanks Rukmini - siva

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
25th Mar 2013 (#)

As always Siva , a very weighty write , one for which I am loath to jump in and add my two penny worth without deep consideration . I for one have to say that I am glad to be in a Democratic country as against one ruled by a heavy-fisted dictatorship... and , because of that I have to accept , that with democracy comes choice ..and to a certain degree , trust . First we can vote in whom we like and then we must trust that such people are the best, and indeed capable of doing the job they were elected to perform .A little power can alter the mildest of men if given free reign , and when it is backed by riches and many voices advising this or that , it takes a very strong person to stand their ground and do what is right against the call of the masses, or indeed , the few . As a very little voice , I pray that all in authority have wisdom and courage to do what they know is the very best for those they serve.
Please forgive my ramblings .
God bless you my friend
Stella

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Stella, I always look forward to your comments; it does not matter whether we agree or not. It adds to healthy debate and that is freedom and democracy at Wikinut!. I wrote on this topic as I felt the poor are being denied, short-changed and even robbed at times of what is their legitimate due. I lament that democracy and freedom are not working to benefit them despite they being in the majority. As I have written, there is no better system to replace democracy. But there are limits to patience too. When the rich try to get more than their share of the pie, trouble could start brewing. There have been leaders out of the blue in history who swayed masses their way, and could do so still away from democracy. Then we can lose it all, including the much cherished freedom. We place our trust and let our leaders take their responsibility as they should. They have to keep their promises and others too should not try to topple the apple cart! Let the losers be little more patient than swinging into spoiling action, glaring their teeth, immediately after the hustings! - siva

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author avatar vellur
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Great write, democracy is there in writing but is not followed up and everyone do not benefit from it.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Vellur. The system should be made functional - obviously, it is not working as expected. Time for overhaul - siva

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
25th Mar 2013 (#)

The line is very thin in some countries dear Siva where the word democracy is a thin veneer which covers a greater mass of injustice and control . Greed and even multi religious beliefs can all also be factors that can muddy the waters of democracy .
Bless you and yours
Stella

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks Stella again. Though we enjoy the freedom and the right to elect our leaders, democracy has not done justice by the poor. Sadly, the benefits go more towards the rich. Then society cannot gel and stay united if we do not break this trend - siva

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
26th Mar 2013 (#)

I fear the trend is leaning towards the unity of the rich and powerful , but we can pray and we can see . When truth and justice prevail , we can all enjoy its fruit .
Bless you Siva
Stella

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author avatar johnbee
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Good write

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you, Johnbee; appreciate your support - siva

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author avatar Susan Jane
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Powerful - eloquent. Thanks for sharing your views.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Susan for your kind words - siva

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author avatar Subra
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Dear Siva, you cold not have said it more accurately and appropriately! We can talk and talk and talk until the cows come home, but until people uphold the highest standards of conduct and enforce the right action, nothing will change the face of democracy and freedom today. The conduct and action should come right from the top and permeate down to all the levels of people. It's no point for the people to go on saying that they are democratic and therefore have the freedom to do as they like. Even freedom has got restrictions in the best of societies where laws and regulations ensure that people conform to certain social norms and disciplines. Unfettered freedom and democracy comes at a price - lawlessness, corruption, red tape, the bureaucrats, politicians and the rich suppressing and exploiting the poor. India is an excellent example to quote: lop-sided thinking and policies by the administration, weak governance that favours the rich, rampant corruption, nepotism, a hopelessly ineffective law enforcement system, extremely poor infrastructural development, and it's just the rich exploiting the poor all the time! So what's the point in saying that the poor masses have freedom and democracy when they may not get their three meals a day!

Once again congrats Siva for another 'star' performance. Subra

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
26th Mar 2013 (#)

In depth take, thanks dear Subra. It is time for you to step in (here only, at Wikinut!), take the issues by the scruff of the neck, and rip them apart! Democracy is not free for all; freedom without rule of law is anarchy. The issue is few take advantage of gray areas to get ahead while the majority stays right at the center! Few tempt fate and are rewarded, others stick to the spirit of the law to the extent they shortchange themselves!

Some could feel, why not those who cry from the rooftop get into the fray; but whoever is in the deep pool are struggling, like President Obama. So system overhaul is needed - where key issues based on which elections are decided should be carried out to their fruition. Now politicking never ends. My simple test is when the rich gets richer at the cost of the poor, the system is suspect! siva

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author avatar Subra
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Perfectly right Siva. Love from Subra

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks again dear Subra for your support and kind words - regards - siva

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author avatar C.D. Moore
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Excellent article in every way,Siva.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you C D Moore for stopping by and for the kind words - siva

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author avatar Kingwell
26th Mar 2013 (#)

A very powerful article Siva and you are right that many changes are needed. I see greed as the biggest problem. It never ceases to amaze me that billionaires are looking for ways to make more money. I like your thoughts here and hope that we will see change.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks Kingwell. The rich have better reach even in democratic system to get richer while the poor tends to get short changed. No issues when rich get richer but not at the cost of the poor - siva

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
26th Mar 2013 (#)

Again you have hit the nail on the head Siva...yes this is powerful and plain speaking and an intense view of what is going on...thank you...

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Carolina for your support; appreciated. Every day lost not correcting the injustices, many are denied what is due - siva

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author avatar Delicia Powers
27th Mar 2013 (#)

powerful, and thought provoking...

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Delicia for your support - siva

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author avatar Nandini
27th Mar 2013 (#)

Such an engaging article...

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
28th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you for your comments, Nandini - siva

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author avatar Carol
27th Mar 2013 (#)

Your passion and beliefs shine through siva.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
28th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you for the encouragement, Carol, appreciated - siva

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author avatar Yasmin.k
25th Jul 2013 (#)

It's an insightful article that unveils many stark realities.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
26th Jul 2013 (#)

Thank you Yasmin for your visit and comments. The poor hope against hope for a better tomorrow but are short-changed time and time again by a selfish elite - siva

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