Friday, August 31, 2012

LIFESTYLES IN MODERN TIMES


Adultery,
there was a time
when people hated it
like human excreta
it has become a fashion
around the modern world.
Adulteration,
which poisoned many
and drove them to death once
has now
injected the humanity
with immunity.
Now we care not
what kind of food
one has served before us
as we are sure about
our power of immunity.
Adultery and Adulteration
have become the order of the day
we know this truth
without any awareness campaign.             

US ELECTIONS – ROMNEY AND RYAN SHED TEARS FOR AMERICANS


US Presidential Elections are round the corner. This time the contest is between Republican Candidate Mitt Romney and incumbent President Barack Obama. Obama is seeking a second term for the prestigious post and Mitt Romney of Republican party has entered the campaign arena for the first time. Barack Obama’s running mate is Joe Biden and Romney has chosen the former Wisconscin Governor, Paul Ryan as his running mate. Both are on whirlwind campaign tour across the States of America seeking the valuable votes of the electorate and a fierce contest is expected in November which is only two months away from now.
While incumbent President Barack Obama has adopted a middle-path, his rival Mitt Romney who incidentally is millionaire businessman has chosen the extreme right path. And in the race for occupying the Oval office Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan, a self-proclaimed pro-rich candidate whose role-model since a long time is the late philosopher- novelist Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand, the author of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘Fountainhead’ which were written for the growing intellectuals of America are based upon Laissez Faire Capitalism – the undiluted economic ‘Laisse-us-Noire, means ‘Leave us alone’ or ‘Hands Off’ - is the basic tenet of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. Based upon the aforementioned theme or motto Ayn Rand developed two novels – ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘Fountain Head’. Other than ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘Fountain Head’ she wrote a drama, ‘The Night of 16th January’, two or three books based upon her philosophy of Objectivity – she was an ardent follower of Greek philosopher Aristotle, it is worthwhile to recall here, ‘For the New Intellectual’ and ‘Capitalism – An Unknown Ideal’ and collection essays ‘Ayn Rand Letter’ all could create a great impact on American youth during her life time. Still even while disagreeing with her propounding of her philosophy of Objectivism and Laissez Faire Capitalism there are a number of readers across the world especially America.
While penning the two illustrious novels and other books, what was her ultimate aim was to propagate her philosophy through her novels and essays. For a serious reader especially an educated youth her novels and essays could create explosive impact but for one who reads her work with an independent outlook on life even while enjoying the works of this articulate lady simply cannot agree with her philosophy and outlook on life.
Even Rand admitted in one of her essays on Laissez Faire Capitalism such a system existed only in the second half of nineteenth century- America and that after a short span failed and after or before that the theory and scenario she envisaged and visualized neither existed nor is existing on the face of this earth which means even she nursed doubts about the longevity of her philosophy in the minds of even her generation or the gen-next. On leafing through her works I felt it like she had created an Utopian world or in the words of nobel laureate Paul Krugman she created a world of fantasy.
In the history of mankind, I mean the future, her philosophy is unlikely to bloom since what all she envisaged will not be able to get implemented. To understand this truth what one needs is only common-sense. In a world consisting of diverse types of people her philosophy is impossible to exist when it comes to reality. But in a fiction a writer can very well create such a world.
Paul Krugman could ably deconstruct Paul Ryan’s ‘Randism’ through his column in ‘NewYork Times’ which was reproduced in ‘The Hindu’ a national daily of repute in India.
Even while Alan Greenspan served as Chairman, Federal Reserve for 18 successive years, please note, he was for a long time a part of Ayn Rand’s think-tank could not bring about a Laissez Faire system in its true form in the US economy. It is true that Greenspan was excluded from her forum but for minor differences of opinion their thoughts are more or less on the same lines. Even Ayn Rand during her life time opined that what actually existed and (still existing) was only Mixed Economy which she detested due to the unbridled control exerted by the government. Therefore she shouted ‘Hands Off’ against the govt on behalf of the so-called rich who according to her are the producers. Paul Ryan has mistaken the world of fiction for real world.
Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan aim at the prosperity, yes, further prosperity of American Rich by reducing taxes imposed on them by Barack Obama who nurtures more or less a clear idea of the situation prevailing in USA. Both Republicans aim at reducing the taxes imposed on the rich community especially the business tycoons and industrial barons and along with that increasing the taxes of the middle-class as also restricting the Medicare facility which Barack Obama brought on a wider plane so as to benefit a huge chunk of American population resisting the ‘obstructionist’ tactics of the Republicans in the Congress where the latter constitute the majority and I wonder in case the Republicans are elected as President and Vice President respectively, ultimately who would suffer most? No doubt the middle-class and those at the lower strata of the society – they are the neglected sector in each country, even India is not an exception – since Indian rulers are happy to hold onto the coat-tails of US leaders.
Barack Obama took charge as President of America in 2008 and upon taking charge what he had inherited was a devastated economy, the legacy left behind by his predecessor George W Bush, a stubborn and hawkish Republican. And from the very beginning, Obama as promised during his whirlwind election tours wanted to ‘lift the economy which was pushed into a ditch’ by the previous regime, the Republicans were bent upon employing all kinds of obstructionist tactics in Obama’s way and  forced him to reach a compromise - by which he was compelled to dilute his intended reforms – by holding talks with the Republicans. If the Republicans had co-operated with him in implementing reforms that Obama wanted to implement in its true spirit the picture would have been entirely different. But they did the just opposite to suffocate the Democratic party leader at every juncture.
Now that Mitt Romney sheds tears on behalf of US citizens that Obama has disappointed them deeply and here he is to atone for Obama’s ‘sins’ or ‘lapses’.
Only when a time arises when the US political parties do away with the policy of neo-liberalism which always caters to the needs and aspirations of US rich, it could come out of the abyss that to which the country has been pushed into.
Giving the reins to the Republicans is tantamount to devastating the achievements so far Obama govt could do for the US citizens.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

