Thursday, October 11, 2012

At M.G.M.College Udupi


One and a half a century later, we do feel more than ever that our continued useful and vibrant existence is ensured. At least the crowd that gathered at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College in Udupi while releasing the 150th edition of ISSUES & CONCERNS by former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde, did help us to look at the future with more confidence. 
Yes, there have been lots of good souls who congratulated I & C on reaching the 150th milestone. One called it “story of pluck and determination”, the other saluted the “indomitable spirit and courage of conviction.” The third one called it “A meaningful development”. Thus patrons were unanimous in their approbation. It did make us immensely happy and nudged as to commit ourselves to the goal “Towards a purposeful regimen,” and like our guru Padmabhushan MV Kamath  has suggested “time has come to broaden its base”. We do hope to measure up to the expectation of our Guru, all patrons and well wishers. 
All three Guests of Honour, Justice Santosh Hegde, Mr. Gautham Pai, the Manipal Media moghul, so also Mr. Ronald Fernandes, a gentle face of media in Mangalore have generously complimented our efforts. 
Continuing our serious deliberation on issues that concerns all of us, we decided to Focus, on late former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, a true Gandhian, born on the same day as Mahatma. 2nd Oct. is a national holiday, which probably kept the memory of Mahatma alive, in the national pshyche, which otherwise  suffers from selective amnesia. Also of relevance is the bout of amnesia intelligentia is going through in this country in completely forgetting inclusion of Lal Bahadur Shastri in the list of probables of “Greatest Indian after Mahatma”. We have tried to tell the world, that late Prime Minister Shastri is indeed one of the very few who deserved to be in the list, but for the intellectual impoverishment of our ‘elites’. Hope we have done a semblance of justice to the everlasting memory of this great son of India. Do revert with your inputs. We do value them.

GUJARAT: Bhagwan ke ghar mein deir hai magar andher nahee, so is our justice system. Although, the wheels of Justice grinds rather slowly in India, but it grinds for sure. The conviction of 32 people in the infamous Naroda Patiya massacre in the 2002 Gujarat carnage has proved that judiciary is one branch of governance which has not only kept the hope alive of the justice being done but also justice being seen to be done. Although most cases relating to 2002 carnage have seen its judicial conclusion, due to additional intervention of the Supreme Court and the SIT created by its order, judiciary did not let the people of Gujarat down. While conviction and punishment is always a part of judicial process, the conviction and life imprisonment of Maya Kodnani, a former minister of Narendra Modi cabinet must be reassuring for the agitated public of Gujarat. For once at least Modi shall feel the heat of the Gujarat imbroglio. His grand standing that he will not apologise, since he is not guilty, stands exposed. Nobody accuses him of personal culpability, but the government which he presides over has been responsible, and judgement has proved the involvement of people of his govenment. Thus in the interest of his Gujarat, of which he is the Chief Executive Officer, he better take stock of the situation, to address the concerns of those affected in the post 2002 mayhem and reach out to redress whatever he can to sooth their sentiments. In the context of Naroda Patiya judgement, it is an opportunity for Modi to revisit the issue to make the difference which many, all over India, who are his development votaries, are looking for. Hope it happens in the larger good of Gujarat and therefore the country.

WEST BENGAL: So, our one and the only Mamata didi is at it again, huffing and puffing. Finally she decided to quit the uneasy relationship with the UPA II and all her ministers have resigned from the cabinet of Dr. Manmohan Singh. She said ‘enough is enough’, but she didn’t hear our Sardarji’s quite soliloquy, ‘Yes indeed enough is enough’.  Apparently both were tired of each other. But the problem is Mamata is a maverick of another kind. In being undependable she can match the queen of Tamil Nadu Ms. Jayalalitha. Both suffer from an acute kind of self importance syndrome. If Jayalalitha had kept Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s govt on tenter hooks, Mamata is repeating the same with Manmohan Singh govt. 
The latest rub came in the form of Diesel price hike of Rs: 5 per litre. No government worth its salt would like to hurt the people economically. They would always explore different options, how to avoid the burden to aam aadmi. But the problem is basically created by the government itself. You keep on giving subsidies and then one not so fine day, its enough, no more subsidies. All political parties want to win the election to rule, whether in states or at centre, for which they indulge in pampering. This pampering goes on despite economic compulsions to stop, because of political compulsions of vote bank. Like the latest D.A rise of 7% to govt. staff which will cost the exchequer some Rs. 7000 crores annually. 
Like reservation cannot be stopped despite 65 years of its use and misuse, economic sops are also same. If government has proposed 6 cylinders of LPG per family under subsidized scheme and the rest at a higher price, it is indeed very good. Perforce we need to have discipline in the use of both diesel and LPG. If you are waiting for govt. largesse at all times, then there will always be a need to recover it at some point of time, in some or the other form. You neither want to pay higher tax, nor want the subsidies to go, nor you want to have a pay cut, which should include politicians, then the problem of overdrawing to bridge deficit between revenue and expenditure can drive any government to bankruptcy. Aamdanni Athanni Kharcha rupaiyya, natheeja thun thun gopal !!

