Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Telangana Issue: The need for a Statesman and not a bureaucratic leader as PM

When the Telangana agitation slipped out of TRS leader K Chandrasekhar Rao's hands and taken by students of Osmania University in Hyderabad, there were violent incidents witnessed and infiltration of radicals, the students’ wing of Maoists in the campus of Osmania, created panic in Union home ministry. The home ministry pressed the panic button based on intelligence reports warning of a possible resurgence of Maoist violence in Telangana around the sentiment for a separate state. Home minister P Chidambaram pushed the assessment based on intelligence reports to the core committee that met to resolve the Telangana issue and there was a hasty decision taken on Telangana statehood.

With the decision of the centre to let Andhra break up, the demand from other regions for separation is gathering some speed. Leaders in Vidharba, Bundelkhand , UP, WB, Tamilnadu, Gujrat see a window of opportunity to break away from the larger entities of which they are now a part. Letting Telangana separate from Andhra has opened a pandora's box. What we see in the entire episode is political opportunism, lack of political wisdom and the actual issue the development of the underdeveloped regions has taken a back seat.

A larger issue is the very question of the viability and need for smaller states across the country. This issue requires sensitivity and foresight from the political establishment, something that has been sorely missing so far. In the entire process, we have not seen the prime minister of India taking any decision while as a PM he has to do something. While we have seen that, the demands for separate state are based on backwardness of a region and not based on one language and one state formula, it would be wiser on part of the government to immediately set up new State Reorganization Committee rather than announcing a separate statehood for Telangana.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

State-of-art legislation

The Centre plans to bring a "state-of-the-art" legislation in the Winter session of Parliament to deal with complaints of corruption against judges and ensure accountability in higher judiciary, says the Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily.

Good and thank you Mr Moily how about a similar bill to deal with the corruption of Politicians, Babus, police and doctors?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Preamble of the constitution of India

Following is the preamble of the constitution of India. I wonder, how relevant is the preamble and the constitution, today. Is India truly a socialist while we opened up our economy?
Are we democratic in its true sense? Is there LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship? Do we experience EQUALITY of status and of opportunity?
The political class and those who are in power made fun of the constitution and its spirit by their shameful actions.

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a [SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC] and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the [unity and integrity of the Nation];

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Strategic Importance of Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh)

The strategic importance of Arunachal Pradesh or Tawang in Chinese parlance the following need to be recognized:

  • Arunachal Pradesh provides strategic depth to India’s Brahmaputra Valley and India’s other North Eastern states.
  • Arunachal Pradesh provides security to Bhutan on it entire Eastern flank by geographical contiguity.
  • Bhutan would be then be in a pincer group of China on both it flanks if Tawang is given away. This would be detrimental to India’s security.
  • China’s borders would then rest on the plains of Assam; India might as well write off its other North Eastern states.
  • The Chinese obsession with the Tawang Region is strategic in its aims.
  • In any future conflict with China and if India singly or in coalition with some other power develops offensive capabilities against China, this region offers the shortest cut to China proper and to Tibet.
  • India’s communications infrastructure in this region developed in World War II for US military aid to China is existent and can be further improved.
  • Arunachal Pradesh offers all-wealthier lines of communication to India for military needs to the Tibet border as compared to Aksai-Chin.
  • In terms of any air operations by China in this region, Arunachal Pradesh would provide multi-layered air defence deployments on the ground as deterrence.
  • The region is rich in terms of mineral and natural resources prospects.
There are many more reasons that one can state but the major ones should be enough. Arunachal Pradesh is of vital strategic importance for the territorial integrity and defence of India’s North East states and should be non-negotiable.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Taxpayers money, Austerity drive and the Political Class

Going by the news reports on the spending of tax payers money by the MPs and ministers and governments one would wonder when will we the people of India get a break and how long these political class test our patience.

