Sunday, February 26, 2006
But India is not only the flashy cosmopolitan cities. Indians are not the only ones, who drive swanky cars, fly to exotic places to spend vacation or bring the crème-layer of America to celebrate wedding. The real India is where children die of malnutrition, children who work under punishing circumstances to feed their family.Under the very high rises, kids beg for a living. This is the India. The real India.
India’s rural face has always been neglected. The recent avian flu has unearthed a tip of an iceberg. The health workers who conducted a house-to-house test for avian flu found seriously mal-nourished children in this tribal area, Nawapur Maharashtra. Some of them were so weak that the doctor said they may live another year or so.
There were a lot of child deaths but the government machinery systematically covered it up. There was a gaping difference between the government’s statistics and independent studies. A detailed report is available Here.
Being un-educated and out of income the tribals are not able to look after their kids properly. And the corrupt officialdom is making things not easier.
Another instance of government’s total lack of concern is regarding the child labor. All these years there were numerous laws to prevent it, but nothing has been done to eradicate this malady from the society. In Mumbai alone, millions of kids work in Zari units, small hotels (prominently in hotels that run by Mangloreans) and construction sites. The age ranges from 5 to 14! They work as hard as any adult and get half the pay! I interviewed some of this hotel cleaners and thye said their parents forced them into this! When their friends and relatives go to schools and playgrounds, these unfortunate youngsters are working hard to support their family!
Action must be taken against those erring parents who underfed kids or sending them to work. If they can’t afford to feed their children, they don’t have a right to be the parent.
Law must be changed to include this provision to punish the parents. The future belongs to kids. Save them!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
But the sudden somersault by the LDF caught everyone off-guard. The denial of entry into the LDF for Democratic Indira Congress-Karunakaran (DICK).(a little thought here. Why did suffixed his party name with Karunakaran? Taking precaution for a future split and don’t want his son’s rivals taking away his name? Like he did with Indira’s Name.)
Kerala politics has always been a bi-polar affair. There was no place for a third front. So Mr. Muralidharan’s statement that they will contest all the seats by themselves doesn’t mean much.
Before they left Congress, Karunakaran and Murali succeeded in ousting the then CM Mr. Antony. The irony is that he is the vociferous supporter for taking back Karunakaran into the party. May be he doesn’t want Oommen Chandy returning to Cm’ship. Which is anyway a distant possibility given the states history. No ruling alliance made it consecutively.
Now DICK is stuck. They can’t go back to Congress which they left 6 months back, Left is not accepting them and BJP is not a force to reckon with in Kerala Politics. Where it leads? The only possibility is that of becoming a part in UDF without returning to congress. But there are many who believe UDF is better off without Karunakaran, who made life hell for Congress leaders not too long ago. They argue that it will be sending a wrong signal to aspirant rebels. If they managed to snub DICK in the forthcoming elections, that will be a strong warning to those who revolt against the party.
Now it’s all up to Ms. Sonia Gandhi who will decide the fate of DICK. How ironic considering what Murali & Karunakaran said about her while leaving the party. In the coming days, the fate of one of the wily old politician of Kerala will be decided by a lady whom he despise and whether it’s an end or a new beginning, non one is sure.
For Karunakaran & His son, it's a question of existence. a Question of to be or not to be.
We Indians are very unforgiving and less grateful when it comes to cricket. Past laurels are not an excuse to present failure. True. But did he really get a chance to prove that he is still worth a place in the team? In the recently concluded Pakistan tour, where he got only one test to bat, his performance was better than some of the stalwarts. So much for Chappell’s performance is the criteria. If you happen to read my earlier blog - A letter to Ganguly - you know how prophetic I was.
He has been humiliated as no other captain ever has. Once celebrated and elegant left bat, he has been selected to the team as an all-rounder. He has been left to prove himself in the Ranji Matches. He fell from the height of being the successful captain to an unwanted element. Every time the selectors sit, he has been made to wait painstaking before being told that he is not selected.
The diminutive More has made one thing absolutely clear. That there is no place for him in the scheme of things. As I said in my earlier post, Dada, it’s time. Why would you want to put yourself through such agony? You were known for your royal ways, the aggression and arrogance. Why bow your head now to these comedians, as one of our former cricketers called them, justifiably?