TRAIN OF THOUGHTS


Thoughts never stand in queues,
they are impatient to stand in queues.
In this fast-paced world
all are in a hurry
and each one tries to rush past
the other
to storm into the safety
of the compartment of the train called mind
to have a safe seat
or at least a chance to stand
among the thick, pulling
and pushing crowd
holding tightly on to the hoods
hanging from ceiling.
In the process
some might fall down
some with frustration and impatience
wait for the approach of
next train of thoughts – the mind.
In this fast moving world
life too moves on
with maximum pace
survival of the fittest
is the motto
hence the thoughts
like the commuters
waiting for the approach
of the local train
which comes to
an abrupt halt
and abrupt start
the commuters storm
into each compartment
with the weak ones
fail in their attempts,
some who stand on
the foot board precariously with much
strain and difficulty
fall down and get
trapped between the
iron wheel and the rail
and meet with fatal ends.
Like wise
our thoughts too
without standing in queues
storm into the compartments
of the train of thoughts – the mind
each tries to rush past the other
to have a safer seat inside
or at least to stand in
the thick crowd holding onto
the hoods hanging from the ceiling.
         

CHILD LABOUR ACT – SUPERFICIAL REFORMS WON’T DO


On going through a news report related to bringing in a legislation amending Prohibition of Child Labour and Regulation Act 1986 in Tuesday’s ‘THE HINDU’, the govt’s reported decision to ban the children aged below 14 years old from engaging in child labour in India, especially in any form of industry, I was astounded by certain questions about which I shall dwell upon later.
As per the terms of the Act ‘it will be an offence to employ children from working not only in industries and factories but also in farms and homes if their labour is meant to serve any commercial interest’ (THE HINDU dated 29/08/2012).
Provide free and compulsory education to children below 14 is the ultimate goal of the proposed amendment to the Act.
The Bill according to Sample Survey Organisation’s report would benefit 46 lakhs children across India and which would enable them to join educational institutions. Good.
As per the to be amended Act children aged between 14-18 are categorized as ‘adolescents’ and they are banned from working in industries like explosives, mines, paint companies and all kinds of factories.
Providing favourable circumstances to children join educational institutions is a step in the right direction. Agree.
On thinking about the National Sample Survey’s report of 46 lakh children who would benefit by the amended Act certain questions naturally arose in my mind.
It is estimated that there are 78 million people across India who are without roofs over their heads. How is it possible for the parents to send their children to schools though the govt have blessed them with free and compulsory education. What is actually meant by free education? Whether they are exempted from paying fees only as per the decision of the govt of the day? Or the will the govt of the day bear expenses to cater to their minimum needs such as making provisions for nutritious food, school uniform expenses, the expenses for purchasing text books and note books etc. No idea. Besides, the homeless poor numbering about 78 million in India are mainly living along street sides or in slums even while boasting about the increasing GDP by the govt. It is the govt’s first and foremost duty to earmark necessary funds for building homes for them. Even now the govt have not given serious thoughts to this perennial problem even after more than 65 years of Independence. A long chain of govts ruled India and all entered the corridors of power by canvassing votes, promising false assurances to millions of poor people across India. With the power of their votes they got elected and got the mandate to rule the country. They promised the poor voters that they would alleviate the long-standing sufferings and hardships of the hapless, helpless ones within a stipulated period that could range from 100 days to one or two years. And after they get elected to the prestigious positions with the valuable votes of the millions of poor, no government worth its name, except doling out peanuts, did nothing worthwhile, for example, building roofs for the roofless, providing jobs for the unemployed, enabling each family to have a square meal at least once or twice a day thus helping them to remain free from hunger and poverty, food security to all, women empowerment, nutritious food for starving children – nothing of that sort is given proper and timely attention.