At times during national calamities we in corporate or in private sector donate a days salary to the prime minister's relief fund etc. During economic down turn some of the corporate leaders take a cut in their salaries and employees were asked to reduce the travel costs etc. The political leaders who are supposed to lead by an example are not willing to do the same way as the salaried class. They do not want to give up their luxuries like stay in five star hotels or business class travel in air. They come out with all the excuses why they should not be giving up the luxuries. They spend a lakh a night in the five star hotels at the expense of taxpayer money. In simple words, the political leaders and ministers do not want to mingle with the common person, interact with him and serve him. They want their privacy intact. If this is the attitude of our Ministers and political leaders, what good one can expect from them.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Corruption reforms

Anti-corruption reforms have a good chance of success only when they are moved by a top leader and persistent enough to overcome bureaucratic resistance and inertia, according to experts. They also have to involve civil society and be free from political manipulation.

When corruption becomes ingrained in the culture or is seen as part of, the daily struggle for survival, reforming governance becomes particularly difficult. When people get used to bribes, when they have financial obligations supported by bribes, it is very difficult to stop.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, Faith and Corruption

Way back in 1998 I did a case study along with my batch during my MBA at International Management Institute, New Delhi. Dr. Ajit Prasad a professor in strategy, gave us a case study titled “Should TTD be taken over by Government and maintain?” We all debated and concluded that it would be better if government does not meddle with TTD as governments lacks credibility and haunted filled with corrupt people. I had little idea then that I would be witnessing those scenarios we discussed, 10 years later.

Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara the powerful God of Hindu faith managed by TTD is a richest temple next to Vatican City in the world, is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Upon hearing the news on corruption in TTD like many Hindus, my feelings were hurt.

I am not particularly in support of any political party and do not want to be branded either. However, I must say ever since congress government in Andhra Pradesh took over the reins of government it encouraged and indulged in corruption. It appointed political persons on the TTD administrative body. Since then mismanagement of funds, offerings, sale of tickets, awarding contracts for TTD works, diverting the funds to their personal pet projects ,giving unauthorized VIP darshans , break darshans etc were at peak.
Daily, devotees offer a lot of Money and jewelry to the Lord in good faith that it will be put in good use and for God. Since Vijayanagara King Krishna Devaraya lot jewelry worth, millions were donated to God. Now with these exposures of corruption and missing jewelry it is a big blow to the faith. If people, who are supposed to be custodians of the God’s wealth and the Faith, indulge in such misdeeds without any fear of God then it will cause a lot of harm to the Faith as trust and faith are main pillars for any religion to flourish.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Corruption and Traffic Police

Pervasive corruption in our country tarnishes our image. It also discourages investors, who expect fair treatment and transparent dealings. As the country grows and integrates with the world economy, corruption continues to be an impediment to harnessing the best technology and resources,"

Today I was chatting with a few fellow residents of our society. One of them narreted his experience with Pune traffic police and their rude and corrupt behavior. His vehicle has a number plate, which does not belong to Maharashtra. He was carrying original driving license, original PUC and photocopies of all other documents that include NOC. To his surprise, the traffic constable asked him to pay Rs 3000/ as fine since the vehicle is not registered in Maharashtra. After arguing and wasting much of his time, he settled down for Rs 200 and let him go without giving him any receipt.

Very familiar story is not it. We come across many such cases involving traffic police who lurk in the shadow, away from the signals, looking out for their prey. They always look for an opportunity to make quick money. At the same time, I would say as long as we are on the correct side of the law we will have upper hand in negotiating such personals. Before that, we should know the rules and penalties of traffic offences.

With power comes the responsibility. Unfortunately, in our country many people who are in power misuse it. Police department is one such government organization filled with people who are rude and corrupt. In a recent survey it was showed that Police force ranks top in the corruption. I would not say entire force is corrupt but at least 80% of them are on wrong side.
This system of spot fines is giving chance for the corruption and I guess that low levels of automation would be one reason we have this in place - sub-inspector or above can issue challans and levy spot fines. In the ideal, automated world, where RTO and traffic police would have integrated database linking vehicle registration numbers, addresses and driving licenses, constables and above would just note down the violators, and rash drivers would get tickets in email. Constables can't levy spot fines, that is why we see them with pen and paper in hand. They note down violations they spot and send it up to their seniors. it is called FTVR field traffic violation report.

