Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Our Rashtrapati (President) Ms. Prathibha Patil is of my mother’s age. Hence I have a special regard for her. While my mother remains the titular head of my tharavadu (ancestral home), Ms. Patil is the titular head of a more bigger tharavadu, India ie. Bharat. While my mother’s name is confined to a few areas of my native village Ms. Prathibha Patil’s name crosses boundaries and is known and respected the world over. Not much difference.
My mother is an old seventh standard who is anyhow well-versed in our mother tongue, dropped out of the school though she was studious and the beloved daughter of a primary school headmaster, as was the custom prevailing in the patriarchal system in the community setup of that period she was married off to a young man of the same community. An excellent god-fearing housewife, respectful, loyal and devoted to her husband throughout her life and now remains a loving, caring mother to her four children and grandchildren.
Ms. Patil hailing from a still undeveloped poverty-stricken district named Amaravati of Maharashtra was fortunate enough to go up the ladder through vigorous pursuit of education - she might have had the wherewithal, opportunities and luck - to grow up in a congenial atmosphere, first enrolled as a lawyer and while continuing in that profession plunged into political arena, proved her mettle there also later became the titular head of Rajasthan, one of the Northern States of India the designation being the gubernatorial post. Luck followed her throughout and like any other woman of India got married to Mr.D.S.Shekhavat, became a loving and caring mother to her children.
Luck always came to her unexpectedly like a boon from heaven as a pleasant surprise in the form of an invitation to occupy the highest post of the nation, Rashtrapati (President) of the largest democracy of the world ie. India. With all the support, blessings and prayers of a majority of Indians, on an auspicious day she got enthroned as the President of the sprawling Rashtrapati Bhavan with a number of subordinates and a wide security cover began to lead a royal life of sorts, occasionally visiting foreign nations meeting foreign dignitaries, photo-op with them, monuments and places of historical importance, signing bilateral treaties, even had the rare privilege of staying with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, the only Indian President blessed with the rare opportunity. Moreover twice in a year, ie. Independence Day eve and Republic Day eve addressing the nation messages flash through visual and print media, almost hour long address stressing the progress achieved by the nation so far and also need for achieving more like reduction of poverty, women empowerment, tackling the menace of terrorism, the list abound and winding up the speech with Independence day wishes or Republic day wishes to the people and an inspiring Jai Hind to the top of her voice as is common to all Presidents who occupy the august office from time to time.
So far so good: Remarkable.
Our President reached our State of Kerala, a State still blessed with natural beauty, lush green landscape, splashing backwaters with tourists from abroad and other States riding houseboats, enjoying the beautiful surroundings, lines of coconut trees leaning towards the rivers and backwaters, attractive spacious and comfortable tourist resorts, verdant hills with thick greenery covering the valleys like green carpets, monuments and temples of historical importance. These are also one side of the coin.
The other side is absolutely, I say absolutely bleak with daily exposes of terrorists being nabbed the elements out to upset hitherto calm and serene ambience of a State, fake God-men and God-women out to cash in on the tender feelings of the poor and the middle-class, communalism spreading its ugly tentacles, ecological plunder with rivers gradually getting dried up at a moment nations across the Globe in the hot mad pursuit for the tackling of global warming, sky-high prices of essential commodities, black-marketeering and hoarding goons giving nightmares to the city-dwellers the rampant dowry system, and growing propensity of men both young and old towards alcohol and corruption ruling the roost.
President Pratibha Patil was visiting Kerala for the inauguration of two day long annual meeting of All India Women Lawyers Federation (AIWLF) at Le-Meridian Hotel, Cochin.
In her inaugural address she dwelt upon the 51% female population of Kerala, as also 88 percent literacy among women of the State. She was at a loss to find out even with all these plus points to our credit, why this State is tormented with the rising demands for dowry and dowry related torture and murders on that score. The rising curse of alcoholism among the youth of the State has also caught her attention and she is aghast on learning about these negative tendencies in our society. She called upon the women lawyers to get more pro-active for women empowerment and necessary legal remedies. The total overhauling of the legal system might have been in her mind and sought quick steps to provide immediate solutions confronting the women community and suggested various steps to reduce the backlog of cases pending for years in our courts forcing the litigants not to repose faith in the system which is a danger signal.
The day on-which Ms.Patil was stressing the importance of literacy and women empowerment I was aghast to go through a report from Amaravati district, her home district, by The Hindu correspondent of Mumbai Meena Menon about the rampant alcoholism, unemployment among the poor women, budding young children- male and female- who had to drop out of schools due to poverty and to go in search of menial jobs along with their mothers to earn something to satisfy their hunger. These children like any other children of our nation have colourful dreams, ambitions to go up the education ladder and secure respectful employment. Meena Menon had reported elaborately about them after interviewing them, heard their predicaments, hopelessness and helplessness. Even the photographs of these innocent distressed children speak eloquently about their pathetic situation. Leading a nomadic existence and migrating to faraway places leaving their homes, seeking jobs how is it possible for them to proceed with their studies fearing their inebriated fathers and with empty stomachs? On the other side, the industrialists with the connivance of the government are on a land-grabbing spree for building up Special Economic Zones (SEZs) thanks to the Neo-liberal economic policies claiming to be ‘irreversible’ initiated by Narasimha Rao and later his finance minister of the 1990s ManMohan Singh, who is the incumbentant Prime Minster of our nation. The cries of the poor ones do not reach the deaf ears of our ‘benevolent’ rulers.
I would like to know from Ms.Patil whether she is not aware of the goings on in her home district of Amaravati? I do not think I have taken too much freedom and as an Indian citizen I think I have the right to inquire about it. Perhaps while inaugurating the Women Lawyers Federation Meeting she might have had Amaravati also in her mind. I think so.
Incidentally, sorry if my memory is not correct the MLA of the Amaravati constituency is the son of our President and certainly he would be able to alleviate the sufferings of the downtrodden of Amaravati to the best of his ability. It is a pity that even after six decades of independence umpteen Amaravatis exist across our vast nation.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Are you as a world citizen, especially as an angry young Indian citizen appalled and enraged with the way our World moves on.
A save the earth campaign reaching nowhere, are you environmentalists the world over disillusioned and disappointed or nurturing an “eternally hopeful” attitude, if so very good and all best wishes. To hope for the best is human nature and without a spark of hope mankind is doomed, thus say the divine beings and those in the corridors of power. Because we consider them great we are tempted to deposit our trust in them. No trust-deficit. As long as they are enconsced in their musical chairs in the air-conditioned cabins we can move ahead with a relaxed mood -‘blessed lot’ they are and so each of us.
Are you angry young men shivering with rage while billionaires and millionaires among them are cold-blooded criminals with umpteen cases pending in courts occupying chairs in our Parliament and State assemblies preaching the need for a welfare state and to facilitate the forming of such a welfare state they appeal to us fools to strengthen their tainted hands from public platforms flanked by black-cats with full-throated sermons and we never forget to provide them whole-hearted support in ample measure. How many of us have cared to find out the way they lead their lives in pomp and pageantry? How many of us are aware of them spending millions to turn-court journalists - most unethical of media world both print and visual to enlighten us - flattery is the apt word- pages and visuals idolizing them while their bankrupt rival candidates finding it hard to keep pace with these billionaire candidates Have you heard about a new term fondly and simultaneously with sarcasm ‘package journalism’ on the rise in India especially during the election season? This lucrative dirty business has become a blot on the face of ethical journalism in the raging competition in the media world. A nasty exercise indeed. While not claiming to be a professional journalist- praise the Lord - as one who is a Post-Graduate Diploma holder in Journalism this sort of dirty ‘politricks’ were unheard of during those times. A much acclaimed journalist of that time Arun Shourie who brought out many a ‘Skeletons in the cupboard’ of corrupt politicians through investigative journalism is unfortunately in the political arena now. However he has kept his hands clean not allowing them to be dirtied and in the media world barring numerous pestering insects bent upon destroying a good harvest, a number of dedicated journalists like P.Sainath, Kuldeep Nayar, N.Ram, Nirupama Subramaniam, Vidya Subramaniam etc much to our relief. Politics need not be counted as the last resort of a scoundrel, as Samuel Johnson defined it, If he or she stands by integrity, dedication and devotion to his or her society as a whole. But how many of those category are left in the picture must become a subject of hot debate across the world. During the Iraq war while the forces of George Bush and Tony Blair and other such imperialist countries were pounding that country without break there were umpteen allegations of international journalists who nursed a grudge against Saddam Hussein, spreading disinformation information around the world through their biased reporting which was notoriously termed “Embedded Journalism”. The true picture emerged before the world much later which was sordid and blood-chilling. Crores of innocent civilians fell to the bullets, bombs and grenades of allied forces. The much cherished and well-known Mesopotamian culture along the banks of Euphrates-Tigris rivers was literally wiped out. It is absolutely shocking that Mr.George W Bush and Mr.Tony Blair have not an iota of remorse or repentance even after it was revealed before the world that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Really deserving candidates for Nobel prize for peace at least belatedly.
