|BJP may not benefit from Bihar package|
|Modi's leadership is under strain|
|Two events made media headlines two weeks ago. One was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of Rs.1.25 lakh crore package for Bihar. The other was the midnight arrest of five students of the Pune's 54 year-old world-renowned Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) whose students have been on strike protesting against the appointment of RSS man Gajendra Chauhan as Institute's Chairman.
On elections-eve those in power make populist announcements and those seeking power make unachievable promises. The announcement of Rs.1.25 lakh crore package made by Modi at his last week's election rally in Behar has, therefore, not come as a surprise for the longtime watchers of India's political scene. But the vital question is: Will the mega package have any significant positive impact o...|
|Tourists throughout the centuries have visited the famous Acropolis, the ancient hilltop religious citadel in Athens. Thousands of sightseers from all over the world have picked up marble chunks as souvenirs.
Why hasn't the supply of pieces been exhausted long ago? The answer is very simple. Every few months a truckload of marble fragments, from a quarry, miles away, is scattered around the whole Acropolis area. So tourists go home happy with what they think are authentic pieces of ancient history!
These are people who don't know they are being deceived, but there are others like my scotch drinking friend who are willingly deceived:
Every day thousands of people travel from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, China, and head straight for Lo Wu Commercial city, a giant shopping mall that sells imita...|
|Most undemocratic act|
|The called concern for educational qualification at Panchayat level ill befits Khattar's loyalty and respect on the judgment and wisdom of his leader Modi Prime Minister, who does not feel embarrassed at all, rather he is aggressive in supporting his choice of appointing a Minister of H.R.D. and Education for India whose academic qualification is Higher Secondary School certificate and similarly appointment to the reputed universities like Rajasthan University of a teacher, who does not have a Doctorate in Academics (uptill now almost mandatory) minimum of qualification for Vice Chancellor's post and also lacks having held the position of Principal for at least a year.
Haryana Chief Minister Khattar has come out with most undemocratic and unconstitutional legislation - Changes in Harya...|
|Enjoy your fishing..!|
|I sat at a board meeting of a trust built up single handedly by an individual who is now in his late seventies.
"Sir," I ask, "have you started grooming a successor?"
"Ssshhh!" says the secretary of the board looking daggers at me.
"Don't raise such an issue!" whispers another member angrily.
"Why not?" I ask.
"Because it's not auspicious to do so! It's bad luck!"
"How's it bad luck?" I whisper back furiously.
"It's like wanting him to die!"
"No!" I nearly shout, "it's about wanting the company to live on. This trust should be bigger than the individual, and it is important that he who has brought us so far grooms someone to take his place!"
"What is it Bob?" asks the aged individual peering at me.
"Nothing sir!" says the secretary quickly and the vice president and all the othe...|
|Building Bridges across regions and communities: Remembering Balraj Puri's Contributions|
|It is one year that the state lost one of its most prominent intellectual and social and political activist. On 30th August 2014, Balraj Puri passed away. The void that his death has created has not been filled and there is no possibility of its getting filled any soon. Puri, as we remember him a year after his death, was a multi-dimensional person. Apart from being the best known expert on issues related to Jammu and Kashmir, he was a social and political activist. With a progressive outlook, he was part of all things radical and forward looking. Thus he participated in the anti-feudal struggle; he was the best known human right activist; he was the leading feminist of the state; while he was a Gandhian he also imbibed the Ambedkarite ideology and fought for the rights of the not so pri...|
|"Kashmir First" for Kashmiris|
|The proposed talks between India and Pakistan have been cancelled because of Kashmir. Pakistan has insisted on "Kashmir First". India on the other hand is saying "Terrorism First" even though it is internationally accepted that the main cause of the conflict between these two neighbours giving rise to "Terrorism" is Kashmir. One cannot overlook the fact, that for every Kashmiri, the most important thing at the moment is the "Kashmir First". It is Kashmir which gives him his identity. Here, one recalls a saying about a blade of grass growing on a piece of land. It has been said that every blade of grass in the world has a piece of land in which it has its roots. It is from this piece of land that the blade of grass draws its nourishment and has an identity. Without that it becomes meaningl...|
|ISIS and other disasters of Obama legacy|
|Many Western commentators have been raving about Barack Obama's twin foreign policy triumphs in the last lap of his presidency. The best take came from Maureen Dowd of the New York Times.
Having trashed him in June as the 'lame duck whose chickens have come home to roost' for his inaction in the face of mounting challenges including those on the Middle East front, Dowd now suggests that Obama may be a lame duck, but his bolder side, the one that got him elected, is rising.
By striking the nuclear pact with Iran and the once unthinkable rapprochement with Cuba's last commies, Obama may have succeeded in saving his legacy just in time.
