Saturday, June 11, 2011

EDITORIAL

Friends
1st May, of any year in the past, probably even in the future would never be as eventful as was this 2011. When probably the good part of the world was sleeping, President of the United States of America, Mr Barack Obama announced to the world at large that the ‘most wanted enemy’ of the United States of America has been killed. What a May Day it was!
World received the news with utter disbelief of the epochal event, snuffing life out of one of the most hated men, the world over, for the kind of suffering he brought about on innocents. Yes, the dreaded Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, a Saudi fugitive was indeed killed by the U.S. Navy Seals, inside Pakistan’s Abbottabad town in close proximity to its capital Islamabad, in a 40 minute precise operation. Relatives of those who died on 9/11 in the U.S. smiled at the ‘justice finally delivered’.
Of course the mere killing of Osama would not be the end of terrorism. But by hindsight, it may even increase as revenge attacks. For the moment, the sympathisers and supporters of Osama have temporarily lost their sense of direction. Hence, it is the need of the hour to keep the pressure on by the U.S. on other equally dangerous deputies of Osama.
Of course, the Pakistani duplicity was on full display. It has proved to the entire world that they cannot be trusted. If they can cheat the U.S which funded it with billions of US $, most of its activities all through its 63 years of existence, why wouldn’t they lie to India, whom they look at, as their enemy No.1? And for India, to expect that, they would pay heed to its request for the extradition of fugitive Dawood or terror master mind Hafeez Sayeed, Indians are fooling themselves.
Of course India cannot do what U.S did, for obvious reasons. But India can always outsource the job and Mossad of Israel will be more than willing to do it, if India makes a request. Isn’t it some food for thought!
Yes coming to the possible revenge attacks by the left-over Al Qaeda, it needs to be recollected that it was only a few days ago, before the Osama killing, that WikiLeaks made public a top secret file, where a top Al Qaeda commander had claimed that the terror group ‘has stashed away a nuclear bomb in Europe which will be detonated if Bin Laden is ever caught or assassinated’. The cables also reveal that after 9/11 attack on World Trade Centre and others, the core of Al Qaeda was concentrated in a single city of Karachi in Pakistan, and were lost into the wilderness of Tora Bora in Afghanistan the very next day, after seeing the WTC collapse with planes crashing into its twin towers.
This revelation has held out two possibilities, of renewed attacks by the terror group and also the double game of Pakistan.
However what is most unfortunate for Pakistan is the imminent danger of the internal turmoil because of the covert involvement of some of the departments of Pakistani government in the ultimate annihilation of Osama. Pakistan was indeed a facilitator in this ‘Operation Geronimo’. No wonder, Imran Khan, the cricketer turned politician has gone on record bemoaning “Pak enveloped by national depression”. A very sad development for Pakistan and Pakistanis.
And comes China, an ‘all weather friend’, to stand by Pakistan on the most crucial cross road in its history. But China is only being selfish. It was not helping Pakistan at all. It was only helping its own hegemonistic ambitions, and using Pakistan to hurt India, since both - (CHI-PAK) - hate India. Thus there are enough lessons for India to upgrade its relation with Russia and take help from the U.S. and U.K. to get even with Pakistan. With the Al Qaeda harping for vengeance, Pakistan realises that the terror outfit can be used to target India and Indians. Now that Pakistan was rendered naked to the western leadership, which suffered from ‘hearing deficiency’ when India complained in the past on many occasions, the West would rather join India in the fight against terror in general and Pak managed terror in particular.
So Murli Manohar Joshi has sent the PAC’s formal report to the Madam Speaker and expects that she will table the same in the Parliament. But will she? is a big question. Of the 21 members of the committee 11 have already reportedly ‘rejected’ the report. Technically the majority have gone against the report. As is very apparent it is the politics of the dirty kind. 9 members of Congress and DMK decided to go against the Chairman Joshi who is the face of BJP, and strangely 2 members of BSP and SP have joined them. It is not because they did not agree with the report, but by joining Congress in opposing the PAC report they were hoping for some political freebies. This is an unfortunate dimension of Indian politics. The logic is, being petty minded is not necessarily bad, even if it hurts the nation’s interest! On the face of it, the report could have been only the details and summation of discussions in the committee meetings. It seems to have come to similar conclusion as was made available to the press already from different sources, except differing in degrees. May be it was more critical of the then FM – Chidambaram and less of PM – Singh. But culpability of all, were there for all to see. Therefore it is important that parliament discusses this report without politicising the report itself. Contents one can agree or disagree. After all it is the credibility of PAC as a constitutional body that is at stake.
The sad death of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu in a chopper crash near the thick forest area off Sela Pass in Tawang district along with five others, was a kind of Y S Rajashekhar Reddy repeat. Former Andhra CM had similarly gone flying and it took days to locate the chopper debris in the thick jungle. Lost on Sunday the 1st May, it could be found only on 4th May. Dorjee was one of the few honest politicians who grew from the rank. Being an Army intelligence officer, but with roots firmly on the ground, he grew in popularity for his committed work as a political worker. He was probably only one politician who was elected unopposed more than once. He was good for the state and his people. May his soul rest in peace. But an afterthought. This area in Arunachal Pradesh, is like an Indian Barmuda Triangle! Could this be under Chinese radar? Since China claims a part of Arunachal Pradesh as their own, could they be playing some mischief! It is not difficult for the Chinese to play dirty since AP is bordering Tibet.
CBI, headquarters have moved into a 11 floors swanky building in New Delhi’s Lodhi Colony. No wonder they wanted their piece of HISTORY on display in the newly constructed GEOGRAPHY. They have set up a Museum where information on crucial cases handled by the investigative agency are on display.
The report informs about the highlights of some 14 prominent cases being exhibited. From 1968, starting with the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya murder case to Satyam case of 2009, they covered it all “In the service of the Nation”.
But this premier investigative agency with abundant resources at its command is suffering from selective amnesia.
A case that haunted a whole generation of Indians and CBI tried very hard to kill it on different occasions, but the case itself is refusing to die, did not find itself in the exhibition. In fact it was the high profile case of 1984, and lived for all the 26 years as the mother of all scams. Not for the size of the money involved, but for the refusal of CBI to act decisively for obvious political considerations. Yes, the infamous AB Bofors scandal. Yes, the CBI certainly will not want it to be remembered in the years to come for its own monumental inaction, a 'la P V Narasimha Rao style' for whom inaction itself was the action. But surely the Ghost of Bofors is here to stay until it is given a decent burial, take it or leave it.
Strange it may sound, but it was indeed a savvy political masterstroke by the UPA government that Dr Binayak Sen, was appointed to the central planning panel. By appointing the human rights activist pediatrician, the central govt has in unequivocal terms sent a message that, Dr Sen is not, what Chhattisgarh government, police and judiciary think. It was a brilliant political statement in its subtlety. No wonder the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Dr Raman Singh has expectedly slammed the appointment questioning, ‘how a person charged with sedition, presently only on bail, can be appointed to the planning commission?’ However what is important is, this appointment of a grass root worker, who is eminently qualified for the purpose for which he has been appointed, can make signal contribution to the child centric policy frame. Politics apart, without doubt Dr Sen will make seminal contribution to the planning discourse. The UPA government should be commended for this imaginative appointment.
Two recent judgements by Apex Court has left most Indians disappointed with its implications. One is Ayodhya – Babri/Temple imbroglio, and the other is on Bhopal’s Union Carbide Gas Tragedy. It is one more instance of a judgement not delivering justice. While it will certainly be argued as per the provisions of law, it has left a vast majority of Indians disheartened.
It was always believed that what happened to Bhopal gas victims is a miscarriage of justice and victims were short changed in favour of multi-national company and its senior officials. Not only those responsible for the tragedy were not made accountable, the apex court, did not put in place a speedier mechanism to bring justice, except leaving the window open for the trial court in Bhopal to persue the case afresh, under more stringent provisions of criminal procedure code. Its only a small mercy for the simple reason, that it could take its own labyrinth to meet the ends of justice. It was in 1984, the disaster took place, and we are in 2011, that is 27 years already gone. One whole generation has gone without justice being meted out.