Contrary to the promises and assurance given in plenty to woo the poor, the politicians on getting elected to power, those who live on the street sides by pitching tents with tin sheets and old clothes who pull on each day in their slums are frequently forced to run away from their temporary habitats in the name of cleansing and beautifying the city by the authorities, how is it possible for these poor to send their children to school, be it free and compulsory education. While making amendments to the Prohibition of Child Labour and Regulation Act 1986, those who were behind preparing the amendment might not have given thoughts to the root causes plaguing the country even in the first half of 21st century.
It is further estimated that over 11 million street children are pulling on in our country. Among them about 90% know not the whereabouts of their parents even. During day time they wander through the city like free birds, do any kind of menial jobs like washing plates in hotels and flats or by sweeping floors, do the most heinous jobs like manual scavenging, pick-pocketing the commuters of local trains. And these children are addicted to cheap narcotics, even sucking varnish to get kicks, subjecting themselves to sexual abuses by paedophiles and get satisfied with even a penny or two thrown to them after temporary gratification by these perverted people, I am at a loss to know how these children are brought into the mainstream and impart them free and compulsory education. Those who visit any of the cosmopolitan cities and camp there for at least a week and making a merry go round can very well witness such children wandering through the streets wearing ragged, muddy and torn trousers with full of dirt on their bodies and I am sure such sights will force you to close your eyes in sorrow, agony and shame. What is the future of these children? With nobody willing to take care of them they grow under miserable circumstances and a few among them contract fatal diseases like TB, diarrhea, cholera, fever and succumb to these diseases. Those who survive the vicissitudes of life in the early stages of youth evolve into pucca criminals, pimps, dadas, seasoned pickpockets, even become part and parcel of the underworld and get killed sometimes by the underworld dons. During Independence day eve, Republic day eve or any such events of national importance we can very well hear the rulers proclaiming standing on huge podiums, ‘cheerful and shameless’ stories of our country’s enormous growth in the comity of nations and also can hear the oft-repeated motto – ‘today’s children are tomorrow’s rulers of our country’ or such hollow speeches from the mouths of these ‘esteemed’ rulers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

RACE FOR RECOGNITION


These are changing times
Recognition,  
positive and negative
neutralizes each other.
Recognition,
positive or negative
is a must.
In this heartless world
men/women are after
negative recognition.
With a purpose to
win positive recognition
I woke up early in the morning
finished my routine chores
and came out of my house.
I stepped onto the street
the large and dazzling silver coin
was making its appearance
in the Eastern horizon.
The sun was warm
and enjoying a light breeze
I walked down the street
which was almost empty.
I saw a youth
walking in my direction
and when he came near me
beamed a warm smile at me
though his face was unfamiliar to me.
When he came near me
I too beamed a wide smile at him.
Soon after that
I walked and turned back
all of a sudden
and took out my pistol
and sprayed bullets aiming his head.
He fell down
but his smile had not faded away
and with a smile to myself
I walked away non-chalantly.
He must have been a terrorist.
Who knows?
These are changing times.

            

