Saturday, January 12, 2013



EDITOR'S COLUMN


Friends 
At the outset wishing all our patrons, friends and well wishers a great 2013. Hope and wish there is peace and contentment all over the living world. Year 2012, witnessed everything from sense to non-sense. However, we have tried to recapitulate some significant milestone as we welcome the new year.
HUNGaMA, the report on malnourishment informed that 42% of Indian children are malnourished. In absolute terms, a shameful fact worse than Sub-Saharan Africa. Supreme Court cancelling all 122 licences given by A.Raja in 2G spectrum, was another judicial intervention of far reaching dimension. Two fishermen shot dead off Kerala coast by two Italian marines mistaking them for pirates in late February incenced most Indians. Among the 5 states that went to poles, UP gave a shock defeat for BSP and SP romped home with majority on its own. Life term conviction of 18 from Ode village killing during 2002 Gujarat riot was an important development in the 10 year old sectarian imbroglio. Calcutta High Court struck down Singur Land Act of Mamata Banerjee government. One of the most important news has been the arrest of Abu Jundal with the help of Saudi Arabia, a handler of 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai. Pan Indian ramification of Assam violence in late July was another news of significance. It showed the apparent fissures in the national psyche. Hanging of Ajmal Kasab brought the curtain down on 26/11 killing, almost 4 years after the attack. Victory of Narendra Modi in December election, for the 3rd consecutive term, was another milestone in the Indian politics. Month-in-Perspective continues for December as usual with regular space constraint. Distribution of Kaavery water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has a long history of dispute. For varieties of reasons it has remained a contentious issue. Somehow the Chief Ministers of both states have been at logger heads and could not agree for a reasonable acceptance of ground realities. We have tried to discuss it under Focus for the seriousness it deserved. Hope readers would find it interesting and revert with your inputs.                                                                               