How can the apex court ensure that it will not drag the same way? Here it is pertinent to reproduce what Attorney General Vahanvathi, while pleading for the curative petition, had said. “The Sept.13, 1996 judgement has caused manifest irremediable injustice…….. To perpetuate an error is no virtue. To correct it, is a compulsion of judicial conscience…. since criminal law serves a social function.”
Coming to Ayodhya imbroglio, there have been a whole lot of positive response to the tripartite settlement by the Allahabad High Court verdict. Across the national spectrum, people from diverse back ground had welcomed the decision. And the apprehension of the administration either at Allahabad or anywhere else appeared completely misplaced as there was not even a single incident of violent disapproval. Indians of all hues have gone on with their life and there was peace. But this reversal by the Supreme Court, the decision of the high court, has once again opened the Pandora’s Box. Wish people and media take it up to convey the people’s response. Print media informed both RSS and Sunny Waqf Board were happy with the apex court decision. But fortunately both these bodies do not represent India. They represent only a miniscule part of Indians.
U.S administration waited until the annihilation of Osama inside Pak soil and exposed the Pakistani cunningness to the world, to officially name ISI as accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. Major Iqbal, a serving officer of ISI is among the five Pakistanis listed in the Chargesheet before the Chicago Court, where David Coleman Headley – a Pak Muslim convert – and Tahawur Rana are being tried for 26/11 conspiracy. The chargesheet informs that Major Iqbal was handling Headley on behalf of ISI for the Mumbai terror attack and provided him with $ 25000/- for his expenses while in India. It accuses Iqbal of being actively involved in the planning and execution of Mumbai terror attacks. And our UPA government says not to humiliate Pakistan post Osama killing and the global exposure of its complicity. While remaining engaged may be a positive approach, Manmohan Singh government needs to appreciate the Urdu proverb “Seedhi ungli se ghee nahee nikaltha”. Only thorn can remove the thorn. India needs to assert itself.
As noted by I & C earlier, we will be rejecting Wikileaks only at our own peril. Only because, buying of assent of Members of Parliament for the Indo US nuclear agreement, was exposed by the Wikileaks, and Congress party functionaries were shown in poor light, not to accept these cables even as of academic interest, is not a healthy development. One of the latest revelation that ‘Al Qaeda operatives used Tabligi Jamat to get visas’, is a very serious allegation and exposes a huge security risk. These cables inform that, as per disclosures of Guantanamo Bay detainees, at least 3 hard core inmates at the prison had stayed at the organization’s facilities in and around Delhi. What is the logic of UPA government in not showing seriousness at these Wikileaks?
Senior scribe Vinod Sharma interacting with Times Now had staked his integrity while defending the CFSL-New Delhi report which had reportedly certified the CD involving Shanti Bhushan of Anna Hazare Panel as genuine. Fortunately for Bhushan, Delhi Police sent the CD for second opinion and CFSL Chandigarh has reportedly certified that CD was a cut and paste job. Mr Bhushan had always maintained that it was indeed a cut and paste job. Hence, now he is asking the Prime Minister to sack 4 CFSL New Delhi scientists who had signed the report. So where is Mr Vinod Sharma, who apparently had an agenda to time the release of the CD? We are told he is a respected member of the 4th estate. What is his response to the demand by Mr Shanti Bhushan?
After glorious uncertainties, Kanimozhi, the daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi, has been convicted and jailed in Tihar Jail. Despite the spirited pleadings of iconic Ram Jethmalani the judge did not see any reason, why the ‘dignified lady’ should be exempted. Justice Saini of the Special CBI court felt the accusations were of a serious kind with enormity that cannot be ignored. Due to the “apprehension that witnesses can be influenced in case the accused are released on bail, I have no hesitation in holding that accused has failed to make out a prima facie case for bail”, Justice Saini has reported to have stated, while rejecting the bail application of Kanimozhi.
Of course, it did send a desired message across the political spectrum, not to take things for granted anymore. If DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter and a Member of Parliament, inspite of being a major coalition partner, could not be saved, then only God can save. Of course the credit must go entirely to the Supreme Court, who were seized of the issue after the CAG report of Rs: 176000 crore loss in 2G spectrum allocation, argueably the largest scam of the Free India’s 63 years. While there are Indians who would rather feel sorry for this young lady for her incarceration at Tihar, it will serve as an important lesson for all politicians, young and old.
There was this report in the print media “Delhi High Court asks Centre not to deport 65 Pak nationals”. In Tihar jail since April 23, 2007, these members of Gowhar Shahi sect, banned by Pakistani government, who are Pak nationals, had come over to India fearing the safety of their life.
Their asylum is under consideration of the government, subject to the clearance of UNHRC, which is yet to decide on their refugee status. Refusing to return to Pakistan, their homeland, they had during their protest, reportedly, burnt Pak Flag, their passports and their visa papers. Court has given the last extension of their stay to be deported back, if UNHRC do not clear their refugee status. However what Indians, at least a certain section of Indians, should know is, Pakistan is an autocratic Islamic state where life of not only minorities but also of some Muslim sects like this Gowhar Shahi and Ahmedias is constantly in danger and never safe, despite the reported large heartedness as claimed by Shaheed Afreedi. Under the circumstances doesn't the reverse-the Indian large heartedness -looks more plausible?
Ram Jethmalani, the iconic lawyer, some called him maverick, has become a butt of joke on the twitter, since the loss of Kanimozhi case. While one queried, “when shall he fight for both prosecution and the defence”, the other wondered “if there’s anyone who the veteran lawyer cannot defend”. Then the other said “Why is he, a BJP MP, defending Kanimozhi of the corrupt Congress”. Among others which stood out was “Even if we succeed in getting Dawood Ibrahim back alive, what’s the point? He will be put to trial and Ram will defend him”.
In all these repartees, nobody seems to understand the predicament of a lawyer. If a plaintiff comes to him, he is professionally duty bound to accept the brief and fight the case. He cannot refuse, despite, at times, the knowledge of the case. And people come to him for his ability to argue the case, while he may be aware that he is not defending the truth. In the case of Kanimozhi, her family wanted to ensure that she gets the best legal brain, and having known the case, he appealed to the good sense of the judge. While judge did appreciate the pleading ability of Jethmalani he went by the culpability of the guilt. It is also to the credit of the man that he represented Dr Binayak Sen, despite Dr Sen having been victimised by the machinations of BJP government of Chhattisgarh, and for free.
Commenting on the attempts by the U.S. authorities to prosecute Julian Assange of Wikileaks, Amnesty International has stated that “More information is always better than no information”, and ‘to prosecute Wikileak will only stifle free speech’. While there are no two opinions on what Amnesty said, it makes a poor commentary on the federal Indian government at New Delhi for rejecting the Wikilaks cables as 'hearsay and unsustainable'. But the fact remains as Amnesty International says that something is better than nothing. Why is this Manmohan Singh government is behaving like an ostrich?
In the recently held election to the state assemblies of five states, the turnout of electorates and the subsequent result would in all probability shall have a far reaching effect for all future elections. Prima facie, the turnout has been exemplary, all close to 80%, with West Bengal and Pondicherry touching 85%. The result, it can plainly be stated “Voter has spoken loud & clear”. While none of the results were surprising, the outcome in both West Bengal and Tamil Nadu had been comprehensively debilitating for both Left front and DMK combine, the ruling parties. Trinamol Congress busted the 34 year hold on the Writers Building with 77% seats with almost 2/3rd seats of its own at 184 and 42 of Congress. It was a defeat beyond the wildest imagination of anybody let alone the LEFT parties. LEFT was humbled beyond revival. Similar was the case at Tamil Nadu. DMK suffered a defeat which would only hasten the demise of Karunanidhi’s political family. With all the freebies DMK failed to get more than 14% of the seats with AIADMK alone getting 150 and its allies getting another 53 seats, leaving just 31 seats to the DMK-Congress combine. It was a complete whitewash for DMK. For Muthuwel Karunanidhi, it would be the most painful sojourn towards the twilight of his fading life.
