Saturday, August 11, 2012

ANNOUNCEMENT


To mark the release of 150th issue of ISSUES & CONCERNS, we have planned to have an ELOCUTION COMPETITION for the degree college students of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. This we are organizing in association with Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College, Udupi. It will be held on 31st Aug 2012 in the College Auditorium. Our editorial board member and eminent journalist Padma Bhushan M.V. Kamath shall preside over the formal function, while Ms. Sandhya Pai, Executive Editor, Taranga Weekly shall be the Guest of Honour. We are expecting 50 participants from 50 colleges. Rs: 15000/- is the prize money: with Rs: 5000/- being  the 1st prize, Rs: 3000/- as 2nd prize and Rs: 2000/-as 3rd prize. There will be 5 consolation prizes of Rs: 1000/- each.
On 8th Sept. 2012, at the same venue, a function to release the 150th issue is planned from 3 o’clock to 5 o’clock. Former Supreme Court Justice and former Lokayukta of Karnataka, Justice Santosh Hegde is expected to be the Guest of Honour along with Mr Gautham Pai, the M.D. of Manipal Technologies Ltd., Dr M.V. Kamath shall preside over the function, which shall also have distribution of prizes to the winners of ELOCUTION COMPETITION.
The topic for the ELOCUTION COMPETITION is “Towards a Fair Society, Where Did India Go Wrong?". Prof B.M.Hegde, former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University is expected to take part in the function.

EDITOR'S COLUMN


Friends 
So yet another Independence Day is round the corner. 15th Aug. shall usher the rush of tri-colours once again as an annual event. Once again the Prime Minister shall address the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort, ‘how the Union Jack came down from atop the public structures all across India’. So will be the President of Indian Union, this time round, the new incumbent Pranab Mukherjee.
What both these 'numero uno's, the 'defacto' head and the 'dejure' head of the nation, shall be saying, is difficult  to wager, since, not only India but even globally, there are all kinds of issues plaguing the human society. Therefore response to what they are going to say, will have to wait for the next issue. But the fact remains, it is increasingly becoming an unfinished agenda for ever. In 1947 we were underdeveloped thanks to the colonial devastation by the parting Britishers. In 2012, 65 years later, as a free independent Democratic Republic of India, we are still a developing nation. If prior to 1947, it was the 'Videshi' who plundered us, from 1947, it is the 'Desi' who looted the Mother India, black & blue. The story of loot by Indians, of India and Indians, is a varitable 'Magnum Opus', for any creative writer. 
Whether it is the mind boggling mountain of corruption or flight of sleaze, as black money, into European tax havens, it is the legitimate money of all Indians. But not available even for the development of the country. Successive governments at the centre have played politics in acting decisively to tackle corruption in high places and to identify and to bring back money in secret accounts abroad.
We all realise there is fiscal deficit, balance of payment deficit and  other macro economic issues which are in urgent need of being addressed and corrected. The solution lies in taking the twin issue of corruption and black money head-on. But unfortunately, the power that be, appear very powerless to do anything. The powerful duo of PM and former FM, who is the present incumbent of Rashtrapathi Bhavan, have both failed to inspire confidence that they are seriously interested in tackling these two national scourges. This is indeed very sad as we complete 65 years as a free, vibrant, dynamic regional power, but lapsing into uncertain waters. However, despite all negatives, let’s celebrate the Independence Day. So its wishing all our readers “Swatantr Diwas ki Shubh Kaamnaye”.
Month-In-Perspective is as usual. We have come up with our own take on the events of the month, as was possible within the constraints. In recent days Bharat Ratna was in the media limelight, with Sachin Tendulkar’s name making its rounds. We have taken it up in the Focus. We are not sure, how will readers take it. We will be happy to have your feedback. We do value them.


MONTH-IN-PERSPECTIVE


TAMIL NADU: So after all Kundankulam nuclear reactor is set to go critical and on stream shortly. The hick-ups in the form of prolonged public protest-allegedly inspired by foreign funded NGOs-has ended, paving way for the project to go functional. India needs power, a huge one at that. Nuclear is the best and cheapest source. India has the necessary expertise and the man power, to manage all aspect of Nuclear power generation so also its crisis management, if any. The public protest, however good intentioned, is certainly not well informed. There are enough materials available in the public domain to justify going nuclear. Japan could do, what it did, as an economic power, during the 2nd half of 20th century, was only because of nuclear power. To-day there is a section of Japanese who are agitating against the nuclear power only after the last tsunami tragedy at Fukushima. But how many really suffered or died due to nuclear power is not fully answered. But the latest report by IAEA has confirmed that Fukushima disaster was a human failure which could happen with best of planning, besides other checks and balances.
Thus, we need not fear nuclear mishaps. Hope Kudankulan will usher in a power-ful India, which will only improve the life of we all Indians, not just only of those who are the affordable section of India shining.
Terrorist called teacher is at it again. We thought corporal punishment is a thing of the past. If anything, it is becoming more and more cruel. In recent days urine is becoming tool of punishment. If the warden of the Vishwabharathi University hostel made a girl inmate lick the bed for bedwetting, three teachers of a govt. aided school in Tamil Nadu had asked a IX class boy to drink urine instead of his habit of chewing tobacco. While they were reprimanding the boy verbally, he urinated in his pants after having denied him access to toilet, for which three teachers reportedly canned him all over. 
These two incidents happened in matter of a week, in as far place as Kolkatta and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. These are only reported incidents. There are stories from all across India, in both private as well as government schools, happening at regular intervals but remaining mostly unreported and beyond media glare.
Children everywhere, whether it is school, at home, or at work place, even on road, at the hands of police and anti-socials, are the most vulnerable and are exposed to varieties of violent acts. Their rights are regularly violated with impunity.
But unlike all else, a teacher is an embodiment of love and affection towards these children, if they themselves behave in a way a tyrant could behave, then it is indeed a sad day for the child. After all these children are left in the care of these supposedly caring teachers, who are also guardian of temples of knowledge.

ASSAM: There was this news “Pregnant Cong MLA assaulted for converting to Islam”. The report, prima facie, informs the sensation angle. Assaulting a pregnant lady is bad, but if she is an MLA there is another dimension to it. Conversion to Islam is the third dimension. All are part of the same story. We all should accept assaulting a woman is a crime and should be dealt accordingly. But if it is a pregnant woman, it could endanger the life of an unborn child. This is another crime, more serious. This too deserve to be equally dealt with. Here the victim being an MLA or because she was converted to Islam, on the face of it, is of little importance. Unfortunately the matter is not that simple.
India is a pluralistic state, all can practice their faith openly without fear. Here we have a lady, who was earlier from BJP and later joined Congress. She wins both election – in 2006 and 2011, on different party tickets. Thus it is clear that party symbol did not matter. She is now marrying another person, without divorcing the earlier husband. How can an elected people’s representative do this? Nobody asked that question. It certainly beg for an answer. May be she can be disqualified for this reason alone. All have to acknowledge that marriage is a personal affair and public have no role. But please, she is a public figure and those who elected her are sensitive towards her. Hence both should have mutual respect for each other. MLA has clearly violated this bond. Reportedly people from her constituency have asked her not to enter the area. Of course, prima facie, even this is wrong. But violence, took place only when MLA challenged them. Of course it is for the law and judiciary to take the call. But, surely MLA could have saved the situation. Again there is a larger issue. Conversion in India is a thorny issue. If the man and woman are in love with each other, where does the religion comes. She could have married the man without converting to his religion. Why this should be a condition? Meeya Beebi raazi ho tho, kya karega kaazi. Go to court and become husband and wife, provided of course, you have legally and formally given up your first husband. But then politicians in India are a class apart. They are so-called servants of people, just before election, after that they are the masters. Fortunately this episode has not taken any sectarian turn. Yes, Indians are becoming wiser!

WEST BENGAL: Cornered from all angles, from her own actions of hyper ego, Mamata has done what was best under the circumstances, “Mamata tells her MPs to vote for Bengal”, informed the print media. Of course, she had absolutely no choice. 
These days Mamata Banerjee is in the news for all wrong reasons. She has lost the goodwill with which she romped home, humiliating the 'Bhadralok'. The victory ruined her sense of proportion. She started seeing visions of a kingmaker. She clearly appears to be enjoying the role of a king maker and king breaker, rather than being the king herself. King has the responsibility and kingmaker has no responsibility. She enjoyed putting the UPA govt. in dock, rightly or wrongly. She became a non-dependable maverick, just like what Jayalalitha did to Vajpayee government. In the presidential election, she clearly thought she can play a crucial role and it just devastated her. It almost cost her association with UPA. No sooner, her partner in the venture, Mulayam Singh was pulled into the other side on-board by the Congress, she was rudely awakened to her vulnerability.
Yes, realising that MPs of Trinamool, despite her diktat, may still vote for Pranab Mukherjee the UPA candidate, she painfully realised that discretion is the better part of the valour. So instead of Pranab Mukherjee the Congress nominee, she said ‘Vote for Bengal’. It was a face saving  move, after the receipt of letter from Mukherjee requesting her to vote for him.