Month-In-Perspective


MAHARASHTRA: The so-called White Paper by the Prithviraj Government in Mumbai, on the scam tainted irrigation projects in interior Maharashtra was indeed a bit of white-wash-or rather as Kejriwal calls it, ‘Black Paper’. It has been in the media that there have been some Rs: 7000/- crores per year allocation during the last 10 years, leading to Rs: 70000/- outlay for the decade, for irrigation purpose. But the growth is anywhere between 0.01% to some 8.9% for the entire period. In the wake of disclosure by a whistleblower, an executive engineer with the Maharashtra irrigation department and the consequent public outcry, Ajit Pawar, the Deputy CM, a Pawar nephew and minister in charge of irrigation had resigned. He is now cooling his heals and waiting to comeback after his hasty step to ‘prove his innocence’. The White Paper, released for political reasons, probably scripted by the Congress High Command to accommodate the UPA ally in the larger picture, has not made any reference to the charges and therefore of innocence of Ajit Pawar, if any. There is another dimension to this murky affair, the politics of Pawar family. The one-up manship between Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule, the daughter of the Maratha strong man. Sharad Pawar certainly would like to push his daughter to the top of NCP, rather than his nephew Ajit. All talk of democracy is only for public consumption. Sharad Pawar probably wants to use this development to keep Ajit Pawar under check without really pushing Prithviraj Chawan govt for a clean chit. The truth that there has been massive corruption in the department has been endorsed in the Marathi media reports and NGOs besides Kejriwal’s new Aam Aadmi Party seems to have details of it. But will anything happen to those crores vanished into the ‘canals’? is a question lost in the political games of both NCP and the Congress, and country has come a cropper. Same old story of all corruption going unaccounted and unpunished, and main stream media chasing yet another sensation.
UTTAR PRADESH: One more 6th Dec has come and gone. Ayodhya’s Babri imbroglio, happened 20 years ago, did not simmer. Yes, the men and matter have moved on. Verdict by the Apex Court, 2 years ago, had temporarily put the lid on the divisive issue. The nation has taken it in its stride, except some mischievous NGOs and vested interest groups. Some of them did try to fish in clam waters assuming they are troubled underneath. Apparently Indians are growing to be more mature. Trouble makers were disappointed. No untoward incident took place anywhere across the country. However, those who are only interested in seeing the issue dragged, on and on, have gone to the Supreme Court with a review petition. Hope, the legal eagle, takes its own time, and proposes to the civil society, to deliberate to ponder, how it can be amicably settled so that it is a win-win situation to all, in the context of India as a model pluralistic state. Hope it happens for the larger good of the society and therefore the country.
KARNATAKA: That journalists in India have more standards than one was never in doubt. Public memory and by extension, the memory of these journalists in Mangalore/Bangalore, it is believed to be short. These days, ever since the ‘Morning Mist-Home Stay’ episode in Mangalore, we have been witnessing the drama in the media about the alleged one-up manship of police as also of media. Both have been blaming each other in some way or the other. The latest in this murky affair is the arrest of a T.V. videographer, who was reportedly at the site, of the home-stay attack by some hoodlums. There are lots of contrasting accounts of the TV man, but our journo friends in a show of solidarity got to-gether both in Mangalore and in the state capital to present the case of this arrest as they thought it to be unfair, and the detention of the TV journo as an attack on the media freedom. Of course since the issue is in court and is therefore sub judice, it may be inappropriate to discuss it beyond this point. However it is very pertinent to raise the issue of one BV Seetharam, the editor of Karavali Ale Kannada daily, also of Mangalore. He had some years ago, in March 2007, reportedly published stories on Jain Munis of Digambar sect. And the local strongman of Jain community had him arrested under some allegedly trumped up charges. Then, our very same friends in the media were no-where near BV See (as he is known) to cry hoarse, either with the police or with the government. Since, BV See was probably a bad manager of professional friends in the media, no media man or woman came to talk or protest on his behalf. He had to perforce fend for himself. That is the media in Mangalore for you.
ANDHRA PRADESH: “Indian couple jailed for child Abuse” informed a Oslo datelined news from Norway. This is the second instance where an Indian couple from Andhra is being pulled up for bad and wrong treatment of growing small children. In this case, the 7 year old child of one V. Chandrashekhar working for Tata Consulting Services (TCS) in Norway, reportedly told his teachers in the Scandinavian country that his parents had threatened that he shall be sent back to India if he did not stop “bed-wetting and urinating in school and on the road”. Reportedly child Sai Sriram is suffering from “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD). In an attempt to ‘discipline’ the child, parents allegedly subjected him to physical violence like burning his leg with some hot object causing a burn of 3x5cms, beating him with belt on several occasions, so also threatening him that they would burn his tongue with a hot spoon. Quite frankly, if these details are true, this is indeed bizarre to say the least. Even animals wouldn’t be as cruel to one of their own as this literate couple from India. It is a very poor reflection on India and Indian culture as a whole. Surprisingly nobody from Women & Child Welfare deptt. of any ministry, no Child right group, no Amnesty International, no media member or Human Rights group has taken up the cause of this Sai Sriram, who has suffered at the hands of those who are his protectors, his parents. That is the travesty as we observe the International Human Rights Day. While, what the authorities in Oslo are doing has their own justification, they must ensure that child is not made to suffer emotionally by their action of jailing the parents and denying the parental love to the child. In the meantime there has to be a mechanism in place that parents while being appropriately counselled do not repeat the physical violence on the child. Something a governmental intervention in India can help ensure.
GUJARAT: Victory of Narendra Modi, was a foregone conclusion. It was only the margin of victory that was in question. Yes his victory margin has come down, by 2 seats at 115, as compared to 5 years earlier, which was lower by 5 seats to the earlier 5 year. Thus, on the paper he is arithmetically coming down. Narendra Modi, as a politician, is liked and disliked across the national spectrum, like no other politician. And he is unlike many in the political scene. He has his strong points, but has a controversial image of being a Hindu fundamentalist in the mould of RSS. While some of the charges may stick, the fact remains, ‘Jo Jeetha Wohi Sikandar’. How justified is the apprehension that his rise in the political firmament in the country, is an open question. There is no way he can deny the role of his administration in Gujarat in failing to check the mob fury in 2002. It is therefore essential that he reaches out to those suffered, as a statesman, cutting across the communal divide. Only then may be he will be acceptable to the larger Indian crowd. But unfortunately, his king sized ego, has so far held him back from apologizing for the suffering of people in the 2002 pogrom across Gujarat. Now that he has won for the 3rd consecutive term to the seat of power in Gandhinagar, he could be gracious in victory. A minor indication was already in the air. On the announcement of his victory on 20th Dec., he has reportedly remarked while speaking to his partymen “If there has been a mistake somewhere, I seek apology from you, the six crore Gujaratis”. Hope for the nation's overall good, an emotional connectivity takes place besides the economic development which is just as important.
NEW DELHI: Finance Ministry under minister Chidambaram has withdrawn the search & seizure power of the new elite criminal investigation wing of Income Tax Deptt., informs a print media report. There is no explanation available in the public domain why this move was put in place. The move to create this Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) was started only an year ago, and it has, reportedly, already done a good job in such a short time, with 128 search warrants executed in 2011/12 and already issued 8 search warrants upto Sept 2012, including that of Ponty Chadha, who was killed, only some weeks ago, at his farm house outside Delhi. DCI which was created to combat the black money menace and to identify cases of illegal funds of criminal nature, will only be doing, from now on, to develop data base to aid the regular investigation wings of I.T. Clearly there is some “Daal Mein kuch Kaala Hai”. We thought Pranab Mukherjee is no more the Finance Minister, but his ghost through the babus must be active to thwart any attempt at reining these looters of public money. Surprisingly there has not been any outcry in the media for this diabolic move of the finance ministry. Surely somebody is playing mischief due to some unknown pressure source, to protect some unseen players in big bad money. This is an unfortunate development and some RTI activists will have to expose the move.
So, according to the news coming from the capital, the global retail giant WAL MART, has spent Rs: 125 crores for lobbying in the corridors of power, to get the bill on FDI in multi brand retail cleared, by the Indian parliament. The opposition, smarting under the passage of FDI bill, due to the machinations of Mayawathi and Mulayam Singh, held on to the proverbial straw to go to market to cry hoarse. But then this is how the West works, especially American Multi-nationals. According to a party spokesman, such spendings are in order, to educate our people and politicians. Yes indeed educational levels of our politicians, most of them atleast, is such, they may need orientation courses in globalised market scenario to understand the nuances of international trade and commerce. Of course, Rs: 125 crores is not a small money, besides it is certainly indicative of what is at stake. There is indeed a huge money in India. The Wal Mart–the 450 Billion US $ company-is reportedly upbeat about the Indian retail market, expected to be around $: 500 billion currently, with the potential to grow upto a $ trillion by 2020. That is indeed very huge. So they are not coming to India, because they are in love with India, they are coming only to make money and more money. Of course, this opening up, as and when it happens, has very serious and far reaching implications for India, where selling country’s interest, sadly does not raise much eyebrows, forget about public outcry. Elected representatives have a huge responsibility of protecting the nation from being plundered by multi-national corporations.
News involving two editors of TV channel, Zee TV, that they were demanding Rs: 100 crores, to desist from airing/broadcasting the alleged negative news of Jindal group is outlandish, by any stretch of imagination. Not lakhs anymore, its crores, and that too not in the single digit, but in 3 digits! Money has lost its relevance and ethics in the media has gone out of the window. So it was a black-mail of a weird kind. That the police have acted based on the forensic findings, and the two journos have been booked and are in custody, is not a news at all. But it is incredible that they thought, so non-challently, that they could get away with murder. If they could do it to an educated, savvy politician industrialist like young Jindal, how would they deal with lesser mortals. God save India from such media group and media men.
There is this New Delhi date lined report. Attributing to Ministry of Finance, the report informs “Recovery of Rs: 91859 crores arrears from Hassan Ali not possible”. Is it outrageous, shocking or amusing that Union Ministry of Finance has admitted to its failure to nail the high profile horse breeder and an international charlatan! Can such thing happen in any civilised part of the world, except, of course, banana republic! That this man owes the nation some Rs: 100,000 crores in respect of income tax since some years, is a documented truth. Yet there have been apparent dereliction of duty by all those concerned-from the Finance Minister down to the recovery apparatus. Of course Finance Minister is the bottle neck, which probably was blocked, for reasons unknown to the public domain. This is an issue the main stream media and opposition members of the parliament must take up, for that minimum transparency that these government machineries should ensure.