The high profile victory of Jagmohan Reddy, the son of Late Y S Rajashekhar Reddy in the Kadapa Loksabha constituency with a margin of 5.45 lakh votes is not a very pleasant news for Andhra politics. Yes, the sympathy factor may have played its role. But for the son, it was a do or die situation and he must have staked both men and money, as if his entire future was at risk. In the event he has been amply rewarded. Also winning was his mother contesting for her late husband’s vacant seat. Of course Congress must be deeply upset at the turn of events. But then one victory does not make a government. All over Andhra, this YSR Congress of son Reddy may not impact as such. His ambition of becoming the CM of Andhra can be his undoing. He is too immature to lead a party and therefore a government. Best thing which the centre must do is to bifurcate the state and create Telengana, and make Hyderabad a city state and make it like Chandigarh, as the capital of both states. This will help Congress reap better dividends, so also help create more leaders thus reducing concentration in a few or single leader, and help checkmate this Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Ban of endosulfan for eight weeks by the apex court, maintaining that the “human life is more important than commercial consideration” has not come a day too early. Although better late than never it should have come many years earlier. Kerala is the earliest to ban its use, followed now by Karnataka, this pesticide has been a subject of intense public debate for the debilitating after effect on humans especially where aerial spray was undertaken. But in an India, where poor people's life is a dispensable commodity, the trade lobby had retained its tight hold over its manufacture and sale with union agricultural ministry taking an ambivalent stand. Now that the Stockholm convention has included endosulfan, in the list of chemicals to be eliminated, India should go in for complete banning of the product. Of course there may be another lobby in the wings trying for another chemical for the use to replace endosulfan. Authorities concerned must take a considered stand on any newer pesticide in favour of agriculture but also to be of harmless substance. At the end of the day, human life and lives cannot be bartered for any commercial consideration, even if it means cheaper input for farmers. What is the use of cheaper agricultural produces, if it causes misery, pain and death?
Governor Hansraj Bhardwaj of Karnataka seem to have a one point programme of fixing BS Yediyurappa’s government in Bangalore. Of course it is his misfortune that his political ‘bosses’ in New Delhi, refused to toe his line of action for the second time. From now on either he should play snookers at Raj Bhavan or give health reasons and quietly quit the gubernatorial office. It must be suffocating for him to continue. The central stand can cause him both depression and tension. Of course it is nobody’s case that the central government would have been a very willing partner in this unconstitutional exercise of the constitutional authority. But the arithmetic was heavily loaded against any imprudent hasty action, which could have boomeranged. Of course there would be many political lawyers of Congress party including Union Law Minister Mr Moily who would justify both governor and the central government for the development, which led to cessation of instability, caused by the Supreme Court decision to restore the membership of 16 Karnataka MLAs. Of course, the judgement is clearly debatable. In any case, it was one more occasion for the incumbent government at Bangalore to feel nervous in its continuous nervous existence. Hope this government lives its term, at least to save the cost of re-election.
Joker of a Diggy does not seem to stop. The latest was his alleged reference to terror mastermind Osama, being referred as Osamaji. His controversial comments on the burial of Osama in sea was already disapproved and dismissed by the Congress leadership earlier. During the comment he had allegedly referred to the Saudi fugitive as Osamaji, in an attempt to win some friends from across. Whether the allegation is right or wrong is not the point. This certainly indicates the general perception of the working of the man’s brain. In his own interest and that of his party, Digvijay Singh should refrain from such foot-in-the-mouth observations. He may have discreet official sanctions for doing what he does, but such sly move can easily slip over to the indiscrete part. Hence the best is, to have an open approach rather than an opaque calculated approach. Only honesty helps in the long run.
Pakistan is not only having difficulties internally with Al Qaeda going a bit berserk with the extermination of Osama, it is also having to incur the wrath of U.S., its financial crutch. Wall Street Journal reported that Pakistan has been submitting exaggerated and inaccurate bills to the U.S, for the logistical services it rendered for its forces in Afghanistan. For example Pakistani army billed U.S $ 50 million for ‘Hygiene and Chemical’ expenses of which U.S agreed to pay only 8 million US $. There were many other expenses claimed by Pakistanis which were disputed and not paid. So also helicopters provided by the U.S at huge cost to fight against Taliban were reportedly diverted to UN peace keeping mission in Sudan, for which U.N was paying to Pakistan separately. Thus there is a deep undercurrent of mistrust between these supposed allies. And comes the news of Pakistan calling China its 'best friend', while seeking more and more aid from the U.S. This has naturally bugged American law makers. While this is true that when Pakistan was isolated post ‘Operation Gerenimo’ in Abbottabad, it was China which made some friendly noises towards Pakistan. Pak in turn also has to make similar noises. But the fact is, since both these countries have a common agenda of hurting India, this friendship is thriving. It existed in the past as well. Only U.S had failed to see it, since it was India which was suffering. But now Pak has become more vocal, since Pakistanis are unhappy with the U.S military operation in Pak. But fact of the matter is, U.S will never find an honest ally like India which is transparent and not crooked. U.S need to change its mind set and include India in its war against terror.
For I & C the arrest and subsequent jailing of IMF Chief Dominique Kahn on sexual trespass is not the news at all. The media all over the world were harping on the incident involving a female house-keeping staff and the IMF chief, who has during the course of the trial became former chief. But what is relevant to India is the speed with which the New York Police acted, and acted with firmness, without allowing any VIP nonsense. An IMF chief is a VVIP, anywhere in the world, and being part of United Nations, he enjoys certain diplomatic immunity. Despite all these baggage of the man, the police did act decisively to bring him to accountability. Isn’t it a lesson in policing for India, with influence peddling of all kinds! Chances are, if this IMF chief was to be in such situation in India, he wouldn’t have been arrested by the police in the first place. Police would never have entertained the complaint. Hotel management itself would have forced the female staff to settle for a compromise. Even if it was to go beyond that, police would have booked the case but would have discretely allowed the man to flee. After all he was a white man and a VIP. And who is this female, an ordinary house-keeping staff! Media even called her as maid. So much for our human rights records. Yeh Mera India.
The report that ‘Pak must stop treating India as biggest enemy’, attributing to former Pak Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has not come a day too early. Such a stand was also taken by President Zardari earlier, to the dislike of many influential Pakistanis. But the fact remains, whether they like or not, Pakistan cannot have a friend like India in the entire world. Their dislike is based on the Hindu majority India. After all except a small percentage of Arab descent, most Pakistanis are of Hindu origin and were Indians. It is the hatred that separated us and it is the hatred that keep us that way. This need to change. If that happens, there is neither a need to have China or the U.S. And this combination can be a very strong one and nobody can take it for granted. This is a truth Pakistan has to realise. Until then it will have be at the goodwill of somebody or the other.
The ongoing Indian Cultural extravaganza in Iran has been reportedly drawing huge crowd. There is a growing interest of the Iranian youth in the country’s past and present. There is a crowd who is looking for fun but an increasing number of people are asking searching questions on the undercurrent of social turmoil. It is here, more than anything else, that authorities managing the exhibition should be able to put the point across. India is a unique country with some 1000 dialects and some 25 officially recognised languages with some ½ a dozen religions, yet lived without any serious problem. It is true there are small pockets of disharmony, some are politically whipped up. But for a country, which is home to over 1200 million people with diverse linguistic and religious orientations, harmony within the Indian society is certainly a matter of envy of any country in the world. Despite being 80% Hindu, India probably is the only country to have 3 Muslims as Head of State. May be organisers should invite former president APJ Abdul Kalam to have tete-a-tete with Iranian youth, to tell them, that India indeed is a destination worth visiting to persue a future in education, technology and social mores. Hope men and women in charge of this exposition do justice to the heritage that India truly is.
Mohd. Azaruddeen, who was blacklisted by BCCI earlier on match fixing charges is in the cricket news again. His match fixing escapades were termed anti-national and his expertise was not requisitioned since then. But the Congress party in its wisdom gave him a safe seat for its own agenda and rehabilitated him as a Member of Parliament. The government also made him a member of the consultative committee of Ministry of Sports. That has emboldened him and now he is having a potshot at his luck with BCCI. He has recently offered his services as coach to the Indian cricket team ‘at any level’.
While BCCI is yet to react to the offer or choose to ignore it, is not known. But surely there will be twitters galore poking pun at this Indian cricket's black-sheep, ‘Coaching in match fixing is the real forte of Azar, he shall surely do well in this deptt.’. Azar are you listening?
Marginalised section of our society are experiencing increasing systemic victimisation and there is systemic silence and lack of empathy from the civil society to reach out to victims. We have discussed some issues of relevance. Hope readers will find it experiential. Rest of issues are as usual.