NEW DELHI: This Manish Tiwari, the bombastic spokesperson of the Congress Party is at it again.  Of course he has his instructions from party HQ but uses his English language prowess to devastating effect. Wasn’t he the one who used the adjective against former Team Anna members, as ‘unelected and unelectable’. This time round he accused the CAG, the nation’s auditors, of having exceeded the mandate by commenting on government policies. But same accusation was levelled against CAG even when 2G scam was exposed based on similar postulates. And after huffing and puffing by Kapil Sibal that there is zero loss, it has been proved by the facts of the case, how badly wrong he was, by the follow up actions of his own government. Of course, as was expected CAG has rebutted the charge saying “there is nothing sacrosanct about the government policies to be above reproach”.  “Policies of the government do not emerge from closets, but are a culmination of processes involving faithful examination and analysis of empirical evidence on the ground, higher value of governance, feasibility of implementation, materiality of financial costs and perceivable benefits based on current and reasonably predictable facts”. While governments can take any stand as per the situational convenience, it is patently wrong on the part of political spokespersons to question constitutional authorities. After all Comptroller and Auditor General of India has his national responsibility of being a watch dog on the proper utilisation of country’s scarce resources. It speaks badly on political outfits and its abrasive functionaries to mouth language inconsistent with democratic decorum. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has to perforce intervene to rein likes of Manish Tiwari, so also stop attacking the CAG. This is especially so, when draft reports are submitted to the executive for comments or corrections to the material facts if any, before submitting the final report. Thus prima facie, any attack on CAG by the executive or its allied spokesmen, is an attack on constitution itself, which all political parties should note and avoid.  
With 7% DA raise to central government employees increasing the burden on exchequer by over Rs: 7000 crores annually, resources available to Planning Commission could certainly come down that much. But fanciful projects of some VVIP functionaries may have to be provided for, in ‘national interest’. After all VVIPs have only national interest in their hearts, isn’t it!
There was this print media report where Montek Singh Ahulwalia showed the gumption to say ‘no’ to a pet project of Congress Party President and NAC chairperson. ‘Montek spanner in Sonia’s pet varsity plan’ datelined New Delhi informed about a proposal to have Central Women’s University in Rai Bareli. Reportedly Planning Commissioner from Yojana Bhavan sent a letter under his signature with his articulation, why this project is difficult to be taken up especially in a proposed remote town. It certainly made its rounds of surprise in the HRD Ministry of Kapil Sibal, which had submitted the proposal.
Of course Yojana Bhavan officials had stated despite the letter from its boss, under exceptional circumstances, if funds are available, it can be taken up, provided HRD Ministry develops criteria to define such circumstances.
But there is this VVIP syndrome which the boss at Yojana Bhavan had shown the temerity to ignore. Aren’t HRDM officials right when they have reportedly stated that “the university in Rai Bareli is Sonia’s wish and therefore has to be met irrespective of the Planning Commission objections”?
Can you hear Mr Ahulwalia? This is not your infamous BPL income of Rs: 26/- and Rs 32/- which you take always great pains to justify despite the national outcry against this humiliation of poor people. After all, Rai Bareli is a private borough of Gandhis from the days of Indira Gandhi. This is Yeh Mera India.
The CAG has hit again and the UPA finds itself in a quandary for solid reasons. Those 142 coal mines allocated from 2004 under the current dispensation, came under fire from all sides. Especially since the coal ministry was under the Prime Minister, it provided a huge cannon to fire from, for the BJP, which is, as opportunistic as any other political party. Unfortunately the stand of both parties were right and wrong at the same time. Yes, Parliament is a place for debate, but debate also can become a procrastinating factor. Resignation of PM, as demanded by BJP cannot come by, and they know it very well that UPA will never oblige BJP. The problem is there is no working relationship between the government and the main opposition. Many legislative issues can be sorted out, if there exist a measure of bonhomie between the treasury benches and the opposition parties. In the absence of such conciliatory behaviour, the government end up seeking discreet support of questionable people and parties against whom the same government’s agencies have filed cases. In such unholy alliances, the country is invariably the biggest loser. A fact no political party considers or worried about. Going to the Coal Gate proper, if BJP has demanded that 142 coal blocks allocated after 2004 has to be cancelled, Congressman Chidambaram harped on procedural issues to cancel, if any. But then the problem basically was the lack of procedure which the government did not apply in the first place. Then you have Kapil Sibal, another Congress minister, mouthing inanities, saying, there will be no cancellation of allocation. But then there has been a steady cancellations of allocation by his own government. Then you have another Congress minister Veerappa Moili, who is always good at denial, saying, nothing wrong has taken place in Coal Block allocation. So, it’s a funny situation. Like one Shiv Aroor tweets in twitter “The Congress is a party with bad ideas. The BJP is a party with no ideas. This truly is a land of options”. But unfortunately we have a huge population who need to come out of their mental poverty to convert these options into opportunities, which they don’t.  
The Bill for reservation in promotion in government jobs for reserved constituency of OBC, SC/ST etc. is patently very unfair and completely opportunistic. For any political party to support such a bill shall be only to satisfy its vote bank. For the UPA to bring about this bill in the midst of Coal Gate imbroglio is not only to deflect the issue of coal allocation being bandied about by the opposition, but also to score a political point. By getting the bill cleared by the cabinet and to send to the parliament for passing is to create a piquant situation for the main opposition, the BJP. On the face of it no party shall be wanting to be seen as opposing it.
But no government worth its salt should legislate such a piece of legislation which will dump summarily the efficiency and competent factor that is so fundamental for any promotion. Besides it has the potential to divide the entire government staff and can institutionalise bitterness, also it can promote prejudicial conduct. 
Here it is important to recollect that on 28th April this year Apex Court had struck down the Uttar Pradesh Government Servants Seniority Rules. This rule had similarly introduced reservation in promotions. Supreme Court had termed it “unconstitutional and done without any sufficient data.”
How can union government ignore taking cognisance of the apex court ruling, which specifically says no to reservation in promotion. 
In short what the government is trying to give this reserved class, is to give promotion without being eligible. In the words of B R Muthu Kumar, a former IFS, diplomat, “This would disturb the order of precedence, disrupt the rationale of hierarchy and interrupt the chain of command and lastly the current level of functional efficiency will give way to systemic dysfunction.”
Then can the system survive?
It is internationally believed that if a nation has to be taken seriously it must keep on acquiring strength and makes it known discretely what it has. A nation commands respect on the basis of its innate strength. If there are neighbours who are trying to browbeat you or trying to be one up, then it is necessary that one has to give a good a/c of oneself without causing eyebrows to raise.
It is very well known that, although the relation between India and China is not like that of ‘Eye ball to Eye ball’, it is not very comforting for many reasons. In the past we have seen how China has been active in different parts of our border areas and with other neighbouring countries, like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, working with a pattern to raise India’s concerns. Keeping that in view a Prime Minister chaired Cabinet Committee had cleared the creation of Mountain Strike Corps (MSC). This MSC consisting of 60,000 troops was part of a plan to deploy along the border with China.
Ministry of Defence had worked towards this end, especially after Indian Army top brass convinced the need for such a strike force due to Chinese upgradation of their military accessibility.
When all was getting geared for MSC to happen, reportedly Prime Minister has vetoed it. The reason, not to tinker with the bullying neighbour, since PMO thinks there has not been increased activity by the Chinese along its 4500km border with India. Now, how this intelligence to PMO has come about, is not clear. But clearly PM is not comfortable to assert India’s right for eternal vigilance. Of course, there may be a huge outlay for the creation of MSC, but aren’t we allowing a bullying neighbour a free run?
Another media savvy bureaucrat writer turned politician opinion maker Shashi Tharoor has come up with his own take on majority minority debate. Whether it was needed for him to say what he said need to be asked. But he could have gone on, how interest of the minorities in the Indian context is being protected or not, and what needed to be done. He was reportedly speaking at the fifth Annual Lecture of National Minority Commission. 
In the public domain, there are differing opinions of different sections, of how minorities in India are living. At one end there are ones saying ‘India is a paradise for minorities’ and there are any number of people who will rip that statement apart. But the fact is, while the first statement is not untrue, those who challenge it are also not entirely wrong. Which means both are partly true. In a talk on behalf of the Minority Commission, what could have been discussed, was their overall welfare and what is being done and what is needed to be done, should have been the central topic. But for Shashi Taroor to say that Hindus cannot claim majority in India was to invite a ready hackle and avoidable heat in the atmosphere. All that he said about Indians, especially Hindus having hundreds of castes, and languages and dialect is not a discovery. Whole world knows about it. Unless there is some purpose to make such a statement. 
FDI in the multi-brand retail, has once again made its reappearance and UPA made a 100mtr dash in an attempt to prove the American perception of “Indecisive Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh”, wrong. Media went to the market saying “FDI in Multibrand retail and airlines cleared to counter the policy paralysis charge”. Of course, in its haste to prove itself, the UPA II also cleared the partial disinvestment in four PSUs to raise funds for development projects. Right enough American press hailed the decision to open FDI in Multi Brand Retail.
While allowing the private players a roll in PSU, is good for its own sake, and for mopping up additional resources, and opening up of the not-so-healthy airlines to FDI are positive developments, it is the FDI in multibrand retail which has badly hit the road block. Of course there are very good reasons for opposition to opening up multi-brand retail for foreign players. It is true that vested interest within the traders lobby and allegedly the party of traders, the BJP, have their own compulsions to oppose the UPA move. But the problems that a free run to Multi National Companies can create, may be of a far serious nature, than that of the Indian lobby’s resistance. 
Here it is important to quote a UPA government minister himself who had reportedly stated “FDI in retail can harm Indian workers”. Jyothiradithya Scindia, the state minister for Commerce and Industry had informed the Rajya Sabha earlier in the month that “Without adequate safeguards FDI in multi-brand retail will lead to wide spread displacement and poor treatment of Indian workers in logistics, agriculture and manufacturing sector”. He was reportedly quoting from a paper presented by Switzerland based UNI Global Union. The paper was titled as “Walmart’s Global Track Record and the Implication for FDI in Multi Brand Retail”. Of course it is another matter that this was the stand of the Minister in August, a month earlier, to the 100 mtr-dash of UPA II to go rushing for FDI clearance by its cabinet. This is how the politics of India is, like it or not, opportunistic to the core.
Union Home Minister, like many ministers in the UPA II has the habit of saying things that would land them in royal soup. As usual these ministers, after the gaffe tries to escape, blaming media twisting or as quoting out of context. To say that “people will soon forget the coal controversy just as they have forgotten Bofors” and then for Sushil Kumar Shinde to say that ‘I was saying it jokingly’ is rather very clumsy. Firstly a minister is not entitled to joke, especially, if he is talking to the media. That is exactly where the media will catch you in your underpants. A minister’s joke has to be intelligent for the media to applaud him, not to fix him. In the event, it was a rude reminder to the Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and his political bosses that Bofors indeed impacted their political future for ever. 
From 400+ seats won by Rajeev Gandhi, on sympathy wave of his mother's assassination, was completely frittered away and Congress became the principal opposition party in the following general election, post Bofors scandal exposure. The purported joke of Shinde, can bring a bit of worry in the UPA II camp, would Coal Gate become its nemesis, a le Bofors ghost ! in the election due less than 2 years down the line ?!
All good things have to come to an end, so said a wag. There is this book 'The Prize' by Irwing Wallace, the master story teller. This was the story of Nobel Prize winners having the other life. How those who have reached the pinnacle of success in the eyes of the world by winning the Nobel Prize were still humans with their own brand of failings. One of the Nobel Laureate, a scientist, had an affair with a glamour girl ‘the other lady’ from Hollywood. He was a married man, to another scientist. Of course, like most such affairs this too came to an end. Recounting the break, the ‘other lady’ reminisces “I know one day it had to come to an end. But my joy was I did not know when”.
Thus, the bonhomie among the members of India Against Corruption too came to an end. Of course all relationships have a human and divine dimensions to it. If failings are to be called human, they are found more than divine dimension, which accommodate the other, perceived to be less selfless or one who lacks a broader and wider vision. In the entire team, there were two ring leaders, Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal. While Anna Hazare’s life has been an open book, post army days. Arvind Kejriwal came into limelight much later. But ever since he appeared in the public domain, he has been transparent as transparent  one can be.
All his actions and utterings are in the public domain. Not withstanding Digvijay Singhs and Manish Tiwari’s both Anna & Kejriwal can be taken on face value. Difference in perception of what is better for the country is a matter of debate.
Anna and Kejriwal have broken on the issue of going political to reach their goal of corruption free India. Corruption is a cancer to any society which has to be fought, and we are all victims of it, both as sufferers and as perpetrators. Of course in different forms and contents. But here we have the financial corruption which has fleeced the developmental resources of the nation and contributed to the national poverty. These financial wrong doings are happening in government and in the process of governmental decision making so also the discretionary powers of the political functionaries. Thus politician’s involvement is core to the whole problem of corruption. Which means we must have better and cleaner politicians. While Lokpals, Lokayuktas and CVCs are certainly needed to control the menace, we also need to have better person to occupy political position which in ultimate analysis are the real arbiter in the entire system. Hence a political party committed to clean politics is the national imperative, which Anna & Company has to realize. Anna must trust Arvind Kejriwal for his commitment, intention and ability to bring about change. In the larger interest of the nation they should remain united. Hence it is an appeal to Anna not to rock the boat of Arvind Kejriwal’s movement, instead join him in the larger national interest. Rest of the issues like funding etc are only nitty gritty.