The current Press Council of India-Chairman, Justice Markandeya Katju is all over the print media these days. Of course, more so because he is the boss at PCI, the big brother from Delhi, rather than for its news content. Because he is high profile, his sound bytes are taken on the face value. But at times what he says makes sense. Of course he is very outspoken unlike many in public life. Some of these headlines says it all. “Katju calls Mamata intolerant and whimsical”  “India, Pakistan should unite” “90% Indians are idiots” “80% Hindus and 80% Muslims are communal”. Talking to law students in Mangalore he said “Most youths are selfish”. These are some of the headlines he adorned in the print media in less than 15 days this month, from places as far as Mangalore, Kolkatta & New Delhi. Despite all these loud thoughts, he appears to be a person, one can talk to. He always presents an intimidatory posture, but is open for discussion and searching questions. Some of his observation can be very controversial especially his observation that 80% Hindus are communal so are Muslims. In a country where 80% of 1200 millions are Hindus, his 80% works to some 768 million. If 768 million Hindus are communal, according to Katju, how can this country be called secular and what chance a minority of 240 million have of surviving in this communal country? Fortunately the fact is otherwise. Country is indeed a model of secularism, with few aberrations of divisive activities by elements from across the national spectrum, cutting across all religions. Justice Katju needs to update his knowledge of social dynamics by reading MJ Akbar’s thought provoking book “India: The Seize Within”.
The suspension of IOA (Indian Olympic Association) by IOC (International Olympic Committee), should surprise nobody. In fact, it is indeed a good development, in the context of the rot that has set in, in our sports bodies-both state and national. All Indians are privy to the knowledge that sports administrators have always exploited the system and abrogated to themselves all the comforts to be enjoyed by the powerful and their cronies including their families. This has resulted in the poor treatment of all sportspersons including athletes, by officialdom. We have heard of, half a dozen or more sports men and women, made to use a single room with common ablution facilities, when these administrators and their families spending the public money, for their comforts, in 5 star hotels with all the luxury that goes with it. We are also aware how these athletes and sportsmen are paid pittance as their daily allowance. So, when the public money is spent on persons who are not sportspersons, how do you expect sportspersons to win medals? That will never happen. Whatever the medals have come our way, it is due to the individual hard work and sacrifice of these sportsmen. The latest election fiasco, where a person, Lalit Bhanot, was elected to the high office despite having been jailed for alleged CWG embezzlement, along with his boss Suresh Kalmadi, is a case in point. Lalit Bhanot, inspite of objection from IOC, was elected as Secretary General of IOA. How can anybody with any sense of justice and fairness elect a man to preside over the sports and its budgets, who is so badly tainted? Hope the sports minister takes the call and address and redress the issue as soon as possible. 
Palaniappan Chidambaram, Union Finance Minister, is he emerging as the new poster boy of Congress? Or so, it looks, with the “THE ECONOMIST”, the respected  London weekly, seem to have accepted him as the best alternative to the ageing octogenarian Dr Manmohan Singh, as the Prime Ministerial candidate post 2014 electoral arithmetic. Surely they have applied their abundant grey matter, up above the shoulder, to ponder and arrive at this latest decision to put their money on. Reportedly the magazine is convinced that P Chidambaram’s ‘growth oriented outlook’ can give the nation the much needed push. Of course, there is no doubt about his intellectual capability, which weekly particularly notes, but he is also arrogant, which many in the opposition as well as his own colleagues are not comfortable with. His high strung behaviour can become a stumbling block for building bridges with the opposition, which even mild mannered Dr Singh failed to develop. Here what is interesting is, despite the British govt’s reaching out to Narendra Modi, to open up to his ‘outcaste’ status, nobody in the U.K. media, spoke of the possibility of his future national role. Could it be, that Britain wants to deal with the Gujarat of Narendra Modi, while simultaneously wants Congress at the centre with ‘a big brained southern Tamil with a posh English accent’ as the PM! 
Problem of innocent Muslims being hauled up and imprisoned for unproved and vague charges, and languishing in jails across the country without trial and long drawn out trials have again come to the fore in the Parliament. Replying to questions about Muslim-under trails and convicted – in jails, the minister for state in Home Affairs, informed, that Muslims are about 21.2% of the total under trials and 17.8% convicts in the country’s jails, which is higher than the, 13% population ratio of Muslims in the country. Of course for the record he did say that law does not distinguish people on the basis of the religion, and that those who claim to be innocents can move the court for redressal at all stages, while adding that police must produce the arrested person before the magistrate, within 24 hrs and further detention, if any, shall be the domain of the magistrate and the law. These are statements for public consumption, but what is the ground reality? Many cases in recent times have been proved contrary to the police stand, by the courts of the land, where those jailed by the police spent years incarcerated for no fault of theirs. There have been justifiable hue and cry, whom to make accountable for this miscarriage of justice. These are very legitimate responses. Our governments, both in state and centre, have an obligation to sooth the feelings of betrayal. Of course, these are not just Muslims, there are those from the lower sections of Indian society, the Dalits and others who too have suffered from the high handedness of the police and other law enforcing authorities. It may be true to some extent that police do have a difficult job on hand to maintain law and order and are not always sure, if their actions are correct or right. This being so, the least police should and could do is to expedite the cases, to as short a time as possible to complete, especially when there are good deal of cases which are yet to go court. And courts on their part should equally act fast in the interest of fair play and justice. Hope the question raised by one Sabir Ali, a Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar, meets with the ends of justice to all innocents not just Muslims.
WORLD: Ricky Ponting, when he announced his retirement in Perth, playing against South Africa, that ‘this shall be the last appearance in first class cricket’ had unwittingly heated up the atmosphere in the Indian dressing room. Suddenly the entire Indian media was agog with terms like “Pressure on Sachin”, “Tendulkar, Ponting in the same boat” “Sachin twiddles his thumb as Ponting quits”. Surely, this sudden public move by the Australian former cricketer has indeed let the cat into the world of Sachin Tendulkar, still undecided, despite being older than Ponting and equally doing badly with his bat. Here it is pertinent to reproduce what Ponting had to say while announcing his exit from the international cricket, “My performance hasn’t been to the level required for batsmen and players in the Australian team. I haven’t been performing consistently over the last 12-18 months. I believe now is the right time to be making this decision. This is a decision not made by selectors, it was made by me. I am glad I have got the opportunity to finish on my terms”. Those were the frank admission of one of the greatest cricketers among his contemporaries, 2nd only to Sachin Tendulkar. This move by the Australian has certainly pushed the Indian legend harder, to call it a day, now that he was bowled for just 2 runs in the 1st innings at the Nagpur Test, after doing rather badly, except once in the previous six innings against the ongoing test series against England. Tendulkar must decide to take the call. 
The historic win for Palestine in its bid to become a non-member observer state is probably the minimum that the world body of 188 countries could have given for this hapless nation state. That this has happened despite the stiff opposition from Israel and its biggest patron United States, has only shown the world body in better light. World is slowly recognising that Palestinians as a section of the humanity are indeed wronged. Although the current development is not complete in itself, it is indeed a very positive development for this fledgling state. It is an irony of fate, that Israel has an established statehood in the Palestinian territory while Palestinians themselves are pariahs in their own homeland, as a result of international machinations. History of Palestine and the inflow of Jews from Nazi Germany into their ‘promised land’ is based on deep routed contradictions of Balfour declaration of 1917, drafted with good intentions of Arthur Balfour, the then Foreign Secretary of Britain. By allowing Jews to create Israel in Palestine which was under the then moribund Ottoman Empire, Arthur Balfour, had envisioned an ideal situation that ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. The ideal flew out of the window. No sooner the declaration was implemented in 1922, and the sectarian violence that erupted soon thereafter continued for all the 90 years, with the minority Israel dominating the scene with majority being pushed to the fringes of international political dynamics. It is indeed very sad to see Palestinians almost helpless in the prevailing Israeli intracigence, especially when U.S stand is heavily loaded in favour of the Zionists, with Israel cutting off all financial outgoes for Palestine and pushing ahead with their unlawful and vengeful settlement creation programme. Hope the latest U.N sanctioned observer status can help in its right for homeland which can be called its own, in not too distant a future.
All of us die one day. So did Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. He died in San Diego, in the Californian state of United States of America, where he lived reportedly since last two decades. Since his death, there have been reams of paper turned black & white. Tributes ran into pages in all parts of the world, where music reigned and where Pandit Ravi Shankar was a celebrated genius incomparable by any standard. He was the earliest to mix the East with the West. At 35 he was invited to perform in New York by no less a musical genius than Yehudi Menuhin. From then on he didn’t look back in his persuit of experimenting with the eastern and western music, which lands him the coveted Grammy award in 1967. The legend of Pandit Ravi Shankar grew to spectacular heights. In 1999 he was awarded with the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna. The accolades and tributes that he received posthumously he richly deserved them, if what is published and are in public domain are to be taken as such. And there is no reason why it should not be taken as such. There is this saying in Kannada, “Satta Yemmege Seru Benne” which means “Dead buffalo gave more than a kilo of butter”. Fair enough. We must as a civil society sing only paeans of the glory of the soul that passed away.
Yes, what most of the media wrote and discussed was his prodigious genius with the string. He certainly immortalised Sitar as an instrument of Indian music, which brought India much closure to world after Mahatma Gandhi. But he was an open practitioner of polygamy, which, not many have discussed. His first wife, the daughter of his Guru Allauddin Khan, is still alive. They had a son Shubhendra, who died rather early. Then he gets involved with Sue Jones, an American. In 1979, that is after some 38 years, he gets a daughter named Norha Jones. In India, this child would have been called ‘illegitimate’ rightly or wrongly. Yes, Pandit Ravi Shankar being in U.S. had no problems of U.P. politician N.D. Tiwari-battling with his private adventures-both in media and court. Then he gets his second daughter from his disciple Sukanya Rajan, in 1981, Anoushka. His legitimises this daughter, by marrying Sukanya in 1989. Believe it or not, nobody questioned it, even when he was made a Rajya Sabha member in 1986, and his first wife, his guru’s daughter Annapurna Devi, is still alive. For the contribution to Indian music and its popularisation in the West, he was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1999, when he was living in California, and sadly died too in California, not in Varanasi where he was born, where his first wife still alive, probably with only memories. Strangely, nobody in the media visited her in this ethereal moment of her fading life.
J.Shriyan





