Saturday, April 9, 2011


So the new financial year has begun, so shall be the plan for the financial health of the country, the corporate sector and all prudent people who want to do their arithmetic and put their yearly figures in place so that there are less and less unpleasant surprises.
Yes, among the financial planners, who was most worked up and presented his figures to the nation was the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Over a month ago, on 28th Feb., the budget that he gave to the nation was rather more conservative than expected. At least one chartered accountant called it UNJUST, INEQUITABLE & MORALLY WRONG. But frankly there was nothing to really cheer about. Biggest disappointment was the allocation for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. While it is to the credit of UPA II for putting in place RTE (Right to Education), the outlay in the budget to further the ambit of RTE is rather a let down. The modest increase of 10%, if adjusted to inflation, shall only mean a negligible increase. Rest of plus and minus is not likely to make any far reaching changes for the better for the aam aadmi. Of course the business community has hailed it as positive for growth. But then, the liberalisation has always helped in the statistical growth, rich became richer and poor poorer. That has been India’s growth story of recent years.
There was this news about film actress Hema Malini being elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka. While I & C does not give a damn about it, the issue of wasting of a Rajya Sabha seat over somebody whose worth in terms of deliberation at the upper house of the parliament is nil, is indeed very sad. Except the glamour quotient what else this pretty lady can provide to the august house! Besides she is not a local, she is a ‘Tambram’ married to a Punjabi. Of course PM Manmohan Singh too do not belong to Assam from where he got elected to the Rajya Sabha. But then, he is in a different league alto-gether. It is another matter that it didn’t disturb his conscience when he declared that he is an Assamese while filing his papers. But then in India most things of this nature is just passé. Even media do not debate it.
The story of Wasil Khan, a migrant labourer, is neither uncommon nor it, unfortunately, disturbs the conscience of civil society. A Bihari, by birth and therefore an Indian citizen, was about to be deported to Pakistan. It was way back in 2000, that he was picked up by the Punjab police in Pathankot, where he was doing odd jobs, a farmhand, a lorry cleaner etc. He was allegedly used by the police to cook for some seniors. However it was in 2002 police allegedly made him a scape-goat and slapped a case of terror, on G.T. Road at Sirhand town. It is a known trick of some of the police in India, to find ‘bakraas’ to wash their hands off or to build up cases to boost their number. But they forget the inhumanity inflicted on such hapless victims of time and circumstances. It took 9 long years for him to experience the freedom. Having been-incarcerated by the inhuman police, including third degree methods and false charges, he was released for lack of evidence. All along, he was accused of being a Pakistani terrorist. It was only when he managed to write a letter to his sister, who came calling, along with her lawyer husband, to Amritsar, when this Wasil Khan was being readead for being deported to Pakistan, things got completely over turned. Now the question is what about his 9 years lost and the suffering that he has so wrongfully undergone? Who will make good his agony and who will be made accountable for this dastardly act of commission and omission. We have been witnessing these high handed police conduct, especially when it came to Muslim youths, on different occasions. Of course, there have been cases involving persons of other communities as well, getting caught in the wrong side of the law. Police need to be sensitised on such issues besides certain steps of accountability too has to be put in place to bring the people’s faith in the system, for the larger good.
The news headline “Supreme Court strikes down CVC Appointment” was an eminently avoidable piece of legislative action by the two most powerful men of New Delhi’s power elite. In most Indian languages there is this saying – inviting a trouble into your house, which is anyway going on the road without looking at you! Yes despite the 3rd member’s opposition, arrogance of power of the duo forced a questionable person as the country’s Chief of Vigilance, on an unsuspecting nation. In the words of R K Raghavan, the former CBI director, “the choice of P J Thomas (PJT) was downright arbitrary, illegal and laughable.” PJT too, instead of relinquishing the controversial appointment on his own with dignity, held on, to be unceremoniously asked to take a walk by the highest seat of judgement. Now even the President of India too has confirmed the judgement by cancelling the appointment of P J Thomas as the Central Vigilance Commissioner. The judgement of apex court is indeed a severe indictment of the central government’s lack of respect for institutional integrity, and exposed the high handedness of both the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram, in belittling the opposition of the dissenting member, Sushma Swaraj. Will the government learn its lessons of decency in public life?
Controversy involving the appointment of Maulana Dr Vastanvi as the Rector of Darul Uloom Deoband, shall only do good for the moribund stereotypes within the community. Most people always liked status quo and resisted change. It has to be agreed that every change does not mean progress. But every progress means change. Hence change is a must, whether we like it or not. If you stop going up, you start coming down. Dr Vastanvi represented change and therefore, insha allah, progress. Mercifully his supporters are finally rallying for him and hopefully he will continue to lead the seminary for the overall betterment of the youth of the community.
Assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the lone Christian minister in the Pakistani government, has only confirmed the doubt “Whither Pakistan!”. As was the earlier killing of Salman Taseer, the Punjab Governor, this too was on blasphemy issue. Something is seriously wrong with Pakistan and Christians are certainly hunted. But authorities refuse to accept the truth of the situation. In an evident attempt to counter the international reaction, the Foreign Ministry spokesman had reportedly said that ‘Bhatti’s killing should not be misconstrued as an example of persecution of Christians’. ‘Dil ko behlaane key liye Ghaalib yeh khayaal achcha hai’.
Among the many issues that need to be addressed between India and Pakistan is the issue of fake Indian currency that Pakistan has been smuggling into India through different international routes. It is an established secret that high quality counterfeit notes from across Pakistan, of hundreds of millions of rupees, are making into Indian financial system. A report by the U.S. state department informs that “India’s extensive informal economy, remittance system, pourous borders, strategic location, persistent corruption and historically onerous tax administration contributed to its vulnerability to financial and terrorist crimes.” This revelation has not come a day too early, but not much is being done either to protect the economy from this menace or to effectively tackle it by the law and order agencies across the country. Somehow there is a lurking feeling that nothing significant is happening on this serious front. May be Apex Court shall, suo moto, take up the issue and pull up the government as usual.
So Bofors case has temporarily been officially buried, courtesy Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Vinod Yadav, with the discharge of Quattrochi. It is strange but true that in this country, one wing of the government does not know, or does not want to act even if made known, about the status of the same case handled separately by two wings. There is a pending case of income tax due on Quattrochi but magistrate Yadav accepted the CBI contention that there is no case against Quattrochi. It is another matter that Advocate Ajay Kumar Agarwal who had opposed the CBI clearance of Quattrochi shall be going on appeal to High Court against CMM verdict. Here, knowing the details of the case of 25 years of this Bofors saga, how could a judge close his perceptive senses and pass judgement which is patently bad in law?
There was this report on Sprinkling Water System using what is called as Rain Gun. The contraption invented by farmer Annasaheb Bhavu Udagavi, of Chickodi Belgaum needs to be looked into for a larger good of farmers, saving of water and cost effectiveness to productivity. Developed and improved over a period of 2 decades, unfortunately, has not received any official attention. But then this is how officialdom works anyway. Annasaheb obviously appear happy that his invention has done him good and therefore can do good to others as well. Government would do well to recognise the efforts of a local farmer, so also, it can promote it for the greater utilisation by offering incentives to farmers. All governments shout from the rooftops, that they are all farmer friendly and keep doing something or the other to alleviate their hardships. But suicides continue. Here is an opportunity for the Karnataka government to get the system manufactured commercially and sell it cheaper to the farming community, with some understanding with Annasaheb Udgavi, and promote farmers welfare so also save the scarce water. What are the so called farmer friendly former Chief Ministers Deve Gowda, Kumaraswami and now Yediyurappa doing? Are you listening?
The paedophilia scandals that have rocked catholic church in Europe, United States and Brazil for quite sometime now has raised its ugly head in Philadelphia. Reportedly some 24 catholic priests have been suspended after being linked to an investigation into widespread child molestation. While expressing sorrow by the archbishop of Philadelphia for the sorry recurrence of abuse of minors under the care of members of the church is all very well, it needs to be appreciated, what makes these clergy what they are? If they have indulged in animal streaks on defenceless children, its only because their need to have ‘a go’, is forcibly curbed by the order. Surely, if this changes, so would the atmosphere within the 4 walls of churches. Yes, clergy should be allowed to marry. That is the only solution.
The news about ABVP activists beating a professor in Bhopal is really no news. In Madhya Pradesh, which is ruled by BJP, the student wing has taken law in its hand even on earlier occasions. Some years ago a Professor had succumbed to his injuries after an attack by ABVP activists. If this intimidating activities of students wing of BJP are not controlled, it will be only helping people like Digvijay Singh, a former M.P. strongman in proving him right, about saffron terror.
The appointment of PJ Thomas as CVC and the subsequent squashing by the Apex Court and the Presidential confirmation of the same did force the PM/HM duo on the back foot, to reluctantly accept the responsibility for the mess. However for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to find an alibi for his ‘apparent’ lack of knowledge of PJ Thomas’ background, to the clumsy submission of details by the Minister of the State for Personnel Prithviraj Chavan, is rather in bad taste. Chavan was a minister under PM and for him to publicly castigate a junior under him is patently wrong and displays his leadership quality where he didn’t protect his junior. PM Manmohan Singh may be clean man but is he honest as well? When SM Krishna publicly accused Secretary Pillai for his remarks in Pakistan, sometime ago, SMK was ticked off by the media, nobody took on the Prime Minister when he similarly accused a junior minister under him.
The decision to have joint retreat ceremony at the border posts between India and Bangladesh shall have its salutary fallouts. It should do well for both countries. Bangladesh under Shk. Hasina is certainly India friendly and things within the country too are looking up for Bangladesh. India must do everything to strengthen the hands of Shk. Hasina, in the larger interest of both countries. Unlike Pakistan, Bangladesh under her is certainly a credible trustworthy ally. Joi Bongla!
Devastation brought about by the earthquake and the tsunami that followed has wrecked the backbone of Northern Japan. Pacific plate, biggest of all tectonic plates below the Japanese land mass shook itself, to cause the tsunami that led to unprecedented calamity across the northern part of island nation. The loss has been colossal and visuals, mind numbing. Of course as a nation, Japan is definitely better placed to manage catastrophes’ of this nature, while the size and extent of the damage is mind boggling. But it is a reality Japan has to come to terms with. It is also a reality that the rest of the world should take note and be prepared for such an eventuality. Yes India may have the good fortune of not having these tectonic plates around its ocean proximity, but then chain reaction will always be there.
Another disaster following the tsunami were the destruction of Nuclear Reactors in that part of Japan which were feared to be on their way of becoming another Chernobyl. The radio active leak therein, have already rang the alarm bell. Yes for a long time Japan enjoyed the electricity through nuclear power. Is it the time to pay back?! Yes, nothing comes free. So do we accept a nuclear holocaust, for the energy for economic development? It’s a question with multiple dimension. Yes, man’s avarice has always landed him in trouble. But he has never learnt his lessons. But in a world where might is right, it is the weak and vulnerable who become victims of development, for the rich and powerful to have a ball. Yes life goes on. Inequity in the system goes on. Or as Pakistanis have branded Gandhism as Mazboori Ka Naam Mahatma Gandhi!?, where nonviolence is termed as the virtue of weak and powerless!!
Yes in the wake of Japanese nuclear disaster, do we, in India, learn our lessons or close our eyes like the proverbial cat, and, ignore at our own peril? There have been different and differing noises from different quarters. Hope wisdom prevails for the better of the country and by extension, for the better of the world at large.
Identity problems of a certain section of Muslims has again come to the fore, when Shanna Bukhari, a Pak-origin woman from London started receiving life threats for her decision to represent Britain in a global beauty pageant, Miss Universe contest. Their complaint is ‘she is denigrating Islam’. Can a great religion be belittled by a scantily clad woman? Best these protectors of Islam can do, is to disown her, without any threat of violence.
Although this action too shall mean violation of the lady’s human right. At least this shall be non-violent and gives other side some freedom and right of their own to protest. Mind you, this is happening in a multi-cultural show case of London. But look at India, we can boast of many Muslim beauty queens who have walked on the ramp, equally scantily clad, for these beauty pageants. And some of them have won these contests, both in India and abroad, and the matured Indian crowd accepted them as a part of the nonsense that a modern society has to live with. After all these beauty contests are of no-social value and primarily represent a decadent culture. Mera Bharath Mahan.
The decision of the politburo of CPI (M) to give election ticket to V S Achutanandan (VSA), the Kerala CM, has sent Malayaalees all over the state delirious with joy. VSA may be bit controversial due to his acerbic observations, but he is a darling of the masses. There is something akin in VSA to that of George Fernandese – controversial but a crowd puller. After EMS Namboodaripad, VSA is the best CM that Kerala has seen in terms of popularity, honesty and sincerity. Unlike Karnataka and many other states, qualities of honesty and sincerity of its leaders, play a very significant role among Kerala electorates. Originally, the party had denied ticket to VSA, and it’s the people who forced the hand of party leadership. Thus VSA factor can be a decisive factor as Kerala goes to poll on April 13. Jai ho VOX POPULI.
The granting of bail to alleged money launderer and other economic offender, the infamous Hassan Ali, is a kind of slap on the face to the Enforcement Directorate of Government of India. Despite following the case for over 3 years, for the abysmal failure of ED to make a case for custodial interrogation for a longer period, is a very poor reflection on the country’s premier wing of enforcing economic discipline. For the special court judge Tahaliyani to observe “No case is made out for the custody of the accused” is a certificate of monumental proportion on the very credibility of ED. That is bad and sad. But those who took the rap, were visibly not upset with the observations of higher courts which heard ED challenging the bail order of the special court. The apparent lack of seriousness, as observed by the higher courts have not really spurred the ED to move fast and decisive. Doesn’t this attitude tell that there are more pressing agendas from some unseen background players who are probably holding controlling ropes of the game of puppetry?
The malaise afflicting the pilot licencing in India is not surprising at all. In a country where one can get anything and everything for a price, a pilot licence, is no big deal. That DGCA’s daughter was the first one to be exposed is not the news. Because, with a very few exceptions, most babus have used their office to the benefit of their progeny. That the pilot shall be risking the lives of thousands of air travellers is simply not the concern of these babus. Of course they did take care that such pilots have only worked as co-pilots with the active co-operation of the management of the airlines for mutual consideration, with hopefully, the co-pilot learning the tricks of flying little better with passing time. However what is sadly shocking is the sabotaging by the licencing authority the very process of testing, by declaring less than 2% as cleared. So that, when money starts chiming jingle bells, this pass percentage start moving up. So you make only those persons with money to make the grade. Thus, those who are good but do not have the money, remain cheated of the development, which successive governments always shouted from the roof top, that it is near double digit. Yes the lot of average Indian shall ever remain below national averages which are otherwise grabbed by money power, a sad dimension of Yeh Mera India.
“Even if the literal interpretation of the law results in the hardship or inconvenience, it has to be followed” observed justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra, stressing that the job of the court is not to legislate, but to respect the legislation as enacted by the legislature of elected representatives. Law, not equity, must prevail, ruled apex court, while setting aside a Full Bench Kerala High Court judgement of 2006. High Court in Kerala had upheld the promotion of general category candidates for the post of Block Development officers. While, it is true that it is the prerogative of the legislature to make the law, it needs to be appreciated in all its global view, that the end of every law should be justice with equity not just judgement. In a scenario where judgement and justice are not one and the same, judiciary should stand sentinel and should be like a lamp post in the dark ally of interpreting law according to the pleading ability of lawyers. We have seen innumerable instances of miscarriage of justice by the sheer skill and the vocal power of the lawyer representing the litigant. Hope someday both legislature and judiciary appreciate this aspect of the whole exercise of democratic polity.
The death by suicide of V.Saseendran and his sons, is a very sad development in Kerala. 46 year old Saseendran who was the Company Secretary & Finance Manager of Malabar Cements had resigned in Oct. 2010, after writing to V S Achutanandan, the Kerala CM, about the widespread financial irregularities in the Company. But reportedly, he had withdrawn all the charges vide another letter. But in matter of months reportedly he committed suicide. But did he really commit suicide? Very unlikely, tells his brother V.Sanalkumar. According to him, “Saseendran was very attached to his children and their family life was peaceful”. So, could it be a murder? The possibilities are not ruled out. Sanalkumar further informs “There were numerous corrupt deals in the Malabar Cements, which were being investigated by vigilance. My brother was a key witness in all the cases of corruption in the company. And he was a person with impeccable integrity and we will go to any extent to uncover the truth”.
Significantly within two months of the suicide, CBI on 21st March, filed an FIR at the Kochi CJM Court naming, the MD of Malabar Cements, Sundara Murthy, his P.A. Surya Narayanan and contractor V M Radhakrishnan, a high profile businessman, as accused. Earlier report had even suggested John Mathai, a former Chief Secretary and former Chairman of the Company as one of the accused.
V.Saseendran was a whistleblower and the government of VSA should do everything to get to the truth and make everybody involved accountable, in the harshest way possible.
Wikileaks, whether we like it or not, has come to stay. Everybody, means, everybody whether media, ruling party or opposition, all are using it to their advantage and to the disadvantage of their opponents. But sad part is media is unfortunately taking sides as it suites its agenda. While all those who are affected shall conveniently say that its all crap, nothing to substantiate the claim, but shall mouth the opposite as per the suitability of the leak. Naturally both Congress and BJP are the most affected parties, since one is ruling and the other, the main opposition. Of course The Hindu had published extensively these cables but it also hyped its anti-BJP bias in its placement of report. This is a poor reflection on the good job otherwise done. It could have been more unbiased and circumspect.
The new introduction of “Expenditure Agents” (EA) to keep track of poll expenditure by candidates has not come a day too early. In fact most candidates belonging to all major political parties have invariably spent more than what they have always declared. Hence this will checkmate flagrant show of money by some candidates. But the truth of the matter is, EA is equally and more importantly required in public domain. One of the reasons of price rise is the expenditure by people with means to unaccounted sources of income. This has to be controlled in the interest of fairness and justice. Those with unaccounted money spend their resources with abandon, and this need to be checked and made accountable by the income tax department. In fact all expenditure should be added back to the income to arrive at the real income, to tax those who spend with impunity.
Sometime Election Commission also does not know what is right and what is not right, in its zeal. High Court in Kerala has rightly set aside an EC order on rice scheme, extending it to fresh beneficiaries. EC had ordered that Govt should not do it as the election code of conduct is in force. But since it is only an extension of the existing law of supplying rice at Rs 2/- per kg, covering those who were left out earlier are being included in the latest govt. orders the court took a considered stand, in the interest of BPL families.
If politics of development is not limited to I.T. notices to inconvenient opponents, it has also spread to religious handouts. While, Apex Court, sometime in Jan., decided to examine “Shall there be a Muslim and Christian Dalit quota?”, under the category of Scheduled Castes, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, recently has gone on record, telling some Christian leaders, who called on him, that he shall look into the question of quota for dalits among Christians. Supreme Court took some 6 years, to have a look at the issue after it was brought before the bench. Of course it shall go into all aspects of the beginning of reservation based on birth. Primarily caste is one of the main irritant in the Hindu social structure. Historically there have been categorisation of Hindu society based on their occupation and those who were denied of the opportunity to advance, have remained backward. Of course the accident of birth into so-called upper and lower caste has, over the years, widened the gulf vastly, and state intervention became necessary, at least for the first 10/20 years of post independent India. Thus the constitution makers provided some 10 years reservation in educational institutions and government jobs for these Scheduled Caste and Tribes. But all political parties kept the issue alive for its vote bank politics for all the 63 years of free India. It is true that a section of SC/ST have managed to corner the benefits of reservation rightly or wrongly. Thus, it is disturbing those persons of SC/ST origin, who have consciously decided to change their religion for the social inequities attached to SC/ST status among Hindus. Hence, a section of Christians belonging to SC/ST are making the demand for similar reservation, again rightly or wrongly. On the face of it, the demand is not correct. Now it is left to the apex court to dwell on the issue to give a ruling. However in the middle of this controversy, there is this Mangalore date lined report in The Hindu, of 16th March, informing that South Karnataka Salafi Movement is opposed to the whole idea of reservation for Dalit Muslims. According to its leaders, 'the move to give 'Dalit Muslim’ tag to Dalits converted into Islam, is a conspiracy to divide Muslims. It would create hierarchy within the community, and therefore it has to be opposed.’ But the flipside is, caste is a Hindu concept, and therefore those who have left Hinduism because of this iniquitous system to opt for a more egalitarian religious order, should not, per se, angle for the benefits of those who are still suffering this malaise, just like those 5 Karnataka MLAs who were elected as Independent, but joined BJP government, thus as courts have observed, they have lost their independent status, and hence if BJP has dismissed them for going against the government, these 5 MLAs have only asked for it. After all you can’t have the cake and eat it too.
International Women’s Day comes and goes as usual every year. It has become more symbolic these days so also demonstratively rhetoric. But, out there, there are innumerable members of the opposite sex, who suffer indignities, physical, mental, social and even economic. This malaise need to be regularly highlighted in the media with far more seriousness than what is seen. We have attempted to highlight the heroic struggle of two women, still living in the margins, but deserving public recognition at state and national levels, in the Focus. Hope you will find our efforts illuminating. Do revert with your thoughts. We value them. Rest as usual.


Many organisations in India, some non-government, some government, are still observing and celebrating International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day came and went into history as just another day on 8th March. Speeches were made, and rallies by girl students organised, some women honoured and then it was another passing show, until the 8th March, the following year. When we talk about Women’s International Day in India, we end up mostly talking about the political representation of women in legislatures and parliament, which is abysmally low, despite convenient liberal rhetorics. Then we see the images of political and influential who’s who in the electronic media. But this 24x7 electronics media, who make or mar people in their misplaced hype, never had much of time for glamourless and faceless grass root women, who have quietly influenced course of events and have in the process, left a trail of footprints on the shifting sands of time.
One such person is Usha Narayane. Many would scratch their head as to who this Usha is? She is unfortunately recognised by the world around her as a Dalit. Surely she had no roll in being classified as one. She grew up in a slum called Kasturba Nagar in Nagpur. She is unmarried and reportedly preferring to work and study. People of the slum had high hopes in her personal progress. She is a diploma holder in Hotel Management and was working for a call-centre. In fact she was about to embark on a life changing journey. But alas, that was not to be. Thanks for the civil society indifferene to the problems of have nots and the repressive police which is unduly hard and harsh on poor and vulnerable.
Also living in the vicinity was Bharath alias Akku Yadav in his thirties. A notorious goon, who lived on his own terms, terrorising the slum people. Residents of Kasturba Nagar reportedly stated that he murdered at least three persons and dumped their bodies on railway tracks. They had reported his crimes to the police dozens of times. Each time he was arrested, he was released on bail.
But reportedly, it was rape that this Akku used, to break the morale and humiliate the residents of the colony. A rape victim lives in every other house in the slum, stated residents of Kasturba Nagar. According to reports, he violated women to control men, ordering his henchmen to drag even girls as young as 12 to a nearby old building to gang rape them.
He and his gang of thugs were a terror to some 300 families of Kasturba Nagar for over a decade, barging into their homes at will, shouting threats, demanding money and sex. Dozens of this Akku’s victims reported the crime to the police. But he was never charged with rape. Instead, the women of slum say, the police would inform Akku about who complained against him and he would come after them with vengeance. According to residents, the report informs that the police were hand-in-glove with him. He reportedly used to feed police officers with bribes and drinks and in turn they protected him.
Stories were, that police would turn the case against the complainants saying that “you are a loose woman hence he raped you”, or that “you are having affair with him” and would send them away.
Akku Yadav, who started as a petty criminal graduated as a robber and murderer, indulged freely in extortion and rape for years on. He had 24 cases of murder, dacoity, robbery and extortion tell the police, ‘but no case of rape’. The residents of Kasturba Nagar slum are vociferous in their disagreement and claim that there were at least 20 cases where families of victims have left the colony to live outside.
Thus it was a life of helplessness for these women of Kasturba Nagar with nobody to rescue them from the abyss of this blind ally.
Of course the slum dwellers looked at Usha as their rallying point, because of her education and no-nonsense approach to their problems but she was woman too. That’s how Akku Yadav once dared to take her on. Sometime around end of July 2004, he comes calling and threatens her that he would throw acid on her and rape her. He targeted her because she was outspoken and with her lawyer brother-in-law had stood up to him on some occasions. Usha had reportedly stated that “He attacked only the poor, who wouldn’t have the courage to go to police to inform, and even if they go, he knew police wouldn’t listen to them. But he made a mistake of threatening me. Female residents of the colony felt that if I was attacked, no woman would ever be safe.”
Thus started the talk-how to take on this rowdy Akku. Sensing the development, he disappeared. Usha and her lawyer Brother-In-law approached the Deputy Commissioner bypassing the local police officers, he reportedly provided a house for them and promised to look for the brigand.
On Aug. 6, 2004, hundreds of residents smashed his empty house to rubble. On the same evening they reportedly learnt that Akku Yadav had ‘surrendered’ and was in police custody. For the safety of the goon, it was an arrangement between him and the police, claimed Usha.
By now the atmosphere within the Kasturba Nagar colony was getting charged. They didn’t want to die everyday. They decided to act to-gether and act decisively, come what may.
The next day he was due to appear at the city’s district court and 500 slum residents reportedly gathered. As Yadav arrived one of his henchmen tried to pass him a knife wrapped in a blanket under the very nose of the police. After the women protested, the accomplice was arrested and Yadav was taken back into custody. While being taken back, he had reportedly threatened to return to teach every woman in the slum, a lesson, with police being mute witness.
Under the visible circumstances, if women of the slum thought that this rapist murderer Akku Yadav, would again be released on bail and he would return to haunt them, it was the reality that was staring at them. They had to act. Laughed at and abused by the police when they reported being physically assaulted by Yadav, the women took the law into their own hands.
So, on 13th Aug. 2004, when he was brought to the court, women of Kasturba Nagar slum colony decided to hit and hit hard.
They had already gathered in the court premises, 200 of them, discretely armed with vegetable knives, chilli powder and stones. As he walked in, Yadav spotted one of the women he had physically assaulted. He called her a prostitute and threatened to repeat the crime against her. The police, reportedly laughed. Enraged, the woman took off her sandal and began hitting the goon, shouting “Its either you or me, both can’t live on this earth together.”
What followed was the most devastatingly deafening statement, loud and clear, on the monumental degeneration of criminal justice delivery system in the largest democracy.
For the already incensed crowd, the woman’s shouting was like a war cry and Akku Yadav was attacked from all sides, right in the court premises. Two terrified policemen guarding him ran away. In 15 minutes it was all over. The notorious gunda dropped dead on the shiny white marble floor of the Nagpur district court.
Women had reportedly thrown chilli powder on his face and attacked him with stones and knives. His penis was reportedly hacked by one of the women by a vegetable knife, and was inflicted with over 70 stab wounds. That this rowdy was killed inside the so-called temple of justice made the entire episode epochal by any standard.
“It was not calculated” says Usha. “It was not a case that we all sat and planned the attack. It was an emotional outburst. Women of the colony decided, that if necessary, they would all go to prison, but this man would never come back to terrorise them”.
As expected police arrested some 5 women and released them following demonstration across the city. Every woman living in Kasturba Nagar claimed responsibility for the killing of Yadav. “We have all done it together, arrest us all” they told the police.
As The Guardian’s Rekha Prasad wrote “Nagpur is counted among India’s fastest growing cities. Yet the experience of the women of Kasturba Nagar is a parallel tale of how everyday life in India’s back streets is stuck in the past. Splashed across the country’s news papers, the gory image of Yadav’s blood on the court room floor was a lesson in the consequences of a state unable to protect the weak and the vulnerable”.
After the incident some well known civil society voices were heard pleading for women as victims rather than accused. Justice BhauVahane, a retired high court judge had reportedly gone on record saying, “In the circumstances they underwent, they were left with no choice but to finish Akku. The women repeatedly pleaded with police for their security. But the police failed to protect them”.
As usual police had to find a scapegoat. They charged Usha Narayane, the most educated and vocal among these slum dwellers. Among the charges reportedly leveled against Usha were some of India’s most serious offences, including crimes amounting to treason. Usha claims, she “was not in the court when the killing took place, but was in the slum collecting signatures for a mass complaint against Akku Yadav. Police accuse me of planning the murder and that I started it. They made me a scapegoat. I have been singled out because I was the most vociferous critic of the police. Yes, my being educated did inspire the community” she admits.
Years passed and case is still to be heard according to some source. But some 4th estate sources from Nagpur informs that case is closed. But the world has not heard of the last word on Usha Narayane. Reportedly, she is unrepentant. May be somebody, somewhere has to take up her case as a model for Stree Shakthi. She is not merely woman but a Dalit at that. She deserves to be an icon among those so called emancipated women haggling for political power and more power.
Another inspiring story is that of Chandrapati of Karora village in Haryana. She was out and out non-descript person in an equally non-descript village. But events catapulted her to a stage of a real life heroine, something civil society could have always done but shied away from doing. Because, they do not have time, as a rule, for ISSUES & CONCERNS. Yes, we have Renuka Chaudharies, Brinda Karats and of course Sonia Gandhies and Sushma Swarajs, all pleading for women’s causes. But all of them put together have not done much to ameliorate the issues concerning women of India in general and rural women in particular.
But this non-descript Chandrapati emerged as trail blazer of an unusual kind. Married at 15 and widowed by the following 18. She mothered two daughters and two sons and was a dutiful mother to all of them. After spending 5 years in Kanpur, where her husband was a soldier with the Indian army, rest of the life was back in the village.
Despite the absence of husband, life of this mother and her 4 children went on uneventfully. Chandrapati’s elder son Manoj, by 2007, already was of marriageable age and started showing interest in one Babli of the same village. While, both were interested in getting married, problem was that they both belonged to the same family lineage or the gothra, as is called among Hindus. The marital alliances within the same gothra were reportedly looked down upon by the council of village elders, or what is called as Khap Panchayats. Despite the apparent disapproval of these councils, couple secretly got married in a temple outside their village and got the marriage registered, sometime in April 2007. Mothers of both the girl and the boy, reportedly didn’t mind, since it was the choice of the couple and parents had no other role except to bless the couple, was their take. Every thing looked alright for a while. Unfortunately that was not to be.
Relatives of the girl, her brother, cousins, uncles and her grand father who was the pradhan of the village Khap Panchayat, did not approve of the marriage. The family of the girl approached the local Khap Panchayat which cancelled the marriage and announced a social boycott of boy’s family. Apprehending trouble couple approached court which gave them protection. Reportedly, police who accompanied the couple slipped mid-way. Fearing the worst, couple decided to escape to Delhi, but the trailing relatives of the girl caught up with the couple and stopped the bus they were travelling in, and took the couple away, only to be killed, and their bodies thrown into a Barnala Link Canal in Hissar.
Suspecting foul play, Chandrapati had complained to Bhutana Police Station and an FIR was filed on 20th June. On 23rd June 2007, the mutilated bodies of Manoj and Babli were found.
Being without husband and having lost the son, who was the only earning member of the family, it was extremely difficult for Chandrapathi to pursue the case.
Undeterred, with no help from any local quarters she fought valiantly all the troubles and impediments created by the village folks at the behest of Khap Panchayat. Police had arrested all the accused in the mean while.
For almost 3 years, the case went on, in the Kaithal district court.
On 29th March 2010, after 33 months and 50 hearings, district judge Vani Gopal Sharma found the accused guilty of conspiracy, kidnapping, murder and destroying the evidence. The next day on 30th March, for the first time in Haryana State history, a death penalty verdict was announced in the double murder case for the five accused. All the five accused were the girl’s close relatives. Court convicted the Khap Panchayat pradhan to life sentence, who was also the grand father of the girl Babli, with the driver of the vehicle used in the kidnap, getting 7 years imprisonment.
The court also held 6 policemen guilty of dereliction of duty and asked for departmental action against them.
While Times of India had hailed 55 year old Chandrapati’s spirited struggle for justice as ‘Mom Courage’, so also other news papers did cover the issue, not much has been done to keep such fighting souls, in the national limelight. It needs to be highlighted again and again to inform our citizenry that, what politicians and highly placed educated bureaucrats could not do, an unlettered, unsung villager fought her way through the labyrinth called Indian criminal judicial system to emerge triumphant to give lessons in true leadership and leave her unmistakable footprints in the annals of women’s empowerment.
It is to the credit of Chandrapati that she is still pursuing the case to get the life sentence of Ganga Raj, the Khap Pradhan, converted to death sentence. However she rues “I am fighting, but my son died only because the girls male relatives could kill their own sister. As long as men can kill their own daughters, what change will there be?
That is indeed a very sad dimension of this Mera Bharath Mahan!
At this point what needs to be written is the shoddy representation of issues in the main stream media. While they only chase celebrities and the glamour world for their own market share of USP, they forget their duty in a country like India, where marginalised, weak and vulnerable are routinely treated. The Week magazine recently covered a young Indian lady Chhavi Rajawat on its cover page as SARPANCH, MBA. It was the story of an MBA graduate who quit her city life and returned to her family village to work as sarpanch. While this young lady certainly deserved her day in the sun, the media should never ignore or mock the valiant struggle of people like Usha Narayane and Chandrapati by forgetting to keep remembering such fighting souls. After all it is people like Usha and Chandrapati who truly empower women on the margins of our national life. Media need to celebrate such spirits and there are very many of them beyond the media glare.


PM vis-à-vis CVC/ PJT
Prime Minister Dr. Sardar Manmohan Singh, is the most qualified Prime Minister, any country in the world had. There are no two opinions about it. There are many admirable qualities he has. His demeanour is mild, he speaks softly. If you are in agreement with his views and actions, he is a very good boss. But during all these years, close to 7 years as the prime minister of worlds largest democracy, with greatest number of malnourished, hungry and illiterate population in the world, his style of functioning has been a subject of debate, criticism and derision in the Pan India media-both print and electronic.
He was a reluctant politician, but over the years he did display his ability at playing politically savvy cards and he also perfected his skill in remaining detached to the visible upheavals around his PMO and PMship. Thus he has reportedly once stated “I have a job to be completed hence I will not quit”, when asked why is he continuing in his job when his writ does not run. We all know that he works under tremendous pressure of coalition politics and pressure from his party colleagues and party hierarchy, besides of course that of party interest. Most people would have resigned after a series of events taking place which were apparently not to his liking, but had to go along for reasons best known to him, besides of course “he has a job to do”.
Looking back in perspective of the last over 6 decades of India as a free country, we are all aware of the tremendous progress we have made. Although we are not ready for the Super Power Status, we are entitled to dream, because of the partial and one sided progress that we have achieved. We are being recognised globally for our regional clout as an economic and scientific power house. But we are also aware that our economic development has been rather badly one sided. While we have a householder who owns a house worth $ 1 billion in Mumbai, we also have over 500 millions Indians still defecating in public without the privacy of a toilet. Yes we are close to 1200 million. It may be true that 700 million may be having decent living, but if over 40% of our population have been deceived of the developmental dividends, isn’t our growth iniquitous? We have huge developmental outlays but unfortunately these outlays are stymied by equally huge scams, of hundreds and thousands of crores. The Rajeev Gandhi arithmetic still holds good, of 15 paise reaching the target and 85 paise getting lost in transit. Thus corruption is the single biggest enemy of the equity in development. And fortunately the Prime Minister is fully aware of this and has expressed his serious concern. Just the other day, while speaking to State Chief Secretaries in New Delhi he had stated “Corruption dents India’s image, hampers good governance and needs to be tackled boldly and quickly”. Of course it is another matter, that he is neither quick nor bold and his 7 years stint has proved it.
While there are many dimensions to our problem of governance, the gargantuan issue of corruption takes the cake.
Among the human emotions, it is generally accepted that “fear is the most powerful of all emotions”. But corruption flourishes because of greed more greed and uncontrolled greed. In Indian conditions it has grown into uncontrollable proportion. Why? It is only because there is no fear of the law taking, its course, despite assertion by no less a person than the prime minister, to act, ‘quickly and boldly’. Yes, as the prime minister has stated, if there are quick and bold actions, the cancer of corruption would not be as bad as is evident, all over the country. We are all privy to the goings on all across the national spectrum in recent times, with skeletons of all kinds falling off the cupboard of all kinds of people, with administration and law enforcing authorities dragging its feet to take 'quick and bold’ action. All these ‘bold and quick’ actions would drive fear into the minds of people, whatever the persons status. There is a justifiable feeling among the ordinary Indians that law is there only for the powerless and moneyless, and the powerful end up buying the system itself. Although very belated, arrest of former minister Raja has had its ripple effects. But the only worry is, was this ‘too little too late’. Now lets come to this CVC/PJT imbroglio. This blue eyed boy of PM/HM combine, with some behind the scene God father/ God mother, was a non-descript secretary in Kerala Govt. of the then Chief Minister late K.Karunakaran (KK). The wily politician, Karunakaran was known as the greatest machinist in contemporary politics. During his tenure as CM, this now infamous Palmolein Oil import took place. Whole of Kerala is privy to the scandal. Based on complaint, a chargesheet was filed in 2000 against KK and eight others including PJT, who was the Food Secretary in the KK cabinet. The charge was that import was at a higher price, than the prevailing international price at that time and therefore it has caused loss of crores of rupees to the state exchequer and therefore to the nation. Since there was no element of fear in our legal system, the case dragged in the designated CBI court in Kerala, and the Supreme Court in its wisdom stayed the proceedings in Aug 2007. The inexorable time caught up with K.Karunakaran and on 23rd Dec. 2010, he passed away and paved the way for the Kerala’s LEFT Government to move the Supreme Court to vacate the stay. So the case has again come alive. In the meanwhile life moved on, so has PJT. He became Kerala, Chief Secretary, then Telecom Secretary and of course the Crème de la crème position of CVC. The last one was that of the Anti Corruption Czar, gifted by the agenda driven UPA bosses.
Of course good part of Indians would never have known much about the Palmolein Oil Import Scandals or this PJT, but for this high profile CVC appointment.
Power corrupts, they say. But they also say, absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is how, an arrogant UPA government forced this tainted PJT as the CVC, down the throat of an unsuspecting nation. “Mr Thomas choice was downright tendentious. It was made only to prove the point that ultimately it is the ruling clique that prevails in such matters, whatever noise the opposition may generate in protest” said R K Raghavan, the former CBI director. For good measure he had added “Persons in the background who constitute extra-constitutional centres of power, who may have driven hard to bring in Mr Thomas, must be squirming in their seats”.
Now you have this Supreme Court judgement, which set aside the appointment of CVC, for reasons best known to everybody that PJT was not the one with ‘impeccable integrity’ and that “there is a pending chargesheet in a CBI court”. But for the nation’s misfortune, both the Prime Minister and the federal Home Minister, both very learned and admired for their intelligence and competence, decided to ignore the fundamentals of any appointment, let alone a constitutionally very important appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner. They kept on defending the obviously indefensible in the face of nationwide ridicule.
What makes this case a singularly in bad taste, is the steamrolling of the opposition view, which was patently uncivil, especially when the gentlemen who forced it were of absolute pre-eminence in the ruling clique. It will probably go down as the most infamous decision of UPA outfit at centre.
How and why they did it and reduced themselves as a laughing stock shall remain a story for celluloid blockbuster a la James Bond 007 espionage.


The Hustler and the Hustled
I decided to focus my study of the underground economy on the three high-rise buildings that formed the core of J.T’s territory. I already knew quite a bit-that squatters fixed cars in the alleys, people sold meals out of their homes, and prostitutes took clients to vacant apartments-but I had never asked people how much money they made, what kind of expenses they incurred, and so on.
J.T. was far more enthusiastic about my project than I’d imagined he would be, although I couldn’t figure out why.
“I have a great idea, “he told me one day. “I think you should talk to all the pimps. Then you can go to all the whores. Then I’ll let you talk to all the people stealing cars. Oh, yeah! And you also have folks selling stolen stuff. I mean, there’s a whole bunch of people you can talk to about selling shoes or shirts! And I’ll make sure they cooperate with you. Don’t worry, they won’t say no.”
“Well, we don’t want to force anyone to talk to me,” I said, even though I was excited about meeting all these people. “I can’t make anyone talk to me.”
“I know,” J.T. said, breaking into a smile. “But I can.”
I laughed. “No, you can’t do that. That’s what I’m saying. That wouldn’t be good for my research.”
“Fine, fine,” he said. “I’ll do it, but I won’t tell you.”
J.T. arranged for me to start interviewing the pimps. He explained that he taxed all the pimps working in or
around his buildings: some paid a flat fee, others paid a percentage of their take, and all paid in kind by providing women to J.T.’s members at no cost. The pimps had to pay extra, of course, if they used a vacant apartment as brothel; they even paid a fee to use the stairwells or a parking lot.
As I began interviewing the pimps, I also befriended some of the freelance prostitutes like Clarisse who lived and worked in the building. “Oh, my ladies will love the attention,” Clarisse said when I asked for help in talking to these women. Within two weeks I had interviewed more than twenty of them.
Between these conversations and my interviews with the pimps, some distributions began to emerge. The prostitutes who were managed by pimps (these women were known as “affiliates”) had some clear advantages over the “independents” who worked for themselves. The typical affiliate was beaten up far less frequently – about once a year, as against roughly four times a year for the independents. The affiliates also earned about twenty dollars per week more than the independents, even though their pimps took a 33 percent cut. (Twenty dollars wasn’t a small sum, considering that the average Robert Taylor prostitute earned only about one hundred dollars per week.) And I never heard of an affiliate being killed in the line of work, whereas in one recent two-year stretch three independents were killed.
But the two types of prostitutes had much in common. Both groups had high rates of heroin and crack use, and they were bound to the projects, where the demand for sex came mostly from low-income customers. At the truck stops on the other side of the Dan Ryan Expressway-barely a mile away from Robert Taylor but a different ecosystem entirely-a different set of pimps catered to a clientele of white truckers who paid more than the typical black customer in a housing project. Around Robert Taylor a prostitute usually earned ten to twenty dollars for oral sex, sometimes as little as twenty-five dollars for intercourse, and at least fifty dollars for anal sex. But if she was in need of drugs, she would drop her price significantly or accept a few bugs of drugs in lieu of any cash.
Once my prostitute research was under way, I asked Ms. Bailey if she would help me meet female hustlers who sold something older than sex. I had casual knowledge of any number of off-the-books business: women who made clothing, offered martial counseling or baby sitting: women who read horoscopes, styled hair, prepared taxes, drove gypsy cabs, and sold anything from candy to used appliances to stolen goods. But since most of these activities were conducted out of public view, I needed Ms Bailey to open some doors.
She was cautious. For me the first week, she selectively introduced me to a few women but refused to let me meet others. I’d suggest a name, and she’d mull it over. “Well,” she’d say “let me think about whether I want you to meet with her.” Or, just as often, “No, she’s not good. But I got someone else for you,” Once, after Ms. Bailey introduced me to a psychic, I asked if many other psychics worked in the building. “Maybe, maybe,” she said, then changed the subject and left the room.
I eventually figured out why she was reluctant to let me explore the underground economy. As it turned out, tenant leaders like Ms. Bailey always got their cut from such activities. If you sold food out of your kitchen or took in other people’s children to baby-sit, you’d better give Ms. Bailey a few dollars, or you might find a CHA manager knocking on your door. If you occasionally cut hair in your apartment, it was probably a good idea to give Ms. Bailey a free styling once in a while. In these parts Ms. Bailey was like the local IRS-and probably a whole lot more successful at collecting her due.
So the people she let me talk to were the ones she probably trusted most not to speak out line. But I didn’t have much choice: Without Ms. Bailey say-so, no one was going to speak with me about any illegal activities. Truth be told, nearly everyone Ms. Bailey introduced me to had a fascinating story to tell. One of the most fascinating women I met was Cordella Levy, a close friend of Ms. Bailey. She was sixty-three years old and had lived in public housing her entire life, the past thirty years in Robert Taylor. (She had a Jewish surname, she said, because her grandmother had married a Jewish man; someone else in her family, however, told me that they were descended from black Hebrew Israelites.) Cordella had raised seven children, all but one of whom had moved out of Robert Taylor. Although she used a walking crutch to get around, Cordella had the fight of a bulldog insider her.
She now ran a small candy store inside her apartment. All day long she sat on a stool by the door and waited for children to stop by. Her living room was barren except for the candy: boxes and boxes of lollipops, gum, and candy bars stacked invitingly on a few tables. If you peeked around the corner, you could see into the back bedroom, where
Cordella had a TV, couches, and so on. But she liked to keep her candy room sparse, she told me, because if customers saw her furniture, they might decide to come back and rob her.
“You know,” she told me, “I didn’t always sell candy.”
“You mean you didn’t go to school for this?” I joked.
“Sweetheart, I never made in past the fourth grade. Black folks weren’t really allowed to go to school in the south. What I meant was that I used to be somebody different. Ms. Bailey didn’t tell you”? I shook my head. “She told me you wanted to know how I used to hustle.”
“I’d love to hear.” I said. Cordella seemed itching to tell her story.
“Sweetheart, I’ve much money around here every which way you can. You know, I started out working for Ms. Bailey’s mother, Ella Bailey. Ella was a madam, used to have parties in the building. Oh, Lord! She could throw a party!”
“Ms. Bailey mother was a madam?” I laughed. “That explains a lot!”
“Yes, sit, and when she passed, I took over from her. Three apartments on the fourteenth floor. Cordella’s Place, they used to call it. Come in for a drink, play some cards, make a friend, have a nice time.”
“Make a friend? Is that what they used to call it?”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with friendship. And then I started making clothes, and then I sold some food, drove people around for a while to the store. My mother taught me how to sew wedding dresses, so I was doing a lot of-” “Wait!” I said. “Slow down, please. Let’s get back to helping people make friends. I’m curious why you stopped running the parties. What happened? I ask because all the people doing that today are men: J.T. and the pimps. I haven’t heard about any women.”
“That’s because they took over. The men ruined everything for us. The first one was J.T.’s mama’s cousin, Miss Mae’s cousin. He just decided to start harassing all the women who were making money. I think it was around 1981. He would beat us up if we didn’t pay him money t work out of the building. I had to pay him a few dollars each week to manage my women and throw my parties. He nearly killed my friend because she wouldn’t give him money for doing hairstyling in her apartment. He was real awful. On heroin, used to carry around a big gun, like he was in the movies. And he was a very violent man.”
“So what happened, he took over your parties?”
“Well, all of a sudden, he told me I had to give him fifty percent of what I was making, and he’d protect me-keep the cops away. But I knew he couldn’t keep any cops away. The man was a thug and wasn’t even no good at that, I figured I had been doing it for a while, and so I just gave up and let him have the whole thing. But what I’m saying is that the women ran things around here, before the gangs and the rest of them took over. It was different, because we also helped people.”
“See, people like me had a little power. I could get your apartment fixed or get you our of jail, because the cops were my best customers. These folks today, like J.T., they can’t do that.”
“What about Mr. Bailey?”
“Yeah, she can, but she’s just one person. Imagine if you had about fifty people like her doing their thing! Now, that was a sight. Fifty women, all powerful women with no shame. It was a different time. It was a time for women, a place for women.”
For several days after I interviewed Cordella, I kept thinking of what she said: “It was a time for women, a place for women.” Her nostalgia reminded me of how Catrina, Ms. Bailey’s assistant, spoke so reverently of women helping each other on the building.
I spent the next three months focused on meeting the matriarchs of the high-rises. There were plenty to choose from: more than 90 percent of the four thousands households in Robert Taylor were headed by a female. Whenever Ms. Bailey introduced me to an elderly dressmaker or a grandmother who offered day care to working parents, I tried to solicit stories about the past as well as details of her current enterprise.
Many of these women had protested for civil rights in the 1960’s and campaigned for black political candidates in the 1970’s; they took the need to fight for their community very seriously. But during the 1980s and 1990s, as their plight was worsened by gangs, drugs, and even deeper poverty, they struggled just to keep their families together. By then the housing authority had grown corrupt and unsupportive, the police were largely unresponsive, and the tribe of strong women had been severely marginalized.


Deschooling Medical Education in India.
“Students are schooled to mistake medical treatment for health care, social work for the improvement in community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, and the rat race for productive work.”
Ivan Illich

[Medical education in India follows the 1985 London University syllabus brought here by the East India Company with hardly any significant changes. This is irrelevant for today’s needs. Moreover, the very scientific basis of modern medicine is flawed as it still follows the linear laws of deterministic predictability in a non-linear dynamic system. The whole thing needs a relook. The earlier it is done the better. This has a lesson to other parts of the world as well lest we should all suffer from the ravages of modern medicine.]
Wise people learn from their own mistakes; wiser people from the mistakes of others. Indians being the wisest of the lot should learn from the mistakes that the western audits have discovered in our present modern medical interventions and in the scientific basis of modern medicine.1 It would be too late to learn from our own mistakes as we do not audit what we do in medicine anyway! Ever since the first three medical colleges were set up by the East India Company in 1857, based on Macaulay’s ideas, we promoted rote learning, students being taught by indifferent faculty resulting in mediocrity. There are exceptions, though. Mediocrity is competing with others, while excellence is competing with oneself, the latter being absent in our system. We punished original thinking and failed to create thinking, humane doctors. We have been pushing students into parallel coaching institutions before they get into medical schools to rote learn the premedical subjects to pass the “so called” entrance tests, again throttling their thinking capacity. Aptitude of the entrants to become healers is never tested.
The earlier this system dies the better for us as our entire education system was intended to make us rote learning robots of the western thoughts in the first place. The following extract from the speech of Thomas Babington Macaulay in the House of Commons on the 2nd February 1835 says it all. ““I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”(Italics mine)
What ails our present medical education?
The MBBS degree that was introduced by the London University syllabus of 1857 continues even after 60 years of political independence with minor tinkering here and there. Time has come to see if this is relevant to our present day needs. Progress in science has shown us that the scientific basis of modern medicine is very shaky- more about it below. The course is overburdened with information and the student is left with very little time to study sick human beings where, in fact, the student should get all his education. Bed side medicine, the core of medical education, is all but dead in the present scenario.2 The faulty theory, based on statistical science, and not pure science, is being dinned into the students head with a top heavy curriculum which leaves much to be desired, resulting in the student having no choice but to rote learn the textbook stuff to the exclusion of real learning of medicine on the bed side. Basic doctor does not need such detailed instructions in sub-specialties that we teach now. Basic doctor needs to be a humane healer with adequate basic knowledge of the subject, mainly the fundamentals of clinical medicine for all age groups with some principles of surgery. Basic doctor also needs to know that there are possibilities to help the patient in desperate situations out with the modern medical boundaries in alternate systems that have been in existence for centuries, where there are scientifically proven healing methods. The present curriculum does not allow that laxity while in the west teaching alternate medicine is mandatory for the basic doctor.3
Deep down modern medical science is very shallow:
The conventional research in medicine is only a statistical research; there is no hard science in that area. We have been using the wrong mathematical basis for research in medicine. Whereas the human body is dynamic and follows the non-linear mathematical model, we use the linear model of deterministic predictability of Newtonian science. This has resulted in most, if not all, our data, to date, being questionable.4 We have been predicting the unpredictable future of humans by routinely screening the apparently healthy and declaring them to be unwell while time evolution in any dynamic system depends on the total initial knowledge of the organism.5 The latter, in the case of human beings, depends on their mind (consciousness), body and the genes. Routine screening, at best, could measure only a few parameters of the body. Audits now show that all kinds of screening measures have resulted in misery for mankind while helping the medical and drug industry to earn plenty of profits.6
We have been trying to medicalise the whole population. If one looks at the following data one will be convinced. Almost 90% of the population, by the age 40, will have at least one “so called” risk factor qualifying for drug therapy. With the drugs that we have for this purpose and the recent expose of the nefarious designs of the drug companies the future of mankind looks really bleak unless we quickly deschool medical education.7 Jeremy Laurance, health editor of The Independent, London wrote on the 27th February 2008 issue thus: “ The pharmaceutical industry came under assault from senior figures in medical research yesterday over its practice of withholding information to protect profits, exposing patients to drugs which could be useless or harmful.” Most drugs come under this category.
David Eddy, a professor of cardiac surgery at Stanford converted mathematician, has now come up with a soft ware encompassing 10,000 differential equations (non-linear mathematics) by name archimedesmodel, which is a virtual human body with all its physiology, where one could test to audit interventions of any kind.8 This has thrown up shocking data that most of what we have been doing has done more harm to mankind than good. Medical science needs to change from its time honored reliance on conventional science of linearity to that of the new science based on consciousness, non-linearity and CHAOS, a futuristic science in the making.9 I have been working on the non linear functioning of the heart for the last three decades and have come up with excellent data about a very good new diagnostic and prognostic test in HRV (heart rate variability) which will eliminate most of the common mistakes that are made on the surface ECG where scalar measures are used to derive vector analysis!10
Sad demise of humane bedside medicine:
Medicine had been practised on the bed side, with emphasis on the art of medicine, from time immemorial up until the birth of the first clinic: then came the hospital.11 It is only in the last 50 odd years that medicine started riding piggyback on technology which has now resulted in medicalising the whole population. Doctors have succeeded in schooling the population to believe that health depends on medical intervention alone; while the truth is that the health of the society does not depend on doctors and hospitals. In fact, recent audits have shown, in a fourteen industrialized countries study, that those countries with a higher doctor-patient ratio and bigger bed strength had worse health status of the population and shorter life expectancy!12 While trillions of dollars had been spent in the last quarter of a century in the west for medical intervention only 3% of the life expectancy increase has been attributed to medical interventions including vaccinations. Rest of the improvement came from nutrition, sanitation, education, better mode of living and affluence.13
Time honored doctor-patient relationship, on which depended relief from illnesses in the past, has all but vanished what with doctors practising medicine based on the array of scopes, shadows and laboratory reports rather than on the suffering human being’s bedside. This scenario has brought American medicine to its nadir. The recent movie SICKO by the celebrated US film maker, Michael Moore, and an editorial in a recent issue of the Texas Heart Institute Journal entitled Hyposkillia, document all that there is for the common man to know about the sad state of the medical world in that country.14
Future medical education scenario:
Medical education in the future must be totally changed for the good of patients and doctors as well. Change is life and change is the heart of true science. Science could be defined as “making models, mostly mathematical constructs, which with verbal jargon are supposed to work.” In that case the mathematical basis of medicine must be strong and it should naturally come from non-linear mathematics. With the understanding of consciousness in physics, medicine could take advantage to scientifically fathom the mind, which does not reside in the brain alone but, does so in every human body cell at its sub-atomic level. With the understanding of the mind better patient care could be planned. 15
Mind is at the root of most, if not all, diseases from common cold to cancer. Healing also needs the help of the mind of the hapless victims of illnesses. With the recent discovery of the most powerful expectation effect (EE) the role played by the doctor on the bedside assumes greater significance. It is the strong expectation effect that boosts the immune system of the body that alone helps healing.16 EE depends, to a great extent, on the faith and confidence that the patient has in his/her doctor. Consequently, future medical education should revolve round this summit where two human beings meet; one with an illness or an imaginary illness and, the other in whom the first has confidence. All teaching and learning should be on the bedside and clinical research should replace laboratory research to a great extent. Clinical research is simply having a problem on the bed side and going as far away from the bed as one could to get an answer. The latter could include all the laboratories and research facilities including the library. Unfortunately, in the present system research goes in the opposite direction, where laboratory results are thrust on the patient and the interventions are based on those results rather than on clinical indications! With the governmental funds drying up, medical research now depends more and more on pharmaceutical and technology company funds.17 “Experts criticised the stranglehold exerted by multinational companies over clinical trials, which has led to biased results, under-reporting of negative findings and selective publication driven by the market, which was worth £10.1bn in the UK in 2006, amounting to 11 per cent of total NHS costs” notes a report in the Independent, London, on its February 27th, 2008 issue.
Medical education of the future must have two clear cut compartments-first four year course, after class 12, to train a basic family physician, the only breed that has been shown to be useful to society in recent studies. And another slot of four years for those that expect to specialize after the first course. The second slot comes after a couple of years of practice as a family doctor preferably in a remote village. One does not become a specialist at the end of second four year course, though. S/he gets his license to be trained as a specialist after the second four year certification based mostly on, an on going on the job evaluation but not based on an end year examination of rote learning and information recall. Real skill is learnt after one gets a license to be a specialist. Learning stops only at the grave for any specialist. A good surgeon is one who knows how to operate, a better surgeon is one who knows when to operate and the best is the one that knows when NOT to operate. At that last stage only one becomes a true specialist, rest of them are only impersonators.18
to be next issue


Novel way to kill malaria parasite
London: A class of chemotherapy drugs designed to block signaling pathways in cancer cells also kills the parasite that causes malaria, opening up a whole new way of combating this deadly disease.
The research shows that the malaria parasite depends upon a signaling pathway present in the host, initially in liver cells and then in red blood cells, in order to proliferate. The enzymes are active in the signaling pathway are not encoded by the parasite, but rather hijacked by the parasite to serve its own purposes. These same pathways are targeted by a new class of molecules developed for cancer chemotherapy known as kinase inhibitors, the Cellular Microbiology reports. When a team from the Global Health Institute and Inserm, the French agency for biomedical research, subjected RBCs infected with malaria to the chemotherapy drug, the parasite was stopped in its tracks, according to a GHI statement.

Malaria drug ‘may slow pancreatic cancer
Washington: Scientists say they shrunk or slowed the growth of notoriously resistant pancreatic tumors in mice, using a drug routinely prescribed for malaria and rheumatoid arthritis. The pre-clinical results have already prompted the opening of a small clinical trial in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest and hardest-to-treat forms of cancer, said the investigators, led by Alec Kimmelman, a radiation oncologist at Dana-Farber cancer institute. “We are seeing robust and impressive responses in pancreatic cancer mouse models, said Kimmelman, whose laboratory specialises in studies of pancreatic cancer, the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Capsule to track cancer in the body
London: Scientists have developed a tiny white breath mint like little capsule that can track the growth of a tumour without repeated invasive procedures. “With this, we are going to bring the laboratory into the patient,” said Michael Cima at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The device is small enough to fit inside a needle and implant in the body during a biopsy, reports New Scientist. Magnetic nanoparticles fit the capsule’s hollow interior, each sporting a few monoclonal antibodies. These are proteins engineered to bind to molecules of interest, such as Human Chronic Gonadotrophin (HCG), a hormone that tumour cells overproduce in testicular and ovarian cancers.


SC bans plastic pouches for gutka
Why not ban the product?

The Supreme Court has banned the sale of gutka, tobacco and pan masala in plastic sachets from March 2011. The bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi has asked the manufacturers to decide on the alternative packaging material or close down. The bench asked the government to conduct a survey on the ill-effects of tobacco products within eight weeks, and examine the effects of packaging these products in plastic pouches on human health.
The companies in their special leave petitions had contended that none of the products violated any statute. The basic ingredient of the pouch was polypropylene and had very small amount of plastic for preserving the product, they added. In September 2007 the apex court had stayed the impugned judgment of the Rajasthan High Court that restrained gutka, tobacco and pan masala manufacturers from selling their products in plastic sachets in the State.

Upholding the truth

Dogs resemble owners
His mater's face

We unconsciously imitate the gesture of those around us, dogs also copy human gestures, suggest a research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Researchers from the University of Vienna, Austria and the University of Oxford trained some dogs to open a sliding door with either their paw or mouth. One group of dogs was rewarded when they used the same method as their trainer, another when they used a method different from the trainer’s. Researchers found that the second group took more attempts to get the task right, indicating that dogs are subject to automatic imitation. The results of the test suggest that the imitative behaviour of dogs is shaped more by their developmental interactions with humans than by their evolutionary history of domestication.

A natural copier

Too much screen time is bad for active kids too
Parents keep it in mind

Children’s screen viewing is related to psychological difficulties. Children who watch TV or play computer games for 2 hours or more a day are more likely to have poor concentration, behave badly and have difficulties relating to other people – even if they are physically active, according to a research published in Pediatrics – the official journal of American Academy of Pediatrics.
Using a standard test of children’s psychological well-being, researchers at the University of Bristol’s centre for exercise, nutrition and health sciences, UK, found that children who watched TV for an average of 2 hours or more per day were 61 per cent more likely to have emotional, social and concentration problems, the equivalent figure for 2 hours or more of computer- based entertainment – primarily computer games – was 59 per cent. Exercise didn’t help much, found the researchers.

Engage children differently


Hardworking and prudent people live longer: Study
Washington: Are you a carefree and cheerful kind of person? If yes, please take note of a new study which suggests that the prudent and hardworking types live longer than those who take things easily.
The University of California research, which is based on an old study that followed 1,528 brilliant students from the early 1920s until their death, found that conscientious and prudent people live a few years longer than carefree, happy-go-lucky sorts.
It also found that marriage lengthens life for men, but makes little difference for women, while social ties are longevity boosters for both genders.
Hard workers who advanced in their careers and took on more responsibility were also more likely to live long, healthy lives, found the study.
“If you want to improve your health, you shouldn’t just go on a joyride, but get involved in meaningful, productive kinds of things,” study author Howard Friedman, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside, told Live Science.
The children recruited for the study were identified by their teachers as the brightest students in their classes during the 1920s.
The study, which was carried out by standard professor Lewis Terman, meant to find out whether intelligence led to later success in life.
“There was a perception at the time that really intelligent children would grow up to be nerds and weird and maybe it was not such a good thing to be smart,” Friedman said.
So the researchers measured the kid’s responsibilities traits, recorded biographical and demographic information, and watched them throughout their lives.
For the record, the kids did show a lot of variation in how successful they were as adults.
Future careers ranged from foreign reporter to atomic physicist and from trucker to secretary, Friedman said. Terman died in 1956. More than three decades later, Friedman and his team picked up the research and turned it into a healthy study.
They combed through the data and collected new information on the participants, including dealth certificates from around the country.
“We know not only how long they lived but exactly what they died of,” Friedman said.
The big surprise of the study was that personality and character early on can predict health and longevity across decades, the scientist said. The study also found that dependable and prudent children on average avoided risks and eventually entered into stable relationships – a major boost for health, happiness and longevity.
“Socioeconomic status is important, but what we found is it’s probably the persistence and the dependability and the good socialites that really promote your health,” Freidman said
The researchers also found that marriage and divorce had little effect on women’s life spans, but singlehood was not kind to men.
Men who got and stayed married were likely to live beyond age 70, but less than one-third of divorced men made it to that age.
Men who never married outlived those who divorced, but not those who stayed married, the researchers found.

How Protein breaks apart cancer cells
Melbourne: Scientists claim to have found how a protein works to break cells apart and in turn increases the spreading of cancer cells in the body, a finding which may pave the way for an effective treatment against the disease, reports PTI.
A team at the University has found the method in which the HGF protein that “glue” cells together to form healthy tissues can come unstuck. The HGF protein is often spotted in cancer.
“We examined a protein called HGF that is often found in cancer. HGF regulates cell growth, shape and movement and aids cancer cells in migrating to other tissues and spreading through the body. “Scientists have long known that HGF disrupts the junctions where cells join together, but the exact mechanism of how this occurs hasn’t been understood until now,” Sabine Mangold, who held the team, said. The team made by the discovery by examining the molecular machinery that binds cells. One key component is a protein called E-cadherin, which forms the adhesive to hold cells together.


Legalising the loot – State bails out bankrupt bank with Rs. 270 cr pay out
Mumbai: In a major decision, the state government has decided to pay Rs. 270 crore to the state cooperative bank which is on the verge of closure as it has loaned out huge amounts to the sugar mills and yarn spinning mills owned by the ruling politicians. Besides the state government would stand guarantee for Rs. 1800 crore. Skirmishes between ministers were seen at the cabinet meeting over the issue of bailing out the bank. The bailout package was announced under the pressure from the NCP ministers who largely own the sugar mills. The meeting was rocked by the allegations and counter allegations by the industry minister Narayan Rane, Forest minister Pathangrao Kadam and health ministers Suresh Shetty who opposed the move. While Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil and Hasan Mushrif were intent on the cabinet clearing the package.
Congress ministers crossed swords with the NCP ministers on how the premier bank was driven to the verge of closure. Who are responsible for it? Asked the Congress ministers to their NCP counterparts. NCP ministers said the government needed to clear the package for the bank after it stood guarantee for the loans disbursed by the bank.