Isn't this the 'real deal' that encourages on-field corruption - of various kind - like fine without a real receipt, amount inconsistent with the violation recorded in the ticket, etc.Spot fines take time (haggling), thus lowering productivity - cops would spot fewer violations per hour. In addition, spot fines encourage corruption. No spot fines mean it would be easier to spot corruption - you see wallet and money, you know what could be happening. Such clarity would discourage spot haggling incidents.

Is it not the time to put the focus solely on enforcement automation by getting rid of the spot fine system? There is no easy direct way to fight corruption. Supply = demand, as simple as it gets. However, structural measures like letting go of spot fines, eliminating cash transactions, introducing annual vehicle registration system so that vehicle owner addresses are kept current (to support automation of enforcement system), legal process to challenge accusations of traffic violation, admission of citizen taken pictures and videos or anonymous content as evidence - there are ideas a round.

We as people should not be satisfied and tolerant with poor and corrupt service delivery and pathetic infrastructure. We need to demand better and ensure our own behaviour enables such demands to be met effectively.

While we dream and wait for the automation to happen, let us be aware of the penalties for the traffic offence and our rights. I gathered some useful informationfor the benefit of all of us.

We should always carry following documents when driving
· Driving license
· Registration Certificate
· Taxation Certificate
· PUC Certificate
· Insurance Certificate
· Fitness Certificate & Permit (in case of transport vehicles)

Moreover, please note any traffic branch officer of and above the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police duly authorised with a receipt book to collect the traffic fine on the spot.

  • The driver and the person seated in the front seat must wear the seat belts while vehicle is in motion (U/S 138 CMVR r/w 177 MVA. It is compulsory to the manufacturers from the year 1995 to provide the seat belts to the vehicles. It is binding on occupants to wear the seat belts whenever vehicle is in motion.

  • As per section 250 (A) MMVR ,r/w 177 M.V.Act no driver while driving or riding a motor vehicle ( including two wheelers ) shall use a mobile phone. Use hands-free or any other accessories of mobile phone while driving is not allowed. If you are alone in the car, you shall switch off your mobile phone while driving any motor vehicle.(Section 250 (A)(2) of M.M.V.R.1989).

  • As per section 177 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, using mobile phone while driving fine is Rs.100/-. But, if it causes further inconvenience or is hazardous to the road users, then the driver may be fined for negligence driving, for which fine is Rs.1000/- and compounding fee is Rs.500/-.

  • Towing of a vehicle is allowed Under following conditions:
    · Vehicle abandoned or left unattended
    · Parked in a parking restricted zone
    · Parked in a way causing inconvenience to other road users

  • Authorities can detain a vehicle in the following circumstances:
    · Vehicle being driven by an individual without valid driving license
    · Vehicle being driven without registration
    · Transport vehicle being driven without Permit
    · Vehicle being driven without payment of Tax
    · Improper/suspicious registration. No number plate

  • As per Sec.206 (2) of M.V.Act, 1988, if you will not pay fine, your driving license may be impounded in lieu of temporary license permit, which is issued by the official handling the matter

Instructions of Challaning Officers
(Traffic Wing)

A motor vehicle shall be stopped for challaning only on the commission of a visible traffic offence. A motor vehicle can be stopped for checking of documents only under the specific instructions ofsenior supervisory officers.

While stopping the vehicle due care shall be taken that no hindrance is caused to the smooth flow of traffic. The vehicle shall under no circumstances be stopped on the road intersection/rotary.
The challaning officer shall walk to the point where the vehicle is stopped and shall first greet the driver and then tell him the reasons for his vehicle having been stopped in polite language. The driver (traffic offender) shall be addressed as 'Sir/Madam'. The conversation with offender should be polite and brief.

The demand for the production of the driving licence and other documents shall be made politely. It is the duty of every motor vehicle driver to carry the original driving licence at all times and produce the same on demand by a police officer in uniform. The production of registration certificate, permit, and fitness certificate can be done within 14 days and the production of insurance and pollution under control certificate within 7 days. In case of failure to produce the driving licence, the driver shall be challaned for the same. In case of failure to produce the registration certificate, insurance etc. the driver shall be given a notice (printed at S.No. 1A) to produce the same for inspection (the driving licence shall be seized to ensure compliance to the notice).