MAHARASHTRA: If some of the Muslims in India feel betrayed, you may have to agree with them without justifying their sense of betrayal. We have heard in the media about the discrimination perpetrated by police in Maharashtra in the police detention of Muslims on suspicion only. Once detained, they are left to the mercy of God. What kind of a future these detained people can look forward to, in the country of their birth! What responsibility the society should have towards such victims of circumstances?
Yes, in police custody there may be all kinds of people from diverse background for umpteen reasons. They all deserve to be treated with a sense of responsibility as quickly and as fairly as possible. But they are all languishing in the jails interminably. It speaks very poorly of the entire police system. Why we are insensitive to this socio/religious dimension of our criminal justice system? And how many of them die in custody, either due to police high handedness or due to internal physical imbalances caused by the detention. In any case, the responsibility of the police is not reduced or eliminated.
In 2002, a 27 year old engineer, Khwaja Yunus died in police custody. Holding the police responsible for the death, the Bombay high Court awarded Rs: 20 lakh as compensation on April 10, 2012. Earlier in 2008, the Maharashtra govt. on its own, having accepted it as a custodial death, gave the family of K. Yunus Rs: 3 lakh as compensation. The family went to court, seeking punishment for those who are responsible for their son’s death, so also an enhanced compensation to be paid. 
But the government in Mumbai, despite its complete culpability not only has not punished its policemen for the death of Khwaj Yonus, in their custody, but also failed to comply by the Bombay High Court order to pay the compensation. It was clearly a breach of court order by the Prathviraj Chavan government. It is a clear case of justice denied, not merely delayed.
It is a good news for the criminals and anti-social elements in Maharashtra. “Conviction rate is worst” says Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil. Should police celebrate with the criminals at this apathetic statement of its Home Minister? According to reports it is a poor 8.2% for the year 2011-12, supposedly lowest in the entire country. As per the available data, in 1994 it was 34.5% came down to 18% in 1997. Thus it came down by almost 50% in just 3 years. This trend continued year after year to register at 8.2% for 2011-12. This is a sad reflection, in a state claiming to be the best among police in India, but conviction is falling. The reason is not far to seek. For arresting, you do not need proof. A complaint or a suspicion is enough for the police to arrest anybody, especially those with little or no clout. But, police have time and again failed, across the country, not just in Maharashtra, to prove the case, for varieties of reasons like inadequate evidence gathering, poor investigation, lack of co-ordination between police and prosecutor. But the most important is the ability of criminals to influence the course of  evidence compiling and investigation itself. Minister while accepting the flaws failed to admit that influence peddlers and the police vulnerability are the significant reasons for the courts to let go a criminal. There are any number of cases where police failed to file charge-sheets within stipulated period of time, and courts have dismissed the case. As usual if you do not want to go cracking, you create committees. Already two committees, RR Patil has formed, one to tell “how to improve conviction rate” the other to “ensure that acquittals come down”. Both are same but he is informing his gullible Legislative colleagues, that he is forming two committees to get into the problem.He is taking them in circles. No questions asked. Committees will only dilute the seriousness of the issue, which is primarily a case of police failure.

NEW DELHI: In days of Ramakrishna Hegde, as Chief Minister of Karnataka, the Times of India always carried news inimical to Hegde in front page, and any report favourable to Hegde would be consigned incognito to some inside pages making it difficult to find easily. It was a clearly visible bias of the 4th estate towards the then Karnataka C.M.
Without doubt The Hindu, which claims itself as ‘India’s National News Paper since 1878', can be accused of similar bias. Quoting from the memoir of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, the news paper had, on the first front page had this report ‘Keep off Gujarat, Kalam was advised.’ In fact this news item appeared in a box. The report informs that the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was not comfortable with Mr Kalam wanting to visit Gujarat and had apparently asked “Do you consider visiting Gujarat at this time essential?” Whether publication of this item was required to be on the first page in bold letters? is a question which certainly demands an answer. But what exposed 'The Hindu' mindset was the report on the same book, where ‘Gujarat government was shown in better light, when all through his trip to Gujarat, he was provided with more than appropriate protocol so also that CM Narendra Modi had accompanied Mr Kalam to all places he visited and generally expressed satisfaction about the trip. This report, when taken up by L K Advani, like Times of India, was consigned to page no. 10 under the title “Why did media ignore Kalam compliment to Modi”. this is how most of the media behave, never evenhanded.
Kuldeep Nayyar, is a respected senior name in journalism. He is into different government appointed commissions and committees. But it is sad that these senior journalists too have their own political baggages which they never jettison in the larger interest of the society. Recently his book ‘Beyond the Lines’ was published where he referred to Ayodhya imbroglio. Ayodhya is a very fertile ground for most writers who keep blaming one against the other, so that they can sell their books better. Drain inspection is a popular pastime for most committed intellectuals, writers and journalists. In his book he had referred to P V Narasimha Rao in not so pleasant terms. Of course, our ‘very concerned’ media took it up from there and designed its headline “When Ayodhya is being demolished P V N Rao was busy in Pooja”. So both Kuldeep Nayyar, the ‘eminent’ journalist & writer was joined by his other journalist fellow travelers in condemning the dead man. Surely dead man cannot be rubbishing their tales. Fortunately for the anguished soul of former PM, Rao, an IPS officer Kishor Kunal appeared and gone public with rubbishing Kuldeep Nayyar and therefore his journo friends. Quoting from Madhav Godbole’s book ‘An Unfinished Innings’, Kishor Kunal was emphatic that during those troubled days of Babri demolition, PVN Rao was neither sleeping not was engaged in Pooja. According to Mr Kunal, Mr Godbole, the then Home Secretary was continuously monitoring the events and was reporting it every half-an hour to the PM so also was detailing it in the Home Ministry log book. The information, Mr Kunal  is giving is available to anybody to cross check. Are you there Mr Nayyar, can you hear! Hence as a journalist you have a duty to pursue the truth and tell only the truth. Don’t tell 'cock-n-bull' story to please your political masters. You are a journalist first and last. In fitness of things it is best you remain a journalist without the baggage of your political ambivalence.
Upon the quitting of Pranab Mukherjee as Finance Minister, a former Finance Minister and current Prime Minister took over as Finance Minister. That is a good news for India, which according to the media and the India Inc. credit Dr Singh as a reformer. Even the respected TIME magazine of the U.S. has given the credit to Dr Manmohan Singh for the reforms of 1991 which opened the flood gate of economic activities that followed. In the same breath the magazine also branded him under achiever, while quoting Swapan Das Gupta “While people talk fondly of his impact in1991, they talk less fondly of the legacy he will leave behind in 2014”.
Everybody miss the point. If as a Prime Minister, Dr Singh cannot make a difference to the PMO, how could he have made the difference as Finance Minister? He could have only made a proposal as FM to the then Prime Minister PVN Rao. It was PVN Rao who steered the reform as the leader of the government of the day in 1991. Dr Singh is an, out and out, bureaucrat and therefore shall do only those which were told to be done. Of course, he had the opportunity of a life time to prove himself, decisive and action oriented. But he missed the bus. He allowed himself to be led by people who had their vested interest. In the process, all got the bad name, including Dr Singh. He is a transparently honest person and all know about it. But he is very reticent-closemouthed- when it comes to opposition, especially BJP, the main opposition party. He did not believe in bonhomie with the largest opposition party. He did not give the importance, they deserved. Purely by arithmetic, they are the 2nd largest party in the parliament, and none of UPA allies can match that except Congress. So it is in the interest of the nation that he takes them seriously and develop friendship. All through his 8 years at the helm of the government it was very clearly seen that he failed miserably to deal with the main opposition as a leader of world’s largest democracy. This is a point everybody in the media, including the TIME failed to take note and comment.
So Pranab Kumar Mukherjee has become the 13th President of Democratic Republic of India. All the speculations of miracles by Sangma and his supporters came to a naught. He romped home with close to 70% of votes cast. Of course, there was no doubt in the numbers game which was heavily loaded in his favour.
From July 25th he shall be the defacto head of the state, powerful yet powerless or can it be-powerless yet powerful. Yes, it depends on people and circumstances.
However looking back, he will breath easy from now on. No nitty gritty of daily ministerial pulls and pressures. Actually for Pranab Mukherjee it is like a retirement assignment. After five decades of active political life, at 77 he has retired into Rashtrapathi Bhavan.
Of course, other two, who were full time politicians to go straight into the Viceregal palace were as old as him. But Pranab Mukherjee is entering the august accommodation when the country is fully awake about rights and wrongs. He is one of the 15 ministers, against whom Anna Team asked for investigation. Controversy was always a part of Pranab Mukherjee. He is a man who know too many details of murky goings on within the portals of parliament. In fact an English daily from Mumbai wrote him off well before his election as President of India. It wrote, in its editorial “Pranab is a huge failure”, accusing him of having contributed a good deal to the current economic mess. May be someday some journalist or a writer shall come up with startling details. After having worked for over 50 years mostly in senior positions and the perks that go with it, couldn’t there be another candidate non-controversial? In India there were so many, who deserved to be in the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. Accepting the victory Pranab Mukherjee had reportedly stated “I have received more than what I have given”. It’s a very frank statement. It is true of all politicians, but none have said that. But they still want to receive more and more. This is the tragedy of India.
Presidential election is over and the new incumbent has already taken charge at Rashtrapathi Bhavan. So Pranab is in and Pratibha is out. But strangely while there were lot of writings on the new president Pranab Mukherjee, may not be necessarily interesting or otherwise, there hasn’t been any media comments on the outgoing President Pratibha. Of course there were stories about some controversies involving her husband and her brother, in the beginning of her term. There were also stories on her foreign jaunts with her jamboori of relatives. Then there was this land controversy in Pune from defence estate for her proposed retirement home, which under relentless media pressure, she gave up.
Yes, of all stories that made their rounds in the media, the most talked about was the presidential pardon. She reportedly pardoned some 35 persons from the gallows to life imprisonment. According to some in the media it was like mercy overdrive. Some called it flood of mercy and called her Goddess of mercy. The reason for such remarks was because, she cleared a huge backlog left behind by, her supposedly less kind, predecessors, since the 1990s.That was clearly unprecedented. What makes this clemency shocking is the brutality of the crime of the convicted that was completely overlooked while granting clemency. Was Pratibha insensitive to the degree of cruelty perpetrated on the victims, by these convicts? Or else how could she grant clemency for mass murderers, rapists who killed women and children after raping and other equally gruesome crimes? What confounded most critics is, that these criminals had committed the ‘rarest of rare’ crimes   of human violence, as per all judicial pronouncements and yet Ms. Patil allowed them breathing space. The question that rankled all was, did she consider these cases with fairness and justice or just unfairly hurried to close the matter? Answer probably is 'NO'. Because in her hurry she even commuted the death sentence of a convict who had already died in 2007, some 5 years ago, probably even before she became president. This clearly is the misuse of the clemancy power of the president, and non application of mind.