WORLD: As usual, the west is stretching its obsession with so-called Free Speech rather too far. The latest film by an Egyptian Coptic Christian, probably with an Israeli passport, based in the US, “Innocence of Muslims” caused the international eruption of violent protest. Libya, where the protest hit the road first, turned absolutely violent. The violent protesters marched into US embassy and killed US Ambassador and three of the embassy staff. Of course this killing is absolutely reprehensible and US administration is unlikely to take it kindly and in all probability make Libya accountable for this ferocity of the protest. The protest all over the Muslim world has been there, ever since the release of the film on internet in the US and still there is no let up. Latest is the destruction of Buddhist Temple in Bangladesh. While the violence by Muslim all over the world is not a solution to the issue of alleged denigration of Islam or the Prophet, western concept of freedom has to undergo radical change. The report informing about the arrest of the producer of the film, if true, is welcome sign. Of course, if the west goes to stupid extent in its expression of free speech, the Muslim world should seriously debate the issue of its uncontrolled anger which leads only to greater problem, like it or not. Both have their roles cut out. Hope in an ever evolving world, mutual acceptance and therefore tolerance is the only way to resolve our civilisational differences.


One and a half a century later, we do feel more than ever that our continued useful and vibrant existence is ensured. At least the crowd that gathered at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College in Udupi while releasing the 150th edition of ISSUES & CONCERNS by former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde, did help us to look at the future with more confidence.
Yes, there have been lots of good souls who congratulated I & C on reaching the 150th milestone. One called it “story of pluck and determination”, the other saluted the “indomitable spirit and courage of conviction.” The third one called it “A meaningful development”. Thus patrons were unanimous in their approbation. It did make us immensely happy and nudged as to commit ourselves to the goal “Towards a purposeful regimen,” and like our guru Padmabhushan MV Kamath  has suggested “time has come to broaden its base”. We do hope to measure up to the expectation of our Guru, all patrons and well wishers.
All three Guests of Honour, Justice Santosh Hegde, Mr. Gautham Pai, the Manipal Media moghul, so also Mr. Ronald Fernandes, a gentle face of media in Mangalore have generously complimented our efforts.
Continuing our serious deliberation on issues that concerns all of us, we decided to Focus, on late former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, a true Gandhian, born on the same day as Mahatma. 2nd Oct. is a national holiday, which probably kept the memory of Mahatma alive, in the national pshyche, which otherwise  suffers from selective amnesia. Also of relevance is the bout of amnesia intelligentia is going through in this country in completely forgetting inclusion of Lal Bahadur Shastri in the list of probables of “Greatest Indian after Mahatma”. We have tried to tell the world, that late Prime Minister Shastri is indeed one of the very few who deserved to be in the list, but for the intellectual impoverishment of our ‘elites’. Hope we have done a semblance of justice to the everlasting memory of this great son of India. Do revert with your inputs. We do value them.