It’s almost sure that we have seen the last of Saurav. If he wants to turn the tables, he has to scores tons of runs in the domestic circuit, which is a rare possibility. There is a cartel working behind the scenes to make sure that he is never selected again. My plea to the self-important More and team is that, just give him one match by which he could go out gracefully. At least he deserve that much. At least.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The Luknow based Hindu Law board has offered this sun for the UP minister to kill Hussein. If someone else succeeds in killing him, he would get only 510,000,000 only! This is partiality, I say. Why should someone get paid less for the same job? This is violation of India’s Labor Law. So better make it equal for everyone.
Sarcasm apart, it’s a very serious crime. As per the land’s law, inciting murder is a criminal offence. The UP minister, Haji Yaqoob Quershi, has publicly offered the amount to anyone who kills a Danish Cartoonist. As a public servant, he should have refrained from uttering this nonsense if he had any political ambitions. As a legislature, his known source of income is in public domain and it never boasts of assets worth 51 crores. So Mr. Haji must reveal the source of this reward. In any other country, he would have prosecuted right away. But here, keeping an eye on Muslim votes, he is walking free. What’s more, now he enjoys more clout in the assembly due to the support he now enjoys. A true savior of Muslim interests!!
How can be a true Hindu could lag behind? So some of these true Hindus decided to take up the cause of Hindu goddesses and offered 101 Crore Rupees for anyone killing M. F. Hussein! But they were more practical. They didn’t ask to kill ANY Muslim cartoonist / Painter. Their target is specific, only one man. Another Advocate from Lucknow offered 11 Lakhs for chopping off Husseins hands. Wonderful! So if someone first chop-off his hands and then kill him, he would get both, I presume.
Now on, one can expect offers similar to this every now and then. Unless these nonsensical fools are prosecuted and put away. Our society if now replete with this self-appointed protectors of god and religion. Free publicity is what they seek. Our media give unnecessary attention to these small-timers and make them feel they are big fishes. It’s time our police take an interest in this growing menace and put an end to it by either asking them to deposit the sum that they have offered to the state coffer or face the music. For that the police require spine. Which is what they don’t have.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Despite the previous day’s vandalism, many people turned out for the party. The defiance is a very good indicator of people’s mindset against the violent political tactics of the party. In the coming years, this small incident will have it’s mark.
Thackerays apology was well timed. That incident has caused enough humiliation and if anyone planning to do a repeat in the name of Shiv Sena, he wanted to stifle it. But in the process, Sena lost it’s face.
It’s closed chapter for both Thackerays but what about those three arrested? In a sense they were obeying the party chief’s orders. They just went overboard and now staring at bleak future. This could act as a deterrent and hope some normalcy prevails during next Valentines Day.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
The organiser, Vipul Patel, has decided to openly challenge the might of Shiv Sena by arranging another party at the same venue on this Saturday 18 th Feb. This time he named it to a more challenging "Valentines Day Party" to provoke the Shiv Sena and demanded police protection. And it's open for all public. It's from 6 PM to 10 PM.
It is to be seen that whether Shiv Sena take the bait or tactfully avoid it. In all probability, they would avoid it saying their opposition is against the Valentines Day only. So this is probably going to be a dampner.
I'll be reporting on it. so watch this space.
Believing in one’s religion is in fact a soothing effect. It brings peace, calmness and clarity of mind. But does one really have to wear it on one’s sleeve all the time? The interview of Pakistani team is always ends with this question and answer as if it is recorded.
Q. What is the secret behind the recent success of Pakistan team?
A. We believe in Islam. We pray for 5 times a day. This has brought the team closer. There is a never-before unity in the team.
But once they started to loose matches to India in the ongoing series, talks of rift in the dressing room surfaces once again. The grapevine has it that Shoaib Akhtar’s injury is not the only reason for his ouster but differences with the captain is the real culprit. Dig deep and you get more disturbing news like, there is unrest brewing amongst the team and some players demanded the ouster of Captain Inzamam from the ODI captaincy.