WORLD: Washington datelined news informed about the US appointment of envoy to Myanmar, after 22 years. While it is a good news that the army rule of five decades is slowly opening the country for democratic reforms, the role of U.S. in Myanmar is cut out. As the leader of the democratic world U.S. has great responsibility to protect institution of democracy worldwide. There are still great many issues that are captive in the country to the whims and fancies of its military rulers. Although most of the issues are concerning its own Buddhist population, the problem of persecution of Muslims of Bangla origin, Rohingyas living in the areas bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh, for generations, is of a serious nature. Human rights abuse by the army against the ethnic minorities is well documented, and Mr Derek Mitchell, the U.S. ambassador to Rangoon will have his hands full, if he is a true diplomat, whose worry is not only to represent U.S. commercial interest but also the universal human rights of all Burmese people irrespective of its ethnic, linguistic, racial diversity. Besides, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, who won her parliamentary seat recently, and travelled to Oslo to receive her Nobel Peace Prize, has reportedly not spoken on the issue, despite questioning. Why is Buddha Quite?!
Election of Mohammed Mursi, as the first freely elected president of United Arab Republic of Egypt is indeed a great news for the entire Arab world. He is reportedly, the Arab world’s first freely elected Islamic president. So after 84 years of struggle, the Muslim Brotherhood, has arrived and has tasted political power. In his first public speech at the Cairo University he pledged that Egypt would not reverse the democratic course, it won after hard struggle. His is the first democratically elected presidentship, since the overthrow of the monarchy some 60 years ago. In his address, President Mursi reportedly, reached out to both Muslims and Christians in “drawing a better future for Egypt and in fulfilling the goals of the revolution, freedom, social justice and dignity”. Hope and wish, this election in Egypt heralds, a new phase in the democratic evolution of the Arab World for the larger good of both Arabs and the world at large. ‘Peace be with all’ Amen.
If Egyptians were more matured to elect their new president democratically, with least amount of bloodshed, there is a democratically inspired movement in Syria, there is an unnecessary flow of blood leading to senseless killing of hundreds of its civilian and army population. There is a kind of civil war. Only because, its president Bashar Assad, who inherited the presidentship from his father is refusing to step down. Entire democratic world is asking this Bashar to step down, in the larger interest of Syria and its people, but he is being propped by other two non-democratic, but powerful allies, Russia and China, who are blocking the pro-people change. In all fairness, Bashar Assad must step down. Assad and his family thinks Syria is their private property, and in principle both Russia and China, who are communists should oppose Syrian president, who is a brutal bourgeois oppressor. But only because U.S. and other European countries, besides India, want the change, these two are opposing the change. It is very sad that the unrelenting bloodshed has not made the Chinese and Russian leadership change their stand to force this recalcitrant  Assad to give up his cruel authoritarian regime.
Then there is this story of “Hardline Islamists destroy Timbaktu Religious Treasures”. The town of Timbuktu or Tombouctou, known also as “city of 333 saints,” was raped. “It is a crime” said a source close to the local Imam. The hardline Islamist Ansar Dine group went on rampage, reportedly after 2 days of UNESCO announcing Timbuktu as an ‘endangered world heritage site’.
According to reports the group has vowed to wipe out every religious shrine in the fabled town. This is quite simply an act of extreme intolerance of a weird kind. What are they trying to convey with this destruction of ancient structure of their very own religious symbols?
There was this funny news “Pak DAG gets notice for polishing shoes in India” in the print media. DAG is Deputy Attorney General Mr Khurshid Khan. DAG of Pakistan received a notice from his legal fraternity, the bar association of Supreme Court of Pakistan. These lawyers from Islamabad accused the DAG of “defaming the nation”. The crime of the DAG was, that he polished shoes outside place of worship in India. DAG had reportedly stated that he performed voluntary service at Gurudwara, including cleaning shoes, during a recent visit to India as “Penance for crimes committed by Taliban”. Responding to the reported notice DAG Mr Khan had asked “What is constituted as defaming the country. Ajmal Kasab’s alleged killing of Indians or a Pakistani polishing the shoes of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians outside their places of worship?" It appears these lawyers were unhappy not about polishing shoes but the place where the DAG did his penance, since India is anathema for majority of Pakistanis. They would not have bothered much, if this 'kaarseva' was in China or in U.S. This is Pak for you.
J.Shriyan