FOCUS

KAAVU YERIDA KAAVERY


For those who are not in the know of Kannada ‘Kaavu yerida Kaavery’ is where Kaavu represent ‘heat’ Yerida means ‘rising’. Thus we can infer the title to mean “Rising Heat around river Kaavery”.
Indeed, the whole of north is reeling under cold wave of the December winter. But the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are engaged in a war of words of one-up manship, thus raising the temperature around the border areas of these states, fighting for a larger share of water from its celestial source in Kodagu’s Talakaavery.
Water, everybody knows, is needed for all, at all times, in abundant quantity. Given the choice, nobody want to suffer its inadequate supply. Fortunately for these states, there is this gift of nature, the river Kaavery. What is needed is its fair distribution, as per the needs of people on both sides. But men being men, they unfortunately suffer from selfish streaks, both from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, are no better.
The issue of distribution of water from Kaavery has a history of some 132 years. It dates back to 1870. However it was only in 1924, that Krishna Raja Sagar Reservoir in Karnataka and Mettoor Reservoir in Tamil Nadu were constructed. Still until 1968, there were no problems apparently. It was only in Aug: 1968, the first meeting took place with union govt. and parties to the dispute. With union government not taking a stand, Tamil Nadu approached the Apex Court in 1972 praying for direction to the union govt. to constitute a tribunal to go into the issue of fair distribution of water. On the assurance by the then PM Indira Gandhi, Tamil Nadu withdraws the application to the Supreme Court. Union govt sets up a Fact Finding Committee, which submits its report in Dec 1972 and follows it up with one more report in Aug 1973. Tamil Nadu rejects both. Thus began the dispute of almost four decades.
Haggling, as usual, persisted. Years passed by. May be rain god was kind. Despite bickerings, there was no visible bad blood between these neighbouring states. Tamil Nadu kept insisting for the formation of a tribunal and went to Supreme Court with the demand. On June 2, 1990, on the direction of Supreme Court, union govt. notified “Kaaveri Water Dispute Tribunal” with 3 judges. Tribunal gives its order and centre notifies, despite protest by Karnataka. Violence erupts in Bangalore, Mandya and Mysore targeting Tamils. Tamil Nadu retaliates. It was in Dec. 1991. 
It was a very sad development. Indeed water had the potential to be an explosive issue. It was in the celebrated Hollywood block buster, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, where Omar Sharif as ‘Sharif Ali’ kills a Bedouin guide for drinking water from a well without permission. It is a precious commodity, in the Arabian desert where water is in acute short supply. It is another matter that whole of middle-east, occupied by Arabs had the wisdom of converting sea water into potable water and solved the problem for ever. Will India ever have that wisdom?!
Four months later, in April 1992, Tribunal unilaterally issues a clarification “in a situation of distress pro-rata sharing could be adopted”. Surely 3 learned judges could have visualised such a possibility in their original order and, by hindsight, could have avoided the violent response. But as a nation, haven’t we rushed ‘where  angels fear to tread!’ 
So, you had a Fact Finding Committee in 1972, the report of which was rejected by Tamil Nadu. And then the 1991 Tribunal award came by, which Karnataka protested. So between these two, there lies a solution where some give and take has to take place. Certainly, it is apparent that issues are same on both sides, but the linguistic differences have made the issue so much more difficult. 
Kaavery River Authority, Kaavery Monitoring Committee, are some of the steps taken by the Central government. But bickering continued. In 2003, Kaavery Family was constituted by some civil society initiative consisting of farmers, academics, journalists from both states to understand the problems on either side. Surely it is not something which is unsurmountable. There is certainly need for the leaders of both states to be statesmen like, beyond the narrow parochial mindset. We should not let our judgement get crippled by ‘us and ours” syndrome. We need to separate issues from the people. 
But can that happen?
We have a Prime Minister, who refuses to see the Chief Minister of a state, when he comes calling to talk. Surely, being a bilateral issue, PM cannot take a stand, but refusing to see a Chief Minister is being rude and cannot help the matter. Is it the coalition politics!
One thing is very clear, there is a persisting problem. How much both sides have contributed, how much union govt. agencies have contributed, how nature has contributed to the overall situation, has got to be studied.
When it comes to understanding the role of both states and its stake holders, especially farmers and their actions, there has to be clarity, on issues like water conservation measures, utilisation dependent on crop pattern and crop variety etc. We all know that there are crops which need more water and those which need less water. So that there has to be a balance to help either side. Irrigation practices, is one more area, which can help reduce or eliminate water wastage. A pertinent point is raised by one K N Shivkumar from Bengalooru. Writing a letter to an editor, he informs “Nearly 300tmc ft of water flows into the Bay of Bengal every year from Tamil Nadu due to wasteful irrigation practices there and due to excess water availability. No attempt has been made to guage this wastage and prevent it”. Of course, there is no confirmed verification of this statement, besides we cannot say that similar wasteful practice may not be prevalent in Karnataka too. Thus chances are that both states could be right and wrong at the same time. Understandably there are list of complaints from either state.

Karnataka complains
1) Disproportionate usage by Tamil Nadu. The share of Tamil Nadu is 419tmc ft as against 270tmc ft for Karnataka.
2) There is no formula of distress sharing when there is shortage of rainfall.
3) Bengalooru city has grown, with 40% Tamil population, it needs more water. There is no mechanism to address this. Human Rights clause: UN A/HRL/RES/18/1, recommends that Karnataka drinking water needs should be higher priority than 2nd or 3rd crop in Tamil Nadu.
4) Tamil Nadu also gets North Eastern monsoon, in Oct/Nov/Dec. Releasing during these months will only increase supply in Tamil Nadu and hence increased waste.
5) Tamil Nadu is used to bullying since the days of British from Madras Presidency. Since it was the colonial governorate from St. George in the then Madras, which forced Kaavery water distribution agreement in 1892.
6) Taking Kaavery water for granted Tamil Nadu has increased its cultivated area to almost 3 times that of Karnataka. 
7) Despite this fight with Karnataka, Tamil Nadu do not control water wasting into Bay of Bengal.

Tamil Nadu complains
1) Karnataka is a bad state that violates Supreme Court orders.
2) Karnataka is violent when it comes to river water sharing.
3) Not managing its water requirement better.
4) Karnataka gets more rain water than Tamil Nadu.
5) Kaavery is our right.
6) When KRS and other smaller Karnataka dams are close to being full in Sept., even if there is water in Mettoor Dam in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka cannot be trusted to hold our water share till December or January, when crops need this water. Hence monthly release is necessary.
One very important issue is the politics of river water sharing. It has provided ammunition to all and sundry politicians to raise the bogie and be in the limelight.
Kaavery water distribution problem cannot be wished away. It is real. It will remain for all time to come. But the fact remains that there is not enough water for all in abundant quantity. As Mahatma said, we should remember that ‘there is enough for our need but not for our greed’ so we should have a disciplined/accommodative approach to the issue. After all it is a national property, belonging neither to Karnataka nor to Tamil Nadu, but to India as a whole.
Of course alternative supply source should be thought of. Whether it is the river linking projects, or receiving the old Chain Tank System or even harnessing sea water either through Reverse Osmosis technology or any other less expensive option. After all Sea water is the most abundant, and the entire Middle Eastern countries have successfully adopted it. There has to be research and studies, how a cost effective conversion of sea water could be possible. We live in a world of possibilities. All things are possible. As an advertisement says “It is only a phone call away" “phone call to whom, to God?” “No. To………(company’s name)
Then there are also the areas of water augmentation efforts. Tamil Nadu is better in efforts at rain harvesting, since ‘it is mandatory’ in Tamil Nadu. But same seriousness is not visible in Karnataka, where building permits are given without the express condition of rain harvesting arrangement while completing structures, whether residential or commercial. This efforts shall have a far reaching spin off like recharging ground water tables.
Desilting of dams and lakes in both states should be taken up on priority, since whatever capacity one can increase, of tanks, lakes and dams, they will all stand in good stead at times of crisis.
An efficient irrigation may be a sine- qua- non to address the water woes of both states. This issue has to be approached with open mind, without the ‘we know better’ attitude.
Stories of dry tanks being given away to real estate developers is not new. This must be stopped forthwith.
Preserving precious river water being wasted into the sea, is another very important area to be looked at, especially in Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka this problem exists, but not much can be done since it is beyond Western Ghat and in coastal districts. East of Western Ghat, where the Kaavery water sharing is the issue, this wastage into the sea is not affecting. Of course, discussion on the course correction of Netravathi, the west flowing river, is on. But, it may be against logic. It may sound like “robbing the Peter to pay Paul” that too less than what is lost, besides it can be environmentally not advisable.
Growing less-water-intensive-crops is another option all should consider in totality, not just to prove the point, but with complete objectivity, since the practice in place may be from times immemorial and has its own ‘raison d’ĂȘtre’.
If the minds of all stake holders are open to options, alternatives and solution to the problem may not be far. Of course the problem is only when there is shortfall in rain, which leads to incremental politics. Every time the monsoon fails, politics succeeds. That’s unfortunate but a fact of life. Indians need to outgrow this in the larger interest of Pan Indian concept. We are Indians first and last, and hence should not allow parochial politics of Kannadiga or Tamil, or Malayalee or Telugu. Yes we need to outgrow from our narrow mindedness and evolve as a responsible and responsive Indian citizen.