So much for unity in the team? When a team is winning, all the dirty linen is pushed under the carpet. It’s all hunky-dory then. Players will put hands on each other’s shoulder; pose for photos, visit hospitals together, attend parties etc. Once the loosing started all these camaraderie make way for a blame game. And all the dirty linen is brought out and washed in the public. It’s the baggage failure brings along. Saurav Ganguly episode is the best example.
So please treat sports as sports and keep religion at hands length. The terrorists and extremists are already misusing it.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
A Nallasopara resident, Vipul Patel, had organized a party in remembrance of his late brother. It was a cultural event and a cross section of society, married couples, senior citizen, teenagers and children alike, thronged the stage. Mr. Patel has obtained permission from the police to run the sound system till 10.00 PM. Till 9.30 everything was perfect and the group was having fun.
By 9.30, the mob armed with Hockey sticks and rods stormed into the party and beat up everyone. First they destroyed the Disco Lights, then the DJ’s Equipments and then turned their fury on the participants. Men and women beaten up and their clothes were ripped off. The ladies were groped in the dark. Even Kids and senior citizen were beaten up. Their valuables, chains, bracelets, expensive cell phones, were stolen. Everything was orchestrated and well thought out. A TV crew was shooting all these incidents. The semi-naked women and beaten up men tried to escape through the door and fell into the hands of waiting goons and the TV crew. Talk about rubbing salt on the wound.
The police arrived exactly after one hour as if to let the miscreants to get away from the scene. As it is always shown in bollywood films. Why the police took that much time to reach the place? Did they get any instruction NOT to reach there?
Shiv Sena has taken a contract on Indianising our society. So Valentines day bear the most brunt. Since it is a day of love it must be hated, according to them. To them Love is only sex . Or how could they perceive that any celebration on Feb 14th is a valentine day celebration? And who gave them the right to beat up people? Is there a thing called Law and Order? If someone had died of shock and / or beatings would they charge Murder case? Why don’t they press charges of attempted murder? The police is gong to charge a mild case of trespassing and may be causing injury. That too will be watered down since the all powerful Thackeray clan is there to support such thugs.
So readers don’t ever plan to celebrate anything on Feb 14th. If you are born on this day, forget a birthday bash. If you are planning to get married on this day, postpone it. Never ever try to do anything on this day. The big brother (rather the big Bhai, in Mumbai parlance) is watching. They could beat you up, molest your partner. It’s their exclusive right. Since birth they were doing it and no one yet challenged their right. Who the heck are you to do it now? If the police can’t do anything about it, or don’t WANT to do anything about it, how could you and me do anything?
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The recent incident in Virar, a hamlet about 70 KM from Mumbai, in which a handicapped girl was thrown into fire to “cure” her and the village from chicken pox seriously dent our image of a developing country. For the uninitiated here is the story.
A couple of years back there was another incident, where a small child was sacrificed to gain a treasure hidden somewhere. This brutal homicide performed by a baba located in Mahim. There were numerous Babas available in that area. Police arrested the culprit and shunted out all others.
What is the moral of the story? We are in the space age. Human being is planning to set foot in Mars. Technology gives you everything at your fingertip. Still why these barbaric acts persist? Is it the lack of education and awareness? Is it for money? Or to settle personal scores? Does it have anything to do with religion?
Tempi Pada village. Virar. About 70 Km from Mumbai. A fishermen hamlet. Jyotsna, the victim is a handicapped girl, all of 22, helps her family by selling vegetables in the market and earns Rs. 100 a day. She was engaged to a Dahanu boy and the marriage date was yet to fix. Recently there was a Chicken Pox outbreak and many of the people caught it. Jyotsna was of them. Anita Meher (21) aka “Devi” is a local god women and a faith healer. To contain the outbreak, the Meher family requested the villagers to stop eating non-vegetarian food. But this doesn’t checked the contagious disease and they arranged a prayer at Meher’s. All the infected asked to come to their house. The Mehers made the villagers to believe that they are carrying out prayers and poojas but they locked these people inside their home. Yet the disease was spreading like wildfire. So they have finally decided to conduct a havan (praying infront of a fire) to appease the angry gods.