In sensation mongering, Indian media, whether the print or the 24x7 electronic media, leaves probably most members of the 4th estate – globally – behind. The lunacy for TRP appears to be the staple diet for most of these electronic media channels. Thus the nomination and selection of the so-called “Greatest Indian After Mahatma” made its rounds in circles, for whatever it was worth, as if there were no issues of relevance to be highlighted, especially with CAG destroying the sleep, literally, of the government in New Delhi. Reportedly, the imported Indian channel CNN/IBN had made a list of 100, of such great men. This list was given to a panel of ‘eminent’ jury to be pruned to fifty. The panel had on its list, 7 media men, 5 authors and writers, 3 sportsmen and sports writers, 2 from Arts and Cinema etc besides1 bureaucrat and 1 lawyer politician. Interestingly 50% of these ‘eminent’ men were from world of letters, like journos and writers who need not be always objective in their writings. There was a lone politician in BJP’s Arun Jaitley, that was surprising. Who decided that they are the only elites to adorn the panel, is a moot point. Surely, some claims to eminence must be there, although most Indians may be ignorant of their being eminent. After all isn’t it the media which makes or breaks personalities in the public space? Here the debate is not about the panel of ‘eminent’ jury.
This jury, in its wisdom includes some of the names which they think deserve to be in the list of 50 and prunes it further to a ‘List of Ten’ and the ‘great Indian public’ to vote according to their own perception of what constitutes greatness after Mahatma. Many years ago during the heydays of Bachchan Gandhi bonhomie, one fine day or not so fine day, Rajeev Gandhi as Prime Minister, in his wisdom, announced the name of the chairman of Nehru Centenary Committee. The very day, when the news appeared in the print media, that actor Amitabh Bachchan would be the chairman of the newly formed committee on Nehru Centenary Celebration, there was intense debate – how wrong was the appointment. Of course Gandhis did retrace their steps to annul the appointment to put the whole controversy to a close.
It was probably these so-called elites who protested then. This time round at least 26 of them were in the panel, who conveniently forgot to include, not only in the second list consisting of 50, selected from the original list of 100, but the all knowing CNN/IBN Chief Rajdeep Sardesai too did not include Late Lal Bahadur Shastri in the first list of 100. That was indeed a kind of bankruptcy or the impoverishment of imagination of these so-called intellectuals, especially, when Pandit Nehru, himself made a glowing reference to Shastriji after he resigned as the Railway Minister in 1956. Taking moral responsibility for a series of railway accidents, Shastriji resigned as the then Railway Minister. Accepting it reluctantly, since Shastriji insisted, Nehruji stated in the parliament “I should like to say that, it has been, not only in the govt. but also in the Congress, my good fortune and privilege to have Shastriji as a comrade and colleague, and no man can wish for a better comrade and better colleague in any undertaking – a man of highest integrity, loyalty, devoted to ideals, a man of conscience and a man of hard work. We can expect no better. And it is because he is such a man of conscience that he felt deeply, whenever there was any failing in the work entrusted to his charge. I have the highest regard for him”. It was perhaps the cleanest certificate Pandit Nehru gave to any of his teammates in the cabinet or the party in his entire public life.
Thus it is indeed very sad that people like Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN/IBN could not find a place of greatness for Shastri. But this Sardesai in his wisdom included the likes of Kanshi Ram, actors Rajnikanth, Kishore Kumar, separatist Phizo, naxalite Charu Majumdar, police officer activist Kiran Bedi etc., in his list of greats.
Could it be that, since the original list didn’t have Shastriji, these elites too didn’t think of him? That is not the case, these elites included Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya who was certainly greater than Kiran Bedi. Elites also included Shivram Karanth, C.Rajgopalachari and E V Ramaswami Naiker, and what about Vishwanath Pratap Singh the Mandal man, Bofors exposer? Isn’t he greater than Kanshi Ram or Charu Majumdar !
The whole list of 100 by CNN/IBN Think Tank, then the list of 50, as decided by elites, and the last of 10 selected by netizens, the net users, the aam aadmi, has only proved our poor sense of historical perspectives and a lack of fairer sense of judgement.
Commenting on the ‘List of Ten’ as voted by aam aadmi from the elitist 50, Ramachandra Guha, historian and a panel member, stated that “the elevation of APJ Abdul Kalam to the 2nd position and ranking Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya at 50, in both cases, aam aadmi got it spectacularly wrong.
Forget about Rajdeep Sardesai’s ignorance of history. What about Guha himself? What explanation, as a historian, he has for omitting Shastriji, in the list of 50? And come to think of it, Shastriji not only shares the birthday with the Mahatma, he is a Bharat Ratna too, awarded posthumously, besides being a greatest Gandhian in literal sense, since Mahatma.
For the injustice these media men and the so-called elites of the Indian society have done to the memory of late Lal Bahadur Shastriji, we at ISSUES & CONCERNS thought it fit to set the record straight by anointing him as One of the Greatest Indians since Mahatma.
On 27th May 1964, at 2.30 pm the then Minister for Steel and Mines informed a hushed Lok Sabha that “The Prime Minister is no more. The light is out”.
Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first Prime Minister, who remained prime minster for all the 17 years from 1947, had passed away. He was 75, when he died. He was a gigantic influence in the post Mahatma era. Hence, naturally “After Nehru who?” was the question often asked, but never answered. West as usual had thought, especially because of their press, that there could be turmoil in an India  without Nehru.
However, Congressmen, under the leadership of Krishnaswamy Kamaraj Nadar, managed a smooth transition despite pulls and pushes from different groups and aspirees for the post of Prime Minister of India. The man reputed to be ajaatha shatru – without enemies – elected to be the 2nd Prime Minister of India, was Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Born on 2nd Oct. as Mahatma Gandhi, he remained without being remembered by most Indians including the media, both print and electronic. With almost certainty it can be stated with confidence that there will be hardly any student who would remember Shastriji’s birthday. It’s also true, that in spite of being quintessentially a great Gandhian, the  shadow of Mahatma simply left him no media space. All the same, his greatness cannot be diminished for the simple truth that when he died in harness, tragically away in Tashkent, there was hardly any money in his bank a/c, nor did he create a second line of political heir within his family, which is the order of the day among the present crop of politicians. Shastiji remained above all human failings. It’s unfortunate like Mahatma, God has stopped producing men of Shastriji’s convictions. It’s sad in the present day India “Parithranaaya Sadhunaam Sambhavaami Yugey Yugey” does not hold good any more.
Lal Bahadur Shastri died fairly young at 62 years. Would the things have been better if he was alive some 15 years longer like his predecessor?
In fitness of things, Indians of all hues, young and old, should know this great soul in greater details. Shastriji must occupy larger public space for the kind of exemplary life he lived, for the knowledge of all those who wants to take to politics to serve aam aadmi.
Having jumped head long as a boy of 15, in 1919, into struggle of independence, inspired by Mahatma’s call to quit schools and colleges to join national movement, Lal Bahadur never looked back. In 1925 he was arrested for the first time, but was warned and released. He joined Kashi Vidyapeeth started by nationalist teachers. In 1926 he cleared the degree of Shastri in first class, thus becoming Lal Bahadur Shastri. Prior to this he had dropped Srivastava from his name, as it indicated his Kayastha Brahmin lineage. This showed, very early, his sense of societal equity, as he was against caste system. A very striking quality of young Lal Bahadur was his frugal life style. He always lived austere. On graduation he joined the Servants of the People Society (SPS) where he met political activists of those days like Purushottamdas Tandon who was president of Allahabad Distt. Congress, and Allahabad was the nerve centre of Congress activities of those days. He was thru’ and thru’ a nationalist. His intense devotion coupled with organisation skill helped him get larger space and greater attention from the Congress leaders of those days, more importantly of Pandit Nehru. His ability at persuasion won him all round acceptability. He grew slowly in stature and in organisation as Ajaatha Shatru, the one with no enemies. Pandit Nehru’s trust grew to such an extent that he would let young Lal Bahadur manage his official correspondence including replies on his behalf.
His participation in the non-cooperation movement of Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi earned him quite a few trips to jail under British. Salt Satyagraha in 1930 got him arrested and imprisoned for 2 ½ years. Again in 1940, he was imprisoned for offering individual satyagraha support to the freedom movement, for one year. Post Quit India movement in 1942, he was again arrested and imprisoned. This time for more than 4 years, until 1946. According to available details, he spent some 9 years in different jails of India. While in prison he spent most of his time reading books by international philosophers. Reportedly he had translated the autobiography of Marie Curie into Hindi.
During his terms in prison, a different and unique personality of Lal Bahadur was on display. Once when he was undergoing jail term after Salt Satyagraha, his daughter fell very ill and he took 15 days leave of absence to visit her, he came back even before completing the 15 days break, since his daughter had passed away before he even reached home. Again a year later, his son fell ill. A week’s permission was granted to Lal Bahadur to visit his ailing son. But his son continued to remain ill, but Lal Bahadur returned to the prison as promised despite pleading by his family. That was the level of commitment of Shastriji even to the Britishers, to keep his words, a very rare quality of any politician anywhere in India.
If his political life prior to independence portrayed him as a disciplined and principled person. His family life was an eloquent example of simple living and high thinking. Having married in 1927, inspite of prevailing tradition of demanding hefty dowry, Lal Bahadur settled for only a Charakha and few yards of Khadi as dowry. He was simple to the core. According to his biographer Dr Mankekar, “even when the kurtas would become threadbare at sleeves and collar, he would ask his wife to keep it for winter to be worn under the coat”. He was simplicity incarnate. Unlike half naked Fakir, that Mahatma Gandhi was, Lal Bahadur  Shastri was Mahatma in full attire, may be worn-out inside. 
Thus along with the urbane Jawaharlal Nehru, this simple but very genuine human being came into the post independent politics of the country with his own unique brand image. This was seen all along his political life, from 1947 to Jan. 1966, when he died in Tashkent, a day after signing, what’s known as ‘Tashkent Declaration’ between India and Pakistan.
Post independence, he became part of Uttar Pradesh cabinet. He was given Police and Transport portfolio. He nationalised the public transport in UP, to make it available to all possible places. As transport minister, he was the first to introduce women conductors in public transport buses. Come to think of it, this was even before 1950. He was clearly progressive and far ahead of his time. But the female members of the ‘elite panel’ Shubha Mudgal, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Shabana Azmi and Shobha De, did not blink, to think that Lal Bahadur Shastri was indeed a very great son of India, Mahatma or no Mahatma. As minister in charge of police, he addressed for the first time to use water jets instead of lathis to disperse unruly crowds. Since his qualities of head and heart was also known to Pandit Nehru, in 1952, he took Shastriji into central cabinet, despite having won legislative assembly seat in UP in the first general election that took place in 1952. It was in 1951 when he was made the General Secretary of All India Congress Committee that he came very close to Pandit Nehru, and Nehru at once made up his mind to make use of his talents as an organiser and as a person of impeccable integrity. Shastriji was made independent India’s first Railway Minister. In 1956, Shastriji resigned from ministership after a railway accident in Andhra Pradesh. Panditji didn’t accept his resignation. But three months later when Shastriji insisted on resignation, after another accident in Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister accepted the resignation stating that ‘it would set an example in constitutional propriety and not because Shastriji was in any way responsible for the accident’. This clearly shows that Shastriji was never after power or position, unlike Sachin Tendulkar, who wants to stick around in the Indian cricket team despite flops after flops. And our great opinion makers, elite men and women and of course of our great public, the net wired aam aadmi, have voted this Tendulkar as the 5th in the line of India’s greatest. That was indeed a bankruptcy of ideas. Yes fortunately Ramachandra Guha, one of the panelist has set the record straight. “Sachin Tendulkar may be the greatest Indian cricketer but he cannot ever be the greatest Indian”. In fact his very inclusion in the list of 100 itself was debatable.
1957, saw Shastriji again as a cabinet minister with Nehruji, evolving in different portfolios like communication, commerce & industry etc. In 1961, he became the home minister, and for the first time, he set up of a Committee on Prevention of Corruption. 
After the sudden death of Panditji in 1964, at the, not so ripe age of 75, Lal Bahadur was the consensus candidate for prime ministership. Suddenly all his experience was called upon to take over the onerous job of the top executive of the country.
Responding to the call of duty was one of his great qualities. As always the nation was his top priority and his family came much lower in priority. This was one single quality, for its sheer sincerity and honesty, alone could have propelled him to be the greatest of all Indians, post Mahatma. In a scenario of corrupt, self serving, Sons & Relatives India Pvt. Ltd, he was unmistakably the brightest star in the political firmament of the country. He has to be part of the national curriculum at all levels of education. Story of Shastriji’s life should occupy much larger space for the PRACTICAL MAHATMA that he was. When Nehruji, in his immaculate style spoke of him to the parliament, after accepting Shastriji’s resignation he had weighed every word to carry its intended meaning. Someday he has to become part of the folk lore, so that he becomes and remains an ICON, that Anna and his disintegrated team are searching. This country need another Lal Bahadur Shastri for the political deliverance.
His term of office of Prime Minister of India has been fairly eventful by the exigencies of the day. He was instrumental in initiating ‘Green Revolution’ in India, which galvanised India to become a food surplus country, and banished PL-480 for ever from the country. It was again during his tenure that the National Dairy Development board was formed in 1965, which eventually led to the ‘White Revolution’  and India became net exporter of milk  and milk products.
Despite his diminutive physical stature, he was truly tall and commanded respect of all those who came across him, and nobody took him for granted. His entire personality was deeply grounded and he commanded huge public goodwill. His toughness came to the fore while dealing with both Pakistani aggression so also the Chinese threat. He was a no-nonsense man. There has to be greater effort to keep his memory in public domain alive. It is very unfortunate for the country that he died so early. But despite that, his memory can be an inspiring story for all those who aspire for public life to serve the country and its people. Yes, if Shakespeare was alive in 1966, in all probability, he would have said, that 
“This was the noblest Indian of them all.
His life was so gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up 
And say to all the world This was a man”. 
Indeed, he was one of the greatest Indians to have lived on this Indian soil for the posterity to remember. May his memory inspire every child who reads his life story. 