The challaning officer shall seize the driving licence of the driver under section 206 of the MV Act to ensure appearance of the offender before the Court. In case of failure of the driver to produce the driving licence the registration certificate shall be seized under section 207 of the MV Act. In case the driver fails to produce both documents the vehicle shall be impounded under section 207. No other documents, personal bond etc shall be seized at the time of challaning.

When a driver is challaned he shall be permitted to record his brief comments before signing the challan receipt. In case the driver poses resistance to the challan the challaning officer shall politely caution him that this shall lead to an enhancement of the penalty under section 179. In case the driver tries to intimidate or influence the challaning officer in any manner the challaning officer shall record the same on the reverse of the original challan form and also inform the Traffic Control Room where an entry shall be made in the log book.

In case the driver uses abusive language and uses or threatens to use physical violence, the Traffic Control Room shall be informed by the challaning officer, which shall in turn call for a reserve officer from the Police Station having jurisdiction for initiating legal action. The nearest traffic interceptor shall also be directed to reach the spot for assistance. The voice recorder & video recorder shall be employed to record evidence of the misbehaviour shown by the traffic offender.

In case any physical violence is actually affected upon the challaning officer a criminal case shall be lodged and the Zonal Traffic Inspector shall personally supervise the same.

In case the driver wants to lodge a complaint against the challaning officer he shall be politely informed that he can lodge a complaint at the toll free traffic helpline number 1073 and ask for his complaint number. He shall also be informed that he can contest against the challan by appearing in the court on the date and time mentioned by the challaning officer on the challan form. The challaning officer shall promptly give his name and belt number to the driver wanting to know the same.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Jinnah, Nehru, Singh, BJP and the Congress

Jaswant Singh's comments on Jinnah and Nehru on partition of India created a furor in the political circles especially in BJP and a wide coverage by media to it as if we do not have any other major issues to report or discuss. Is it necessary or important to debate whether it is Jinnah or Nehru and congress leaders’ attitude towards Indian Muslim League that divided India or whether Jinnah is a secular Muslim leader?

Until recently, I viewed BJP as an alternative national party to congress with good political leaders in its cadre but not anymore. The party now has only aging leaders and does not have any young blood or leaders with a mass appeal. Narendranath Modi is an exception. This incidence of expulsion of Jaswant Singh because he has written a book that is not in the line of party’s view indicates that the party does not have any internal democracy. This expulsion reflects its leaders lost wisdom. Why because Jaswant Singh in his book said it is because of Nehru and his congress India was partitioned. This line of thought appears to be more anti congress than pro Jinnah secular credentials. Instead of buying this argument to bash congress on this point, it expelled the author.

Congress leaders too failed on their part. Had political leaders of India had some wisdom they could have used this book as an opportunity in improving Indo-Pak relationship which shadowed by suspicion. There is a chance to win some hearts in Pakistan. Now it is required for our own benefit. Like in India, the media across the border given much publicity to this book and showered praises on Jaswant. An opportunity lost.

So joining the bandwagon, let us take a look at Jinnah’s life to know whether he is secular or not. Our generation does not know whether Jinnah is a secularist or its congress leader’s attitude under Nehru’s influence is the root cause of partition. However, from the history records it is known that Jinnahbhai is a grandson of a Hindu Rajput who later on converted to Islam and shifted to Sindh province. He later on went to London studied and practiced Law there. Jinnah came under considerable pressure to return home when his father's business was ruined. Settling in Bombay, he became a successful lawyer. He joined Indian national congress in 1896. Eventually, he joined the Indian Muslim league in 1913 and became the president in 1916. In 1918, Jinnah married his second wife Rattanbai Petit Parsi woman in Mumbai against the will of both the families and orthodox Muslim leaders. She bore Jinnah his only child, daughter Dina Jinnah. Jinnah later became estranged from his daughter after she decided to marry a Parsi-born Christian businessperson, Neville Wadia.

Jinnah created Pakistan to secure his position in politics. He, himself told, "I alone with the help of my secretary and my typewriter won Pakistan for the Muslims". This makes it clear that he created a space for Muslim in which he will have a firm position, which may not have been possible in a united India as Jinnah only had support of Muslims.