While writing about “Package Journalism”, incidentally I was compelled to pen a few lines about this still prevailing “embedded journalism” by the so called unbiased correspondents of worlds’ popular international media.
In our nation India, ie. Bharat the other day results of an election in the State of Jharkhand came out. To the chagrin of all parties including Indian National Congress (our Grand Old Party) and Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP) and regional entities it was a fractured verdict meaning no party can form a government of its own. Sorry, don’t term it ‘unfortunate’. Because hope has come to the rescue here also in the form horse-trading. Of course no dearth of money for this arrangement. Dearth of money becomes a nagging question tormenting our political leaders only when the demands of alleviation of poverty, malnutrition, habitats, sanitary facilities- they are innumerable- of the poor are persistent. What I am driving home is the stark truth that a government in Jharkhand is a near certainty depending upon ‘who comes first in the horse race’.
Do you feel ashamed of our politicians and bureaucrats or do you get angry when they boast about the surge in economic growth to 9% in the near future while teeming millions starve and perish under the searing Sun, unable to find a way out of this pathetic situation? While Manufacturing and Services sector register enormous growth, thus they boast at the top of their voice, they can very well reduce the volume when lamenting about only 0.09 percent growth in the agriculture sector which is the backbone of our nation. How nice. A ‘negative growth’ down 2.2% to 0.09%.
But we must keep our hope, always alive and kicking. Thus we are advised by the good Samaritans.
Certainly a very, very happy and prosperous ‘NewYear’ ahead as usual.
While Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. are shivering with cold outside the thick blanket of establishment only the thoughts of millions of suppressed lot are some sort of relief to them.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
UN Climate Summit commenced on Dec 7, 2009 attended by 192 nations across the world at Danish capital Copenhagen has drawn to a close today, the 19th December 2009. Months before the Summit was about to begin at Copenhagen, World leaders, environmental activists, scientists, media world, the common man all had started engaging in serious discussions- all expect a minority, I mean climate change skeptics - were awaiting with enthusiasm, optimism, hopes and expectations. Serious concerns were also lurking in their minds about a positive result no point in sweeping those concerns under the carpet on account of the overbearing demanding developed nations who should have shared the blame for a major portion of carbon emissions. More than thirty percent of green house emissions is by the so-called Super Power, ie. USA alone- demanding the reduction of greenhouse emissions by the developing nations like China, India and African nations which are far behind the developed nations in the matter of global warming.
Those who will have the last laugh are the climate change skeptics who always argued and fought for the vested interests of oil companies like Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP and fossil fuel companies who don’t have any concerns for the generation-next, who will be the worst sufferers in the event of rising global warming. As noted journalist George Monibot thundered against these skeptics- ‘You unwitting recruit of hugely powerful oil lobby’.
These skeptics among them are geologists, who in order to drive their points home put forth certain absurd arguments, that global warming was already there and man’s contributions are not much of any significances. (refer “The climate denial industry seeks to dupe the public. It’s working”- Guardian Newspapers, 2009) Genuine scientists and environmental activists have proved beyond any doubt the culpability of man in contributing to the aggravation of carbon emissions as days pass by.
Unexpected floods, drought, unpredictable climate, receding glaciers, rising sea-levels threatening some countries like Maldives with a near imminent submergence in the near future itself. The recent cabinet meeting held under the sea, under the leadership of its youthful President Muhammed Nasheed to highlight the concerns before the world community was watched by citizens the world over. Another country, Nepal also held a cabinet meeting at an altitude of 17200 feet, in the vicinity of Mt.Everest under Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal braving freezing cold under suffocating conditions to draw the attention of all nations preparing to assemble at Copenhagen meant to highlight the disastrous consequences due to the rapidly receding glaciers of world’s largest mountain, The Mt.Everest- all due to one reason- Global Warming.
At times flooding rivers crossing the danger marks due to unpredictable weather causing widespread damages to life, crops and property and at other times that also unexpected droughts with rivers getting dried up, thus destroying the harvests, cyclones, tsunamis, raging fires, pollution harming the rich bio-diversity- flora and fauna, poverty, starvation, unemployment, deforestation by unscrupulous elements, extinct species due to their inability to cope up with the upset climate cycle- all staring in our faces with beastly eyes frightening us but nowhere to hide or take refuge.
Well-known journalist Jonathan Freedland wrote the other day about the dilemmas Barack Obama faces on the matter of doing something positive to save the Climate Summit at Copenhagen from facing a total collapse. Though said to be the most powerful President of a most developed nation he has to face adversities from the Republicans in the Senate and a few fence-sitting unreliable Democrats who are climate change skeptics. Hence a total commitment from him need not be expected. Neither China nor India, but the real obstacle is Capitol Hill according to Jonathan Freedland. Freedland reminds us Barack Obama is not a saviour of the world, he is only the President.
However to save the face, some sweet talks, sermons, promise for an anxious wait for a sixth round of negotiations in 2010 and last but not the least a political agreement to extend technological as well as financial assistance to developing countries might be expected.
Unlike our Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, we the common men are not that eternally hopeful. Experiences are our best teachers, Ms.Nirupama Rao.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Unfortunately they cannot be blamed for this lack of ability to laugh during these turbulent times. That must be the reason for even Aditya Sinha turn to serious writing occasionally. This is true of every human being in day to day life. A comedian in a film or drama or a clown in a circus all carry with them a bundle of woes over their shoulders even while evoking others, I mean the spectators, to laugh and enjoy to their hearts’ content through their actions, costumes, mannerisms, appearances and comments.
While writing about the simmering Afghanistan, USA’s role there, the Taliban-Al-Quaida nexus and Pakistan’s duplicity in its approach to USA, Afghanistan and India, it was no wonder Mr. Sinha sounded very serious without a trace of humour. The Afghan imbroglio has turned out to be a hot topic of discussion across the globe as it involves three important nations, all of them except Afghanistan, nuclear powers. As Chinmay R Garekhan pointed out, the issue of Afghnistan has even forced others at least for the time being ignore the more than six decades old Palestine-Israel dispute.
Barack Obama’s announcement before the world to make an exit from Afghanistan in 19 months’ time was heartily applauded by Pakistan, particularly ISI, Pakistan’s Iner Services Intelligence agency. Pakistan always hopes for the early exit of US and allied troops to achieve their ulterior motives about which all of us know.
On flipping through the pages of Afghan history we can very well find out that Afghanis never tolerated another country’s domination of them and they went to any great lengths to fight for the freedom of their country and fought till they achieved their goal.
Mr.Sinha rightly points out in his column the freedom loving nature of an average Afghan by mentioning the exit of Britain thrice, even the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1989 and now US and allied troops facing the heat. Other nations like Britain and Germany had already got tired of fighting the Taliban-Al-Quaida there on finding no positive results. Gordon Brown, British PM whose popularity rating is at its lowest ebb and his New Labour Party’s exit from power is a conclusion foretold in the fast approaching elections will be ready to save his position and his party by withdrawing troops at the earliest. Germany’s Angela Merkel during the eve of the previous election had already done it and managed to save her place the second time. And now Obama has also got tired.
But to save face- remember his and his predecessors vow to nab the Al-Quaida leader Osama Bin Laden dead or alive- for a last push 30000 more troops are to be flown to Afghanistan in order to wreack as much destruction as possible at the North West Frontier of Pakistan where the hard-core terrorists are embedded in their safe havens and then beat a retreat in 2011.