While the normalization of ties with Cuba after nearly six decades of hostilities was perhaps inevitable considering the irrepressible Fidel Castro is o...|
|Cockroaches and Toothpicks..!|
|There are no cockroaches in Manhattan, where I'm living at the moment, at least they are not as visible or apparent as they are in my country, but, nearly every train, subway or metro, bus and even taxis carry a message about how the cockroach is lurking, waiting, behind sinks, between boards, and under sofas, just waiting to catch you unaware! All the ads talk about, is being prepared with some spray, pesticide or other, and the people wait, spray in hand for that poor brown winged fellow to appear and yet I say, there are no cockroaches I've seen!
I'd gone to a mall yesterday and found toothpicks being sold, mentioning some disease or other you could get by not using a toothpick of the highest brand! Imagine even the simple piece of wood you shoved so gracelessly between your teeth had...|
|Learning from Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings|
|As the world marks the 70th Anniversary of the bombing of the two Japanese cities, intensified calls are made to abolish all nuclear weapons globally.|
|In a message to the Peace Memorial Ceremony, to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed the ardent wish of the survivors of nuclear assault, when he called for "urgent action to eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all".
Evoking the first resolution by the UN General Assembly, which reflected the international community's concern about the use of atomic weapons, he urged states to honour the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by realising the "vision of a nuclear-weapons-free world".
He recalled that towards the end of World War II, on August 6 and 9, 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The two cities were destroyed and more than 200,000 people died of nuclear radiation, shockwaves fr...|
|Smile with your voice..!|
|Many, many years ago when FM first came into my city, crowds gathered outside the radio station after a particular program. The reason? They all wanted to have a glimpse of the girl who hosted the show. "She must be so beautiful!" they said to each other as they jostled one another to have a look of this beauty queen. They were so busy trying to find her they hardly noticed a wisp of a girl, ordinary and hardly very attractive, making her way out through the gates. They didn't know she was the one, who with her voice enchanted her listeners day after day. I knew her well. "How d'you do it?" I asked her once.
"I smile with my voice!" she told me.
"You do what?" I asked puzzled
"Bob," she said, "just say, 'How d'you do?' the way you normally do. Now stretch a smile across your face, no B...|
|Caged parrots are back in modi team|
|Vindictive official actions begin|
|Narendra Modi may have moved on politically from the traumatic events of 2002, but he is seemingly unable to forget the two months of the riots although he dismissed them at the time as "stray incidents" in a letter to the President of India. His targeting, therefore, of those whose conduct at the time displeased him can be seen as a way of settling scores.
It is difficult otherwise to explain the hounding, first, of Teesta Setalvad and now of Sanjiv Bhatt. As the Supreme Court's view that "personal liberty cannot be put in the ventilator" with reference to the CBI's charges against Setalvad suggests, the investigative agency has been acting yet again as a "caged parrot", to quote the apex court once more, of the BJP-led Gujarat government this time as it purportedly did for the Congress...|
|Over 30 Million pending cases..!|
|Yes, that's the number of court cases pending in India! To be exact, thirty one million, three hundred thousand! For a long time I'd assumed that with more judges and courts the backlog would reduce, but I doubt that's the real problem; the real problem are the lies we say with such ease, till judges are needed to find the simple truth!
I remember a store in Portugal, and as I looked at the goods, the girl in the store told me, "Why do you cheat so much?"
"Whoa! Whoa!" I said, "I haven't cheated you or stolen anything!"
"When I came to India," she said, "I found you people lied to us all the time!"
I find this happening all over, all the time: In the housing society where I live, I was called for a meeting where the new secretary, an ex-municipal employee was told by the previous chai...|
|BETWEEN THE LINE|
|A true story from partition days|
|This is a story of a Sikh girl who like the hundreds of women on both sides of the border, bore the brunt of partition. Woman suffered most and underwent all type of atrocities.
This is a story of a Sikh girl who like the hundreds of women on both sides of the border, bore the brunt of partition. Woman suffered most and underwent all type of atrocities. Rawalpindi, even before the partition, was a Muslim town. But it had then a smattering of Sikh population. Both communities had lived amicably for decades until the demand for Pakistan, a separate homeland for Muslims, soured relations between the two. Overnight, they developed an unbridgeable gulf as if their centuries' old relationship had never existed.
The Sikhs, easily identifiable, were the main target. Their women particularly, ...|
|You Need An Engineer..!|
|Two years back the building was repaired. I remember the sounds of the masons; hammers and chisels creating a cacophony of noise, seen tons of rubble falling on the ground, clouds of dust flying into the air, smelt cement and polymer and sweat of hardworking workers as they toiled in the blazing sun.
Just two years ago!
But as I looked this morning, I saw cracks on the exterior and a dangerous break in the column that went onto the beam. My friend who stayed on the ground floor said his bedroom leaked and his wife looked with dismay as plaster fell on stove she was cooking on.
"How?" he asked, "could this have happened?"
"We got it repaired just two years ago!"
I nodded; I remembered discussions before renovation began:
"How far do we break?"
"What proportion of sand and cement sho...|