We do not know the intention of Jinnah but his actions shows that he was not secular but he understood the importance of secularism. He comes across as an opportunist political leader put his own personal interests ahead of Nation or his people.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Banks curtail use of third-party ATMs, put limit

This another charge that is being reintroduced. If one has to limit number of transactions at an ATM, at the branch to avoid unnecessary and unreasonable chrges levyed by banks then there is no meaning for on demand or online transactions. Some more charges are in waiting. Surprisingly RBI agreed to these charges.

Banks curtail use of third-party ATMs, put limit

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Unfair Bank Charges

Recently while applying for a visa to Israel I had to submit a 3 months attested statement of accounts of a bank. So I fired the print from my net banking facility and took the print out to the private bank which is nearby with a hope that I can get back to office within 5 minutes. At the bank, I was asked to fill in a form and was told that it would cost me 59 rupees to get it attested. “Excuse me what for these charges are?” I inquired the bank executive across the counter, “by the way I have my salary account here”, thought I could get a waiver of the charges. “Sill you would be charged sir” she replied, “These charges are towards verification of your signature and for attestation”. 59 rupees just for verification and attestation?!! Since I was in a rush, I said, “OK then please debit my account accordingly”.

This triggered to me to think more about the bank charges. I had requested the bank executive to give me the list of all charges levied by the bank that includes duplicate statements, online transactions, ATM transactions, cash withdrawals, Chequebook requests, Deposits, Cheque bounce charges, over drafts, defaults or late payment on loans and credit cards, debit card fees etc. While handing over the list the woman across counter, told, “Sir since you a salary account majority of charges are not applicable to you”. I was surprised to see the charges. There is no rationale or justification to those charges. We can understand the transactions would incur a fee for the system maintenance, courier charges etc but these charges are nowhere near the actual costs that banks would normally incur. This is how the banks get revenue out of nothing.

In the absence of any regulatory body to oversee such things, banks are robbing their customers. The RBI, which is supposed to be the governing body of the banks though aware of such things never steps in to protect consumers interest. The finance ministry does not care. I am sure many people felt the same. May be it is time for the people to agitate or go to consumer courts against these excessive charges!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Can India contain China?

Of all the threats, which India faces, the biggest is China. Other threats like Pakistani Army attitude and terrorists are proxy threats. China represents a threat in itself. India and China are two civilizations and a conflict between these two will be a civilizational conflict. Chinese Proxy Pakistan has been engaged by USA for good. Notwithstanding the Pakistani Army macho claims on its successes on Taliban and Taliban controlled areas, is Pakistan Vietnam in making. Wake up call for Pakistan fixated Indian myopic leaders and military generals that its time India looks at containing the real problem: China.

India has no credible strategy in place to contain China. The current Congress leadership is more interested in keeping themselves in power and Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have better relations with China than what India has. The fact is that, Indians have been living under the shadow of Chinese ballistic missiles positioned in Chinese occupied Tibet (COT) and live a borrowed life. There are no means to protecting ourselves and we have very little options to hurt China in mainland.More than Indian policies, the US policies have helped India to address our foreign policy problems. Former US President Bush had gifted us the nuclear deal and President Obama has tried to impress upon Pakistan that India is no threat. Former US President Bush had also proposed to make India as a counter weight to China. Now, many in India resented this.
We live under the shadows of Chinese nuclear and missile threat. China has supplied nuclear bomb design, nuclear components and missiles among other things to Proxy Pakistan. It has tried to rally our neighbors against us. Contained and created difficulties for us diplomatically in world forums. The list of Chinese mechanisations goes on.

Internally, Nehru-Gandhi family which ruled India for obnoxiously long years have been busy “managing” Indians than foreign threats. It holds true even today. Chinese have played their part well too. They disregard the “other” Indian leadership and court Nehru-Gandhi family. The Indian communists have been Pro China to such an extent that, they look anti-Indian. The Indian military (except navy) has not gone for incremental development and deployment of indigenous equipment compared to what Chinese Forces have done. This has brought us to a foreign dependence. If we buy foreign defence equipment, we experience reliability, legal and diplomatic issues, while Indian military leaders would not allow internal development. The problem has been compounded by the trade unions (mostly Communist controlled) who don’t allow to changes in quality military production set up and the communist want every deal with US and Israel canceled. As for the Indian right wingers go, they have a sound policy on international relations, but, they are communal in outlook and hurt common man with their fascist tendencies.