Mr.Sinha nurses no doubt, the US retreat will make Islamabad quite happy and Kabul will soon come under the rule of Pakistan. Their intention will be according to Mr.Sinha, installation of Mulla Omar at the helm, who is known for his Pro-Pakistani approach. Mr.Sinha is of the view that for the sake of Mulla Omar, ISI may even go to the extent of fishing out Osama Bin Laden and may hand over him to US.
If such things are to happen as predicted by Mr.Sinha, the worst sufferers will be approximately 3000 Indians who are involved in various developmental works in Afghanistan like building roads, schools, electric facilities and hospitals.
Mr.Sinha points out to pre-empt such an eventuality, ie. To keep Pakistan away from Kabul soon after the retreat of US troops India must take control of Kabul.
India is already bogged down with myriad problems internally as well as externally from terrorist hydrae to Maoist menace, communal venom and sons of the soil policy. A lot more. At a time like that, as an observer I do not think it feasible to intervene in the affairs of a neighbouring country, which is the virtual negation of our established foreign policy.
More over our jawans already burdened with saving our country from the traditional enemies, who brave inclement weather in the dangerous terrains 24X7 if deployed in a terrorist infested country where even the super power finds it difficult to contain these elements and seriously pondering over an exit route, it is really unimaginable the disastrous consequences our nation will have to pay for it. Our brave jawans are our invaluable treasure.
Monday, November 30, 2009
A dark day in the history of India. A blot on Indian democracy. The day on which lakhs of Karsevaks under the umbrella of various factions of Sangh Parivar of course exhorted by the latter thronged Ayodhya and turned the 16th century mosque Babri Masjid into rubble in the full glare of television channels across the nation. The Indian citizens held their breath, fearing and often wondering the consequences of such an infamous shocking thuggery of a group of venomous ‘snakes’- religious fanatics- who actually went out of their senses in the course of destruction of a historical and sacred monument.
Ruling mandarins of Indraprastha with the late Prime Minister P.V.Narasimha Rao at the helm as usual expressed shock for namesake condemned the wanton act and kept quiet. The erstwhile Chanakya of Indian politics was already alleged to have a soft corner towards Sangh Parivar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, must have been happy on being kept abreast of the dark developments across the nation.
The communal venom spread like wild-fire across India and the Hindu and religious fanatics inflamed by communal passions directed their anger, outburst, vandalism, destructive tendencies with murderous weapons in hands went on a killing spree.
The shocking attacks and murders enacted in Mumbai with both communities closing in menacingly against each other resulting in hundreds of deaths and about thousand maimed within no time soon after the 1992 demolition of Babri Masjid, ie; in 1993. Since then the cosmopolitan city couldn’t remain calmful, peaceful and tranquil with communal forces and terrorists ruling the roost. Occasionally, sorry, frequently is the ‘apt’ word, the terrorists who sneaked into the financial nerve-centre of our country struck at their will leaving the Mumbaites panicky with paranoid delusions haunting them.
Our leaders, both national and state level, often fly to Mumbai with tight security around them- precious lives certainly- whom we common citizens cannot afford to lose- and exhort the average Mumbaite not to lose calm, mental presence, tranquility and to remain resilient typical of a Mumbaite against any cruelties of wanton elements and with satisfaction our leaders fly back to the capital city of Delhi which has over the years turned into another hotbed of terrorist elements. They need not worry about the only ones who are forced to live in perpetual fear - common citizens of India either in Delhi, Mumbai or for that matter any other State in India.
The Babri Masjid episode is gradually fading into oblivion, the nightmares still dormant in our minds nevertheless, as new sordid developments like Godhra massacre in Gujarat under the behest of Narendra Modi, ironically he is safely enconsced in power to the horror of minority communities. The man is looking impatiently for a ‘historic day’ when he may or will be able to capture the throne in Indraprastha, the grim consequences of which we can very much imagine.
It is often said- time is the great healer- to certain extent true, otherwise for years since December 6, 1992, the secular minded people of our nation took care to commemorate that fateful day across India, pledging to uphold the sacred values like secular dramatic traditions in future for the welfare of our nation and youthful generation so as to keep them away from fissiparous tendencies and to guide them to lead a life of love and harmony irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
The preaching, pledge taking, passing resolutions to lead a life of amity, candle lighting across the nation all turned out to be mechanical, that also by a miniscule of the population at only a few places in India.
Nov 26, 2008
Another fateful day in the history of our nation especially our financial hub of Mumbai again bearing the brunt of terrorist menace. Ten LeT (Lashkar-e-Toiba) militants armed with sophisticated weapons to the shock of even our Security and Intelligence agencies, reached the shores of South Mumbai, in rubber dinghies and within no time entered the famous landmark of Taj Intercontinental, at GateWay of India, Oberoi Trident, Cama Hospital, Leopold Restaurant, Chaba house held the inmates hostages, gunned down them cold-bloodedly, many fell to the bullets and died on the spot, leaving many of them maimed for life including the security men and not satisfied with their thirst for blood, two of the assailants proceeded to CST (Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminus) wreaking havoc along the way and entered CST and went on with their gunning spree, massacring and maiming many innocents leaving a trail of blood.
More than sixty hours of hostage drama, cold-blooded killings, bitter fighting with the security men lasting for hours, nine of the militants succumbing to bullets, only one caught alive- none other than Ajmal Kasab who is still on trial. The faces of brave, resilient, do or die minded security men, Hemant Karkare, Sandeep Unnikrishnan and other heroes laid their lives for the security of their people are etched in our memory. The nation as a whole wept, the citizens across the world watched the blood-chilling happenings in Mumbai with shock and horror sitting in their drawing rooms’. The mind-numbing incidents must have left deep fears in their minds.
Nov 26, 2009
The first anniversary of 26/11 was commemorated across the nation in a solemn manner. To spread the message of unitedly fighting against this horrible threat our citizens converged at different locations of our nation, took pledge not to allow such menace recur again holding candle-lights paid tributes to those who laid down their lives- Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai ,New Delhi, and Thiruvananthapuram, to name a few.
This is the first commemoration of 26/11. More commemorations are to follow. Unlike Dec 6, 1992, let us hope and pray this noble and courageous service of our security men and their near and dear ones will be indelibly imprinted in our minds in the years to come. The several unsung ones who risked their lives to save other innocents like the employees of Cama hospital, Taj Intercontinental, Leopold Restaurant, Oberoi Trident, Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminus (CST) and Chaba house should not be forgotten at any cost. The reports coming to light about the non confirmation of many employees in their jobs who risked their lives to save the patients still remain unconfirmed. Similarly the kith and kin of several victims have yet to receive government assistance are shocking and painful to say the least. Our politicians are yet to learn their lessons to be humane. Will they? Or platitudes as usual which are always in abundance in their kitty? Further more providing more equipments to the security men won’t be sufficient and the government should take care to impart proper training, attractive salaries, employ young men, provide ample leisure time to these brave men.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
2) I am not a geologist and I don’t claim to be an intellectual. A common citizen of India and I know my limitations. From what I have heard, what I have read, what I have seen and what I have experienced and still experiencing in my daily life I have come to certain findings and as long as these findings are not contradicted by somebody, unfortunately your comments are not found to be satisfactory, I can very well stick to my findings.
3) As I have already pointed out I am not a geologist and don’t have a doctorate, you may take on well-known environmental activists like Nobel laureates Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Al-gore the former Vice-President of USA who is very much in USA and Lord Nicholas Stearns who has conducted a wider, intensive, in-depth study of the consequences of Global warming. ‘Yeah’, I do agree certain differences of opinion notwithstanding, you are also conscious of the harmful effects of Global warming.
Kamalesh Sharma, the Secretary General of Common Wealth in his article “Considerations before Common Wealth”, just days before a meeting of Common Wealth countries in Port-of-Spain- his words I quote: “ For some, our homes are under an existential threat: that of climate change. The most threatened are those who have done the least to bring us to this pass. Witness flooding in Maldives, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Bangladesh; encroaching desert in Namibia and Nigeria; thawing tundra in Canada; drought in Kenya and Australia; five times more hurricanes than usual in the Caribbean.”
4) Recently I came across an article in one of our national dailies about an widespread campaign by certain corporates by paying attractive incentives to their employees for writing blogs against environmentalists who fight for Global warming by spreading absurd, baseless and illogical lies against the “so-called Global warming”. These corporates will have certain vested interests to pocket dollars caring two hoots for the welfare of the future generation.
5) On my arguments against mega-hydro electric project along Narmada Sarovar citing the displacement of large number of Dalit farmers without providing them rehabilitation facilities, you talk eloquently about the necessity of electric supply to the rural poor. Amusing really. Poor as well as well as rich are entitled to power. You remain silent about the displaced lakhs without being provided with a rehabilitation package. This is not the only case with Narmada Sarovar and the Dalit farmers. The Tehri Dam construction led to similar situation, there also displacement of lakhs to nowhere created uncontrollable refugee problems. The hapless ones with their belongings moved to urban areas across India, even to Delhi, our Capital. This is not my figment of imagination. The argument I am driving home is nothing but the need for basic sanitation facilities, pure drinking water, at least two square meals a day and power supply. But the first and foremost is a roof over the head.
6) I am not against any American. If such misunderstanding flashed through your mind in the course of reading, I feel sorry. And I didn’t boast about the so-called hard-working Indians. I mentioned the IT graduates who work hard day in and day out to earn their living. As you had pointed out, barring a minority of government servants (I am not perfect either) are lazy. It is for the ruling regime to blame to a large extent and the bitter experiences you had undergone during your higher studies, the inordinate delay in getting the sanctioned scholarship for not greasing the palms of the ‘babus’ in government offices, working without pay for months together are touching, to say the least. This is not one person’s problem, it was here and it is here, and only God knows when will such a curse going to be revoked.
Sorry I have deviated from the point.
7) Outsourcing of IT work in good measure to India by the business tycoons and amassing huge amounts with arrangements with the IT barons of India who also benefit a big chunk from them by paying a pittance to the IT graduates. The ‘unprecedented prosperity’ and the ugly secrets behind it were brushed under the carpet by the ruling mandarins of USA. But a few investment bankers and corporates were anticipating the impending bubble-burst and inspite of these anticipations paid their CEOs huge bonus packets. The earth-quaking consequences of the collapse of American economy due to the corporate greed due to Market-Economy advocacy of the then President George W Bush and Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan have come to the surface to the shock of all nations, developed and developing alike across the world.
8) I had already indicated that I am not against any American and the anger and outburst of President Barack Obama against the corporate CEOs for paying fat bonuses to themselves and the young employed youth playing truant by indulging in video games was very much in the news. At the time of his occupying White House, American economy was in a downward spiral and even the talk of protectionism came to the fore which if implemented would have affected India badly. Now the unemployment percentage has reached double-digit level and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman writes columns repeatedly asking for an additional stimulus package to keep the economy going smoothly. As you put it, a lady working in the ‘so-called capitalist nation has the right to talk frankly and with conviction is not abhorrent to the Indian psyche’. India’s educated, enlightened women are on the war-path for more rights and welfare of women - their demands are umpteen. Yeah, they are lagging behind USA in many aspects, it is due to the culpability of the successive governments that ruled our nation since 1947. It seems, though an Indian, particularly a Malayalee, in a remote corner of your mind, you have some kind of hatred towards this nation. Be that as it may.
9) While ending my previous e-mail, I had appreciated you for responding to my blog in a gentle manner. You took it for sarcasm. Never in my dreams did I think about passing sarcastic comments against you. Believe it or not, that is up to you. A healthy debate was very much in my mind. Not now anyhow. Nothing more, nothing less. Okay.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I am afraid I am living in strange times.
At a moment, the nations across the globe are getting panicky over Global warming due to several reasons like deforestation, rising carbon emissions alongside the fast pace of industrialization and the resultant depletion of Ozone layer leading to rising sea-level, river pollutions due to the effluents being pumped into by the chemical factories along the river banks leading to the destruction of rich heritage of river wealth like fish, mangroves and other such rich diversity of organisms, receding glaciers, a few intellectuals like you are taking up cudgels against the environmentalists.
Writers, especially poets are basically emotional and their emotionalisation of environment protection are quite natural.
Deforestation for the sake of construction of hydro-electric projects, urbanization and construction of tourist resorts will in the long run prove to be ecological disasters like global warming, climate fluctuations like droughts and floods, landslips and deaths ( please refer The Hindu editorial “Slip sliding away” dated November 14, 2009 on ecological disasters occurring at Nilgiri hills), submergence of major areas, sometimes even countries like Maldives endowed with a magnificent landscape. Muhammad Nasheed, the youthful ruler of that nation is running pillar to post to save his country from submergence under the sea, if the global warming is going to rise in an alarming level. Recent news reports about a cabinet meeting held under the sea under the leadership of Mr.Nasheed to highlight the significance of rescuing the nation from going under the sea must have been watched by many displayed in the electronic media including yourself.
Your anguish and frustration mainly directed against the environmentalists are due to their “failure” in suggesting alternatives for augmentation of power, the key to economic development. These allegations according to my knowledge are not correct. Please agree to disagree with your contention. While a hullabaloo was raging at the moment of signing of Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Deal, a few intellectuals (not everyone of them) like the eminent Jurist V.R.Krishna Iyer repeatedly appealed to Dr.ManMohan Singh, our PM not to venture into it citing the long term undesirable consequences. The nonagenarian Jurist suggested alternatives like solar energy, wind-power and other such harmless sources of energy like biogas on a large-scale across our nation.
With the Copanhagen Summit scheduled to be held on December 7 going to be attended by nations across the globe to find a way out of the global warming, the resulting in of climate changes causing droughts, floods and pollution due to carbon emissions because of the increasing dependence on fossil fuels – let us hope a positive solution could be expected by us. A cautious optimism is always good for us I think.
Construction of mega hydro-electric projects like Narmada Sarovar Dam amid widespread protests under the leadership of Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy and other such eminent persons reached nowhere resulting in the displacement of lakhs of Dalit farmers depriving them of their habitations. The vociferous demands for their rehabilitation fell on deaf ears. India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru once described our mega hydro-electric projects – “the temples of modern India”. In the course of time his epoch-making statement proved to be wrong and if he were with us today he would have withdrawn his statement after witnessing the tragic consequences. He would have been the first one to take the initiative to wipe out the tears of each farmer by making necessary arrangements to rehabilitate each of them. Our present day rulers, unfortunately have no such worries; Now it is learnt that mega hydro-electric projects are the most expensive. Even the other day I happened to read a book-review ( “Economics of Hydro power”) by noted economist Bharat Jhunjunwallah stating this truth. Purnima, you know he is a renowned economist unlike poet Sugatha Kumari whom you are accusing of emotionalizing the issue of environmental protection.
With regard to your view of capitalist countries, capitalism, as far as I know is based on self-interest. If they feel like throwing crumbs to the educated employed youth of nation, certainly they will have a motive behind their “generosity”.
While the Americans considered to be hailing from a most developed country spend their time playing video games and watching TVs our hardworking, enterprising, efficient youth work day in day out and earn money but a big chunk of the amount reach the “generous” capitalist countries while their youth remain idle (here I am particularly referring to bright IT graduates working at call centres in the IT cities of Bangalore, Cyberabad, Kerala, Noida – such other cities across India). This is not my view point, it was first noticed and alleged by their President Barack Obama himself.
Hence, your appreciation of the capitalist countries needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Sugatha Kumari is a poet, an avowed environmentalist, social activist, more than these, she is the hope and refuge of hundreds of hapless, homeless girls, women and orphans. I doubt, whether you are aware of her tireless efforts to mitigate the hardships of the aforementioned poor people.
Anyhow I am thankful to you for going through my blog and for responding to it in a gentle manner.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
George Walker Bush was safely entrenched in the saddle in USA. A hawk in the true sense of the term and his GOP (Grand Old Party)- the Republican Party fully committed to the free market economic policies. The avowed advocate of Laissez Faire Capitalism - Alan Greenspan was at the helm of Federal Reserve for a period of 18 years at a stretch. His economic policy was widely appreciated across USA except a minority from the Democratic Party of America, and economists like Nobel laureates Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, ardent advocates of a government regulated economy. They were eloquent in their opposition to the free-market economic policies followed by Mr.Bush and the then Federal Reserve Chairman- Alan Greenspan. Actually the Americans witnessed and gloated over the “economic prosperity” which later turned out to be a big bubble and bound to burst at any point of time. Those who amassed millions and billions especially the fat cats in the field of investment banking kept mum and Bush and his henchmen- adamant and arrogant which was a trait in their characters were not willing to listen to those who appealed for a reversal in the economic policies.
While USA was sitting at the top of the world, with the label of Super Power, unaware of the great economic disaster that was waiting in the wings, Bill Gates, World’s richest man paid a visit to India to explain the immense progress to the Indians. The NDTV programme was one such occasion.
I remember Mr. Narayana Murthy’s answer to one of the queries posed to him by a participant: ‘I am an unabashed admirer of America’ which must have pleased Microsoft baron Bill Gates the most.
Mr. Murthy who is a renowned, benevolent capitalist like his American friend Mr.Gates ( benevolent capitalism was actually coined by Mr.Gates) who also swears by benevolent capitalism- I respect the good deeds both of them extend to the down-trodden in the lowest strata of the society.
While stressing and lauding a globalized knowledge-driven society, I am afraid Mr.Murthy has seen only the tip-of-the iceberg. If an IT baron who is obsessed with the world of science and technology even though he is a man with a benevolent heart fails to see the large farming community- they are in a sense the backbone of the country being left in the lurch it is quite unfortunate. At least have a soft-corner in your heart, I know your limitations though.
George Bush gone, Alan Greenspan gone, Barack Obama in, Ben Bernanke in, economic recession slowly fading out for good- a spark of hope is visible in the horizon- anyhow your “unabashed admiration of USA” is difficult to wipe out, I know. Your article in the national daily The Hindu (“Securing India’s Science future”, dated November 13, 2009)) which I was fortunate to go through made me think aloud and the thoughts related to that article prompted me to pen this piece.
Kudos to you for that enlightening article and hope you would take into account my criticism in true spirit.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Recently three elections to three States were held in our country. Each of them crucial in its own way. Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh. The result of Arunachal was a foregone conclusion, even then that State being a bone of contention between India and China dating back to years is a cynosure of all eyes now. That is another matter.
In Maharashtra, though Congress-NCP alliance could muster a thin majority with the support of one or two independents for the third consecutive term, believe it or not, it took almost fifteen days to reach a somewhat amicable settlement between the two mainstream parties to reach a solution in the matter of allocation of key portfolios between them. NCP fought it out atlast and the former Sena man Chagan Bhujbhal was anointed the Deputy. Ashok Chavan was already confirmed as the CM. What for was the hullabaloo simply for the post of Deputy Chief Minister? Was it a show of arrogance, a shameless ugly challenge to the millions who in their earnest desire for a legitimate solid-rock government to be formed in an atmosphere of solidarity and peace queued up before the polling booths for hours to choose their leaders? Are these politicians not ashamed of themselves? How is it possible for them to present a good governance to the people at large? They can’t and they couldn’t either. But they can take the common man – Aam Admi- for granted, in future also. If an obliging media with a money package to the best bidder – a recent ugly trend in modern journalism – is offered by a candidate’s side (most of the contestants are millionaires and billionaires) who else is to be taken care of?
Now Haryana, another State where also money flowed like a river in spate. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the incumbent Chief Minister armed with complacency recommended dissolution of the Assembly before the elections were due a few months ahead of schedule. He was sitting pretty in the saddle with a comfortable majority and his on the spur of the moment decision proved (turned) a damp squib. After all the chips were down, to his and party’s shock, the result was a hung assembly seven short of majority. Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal alliance which was badly mauled in the previous election came almost neck to neck with Hooda’s party and it was everybody’s game then. Both plunged into the game of horse-trading and both staked claim to form the government. In the end, Chautala lost the race and Hooda being a more strong man presently with the support of a few independents and a part of Haryana Janhit Congress headed by Bhajan Lal, Hooda’s bete’ noire ( former AayaRam GayaRam ‘fame’) crossed over to Hooda’s camp and now he has managed to sit comfortably with a thin majority. Hooda happy, High Command happy, who else is unhappy? Except Chautala, BJP, Bhajan Lal, we the Indian electorate are all happy.
Money is power and it has proved its might again.
In the Indian political scene presently except the Leftists (aberrations of course have surfaced here and there, agree) those with capitalist bent of ideology are mostly concerned with money spinning business, their pro-poor Garibi Hatao slogans notwithstanding.
But it seems we are not going to learn from our lessons. Good.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
You must be knowing our National Television, Doordarshan, in the interest of public, advertises a number of programmes for promoting the mental and physical health of our citizens, especially the rural population. These ads teach the citizens and for bettering their awareness about the significance of family planning to remove the misconceptions relating to the latter.
For instance an advertisement is exclusively for teaching the larger public, men, women and students, (those at the various strata of the society) the need for promoting and removing misconceptions regarding breast-feeding. A vibrant, energetic smart child is shown playing with his friends. Two women watching him play with vigour and enthusiasm, one of them his mother is being enthusiastically and appreciatingly inquired by her friend who sits beside her: - Your kid is pucca smart and healthy. What do you give him to keep him fit and energetic throughout. I really appreciate you…
His mother replies: The credit goes to his father.
Then in the next scene, when his grandmother was about to feed the kid with a bottle of pasteurized milk fitted with a nipple, her son reminds his mother- the child’s grandmother- the need for breast-feeding the child by his mother at least for six months since his birth to keep him fit and healthy. The kid’s grandma is seen smiling with an approving glance at his son, simultaneously showing the mother breast-feeding the kid.
This message is very vital to citizens, rich, middle-class and poor, not only across
While this message goes straight into the conscience of a large number of mothers, unfortunately the message however loud and clear falls on the deaf ears of a number of self-conscious so-called “beauties” who nurture foolish notions in the most reproductive years of their life. We are going through the early period of 21st century. Also even after the quantum jump in the fields of Science and Technology- such as in the spheres of education, health and a wide range of fields, people keep along with them obsolete ideas and notions to the very end of their lives.
Yes, we value freedom of thought, expression, speech and numerous things, of course without affecting the freedom of others very much. The decision to marry or remain unmarried, the choice of a live-in-relationship without tying the nuptial knot (very much popular nowadays) the decision to conceive or not to conceive, decision to tie the nuptial knot and live together as man and wife, but to keep away from reproduction and simultaneously adopt a child or children- all are permissible in our society. In the midst of all these, some remain childless for no fault of theirs and living with the fond hope of bearing children as days pass by and a lot of others who with full happiness and satisfaction go on a “reproduction spree”- such persons are also seen in our society. The mothers relating to the latter category need abundant praises and deserve honours by the society as a whole.
With all respect to freedom of thought, choice and expression, I really take pity on some people who prefer to remain as “broiler chickens”, I mean those with re-productive capacity, but abstain from bearing at least a child fearing loss of “beauty”. The fears of ageing like hanging breasts, dark circles around eyes and wrinkle-ridden belly, all prevent this beauties from bearing children. While pondering over these so-called “beauties”, I feel like appreciating profusely the ilks of Angelina Jolie and Madonna.
Hell, with the “Broiler Chickens”.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
If the Communist movement stood united - however it didn’t happen - the splits caused massive erosion of its support base- in spite of these setbacks, if the so-called mainstream communist parties while keeping their ideological differences close to their chests, in the broader interests of those toiling masses at the grassroots level had co-operated with a common program in mind, the Maoist movement would not have spread to almost one-third of the country mostly tribal areas and they would not have become the biggest internal security to the country as our Prime Minister had pointed out weeks before.
Nowadays, I don’t hear anything against K.P.S Gill, who was reported to have dared to take up the challenge of containing the naxalite menace (Maoist). The Super Cop had successfully taken up the challenge to put down the Sikh rebellion for a separate State for Sikhs called Khalistan.
In the matter of containing the Maoist threat the Super Cop had discovered an agenda of pitting brothers against brothers- ‘Salwa Judum’ as it was fondly called - arming peace-loving brethren to fight against brothers-in-arms, well-entrenched in the interiors of the forest areas. Salwa Judum bit the dust within no time resulting in mayhem.
I don’t know why the Super Cop was not entrusted with handling the thorny issue.
Soon after taking over as Home Minister, P.Chidambaram was brimming with confidence in bringing back normalcy in the naxalite infested areas, Jammu&Kashmir and North-East areas. He was talking confidently and with full determination. He warned naxalites to lay down arms and surrender. Then there was no overtures like inviting them for talks across the table to bring peace to the nation. The might of weaponry and paramilitary forces weighed heavily in his mind. As is common to Maoists (their teachings have such enormous potential among the tribals) they grew more and more vindictive and went on a violent spree like blowing up of railway tracks, stations, mobile-towers, attacks on police stations, kidnapping of police-personnel and bank heists, and mind-boggling murders and wide-spread laying of mine-fields. The report of the beheading of a sub-inspector a week ago caused shudders among the citizens, reminding us of Talibanised Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the then Soviet Union.
These unending violence with a vengeance prompted Chidambaram to take an about turn and turning soft, declaring that unlike Jammu&Kashmir secessionists and North-East insurgents, Maoists are part and parcel of our nation and entreated them to enter the mainstream and sit across the table, sort out the issues in a cordial atmosphere. ManMohan Singh had already extended the olive branch to the Maoists.
Buddha must also have to adopt a soft line to his old comrades-in-arms, if he has to achieve durable peace in West Bengal.
With the passage of time with their patience running out day by day a generation of Maoists sans ideology with a looting mentality is a dangerous possibility. Hence it is high time the government took initiative in bringing the poor tribals into the national mainstream providing succour to them in the fields of food, health, education, employment, in short all the help they are in need of like any other citizen of India.
Monday, October 19, 2009
I am prompted to pen this piece as I happened to go through a letter appeared in a regional daily of national stature last week.
She laments: What has gone wrong with our State, Kerala? (Remember this is God’s own country).
She goes on: Everyone is sad and apprehensive. The situation is getting worser and worser day by day. Thefts, looting, robbery, attacks, murders, women trafficking, molestation and rape, the law and order machinery remaining helpless, while the anti-social elements go on the rampage, even daring to take on the law enforcers, ministers and even court orders to rein on the restive elements fall on deaf ears.
Sugatha Kumari, reminding me of a helpless and hapless mother witnessing her children going astray and fight among themselves shedding much blood continues unabated remain a mute witness with a turbulent sea in the inner recesses of her heart .
The long patient, polite queing up of the drunkards infront of government beverage shops saddens her. Almost all bar-attached five-star hotels lavishly illuminated with colourful bulbs through out the night ( at the same time the State electricity board complaining always about power shortage and frequent raising of tariffs putting much burden on the heads of average customers) and embellished with festoons and the large crowd rushing to occupy seats in the air-conditioned moonlit ambience with Pop music blaring out in the background compels the poet to reach a conclusion- Kerala has claimed the credit for the land of the greatest drunkards. Though with pangs in her heart she has already ‘crowned’ our land for winning this ‘coveted’ prize.
Her observation though with sorrow and frustration touches each and every aspect of our accursed society.
Communalism- both minority and majority- and related squabbles, clashes, attacks, blood-chilling murders, terrorism taking deep roots everywhere, even the recent incarnation of Dalit militancy and murders of innocent pedestrians by its followers have shaken the serene, peaceful foundations of our State – once acclaimed as a land peace, blessed with a natural landscape, rivers, verdant hills, lakes, streams, rivulets and near cent-percent literacy. Whether all these blessings will fade into oblivion in course of time with the greenery vanishing gradually due to ecological destruction, rivers getting polluted by effluents being pumped by chemical factories on the river-banks destroying in the process the rich diversity of fish and other habitat and the illegal sand-mining leading to rivers getting dried-up, poor infrastructure facilities like crater-filled roads, lack of drainage system, sanitation facilities, shortage of safe drinking water, poor transport facilities, sorry state of irrigation system and the toiling farmers remain a nightmare to the well-wishers across the State.
So what? Thanks to some national news channels, our state has come out on top on several positive factors in flying colours according to a survey conducted by them.
Now we can very well imagine the plight of other States of our “blessed nation” ie. India.
Cheer up our great poet.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Reeling under relentless terrorist attacks, racist violence and in India, the Naxalite menace. I won’t bracket the Naxalite threat with the terrorist threats. Because it has something to do with decades of exploitation of the tribals by vested interests under the respective regimes of India from time to time. When all hopes of a bright future are lost, when even the bottom-line of their patience ebbs away, out of sorrow, anger and frustration, the suppressed lot rise in revolt, take up arms and resort to armed rebellion. Yes, a destructive path they adopt with the indoctrination and injection of revolutionary ideas by the intelligentsia wherever possible in our country. Even our Prime Minister Dr.ManMohan Singh while terming the menace the greatest internal security the country faces at present, he is reluctant to equate the menace with terrorist hydra which has spread its tentacles across the nation. The reason behind his hesitation to equate naxalite menace with terrorist violence has its reasons. Naxalite menace is something to do with the aggravating socio-economic disparities prevailing in our country. Only when this anomaly is rectified naxalite threat is here to subside. Dr.Singh as is known to everyone is a well-known economist, hence his diagnosis of the root of the problem is acceptable to all. But before the situations evolves into such a worse path, his Government should have and could have taken various positive steps to alleviate the miseries of the starving millions, especially the tribals by corporate honchos. Paying lip-service alone won’t do. Adopting newer and ruthless methods of relentless suppression of the Maoists will certainly prove infructious. Because as they have nothing to lose, whatever they had already taken away leaving them penniless, even their dreams having shattered, pitting brother against brother (Salva-Judum) type sinister ploys will breed more violence and massacres. Positive steps in the right direction are the need of the hour, not vendetta. Otherwise more and more Kobal Ghandys and Chattradhar Mahatos will be forced to surface as their saviours.
Our close neighbouring country, Pakistan is also caught in a pathetic and piquant situation with the terrorist attacks by Tehreek-E-Taliban, a violent outfit under HakeeMullah, formerly led by another terrorist, Beitullah Mehsud, who was killed by a drone attack by the American forces at his haven at North-West frontier areas with Pakistan and the pro-Pak terrorist outfits like Lashkar-E-Taiba of the Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Al Saeed, Jaish-E-Muammed of Maulana Mazood Azhar and a number of terror groups under various names disturbing the peace and harmony among Pakistanis and Indians. These terrorists are well-equipped with lethal weapons, sharp-shooters, suicide-bombers ready to finish anyone, target any place, thus capable of wreaking maximum havoc with acute precision. All these outfits created, nurtured and given maximum logistical support by their own rulers to infiltrate across the border to bring about maximum destruction in Jammu&Kashmir and across India. This confession was made by none other than, the President Asif Ali Sardari at the venue of a meeting of retired civil servants of Pakistan about a year ago. Now the prodigies have turned Frankenstein Monsters forcing the creator on the run for cover. Daily, yes daily, suicide attacks occur wherever the plotters aim at killing innocent lives and destruction of properties. These are not the stories of today or tomorrow, but date back to several years. I am reminded of a novel of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “The General In His Labyrinth”.
Though USA has sanctioned $7.5 billion ($1.5 billion a year) as non-military assistance to Pakistan, there is no guarantee that its rulers will be spending the assistance for the intended purpose if our past experiences are any indications. Its army has already rejected the assistance as it is provided with strings attached. That nation has been already branded as the “epicentre of terrorism” by the international community. The fluid situation prevailing in that country more than ever before, is being watched by the world community with deep sorrow and worry as it is a dangerous nuclear weapon State.
The 9/11 attack on World Trade Centre and the subsequent deaths of about three thousand lives created shock and anger in USA, the super power which was brimming with confidence of peace unlike the other countries. George W Bush the then President of USA in a fit of rage and anger vowed to wipe off the last remnants of terrorism from the face of earth by bringing all the terrorists to justice. The very thought of a terrorist strike, that also on WTC, at the heart of USA, NewYork by the Al-Quaida elements was quite unimaginable to him and his fellow citizens. But he or for that matter all of his colleagues conveniently chose to forget a simple truth – the Emperor is naked. USA was the creator of Osama-Bin-Laden, his assist Ayman-Al-Zawahiri, their followers, and by providing immense logistical and financial support to them to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan with the connivance of Taliban. Soviets, the only other super power then and USA’s rival withdrew from the arena in due course and Taliban elements took over the regime and ruthlessly ruled the country and being hard-core conservative elements enacted Shariat laws and implemented outdated and lethal punishments like beheadings, stoning to death, hanging, point-blank shootings all blood-chilling, that also in public. Centuries old statue of Bahmian Buddha, a famous land mark of Afghanistan and also the pride of our world was ruthlessly demolished, all in the name of Islam.
George Bush, true to his vow unleashed a war on terror in Afghanistan and bombarded the safe-havens of Al-Quaida elements believed to have been hiding there- but –Bush is not in power now, after eight years of rule bowed out, but Bin-Laden, Ayman-Al-Zawahari and other Al-Quaida elements are still threatening the world with their Jihad against their enemy countries still conspiring to upset the fragile peace prevailing across the world.
Now it is the turn of Barack Obama a genuine peace-lover, but a fierce opponent of Al-Quaida elements, still continues his battle against them in Afghanistan, still on a hunt for Al-Quaida elements supposed to be embedded in their safe-havens bombarding the frontier areas with Pakistan with the help of NATO forces. In spite of all these Afghanistan is still simmering with suicide bombers on prowl. Literally a boiling cauldron. A suicide bomb attack on Indian Embassy Mission in Kabul occurred the other day, killing a few and wounding many. Obama with the might of Noble Peace crown 2009 on his head must be an embarrassed man now…
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Increasing mobility and migration are interdependent. No one is going to disagree with this truth. Immigration- its positive and negative aspects- has become a subject for study and research at the international level.
The other day there was a news item in ‘The Hindu’ by the noted journalist and correspondent Vidya Subramaniam on Human Development Reports (HDR) released simultaneously across the world by Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission: Montek Singh Ahluwalia and United Nations Co-ordinator Patrice Coeur Bizot : Overcoming Barriers: Human mobility and development and the salutary effects of migration between countries- from developing countries to developed countries, developing countries to other developing countries and migration within countries and the enormous potential, social, financial and cultural brought about by the latter. The report is based on statistics and on going through it a citizen has much to feel cheerful about it. The report also mentions about certain areas of a country which are left behind in the field of education resulting in the reluctance of the inhabitants of these areas to emigrate to other parts of the country or to other countries. A country like India, where lack of adequate education facilities even 62 years after Independence has a lot to be ashamed of.
While feeling happy and elated about the positive aspects migration brings about in the world, we feel equally sad on going through news reports emanating from different countries on a regular basis - the harassment, hardships and torture the immigrants suffer at the hands of the citizens of a particular country. The “Sons of the soil” policy and racist attacks escalate on a daily basis. Right below the news report on emigration, with a feeling of sadness I came across a news item on the racist attacks by Australians against the Indians who live and lead peaceful lives working as cabbies, bartendenders, such menial jobs and the students for the purpose of higher studies and dreaming of a bright future. These attacks on Indians even after government’s strong protests and despite Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s assurances to the Government of India on adopting a zero tolerance towards the attackers continue unabated. Recently Juliet Gillard, the Education Minister of Australia on her visit to India also gave an assurance on these lines. All in vain. Now it is learnt that the Indian immigrants having lost their patience have started to hit back in the same coin. As somebody put it, “A confident resistance will make a thug flee”.
Xenophobia has become a bane across world. More and more protectionist tendencies are the root causes. Even a few developed countries are prone to protectionist tendencies and intolerant towards the immigrants.
Nicholas Sarkozy, French President, was the Interior Minister under the regime of Jacques Chirac, before becoming President. Sarkozy was a pain in the neck of Chirac for his xenophobic policies. Jacques Chirac favoured Dominique De Villipine, the former Prime Minister according to the media reports to be his successor. Sarkozy could swing the mandate to his side, for he adopted a more protectionist policy and it had many takers then. The infamous racist attacks, the widely condemned electrocution of two African teenagers and his reported justification for the suppression of racist violence consequent upon it, his intolerance towards burqa-clad muslim women, even Sikhs sporting turbans following their religious beliefs during that period and even after that, was widely condemned. Anyhow the highest position of President later somewhat made him show more maturity and he even played the role of a master diplomat in arriving at an amicable solution to the war between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia, thus averting a catastrophe which would have reached an unimaginable dimension with USA intervening under the belligerent George Bush, the then President. Xenophobia still stares in the face of immigrants though. Economic recession across the world has a damaging contribution to this nagging problem.
Xenophobia and protectionist tendencies to a large extent are prevalent in various corners of the world. Not only between countries but even in a particular country itself.
Take for example our own “Incredible Nation”. The financial capital of India, “Mumbai” (sorry, not Bombay) is a glaring example of the “Sons of the soil”. The emigrants from the States of UttarPradesh, Bihar, Orissa always live in perpetual fear of the “policy holders”, the “Marathi mannoos”. About a year ago, the North Indian inhabitants were brutally attacked, robbed of their belongings, their properties destroyed and forced them to flee to their States. Some even succumbed to injuries on being badly mauled. Poor men, women and children leaving their beloveds in their respective native States catch trains and after three or four days of ardous train journeys reach the city not for leading a pompous life but for earning something to have atleast a square meal per day. They don’t stay in flats, bungalows or five-star hotels but in slums, chawls and railway platforms. Mumbai is nobody’s monopoly. It is a part of our nation and it should remain as such.
I do not know whether the HDR (Human Development Reports) took into account while preparing it with the deserving significance. Anyhow as long as immigration remains a smooth affair and mobility undisturbed, happy days are here to stay. Otherwise get doomed.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
The first one – let me name him Abhijit. Smart and handsome. Pleasant and serious. Studious and ambitious. Always pleasing but reticent. A book-worm, so beloved to the teachers and principal. Always came top in the class exams and won acclaim. Always thought about dreaming big, his imagination always took wings and soared great heights, his role-model being A.P.J.Abdul Kalam.
Such type of students always entertain thoughts about becoming civil servants, scientists, doctors, engineers, business executives or business tycoons, astronauts professors or IT professionals.
Being highly ambitious, hard-working and enterprising, always ready to struggle ahead against all odds, they reach their destination. Thus they attain a top of the world feeling and satisfaction. Being perfectionist they are always in pursuit of perfection. Always reminds me of a boy with a pleasing smile, trying to pick up volumes of hard-bound editions…a universal student.
Then comes the second man, may I name him Mathai, not that studious or hard-working, never entertaining intellectual pursuits like his classmate and unlike Abhijit, he always preferred to be an average student, not that much willing to spend long hours going through books, only dreamt about becoming a clerk, bus-conductor or driver or a mechanic like a fitter, welder, AC technician, an agriculturist or a small-scale entrepreneur and earn a modest living without disturbing anybody in the society. His great virtue being nursing no jealous or bitterness against his former classmate and not so intimate friend Abhijit. With a sense of humour sometimes I feel our society encompasses umpteen incarnations of Mathais.
In comes the third category and let me call him, Stalin, in a sense the most charismatic and aggressive, his adrenalin always keeps flowing. “Extroverts” in the psychological parlance, most of them in their school and college days always had a penchant for enacting chaotic scenes in University campuses (among them a few study well, strike well, research well and earn doctorates) and streets doing maximum damage to properties, both private and public, injuring as much pedestrians as possible, irrespective of caste, creed or religion- under the pretext of betterment of society. These dare-devils never care the security cordons, take on the policemen, face the grenades, tear-gas shells, police-batons and in extreme cases face even the bullets and derive ecstasy in becoming martyrs.
When the chips are down we the citizens witness the incredible sights of Stalin and his comrades reaching the higher echelons of power enjoy all the luxuries like security, travel across the State with heavy bandobust, inauguration of bridges, buildings and even the cultural activities accompanied by long hours of speeches.
In the meanwhile, incarnations of Abhijit with all servility work under the commands of their former classmates, the present-day rulers- and the incarnations of Mathai proceed along the dotted lines of daily-bread providers.
The Abhijits who get fed up with their life under the present rulers in the course of time either fly abroad and take up positions of excellence in the developed countries or join any multi-national firms who welcome them with attractive career prospects and comforts.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Those where the lighter and enjoyable moments of the city and still the enjoyable and attractive moments. Be that as it may.
But we must always have a close look at the other side of the coin. The other side never provides us joy, nothing to cheer about but always painful and gnawing even after passage of time. Vast oceans of slums, lack of proper habitat, sanitation, poor health, poverty, malnutrition, lack of education, skinny, emaciated children, men and women, beggars occupying spaces in the corners of railway platforms for the nights to pull on till early in the morning, then leaving for their daily routine of begging, scattering to the differing parts of the city- all heart-wrenching sights.
In spite of all these mind-boggling events, those were days when people lived either in their flats, chawls or slums in relative security. The industrial capital, the economic nerve-centre of India, was relatively calmful and serene, notwithstanding the underworld goons, their cold-blooded murders to settle scores at certain areas of the city, pimps canvassing customers for prostitutes, illicit distilling and occasional brawls and violence and even murders. Religious bigotry, terrorist attacks, serial bomb-blasts, ever prevalent fear- psychosis among people on the one hand, and business sharks on the other hand ruling the roost like their virtual monopolies.
Sometimes I wish, the ever vibrant journalist Behrahm Contractor, alias Busybee were alive today. The journalist known for his tongue in cheek expressions, who with his inherent sense of humour took every Mumbayite in his hand by becoming each one’s beloved through his column, “Round and About”. I first came to contact with his popular column in the late 1970’s in the “Evening News”, the evening edition of “Times of India”, he was the Bureau Chief of TOI then, and when he shifted to “Midday” and after “Midday” it was learnt he started his own “Afternoon Despatch Courier” :- “Whereever he wrote, readers also went after him”. While everyone is getting serious in this not so perfect world, a journalist with a sense of humour might be of great relief, atleast for a brief span.
The picture of Mumbai and my days in the city came to my mind the other day when I came to think about the approaching polls in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh. Though these three States are integral parts of India, to be honest and frank, Maharashtra gains upperhand in minds as it was part of my life for a few years. My close friends, male and female, relatives are scattered across Mumbai, who always beckon me with love and affection. Who is going to capture power in Maharashtra and the other two States, is a matter of great interest to me and being not an astrologer or a psephologist I always believe anything is possible in the world of politics. Money power, flowing currencies, nepotism and corruption, drought, poverty, farmers seeking solace in suicides, distress sales of cattles- notwithstanding, political commentators express deep interest in a land like India obsessed with political affairs. The man who advised the starving farmers of Maharashtra to practice “Art of Living” is being promoted as a cabinet Minister in Central government.
He had reported to have commented: “committing suicides is a penal offence. Even then our government didn’t take action against those farmers who took their lives. Had we ever reported to the media about their offences?” That’s that. Certainly a Wonder World this, after all.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
December becomes doubly sweet heralding the rise of a new dawn soon after the Christmas festivities – the birth of a Happy NewYear.
Soren Obeu Kierkegard, the father of Existentialist Philosophy – some prefer to call him a theologist since he put faith beyond reason. After going through the life of Kierkegard for a brief period during my academic years only on account of my interest in philosophy and with the passage of time my philosophical outlook on life shifted to another direction after going through Hegel ,Karl Marx, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Simon De Bouvier, Gabriel Marcel, Ayn Rand, I had lost interest in Kierkegard with the passage of time, though not forgotten him.
This time December has already come into prominence not because of Kierkegard, but because of his birth place, Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Kierkegard also gains prominence in another sense. The beginning of 19th century which brought about Industrial Revolution in the West and with the spread of Industrial Revolution, the resultant dehumanization – man going down to the level of a nut or bolt of an engine in a factory – a desperate Kierkegard’s contribution to the emancipation of Man from that level and again regaining his importance to a higher level- and the birth Existentialism are still to feel proud about by all of us. Perhaps, not perhaps, whether he won or lost in his mission the speed with which Industrial Revolution moved on towards the 20th century and now in the early period of 21st century our planet has reached the edge of an abyss due to pollution – carbon gas emissions, global warming with depleting ozone layer resulting in alarming increase of temperature, rising sea-levels threatening submergence of land, even countries like Maldives under threat of disappearing from the planet in the not too distant future (President of Maldives, Muhammad Nasheed has already expressed his apprehension), the melting glaciers threatening the existence of even sacred Himalayas, factories along the river banks without any moral prick and disregarding the disastrous consequences to the people particularly the future generation pumping effluents into the rivers and causing destruction to the aquatic wealth and respiratory and skin diseases to those who take bath in them – the developed and developing countries equally aware of the consequences and are panicky too – all consequences of their own ruthless exploitation of nature and the nature’s fury striking back after its prolonged patience reaching the bottom level.
As a prelude to the epoch-making Copenhagen Summit in December, more than hundred countries took part in UN General Assembly Summit on Climate Change in New York the other day and ventillated their fears and apprehensions, also thought aloud about the steps to be adopted to rescue the planet from total extinction and in the process rescuing the mankind as a whole. Means regaining the value of each one’s life on earth.
Heartening in a sense that each nation has come to grip with the situation and the significance of saving the planet by afforestation, nurturing and preserving the rich bio-diversity, depending more on solar and wind power, dependence on non-fossil fuels, generous financial assistance by developed countries to developing countries, conservation of energy upto the maximum level thereby extending a future of hope to all especially the coming generation.
It is a co-incidence that this nature-lovers’ summit is destined to be held at the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, the birth place of Soren Kierkegard who prayed and wrote for regaining the lost glory and dignity of man.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
JuD-LeT (Jamaat-Ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba) founder Hafeez-Al-Sayeed has been put under house arrest once again. The mastermind - evil genius is the apt word - behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack leading to the death of 166 innocent lives can lead a life of luxury and with the full security cover provided by the police apparently directed by the government of
Anticipating international pressure on the question of initiating stern action against Mumbai terror culprits and the criminal mind behind the gruesome massacre Hafeez-Al-Sayeed (he is a “philanthropist” too) Pakistani government decided to enact a drama by putting the criminal under house arrest and the fellow must have been intimated already by the rulers themselves. They are very adept masters at that. Our Home Minister P.Chidambaram is somewhat satisfied (though not fully) as he is almost certain that it is just an eye wash. Anyhow he can draw more satisfaction, if the Pakistani government takes positive measures to cross-examine Hafiz-Sayeed. As to the demand of proof from Indian government by Pakistani authorities, Chidambaram has retorted by pointing out that “the proof is in the Pakistani soil itself”. He was reportedly answering to the queries of media persons soon after flagging off Nizamuddin bound “Turonto Express” from Chennai yesterday. So far, so good!
Let’s move on to the reported Chinese incursions into
M.K.Bhadrakumar, the veteran and ebullient former foreign diplomat inspite of his obsession with looking through the prism of leftist ideology on matters of international importance holds the opinion similar to Swamy’s. While writing on certain matters relating to countries with leftist leanings, Bhadrakumar has a knack for hiding from certain inconvenient questions, so I feel (despite myself being a leftist).
Nowadays on a daily basis controversies relating to the 1998- Pokhran-2 thermo-nuclear explosions hog the lime-light. Nuclear scientists across the scientific spectrum have like two warring political groups of a party have got divided into two groups. Caught in between them is none other than our National Security Adviser, M.K.Narayanan. The can of worms was opened by former DRDO Scientist K.Santhanam and Ashok Parthasarathy, the then principal scientific adviser to the Prime Minister. It took eleven years for the controversy to reach the boiling point. Santhanam is reported to have told media persons yesterday that soon after the “reported” failure of the experiment he had prepared a 50 page letter to the authorities in which he had mentioned that if the experiment had be to be hailed as a success a 72 meter crater should have been formed at the site, instead no such crater was visible at the site. He had also demanded two more explosions needed to be conducted but ‘unfortunately’ it didn’t materialize as soon after the tests a unilateral moratorium was put in place. Regarding M.K.Narayanan’s assertion that the experiment was a great success and that he swore by it Santhanam is reported to have said to the media that Narayanan was not the National Security Adviser in 1998. Santhanam has demanded a commission to be formed to investigate and let it go deeper into it and file a confidential report to the concerned authorities.
Up till now we were waxing eloquent about the sad plight of fifty percent of our population suffering from malnourishment and now let us be more intellectual and discuss about more credible nuclear deterrent along with the problem of poverty and malnourishment.