16TH NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT SUMMIT AT TEHRAN


More than 120 leaders of various countries have congregated in Iran’s capital Tehran on 26 August to take part in the 16th Non-Aligned Movement Summit to discuss, debate and deliberate upon the problems faced by various nations across the World in which Prime Minister of India, Dr.ManMohan Singh is also a participant. Iran which holds chair for three consecutive years is in an upbeat mood as the Non-Aligned Nations meet in that country is likely to serve as a platform to present its grievances and if possible arrive at a unanimous decision in that country’s favour.
Iran is at present weathering a storm in the form of tough sanctions which would, to a certain extent badly affect its economy imposed by US and European nations with its categorical rejection of the direction of developed countries like US, France, Britain et al to curtail its Uranium Enrichment Programme as the latter apprehend the manufacturing of nuclear weapons could ultimately prove to be a threat to the developed countries and also West Asia as a whole, especially its bĂȘte noire Israel. With the imposition of sanctions coming into force US and many European countries as well as nations allied with them have reportedly stopped the import of crude oil which serves as the most important source of Iran’s foreign exchange reserves. Even India which is in good terms with US as per the instructions of the latter has been compelled to reduce the quantity of crude oil supplies from Iran.
Imposing sanctions on any country is to squeeze and force it to submit to the demands of the countries which dwell upon the country to put an end to a policy adopted by that nation which turns out to be the victim. In the case of Iran, the developed countries aim at compelling Iran to stop the Uranium Enrichment Programme once and for all. Iran, in spite of the sanctions imposed the developed countries remains unshaken and defiantly proceed along the path charted by it. Since that country’s export of crude oil supplies to the ‘enemy countries’ is somewhat negligible, the sanctions are bound to affect it adversely only to a lesser extent. Iran’s animosity towards US and its prodigy Israel is well-known the world over. Since 1979, as it was in that year the Islamic revolution broke out against the then pro-US regime of Shah Reza Pehlavi who was virtually a puppet of US. As an aftermath of the revolution Shah was ousted from power and an Islamic government took over the reins of governance under its Supreme spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeni. The Islamic govt, from the very outset of its reign took an anti-US policy, consequently Iran became a thorn in the flesh of US. Though many govts came and went the anti-American attitude still remains as such. Now that Ayatollah Ali Khameini is the religious Supremo and Mehmood Ahmedi Nejad, the President, the decades old enmity has culminated into a stage of no-return with the incumbent government of Iran engaging in the Nuclear Enrichment Programme. As far as US and Israel are concerned Iran making a nuclear weapon is detrimental to the existence of Israel. The reported accidental deaths of about 5 nuclear scientists are alleged to be the handiworks of Israel’s secret agency Mossad which allegation Israel has neither denied nor owned up the responsibility. Israel is determined to obstruct Iran from making a nuclear bomb at any cost as that country apprehends a nuclear attack by Iran whenever the latter succeeds in manufacturing the nuclear weapons.
In the meantime a report to the effect that Israel is preparing to strike at the communication and electricity facilities of Iran thus breaking all communication facilities there and also drown Iran in the darkness before demolishing its nuclear sites as also the camps of the atomic scientists who are staying in its vicinity.
The Non-Aligned Summit in Tehran is therefore at a critical juncture and Iran is poised to draw the attention of the threat it faces from Israel, US and other European countries. It is supposed to touch upon the unilateral sanctions slapped on it by US and its allies and will certainly seek the support of the Non-Aligned heads of State gathered there to adopt a resolution unanimously condemning the arm-twisting tactics of US and its allies.
Similarly the developments in West Asia especially the Syrian imbroglio will come up for detailed discussion among the heads of nations assembled at Tehran. It is to be noted that Iran is a close ally of Syria, hence there is nothing wrong to arrive at a surmise that Iran is likely to play a mediator role to avoid the blood-shed in Syria.
It is imperative that to avoid a genocide in Syria, actually what is going on there is genocide itself, with Syrian Army under the leadership of its President Bashar-Al-Assad and Free Syrian Army led by rival leaders are engaged in a no-holds barred battle and as a result most victims who fall to the bullets are the innocent civilians. Countless numbers of civilians are fleeing the country fearing for their life and countless numbers are displaced.
A solution to the ongoing crisis in Syria is a must and the Non Aligned nations are expected to play a positive role. A resolution to that effect is likely to come up during the meeting.
Another prominent issue threatening almost all participant countries is the menace of terrorism which needs to be wiped out from the face of the earth by the collective efforts of all countries across the world. The Non-Aligned meeting could play a cardinal role in tackling this global menace along with other nations which are also prone to terror attacks anytime.
The Palestinian issue is also certain to come up for hot discussions during the Summit. Palestine Authority President Mehmood Abbas is participating in the deliberations and it is expected that the need for a free Palestine State composed of territories of 1967 level might be a hot topic. Ismail Haniyah, Prime Minister of Gaza and Hamas leader has backtracked from attending the Summit.
A clear picture is likely to emerge within one or two days, then only we would come to know how far the Summit has proceeded.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