FOCUS

CIVIL SOCIETY
Who are They & Where are They?
A Head of the Department (HOD) of Community Medicine at the prestigious Post Graduate Instt. of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, failed a student by name Jaspreet. He was in his fifth and final year. He was reportedly an excellent student throughout and had never failed, apparently. But his HOD was the problem. Jaspreet Singh was Dalit by birth, and HOD, probably an upper cast, had told him that ‘he might have entered medical college using his scheduled caste certificate but would not go out with a degree’.
Unable to bear the insult young, Doctor-to-be, Jaspreet Singh, killed himself in the college library. The suicide note recovered from his coat pocket accused his HOD with deliberately failing him and threatening to fail him again and again.
Sources close to the family of Jaspreet Singh informed that all that he wanted was to become a doctor. The threat by this inhuman HOD cut short that dream. It was in Jan 2008. A year later, reportedly, his young sister, a student of B.C.A, also committed suicide, heart-broken at the injustice done to her brother.
Thus two young lives were snuffed out by the inhumanity, insensitivity and mental cruelty of a highly educated medical teacher and a practitioner. There was no 24x7 channel picking up the story and nobody from the Civil Society clamoured for justice. Where are they? Its already over 3 years.
Balmukund, a Dalit student from Uttar Pradesh, a medical student studied at the All India Instt. of Medical Science (AIIMS) in New Delhi, committed suicide on 3rd March 2010. He was in his final year MBBS. The director of the institute had allegedly told Balmukund that he world never become a doctor even if he worked hard.
According to the Insight Foundation, which runs Dalit and Adivasi students portal, both the police and the management of AIIMS blamed the suicide on personal reasons of depression etc, and hence did not take the matter seriously. But reportedly Balmukund’s parents ask, ‘Who and What drove him to depression? They told that their son has been saying frequently that he was being harassed because of his caste.
They accused AIIMS of caste discrimination that drove their son to commit suicide and demanded probe. Shockingly police and even AIIMS administration plainly refused to consider this demand, parents complain. Authorities did not even conduct any preliminary enquiry.
Coming from a very poor social stock, having made it to the prestigious AIIMS to do MBBS, it was extremely saddening to note that only because of the flagrant victimization due to caste discrimination a brilliant life was cut short. It was over an year since the suicide, but as usual print media, 24x7 electronic channels had no time to follow up the case. The question is, it is not just the death of an individual, it is the element of denial of opportunity for a place in the sun for these socially disadvantaged groups. Yes the question of reservation in educational institutions of higher learning, or even reservation per se, has multiple questions to be answered. But where is the Civil Society fighting for justice to the vulnerable and marginalised section, which is really trying hard to make it, despite all constraints, but stymied by the walls of hatred from the well heeled upper caste, and let down by their own cousins who are already entrenched ‘creamy layer’ among them.
Coming to the caste discrimination, it was generally known, since quite some time, that AIIMS did have a history of such despicable practices. Following the allegation of rampant prevalence of this Indian apartheid, Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry had constituted a fact finding committee headed by Prof S.K. Thorat, the then UGC Chairman, in Sept. 2006. As early as May 2007, the committee came out with a report exposing many forms of caste discrimination practiced against lower caste students, both by other fellow students and by faculty members belonging to upper caste. Report also accused the authorities at AIIMS of encouraging hostile caste discrimination.
According to activists of Insight Foundation, a group fighting for Dalit students, if the government and AIIMS authorities had acted on Prof. Thorat Committee report and tried to improve things at the institute, families of neither Jaspreet nor Balmukund would have been grieving the loss of their precious bright children. And the nation would not have lost two brilliant doctors.
Yes, has the media or the Civil Society raised their finger and asked question, as to why the report was not acted upon for almost 4 years?
There are innumerable instances of grave injustice where the so-called civil society just did not do its bidding.
Then there is the story of Linesh Mohan Gawle, a second year P.hd student from the National Institute of Immunology New Delhi, committed suicide in his hostel room just a month ago on 11th April 2011. He too was a Dalit from Jabalpur. Apparently very brilliant. He had scored 98% marks in GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engg.) test. He was short listed at many institutes including IIT Bombay for written tests/interviews. Administration dismissed the suicide as a ‘love failure'. But, says, Shephalika Shekar, of JNU “This is a case of Dalit oppression by upper caste elites, who dominate everywhere”, while stressing that nobody heard of the 'love partner' of Linesh Mohan and 'there is an urgent need of positive structural change in the way NII staff treats students'.
“We cannot believe our friend is not with us anymore” said a fellow student on condition of anonymity. “It is a sin to openly dissent at NII, unlike in JNU, where students can at least speak their hearts without fearing butchery of their degree and career”.
A brilliant Dalit student, who topped all along, is no more with us. So what drove him to commit suicide? Were the upper class students and teachers got to-gether to drive him to become another Ekalavya. At least Ekalavya lived to tell his story.
“Bad things happen to society not because of bad people but because of silence of the good people”, said Napoleon Bonaparte in 17th century. Three centuries later it was Martin Luther King Jr, who has famously observed “Our life begins to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Our approach to development has not proved equal to the task of ensuring just society, especially for the socially, economically and psychologically oppressed people. Despite a section of civil society making some right noises at time, its efforts were either fragmented or half hearted. However greater part of the civil society has gone on with their own life unconcerned about the suffering of vulnerable section of our society.
On 1st May, the Labour Day, the government of B.S. Yediyurappa of Karnataka had released an ad. to the print media conveying a ‘Message’ addressed to Dear Brethren. Among many messages, one of them was “Government is totally committed to safeguard the interests of working class by building a healthy industrial relationship and to provide social justice to labourers through implementation of various pro labour laws” and the irony was, on the same page there was a news item “Pourakarmikas up against the wall”, in big bold letters with “Few options available for contract labourers in City Municipal Corporations” in small bold letters.
Advertisement informed about “the total commitment to safe guard the interest of the working class and to provide social justice to labourers”. How do we react to this ad when the reality is, there are these Pourakarmikas working for the past 20 years as contract labourers, with no benefit of any kind, and there are thousands of them all over Karnataka. A woman labourer said “we are not provided with hand gloves, gumboots or even face masks. Cannot take leave even if ill, since all absences are without payment”. According to the Contract Labour Abolition and Regulation Act 1970, no recruitment can be made on contract basis for jobs of permanent nature. Pourakarmikas are permanent employees of the state and therefore the state cannot employ them on contract basis. But ‘it is cheap’ admits Deputy Commissioner Somashekhar of Tumkur “If the services of contract labourers are regularised there would be permanent financial burden on the government. This was why this outsourcing” D.C had candidly admitted. Yes, those who generate rubbish are better looked after and those who clear the rubbish “hell with them”. What a just society! Yes Civil Society, are you listening!!
Our governments are indeed well intentioned but go to the next page of the daily and another headline says “Unorganised Workers’ Board yet to get on with its work”. Set up in 2009, the Karnataka State Unorganised Workers Social Security Board (KSUWSSB) has reportedly met only twice since last over 2 years. Stymied without fund and direction, KSUWSSB seems to have lost in the corridors of power. Yes, we have money for all grandiose plans, Rs.75000 crores for Common Wealth Games but no money for the 92% working population of this country who fall under unorganised sector. Do we cry or do we laugh? Oh yes where is the civil society, which too uses this section of the working class.
Going back to the cases involving two Dalit medical students Jaspreet and Balmukund, the case involving later was somehow scuttled by AIIMS and the obliging police, but the one involving former, mercifully did proceed to conclude, that Jaspreet was indeed diabolically failed by the Community Medicine HOD Prof. N.K Geol. The three member committee of Professors, Dr Rajesh Kumar, Amarjeet Singh and Arun Kumar Aggrawal, specialised in Community Medicines, re-evaluated Jaspreet's answer sheets and found that he had in fact passed the test.
Again where is the Civil Society and these electronic channels, to make the institute PGIMER Chandigarh and the HOD, the diabolic Prof. N.K Goel accountable? It is a sad spectacle, in a country where the authorities ‘cry with the poor but side the rich’, this savage Professor has not been booked by the law enforcing authorities. In fact he should be booked under Atrocities Against SC/ST Act, and those who are shielding him in the institute.
Some years ago, at a function in the Aurangabad Medical College, ABVP displayed a saffron flag with the image of ‘Bharath Maata’ on it. Some Dalit students protested saying why not national flag instead. The Dean Dr A. Malik supported ABVP and this resulted in clashes among students, where a Dalit student was badly hurt. In protest, several Dalit students left the hostel for somedays. On return, they allegedly found their room vandalised with books and certificates burnt. On complaining, police slapped dacoit charges on 21 Dalit students.
And don’t Mumbaikars remember, the slaughtering of Dalits for skinning the dead cows in a north Mumbai suburb? Except a news brief nothing else happened. Civil Society plugged its ears and covered their eyes.
An elderly old lady, being illiterate, unable to fill the paying-in-slip government challan to pay some government charges, into a public sector bank cash counter, and the clerk behind the cash counter throwing it out, literally on the old lady’s face, and yelling at the women for not having filled up the form. The clerk at the Municipal Office pushed her off with the challan without filling it, and the clerk at the bank throwing the paper on the lady, both represented ‘educated’ ‘literate’ civil society. How sad, both forgot they too could have an old lady for a mother at home, who could walk into such situation and then what? They couldn’t perceive such a scenario, because they were too self centered to think beyond themselves. And they want the whole world to sympathise with them when they go on strike!
While we have any number of instances where civil society was found neither civil nor appeared agitated, there are some instances where civil society gathered around the victim since victim was media heavy weight. Look at the Lokpal Bill imbroglio. The moment our 24x7 channels were latched on to the hourly relaying of the fasting by Anna Hazare & Company, there was a beeline, of all and sundry. From film personality to intellectuals to politicians to retired bureaucrats all wanted to be covered by the 24x7 channels and seen as nation’s saviours. Of course it did help the movement of Anna Hazare and eventually the demands of the so-called civil society forum was accepted by the government. Then there is another high profile case of Dr Binayak Sen. Here too whole lot of civil society members had expressed their outrage at his arrest and conviction. Although it was a court case, Mr Ram Jethmalani fought the case for free, since civil society had joined the chorus with other human rights activists. But the same society had no time for the other two accused in the same case involving Narayan Sanyal and Piyush Guha. They are still in jail, nobody from civil society making any noise for their release.
That is how, when the story of Jaspreeth Singh and Balmukund appeared in The Hindu on 8th May, there was not even a single letter to the editor on the story by Vidya Subramaniam. But around the same time the space for Letter to Editor was full of response on the Sureme Court judgement on Ayodhya, Land acquisition issue in UP and others. This selective activism of the civil society is very disturbing.
We, who are part of the civil society, need to recognise that sustainable and qualitative improvement in the lives of those battling the discrimination by caste, class or gender can be achieved only if we address the root cause of the oppression of these discriminated sections. But the problem with the civil society is their reluctance to join hands with like minded people for a common objective. Like the former Vigilance Director of Karnataka Lokayukta Dr Sudarshan had observed “While corrupt people get to-gether very fast, honest people often suffer from ego problems and do not come to-gether into a single platform to fight the evil”. This must change for a brighter dawn.
J.Shriyan