J.Shriyan  with inputs 
from Manasa Rao

FEATURE

GOD THAT FAILED


Deccan Herald of Nov. 30th carried this story “Gambhir bats for Tendulkar” “Tendulkar deserves to be left alone”, was another take from the humility personified Anil Kumble, also appearing alongside. This sudden response from the above cricketers was because an Australian, former cricket captain, Ricky Ponting, called it quits from first class cricket. However, a Mumbai based English daily had this head line in the front page “Ponting quits as Sachin twiddles his Thumb.” The decision to quit cricket was purely based on his declining performances and he has just completed his 38. But Sachin who is pushing 40, is still undecided despite being in poor form, for far longer than Ponting, for almost two years.  
“The deathly hush signified Indian’s cricket at the Eden Gardens. The master was out, the test almost lost. It was a situation that fans of Indian cricket have come to accept as something routine. The crowd sat stunned as Sachin Tendulkar flopped and dragged himself away from the crease. His cricket in ruins on a day when he ought to have stood firm. Tendulkar presented a disturbing sight of a beaten warrior” was the take, in The Hindu, on 9th Dec., when the 3rd Test at Kolkatta was almost written-off which was indeed over the next day, in few hours, with England already ahead by 2-1 lead over India.
The next day, it was the turn of Saurav Ganguli, a former Indian Captain to heap another ‘encomium’ on the ‘Master Blaster’. “I would have retired if I were in Sachin’s shoes” Deccan Herald of 10th Dec, carried this title of the interview with the Dada of Eden Gardens. 
‘Misery continues’ was the latest headline on 15th Dec. coming from Nagpur after the legends fall at just 2. The sight of flying bails and the 45% bent middle stump must have been a ghastly sight to Sachin as well as his diehard fans, including Rajiv Shukla. Yes, there is indeed a problem of ‘Herculean’ dimensions for both selectors and the maestro. The indecision is killing both, so also Indian cricket. Before BCCI will be forced to take a stand he has to perforce take the call, especially the affection that country has so generously given him, for all of 23 years, and the love affair turns sour. It will still be a dignified exit. The description in the print media was telling, “The day’s play included now familiar sight of a despondent audience witnessing a Tendulkar failure, his decline so rapid, so defining, everything else paling into insignificance.   
Since quite some time Sachin Tendulkar, the demi god, the most celebrated and coronated Indian cricketer is in the news for all the negative reasons, for far too long. For 20 plus years, he has been ruling the roost on the sports page as an uncrowned king of the Englishman’s game. Indeed he had no equals in the entire common-wealth of nations belonging to the England’s colonial past. Sharpest nail was to come from his senior in Mumbai Cricket, Sunil Gavaskar, who has stated sometime ago that “It is time he calls it quits”. That was the unkindest cut of all.
There have been many past senior players, both Indian and foreign, who echoed similar sentiments about the poor form of the batting legend, that age is catching up. We all recognise that there is no substitute to the growing years. It is an inevitable process and it is indeed tragic that in his desire to be in the limelight for ‘as-long-as-he-can’ he does not seem to recognise his failings. Unfortunately none in his family or his close friends seem to have succeeded in convincing him that he is ‘not on top’ anymore.
Under the headline “Sachin, take no notice of advices”, Ted Corbett, the former England cricketer writes an open letter to Tendulkar. While praising Sachin for his batting prowess, he quietly adds to the ongoing debate “Now is the time to decide just how much longer you can go on. Please don’t just hang around for the sake of another couple of tests or another hundred runs or one more distinction. Only lesser players can go for records for their own sake”. It is a good advice, if Sachin wants to listen. 
After scoring his 100th century against Bangladesh, which came after a long elusive gap, he had combatively declared “I will decide when I need to retire”, responding to his many critics who had said that he should retire in the wake of England and Australia white wash. His argument was ‘when you are at the top, you should keep serving the country instead of retiring”. In this argument there are two aspects, which sound very hollow, his claim of being at ‘the top’ and other that of his insistence of “serving the country”.
Both the above statements are only self serving and just self glorification. ‘Who ever stated that Tendulkar is at the top when he scored this 100th hundred’? Nobody except himself. After his 99th century Tendulkar struggled more than one year to get to that elusive 100. He could not get this 100th century against England, Australia or any other major cricketing powers, but managed against minnows Bangladesh. So his claim of being at the top is ludicrous. Then comes his barb of serving the country. This claim of Tendulkar serving the country is plain and simple hog wash. 
That he is not on top has proved beyond any shadow of doubt when he got out very cheaply, either vide Leg Before Wicket or bowled, innings after innings. The two Tests in Ahmedabad and Mumbai against England proved it overwhelmingly. He had scored 19,17 and 27 against New Zealand in India and 18, 8 and 8 against England in Ahmadabad and Mumbai. The latest being at Nagpur where he got bowled for only 2.
‘Sachin, despite your known humane qualities, you are like those politicians, who having become an MLA, MLC or MP, never want to give up, term after term. Probably this selfish and self aggrandising streak is an Indian psyche. Unfortunately in spite of being a celebrated sportsman, you proved yourself very unsporting just like these politicians and denying the legitimate claims of youngsters waiting in the queue interminably. Isn’t it sad?’
Of course there are the likes of Rajeev Shukla, a little known cricket administrator, who is also a politician, who would want Sachin Tendulkar to continue, to be given long rope. But then, he too is in the same boat, like Oliver Twist, wanting more and more! Then there are likes of Siddhu, who also insist that he should be allowed to be in the team since VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid and Ganguli are not there with their experience. It is a strange logic, when will our talented youth get their place in the Test team? Suresh Raina, a proved batsman is still languishing in the wings. There are many others like Ajinkya Rahane, who is still the 12th man in the team after proving again and again.
Here the most important question, which nobody raises and therefore does not answer, is ‘Why are the sports there, in the national development agenda? to give the country a big name and fame or for the development of human potential? Development of any country - political, economic and social - should be based on the paradigm of empowerment, of its people, not just getting some brownie points to the country. Hope somebody; somewhere; understand this logic that sports policies like economic development should be empowerment centric.
Or as some speculate in the media, is Tendulkar waiting to complete the 200th test, now that he has completed 192 tests, which is the highest for any cricketer. Again this too, in service of the country?! God save the country from such patriots.

J.Shriy

 Psychiatry-What is it?


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



“No further evidence is needed to show that 'mental illness' is not the name of a biological condition whose nature awaits to be elucidated, but is the name of a concept whose purpose is to obscure the obvious.”
Thomas S. Szasz.

