The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Why almost every politician is associated with some non-governmental organization (NGO) or voluntary organization (VO) or should I say how many politicians run or are associated with some NGO/VO?

These are high times when such questions are to be asked and answers have to be sought for this ‘why’.

The one obvious answer reflects in the Khurshid and Nitin Gadkari episodes. Though the Khurshids have filed for defamation, and are shamelessly denying the documentary evidence, their act has embarrassed many of their lot. While Khurshids are shielding behind verbal manipulation and sham of a probe by the Uttar Pradesh government, Gadkari, too, is ready to face the probe. Politicians monitoring probe or probing politicians – what else likes of Khurshids and Gadkari can ask especially after the political wisdom of the ‘mutual trust’ that Digvijay Singh illuminated us with.

These two keenly watched corruption episodes, of Khurshids and Gadkari, prominently figure NGOs as a route to divert funds or gain assets.

And there are multiple NGOs created and run for this purpose only.

The developments throw many points that tell us why politicians run or get associated with NGOs.

It’s about that easy money. Funds copiously flow. Government of India under its NGO Partnership System invites NGOs to register on a website ( and has enlisted 11 of its ministries and departments (in the first phase? – so there might be more coming). These are Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Ministry of Women & Child Development, Department of Higher Education, Department of School Education & Literacy, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB) and Department of Youth Affairs.

A look at even the nomenclature of these entities tells us all these areas entail ample opportunities to design projects for social empowerment. India’s social indicators are really bad and it has more to do here with the project design than its implementation. Monitoring is either absent or manipulated.

Almost every ministry earmarks funds running into millions every year that are allocated to the NGOs for projects ranging from vaccination drives to awareness campaigns. Sometimes the vitals can be measured; sometimes it is not possible when the parameters are vague like ‘awareness’.

The government accepts and highlights the need of non-governmental organizations in extending the social welfare work recognizing that it cannot reach everywhere. And here politicians see the opportunity. 

Politicians either form the legislature and so are able to manipulate the executive or are close to the legislature to get their ways in to have their ends meet.

There are some set criteria as to which NGO can claim funds like having completed three years post the registration and necessary tax and revenue documentations. But like everything else these, too, can be managed and are managed.

Politicians and bureaucrats siphoning off the government funds in collusion with other NGOs or through their own outfits has been an open fact that everyone knew but no one cared to talk about.

Expecting an irresponsible response, as has been the case in the two developments mentioned in the opening lines, is one of the reasons that make us not to talk about political and bureaucratic corruption through NGOs in India. But that doesn’t mean we ignore it.

Though there are more than enough documents at the initial stage to implicate Khurshids’ NGO, the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, the funding ministry that asked for the fund-use irregularities to be probed, flatly said they were not going to stop funding Khurshids’ NGO.

The accepted practice is commission or ‘cut’. Depending on the negotiation and the scale of the project, it may range from 15 to 40 per cent the commission agents who hop the sanctioning authorities say. I don’t know how much of it is true but the suspicion in such cases is never unfounded. They go even to the extent saying almost every project that is routed through NGOs/VOs is sold.

What has Khurshids’ prestigious NGO done is just the tip of the iceberg. But with all going and expected to go hand-in-glove, the ice may not melt in the near future.

Reports say as high as 98 per cent of NGOs/VOs in India are nothing but money churning machines and it does compare well with the public perception that barring few (like few honest NGOs and activists), almost of the politicians can be ‘classified’ as corrupt. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -