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”.