What is the mind, anyway? Psychiatrists are supposed to deal with the mind! Quantum physics now shows that the mind is the body and the body is the mind-all are but simple energy vibrations which appear to be solid! If that were the reality then psychiatrists and physicians become one and the same. The caste system automatically disappears. What does this mean to patients? A lot, indeed! If every physician becomes adept at understanding the human mind without having to scan that through a scope, except the mind scope, like a stethoscope, which every doctor should possess, the myriad physical problems could be solved without much physical intervention. The divine interventionalists, of course, will be the losers. They would fight this concept tooth and nail. The medical establishment has become a commercial venture with the US spending more than 1.72 trillion dollars last year for the so called “health care” which in effect, was nothing but sickness care. The latter, most of the time, are man made- iatrogenic. I call those diseases as doctor-thinks-you-have-a-disease syndrome.
Where  the mind?
Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist professor at Wisconsin School of Medicine and also at St. George’s University School of Medicine is a noted developmental biologist, who discovered that each and every cell in the human body, of which there are between 50-100 trillion in all, has its own brain, which he calls as memBrain with antennae to receive the signals from the universal consciousness.
In short, new biology now thinks that the human mind is in every cell and not just restricted to the brain as was the conventional thinking, originally based on the Canadian surgeon Penfield’s crude experiments on his patients in the operating room. The new concept matches the “times out of mind” view in Indian Ayurveda and also in the Vedic wisdom of two minds-the universal mind and the individual mind.
Ayurveda also explains how the mind can be made to evolve through several stages to the ultimate level of equanimity (stithaprajna), in the bargain going through several stages viz: manas, budhi, chitta, purusha and Ishwara. A good psychiatrist would be able guide a misguided mind to attain that equanimity as per the Indian scriptures.
The seed for this line of thinking in the west recently was sown by Candace Pert, a young post doc at the NIH with the “great” Sol Snyder, who, for the first time, found out opiate receptors outwith the brain in every cell. She deserved the Nobel but her boss wanted his name to be the first on the paper! She fought that idea with all her might and, in the bargain, lost both her job and the Nobel. Snyder managed to get the Laskar award, the steeping stone to the Nobel but, Candace managed to send her laboratory logs to the Swedish Academy to prove to them that the work for which Snyder got the Laskar was her own. Snyder did not get his Nobel! Her book Molecules of Emotion, a classic, was an encouragement to Bruce Lipton. His book Biology of Belief is another all time classic.
Consciousness:
Professor JC Bose was the man credited to have initiated scientific studies of consciousness and had shown the presence of consciousness even in inert metals and, of course, in plants. The conventional “scientific” world mostly ignored his findings in the beginning up until Cambridge University picked him up for his, at that time, outstanding research. He quickly became a Fellow of the Royal Society, at one time thought to be better than the Nobel what with all the latter’s lobbying.  Nobel committee refused to award the prize to him despite being repeatedly nominated! Animals do have consciousness even according Indian scriptures. Human consciousness is supposed to be the one evolved to the highest level. A simple example will be your dog in the house. When you go home the dog feels a lot better but will be sad when you leave. It has the consciousness that you will be out for some time. But if you told the dog that you are going for a lecture at the psychiatrists’ meet, it makes no sense to the dog. Man has the most evolved consciousness according to Indian wisdom. The graphic descriptions in the Sankya School of philosophy are peerless.
Western psychiatric management:
From the time of locking up severe psychotics for decades at the Karolinska institutet in Sweden to the present day chemical antipsychotics nothing much has changed for those hapless patients. Freudian psychoanalysis, based largely on the Oedipus complex with a strong sexual bias, has not been of much benefit as per some of the independent audits. Anti-psychotics, starting with the first chlorpromazine to the latest SSRIs have had their own inherent adverse drug reactions (ADRs). The latter are the leading cause of iatrogenic deaths in the world. We need to rethink in this area for the good of our patients who can not be partners in their treatment unlike in other areas of medicine. Paternalism alone works in psychiatry where the moral responsibility of the treating doctor becomes paramount. 
An epoch making study by a leading American geneticist, Douglas C Wallace, (Genetic 2008; 179: 727) did show that ALL reductionist chemical drugs have the power to destroy human cells but eastern herbal drugs are accepted by the body as food and do not damage the system. One other reason is that all reductionist chemicals are dextrorotatory but body molecules are laevorotatory-a square plug in a round hole! For all these reasons and more we need to urgently look for holistic pharmacotherapy using herbal drugs, properly scientifically authenticated. The burden is on India psychiatrists to give the world the leadership.
Psychotherapy:
I am a strong proponent of psychotherapy as the be all and end all of psychiatric management and NOT drugs. I am aware that the conventional psychiatrists will laugh at me. Be that as it may, the advantages of psychotherapy far outweigh the drug therapy. Again, it boils down to the man/woman doing that job, a thankless job at that. It is not economically viable either in the present corporate philosophy which has percolated into the medical world. The powers that be also are disinclined since drug lobby runs the medical world today. People on the top of the Forbes list are in charge of these formulations in the West although Forbes himself did say that “life is not to get rich but to enrich the world”!

Conclusion:
You could laugh at me, hate me, or weep with me for these unconventional ideas, but do not ignore what I have said above. Go home and think about it. If you ignore me you will doing a great disservice to the hapless mentally challenged people of this world who require our compassion and empathy just like an innocent child needing that from a doting mother.

 “If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia.” 
Margaret Atwood, 
Canadian writer.
******


                                                     

YEH MERA INDIA

Worship mosquito & say 'no' to dengue !


Bokaro: The ward off dengue and malaria fever, people in Jharkhand’s Bokaro district are offering prayers to the ‘mosquito god’ to seek a shield against the life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases.
A big mosquito statue was installed at Chas a day earlier and a procession organised by devotees who beat drums and chanted mantras to appease the winged god. A priest recited mantras in the presence of hundreds of people and the statue was also garlanded and worshipped before the holy fire.
“Hundreds of suspected dengue cases have been reported in the district. The health department is yet to wake up. We have sought a shield from the ‘mosquito god’ and tried to appease it by installing a statute and worshipping it,” Rajendra Mahto, a district resident, told media.
Four people have died of suspected dengue in the district which has reported around 130 cases of high fever this season. The blood samples of the patients have been sent to Ranchi and the district administration was yet to confirm the dengue cases.
“There is no facility in the district to detect dengue. The government has failed to act in time to curb the menace,” said Poonam Sinha, another devotee of the ‘mosquito god’. 


Lapses in PF a/cs: wrong move by EPFO

New Delhi : Initiating an inquiry against employers for lapses in maintaining EPFO accounts would become difficult, with the retirement fund organisation imposing a time bar of seven years for such probes.
The norms, which were issued by Central Provident Fund Commissioner (CPFC) R C Mishra on his last day in office (November 30), seek to modify the provisions that often result in harassment of employers and establishments.
However, unhappy over the circular, the Trade Unions have decided to to press the government for its withdrawal. EPFO has over 50 million subscribers and manages a corpus of over Rs 3.5 lakh crore.
But, in a worker friendly move, the circular also sought to redefine the meaning of “basic wages” for the purpose of provident fund deductions.
It said: “All such allowances which are ordinarily, necessarily and uniformly paid to the employees are to be treated as the basic wages”. It did not, however, specify the allowances which should be included in ‘basic wages’.
According to the circular, the inquiry against employers can only be initiated after, “actionable and verifiable information,” is placed for consideration before the compliance officers.
The EPFO would also not take action against employers who fail to deposit dues of unidentified workers into the PF accounts.
“There shall be no assessment without identifying individual members in whose account the fund is to be credited,” the circular said. The employer, it said, would be required to make available online the complete history of the establishment for the benefit of compliance officers. The information to be provided should include the amount remitted and the number of employees engaged by the establishment.
Opposing the circular, trade union leaders have decided to press the government for withdrawal.
“This circular which has time-barred such inquiries is anti-worker and we would Lodge our protest with the Labour Secretary,” a EPFO trustee and Secretary Hind Mazoor Sabha A D Nagpal told media.