On China front, India did take some steps militarily. This includes deploying Agni missiles on Chinese border, shifting Su-30 MKI to airfields facing China, sending naval ships to exercise with Japanese and funds for development of border with China to name major initiatives. Nevertheless, India lacks a composite strategy to engage China and whatever strategy exists today is merely reactionary.

Look at India’s private sector. Indian private sector has competed against Chinese government based companies and bettered them. Chinese recognize the strength of Indian private sector. When a Chinese official comes to India, he wants to spend more time with Indian companies after finishing the diplomatic necessities with government. An Indian businessperson is more likely to be given visa in china than an Indian government official.

China will attack India when others are busy and is advantageous for China. Will India ever attack china even when it feels advantageous?

Second question is the location of Chinese threat. Chinese army is deployed on the higher ground and Indian Army is deployed on the lower ground. Chinese disadvantage of moving troops and equipment over the occupied Tibetan is overcome by feats in road construction, railway line and air strips. China also has built up vehicles/ carriers to move around at Tibet border, while Indian Army still depends largely upon mules. Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), other airfields reactivated, current roads building program at Chinese border are meant to “keep an eye” on Chinese and have very less value when it comes to large-scale troop movements. Stationing SU-30 MKI at Chinese borders is the only credible defence on Chinese border, which we have seen lately. Does India have the border infrastructure at Chinese border?Third question is Chinese posses’ long-range artillery, which is not yet employed in decisive manner by India. China has deployed missiles in occupied Tibet and it can hit any part of India it wants. Indian on the other hand has just started building up offensive missile systems, which can harm Chinese at their main land. While Chinese will have no remorse to hit Indian populated centers, Chinese PLA can use Tibetan cities as shields. It is possible that Tibetans will rise in revolt, but it is anybody’s guess if china has not built it into calculation. There are fresh examples of how equipped are the Chinese to contain Tibetans. Indian ABM systems are quite a while away. Will India hurl missiles at Tibetan cities? Can India strike Chinese main land with as much damage that Chinese can inflict on India?

The fourth question is formidable Chinese production units that can churn the required military wares in numbers in the event of war. Not just this, Chinese forces have been using and upgrading their indigenous equipment. On the other hand, Indian Armed forces, especially the Indian Army does not have such foresight and leadership for almost past 3 decades. India will have to import, non-suited equipment from overseas. This was demonstrated during kargil war.
The fifth question is that Chinese can use nuclear weapons first and Chinese have the capability to withstand a nuclear strike and counter strike. Can India boast of such capabilities against the Chinese main land?

The sixth question is that India and China has undefined borders and Tawang is hotly contested. Will India fight the border war on the Indian side of the territory or the territory occupied by the Chinese?

The eighth question is the maturity of Chinese cyber warfare. We have allegedly seen them hacking Indian embassy PC’s. Have Indian cyber warfare team ever tested hacking Chinese networks?

The ninth question is that Chinese trade flows via Indian Ocean. The Chinese are building Navy to operate in Indian Ocean. Will Indian Navy operate on east Chinese sea?

The tenth reason is the Chinese diplomatic influence and they are a permanent 5 nation at UN. They can block any deal in UN, which concerns them. India does not. Can India walk out of UN, when Chinese have an upper hand there?

The eleventh question is the Chinese ASAT test. China has tested its anti-satellite weapon India has not. Will India be able to destroy Chinese assets in space?

The twelfth question is the Chinese economy and economic influence. Chinese economy can sustain a long war with India. Can Indian economy sustain it? Chinese economic power spans from Latin America to Africa. Even USA and Russia have Chinese as major trading partner. How much can India influence?

The final question is Does India fully understands the Chinese threat.

The Name is Khan!