SERIAL : 33

GANG LEADER FOR A DAY
The Hustler and the Hustled
One day, after I‘d spent hours interviewing Porter and some of the other male hustlers, I was summoned to Ms. Bailey’s office. I’d been so busy that I hadn’t seen her in a while. Its was probably a good idea, I thought, to have a catch-up session.
I said hello to Catrina on my way in, and she gave me a smile. She was assuming more and more duties and seemed to be acting nearly as a junior officer to Ms. Bailey. Inside, J.T. and Ms. Bailey were laughing together and greeted me heartily.
“Mr. Professor!” J.T. said. “My mother says you haven’t been by in a month! What, you don’t like us anymore? You found somebody who cooks better?” “You better not piss off Ms. Mae,” Ms. Bailey said. “You’II never be able to come back in the building again”.
“Sorry, all this interviewing has kept me really busy,” I said exasperated. “I just haven’t had time to do much of anything else”.
“Well, then, sit down, baby,” Ms. Bailey said. “We won’t keep you long. We just wanted to know who you’ve been meeting. We’re curious about what you’ve learned”.
“Hey, you know what, I could actually use the chance to tell you what I’ve been finding,” I said, taking out my notebooks. “I’ve been meeting so many people, and I can’t be sure whether they’re telling me the truth about how much they earn. I suppose I want to know whether I’m really understanding what it’s like to hustle around here”.
“Sure,” J.T. said. “We were just talking about that. You used to ask us to find you people. Now you do it yourself. We feel like you don’t need us no more.” He started laughing, and so did Ms. Bailey.
“Yeah,” Ms. Bailey said. “Don’t leave us behind, Mr. Professor, when you start to be successful! Go ahead, tell me who you’ve been talking to. If you tell us who you met and what they’re doing, maybe we can check for you and see if folks are being straight”.
For the next three hours, I went through my notebooks and told them what I’d learned about dozens of hustlers, male and female. There was Bird, the guy who sold license plates, Social Security cards, and small appliances out of his van. Doritha the tax preparer. Candy, one of the only female carpenters in the neighborhood. Prince, the man who could pirate gas and electricity for your apartment. J.T. and Ms. Bailey rarely seemed surprised, although every now and then one of them perked up when I mentioned a particularly enterprising hustler or a women who had recently started taking in boarders.
I finally left, riding the bus home to my apartment. I was grateful for having had the opportunity to discuss my findings with two of the neighborhood’s most formidable power brokers. As I looked out the bus windows, I realized just how much I owned Ms. Bailey and J.T. If it weren’t for the two of them, and a few other people like C-Note and Autry, I wouldn’t ever have made any progress in learning how things really around Robert Taylor.
I spent the next few weeks turning the information in my note-books into statistical tables and graphs that showed how much different hustlers made. I figured that J.T. would appreciate this data at least as much as my professors would, since he was always talking about the importance of data analysis within his managerial technique. So I headed over to Robert Taylor to show him my research.
In the parking lot, I ran into C-Note, who was in his usual spot with a few other squatters, fixing flat tires and washing cars.
“Hey, what’s up, guys?” I shouted out. “Long time- how you been?” Nobody replied. They looked at me, then turned away. I walked closer and stood a few feet from them. “What’s up?” I said. “Every-thing all right?”
One of the men, Pootie, picked up a tool and started to loosen a tire from the rim. “Man, sometimes you just learn the hard way,” he said to no one in particular. “That’s life, isn’t it? Sometimes you realize you can’ trust nobody. They could be a cop, a snitch-who knows?”
C-Note simply shrugged. ‘Mm-hmm,” he said. “yup, you just learn you can’t trust nobody,” Pootie continued. “You tell them something, and then they turn on you. Just like that! You can’t predict it. Especially if they’re not from around here,”
Once again C-Note shrugged. “Mm-hmm,” he muttered. “You got that right”. They kept ignoring me, so I walked over to J.T.’s building. A young woman I knew named Keisha was standing on the grass with her kids. They looked like they were waiting for a ride.
“Hey, Keisha, “I said. “How are you doing?”
How am I doing?” she asked, shaking her head. “I was doing a lot better before I started talking to you.” She picked up her things and walked her kids a few yards away.
In the lobby some of J.T.’s gang members were hanging out. We shook hands and said hello. I went upstairs to see Ms. Bailey and J.T., but neither of them was home.
Down in the lobby again, I could feel people staring at me, but I couldn’t figure out why. I felt myself growing paranoid Did people suddenly think I was a cop? What was up with Pootie, C-Note, and Keisha? I decided to go back home.

FEATURE

TENDULKAR'S LOVE & PASSION
Indian batting wizard, Sachin Tendulkar had made it clear, the other day, that he has ‘no immediate plans of quitting the game’ saying he was ‘enjoying the game even more now and still has the “desire and the passion” to play for India. Retirement is not in my thought yet, and as and when I decide I would let every body know, to call it a day’ he is reported to have stated interacting with the media, post India’s World Cup win.
“The passion for cricket has not died, the love of the game is very much alive and I have played for such a long time because of that, I don’t see any reason why that would change now. It is time to enjoy the game even more. I am looking forward to it and continue” he had added while indicating that he may not be part of the next world cup team.
In a cricket career spanning 21 years, Tendulkar has played 177 tests and 453 ODI, scoring a record 14692 in test, which is the highest for any cricketer as well as 1811 runs in ODIs.
India is slated to be an economic super power by 2020, at least that is the dream of APJ Abdul Kalaam, a former President of India, a Bharat Ratna awardee. As things stand today in 2011, it looks fairly clear that India will not become a super power by 2020, with malnutrition, hunger and poverty stalking the length and breadth of the country. But it certainly has the potential to become a super power in the coming years.
One of the component of being a super power is its intellectual capability and to make its mark internationally. There is no field where India has not excelled. And cricket is one of them. The world cup victory has proved the innate strength of the country in cricket. And the ongoing IPL has brought to the national and international limelight the abundant pool of talent available within the country. Thus, on innumerable occasions, it has been proved beyond any shadow of doubt that there is a whole fund of talents and abilities available to be drawn. But the mechanism meant to draw these talents for better utilization is either stymied by infrastructure infested with selfishness or shortsightedness or both.
In other words our talents are not exposed to the opportunities available in the system or plainly denied opportunities, so that only vested interest is allowed the role to play. This has greatly hurt the latent talent, which is lost in the wilderness like a flower, unseen by the world at large.
India is indeed a great country but greatly infested by very selfish people at all levels, where only those who are in the thick of happening want to continue to pop the milk of available avenues. A sad spectacle indeed.
Now look at our greatest batting icon, Sachin Tendulkar, who desires to be a Bharat Ratna, who has been playing for 21 long years in all forms of the game. Made big name and fame for himself, also made huge monetary fortune for himself. Reportedly ‘the richest cricketer’. But look at his recent statement, he does not want to give up his position. So when will those young talents available to IPL teams shall get the opportunity to play for India. He has reportedly stated “retirement has not crossed my mind”. But what about the lot of those young and promising players, why their waiting in the wings does not cross his mind and those of cricket administrators? Don’t you think, he needs to think, so too our cricket administrators?
While on the subject, just as Anil Kumble and Saurav Ganguli have left the arena, while still doing well, it is important that players like Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, besides Tendulkar too should retire for the youngsters to bask in the sunshine. In the emerging India, shouldn’t all do well and prosper, not just some handful of influential people?!
J.Shriyan

SOCIAL WORK OR ANTI-SOCIAL WORK!?
One of the unfortunate development in India of recent times, is the fixation syndrome, most activists / NGOs suffer from. Their purpose is to fix people or organisations, rightly or wrongly. They are fairly active, using funds either their own to some extent or handouts received from friends and well wishers or state funding or even foreign funding. Those who are in the last two categories usually have a better infrastructure and sometime even provide for the life style of people at the helm. Here we are not talking about people who exist only to get funds from different sources, and there are many like them, but only those who are active-funded and non-funded.
These real activist NGOs do work fairly diligently. For some, it is a career, for some, it is a passion. Although the ones who have opted for social work as a career are better organised with their network and therefore manage better media exposure. But those passionate ones, funded or non-funded are far more committed and do make lot of difference at ground level to the society around them, but poorly networked and therefore cannot manage media exposure. Even media, whether print or electronic, does not recognise their activities, their contribution, or even their presence for whatever reasons. But unmindful of these aberrations they are busy with their activities.
Coming to the fixation syndrome of these activists, NGOs, their efforts are mostly directed towards finding the wrong doer rather tha finding what is wrong. Principle of social correction demands that the system should find out what is wrong, rather than to be obsessed with who is wrong. ‘What is wrong’ approach normally leads to healthier debate and then probably moves towards how this wrong can be rectified or corrected, without any rabble rousing and without any rancour among the social divisions, if any. Whereas ‘who is wrong’ approach leads to all kinds of avoidable acrimony, that would, more often than not, lead to ‘stand offs’ or make solutions difficult to come-by. The question that must be there before everybody who has a stake in the society, should be, ‘how to bring about social evolution for a better and harmonious existence?’
If it is so, then ‘who is wrong’ approach is patently incorrect and contribute a blatant disservice to society.
Sometime in late Jan. 2011, a pan-Indian NGO organised a meet outside D.C. office in Mangalore, ostensibly to protest the conviction of Dr Binayak Sen, by a court in Chhattisgarh. But as the meeting progressed, it turned out that there was less of talk on Dr Sen, but more on Ayodhya Temple/Masjid judgement, which was already four months old. Speaker after Speaker, started with a former lady minister in Karnataka government, riled the judgement and called it almost a joke, based on superstition etc, to the applause of unfortunately a partisan audience. It was not an issue current in the media or the public space, at that point in time, but the objective appeared clearly to keep the gash in the national psyche open and in ferment. Surely such partisan rhetorics would only serve the divide to continue and probably increase rather than to bridge the divide. And come to think of it, speakers included sadly a retired Karnataka High Court judge!
The objective of every social enterprise or activity should be to promote bridging the social divide rather than create and sustain walls of disharmony. If the objective of such meetings, is to serve the social cause of promoting harmony, this particular meeting had completely failed. It was sad to see that there were people connected with the judiciary, a senior retired justice, lawyers, may be even teachers and ladies associated with the order of a faith. They all appeared happy to target another side of the divide. Of course there were lots of police posse around with protective helmets, shields and batons. On the face of it, it appeared a move by the administration, being over cautious.
India is a pluralistic society with a past which is uniquely its own, There is no country like India in the whole world. From Kanya Kumari to Kashmir, from Kutch to Kolkatta, this country of 1200 million people with incredible diversity present a picture of harmony unseen or unheard any where in the world. Of course there are pockets of restlessness, they can be eminently contained and managed, if administration is properly co-ordinated and coherent without any deviation due to politics or influence peddling, and treat all issues of public disorder as problems of law and order, period.
Here the civil society has the responsibility of helping the administration in the better management of problems recurring from time to time, rather than contribute to increased unease around. Yes we all need to ponder over our role in the meaningful discharge of our duties towards co-operative co-existance rather than mouth inanities of Divide-and-Rule politics.
J.Shriyan

Viva citas
(Dance with your germs)
“Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher.”
William Wordsworth.