The Stay-Together Gang

A few months after T-Bone gave me the Black Kings’ financial ledgers. Ms. Bailey invited me to a back-to-school party for the children in her building. J.T. had given her a thousand dollars to throw the party and to buy the kids some sneakers, clothes and school supplies.
I hadn’t been spending much time around J.T.’s building in the months leading up to the party. I was generally holed up in the library, working on my dissertation. My advisers and I had agreed that it should explore how families cope with poverty-specifically, how CHA tenants solved problems and kept the community together without much help from the government of clarities.
When I arrived for the party, it felt like my first visit from years earlier. There were cars parked all around the basketball court, rap music blasting away, kids running everywhere, and squatters grilling burgers and hot dogs to earn a little money. J.T. and his senior officers were drinking beer and casting an eye over the entire scene. J.T., Ms. Mae, Ms. Bailey, and some of the other tenants greeted me with the same carefree attitude they had showed me when I first began coming around. As I watched Ms. Bailey and some of the other older women tend to the children, I couldn’t help but feel kind of nostalgic. Everyone looked a bit older and more fatigued-just like me, I suppose.
I saw something out of the corner of my eye that stopped me cold: a small garden bursting with bright orange, red, and purple geraniums. In this vast stretch of concrete and patchy lawn, littered with broken bottles, used condoms, and empty crack vials, here was on oasis. I laughed to myself. Why hadn’t I ever noticed it before?
I’d been so caught up with gangs, political chicanery, and the life of poverty that I had missed something so beautiful right there in front of me. What else had I missed because of my incessant drive to hustle?
I thought back to the last time I’d noticed any flowers in Robert Taylor. It had been well over a year earlier. The tenants were preparation for a visit from President Bill Clinton. They were incredibly excited, but also unnerved. His visit was meant to highlight the unprecedented levels of gang violence in Chicago public housing. Clinton supported the use of police “sweeps,” the warrantless searches that the Chicago Police Department was using to combat the gang and drug problems. While the ACLU and other groups decried the sweeps as a violation of constitutional rights, Clinton argued that the right to “freedom from fear” was more important. He wanted inner-city residents to believe, as he believed, that the scourge of street gangs required extraordinary measures, and his trip to Robert Taylor provided a firsthand opportunity to persuade them.
In the weeks before his visit, the project was turned upside down. The police conducted even more sweeps than usual, sometimes ransacking apartments indiscriminately. They also conducted random spot checks in the building lobbies, arresting a great many suspected drug dealers, including young men who had nothing whatsoever to do with dealing drugs.
J.T. didn’t go so far as to halt drug sales, but he was a bit more cautious, sometimes having his dealers take customers inside to an apartment to obtain the drugs rather than getting them on the street. He also stopped extorting from local stores, fearing that, that might lead to arrest. And he stopped laundering money, stowing his cash in garbage bags until the neighborhood quieted down.
On the streets, city tow trucks hauled away abandoned vehicles-as well as a lot of vehicles that might have looked abandoned but were in fact just old and beat up. On top of all this disorder, the weather was unrelentingly hot and humid.
Still, there was hope in the air. Because of Bill Clinton’s overwhelming popularity among African Americans, even the most cynical tenants-including the people whose cars had been towed-were excited about his visit. Tenant leaders led campaigns to spruce up their buildings’ lobbies, hallways, and playgrounds. Tenant patrols went door-to-door asking people to tidy up their living rooms and clean toilets; in one building, snakes and other strange pets were confiscated from certain households. And throughout the project, aged flower beds sprang to life.
In the early days of Robert Taylor, the buildings had competed against one another with flower gardens and other beautification projects. This dormant practice was now reborn in anticipation of the president’s visit. He obviously couldn’t visit all twenty-eight Robert Taylor buildings, and he might have time for just one. But this only heightened the intensity of the competition. A few tenant leaders called in favors with city officials to try to make sure their building was on the president’s list. Some of them curried additional favor by turning in drug dealers to the police.
The 5011 building, located on the far south side of Robert Taylor, showed particular enthusiasm. This was fueled by the belief that a new construction project next door to 5011 was in fact the construction of a presidential podium. The tenant leader taxed the local gang twenty-five hundred dollars to fund a wide-scale restoration effort. The building’s children were given new clothes and shoes; a mural of historic African-American figures was painted along the building’s ground floor; a few particularly civic-minded tenants even wrote speeches, just in case the president called them up to the podium. And families planted rows and rows of flowers in a garden that had seen nothing but trash for years.
By the morning of June 17, 1994, the day of President Clinton’s visit, the residents of 5011 were fully ready. But his entourage sped past quickly, without so much as a wave. He gave his speech in another part of Robert Taylor. A few of the tenants in 5011 moaned and groaned, but generally they were satisfied that the president had showed up at all. Parents broke out soda and beer, and their kids caught the spirit and launched a party. After the initial disappointment, no one seemed willing to utter a spiteful word. For a time at least, the community shared a deep spirit of satisfaction, of having pulled together. Over and over again, you could hear tenants remark that they hadn’t seen such solidarity in decades.
Now, a year later, the flower bed outside J.T.’s building as a similar sign of hope -and, in light of the imminent demolition of the projects, a sign of proud obstinacy. The back-to-school party was in full swing. Kids and grown-ups alike loaded their plates with food. A softball game started up, and a crowd of people gathered to watch. I milled about, saying hello to a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a while. 
Suddenly the sound of gunshots pierced the air, and everyone ran for cover. There were four or five shots, rapid fire, from what sounded like a pistol. Parents grabbed their kids and ducked behind cars or ran for the lobby. Above the blaring music, you could hear women screaming for their children. J.T. hollered for everyone to get down. 
I found myself crouching behind a car parked near the building. Beside me were a few of J.T.’s foot soldiers, young men I barely knew. I asked where the shooting was coming from. They immediately pointed up toward the upper floors of the building. 
“Niggers are probably high on dope,” one of them whispered. “Or else you got an MC who snuck up in the building. It used to be an MC building before we took it over.”
Some distance away I could see a thin, dark-skinned woman staggering toward us across the grassy expanse in front of the building. Her clothes were sloppy, and she was practically falling down, probably either drunk or high. As she came closer, you could hear her talking to herself, most of it gibberish. People started yelling at her to take cover. A few of J.T.’s men shouted nasty names and threw beer bottles at her. It was pretty common for drug dealers to treat drug users with disdain; they often justified their line of work by pointing out that they took money from the most useless members of the community.
Some more shots rang out from above, the bullets kicking up clouds of dirt a few feet from the woman.
“That ain’t the MCs firing at us,” said the foot soldier beside me. “That’s just some nigger who is fucked up and looking to cause trouble.”
Finally an older gentleman ran out, grabbed the staggering woman, and hustled her into the lobby. After about ten minutes with no more gunfire, most people felt comfortable enough to come out from their hiding places. Parents and children ran into the building, abandoning the party. The squatters and the hustlers, meanwhile, got back to their food and listened to the music. My heart kept racing for several minutes, but even I wasn’t surprised by now that nobody even bothered to call the police. 


Bedside Medicine- A Forgotten Art.

Prof. B. M. Hegde,

This is a non specific symptom but an important one in heart failure patients. To get at the bottom of this symptom on the bed side could be quite taxing as anything from anxiety to cancer could cause this, fatigue syndrome being another confounding diagnosis.
However some questions are in order to get at the truth.
• How long have you been having this problem? Fatigue is one of the earliest signs of progressive cardiac failure especially of the right heart variety.
• Is it worsening as the days go by?
• What exactly do you mean by fatigue?
• How much can you do routinely?
• In what way do you think your daily routine is affected by this fatigue?

System review:
A thorough examination of the cardiovascular system requires the patient to be comfortable and co-operative. One needs to do a cursory general examination with special reference to signs that are secondary to heart disease in other systems. Good light, undressing down to the waist and a nurse to help are very useful. In fact, a good doctor could make out a lot as the patient walks into his room in any outpatient set up or his behavior in bed in the ward. There will be the details in the video tape of the actual details of the examination demonstrated.
• The following points should be noted by the examining doctor before proceeding further.
• Is s/he comfortable?
• Is s/he cyanosed?
• Is s/he breathless at rest?
• Does s/he understand commands correctly?
• Does s/he lie flat in bed comfortably?
• Does s/he look well nourished or does he look famished?
• Does s/he look pale or jaundiced?
• Is s/he anxious?
• Is s/he co-operative or confused?
Does s/he have ankle swelling?