OBEDIENT LAMBS


We are lambs walking and
grazing in droves
guided by a shepherd
who is following us
and guides us
in proper directions.
He is our leader
and his leadership
gives us a sense of
security, satisfaction
and happiness.
We are lambs
always in the forefront
who are marching in unison
at the instance of our leader
to take on
the establishment
which exploits us since
centuries
we are led by our leader
from behind.
With courage and conviction
with the proud thought of
a fearless leader
who is guiding us from
behind
and because of his
able guidance and support
we march forward
confidently, take on
the khaki clad men
who are entrusted with
maintaining the law and order situation
we jump over the barricades
raise slogans demanding
an end to the centuries old exploitation
by the powerful establishment
in the process
we are lathi-charged
tear-gassed and even
fired upon
resulting in our comrades
falling dead and getting injured
but our courage and
conviction do not ebb
as we are being
instigated by our
able leader
who instill in us
the energy, courage and determination
who guides us from behind.
Our leader
comes to the front
and we walk in droves
behind him.
Our leader
in remembrance
of our martyrs who fell to
the bullets
in order to build a memorial for
our martyrs
he pleads for donations from 
those who are sympathetic
towards our cause
collects the donations
and with the lumpsum
amount
disappears from
our vicinity
leaving us somewhere.        

PROHIBITION OF MANUAL SCAVENGING AND REHABILITATION ACT IN INDIA


After repeatedly taking to task by the highest court of the land - Supreme Court, Central govt has been forced to succumb to the orders of the Supreme Court to bring in a bill before Parliament prohibiting manual scavenging across India with immediate effect. Prohibition of Manual Scavenging and Rehabilitation Act 2012 Bill is scheduled to be introduced in the ongoing session of Parliament, the Assistant Solicitor General Harish Raval informed the court yesterday. It is however doubtful whether the govt will be able to present the bill in Parliament in this session which is scheduled to end on September 7, due to the Opposition being bent upon demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Dr. ManMohan Singh over the alleged arbitrary decision of  allocating 57 coal blocks to the Corporates without the mandatory competitive bidding process by none other than the Prime Minister himself who was holding the charge of Coal Ministry during the disputed period ie. 2006-2009. With the tabling of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s audit report on the said allocation without competitive bidding which has drained the exchequer to the tune of a mammoth Rs. 1.86 lakh crores, the Parliament proceedings have been brought to a halt by the Opposition NDA headed by Bharathiya Janata Party. The stalemate still continues. In spite of repeated appeals by the Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari the unrelenting Opposition has brought the two houses into a standstill for the sixth consecutive day today. If a solution is not reached at the earliest, it is doubtful whether the possibility of tabling the Prohibition of Manual Scavenging and Rehabilitation Bill 2012 will materialize. Anyhow it will be a welcome relief to the poor manual scavengers whenever the Bill is passed in Parliament. With the passage of the Bill after 65 years of Independence this deplorable and dirty practice of manual scavenging will be coming to an end once and for all. The court was being taken for a ride since years by the govt which submitted umpteen assurances before the esteemed court that a Bill related to manual scavenging will be tabled before Parliament and will get it enacted. This time an angry Supreme Court drew the attention of government, to the earliest assurances submitted before the Honourable Court to the effect that the govt would take necessary action but it backtracked from its assurances of enacting a law to put an end to the decades old ugly practice of manual scavenging. The court took the opportunity to reprimand the govt over the time delaying tactics adopted by the latter. Immediately after the Bill is enacted in Parliament the implementation of the law should have to be completed within 9 months. Upon the implementation of the bill all the insanitary toilets or latrines must be demolished and sanitary latrines should be constructed in its places. The ugly practice of appointing or hiring the manual scavengers to clean the septic tanks and sewerages will be coming to a halt for good. In addition to it the govt should extend financial assistance to the poor scavengers to build homes and also directed the govt to meet the educational expenses of the children of the scavengers.
In the case of violation of the law the govt should bring the matter before court and 2 years imprisonment and Rs. 50,000/- fine will be slapped on the violator whoever he is.
It is quite incomprehensible and incredible that a nation which boasts frequently about the high growth trajectory and prosperity has not been able to abolish this outdated practice of manual scavenging prevailing across the country since decades. It is highly regrettable that a nation which gave birth to the greatest man of all times to come, Mahatma Gandhi, still continuing the mind-blowing practice of manual scavenging.
While always claiming to be a pro-poor govt and practicing the just opposite policy of wagging the tail before the powerful Corporates, put it mildly is an exercise in hypocrisy.



Monday, August 27, 2012

FEAR OF LOVE


Please don’t throw
your glances at me 
your eyes are piercing  
I feel like being disrobed
by you
I feel naked before you.
Please don’t smile at me
like that
your smile is magnetic
a fatal attraction, I feel
on watching you smile.
Your smile reminds me
of a smiling assassin.
Please don’t come near me
you are a burning sun
your proximity might burn
me out, I fear.
Don’t go away from my sight for good
your absence will frighten me
and your face will continue
to haunt me.
Please..please don’t go away…