Doctor stops misleading ad 

New Delhi: A misleading television advertisement on a vaccine to protect children from severe gastrointestinal diseases has been withdrawn after a Delhi based doctor approached the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), complaining against the advertisement that was on air in July in two channels.
The ASCI agreed with the  complaint of Delhi-based community medicine professional Nalini Abraham and asked the vaccine’s manufacturer GlaxoSmithKlime (GSK) to withdraw the commercial after its consumer complaints council found merit in Abraham’s petition. In her complaint, Abraham said vaccines were prescription drugs which were not advertised in India. Moreover, the advertisement had misleading claims that vaccine was the only way to treat rota virus infections and reduced infections. Nearly 150,000 children die every year due to such infections.
The ASCI asked GSK to withdraw the spot after it was found that the company’s claim that the company’s claim that “vaccine is the only way to treat rota virus” was misleading. GSK assured the advertisement council that the TV commercial had been discontinued and will be modified appropriately later.  
The vaccine advertisement appeared at a time when GSK and its rival Merck were pushing their expensive rota virus vaccines in the Indian market, hoping for its inclusion in the universal immunization programme. While the cost-about Rs 1,000 for a two dose vaccine– remains an issue, an indigenous vaccine in the pipeline too. Independent doctors, however, questioned the government for permitting sale of these two vaccines without adequate trials. 
“It is surprising that these two vaccines have been approved for marketing in India by the regulators despite insufficient immunogenicity and absent efficacy data in Indian children,” Rakesh Lodha of AIIMS and Dheeraj Shah of the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital reported in the journal of the Indian Paediatric Association. 


Jamiat-e-Ulema says 'NO' to Abu Jundal!

Mumbai: A Muslim NGO, the Jamiat-e-Ulema, Maharashtra which provides free legal aid to Muslim youths arrested in various cases on charge of terrorism across the country has refused to provide legal aid to Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, an accused in the Aurangabad arms haul case of 2006.
 Gulzar Azmi, secretary, legal cell of the Jamiat said that Ansari’s mother Rehana and maternal uncle had approached the organisation to provide legal aid to defend Ansari in the Aurangabad arms haul case 16/06 in the designated MCOCA court.
 ”We have rejected the application and will not be defending him. As a policy we do not provide assistance to any person with a criminal background. We offered legal aid to Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin in the 26/11 trial as we felt that they were innocent. The court acquitted them and even the Supreme Court upheld the decision. But in the case of Ansari, our legal team is not convinced of his innocence. Therefore, we have decided to reject his appeal,” said Azmi.
It is pertinent to note that, in the same case remaining 21 accused already benefited by Jamiat-e-Ulema, Maharashtra.
However, advocate Ezaz Naqvi is willing to represent Abu Jundal in the court.
Jundal, a native of Beed district of Maharashtra,  was taken into custody by Mumbai police after he was brought from Delhi where he had been arrested following his deportation from Saudi Arabia in June this year. He is an accused in the 26/11 case and Aurangabad arms haul case.
During 26/11, he had allegedly issued instructions to two terrorists holed up inside Nariman House, a Jewish outreach centre, during the attack from a control room set up in Karachi and his voice had been intercepted by the intelligence agencies.
 

MONTH THAT WAS


Vit.D for RMOs

After 11 resident medical officers (RMOs) of Sion Hospital contracted tuberculosis this year due to squalid living conditions in their hostel, the civic body has now arranged for vitamin D tablets for the 500 RMOs. Sources at the hospital have confirmed that the BMC will provide vitamin D tablets for the RMOs. A study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has proved that vitamin D could help the body fight the TB bacteria. According to the study, TB patients recover more quickly when given the vitamins along with antibiotics.


PSU banks NPA rises to Rs 1.12 lakh cr

Mumbai : State-run banks and foreign banks were hit by bad loans as their non-performing assets rose, says the Reserve Bank.
Led by state-run banks and foreign lenders, “the asset quality of the banking system deteriorated significantly in FY12 after a period of sustained improvement,” says RBI report on ‘Trend and Progress of Banking in 2011-12′ released.
Non-performing assets of public sector banks rose to Rs 1,11,664 crore in 2012 from Rs 52,807 crore in 2003, data from the Reserve Bank of India showed.
The non-performing assets (NPAs) of country’s bank SBI and its associates in 2012 (as of March 31) were at Rs 45,695 crore from Rs 16,958 crore in 2003, while that of nationalised banks’ were at Rs 65,969 crore versus Rs 35,849 crore.
Though the report states that there is no systemic risk to the banking system as the fundamentals are robust, the Reserve Bank says the banking system is weaker because of rising bad loans as growth has fallen below potential and companies are reeling under obstacles to project clearances.
“Inadequate credit appraisal during the boom period of 2003-07, coupled with the adverse economic situation in the domestic as well as the external fronts, have resulted in the current increase in NPAs,” says the report.
The fall in asset quality was more visible among public sector banks, which saw their bad loans rise on both priority and non-priority loans.
In FY12, gross NPAs of state-run banks rose to 3.3 per cent, higher than the 3.1 per cent at the system-level. Foreign banks also saw a rise in NPAs, but the report did not specify how much was their NPA level. But the RBI report said that state-run and foreign lenders’ recovery performance was better than their private sector counterparts which relied more on write-offs than recovery.
The report said among banks, new private sector lenders relied more on writing off NPAs as a measure to contain their NPA levels. Loans worth Rs 1,800 crore were written off by new private sector banks in FY12, according to the report.
To strengthen the NPA management framework of the banks, RBI its in 2012-13 Monetary Policy has advised the banks to put in place a robust mechanism for early detection of signs of distress, and implement measures to preserve the economic value of assets.       


Hand grenade in Newcastle school

A school in Australia's New South Wales (NSW) was evacuated after a student brought a hand grenade, the police said.
The students of the Hunter Christian School at Mayfield in Newcastle were taken to a nearby park, police said.
The school principal called police in the morning after it became known that the year five student had brought a grenade to the school.
Specialists from police and the Australian Defence Force were examining the World War II 'pineapple' model grenade believed to be inert, reported Xinhua.

Now its ‘vox populi’ TV channel

Hyderabad: In an unique initiative, a TV channel funded by the people was launched in Andhra Pradesh. Over two lakh people, including a few hundred daily wage earners, have contributed to make it a “people’s channel.”
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy unveiled the logo of the channel whose tag line said, “the fourth estate with a sixth sense.” In a state with over 15 regional news channels, 10TV presents an unique ownership model. 
Though the channel is perceived to have Left leanings, the promoters said: “This is an alternative platform for those looking for serious journalism. We will show the real picture. At a time when news channels in the state have started airing adult contents for TRP ratings, we will show what a news channel should be,” said 10TV chairman K Nageshwar, a journalism professor and independent member of the state Legislative Council, known for his Marxist views. 
“A team of progressive ideologists who care for the people, society and democracy have come together to form Sphoorthi communications and joined hands with Pragathi Broadcasting and Abhuyadaya Broadcasting to promote 10TV,” the official website of the channel said. 
A total of Rs 60 crore was raised in the last two months through donations, with people from the most unlikely quarters contributing in multiples of Rs 10. Around 300 labourers from a coastal Andhra town made donations. In a couple of districts, entire villages contributed, while teachers and bank and insurance employees were the most enthusiastic donors. 
The donors have elected a board of directors which, in turn, appointed the news team. The managing director was previously employed in the insurance sector. “The Press Commission had earlier suggested that big businesses and the media should not be connected. This is an alternate model that can work,” said Nageshwar. 