FOCUS

BHARAT RATNA, SACHIN TENDULKAR 

& JUSTICE KATJU


The title reads funny, more so under Focus! However much bemused the readers are, a look at the events of the last couple of months will throw much light and open vistas for discussion on how our media need to function. 
“Don’t give Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar – PCI Chief-Justice Markandey Katju” cried some in the print media. And that is how the combination of Bharat Ratna, Sachin Tendulkar and Justice Katju evolved overnight. We need to look at each of these three dimensions individually and bring about unity.
Bharat Ratna, meaning Jewel of India is an award instituted by the government of India by an enactment of the parliament on 2nd Jan. 1954. As is clear in its inherent meaning, this is the highest civilian award given to an individual who has rendered service of the highest order to the nation, in recognition of the same. The statute covering the award informs the kind of services which include-arts, literature, science and technology and public service.
Forty one eminent personalities, living and dead, Indian and foreign, have been conferred this honour. Details of awardees are available in the public domain for all to know.
The issue of Bharat Ratna became a topic of discussion in recent days after a section of Indians especially from Maharashtra proposed that cricketer Sachin Tendulkar be considered for this highest national award. Sports was not an area considered for this highest national honours so far. For his achievements as a cricketer, on recommendation of the sports ministry, Tendulkar was awarded both Padmashree and Padma Bhushan on different occasions, besides Arjuna award and Khel Ratan award.
But Padma Shree or Padma Bhushan or even Padma Vibhushan cannot automatically qualify one for Bharat Ratna. Bharat Ratna is awarded as a rare honour. It is true that behind all awards there are grey areas. Machinations and manipulations often go into the process of nominations and selections. In most cases controversy cannot be ruled out. For that matter even the Nobel Prize is not free from unsavoury angles. But Bharat Ratna is certainly above all other awards conferred in India.
Sportsmen are generally awarded Arjuna award, and Khel Ratan’s are very rarely given. Some of them do end up with some of the Padma award depending on different considerations and yardsticks. Indeed, it is a well known fact that many achievers, whose services call for national honours and public recognitions, have remained unseen, unheard and therefore unrecognized in the public domain for varieties of reasons, including downright bias. “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its fragrance in the desert air” or “In a poultry show peacock did not get an award” are the gems of thoughts that cross our mind. These are universal truths and not found in India alone. Probably they are hard facts of life. Cry in the wilderness is an essential concomitant of modern day living. 
In such a scenario, talk about giving or awarding Bharat Ratna to Tendulkar, has understandably aroused extreme reactions.
We need to examine both aspects, or rather three aspects of the issue, one who proposed it, the other who opposes and the third are the unconcerned ones, and they are very large in number. Those who proposed, why they have proposed, and those opposed, what reasons that prompted them to do so, are the questions to be dealt with.
Now who is Tendulkar? 
Oh my God! How dare you ask such a question? In Shiv Sena’s Mumbai, you can even be bashed up for asking such a stupid question.  He is the presiding deity of Indian cricket, a dream of every young cricketer. Undoubtedly, he is a legend in batting that not many can match, either in India or anywhere else, where cricket is a passion. Shane Warne, the Australian spin magician, exclaimed “He gave nightmares to me”. He comprehensively derailed the super fast “Rawalpindi Xpress”, the Pakistani pace sensation, Shoib Akhtar. He has, over a period of 20 years, hit every known swinger of the cherry into submission, with disdain and cool contempt with the ease of a panther that would run into lambs. Such was his authority on this ‘gentleman’s game’ that just about whole of print media called him  the ‘uncrowned king’ of the white man’s legacy, when he completed the century of centuries.
Yes, he is the only one in the history of cricket who scored one hundred hundreds in his total score in first class cricket of over 16,000 runs. There never was one, and there never may be another who can repeat this near miracle performance. All these superlatives are in the public domain and all those who are in the know of things cricket, are fully aware of his heroics in the cricket arena. Hence the question who is Sachin Tendulkar requires no answer, and dismiss the guy who asked this silly barb with the disdain it deserved. Thus, his greatness with the willow is indisputable. 
But, excuse me gentlemen, will this cricketing hundred of hundreds is good enough to be considered for the nation’s highest civilian award? To be part of the nation’s history, for the information of posterity, as Bharat Ratna, just being a cricketing legend is a qualification enough?
These are very loaded questions. And quite rightly it has raised expected brickbats and accolades. Being a public figure, and in the thick of media glare for all 20 years that he strode the cricket pitch like a colossus, it is but fit that he is under equally glaring public scrutiny. It is not for nothing that Justice Markandeya Katju had categorically stated the other day, in Kolkatta while presiding over a cultural function “Don’t give Bharat Ratna to Tendualkar.”  As the Press Council Chairman, post retirement as Supreme Court justice, was it appropriate to enter this controversy is a moot point.
Coming back to our famous Sachin Tendulkar and the proposal by the government in Mumbai, to the Union government, to consider him for awarding Bharat Ratna, makes it imperative that some kind of Balance Sheet is drawn on the institution that is Tendulkar.
Many in the media sing paens on the man and his cricket, and as many disagree with the hype that goes with his cricketing prowess. 
Writing on “The God of a hundred things” in the Hindu, Nissim Mannathukkaren says, “While there were glowing tributes to Tendulkar reaching the century milestone, there was a deathly silence about the inexplicably slow innings that brought the hundred-100 off 138 balls, his second slowest one-day century, that too against Bangladesh-which eventually played a part in India’s defeat and eventual exit from the tournament. The milestone, which had become a millstone around the neck could be achieved only by sacrificing the interest of the team, that too after an year’s mortally agonising struggle”, he added, “For once, Tendulkar’s oft repeated ‘serving the country’ line clearly did not hold good”.
Naturally, the question arises ‘Was he playing for India or was he playing for his records?’ At different points of time this question did make its rounds. Thus there is, indeed, a public perception both privately whispered as well as expressed through the media, that often, the time Tendulkar took at the crease while reaching his hundreds were inordinately long. There is no denying that all players do look forward to creating records of one kind or the other and that is very human. But playing for the country and playing for the records is not the same thing. Here, it is very pertinent to quote Imran Khan , a former Pakistani cricket captain, who wrote “Records must be broken within the team winning. You should not be playing to break records. Records should be part of the win”. He was generally commenting on why Tendulkar is not retiring. At that time Tendulkar was still chasing the elusive hundredth hundred, and India had lost eight matches in a row, to both England and Australia, with Tendulkar playing in all of them. 
Comparisons are inevitable. There have been references in the past on another cricketing legend who recently retired, Rahul Dravid, that he did not overtly worry about records. Incidentally, he is the second highest scorer in our cricket statistics after Tendulkar.
Hence, it is very clear that there are differing opinions about Tendulkar being considered for the nation’s highest recognition only because he has hit his hundredth hundreds.
There are other human frailties which need to be recounted to refresh public memory about incidents which show this demigod as just another human being looking for personal benefits.
Sometime in 2003, one fine morning he gets a ‘gift’ from FIAT-Italy, a Ferrari  Sports Coupe, a glitzy mean machine, which then was costing around Rs:75 lakhs. This ‘gift’, as per norms attracted customs and other import duties of about Rs: 1.2 crores. It is another matter that in Mumbai in normal hours, driving this sports car could be difficult. It is alleged that, to circumvent the tax liability on payments that Tendulkar would receive as per his contract, the ‘gift’ was organized. He reportedly called Pramod Mahajan then a Union Minister and a political heavy weight from Mumbai for help. An obliging Finance Minister, Jaswanth Singh, acted immediately on Mahajan’s request. Ostensibly in its highest tradition, the Finance Ministry, in “Public interest” decides to waive the duty of nearly Rs: 1.2 crore, to the ‘richest poor man’ of Indian sports.
Now a person worth hundreds of crores of rupees, in 2003, requesting the government for a measly sum of one crore and twenty lakhs which in all probability is much less than 1% of his net worth, asking for a waiver on a legitimate government due-which really is the country’s money, is simply unthinkable. “Sachin Tendulkar may be a good cricketer, but he does not seem to be a good citizen” said Indian Express, commenting on this duty waiver episode. Or else, how can anybody explain this request from a person who received all the adulation and the resultant wealth from the nation? Would you think, he would still deserve to be a Bharat Ratna?
Another reported incident was involving him in registering his vehicle in New Mumbai, while he is living in main-land Mumbai. The road tax and other government dues are supposedly less in New Mumbai. It was, indeed, very shocking if this was true as reported in the media from Mumbai, since the amount involved could be only in some thousands! Mahavir Pendhari, Deputy Municipal Commissioner of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation had confirmed that Sachin Tendulkar, Shankar Mahadevan and Anil Ambani were some of the big names in the list of defaulters who were served with notices for cess theft. And do you know what! These biggies gave addresses of some slums, the report informs. 
Then, there is, his attitude towards quitting the Indian team. He had so much of it for over 20 years-name, fame and fortune. No other Indian cricketer was celebrated as Tendulkar. His earnings from advertisements, sponsorships and other commercial appearances are legendary. The demand for his retirement became shriller after the England and Australia white-wash of India. It must have bothered him greatly that others are worried about his retirement from Indian cricket. 
Hence, as soon as he completed his 100th hundred, he combatively declared, “I will decide when I need to retire.” ‘Isn’t it dangerous for the game to put an individual above it?’ asked somebody in the media. Tendulkar’s argument was “When you are at the top, you should keep serving the country instead of retiring”. But who said you are at the top? You took more than a year to get to that elusive 100th hundred that too against Bangladesh. There are any number of instances when you have failed with the bat in recent times! You are getting older, a truth you cannot negate. You didn’t play in IPL, you gave up your captaincy of Mumbai Indians to Harbhajan Singh. You opted out of India team to Sri Lanka. Yes indeed, because you opted out, a young and very talented Ajinkya Rahane got into the Indian team. Precisely for this reason you should opt out of Indian team for good, just like entrenched politicians need to give up their seats in Legislative Assemblies, Councils and Parliament. ‘Enjoy, when the going is good, damn others in the Q’, who also want to serve Mother India!' is the principle of suckers.
Talking about being on top, Rahul Dravid, while hanging his boot had reportedly observed “May be sometime these things are better judged from outside. As a player you will never admit to weakness, to a slowing down of skills. You are not trained to admit these things”. This is in sharp contrast to Tendulkar’s attitude.
The recent nomination of Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha too has evoked sharp responses. Many of his friends in Mumbai cricket felt, he would not accept it. But he surprised all. Bal Thackeray had reportedly termed it as a “joke”. The Supreme Court wanted to know under what category Tendulkar has been nominated, when the nomination was challenged as unconstitutional. Sachin Tendulkar is a public figure. He will therefore be under continuous public scrutiny. Hence his Bharat Ratna ambition too will be objectively debated for obvious reasons. If Justice Markandeya Katju has fired the first salvo of disapproval, it may not be the last. We need to thank Justice Katju for his forthright stand on it, although he is not clear why he does not want him considered for the top honour.
Another aspect that could show Tendulkar as commercially oriented was his interest in up-market eating joints in Colaba in South Mumbai, Mulund in North Mumbai, so also in Bangalore with abundant up-market connoisseurs of good things of life. And if you go back to the entire list of Bharat Ratna recipients, only one was from the Industry & Commerce. Rest were all from artistic, literary and scientific fields besides public service. The honourable exception was JRD Tata. Can we compare Sachin Tendulkar to JRD Tata? That is like comparing Sun to 100 watt bulb. The Maharashtra government and those in the central government, for whom Sachin Tendulkar’s political nomination, duty waiver and Bharat Ratna could only be a Vote Bank exercise, need to explain a lot.
Turning to the Press Council Chairman, Justice Markandeya Katju, it is true that he came with a bang. In less than a month’s time, since his appointment late last year, he had already become a subject of intense discussion by all those who are threatened by his public stance as ‘How press should behave’, in the contemporary media scene. Media in India has neither a rudder nor a rein. Hence Justice Katju is a natural thing to happen. 
There have been vocal public participation in the media, from across the county in the debate about the deterioration in media scene and why Justice Katju could be the medicine it needs. We have reproduced two letters from readers in the print media (see box). Hopefully he leaves his footprints not only on the media highway but also in its by-lanes. 
This is not to suggest that all have accepted Justice Katju and the prescription that he is talking about. There have been people-both readers and so-called writers, journalists and intellectuals-who have riled him for his over-enthusiasm. At least one writer was rather very unkind on him. Sashi Kumar, who heads the Media Development Foundation of Chennai, in his article ‘Musing on the media in the dock’ which appeared in the Hindu of Nov. 22, 2011 was rather very acerbic. His opening remark in the article was ‘Much of the media, says Justice Markandey Katju, the New Chairman of the Press Council of India is of very poor intellectual level.’ That was rather in a very bad taste and it was highly irresponsible for Sashi Kumar to write so.
Here it is very pertinent to quote what S. Viswanathan, the Readers Editor at the Hindu has to say, and we quote “As a judge of the highest court of the land, Mr Katju was known for his libertarian views and delivered many pro-poor judgements. His credentials are strong when it comes to criticising the media for working against the interest of the deprived and the poor, for dividing them on caste and communal lines and for promoting superstition and obscurantism instead of scientific and rational ideas”.Of course, even the Hindu can be accused of ‘keeping society divided on communal lines’. The Hindu, is not even-handed when it comes to reporting and commenting on socio-political issues, and it calls itself as ‘INDIA’S NATIONAL NEWSPAPER SINCE 1878’, in capital letters.
But then, unexpectedly an inexplicable thing happened!
Ever since Justice Katju became the PCI Chairman, and after having read about his concerns on the media scene in general and the alleged ‘low intellectual caliber of to-day's reporters and sub-editors’, we at I & C were very keen to contact him. We were planning a function to release our 150th issue in Manipal for which, besides other prominent public figures, we were keen to have the current PCI Chairman as a guest of honour. Our efforts to contact him came to a naught for reasons unfathomable by us. We have reproduced our letter to him (on page 13) for the public knowledge. Since the PCI Chairman is a public figure, we believe it is in order for us to inform the general public about this. The question that rankled us was, why did Justice Katju do this to us, despite our being very respectful to his public office? Besides for all 12 years of our existence in the print media, we did exactly what he thought as responsible journalism. Our letter to Justice Katju, seeking his reply did not elicit a response. The letter is self explanatory. As we end, we will appreciate readers to respond with their views. 
While Justice Katju speaks lofty tenets for the media and riles those who do not practice principles of honest journalism, I & C expected of him only a response based on his precepts. What could cause this hiatus between precepts and practice? Dear Readers, we leave it to you to ponder and revert.
J.Shriyan