While the relatives of Jyotsna were told to leave the house since they are not infected. Around 10 PM, as the prayers were reaching a climax, Anita allegedly gave signal to Vijay Mangela (22), uncle of Anita, to push Jyotsna into the 6 feet deep pyre and he did just that. After a while, may be around 4 to 6 minutes, not sure though since the details are sketchy, she was pulled up from the inferno badly scalded. Then she was kept at the house for hours without any treatment. The next day, when her father came to take her home, they came to know about it and admitted her to the hospital. Later shifted to KEM where they diagnosed her with 67% burn.
First glance, it looks like an attempt to sacrifice the girl. But then why did they pull her out? There was no reported interference from anybody. She could have died there. So it wasn’t that. Then faith-healing? Why didn’t they tried it with anybody else? Family feud? There were reports indicating that the two families have a long-standing dispute. So did Devi tried to settle scores with her family? Looks probable at the moment. The police also probing the same angle. It is too early to hazard a guess. Keep watching this column. There will be more to it in the coming days.
There could be a thousand reasons for this atrocity. Whatever the reason, a poor girl lost her life. Well, almost. Her proposed marriage is in danger. Her life shattered. The livelihood of the family lost. A thousand dreams unfulfilled. This incident will definitely leave a big scar on her. Physically and mentally. There is a law preventing black magic but thousands of villages in Maharashtra still practice it. Who’s going to enforce the law?
The culprits should be brought to justice and not only should be punished, but they should compensate her. For her hospital expenses as her family keep worrying about it.
And for her life too. What could have been a beautiful life destroyed. The guilty must compensate for it.
Monday, February 13, 2006
But I suspect that RSS and VHP will take this issue seriously and won’t loose time to arrange for a big scale protest. They may even resort to violence and target Christians since the Whiskey manufacturer is probably Christian. The Togadias and Singhals were waiting for an opportunity to pounce on the minorities and recently there was sharp increase in attacks of Christian prayer meetings and missionaries. Specially in Gujarat.
And in the recently held Magh Mela, The leaders of RSS & VHP declared that they will press for a bill against all conversions. According to them, all the Christians in this country are trying to convert the Hindus to Christianity. And they would offer monetary and other benefits for those who re-convert (back to Hinduism) .There was a study conducted in Gujarat stated that the Gujarat government is preparing the field for another genocide. The difference is this time target will be Christians.
The RSS & VHP can well follow the path set by Muslims on the Cartoon protests. There is precedence. Anyway the coming days will unfold what’s in store and as per the indicators it’s not a happy picture.
His supporters shouted slogans and came very close to a violent brawl. The contentious issue was the Guru was asked to undergo security check (secondary). His followers didn’t like their leader being frisked and his luggage checked by a hand held detector. A couple of months back there was another incident. What’s wrong with us? Is there different law for different people? Or is it just the ballooned ego of these spiritual leaders? What do they think? They are above the law? Every single person is subjected to this check and if he wishes to fly, he must under go it. Period. Please refrain from flying if you don’t like to be frisked or your luggage checked. Instead of putting other passengers at peril, you could at least do that. Or do what the security agency is telling you to do.
All year long, one can go out with one’s partner, one can enjoy the companionship, go to malls, cinema but not on this “corrupting day” as Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray put it. Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal, two extremist outfits, have been opposing the celebration of valentines day for past decade or so. Their reason? First, it is not in our culture. What? Love is not in our culture? Ok. They prefer to spread the message of hatred, violence and intolerance. But to insist others follow suit is breaching the fundamental right. But who can stand against them? If someone do that, they will be beaten to pulp. Second, it has a corrupting influence on our youth. You said corrupting? What are you politicians doing? Amassing wealth beyond your means doesn’t have a corrupting influence? Or your infighting, nepotism, violence doesn’t have an influence? Third, He is afraid of excessive spending by youngsters in Malls and shopping centers. They will blow their parent’s hard earned money. So in that sense, do you oppose Diwali celebrations? Or Christmas? Or New Year? Why are you unduly worried about their money? Oh come on Mr. Thackeray.