Take Home message:
1) A careful history is a must be begin the examination. This should give away the diagnosis to a great extent.
2) Examination should be methodic, lest one should miss any important clue to refine the diagnosis obtained from the history.
3) Remember to examine other systems to rule out congestive cardiac failure-ankle oedema, liver enlargement, increased jugular venous pressure, basal pulmonary rales, and ascites.

Examination of the Respiratory System.
The respiratory system examination should precede, as always, with a short history of the prominent symptoms like:
• Cough.
• Spit.
• Fever with or without chills.
• Blood in the spit.
• Wheeze.
• Breathlessness.
• Ankle oedema.
• Upper respiratory problems like common cold, feverish cold, sore throat and, ‘Flu like illness.
• Chest pain on breathing.

History taking:
One could presume that there is no respiratory illness without cough. History of cough, thus, assumes central role in history. The duration of the cough, its relation to posture, its severity, whether it is dry or productive, its association with wheeze, and its association with any additional sounds like a whoop would assist in the final diagnosis. Next in significance is the spit that comes out. A detailed history of the spit and, if possible, a personal examination of the spittoon that the patient uses could also be is use. In the case of cough due to pulmonary oedema in the early stages the diagnosis could be made if one gets an opportunity to see the spittoon that has not been cleaned for a few hours. In case of pulmonary oedema the alveoli contain the oedema fluid which gets mixed with the surfactant present there. The surfactant does not allow the bubbles formed there due to churning of the fluid during coughing to collapse. Even when kept in the spittoon for some hours the spit dries up leaving behind the rings of the remains of the bubbles. This does not happen in any other condition- a sine qua non of pulmonary oedema. 
The other details of the spit are the quantity per spit and over a period of twenty four hours. Its relation to posture is very important in large lung abscesses. The colour of the spit and its smell also are important. Presence of blood in the sputum needs further enquiries about the type of blood-fresh or discoloured. That does make a difference. Occasionally, small lung debris might also be seen in the spit. Large amounts of pussy sputum suggest the possibility of either bronchiectasis or lung abscess. The three layered sputum that the textbooks describe is rarely seen outside the textbooks! 
Wheezing sound that is audible suggests severe bronchospasm. But mild wheeze could only be assessed by auscultation. If the patient complains of wheezing, which is not obvious, one needs to go deep into the story. First difference is between perennial wheeze as compared to paroxysmal wheeze characteristic of bronchial asthma. In the latter case the factors that bring on a wheeze are as important as the wheeze itself.
The symptom that is next in order of importance is the sputum that the patient brings out. Its quantity, quality, color, presence of blood-fresh or old- as also its relation to posture are of importance. Frank haemoptysis, lot of blood in the sputum is a grave symptom needing immediate action. It is one of those urgent situations in medicine as occasionally the patient might even bleed to death, very rarely though. Commonly it is blood tinged sputum that is the pr4esenting feature. This could be a feature of many serious illnesses, the common among them being pulmonary tuberculosis and malignancy in the lungs. In extreme situations of gross pulmonary oedema as seen in acute left heart failure the sputum could be “prune juice” like. This is more of a jargon than reality. Usually the sputum in pulmonary oedema, as described in earlier chapter, has a very characteristic feature in that the sputum in the mug dries up in discreet rings as the bubbles in the fresh sputum never break, thanks to surfactant, in the alveoli. The bubbles dry as rings. The sputum could occasionally also have mild discolourations due to RBCs in it.
Fever is the next common symptom in respiratory disease and denotes infection in the lungs either bacterial or viral as the case may be. The classical textbook description of the evening rise of temperature is usually seen in tuberculosis. High temperature could be a feature of some pneumonias while low grade fever is seen in atypical pneumonias of viral aetiology. That said, we must be prepared to encounter any or all these infections without any rise in temperature: this happens when the patient’s immune system is depressed.

Usual questions to be asked:
1) What is your main complaint?
2) How long have you been suffering from this?
3) Did it all start suddenly or did the symptoms develop and increase gradually over a period of time?
4) Were there remissions in between?
5) What are the drugs that you are taking at the moment?
6) Did any of your medicines change the course of your symptoms? If so which one was the medicine and what was its effect on the course of the disease so far.
7) Did you have fever? Describe the fever……….
Let us no take the symptoms one by one and go into them in some details.
Contd. in next issue......



On 8th Sept. 2012, ISSUES & CONCERNS formally released its 150th issue at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College Udupi. Function was presided over by Padmabhushan Dr M.V.Kamath. Former Supreme Court Justice and former Karnataka Lokayukta was the Chief Guest and released the milestone issue in the presence of a packed gathering. Other Guests of Honour were Mr Gautham Pai, M.D. of Manipal Technologies Ltd., and Mr Ronald Fermnandes, Deccan Herald Bureau Chief in Mangalore. All Guests spoke highly of the efforts by I & C to keep the issues, plaguing the people and the nation, alive in the public domain and wished it long and fruitful existence. Mr Shriyan, the editor presented a perspective of the journey of I & C to its 150th milestone. Earlier on 31st August, an elocution competition was held at the same venue for degree students of Udupi & Dakshina Kannada districts.Nine of the participants namely Joyen D'Souza (I), Akanksha Hebbar (II). Shravana J. (III), Sudesh Kumar (III). Consolation Prizes were won by Vinutha, Renita D'Souza, Karthik, Geeva, Rashmi Fernandes won the prizes. The topic was "TOWARDS A FAIR SOCIETY - WHERE INDIA WENT WRONG?" Along with the release function, prizes for winners were distributed by Mr Gautham Pai and Ronald Fernandes.
Detailed talks by the editor and the guests are reproduced for the information of patrons and readers in the following pages.