Who, in fact, is man? Latest study from the prestigious National Institute of Health in America has confirmed that only about 10% of the human body consists of human cells of which there are around 1014 in all. The rest of 90% belong to millions of germs who have become very close friends of man over the millions of years that man existed on earth. While many of the germs have got incorporated into our cell cytoplasm (the soft ware of every cell in any organ) millions of them reside permanently inside our gut (mouth to the anus), respiratory tract, skin, and vagina/penis. The present estimate, which, of course, is statistical, gives a figure of the magnitude of ten times more germs inside the human body compared to the total number of human cells.
Our ambitious genome project and the associated stem cell research have all gone awry with this new scientific knowledge. While human genome has around twenty to twenty-five thousand genes in all, our friends, the germs, have contributed millions of their genes to us. They are a combination of microbiomes, virinomes, and also the genes related to their metabolism, called metabolomes. Together, they form the Meta-genome of man which needs to be studied from now on. The NIH project in the last one decade has been able to study about 1087 of those metagenomes of which there are millions more to be explored. At the present rate of research it might take decades more to unravel the mystery at a phenomenal cost.
How did our present science miss this vital knowledge? Some of our venerated leaders were responsible for this tardiness. The leader of the group was Robert Koch with his Koch’s postulates. Many of the disease causing germs could not be identified using these archaic postulates. They were all classed as idiopathic diseases. While there were occasional successes en route like the time Helicobacter Pylori was detected in the gut and L-forms were discovered in London, we have made very little headway elsewhere. It is possible that some of our present day killer diseases like heart attacks, brain attacks, cancer, autoimmune syndromes and even some psychological illnesses might have their origin in some germs as the triggering factors. The whole sea of hidden knowledge is there for bright future researchers to explore.
Germs are a part of human body; as such, they control our every move. Even to lift a little finger one needs to get permission from a small germ. This is a very good lesson in philosophy and mundane experiences of daily living. Pride, the greatest enemy of man, has no scientific locus standii in view of the awareness of the human meta-genome. Even the greatest of men have to be subservient to microscopically small germs. Humility, therefore, becomes the order of the day. Humility, according to Indian wisdom, is a sign of highest education in man. This is a good scientific lesson to all those that are arrogant to think that they can run this world with their money, muscle or brain power.
Advances in physics have added new knowledge in this area too. Now Hans Peter Duerr, the Emeritus President of the Max Planck Institute in Munich, has shown that energy and matter are but the two faces of the same coin-“matter is not made out of matter.” This will bring human mind as the same as human body, again reminding us that the Indian sages were right when they wrote that mind is but man himself-manaevam manushyaanaam. This brings us to the crux of the problem in the medical world, the ghost of adverse drug reactions that kill maximum number of people that seek medical help. An elegant study coming from Oxford, Cambridge, Hamburg and Munich universities, led by Professor Bingel at Oxford, showed that the Placebo effect or the Expectation Effect, which depends on the patient’s faith in the doctor, is much more powerful than all the drugs available.
If the human mind is tranquil, human body rarely suffers from any physical illnesses. The same applies to psychiatric illnesses. The old idea that mental illnesses have chemical background has been challenged scientifically. The latter could be managed by the placebo effect in the same way as bodily diseases. All most all psychiatric drugs have come under fire with this new wisdom. If we could dance with our germ friends inside us and keep our mind tranquil, we could one day win our war against illnesses. “Organ based diseases” have lost their sheen with the new knowledge in physics that body cells love one another irrespective of the organs in which they live. It is only when that synchronicity is lost that we fall ill. Fritz-Albert Popp’s bio-photon emission could tell us if our cells are in synch with one another or not. Body cells could also be made to dance (vibrate) together with proper mental balance.
Dance with the germs to live life fully-Vivacitas!

Prof B.M. Hegde

YEH MERA INDIA

6 Tihar inmates’ bid for IAS
ther side of the law but these Tihar inmates are burning midnight oil to make it to the bureaucracy and assist lawmakers.
These six inmates, lodged inside Jail No.3 of the prison for crimes like murder, kidnapping and cheating, are toiling hard to qualify for the Indian Administrative Services exams even though they are not certain about their release.
With no coaching centres at their disposal, all are following the self-study method and in need they turn to one of their co-in-mates, who once trained IAS aspirants.
“Manipur has the potential to add to the Indian economy if explored well. Till date it remains neglected. The youth there should be motivated. If I qualify the IAS exams, development of my state will be my prime agenda,” Gaijoao Mei George said.
Charged with murder, George made headlines after getting several job offer letters from companies that carried out the first ever campus placement drive in Tihar Prisons. “I study whenever I get time. The GNIIT course that I did when I was outside is helping me a lot. 24 hours are too less for preparation. One of the inmates, who is also trying for the exam, helps me,” he said. Siddharth Singh Sidar, a resident of Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh and undergoing imprisonment for cheating, has come as a blessing in disguise for many like George.
An IITian from Kharagpur, Siddharth quit his job and came to Delhi to prepare for the IAS exams. He used to run tutorial classes in Mukherjee Nagar area for IIT aspirants. “I am in the jail since December 2010. Should I consider this imprisonment a blessing or a curse, I do not know. I am happy that I am getting the time to prepare for the civil services which I hardly had when I was out,” he said.

Goa most competitive state in India, says study
New Delhi: Goa has emerged as the most competitive state in the country with a high income and consumption pattern, according to a report by a think tank Institute for Competitiveness, reports PTI.
While the small state in Western India has secured the top slot for 2011, Delhi and Maharashtra have dropped one slot each as against their position in the previous year to take the second and third position, respectively, IFC’s State Competitiveness Report said.
“Goa ranks number one as the most competitive state in the nation. Income, consumption and demographics have played the most critical role in Goa’s ascendance,” it said.
“Delhi and Maharashtra have dropped one place each to the second and third position, respectively, from last year,” IFC added. Among the middle income states, Gujarat has emerged as the best. IFC credits the state performance to its focus on providing business incentives, improving physical and communication infrastructure as well as the state’s healthy financial condition. “Rajasthan has topped the rankings among low-income states owing to its high income and consumption capability.

15 Naxals, including 7 women, surrender
Nagpur: In a major breakthrough, 15 naxals including a self-styled commander, a deputy commander and seven women cadres surrendered before Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil in Gadchiroli. The commander, who has been identified as Suryu Ramesh Vialla Gawde (26), was earlier with Sironcha dalam and later migrated to Perilimi dalam of the naxals. He was also a member of the naxals’ area committee. The deputy commander has been identified as Shankar Duge (26). They surrendered during the police parade function on Maharashtra Day, police said.

Cop swallows bribe cash
Nashik: The corrupt feed on money, literally. But that they practically feed on money was demonstrated by a smart cop, who actually swallowed the wad of currency, all Rs. 3000, he had taken as bribe. However, his colleagues from the Anti corruption Bureau (ACB) were faster and pulled out the marked currency from his mouth. ACB sources said that Constable Sharad Himmatrao More of Deola had asked a sand contractor to pay him Rs 3000 because his trucks were overloaded beyond the permissible limit. The sly contractor agreed, called on the ACB and took their marked currency. When he paid the request money, the ACB staff barged in and caught him red-handed. More’s attempt to swallow the currency notes was failed, and he was arrested, presented in court and remanded to ACB custody. ACB also found bank receipts in More”s pockets amounting to Rs one lakh, which he had recently deposited. Further investigations are on.

Weaker you are stronger the case against you
Cops to book harassed gardener
Mumbai: Following the incident where the 38-year-old gardener immolated himself outside the cabin of his senior in Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) Hospital, the police have registered a case of attempt to suicide against the victim. Though the officials stated that they are investigating the case, they refrained from revealing development in the probe in connection with what drove the man to take the extreme step. Santosh Ramchandra Giri (38), who works as a gardener with the MbPT hospital, set himself ablaze outside the cabin of his senior at around 11.30 am. Following the incident, Giri’s colleagues had stated that he might have taken the extreme step following harassment by his superiors. Kaiser Khalid, DCP (Port Zone) said, “We are looking into the matter and are probing the incident from all angles. We are looking into the matter and are in the process of taking Giri’s statement and cannot disclose anything further”. The officials stated that Giri is battling over 90 per cent burn injuries in the incident and is still in critical condition in the Masina Hospital. One of his colleagues, on condition of anonymity has stated earlier, “Giri and his superior had a heated verbal spat, following which the incident took place. He was being harassed by his seniors. “Despite this, the officials stated that they would first take action against Giri for attempting suicide and hence have registered a case against him.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

MONTH THAT WAS

Man killed while stealing fuel
Mexico City: A man was burnt to death in northwestern Mexico when a tanker truck exploded while he was filling it with fuel siphoned from a pipeline, police said. Moises Rodriguez got burnt in an explosion and subsequent fire in Sinaloa state when he was pilfering fuel from a Petroleos Mexicanos pipeline, they said. The tanker truck exploded, killing him and sending flames shooting into the air, police said, adding that the pipeline blast knocked out the power grid in a nearby town. The fire was brought under control and the pipeline was temporarily shut down to avoid further damage. About 50 illegal taps have been found on pipelines in the state this year. Theft of fuel from pipelines-known in Mexico as “milking” - is common.