Sharukh, Abdul Kalam, Mamooty,Imran Khan and even Kamal Hasan (2002) have something in common. They were all detained in US immigration authorities in US. All of them are Muslim or have name similar to a Muslim name. Many other famous and not-so-famous Indians have been subjected to such harassment by the US authorities in the past. This racial profiling of people and their detention under suspicion that they are terrorists is not a fair practice.

One can understand the tight security drill followed by the US after the 9/11 attacks. No one objects to security checks but at the same time, they should be careful in detaining people and should allow people to prove themselves. It is not the right way to screen the suspected terrorists.

At the same time, I admire their system and work culture. In the US, if a junior officer is following the rulebook, nobody can do anything about it. In India, the powerful and famous are used to making calls to their ‘contacts’ in right places and getting away from difficult situations, but things don’t work like that in the US. I wish we too had such a security system in place.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

62 Years of Independence—Mera Bharat Mahaan

62 years after attaining Independence we the citizens of most populace nation in the world, still are struggling for eradicating poverty, illiteracy, corruption. We still are struggling for development in Roti, Kapada, Makaan, Health, Education, Security, Infrastructure facilities. Add Water and Food security to this list this year onwards.

Vande maataraM sujalaaM suphalaaM malayaja shiitalaaM SasyashyaamalaaM maataram

No sujalaaM
No suphalaaM
And this year No SasyashyaamalaaM

Phir bhi Mera Bharaat Mahaan

Our neighbors always try to destabilize our nation. Device long term strategies to contain us, dream to disintegrate us in 30 pieces but still our netaas just focus on their ‘kursi’ and cannot think beyond that. 62 years after Independence, they beg votes in the name of development. Jai Ho!

We fight in the name of regions, religion, caste and fight for tag called ‘most backward’. We want freebies, concessions, free seats at the expense of others.
Phir bhi Mera Bharaat Mahaan

We take things light. We follow the rules of land while abroad but back home we are ‘Daadas’. People die because of viruses and famine but our government is lethargic and busy projecting the brand image of their party at expense of welfare of the people.
Phir bhi Mera Bharaat Mahaan

Ours is a big democratic country in the world but only a few follows its spirit. We go on ‘Dharna’, agitate, and even stone those who make talk against our views. We do not care for freedom of expression. We ban movies that ran without any hitch outside India. Our media worried just for their TRP ratings
Phir bhi Mera Bharaat Mahaan

Yes Mera Bhaarat Mahaan because we live in harmony to the maximum extent unless disturbed by vested political interests. We struggle to compete and grow irrespective of any support from government or from any other nation. We are patient and only blame our fate than questioning the government and do not participate in voting. All the growth the country witnessed is just because of the private sector. We have people who fight for others. We have people who sacrifice their lives for a cause. We have all kinds of people and we have FREEDOM. Yes, India is the only country in the world where anyone can do anything without the fear of the ‘State’.

Mera Bharat Mahaan.
Jai Ho!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Swine Flu and Hindu culture

Since the outbreak of swine flu, Pune is worst affected with almost a death every day so far.

The best way to prevent Swine Flu spreading is asking patient having symptoms of flu like fever cough and running nose to take a lot of water, to wash hands whenever it is in use and take rest at home for 4 days so he does not transmit it. Masks are of limited value in this disease. This virus can spread through droplets on your skin, through contact etc, and I have seen that the masks in Pune are worn as fashion statement, while walking on road today morning I saw people wearing masks coming out for a morning walk with their dogs!, many wearing masks around their necks, and so on. Instead, avoiding crowded places or cinema halls or malls where air conditioners are on, is advisable, because you get re-circulated air, where the virus density multiplies.

If you remember, 2 years ago SARS was blown out of proportion, what happened? Humans develop immunity to the virus, the same is going to happen, we develop immunity in due course of time, the virus is in the air, you cannot stop it, our body is already developing the immunity so nothing to panic. We need to take care of children and elderly who have less immunity and do not let them go to crowded place that is all. I am amazed to hear that people are selling masks of RS 20 each that are available to less than Rupee 1 in the market and N95 variety which normally costs around Rs 90 is sold at Rs 250 to 300. Look, who is benefitted?You might what it does have to do with Hindu culture. Hindu culture believes and follows one principle called ‘Prevention is better than cure.’