We all know that this is the way you rule. By fear and violence. Why don’t you just ask people to refrain from excessive celebration? But then who will pay any heed, right? You can rein them only by fear and violence.
The sufferers will be Malls, Cinemas and Greeting Card dealers. A few years back Archies suffered a lot of damages as Sainiks ransacked their showroom on this very day. Yesterday the Vibhag Pramugs (Zonal Heads) of Shiv Sena met together to whip up a list of targets. Target to attack. They have the blessings of Chieftain Thackeray. This is the best opportunity to regain some lost ground. Raj Thackeray is pro-V-day. So if they can stage a big protest and smash a few window glasses and beat up some young couples or forcibly marriage them, they can divert the public attention from the infighting.
I wonder what if the boy and girl is under-age? Wouldn’t that attract Rape charges against the boy and the Sainiks?
Due to these unnecessary gimmicks, the V-day has attained some big importance among our youngsters. It is in their blood to defy. So if someone opposing something, then one must do it. In a way, Sena did their part to spread the message of V-day rather than curb it.
Shiv Sena is being more and more an aggressive, intolerant unit of thugs. In order to hide the humiliation of election failures and constant defection, it will resort to more meaningless gimmicks like this. May be the next target will be Christmas, New Year and minority celebrations. They are becoming Talibanized.
Nowadays, in India, the public is being told what to do and what not by a few people. The fundamental right of freedom of expression is systematically curtailed. In Mumbai, one can’t hold hands with your partner. It’s offensive. One can’t sit close to each other. Our society is driven back to some 300 years back by some self-proclaimed Netas. And pity is that no one seems to be raising an alarm.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Another thing in this is, she was very vocal about her views regarding Times of India. She equated Times of India to a tabloid and accused them of sensitizing news. Or sexing it up, like BBC did on it's Iraq reporting. Well, whatever. So Times is after her i guess. May be not. let's see.
But if you don't have anything to hide, why did you remove your profile from blogger? Why did you erase links to your site?
The recent violence and protests of the Muslim community all over the world regarding the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper is creating mayhem in the west. Why there is a big outcry and violence about a non-issue? This issue is blown out of proportion. Thanks to this large scale torching of embassies and violence, a non-issue has gained world wide publicity.
A couple of years back a US company printed Lord Ganesha’s, a Hindu deity, pictures on their sandals and drew sharp criticism from all over the globe. There were some peaceful rallies in
It seems that nowadays part of the Muslim community believe in intolerance. At the slightest provocation, they resort to violence. In fact, jihad (holy war) is a way of life for these fanatics. Due to this, the entire Muslim community is viewed as an anarchic, fanatical and unruly people. The perception is that, they don’t know what dialog and peaceful means. The last decade saw a drastic change in people’s mindset in regard to Islam. 9/11 had a big impact on the world.
The history of Islam is as two-pronged as its people. It is interlaced with wars and peace. Prophet always advocated peace and tolerance at the same time they fought non-believers or Kafir. And the holy book, Koran, has been of late misrepresented and used to incite violence against other religions by some hardcore fanatics. Prophet’s words were twisted and it made out to be like “kill who don’t believe in Islam”. It is really pathetic to see young Muslims fall for it. And all over the world, US, UK, France, Iraq, India (Kashmir), Pakistan, Bangladesh, Palestine to name a few, these fanatics sow seeds of hatred and reap murder and mayhem.
Another fact about Muslim people, not Islam, is they don’t mingle well with other communities. They ghettoize their community and fiercely stick to their customs even if meant violating the Laws of the country where they reside. Consider the divorce law if
How many people lost their lives in this? How many billions destroyed? No one knows exactly. But one thing is sure. Some vested interests are using this opportunity to set scores with west. And they will never allow the settling down of this. They will keep adding fuel to the already raging fire in the name of Islam.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
It has been a tug of war between the political parties and the king since the royal coup. All of that now coming to a final showdown. A one-sided one. There is a ‘shoot-at-sight’ order issued if anyone attempts to obstruct the proceedings. And Maoists retorted by issuing another ‘fatwa’ that if anyone ventured out on poll day, they will be killed. Both are threatening the same. Death. Is there any conspiracy to stymie the ever-growing opposition to the King? I wonder.