State mulls lessening jail term of petty convicts
In a relief to prisoners convicted for petty crimes, Home Minister R R Patil announced reduction in their punishment as a goodwill gesture in wake of the state’s golden jubilee year celebrations. “As the state is celebrating the golden jubilee year, we are mulling over reducing punishment of prisoners who have been convicted for petty crimes. We would ensure that they are not habitual criminals,” Patil told the Legislative Council here while replying to a discussion on absconding convicts. The minister said 14,745 convicts on bail or parole have fled Mumbai and 23,666 the state, in the last two decades adding that police has succeeded in catching 235 convicts so far, Patil said. “The Home department is upgrading these numbers considering about 15-20 per cent may have died. We would soon launch a special drive to nab the absconding people, “he said. The issue was raised by Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe who asked for the government that over 14,000 convicts on parole were absconding.

Tobacco can kill over a billion people
United Nations: If the current rate of tobacco use continue, a billion people could die from active and passive smoking within this century, a senior UN official has warned. Douglas Bettcher Director, of the WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, told the UN News service that “a cataclysmic future” lies ahead unless serious steps are taken to curb smoking. “There is no need for this,” said Bettcher. “We have tools to help everyone quit”. Approximately six million people currently die each year from either directly smoking tobacco or being exposed to it, said Bettcher.

Oceans could rise 1.6 meters by 2100
Paris: Warming in the Arctic occurring at twice the global average is on track to lift sea levels by up to 1.6 meters by 2100, a far steeper jump than predicted a few years ago, a consortium of scientists reported. Melting ice and snow has accounted for 40 per cent of recent increase in ocean levels and are likely to play an even larger role in future, according to the Oslo-based Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Project(AMAP). “Global sea level is projected to rise 0.9 to 1.6 meters by 2100, and the loss from Arctic glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet will make a substantial contribution to this,” AMAP said in a report. Even the low end of this range would have devastating consequences for coastal cities and densely-populated, low lying deltas in Bangladesh, Vietnam, China and many other countries, scientists have warned.

‘India most populous by 2011’ – U.N
New Delhi: The world’s population, long excepted to stabilise just above 9 billion by the middle of the century, will rather keep growing to hit 10.1billon by 2100 while India will probably overtake China as the most populous country in the world by 2021, according to the latest United Nations projections.
With over 1.2 billion people counted in the 2011 Census, every sixth person in the world is already an Indian. The UN Population Report predicts that on October 31, 2011, the 7 billionth concurrent human will be born on earth. And it will be probably be a boy.
The report suggests that China, which has for decades enforced restrictive population policies, could soon enter the ranks of countries with declining populations, peaking at 1.4 billion in the next couple of decades, then falling to 941 million by 2100.
The United States is growing faster than many rich countries, largely because of high immigration and higher fertility among Hispanic immigrants. The report projects that the United States population will rise from today’s 311million to 478 million by 2100.
Demographers call the new projections a reminder that a problem that helped, define global politics in the 20th century the population explosion, is far from solved in the 21st.
The projections were made by the United Nations population division, which has a track record of fairly accurate forecasts. In the new report, the division raised its forecast for the year 2050, estimating that the world would most likely have 9.3 billion people then, an increase of 156 million over the previous estimate for that year, published in 2008.
All over the world, the highest growth rates are seen in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. According to Thomas Buttner, head of the UN Population Division, Nigeria is one such example. “They have more than four children per women and if that condition stays constant for the next 90 years, Nigeria would add 2.5 billion people to its current population,” Buttner said, adding that such growing is clearly unsustainable.
The centrist version projected by the UN predicts drop in birth rates from the present global average of 2.5 children per women to two over the next 90 years. That would mean our planet would host 10.1 billion humans by 2100.
The director of the United Nations population division, Hania Zlotnik, said the world’s fastest-growing countries, and the wealthy Western nations that help finance their development, face a choice about whether to renew their emphasis on programs that encourage family planning.

US teacher shaves for first time since 2001
A middle school teacher vowed after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, that he would not shave his beard until Osama bin Laden was caught. Gary Weddle kept his word. “I spent my first five minutes crying and then I couldn’t get it off fast enough,” Weddle, 50, told the ‘Capital Press’. Weddle, who lives in East Wenatchee and teaches in Ephrata, had wanted to cut his beard for years. The gray stringy growth actually made him look a bit like bin Laden. Weddle was a substitute teacher in Wenatchee when the terrorist attacks occurred on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing some 3,000 people. Weddle said he was so absorbed in the news that he neglected to shave. A week or so later, he decided not shave until bin Laden was captured or proven dead. He figured it would just be a month or two.

Thane bizman seals Jordanian firm for patent violation
A business group in Jordan, which copied the products manufactured by a Thane based industrialist, has been sealed with the help of local authorities. Ramesh Mhatre had patented his innovation “three cornered diffuser” used in the air-conditioning system. This is the only spring loaded diffuser for centralised AC system, he claimed. Addressing a news conference, Mhatre said that he was the first Indian innovator to get patent for his product in the USA.

Corporator disqualified RTI activist follows case for 2 years
Mumbai: Shiv Sena corporator Meenakshi Patil, has been disqualified for having carried out an illegal extension inside her bungalow. The disqualification has been ordered by municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar.
Patil had purchased a bungalow at Miniland, tank Road Bhandup-West in the name of her relative Bharati Kisan Patil. “In 2009, they began repairs to the bungalow and meanwhile constructed a two storied structure with a shed on the top in the remaining open space, despite of having used all FSI up already, said Tarashankar Shetty, the RTI activist who followed up the matter to its conclusion.
This was challenged by Shetty under BMC Act’s section 16 (1) (1d). “Initially, I asked for their disqualification by writing to the S ward. But they just sat on it. I then wrote to the commissioner. Meanwhile, the corporator wrote an acceptance letter to the deputy municipal commissioner (DMC) that they had constructed some parts without authority and gave many excuses. Later, when new commissioner Subodh Kumar took over, he wrote to the court requesting extension of time which the court granted. “It took a change of commissioner to finally take an action in the matter,” Shetty rued. The said illegal structures inside the bungalow will be demolished, sources added.

Binayak Sen is on Plan panel’s committee
New Delhi: Naxal sympathizer Binayak Sen is wanted in the corridors of power. A civil rights activist, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of sedition and for his links with Naxalites. Recently the Supreme Court granted him bail, after which he was released from Raipur Jail. The Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters that Sen has been appointed on board of one of the panel’s steering committee to give input for the 12th plan on health related issues.
Confirming the appointment, Ahluwalia told reporters that it was the Planning Commission’s proposal to appoint him. The 61-year old rights activist, a pediatrician, has worked in Chhattisgarh’s tribal belt. In this respect, his input on malnutrition in tribal children is expected to be critical while formulating the 12th plan, sources said.
Binayak conveyed his consent to the Planning Commission on, stating that he will strive to bring “equity” in health related issues for deprived communities.
The 40-member steering committee on health is expected to hold its first meeting on May 25 or May 26.
Even as Ahluwalia welcomed Sen on board, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh questioned the rationale behind the appointment as he was still facing trial. “The people of Chhattisgarh do not approve of the appointment,” he told a mainstream newspaper. Pointing out that generally for such appointments a proper procedure is followed, including scrutiny of the antecedents of the individual, Raman Singh said: “Is there such a dearth of experts in the country that the Centre had to take the advice of a person accused of sedition? The people of Chhattisgarh do not approve of this,” he added.

ABRACADABRA

Dog meat - 430 animals saved
Beijing: More than 400 dogs, including golden retrievers, on their way to be served as meat in restaurants in northeast China were saved after animal rights activists staged a 15-hour blockade. The 430 golden retrievers and huskies, many of them stolen from families, were rescued by more than 200 activists who staged a 15-hour blockade at a toll station in Tongzhou. The people swamped the checkpoint demanding the release of the animals that were being transported from Henan province to restaurants in Changchun in Jilin province, China Daily reported. The dogs had been trapped in a truck for two days with no food or water, said Wang Qi of the China Small Animal Protection Association.

After 80 years Einstein gets visa
London: Albert Einstein’s immigration papers have turned up 80 years after he dramatically fled to Britain from Nazi Germany, a media report said, reports PTI.
UK border chiefs at Heathrow airport were left stunned by the discovery of the landing card which marks the legendary German-born scientist’s arrival at Dover in Britain on May 26, 1933, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported. Einstein was Jewish and escaped to England with a bounty on his head as an enemy of Adolf Hitler’s regime. According to the smudged document, the “Father of Modern Physics” arrived at Dover from Ostende in Belgium. He describes his occupation as a professor and being of Swiss nationality. On the reverse, he states to immigration officers he is bound for Oxford. And now the major historical find will go on display later this month in Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum after it was snapped up by curators. Assistant curator Lucy Gardner said: “We didn’t know this landing card ever existed until we visited UK Border Agency offices at Heathrow. We were keen on acquiring any document relating to immigration but were stunned to find paperwork relating to such a prominent figure as Einstein.