Purity and its opposite, pollution, are vitally important in Hindu culture. Purity is of three forms -- purity in mind or speech or thought, body and deed. Purity is the pristine and natural state of the soul. Impurity, or pollution, is the obscuring of this state by adulterating experience and beclouding conceptions.

1. Greeting: Now-a-days many Hindus are accustomed to the Western habit of handshaking. Others, however, prefer to press their palms together, and give a simple bow. In the East, you always greet in a non-contact way, so that in Hinduism, the method is "Namaste," then bow, and already you brought the good will of the person. What "Namaste" means is, "I worship the divine within you." This way we maintain a hygienic distance from one another.

2. Hugging and Embracing: Hugging and embracing is found in Hindu culture; but it is restricted to close relatives, Guru/disciples and associates that too in a private place. In Mahabharata and Ramayana, we find this very often. Hugging and Embracing improves pranic energy and this practice is not allowed with strangers.

3. THE LEFT HAND: In Hindu culture the left hand is considered impure because it is used (with water) in the place of toilet paper for personal hygiene after answering the call of nature. Handing another person anything with the left hand is considered a subtle insult.

4. SHOES: Shoes are considered impure. The cultured Hindu never wears shoes or sandals inside a temple or shrine, nor in his home or the homes of other Hindus. Carrying shoes in the hands from one part of the premises to another is also avoided. An ultimate insult is to be struck with a shoe.

When talking to elders or revered persons, we were told to cover the mouth with you palm so that they can feel our bad breath. Washing your feet, hands and mouth is compulsory when return home, after nature calls, before, and after having food. We were told to drink water from glass or a tumbler without a contact to the lips. Women during their menstrual period often asked to stay separately and prohibited to participate in the household work. Sex with a woman who is in menstrual period is prohibited.

When we look at these rules/instructions in a more scientific way then we would understand how much importance was given to hygiene in Hindu culture. Now in the modern times it became a fashion to follow western culture. We ape them and now imported viruses like swine flu contaminate us. The medical fraternity advocates preventive measures, which are part of Hindu culture that are almost forgotten in the urban India.

Jai Ho!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vaanprastha Ashram

Ashram refers to a stage or phase in the life of a Hindu. There are four accepted ashrams. These are: Brahmacharya, for studying; Grihastha as a married man and householder; Vaanaprastha, for performing penance in a forest; and Sanyasa, for renouncing worldly attachments.

According to the Manusmriti, the span of a human life is 100 years. Every Hindu man was to spend a part of his life in each of the four ashrams to fulfill his obligations: to the sages by studying, to his ancestors by raising male progeny, to the gods by performing penance and sacrifices, and for the salvation of his soul (see Moksha) by renouncing the world. This was assuming, of course that he lived his full life span.

Vaanaprastha stage indicates the beginning of old age. Living away from society in the forest, he should live simply, perform sacrifices, and prepare to renounce all worldly associations. A man may take his wife to live with him in the Vaanaprastha ashram, in which he stays until he is 70 years of age. He then returns from the forest and a purification ceremony initiates him into the Sanyasa ashram.

In this last phase, a man renounces wealth and worldly pleasures, and is called a sanyasi. He is completely detached from the rest of the world giving up even those family ties allowed in Vaanaprastha.

This division of a man's life into different phases followed a practical rationale. In the earlier part of his life, a man is more open to ideas and instruction, since his thoughts have not yet taken a definite shape. His energies and capabilities are unused and can be best channeled into learning, as in the Brahmacharya ashram. The next 25 years are spent in the Grihastha ashram, where a man uses the knowledge he gained as a student to live a complete life and enjoys worldly pleasures without a sense of guilt. After 50 years, the physical senses become weaker but inner strength increases. Satiated with the world, a man turns to the spiritual aspects of life in the Vaanaprastha ashram. He goes on pilgrimages and slowly detaches himself from worldly affairs. After a point, he realizes that all attachments, even to his wife, are no longer necessary, and he has the ability to completely isolate himself mentally from the world. This marks the Sanyasa ashram, which is the last stage in a man's life