Letter to Justice Katju


Honorable Justice Markandey Katju,                                                                     Date: 14/04/2012
Greetings of the season.
Sorry for taking liberty with your time which seems to be is very precious. This is the 4th attempt of writing to you. Hope at long lost this shall receive some attention and a response too.
Ever since you were appointed as Chairman at PCI, you have been in the news. You have made some sharp observations. Some in the media didn’t like it. And some welcomed it. Mr. Sashi Kumar of Media Development Foundation wrote, “Much of the Media says Markandey Katju, the new Chairman of Press Council of India, is of very poor intellectual level” (The Hindu, Nov.22, 2011). I & C had condemned it outright, (I&C-Dec 2011, page 12, Column 3), “That was like telling one’s father that, I am an Oxon from Oxford, you are only an ox”. The observation by Mr. Kumar was indeed in poor taste. That is the kind of freedom our journos are looking for.
Sir, I first wrote my letter while sending along a few copies of I & C monthly issues with a copy of the decennial souvenir, on 06-12-2011. Copy of the letter, which is self explanatory, is enclosed.
Our 150th issue is planned for release between 1st Sept & 10th Sept. I am hoping to invite some VIPs from New Delhi, which included your honorable selves. Hence we requested honorable Justice…………., former Supreme Court Justice, to put in a word to you. He spoke to you on 2nd March in my presence for a possible meeting with you in Delhi and informed that I am going to be in Delhi, on 13th, 14th, and 15th March. These three days were particularly kept free by the undersigned, to facilitate a flexible meeting day and time. I gather from Justice…… that you had confirmed your availability in your office in New Delhi and that you shall see me on one of those days.
Accordingly my 2nd letter of 05-03-2012 (email & hard copy) followed, confirming the above talk and my travel plans. (Letter copy enclosed.) As is evident in the letter, it had mentioned that I shall be carrying a letter to yourselves from Justice…….
Just to ensure that you know the back-ground of I & C, on 06-03-2012 another letter was sent with a copy of the souvenir and some copies of monthly issues, although I had sent them 3 months earlier too, along with my 1st letter.
So I travelled on 11th March and reached New Delhi on 13th morning, covering a distance of 2557 kms. On 13th spoke to Shri Sharma, your private secretary, who couldn’t locate my email in the first instance, but found eventually all my mails along with enclosures, informed the same to me.
Sir, when I spoke to Sharmaji for the 3rd time on that day, around 12.30 noon, he confirmed the above receipt, but regretted that you informed him, that you are to busy on all 3 days of 13th, 14th & 15th and therefore can not see me. This was despite Sharmaji’s explaining to you that ‘the undersigned had come all the way from Mangalore, some 2600 kms away’ Shri Sharma avers.
It was indeed very shocking. I didn’t inform this development to Justice……. for many days, respecting his reputation, since I knew he would be deeply hurt. Eventually Justice……. called around 25th March to find out. When I explained he was very very shocked. Despite elaborate planning, the journey of some 2600 kms, was wasted.
Very concerned at this disturbing happening Justice…… asked, “Could it be, that Secretary Mr. Sharma not telling the truth?” I told him that Sharmaji sounded very sincere.
Sir, assuming Sharmaji was telling the correct position, do I have a right to know, “WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?”, after agreeing with Justice……. and having made me to travel for 2557 kms, of train journey, and perforce had to stay in Delhi for 3 days, just to fit into your programme?
We may be a small time media outfit, but part of the media all the same. As chairman of Press Council of India, ‘Was it right for you to do what you did?’ Don’t you think, an honest, sincere and committed media effort, in serious journalism need to be encouraged? What you did, was to punch us on the face and asked us to ‘get lost, don’t waste my time’. Please do answer. I believe, it is fair to expect an answer from you.

For ISSUES & CONCERNS – J. Shriyan

To
The Chairman
Press Council of India

SERIAL : 47

GANG LEADER FOR A DAY
The Stay-Together Gang


The Black Kings weren’t the only ones anxious about the threat of demolition. All the tenants of Robert Taylor were trying to cope with the news. Although demolition wouldn’t begin for at least two years, everyone was scrambling to learn which building might come down first and where on earth they were supposed to live.
Politicians, including President Clinton and Mayor Richard J.Daley of Chicago, promised that tenants would be relocated to middle-class neighborhoods with good schools, safe streets, and job opportunities. But reliable information was hard to come by. Nor would it be so easy to secure housing outside the black ghetto. The projects had been built forty years earlier in large part because white Chicagoans didn’t want black neighbors. Most Robert Taylor tenants thought the situation hadn’t changed all that much.
The CHA began to hold public meetings where tenants could air their questions and concerns. The CHA officials begged for patience, promising that every family would have help when the time came for relocation. But there was legitimate reason for skepticism. One of the most inept and corrupt housing agencies in the country was now being asked to relocate 150,000 people living in roughly two hundred buildings slated for demolition throughout Chicago. And Robert Taylor was the largest housing project of all, the size of a small city. The CHA’s challenge was being made even harder by Chicago’s tightening real-estate market. As the city gentrified, there were fewer and fewer communities where low-income families could find decent, affordable housing.
Information, much of it contradictory, came in dribs and drabs. At one meeting the CHA stated that all Robert Taylor residents would be resettled in other housing projects-a frightening prospect for many, since that would mean crossing gang boundaries. At another meeting the agency said that some families would receive a housing voucher to help cover their rent in the private market. At yet another meeting it was declared that large families would be split up: aunts and uncles and grandparents who weren’t on the lease would have to fend for themselves.
With so much confusion in the air, tenants came to rely on rumors. There was a talk of a political conspiracy whereby powerful white politicians wanted to tear down Robert Taylor in order to spread its citizens around the city and dilute the black vote. There was even a rumor about me: word was going around that I worked for the CIA, gathering secret information to help expedite the demolition. I assumed that this theory arose out of my attempt to procure a Department of Justice grant for the Boys & Girls Club, but I couldn’t say for sure.
Many tenants still clung to the idea that the demolition wouldn’t happen at all, or at least not for a long time. But I couldn’t find a single tenant who, regardless of his or her brief about the timing of the demolition, believed that the CHA would do a good job of relocation. Some people told me they were willing to bribe their building presidents for preferential treatment. Others were angry at the government for taking away their homes and wanted to stage protests to halt the demolition.
There was also a deep skepticism among tenants that their own elected leaders would work hard on their behalf. Ms. Bailey and other building presidents were being besieged by constituents desperate for advice.
One day I sat in Ms. Bailey’s office as she waited for a senior CHA official to show up for a briefing. Several other tenant leaders were also waiting, in the outer room. Ms Bailey made no effort to hide the fact that she, along with most of the other tenant leaders, had already agreed to support the demolition rather than try to save the buildings. “The CHA made things perfectly clear to us,” she explained. “These buildings are coming down.” She spoke to me as if I were a five-year-old, with no understanding whatsoever of city politics. “Of course, you got a few people who think they can stop this, but I keep telling them, ‘Look out for your own family, and get out while you can.’ I’m looking out for myself.”
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“That means I got one shot to get what I can from the CHA for me and for my people. The CHA don’t have no money, Sudhir! They made that clear to us. And you know they just want to get us out of here, so I’m going to get something out of this.”
“Like what?”
“Well, I already told them I need a five-bedroom house in South Shore,” she said with a rich laugh. Then she told me the building presidents’ personal requests. “Ms. Daniels wants the CHA to give her son’s construction company a contract to help tear down the buildings. Ms. Wilson made a list of appliances she wants in her new apartment. Ms. Denny will be starting a new business, and the CHA needs to hire her to help relocate families.”
“And you think the CHA will actually agree to these demands?” 
Ms. Bailey just sat and stared at me. Apparently my naiveté was showing once more.
I tried again. “You already got them to agree, didn’t you?”
Again she was silent.
“Is that what this meeting is about?” I motioned toward the outer room where the other building presidents were waiting. “Is that why this guy from the CHA is coming?”
“Well, no,” she said. “We already had that conversation. Today is about the families. Let me tell you how this process is going to go. I know it’s early, but they’re already tearing down the projects on the West Side, so there ain’t no mystery anymore.” The Henry Horner projects on the West Side were being razed to make way for a new sports arena, the United Centre, which would host the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Blackhawks, and, eventually, the 1996 Democratic National Convention. “We’ll make our list, and they’ll take care of our people.”
“Your list?”
“I already told you the CHA has no money, Sudhir! What part of this don’t you understand?” She grew very animated and then suddenly quieted  down. “They can’t help everyone. And you know what? They’ll mess up like they messed up in the past. Not everyone is going to be taken care of.”
Ms. Bailey said that she would likely be able to help only about one-forth of the families move out safely. Her bigger job, she said, was to make sure that the remaining three-fourths grasped this reality. The CHA, she said, “plans to use most of their money to demolish the buildings, not help people move out.”
 So Ms. Bailey and the other building presidents made lists of the families who they felt should have priority in obtaining rent vouchers, assistance in finding a new apartment, or free furniture and appliances. This list, it turned out, didn’t necessarily comprise the neediest families-but, rather, the building presidents’ personal friends or tenants who had paid them small bribes.
I asked Ms. Bailey how much she was getting. 
“Sudhir, I’ll be honest with you,” she said, smiling. “We’ll be taken care of. But don’t forget to put in your little book that the CHA also gets their share. We’re all washing each other’s hands around here.
It wasn’t very pleasant to watch this entire scenario play out in two parallel worlds. In the media all you heard were politicians’ promises to help CHA tenants forge a better life. On the ground, meanwhile, the lowest-ranking members of society got pushed even lower, thanks to a stingy and neglectful city agency and the constant hustling of the few people in a position to help. In the coming months, the place began to take on the feel of a refugee camp, with every person desperate to secure her own welfare, quite possibly at the expense of a neighbor.
Not everyone, however, was so selfish or fatalistic. For some tenants demolition represented a chance to start fresh with a better apartment in a safer neighborhood. It was particularly inspiring to watch such tenants work together toward this goal while their elected leaders mainly looked out for themselves.
One such optimist was Dorothy Battie, a forty-five-year-old mother of six who had spent nearly her entire life in the projects. Dorothy lived in a building a few blocks away from J.T. She was a heavyset woman, deeply religious, who always  had a positive demeanor despite having suffered through everything the projects had to offer. Her father and several nieces and nephews had been killed in various gang shootings. Dorothy had fought through her own drug addiction, then helped other addicts enter rehab. Some of her children were now in college, and one was a leader in a Black Kings gang.                                         

FEATURE


Bedside Medicine- A Forgotten Art.