President of the function, Padmabhushan Dr M.V. Kamath, Chief Guest Justice N.Santosh Hegde, Media Moghul Mr Gautham Pai, Bureau Chief of Deccan Herald Mr Ronald Fernandes, distinguished gathering, media friends, ladies & gentlemen.
I am indeed honoured to be sharing some of my deepest thoughts on our honest media effort, ISSUES & CONCERNS, as it arrived at the 150th milestone.
Among the joys of life is a sense of perspective looking back over the shoulder, the labyrinth you journeyed to cover the distance. As we look back, it is indeed a matter of deep satisfaction that we managed to remain vibrant and alive, despite little support in the competitive media world and that we managed to leave our footprints on the sands of time, in our own quite way. Despite nay sayers, there were souls, very generous, who were both graceful and kind. To all of them it is a very big thank you.
There were many, who asked as to WHY ISSUES & CONCERNS? as we started off in Nov. 2000.
On Jan12, 2006, one ALISTER PAREIRA, a son of a rich and therefore a powerful man, in the early hours of that fateful day, driving his limousine under the influence of alcohol, well past midnight, runs over 15 labourers sleeping on the pavement near Liberty Cinema, in South Mumbai. Seven of them were crushed to death.
A police panchanama, FIR, court case followed. The Session Court in Mumbai, sentenced this inebriated young killer of 7 hapless poor men, for a mere 6 months in jail, exactly 15 months later, on 15th April 2007. So it was not even one month punishment per killing or can we call it murder. Can you comprehend the cruelty not just insensitivity of this judgement? Do you think it is difficult to surmise that this young murderer must have paid thru’ his nose to get this judgement? There were 3 parties to the case, the victims, who were poor and therefore defenceless and hence cannot fight, the state police, who could have made a case of culpable homicide, but didn’t. Then the judiciary, with the full knowledge of what happened and how it happened, and seven innocents paid with their life on a wagabondish life of a spoilt brat. But the court decided to play the ball, on the letter, rather than the spirit, of the law, and compromised such a serious heinous crime as mere ‘reckless driving’, and reduced the punishment to a joke by giving 6 months in jail-for the gruesome killing of 7. Are you shocked?!
Even more shocking was, this drunken spoilt driver challenged even that 6 months conviction. But Bombay High Court on Sept. 6, 2007 confirms his conviction and enhance the jail term to 3 years. More aggrieved, money bags of  Pareira family, knocks at Supreme Court,  and Apex Court too confirms, 3 years jail term, with a remark that  “Sentence could not be enhanced as Maharashtra government had not filed any appeal to increase the jail term”.
Culpable homicide attracts a jail term of 10 years. At the end of it all when this drunk driver surrendered before the session court, to undergo, the remaining 2 years and 11 months of the 3 years imprisonment, he was sent back home. Do you know why?  “a certified copy of the Supreme Court order cancelling his bail had not reached the police/ or court in Mumbai”. I am asking, Where is our 24x7 media? This is Yeh Mera India. 
Where officially government weeps for the aam aadmi-the poor man, but otherwise always side the rich. A drunken youth kills 7 poor men. With 8 seriously injured,   under the influence of alcohol. In all fairness, he should have been made to pay for it, not merely in cash but also by suffering a long jail term with hard work, to make him realize, what it means to kill somebody by his wanton act. In the event police and judiciary, with due respect to Justice Hegde, joins hands to commit a judicial hara-kiri. However when the highest court of the land decide to take the call, it passes the buck on the state, which conveniently kept quite, and failed to make this Alister Pariera pay for his sins. May be he is well connected, and after all, who were the killed ones? Poor, faceless, defenceless & voiceless, even 24x7 media, the watchdog, ignored them. It was, as if, all were working for this powerful moneyed accused. As in the words of Justice Katju, the present Press Council Chairman, media is alive only to sensation and titillation. And we are a democracy-of the people, by the people and for the people. The state did not even enforce a modicum of fairness even in compensations for the victims. So what right we have of accusing Union Carbide and its chief Warren Andreson for not paying enough compensation to the victims of world’s worst industrial disaster? when we are naked in our own backyard? Haven’t our state and the judiciary even then, 28 years ago, erred in favour of the powerful and the moneyed by returning the verdict of mere ‘NEGLECT’ instead of man slaughter, where some 20000 were killed with half a million maimed in different degrees. Did the 24x7 and main stream media keep the issue alive? 
Sometime in 2006, one Mr Bharath Jagdev, from British Guyana visited India. He was coming to see his ancestral home and his people. His grand father Ram Jiyawan, from the backward Lonia Community was sent to British Guyana, as an indentured labour in 1912. Three generation down the line, this Mr Jagdev had come to India to look for his roots. In 1912, this Lonia’s in Nawawa village in North West Bihar were only 2 households, in the intervening almost 100 years, it multiplied to 25 households. They were landless labourers then, and they were still landless labourers in 2006 as well. Ten Development plans left them untouched. Nothing had really changed for this community, except their number. But of course, this Mr Bharath Jagdev, who came calling on India from half the globe away, was the president of British Guyana. For the 1st citizen of British Guyana, it was an absolute embarrassment seeing the distance covered by him, in the realization of his own human potential, and the lot of his own people who were, like other millions of Indians, caught in the time warp, we can broadly call as ‘miserable failure of governance in India’, where our being 128 in the United Nations-Human Development Index, compared to tiny Cuba at 56, does not make news in the 24x7 media.
And our 24x7 media is busy making a story of ‘The Greatest Indian after Mahatma’. Our so called eminent Jury finalises a list of probables. This eminent Jury, probably under a bout of amnesia, forgets to include in a list of 50 probable’s the most decent and most honest politician the independent India ever had, Late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Doesn’t this show the ignorance of our so-called eminent Jury? And come to think of it, both Shastri & Mahatma share the same birthday! Another shocker is, 10 have been shortlisted from the 50, and our J.P., Jayaprakash Narayan, equally decent and honest, couldn’t make it to the top 10.
Doesn’t this represent the intellectual impoverishment of our so called elites, where Nehru gets 57 votes, and Mother Theresa 168, JRD Tata 102, Indira Gandhi get a mere 49. Lata Mangeshkar, the Indian nightingale gets a poor 20 votes, but Tendulkar get 309. Where are we heading as a nation? 
Questions are many but answer are few and far between. Has media, the 4th estate, the watchdog, played its role   in positive nation building? It is a question begging for answer. And this one is a Ripley’s believe it or not “Come 11th Oct. our 24x7 media is agog with birthday felicitations for Mega star Amitabh Bachchan and they are so well informed and they even remark, ‘how ironic that actress Rekha was born a day later on 12th Oct.’ But this, all knowing, omniscient media has lost its sense of  historical  perspective that Jayaprakash Narayan, the father of the Original Sampoorn Kranti, which gave birth to Janatha Party and changed completely the arithmetic of politics in this country for ever, and never to go back to one party politics at national level, that JP too was born on 11 Oct, like Bachchan, but media did not know it.
What an irony, isn’t it? This is media for you. Surely while I can go on and on-on what constitutes priority for the main stream media, we felt there existed a space for some meaningful convergence of thoughts on issues that concerns us all. Thus was born ISSUES & CONCERNS. Yes, like John F. Kennedy said “Job on hand may not be complete in 100 days not even in 1000 days, not perhaps in whole life time, but we have to make the beginning”. To get to anywhere is to start from where you are. Having started, we kept at it non-stop for all 150 issues.
Friends there are number of stories of monumental bungling, for all the 65 years of post independent India. They all need to be told and retold by the media, so that someday, the awakened section of the society, take the call, “Towards a fair and just society”. As we complete this 150th issue, we do hope and pray that we shall continue as the Tennyson’s ‘Brook’, “Men may come and men may go, but we go on forever” in service of this Mother India and Indians.
Jai Hind.

President of this evening’s  function respected Dr M.V. Kamath, a Padmabhushan awardee, Managing Director of Manipal Technologies Ltd. Mr Guatham Pai, Bureau Chief Deccan Herald Mangalore, Mr Ronald Fernandes, Editor Shri  J.Shriyan and members of  the Editorial Board of Issues & Concerns, Principal of MGM College Dr  P.Venkatramana Gowda, distinguished guests and most importantly my dear students present here.
I am very happy to be with you all on this momentous occasion of releasing 150th issue of  ISSUES & CONCERNS and also to be  present here for prize distribution of Elocution Competition that was held earlier. At the outset let me first congratulate Shri J.Shriyan & members of editorial board of ISSUES & CONCERNS on this milestone they have achieved today & also the  winners of Elocution Competition. 
In India under the constitution, 3 institutions were created, the Legislature, the Executive & the Judiciary. It is considered to be the main pillars of the Indian constitution and were supposed to function to hold the ideals of law. Over the years, a 4th pillar came into existence which came to be called as the 4th estate in this country. That was media. It built up the status because of its hard work and sincerity and remains to be the 4th pillar recognized by the country under the constitution of India. Its contribution to the society was huge and highly respected. But over the years like most of the pillars of the constitution, be it legislature, the executive or the judiciary, this 4th pillar also started shaking. You would have read about it in magazines, the very interesting thing was the weakness of the system was exposed by the media itself. The Out Look magazine in 2009 brought out certain articles showing the existence of paid news in the media in this country. That was a shocking period for most of us who had respected the media very highly. Of course the consolation was we have already lost our respect in other 3 institutions of the constitution. Thereafter you would have read about the incident of Nira Radia taping of the conversation between Nira Radia and big industrialists in this country. The matter is still in the Supreme Court. I do not want to say more here at this stage.
What I am trying to impress on the institution which built itself to be one of the safest pillar of the constitution, in a short period say about 50 years, has started shaking. The reason was not far to seek. Obviously the management of this media, be the print or the electronic, were purchased by powerful people, industrialists, politicians and others. There was infiltration of funds  from these sources which made media in general committed to the cause of the owners  of these institutions. Not a very good sign in a democracy, where freedom of speech is guaranteed as a fundamental right of a citizen which includes institutions. The contribution of media in spite of this weakness cannot be underscored. In this background from what I have seen from your articles in ISSUES & CONCERNS Sir I congratulate, you have maintained the integrity in your expression and publication of those issues that really really concerning the voiceless and poor. You gave certain examples in your welcome speech of what is happening. I do endorse your views in this matter and also complement you for maintaining your independence  and showing your courage in maintaining this independence and truth. I hope and sincerely feel that you continue to maintain this integrity and standard so that the real issues concerning the people, anyone it may be, every part of the society, but most specially, the ones which have no voice of their own and which does not have an access to the other media, should be made known to the people and the people should be made aware of what really is happening and it is not only a sugar coated news that should come out. I again say that I hope you will keep fighting for this cause of the weak and the poor. 
But at the same time I would like to give a little bit of my   advice that apart from the real issue concerning  people, you also give some thought over articles in regard to the system of democracy that is functioning in this country today. When the constitution of India was being drafted by the members of the constituent assembly who were freedom fighters, who sacrificed their profession and life for the freedom of this country,  discussed about what type of a political system that this country should have. Many of them expressed the view that we Indians were never really or personally independent in the eyes of the law. We were under the regime of Rajas and Maharajas, we were under the regime of foreigners. We never had any say in the administration or legislation that were made by those rulers. Laws were made without consulting the people and they were asked to obey those laws. The members of constituent assembly expressed their emotions, now that we are going to be an independent country shortly, let us evolve a political system which makes every Indian feel that he is free. He feels this govt is mine, he feels that this govt is for me and he feels this govt is of me. That was the feeling that there was a system internationally available along with the monarchy, dictatorship  and ism-based   politics, a  system called the democratic republic. Abraham Lincoln defined it as the govt of the people, by the people, for  the people, was the definition at that point of time. I don’t think it is the definition today in 2012. That’s what makes me to  appeal to you Mr Shriyan that please concentrate  on this and make an analysis how far this definition today is relevant as it was thought of when the constitution was being drafted. There is a general feeling today that a particular institution built by the constitution is supreme. I beg to differ. Under the Indian constitution, I don’t think any particular institution is supreme. If it is to be said that the legislature is supreme, it may be correct to the extent of the floor where the legislations are being accepted, drafted and discussed on the floor of the legislature. But that does not make this institution supreme. Does, it mean, if that law is concrete to the constitution of India, would it stand the test of judicial scrutiny? Any number of laws, in the last 63 years of democracy, have been struck down by the courts. That doesn’t make the court also supreme. The law that is struck down by the supreme Court, minus the virus pointed out by the Supreme Court, can be re-enacted by the parliament or the state legislature, and can be brought into force. There is no question of any particular institution being supreme. If there is somebody supreme in this country, it is we the people of India, who are supreme. The constitution of India with very first sentence, starts with, “We the people of India”, then there are few other factors adopted by this constitution. When we adopted this constitution which created the legislature, executive and judiciary and  this was my understanding of the law that  nobody is supreme. If there is anybody  supreme it is the people, that should be made to known to the people in the  legislature, executive or the judiciary that they are not supreme, but supreme is sitting somewhere else watching them.
There is a general feeling among the people who are holding high offices that they are not public servants. There is a feeling that they are masters of the people. They feel the word servant is very derogatory. Our elders who fought for the freedom of the country were excited when they were called the servants of the people. The word servant had very high noble meaning. Today that meaning seems to be disappearing. But in reality they are all public servants and not public masters. Anyone who takes emoluments from the state is, ipso facto, a public servant.  
I have heard many people saying ‘look at this, we are being called public servants’. Prime Minister is called a public servant. What are we then? This is a  talk that goes around, when someone want to make suggestion to make a law  or   to modify the lawwhich is existing, a word comes from somewhere  'who are you, unelected and unelectable',  to dictate to the parliament? It is a parliament elected by the people of India. The person who goes there and talks on behalf of his constituency is not his voice, it is the voice of the people whoever elected him. 
There is a monthly called ‘Election Watch’, which has conducted  a performance audit of  members of the parliament elected from 2004 to 2011. It was found that in the entire 7 years the people who opened their mouths only once- not for yawning- but for talking, only 174 people spoken at least once in five years and they want to beat their chest and tell ‘we are your  leaders and netas’. Gone are the representatives of the people in this democracy.  Is there a voice of the people still left in this system? What is happening in the parliament? How much it cost to send them into parliament? How much money has been  lost to the state? I think responsibilities lies with the media to highlight, not only the actual events that have taken place during the last 10 days in parliament and actually what damage has been caused to the fabric of the democracy in this country. I hope ISSUES & CONCERNS, to the extent possible, highlight the matter and educate the people that you are not the servants of the institutions created by the parliament but certainly in a democracy you are the masters. Let  this message go through the depth of the population of  this country and of course you keep the fight for  the cause of the poor and for the welfare of the poor. Let this  also be one of your thoughts and I wish ISSUES & CONCERNS all the best. Thank you very much.