Govt concerned over quality of PSU Independent-Directors
New Delhi: Considering the significant role they play in protecting the interest of various stakeholders, the role of independent directors has come under intense scrutiny especially post the Satyam scam.
The quality of independent directors in state-run firms has always been a matter of concern. And now the government has accepted the harsh fact.
Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises Minister Praful Patel said the quality of independent directors in the PSU boards “needs to be upgraded”.
“I want to make one categorical assertion that the quality of the members who are appointed on the boards as independent directors will have to be upgraded,” Patel told reporters here after releasing the Public Enterprises Survey 2009-10.
The government would come out with guidelines on independent directors to improve the quality of representation on state-run boards.
The Minister pointed out that many PSU boards are being represented by people who have no domain expert or little expertise and do not contribute to the functioning the company.
“Therefore the Department of Public Enterprises (DRE) will make some guidelines and make some assessment in consultation with our companies as to what is the contribution of the independent directors on the board and if need be we can suggest remedial measures,” the minister said.
“So we want to have a qualitative assessment of the members who will be joining the board,” he added.
Patel also said PSU s should immediately fill the vacancies for independent directors as it would otherwise affect the listing of those firms.
As per market regulator SEBI’s guidelines, it is mandatory for a company to fulfill the criteria for 50 percent representation by independent directors on the board, if the chairman is executive, before getting listed on the bourses or hitting the capital market.
In case the chairman is non-executive, the rules demand that at least one-third of the board should comprise independent directors.
On the issue of vacant CMD posts in PSU like ONGC, MTNL, Nalco and Coal India Ltd., Patel said the government needs to correct the process of their appointment.
Patel said PSUs have to be given more teeth and support so that they are able to face global challenges.

Netas caught napping as Nuclear czar lectured
The powerpoint presentation on the nuclear scene vis-à-vis Japan by Dr Anil Kakodkar found MLAs and MLCs virtually napping at Vidhan Bhavan.
Interestingly, even an emergency situation in Japan has failed to wake up our politicians to identify the risks involved in having a nuclear reactor. It became obvious as the majority of state legislators were found sleeping during the speech of renowned nuclear experts.
The politicians’ lack of interest in knowing about the advantages and disadvantages of a nuclear plant was seen during the lecture by former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Anil Kakodkar.
As Kakodkar and others tried to address safety concerns over the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant in the state, several legislators, including Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Forest Minister Patang Rao Kadam, were repeatedly caught on camera napping through the lectures. Another interesting aspect was the total absence or boycott of the legislators from Konkan during the presentation. The locals in Jaitapur, particularly the fishermen community, have been opposing the setting up of the plants. Kakodkar said the plant would be built at a considerable height so it would not be at as much as the risk as the Fukushima plant in Japan, which faces the risk of a radiation leak following the recent earthquake and tsunami.

Politics of Development!Notice to ‘vibrant Gujarat’
Gandhinagar: The Income Tax (I-T) department has issued notice to the Gujarat government seeking details of all Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) signed during the recent “Vibrant Gujarat Investors’ Summit” promising investments of over Rs. 1000 crore.
The letter – signed by Anurag Sharma, Deputy Director of Income Tax (Investigation), and sent to the State Industries Commissioner – asked the government to furnish copies of all the MoUs for more than Rs. 1,000 crore Investments signed during the summit, which was held on Jan. 12 and 13.
The I-T department has also asked for details of the investments made, as against the promises made in the MoUs signed during the previous summit held in Jan. 2009. The letter said that the major MoUs signed by various corporate entities with the State government “need to be examined,” adding that the inquiry was being conducted under Section 131 (IA) of the Income Tax Act.
The issue created an uproar in the Assembly after Minister of State for Industries and Power Saurabh Patel informed the House of the letter, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Opposition Congress members trading charges.
The BJP viewed the I-T department’s notice as a UPA government move to come in the way of Gujarat’s development, while the Congress accused the BJP of “shielding” black money.
Mr. Patel questioned why Gujarat was being “singled out” by the I-T department for issuing such notice. He later told journalists that the notice was apparently aimed at “scaring away” investors.
He charged that the notice was “yet another evidence” of the UPA government’s “prejudicial treatment” of Gujarat and an attempt to block the State’s march on the path of progress.
He alleged that the notice was the outcome of “constant complaints” to the Centre by Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Shaktisinh Gohil, and some other Congress leaders who were worried about Gujarat’s progress under the BJP dispensation.
When contacted, Mr.gohil said such notices were routinely sent by I-T department to all States to get details of investments of over Rs. 1000 crore, and that it was no special treatment to Gujarat.
The move, he claimed, was aimed only at keeping a check on the possible use of black money in such huge investments and laundering it through official channels.
Mr.Gohil wondered why the government was worried over the notice when the BJP was creating a hue and cry in Delhi on the issue of black money. “The State government should cooperate with the I-T department to prevent any possible use of black money instead of raising an accusing finger at the Centre," he said.
During the summit this year, 7,936 MoUs for investments of over Rs. 20.83 lakh crore were signed.


Scanner shows up non-existent revolver
NCP MLA Prakash Shendge was shell shocked when his PA’s bag displayed a revolver under the scanner installed outside the assembly house. The chairman has announced investigation into the matter. While Shendge entered the assembly premises he was not accompanied by his PA, who walked in later with a bag full of papers. After the question hour, the MLA drew the chairman’s attention, saying, “My PA told me that the scanner at the gate showed a revolver in his bag, though there was none.” The MLA added, “When I tried to enquire about this with the security, I was told that the scanner throws up the image of a revolver once in a while just to keep the security guards alert!” Shiv Sena group leader Diwakar Raote remarked in a lighter vein, “At least the guards are doing their duty promptly and you must give them credit for this,” prompting laugher.

Conservancy staff fail endurance test
Mumbai: Mayor Shraddha Jadhav and house leader Sunil Prabhu has asked the civic administration to seek alternation in provisions for recruiting conservancy staff of Brihanmumabi Municipal Corporation (BMC) as of the total 1,500 applicants not a single candidate has cleared the physical fitness test which calls for running 4km in 15 minutes.
“There are nearly 3,000 candidates who were put to a physical endurance test. They had to run 4 km in 15 minutes. Many were unable to meet the target in such a short time”, said Jadhav. She further said that in the year 2009 along with making provisions of having SSC criteria as minimum qualification for recruitment of conservancy staff, the civic administration made provision of physical fitness for candidates who are standard 8,9 and 10th fail.

Ethics in business: HDFC stands out
New York: HDFC is the only Indian company which has managed to find a place in the world’s most ethical companies’ list this year.
According to the list prepared by the US-based think tank Ethisphere Institute, only one Indian firm HDFC has made a place among the 110 world’s most ethical companies. The Ethisphere Institute’s list, the largest since the award’s inception in 2007, does not have a ranking.
The 110 companies that made the final cut this year include first-time recipients Adidas, eBay, Microsoft, Colgate-Palmolive, banking giant Standard Chartered Bank, Accenture, Adobe Systems, beverage firm Pepsi Co and 30 other newcomers.
Thirty-one companies from last year disappeared, generally because of litigation or ethics violations, as well as increased competition from within their industries.
Twenty-six companies have been recognised as WME company for all five years, and 50 more have made the list at least twice.
Commenting on the achievement HDFC Vice-Chairman and CEO Keki Mistry said: “It obviously feels nice to be one of the world’s most ethical company and the only one from India. HDFC is one of the most trusted brands in the country and for a financial services company it is very important that people perceive it as ethical.”
Ethisphere’s proprietary rating system, which it calls the Ethics Quotient, is based on a series of multiple-choice questions in a survey that is designed to capture a company’s performance in an objective and standardised way.
“Based on the information in that survey, Ethisphere verifies responses before a final score is provided,” says Alex Brigham, executive director of the Ethisphere Institute.
This year’s list also includes more global companies, with 42 winners from outside of the US, including 6 from Japan.
Companies that have secured a berth on the list are from banking to consumer goods to auto, retail and media.

Tsunami will cost Japan over $ 100bn
Washington: The losses from the disaster in Japan, which was hit by a giant tsunami following a massive earthquake, is likely to exceed $100 billion, a media report said. ‘New York Times’ reported that besides an expected $35 billion in insurance claims 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the financial losses will fall most heavily on the Japanese government after it puts together the damage from the tsunami and the nuclear disaster. Huge claims are expected against insurers for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Japanese insurance companies, global insurance companies, global insurers and reinsurers, hedge funds and other investors in catastrophe bonds are expected to bear a portion of the losses that seem likely to exceed $100 billion, ‘NYT’ said. There is uncertainly over contamination from the Fukushima nuclear plant where three explosions have rocked three nuclear reactors while a fourth caught fire. The nuclear plant operators in Japan have to buy liability insurance through the Japan Atomic Energy Insurance Pool. They are required to buy coverage of only about $2.2 billion for liabilities, and the pool does not sell the utilities coverage for earthquake damage or business interruptions, the newspaper said.

When fence tried eating the grass
Thane: Greed drove two Thane policemen to corruption and the two constables, along with their four accomplices were arrested for allegedly demanding a bribe from a Thane-based businessman.
According to police sources, that the duo, namely Govind Chavan and Raju Rathod, along with their four accomplices – identified as Mahendra Pandey, Sanjeev Keerthane, Subhash Chavan and Surendra Singh – landed at the Bombay chemicals Factory at Bhiwandi and claimed the unit was indulging in certain malpractices.
Threatening the factory manager to file a complaint, they demanded the matter could be scuttled if he paid up. An alarmed manager immediately informed Tanaji Shankar Patil, the facttory’s owner, who instead alerted the Narpoli Police.
“We spotted their vehicle near Kaseli bridge and arrested all the six. Initially we thought that Govind Chavan and Raju Rathod were imposters, but they were policemen,” said Senior Inspector N B Tate of Narpoli Police. The accused have been charged under Sections 385, 389 and 34 of the IPC and further probe is on, added Tate. Investigators said Govind is attached to the Thane Crime Branch while Rathod is posted at the Navi Mumbai police headquarters.