Prof. B. M. Hegde,
hegdebm@gmail.com

Talking with Patients: 
Talking with patients is simply listening to patients while observing the patient’s body language very carefully. The latter might give vital clues for the diagnosis. Listening is an art. “Art” wrote David Edward Thoreau “is that which makes the other person’s day”. The art of listening requires certain prerequisites on the part of the listener, the doctor in this case. Two important facets of that art are imperturbability and equanimity. Any judgmental attitude on the part of the doctor might put off the patient from opening up. 
“If you listen to your patient long enough, he/she will tell you what is wrong with him/her,” wrote Lord Platt, an illustrious teacher working at the University College Hospital, London in 1949. Some of his students, who are now the noted pillars of medical education in the UK, wanted to scientifically verify the correctness of that statement. They conducted a double-blind, computerized, prospective study of one hundred medical outpatients in the London teaching hospitals using even the PET scanner for final diagnosis, reported in the British Medical Journal. The conclusion of the study is very relevant to the subject matter of this chapter. “Eighty per cent of the accurate final diagnosis and one hundred per cent of the future management strategies could be arrived at, at the end of listening to the patient and reading the referral letter from the family physician. That could only be refined four per cent more by all the bed side clinical examinations and further eight per cent by all the investigations including PET scan, was the conclusion. The remaining diagnoses were possible only on the postmortem table!
Following the above study there were pleas for parsimony in the systems review. Writing in the BMJ Barry Hoffbrand, the then editor of the Postgraduate Medical Journal, made a strong plea for avoiding the subtleties of bed side clinical examinations. Another mile stone study, by three generations of teachers over a period of sixty years in the cardiology department of St. Andrews University in Dundee, Scotland, reported in the British Medical Journal by Finlayson and his colleagues, once again reconfirmed the truth that teaching minor clinical signs on the bed side was counterproductive among the junior students. Ten senior professors of respiratory medicine in London did another blinded study to authenticate multitude of bed side clinical findings in the examination of the respiratory system. There was the shocking revelation that majority of the finer aspects of respiratory signs had very low specificity and sensitivity in the diagnosis except a few unequivocal bedside signs! These facts are borne in mind while writing this book. I would like to reiterate the truth that it is listening to the patient that contributes the maximum to the final diagnosis. This new scientific medicine could be practiced even in the remote village of any country, thanks to the art of listening to the patient and letting him/her give away the diagnosis in the bargain.
That said, I must hasten to add that there are some hypochondriacs among patients that need a clear guidance to take them through the right path. They have a tendency to stray away into uncharted territory that might have no bearing on the problem on hand. Care, however, should be taken to see that patients don’t feel offended by any rude remark by us or show of our disinterest in their story. Experience teaches this special art to all of us if we have to survive and succeed as doctors. One can never learn that art from a book or in a day. It takes time and patience. There are certain risks involved in learning the art of bedside medicine and one has to learn to live with it. Rome was not built in a day. Your great teachers also could be seen without their robe occasionally. This should teach the student the next great art of listening to the patient that is humility, a sign of great learning. While one’s vanity deals with one’s honour, one’s conscience brings one in touch with justice.
The next important part of listening to the patient is to get to know the personality of the patient which will have a great bearing on the final diagnosis. Patient’s worries, anxieties, relationship with his/her surroundings, convictions, phobias, emotional traits, obsessions, family ties, financial stability, belief in supernatural forces, working conditions, colleagues at work, reactions of his immediate family to the illness, as also his faith in alternate systems of medicines ( find out if the patient is taking any of those “innocuous” medicines at the time) as also her/his anxiety about the future should all be assessed indirectly though without directly asking probing questions. Most, if not all, of the above could be gauged while observing him/her talk with the physician, if the latter is a good listener. Every student should learn the art of listening which consists of the listener’s interest in the talker, his ability to give a keen ear to the talk while displaying no sign of hurry. The doctor should appreciate what is being told by the patient in all sincerity. Here the family physicians score over the sub-specialists. The latter only come into the picture at the eleventh hour but the family physician knows the patient very well. Studies have shown that where there are more family physicians compared to specialists as happens in Japan vis-√†-vis the US, the health indices as well as the longevity are markedly better.

Medication history:
Every single drug, from the simple baby aspirin to the most complicated anti-cancer chemotherapeutic drug, will have side effects. In fact, the adverse drug reactions are the largest cause of iatrogenic (doctor induced) diseases resulting in significant mortality and morbidity all over the globe despite all the studies that go into prior to drug release to the market. It is the last stage of drug testing, after the drug is released to be used by millions all over the world, that the real dark face of the drug is brought out. An alert physician with a high index of suspicion alone could spot the new adverse reactions. In fact, that could clinch the diagnosis in some instances. So it is mandatory that every student learns to take a detailed history of all the drugs that the patient is having at the moment as also those that he/she has had in the recent past as well. This is very simple in countries like the UK and Canada with their National Health records available for every patient. It is the most difficult part of history taking in any other country especially where there is the fee-for-service system in place and patients go shopping from doctor to doctor not maintaining their drug records carefully. To cap it many of the doctors’ prescriptions are almost totally illegible. 
Many new discoveries of great significance are made by ordinary doctors who are careful observers and take a detailed drug history from patients as each Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) could be a new disease syndrome. One example will suffice. SMON (sub acute myelo-optic neuropathy) was a new disease that broke out in Japan first and killed many patients in short time span. Since there was to be the Olympic Games in the near future the authorities brought strong pressure on the scientists to find out the cause. As is the usual case in such situations the scientists came up with a viral cause and claimed that SMON is caused by a slow virus akin to Kuru, an African disease! Credit should go to an observant family physician in the outskirts of Tokyo, Dr. Kano that observed that this syndrome was seen only in those patients of his that took a quinoline derivative for diarrhea in the past one year. Thus was the final curtain drawn on SMON when the said drug was banned. In the interim period it had claimed many lives both in Japan and elsewhere. The authorities were relieved and the Olympic Games were held with full fanfare.
Individual system examination will have the history taking of each system separately in a nutshell in each system review. 

Contd. in next issue......


CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP

Make a difference to the community: Tata


New York: Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata, who has been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by prestigious Rockefeller Foundation, wants industrial houses to help the community in their areas. Or else there would be “backlash”.
Speaking on the occasion here, Tata, 74, said business should be making a difference in places where they operate and helping the community prosper. “This is all the more evident in the developing world where disparities are so huge. If the industry is not sensitive to it, they would encourage a backlash to take place and many companies that go overseas are getting to understand the need to do this and those that do not are really hurting the reputation of other industries,” he said.
Tata, who has been honoured by the Rockefeller Foundation, for innovation in philanthropy, said, “when you see in places like Africa and parts of Asia abject poverty, hungry children and malnutrition around you, and you look at yourself as being people who have well being and comforts, I think it takes a very insensitive, tough person not to feel they need to do something”.
The involvement, he said, has to be not just by providing material support but also by playing a role in prosperity to the community in which they belong, he said. Tata, who heads the $100 billion conglomerate with  operations in 100 countries, said employees in his organisation have gained a certain spirit of being part of a community in which they operate. “It has become the DNA of the organization to play a role in the community,” Tata, who will be retiring as Chairman of Group in December, said.

CRAZY INDIANS


Docs remove wombs at random for money 
under govt insurance scheme

Raipur: A young woman’s womb is worth as little as Rs 7,500 in rural Chhattisgarh, where unscrupulous doctors are conducting unnecessary hysterectomies-uterus-removal surgeries-to claim money under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), the national health insurance scheme.
The Chhattisgarh health department has initiated action against 22 of the 34 nursing homes against which it found prima facie evidence of surgeries being done without legitimate medical reasons. They have recommended the cancellation of registrations of nine doctors working in the private sector.
Over the last eight months, hospitals and nursing homes have claimed Rs 2 crore under RSBY for removing the wombs of 1,800 women, said state health minister Amar Agarwal.
“It has become a sensitive and serious problem. We are investigating whether these surgeries were being done just for the money or were genuinely needed. The government will take stern action against those found guilty,” Agarwal told media. The state has ordered a probe and sought information from all districts.
The scam has affected women like Kamla, 18, from Jheet village in Durg, 45km west of Raipur, who lost her right to have a baby because her doctor advised she get her womb removed to cure her abdominal pain.
Like her, Tinkeshwari Bai, 29, in Dongartrai, and Sonali Devi, 26, from Manikchouri village, both near Raipur, were asked to get their wombs removed to fix their back pain.
A distressing number of complaints show these women agreed to the surgery because they were told that not getting it done would lead to cancer and other complications. “Panic and fright left us with no option,” said Bimla Kunti, 31, who has also lost her child-bearing capability. An estimated 7,000 hysterectomies may have been done across Chhattisgarh over the past two-and-a half years. “The health department tracked cases from newspaper reports and by sending out teams to investigate,” said state health director Kamal Preet Singh.
Dr Yogesh Jain of Jan Swasthya Sahyog, a community-based NGO in rural Bilaspur, said RSBY is inherently flawed as it tempts the unregulated private sector to do medical procedures that are not needed. Agreed Singh: “People lack awareness and do not question doctors or seek a second opinion. Besides, there is no effective regulatory and monitoring system available.” Doctors in the private sector are worried that the scam may lead to patients refusing surgery even when they need it. “One cannot rule out the possibility of unnecessary hysterectomies, but there are important indications for it, some even lifesaving ones, so the surgery itself should not be condemned,” said a senior surgeon in a private nursing home. (The names changed to protect their identity.)
Since it was money attraction, guilty should be fined 10 times and victims compensated.