Good afternoon Dear Mr J. Shriyan, Kamath mam, Justice Santosh Hegde, Dr Gowda, Dr Ronald Fernandes & friends. It is my pleasure to be here this afternoon on the occasion of release of  150th issue of ISSUES & CONCERNS and prize distribution of the elocution competition. My congratulations to Mr J. Shriyan & the editorial committee for bringing out the 150th issue and all the issues successfully and for students who won the prizes. 
I met Mr Shriyan few years back when he approached me in the context of getting the magazine printed and from those days we have had several interactions and I have been very impressed by the perseverance, commitment, integrity and courage with which he is acting and working.
Issues that he has been covering in the magazine take lot of courage to bring out that most people hesitate to speak about in the public. Because it is sometimes against power centre, against politicians. It takes lot of courage to continuously bring out these issues in a selfless manner and that’s the most important thing because it is not for himself but for trying to correct things in the society, to make our country a better place. I truly appreciate the effort and the work he is doing. 
When he invited me to be here I was very happy to come back to  the place where I studied and also be here because he is doing such a good work which will help our future. But he did not tell me that I will have to  speak after Justice Santosh Hegde which is very challenging, that Shriyan did not tell me.
Friends I am very proud to be a part of a great country. We have such a great heritage and history. We also have so much potential to be a much greater nation. The kind of resources we have in terms natural resources, talent  in terms of intellectual capital.  Indians all over the world leading in most areas and the kind of the demography we have, also put us in a very unique place to be really where India is. Once upon a time in history we were at the top of the world. But the challenges we have in terms of society in general, a major factor is corruption, which is a major challenge to our progress. When I speak about corruption  is not in the context of few people making money, but they are depriving us of what we deserve today and depriving the country of progress for the future. India is 95 on corruption index. It is almost of 50% behind other countries. Its 135th place on the index to do business. 
In my short business stint in my carrier I had extension to few countries. I find it is difficult to do business in India even when compared to some African countries, that is a very sad situation to be in. My first experience in business was when I set up a small  unit,  when I was doing my engineering in 1993, my father encouraged me to set up a small industrial unit in  Manipal for some practical experience. 
I had one gentleman who had come from the Gulf to open some industry. Having some money, he borrowed some money from Karnataka Financial Corporation. He had lot of values. He did not want to take short cuts. He did not want to bribe the system. He did not get power connection for a long time, in the meanwhile loan installment became due. The situation was such that ultimately that industry went sick. Last week I met an entrepreneur who planned a new export business near Kallianpur. He borrowed a quite a bit of money from bank after putting some money he had, he had to pay 5½% to get loan from that bank. When such is the  situation you are killing the industry before starting itself.
While we have tremendous amount of potential we also have  challenges to overcome.Work  which is done by Mr Shriyan is making people aware of the issues in hand  and contribute in major manner to bring change. But I think each one should be part of the change and that is the problem. I feel lot of times we take easy way out because we don’t want to sacrifice for the current. We know it is wrong. We feel that if we fight against the system we will suffer. We want someone else to do it. I think if all of us do it like Mr Shriyan and I hope we will build a better future for the next generation as well as we take India to its past glory. Thank you.
Respected Dr M V Kamath President of today’s function, Justice Santosh Hegde, Mr Gautham Pai, today’s hero Mr Shriyan, MGM College Principal Dr P.Venkatramana Gowda Capt Karnik, distinguished guests and my dear students.
When Mr Shriyan asked me to be the part of this programme the first thing I told him was why he want unknown person among well known persons. I was a bit hesitant but he said he want somebody from the media. He wanted to get Sir Mark Tully he couldn’t come this time perhaps. I am honoured to be with renowned personalities of this region. 
It is said that if you don’t read newspapers you are ill informed but if you read newspapers you are misinformed. You don’t know what is the real news, unless you read 3 or 4 newspapers. It is very difficult to make what real news these days. It is a tragedy that I am also a part of it anyway. News passes faster than sound and light through internet. But when it comes to ISSUES & CONCERNS I must say it is known as the EPW of coastal district. Every issue has many issues and Mr Shriyan’s concerns for every issue makes ISSUES & CONCERNS more interesting. The advantage of magazine over newspaper is that you get ample space and you can write whatever you want which is not so when coming to newspapers, where you can’t write more than 400-500 words. 
In ISSEUS & CONCERNS, apart from the main issues, the popular column by Prof B.M.Hegde on medicine, Last Page by Dr M.V.Kamath make it more interesting. You may buy The Outlook, The Week or India Today but you can’t get coastal issues, when it comes to ISSUES & CONCERNS you can find so many coastal news which you fail to see in other magazines and the credit goes to Mr Shriyan. There are few basic elements in news when it comes to proximity, timeliness, accuracy, objectivity, impact. You can find all these in ISSUES & CONCERNS and I congratulate Mr Shriyan for his single handed effort in bringing the magazine for last 150 issues. There is a Japanese proverb which goes like this ‘Vision without action is a day dream, Action without vision is a nightmare’. But here is a man with vision and action creating awareness on issues with concerns. 
Many times, many issues and many persons find place in newspapers which they don’t deserve. Sometimes may be because of compulsion. Example like when Prince  fell in the borewell hole all the channels carried it for 2 to 3 days, not because nobody fell before or nobody fell after. Because other channels were carrying. We don’t have any other options. 
But Mr Shriyan has the advantage. He can do whatever he wants. I am giving example of Mr Mohan Alva, whatever happens it happens meticulously and systematically and decisions are taken very fast because he is a one man army. Here  also Mr Shriyan is a one man army and he can do whatever he want to do. But media in general have some pressure from some corner. 
I feel society needs people like Mr Shriyan who is into serious journalism as already pointed out by Justice Santosh Hegde and Gautham Pai. He writes on so many issues perhaps some papers may hesitate to do it. Saluting for his tireless and thankless effort I wish him that he  brings out volume after volume, many issues which concerns, and that he brings not only  200, 500 but 10000 issues. All the Best.