I was pondering another angle to this. The democracy in Nepal is as good as dead. Since King has all the power, he sure will conduct this poll, by hook or by crook. This is Just Municipal Elections. Encouraged by the success he may attempt to do it in Parliament election too. If he succeed in that too, Nepal will have a mock parliament and the West and rest satisfied. Much like the Pakistan Scenario. But poor Nepalese will suffer forever then. The opposition can well kiss goodbye to Nepal. Or they can spend their lives in some dark dungeon. Ask Mrs. Benazir Bhuto and Mr. Nawas Sheriff!. Or Myan Mar’s Aung San Suu Kyi. The Maoists and the King can engage in a war dead-lock for the next decade. Sri Lanka is an Example. Or they can resolve their dispute by power-sharing or some other settlement. Still, the poor Nepali will be the sole loser in this drama.
I wonder what kind of curse has fallen on these South Asian countries. Just have a look at this. Most of India’s neighboring countries are either ruled by Dictators or are in total anarchy.
1. Sri Lanka - Strife torn; Civil war for the last two decades. Now India faces a huge inflow of refugees from there.
2. Pakistan - Dictatorship. It has been the case since it’s inception in 1947. Military rule and dictators.
3. Afghanistan - A powerless government as of now. Vast rural areas are still ruled by war lords and / or Taliban. Total anarchy.
4. China - Socialistic Party Rule. There never was real democracy. Remember Tiananmen Square. And still no freedom of expression. The world know how stiff their censure of Internet and Media.
5. Nepal - Right now Monarchy but slipping to Anarchy.
6. Bhutan - This poor country is ruled by a King but he voluntarily stepping down and making way for democracy.
7. Myan Mar - Not even god knows what’s going on in that country. A beacon of hope was Aung San Suki. She is kept in house arrest. May be forever.
8. Bangladesh - There too is a history of Military rule and dictatorships. The new haven for Islamic terrorists. Growing ever hostile towards India.
India is the only country which has a stable democracy and freedom of expression in this region. But these neighboring countries has become a bigger menace for India. Internal Security is a big head-ache and if anything untoward happens in any of this country except Afghanistan and China, India can expect a huge inflow of refugees. The flow has already started from Sri Lanka and Nepal. India’s already creaking under its own weight.
Another million or so refugees and it will have a catastrophic effect on our resources.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
This time instead of giving in, the UPA Government has decided to go ahead with it. Congrats for showing some spunk. But how long it can hold on against a crucial partner? It is to be seen and one would be surprised if there is no roll-back. At least some concessions for these warring employees.
This is the curse of coalition politics and the Congress is paying a heavy price for depending on what is ideologically their enemy. So far the congress has humiliated itself by retreating from its promises many a times. And this would continue until congress can stand on its own leg.
But are these Leftist parties serious about their strike? The other day one of the leaders of the Left, Mr. Prakash Karat, assured the media that they won’t withdraw the support to the government. At least not now. The next day, another leader, Mr. Seetharam Yechury, contradicted this statement by threatening the government of dire consequences. So who is speaking for the left? There is confusion among them too. Like, how long they could go and what would be the next step if their demands are not met. They slowly started to understand that, threatening every now and then wouldn’t go a long way in Indian politics. And worse, backing of from the current revolt will do more damage to their image. But the flip-flops of left parties are not new. They have done it in the past and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
An interesting turn of this rather routine stuff is that these strikes are, against the law. According to a 1962 judgment passed by the Supreme Court, it is not a fundamental right to strike. It said, that no one, including political parties, can not claim a right to paralyze the industry or public life. It is the violation of fundamental rights. So who dare to initiate action against these?
The coming days will unfold more dramas and flip-flops. What could have been a wonderful opportunity for the left to demonstrate that they are not anti-development has now been wasted. They must be ruing this fact and now stuck in no man’s land. It require a lot of political maneuvering and a thick skin to escape from this grave they dug themselves. If a situation like that of Tamilnadu, where Jayalalita mass-terminated around 120000 striking employees back in 2003 and the SC upheld it, arises then the only losing parties will be the employees.