Couple throw newborn girl in septic tank, held

Agartala: Police in Tripura arrested a couple who threw their newborn baby girl into a septic tank, as they did not want a daughter because of their poverty.
Acting on a tip-off from the locals, police and fire brigade personnel immediately rescued the miraculously alive baby from the septic tank at Teliamura, 55km north of here and shifted her to a nearby government hospital.
“Nitai Singha, 48, a day labourer confessed to police that he and his wife purposely threw the new born into the septic tank because they did not want a daughter,” a police spokesman told reporters.
“Nitai and his wife Sima, who have two teenaged sons. They told the police that they had expected another son but when it turned out to be a daughter, they decided to kill her,” the spokesman said.
“We are very poor. We would not be able to take care of a girl child and get her married in future. Therefore, immediately after her birth, we decided to kill the girl by throwing her into the septic tank behind our house,” the couple told police interrogators. After their arrest, police presented the couple before a local court, which remanded them to 14 days’ custody.
Meanwhile, Sishu Kalyan Parishad, an Agartala-based NGO looking after destitute children, has told the court that they are interested in taking care of the baby. The court’s order in this regard is awaited.
Punishment could be vasectomy, tuboctomy or both.                   


YEH MERA INDIA

When docs became looters in UP


Lucknow:  In probably the biggest action of its kind in any state the Uttar Pradesh government put under suspension 20 doctors belonging to the state’s medical and health services for their alleged involvement in different aspects of the embezzlement of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) funds.
The names of these doctors, mostly of the chief medical officer or additional and deputy CMO levels, had come up during the ongoing CBI investigation into embezzlement of over Rs. 10,000 crore of the NRHM funds. State’s Health Minister Ahmed Husain said Lucknow’s former Deputy CMO Dr A K Shukla was among those suspended.
More than 100 government doctors are under different stages of probe by the CBI. Two non-medical employees of the health department are also among those suspended. It is learnt that the government would soon grant sanction for prosecution of these doctors whose names figured in the inquiry. 
The massive scam in NRHM funds was unearthed following the murder of two CMOs in Lucknow Dr B P Singh and Dr Vinod Arya, early in 2011. The matter was then handed over to the CBI for investigation. A Deputy CMO Dr Y S Sachan, arrested in connection with the murders, was found dead in mysterious circumstances in Lucknow jail.
Then in February this year, Sunil Verma, a project manager connected to NRHM works shot himself with his own revolver in Lucknow and Shailesh Yadav, a Deputy CMO died in a road accident. Both Verma and Yadav had been questioned by the CBI in connection with the scam. 
The scam has seen the arrest of a former minister Babu Singh Kushwaha, CBI raids at the premises of another minister Anant Kumar Mishra and the arrest of a senior IAS officer Pradeep Shukla besides murders and other deaths.
When doctors lost the trust of the nation, not just of their patients.

Have toilets first than blasting Agni: Ramesh

Dhamra (Odisha): Launching green toilets very close to country’s missile test-firing facility. Rural Development Minister, Jairam Ramesh, said there is no use blasting Agni missiles if the sanitation problem is not solved.
Ramesh, who recently said he spends 18 hours on toilets daily, stressed that, one of the biggest challenges before the government is to ensure that all people get toilets.
“It is more important than the launch of Agni missiles. If there are no toilets then Agni is of no use,” he said. 
“Bio-toilets can do to rural sanitation what Agni has done to external defence of the country,” Ramesh said after launching eco-toilets using Bio-Digester technology of  DRDO, the defence agency for missile development. 
Dhamra town in Odisha is about 15 km from Wheeler Island from where the Agni-V ICBM with a range of 5,000 km was successfully test-fired a couple of months ago.
Ramesh said, an amount equal to what is spent on security should be allocated for public welfare activities. “The budget of rural development department is Rs 99,000 crore while we spent double the amount of defence with a budget of Rs 193,000 crore,” he said.
Maintaining that he did not want any decrease in the budget of the Defence Ministry, he said, it should be ensured that an equal amount be spent for public welfare.
“There is no difference of opinion on this with me and the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation). Even they want this,” he said. Aiming at discouraging open defecation and improving sanitation conditions, bio-toilets are based on DRDO’s Bio-Digester technology.  It has been developed by its Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior and Defence Research Laboratory (DRL), Tezpur.
Bio-Digester technology was used to decompose biological waste generated by soldiers deployed in high attitude regions like Siachen and Ladakh, they said.
Muddled priority has been the bane of our development paradigm.


Why foodgrains meant for poor rotting: Court to Govt

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has asked the State government to explain why more than 8.65 lakh metric tonnes (mt) of food grains meant for the poor under the Public Distribution System (PDS) have not been lifted between April and November 2011 and directed to food and civil suppliers department to file an affidavit within eight weeks in this regard.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Shramik Mukti Sanghatna, an NGO working for the weaker section of the society, seeking proper implementation of the May 2011 directives of the Supreme Court.
While acting on the petition a Division bench comprising DD Sinha and Justice V K Tahilramani remarked. “In areas such as Vidarbha, there is no food and water available to the poor and here such a huge stock of food grains is just lying in some godown.” Advocate appearing for the petitioner informed the court that between April 2011 and January 2012, the Central government had allocated 11.90 lakh mt of food grains through PDS in Maharashtra, but only 6.23 lakh mt were lifted by the state government. 
The court expressed its wonder that an additional stock of 9.62 lakh mt was allocated for the poor in Maharashtra, but the government lifted only 2.41 lakh mt of this ad-hoc allocation made for the same period. However, the state defended saying that deficiency had been caused because of problems in transportation and employees’ strike at the Food Corporation of India, from where food grains are lifted for distribution under the PDS.
Alibi is another name for inefficiency.


Families ‘exchange’ land,
papers show ‘sale’, officials pocket money

In perhaps the most blatant violation of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s flagship Mahadalit Vikas Yojana, officials in Atri block pocketed the amount allotted under the scheme to buy plots, for distribution to landless Mahadalit families, by simply choosing families that already owned land, and then showing a “purchase” through an “exchange” of plots.


With the government setting aside Rs. 20,000 for each three-decimal plot to be given to landless Mahadalit families, and most of the 70 beneficiaries picked in Bansi Bigaha village already land owners, the racket is believed to be worth Rs. 14 lakh. While Bansi Bigaha earlier fell under the Atri block, it now falls under Mohda block.
The Mahadalit Vikas Yojana was started by the Bihar government in 2009-10. Under the scheme, there decimals or 1,306.08 sq ft of land was to be given to each of the 2.18 lakh landless families belonging to 21 Scheduled Castes identified as Mahadalit in the state. Following a series of stories by the media last month on how officials had exploited the scheme for own benefit, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ordered fresh survey for the entire state to prepare a new list of landless Mahdalits. Raniganj (Araria) Circle Officer Ramvilas Jha was earlier suspended while allotments made in Islampur block administration were suspended.
 Documents with the  media show that in the case of Atri block, then circle officer Prabhat Kumar Jha – who is now the district land acquisition officer at Gaya – impressed upon 10 land – owning Scheduled Caste village farmers to “sell” their plots at the government ceiling of Rs. 20,000 for three decimals. Measuring 210 decimals in all, the plots were registered in August 2010.
However, in reality, the land deeds exchanged hands within the 10 families. The villagers, who claim not to have received any money despite government records showing “purchase”, were reportedly convinced by officials and middlemen to agree to the exchange on the promise of getting half the money as well as Indira Awas Yojana benefits.
Mohda Circle Office papers show that the villagers swapped and cross-swapped plots in such a way that it does not look like exchange of land for land.
Then Circle Officer Prabhat Kumar Jha, however, claimed “every payment was made through cheques”. Asked how land was distributed among land owners in the first place, Jha said: “It is a matter of great surprise and I need to check records.” Admitting “huge embarrassment”, he added: “I have gone by the survey list of landless Mahadalits to allot land. I also remember having made payment to all land owners.”
Villagers, however, denied this. They said that while cheques of Rs. 20,000 had been shown to them, the money never came into their accounts. They were taken to a bank and made to put thumb impression on some papers, they claimed. The villagers also alleged that the government had not handed over papers to any of the 70 beneficiaries.
Mohda CO Yogesh Mishra admitted being aware of the “discrepancies”. “I have prepared a report as well,” he said. On why allotments had not been cancelled even after three years of the racket having surfaced, Mishra said: “Appropriate action will be taken soon.”
Some examples of Bansi Bigaha village’s land swap:
Basanti Devi: Wife of the late Ranjan Manjhi, she is shown on paper to have sold 24 decimals to the government. The land was allotted to eight fellow villagers, among them Ajay and Nande Manjhi, sons of fellow villager Chandsur Manjhi, who had also “sold” 12 decimals to the government. One of the beneficiaries to have received Chandsur’s land was Ramphal Manjhi, the son of Basanti Devi. Interestingly, Ramphal is the government-appointed ‘Vikas Mitra’, whose job is to coordinate with the government and point out irregularities in any scheme meant for Mahadalits. Another of Basanti’s sons, Subodh Manjhi, was among beneficiaries on another plot.
• Sudam Devi: Wife of Sriram Manjhi, she “sold” 21 decimals to the government. Her four sons- Shaukin Manjhi, Lalan Manjhi, Awadhesh Manjhi, and Manoj Manjhi –got three decimals each as “beneficiaries” of land sold to the government by fellow villager Fekhu Manjhi. Fekhu’s own son Nagina Manjhi was one of the beneficiaries on plot sold by Sudam Devi. Said Sudam Devi’s son Shaukin Manjhi: “We were fooled by the Circle Officer on the promise of getting a share in land price and Indira Awas fund. We ended up exchanging plots, letting the CO and middlemen loot government money for land purchase.”
• Jethu Manjhi: “Sold” 12 decimals to the government, with two of the beneficiaries being his own brothers, Baisakhi Manjhi and Baburam Manjhi.
• Sudam Devi: Wife of the late Musafir Manjhi, she sold 12 decimals to the government. Devi’s daughters-in-law, Matiya Devi, and grandson Lavkush Manjhi got three decimals each from the plot of another villager. “We were illiterate people. We were told Indira Awas money would be given. We went to registry office and put thumb impression on papers we were asked to,” Sudam Devi told the media.