Have a cat and save jail
London: A judge in Britain spared a thief from going to jail so that he could go home and feed his cat. District judge David cooper was about to jail 55-year-old Steven Thorne for repeatedly shoplifting alcohol when he changed his mind after being informed about the pet cat. Thorne’s lawyer Julie Brice told the Colchester magistrates’ court that there was no one to feed the cat, which was trapped indoors as Thorne did not have a cat flap at his home. “She’s been at home alone since he was arrested. She will be climbing the walls with hunger,” The Sun quoted Brice as saying. The judge asked: “Is this a good reason not to send him to prison, because he has a cat? I’ve never heard of that”. But he then let Thorne off with a 75 pound fine.

186 held for drunk driving in single night
Mumbai: In a special drive against drunken driving on the intervening night, city traffic police caught 186 drunk persons behind the wheels, and 13 of them were sentenced to simple imprisonment by the court, police said. Metropolitan Magistrate awarded eight day’s imprisonment to three of them. Others got lesser jail terms. 92 of those caught were in the age group 21 to30 years, police added. Since June 2007, when the city police started the anti-drunken driving campaign, a total of 37,873 persons have been sentenced to simple imprisonment and 32,805 licenses were suspended.

Labourer tortured & Godman flees
Nagpur: A self appointed godman beat up a poor man to rid him of evil spirit. While the godman ran away after his torture of the poor person became public, the latter has landed up in a government hospital which is known for shortage of medicines and lack of facilities. The patient Radheshyam Bisen who is in a critical condition and has no money for treatment. His brother Sanjay has just Rs 600 with him. “I don’t know whether to spend the money on the long list of medicines or to take him back home,” he said. A resident of Bhiwapur, Radheshyam’s kidneys have become dysfunctional after he was severely tortured by a godman to exorcize him of “evil spirits”. He was hung upside down, thrashed black and blue, and also kept hungry for at least a week by the godman.
Narrating the plight that has resulted in his brother struggling for life, Sanjay said that Radheshyam, a labourer at Adani Power plant, fell and injured both his legs while on duty a month ago. Initially, Radheshyam was taken to a rural hospital. Though he was getting better, some of the godman’s followers told the Bisen family that he has been affected by some evil spirits.
Radheshyam was then taken to Lalchand Biranwar, popularly known as Chourasibaba at Lamta Charregaon in Madhya Pradesh. The godman beat Radheshyam causing damage to both his kidneys. When he didn’t get good treatment at the rural hospital Sanjay brought Radheshyam to the GMCH. “The rural doctors had told me that the treatment at GMCH is best and cheap as well. But it was not the case”, said Sanjay, who being a labourer cannot afford the expenses. “Rs 1500 was used up in two days to buy medicine as the doctors said that they are not available here. Now, the doctor has handed me the list of medicines that will cost Rs 1000. I am helpless, I don’t know what to do now,” he said.

Banks lost 2,017 cr in frauds during 09-10
New Delhi: Over Rs 2,000 crore was lost by the country’s banking sector in frauds during 2009-10 with more than 200 of these incidents involving deception of above one crore each, CBI Director A P Singh has said. The CBI chief has warned the banks of latest trends emerging in banking frauds in areas like electronic payments, technology-related payments like RTGS, credit cards, ATM, cell banking, internet banking among others. “Banking Sector has lost as much as Rs 1,883 crore and Rs 2,017 crore during 2008-09 and 2009-2010, respectively. These include over 200 frauds of above Rs one crore during each year,” he said during the ‘Third Conference of Central Vigilance Officers of 31 Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions’ at the CBI headquarters’ at the CBI headquarters here.

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WHEN WILL PAKISTAN COME TO ITS SENSES?
Dr. M. V. Kamath
The cat is finally out of the bag. For Pakistan which has for over six long decades been a ‘puppet’ (that’s how Imran Khan has described his country) of the United States, America now is only a “fair-weather friend” while China is “an all-weather friend”. Imran Khan in a TV interview also described Pakistan as America’s ‘boot-polisher’. He should know. The truth is now slowly coming out. The United States has charged five Pakistan Army officers as being involved in the 9/11 attacks. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has charged the U.S with enabling the rise of Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda. So mutual recrimination has begun; where and how it will end remains to be seen. But after being a supplicant to the U.S for sixty odd years, after willingly serving America’s strategic interests without protest to get what it wanted in terms of tanks, planes, arms and equipment, not to mention dollars in billions, Pakistan is shamelessly turning towards China in a strange way to express gratitude. All the aid given by the U.S could not help Pakistan to get what it wanted-bleeding India with a thousand cuts. The U.S was willing to accept Pakistan chicanery when it suited it. It looked the other way when Islamabad received nuclear know-how and aid from China. It kept quiet when Pakistan proceeded to produce and stock over a hundred nuclear weapons. It continued to pour economic aid into Pakistan knowing fully well how every dollar it gave was being used by Pakistan for India-centric offensives. It turned a blind eye when the ISI openly aided and abetted secessionist forces like ULFA. India did not matter. When, in reply to Indian protests over American military aid to Pakistan then U.S President Dwight Eisenhower said those arms were not intended for use against India, It was V.K.Krishna Menon who made the classic repartee that the world has yet to make a gun that could shoot only in one direction. Pakistan could do anything to harm India. It received America’s tacit support. India could protest- but it was a cry in the wilderness. Now, is the scenery changing? In his address to the Pakistan Parliament, Gilani said that on the night when a U.S Special Force unit went out to get Osama bin Laden, the Pakistan Air Force “was ordered to scramble” and “ground units arrived at the scene quickly” and Pakistani response demonstrated that its armed forces “reacted as was expected of them”. But how? Gilani is quiet on that score. What did the Ground Units which arrived on the scene “quickly”, do? Did they face up to the U.S. Special Force unit in action? Or did they arrive at the scene too late? There is no answer. In the ‘Fifteen Points’ Gilani raised in Pakistan’s Parliament (that is one ‘point’ more than Jinnah’s infamous Fourteen Points!) the Prime Minister made two significant points. One, he said: With India we are embarked on an important process of engagement that should yield dividends for our two peoples and for peoples of South Asia as a whole. We will pursue our engagement with India in a positive and constructive manner”. Two, he added: “Our engagement with States within our region is being intensified in the interest of shared stability and prosperity”. Which States within Pakistan’s region was Gilani talking about? India, for one ? India would like to have peace with Pakistan, as Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has been time and again trying to impress on Islamabad, but without much success. Is Gilani at last coming to his senses? But what kind of ‘peace’ does Gilani have in mind when over a score of terrorist training camps are actively engaged on the Pakistan side of the Line or Control (LOC) of whose existence the Indian army is acutely aware, as was pointed out by GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt. Gen K.T.Parnaik in a post-May 3 interview? India would have every right to attack those camps in self-defense, Pakistani Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani’s threats not withstanding. When will Pakistan dismantle those camps? The current situation provides an excellent opportunity for Pakistan to completely re-think its strategy, as never before. Gilani now has a golden chance to mend fences with India as never before- a chance that may not come again, wish as he may. And there may not be another Prime Minister in India who feels so committed towards peace with Pakistan as is Dr Singh. Will Gilani-and the Pakistan Army-grasp the opportunity that is now theirs for the asking? One thing Gilani and his military cohorts must know: No matter what, Pakistan can never cut off India’s sovereignty over Jammu & Kashmir. And India must inform the United States, Pakistan’s “Fair-weather friend” and China, Pakistan’s “all-weather friend”, to bear this in mind. For Pakistan to keep saying, as for long Gen. Musharraf has been accustomed to saying, that Kashmir is “a Core Issue” would only prolong its agony. In a recent TV interview Musharraf complained about India’s support to Baluchistan secessionists. India sternly denies it. But even if it doesn’t it has every moral right to do so as a matter of tit-for-tat. In politics, it takes two to play the game. The only “Core Issue’ that confront both India and Pakistan is “peace” and it is to that both countries must address themselves. All else is folly. Besides, Pakistan is well-advised to stay clear of China which is only waiting to fish in troubled waters. Gilani may not know-or just as probably he may not want to know-the price that the Chinese people have been made to pay for their country’s alleged prosperity and growth of economic power and its invasion into Central Asian politics. Gilani is welcome to entertain his delusions but he must know that, in the end, only India could be its true friend. China, never. It has its own agenda for becoming a Super Power and can surely be expected to use every trick of the trade to attain its ambition, if necessary, to use Pakistan as the United States pastly has and even now is anxious to continue. It pays China to pretend to be Pakistan’s “all-weather friend” because it has nothing to lose and everything to gain. As its next-door & immediate neighbour, India can enrich Pakistan in a hundred ways and if Gilani does not understand that, he understands nothing. Falling on external support, fanciful or otherwise, can only widen the rift between Pakistan and India which surely would not be in Pakistan’s interests. All that one can say is: Think it over, Mr Prime Minister. It is not as yet too late.