MONTH THAT WAS

CID probe into Rs. 970-cr garbage tenders


Mumbai: The state government has decided to probe the civic body’s move to hand out tenders worth Rs 970 crore for cleaning garbage across the city to private contractors.
The government, ordered the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to probe alleged irregularities in allotment of these tenders. “We will conduct a CID probe. It would be completed within two months,” said Bhaskar Jadhav, minister of state for urban development. The state was forced to conduct the inquiry after deputy chairman of the legislative council Vasant Dawkhare asked for it following allegations by ruling party members of large scale irregularities in the deal.
The BMC recently approved tenders worth Rs: 70 crore to rent compactors, vehicles as well as transport solid waste. The duration of these contracts is five years.
Congress member Alka Desai, who raised the issue, said that the waste disposal system was in a mess. “Garbage is not being cleared for days and disease is rampant, especially during the monsoon,” Desai rued. She accused the BMC of ignoring the matter.
Congress corporators had opposed the tenders saying that they were deliberately brought in at the last moment to avoid any discussions. They alleged that the move was a way to bring back certain contractors, despite their lackluster track record. 
However, the Shiv Sena, which is in power at the BMC, is undeterred by the development. “We are ready for any inquiry from any agency,” said Yashodhar Fanase, Sena corporator and leader of the BMC House. “The proposal was brought to us by the administration. If there is anything wrong, it should be investigated and should come to the fore,” he added.
Only Lokpal can clear this garbage corruption or garbage of corruption.

Fatwa against neta, cop, iftar parties


A few Muslim organisations have asked for the boycott of iftar parties held by political parties and the police as well. The group has sent letters in this regard to Muslim leaders, and they met the additional police commissioner, Naval Bajaj.
If they want to celebrate with the community, they should organise events for Eid. Iftar is for people who fast. Politicians don’t even fast. What is the point of having a party to break a fast, then?” added Mufti Mehmood Akhtar of the Amjadi Darul Efta, Pydhonie.
Mufti Aziz-ul Rehman of the Markazul Marif Idara in Jogeshwari said that roja is something religious, and it is the duty of a Muslim to observe a fast during the month of Ramzan.
“There is no scope of political interest in this. Also, Muslims are supposed to break the fast with their hard earned money, but this is not what happens at iftar parties,” he added.
Last year, too, some religious leaders had called for the boycott of the CM’s iftar party. However, the boycott was in support of Malegaon blast accused.
“Iftar is a relious gathering. If they want to prove equality, they should be more just when it comes to Muslims in law and order situations,” said Rashid Azim, Mumbai president of the All India Milli Council.
“We will soon be distributing handbills stating that maulanas and imams too be boycotted if they attend such parties,” sai Abdul Razzaq Maniyar, who belongs to one such Muslim organisation.

SC slams MP Govt for inaction
New Delhi: The Supreme Court slammed the Madhya Pradesh government for showing laxity in handling alleged cases of illegal clinical drug trials after the state administration failed to the file its response to a public interest litigation against the menace.
“Human life is sacred…people are dying every day and human beings continue to be treated like pigs for the puposes of clinical trials. This is most unfortunate,” said a bench headed by RM Lodha. 
Granting eight weeks time to the Centre for filing a comprehensive report, the bench said: “There cannot be any compromise on an issue like this." 
Laathonke Bhoot Baathonko Nahee Maanthe hein!


BMC ban helps crooks make money

Mumbai: Municipal and state government hospitals in the city have banned their patients and patients’ relatives from charging mobile phones in the hospital premises. The hospitals say that the charging of mobile phones adds to their electrical bills, encourages loud conversation and causes nuisance. Patients and their relatives call this ban insensitive and inhuman. 
Patients say they need to call their relatives multiple times a day, to ask for packed meals, medicines, or other requirements for their hospital stay. Talking to their relatives keep them relaxed, which may boost their recovery.
Nasir Razzaq has been in Nair hospital for the past five days after sustaining multiple fractures to his left arm in a car accident. Razzaq wanted to call his family. He plugged his mobile phone charger to an electrical socket in ward 8, where he is admitted. 
Razzaq told FPJ that a security guard came up to him and informed him of the ban. He said the security guard also threatened to fine him Rs. 500 if he persisted in charging his cellphone. And so Razzaq was unable to call his family.
Said Kabhir Shaikh, whose brother Imran has been admitted to Nair Hospital with a leg injury. “Most of our relatives’ numbers are in our cellphones. I don’t keep them in my head. I need to charge the phone so as to fetch their phone numbers and keep them updated about brother’s recovery.”
At KEM hospital, Parel, Mukesh Bangar conveys his sick daughter’s prospects to his worried relatives every day. His daughter Shraddha, seven months old, battles a life-threatening fever in Intensive Care. Bangar stays in Shahpur, district Thane. 
“Every day, I have to go outside the hospital to charge my phone. There are shops that charge me Rs. 10 for charging my cellphone  battery,” Bangar says. “I can’t afford it, what with the hospital charges and the medical and food bills.” 
Just outside KEM, there are two shops that offer cellphone charging, 24X7.One shop keeper, Sameer Jadav, said that he has hired four assistants specifically to handle the roaring business of cellphone charging. “They work in four shifts around the clock,” Jadhav said.
He added, “We have over 50 cellphone chargers at our shop, including generic chargers for those cellphones which won’t take any of the other chargers.” 
Oddly, municipal authorities say that there is, in fact, no ban on patients charging their cellphones.
“There is no rule forbidding patients from charging their cellphones,” said Dr. Sanjay Oak, BMC’s Health director. “Neither is there any provision for fines.”
Why, then are patients being inconvenienced?
A municipal hospital nurse said, on condition of anonymity, that the warnings about fines have been put up just to deter patients. “We want to prevent too many people from charging their phones at the same time,” she said.
FPJ found that the KEM’s ward number 4 carries a notice saying, ‘Rs. 500 fine for charging cellphones.’ In ward number 1, though, security guards instantly levy a fine of Rs. 50 for charging cellphones. The Rs. 50 fine goes into the poor fund, said a nurse from ward 1 on condition of anonymity (municipal nurses are forbidden from speaking to the media).
Thus, the ban on charging is in fact a bogey. The dean of the state government –run JJ hospital in Byculla has banned cellphone charging, but has levied no fines.
JJ’s dean Dr. Tatyarao Lahane told FPJ, “We used to let patients’ relatives charge their cellphones from the electrical plugs in our verandah. We were, however, forced to remove the electrical plugs after noticing quarrels between the relatives of patients, each of whom wanted to charge their cellphone first.”
While some patients are able to charge their cellphones on the sly, others are unable to contact their loved ones. They insist that the ad-hoc ban should be removed.

Let the hospital allow charge cellphone and levy a cost of Rs:2/- per half an hour. It will solve all problems, so also save some money for the hospital.

Fukushima nuclear crisis man-made

Tokyo: The nuclear accident at Fukushima was a preventable disaster rooted in government – industry collusion and the worst conformist conventions of Japanese culture, a parliamentary inquiry concluded. The report, released by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, also warned that the plant may have been damaged by the earthquake on March 11, 2011, even before the arrival of a tsunami. 
Shall augur well for power needy.

Pay us first & then save others life

New Delhi: An assistant drug controller and an employee of a Custom House agent were caught red-handed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from an importer for clearing a consignment of life-saving drug in the air cargo complex of the Sahar International Airport in Mumbai. Both have been taken on remand till Monday, a CBI spokesperson here said. She said a case has been registered against the assistant drug controller under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 
The CBI laid the trap and caught the officer demanding the bribe to issue a “no objection certificate” for the consignment and also arrested the agent’s employee collecting the money on behalf of the officer.
Raids conducted at the officer’s residential premises in Mumbai and Delhi led to the recovery of Rs. 20 lakh in cash and counterfoils of cash deposit of Rs 30.50 lakh in his bank accounts, the spokesperson said, adding that Rs 6.64 lakh were recovered in the search at the residence of the agent’s employee.
We are Indians, the title said it all.


Allow constables to collect fines, HC tells traffic police

Mumbai:  The Bombay High Court recently indicated that it would direct the Maharashtra government to constitute a high-powered committee to address the traffic woes faced by citizens.
The court also suggested the government to give power of imposing fine upon the violators of traffic rules to the constable or police naik.
A division bench of Chief Justice, Mohit Shah and Justice, Nitin Jamdar, was hearing public interest litigation filed by Bombay Bar Association seeking strict implementation of traffic rules and regulations.
As per the directions on the last hearing, O P Gupta, general manager of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST), joint commissioner of traffic police, Vivek Phansalkar, deputy secretary of home department, transport Commissioner, V N More and officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s road and traffic signal department were present in the court.
The problem is the higher hierarchical mindset, not delegating power.