Help & get robbed

Mumbai: A 25-year-old man was brutally beaten and robbed by four unknown person when he stopped his motor-bike to give a lift to a physically handicapped person.
According to police, the incident took place when Ibrahim Abdul Kuddus Shaikh, a resident of Vijay Nagar, Antop Hill, stopped at a petrol pump near Flock Road, Sion, who was headed towards Sahar Airport. The police said, Shaikh who works in a private firm was stopped by a physically disabled man near Maruti service centre, and requested for a lift.  In his given statement Shaikh said that the disabled man asked him to drop him near Shanmukhananda Hall from the service centre. “As soon as Shaikh and the accused reached near Shanmukhananda Hall, three unknown persons attacked Shaikh from behind and took his chain and a ring worth Rs 70,000,”, said a police officer.  The three accused and the disabled person fled from the spot after injuring Shaikh badly. The police said that the case of robbery has been registered against four unknown person and further probe is on.

Extortion bid by jurnos

Mumbai: A case of extortion and defamation was registered against two persons who pretended to be a journalist and editor of a weekly tabloid for demanding Rs 10 lakh, and 30 seats each in mass media and business management courses, from the Wilson College principal.
One of the accused was arrested by Marine Drive police whereas the editor had surrendered himself in court. The duo were granted bail by the court after paying Rs 15,000 deposit.  The Marine Drive police have registered a case of 385 (extortion), 501 (printing defamatory matter) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, after the Wilson college principal, Dr A H Sirvaiya submitted the written complaint against Arvind Tiwari and Raghunath Dekhle.  Rajendra Patil, police inspector of Marine Drive said, the duo who had their small office of their weekly tabloid named as “Adarsh Maharashtra” had printed some stories in which he had alleged the Wilson college authorities for taking donation for admission.


ABRACADABRA


Pee & be shamed 

In a bid to tackle the menace of people urinating in the open, a UK city has decided to take offenders on a 'walk of shame' to show them the damage to historic sites due to such corroding behaviour.
Each day, up to 30 people are caught on CCTV urinating in public in Chester, which was founded by the Romans and attracts eight million visitors a year.
Chester Council has joined forces with police to introduce a "heritage awareness" course in an attempt to combat the public nuisance, which officials say is corroding the city's buildings.
While students, soldiers and the unemployed are the primary culprits, accountants, solicitors and teachers have also been caught, the Daily Mail reported.
In the past year, 108 offenders have agreed to pay 75 pounds to enrol on the course, which is run by trading standards officers, rather than go to court and face a possible heavy fine.

Man bites off nose

London: A 45-year-old man in Britain told another man he was going to eat him before almost biting off his nose, the Daily Mail reported.
Heath Bowden then took a "chunk" out of his victim Graham Brook's right ear before sinking his teeth into his left ear, Gloucester crown court was told.
Julian Kesner, prosecuting, said: "Having bitten through (Brook's) nose, he bit a large chunk out of his right ear and then started on the left ear when he was pulled away."
Bowden of Norbury Ave, Matson, Gloucester, has pleaded not guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on his victim, Graham Brook, in February 2012.
He claims he acted in self defence, the Mail said.
Kesner, said that "he (Bowden) had lost his temper totally as a result of an argument inside the pub".The trial continues.

British among the laziest

London: People in Britain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and South Africa are among the laziest in the world, according to a new study. In a global study carried out by journal. The Lancet which included results from 122 countries, the UK was found to be one of the most inactive countries, with a staggering 63.3 per cent of the population being inactive while Greece was labelled the least lazy nation in the world.
Only 15 per cent of the population of the balmy Mediterranean country, which also boasts one of the world's healthiest diets, was classed as inactive.
The study found just over 40 per cent of those in North America were inactive, putting it in the 46th spot. Overall, women rated lower than men in the study. The highest percentage of inactive women was found in countries where they find it difficult to find employment due to social constraints, such as Saudi Arabia, which ranked third least active country with 68.8 per cent of its population inactive.
Southern European country Malta with 71.9 per cent and Swaziland in Southern Africa with 69.0 per cent inactive population topped the list.
UAE with an inactive population of 62.5 per cent, South Africa with 52.4 per cent and Bhutan with 52.3 per cent were also among the top twenty laziest countries in the world. Of the countries surveyed almost one third of their population is considered inactive. And 80 per cent of adolescents rated as below the standards, the report said.
The researchers pointed out that lack of exercise is now a leading cause of death and a third of people across the world do not meet the minimum activity recommendations, which is generally about 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week.

Insurance claim'Lost phone, inside a cow' 

London: Do you know anybody who lost his mobile inside a cow or someone who baked her handset into a sponge cake? The team at a UK-based mobile insurance company has heard it all in some bizarre excuses customers have made to claim insurance in the last twelve months.
The company's list of top ten weirdest mobile insurance claims was topped by a farmer in Devon who claimed his phone had disappeared inside the back end of one of his cows when he'd been using the torch on his mobile while assisting the cow during calving, The Mirror reported.The phone later made an appearance, but was damaged. Placed number two on the list was a lady in her early 40s from Nottingham who claimed that she'd baked her phone into a Victoria Sponge cake she'd been making for her daughter's birthday.
A woman in her 30s claimed she'd been walking her Cocker Spaniel on Barry Island beach, Wales, when a seagull swooped down and took her mobile from her hand.
A 20-year old girl from Bristol claimed the vibration function on her phone had stopped working while she was using it as an adult toy, www.mobileinsurance.co.uk said.
A 40-year-old construction worker said his cellphone had fallen out of his back pocket when he pulled his jeans down before sitting on the toilet. Not realising, he went about his business and flushed the chain.
The phone didn't flush, but underwent serious water damage.
A man in his 30s claimed he'd been filming monkeys from the car window in Longleat Safari Park with his mobile handset when a monkey climbed on the roof and snatched it.
The list also included a couple who lost their phone over the side of their cruise ship while re-enacting the "I'm King of the World!" scene, while trying to take a photo of themselves.


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INDO-BANGLADESH RELATIONS

Dr. M. V. Kamath


India-Bangladesh relations have been subject to mood swings ever since the latter’s liberation in which India had a big hand. The tragedy is that there is no apparent irresolvable source of contention between the two countries. For all that they have failed to develop a mutually beneficial and trustworthy relationship for quite some time. Bangladesh, it is clear, feels insecure, feeling too close and needlessly too weak with a powerful neighbour. What is worse is that there still exist groups of Islamic fundamentalists in our Bangla neighbourhood like the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh that are hostile towards India. Their very existence reminds one of the gunning down of founder Chief Minister Mujibhur Rehman and most of his family on the night of 14th-15th August 1975. Many in India have long been sceptical of Begum Khalida Zia, presently leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), but following Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in Sept 2011, the impression went round that even the Begum seemed willing to work with India to strengthen bilateral relations. Following Dr Singh’s visit, India , in addition to a $ 1 billion line of credit had also given quota-free access to its market for 46 Bangladeshi textile products and 15 other items. Begum Zia’s week-long visit to India from 28th Oct. to 3rd Nov. marks an important advance in India’s efforts to reach out to Begum Zia, widely known to have had a strong anti-India sentiment, especially noticeable previously in her patronization of anti-India elements. But during her visit to Delhi she sounded if not repentant, at least willing to forget the past. She is reported to have said: “This marks a new beginning. Let’s look forward and not look back in the rear view mirror”. Asked whether she would stay in the course in improving ties with India in case she was reelected in the forthcoming general elections in 2013, her answer was the same. On his part, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is known to have assured his visitor that New Delhi is committed to assist Bangladesh in its economic growth and would not take any step detrimental to its interests. It is interesting that Begum Zia decided to visit India closely following her trip to China as head of a party delegation. China, it appears had assured her of financial and technical support for the second Padma River Bridge, development of the deep sea port at Sonadia in the Bay of Bengal, operationalising the Chittagong-Kunming Rail Link and modernizing the Bangladesh Armed Forces. China, it is clear wants to establish a strong politico-military presence in Bangladesh, as it had sought to do in Myanmar. This is a matter of concern for Delhi. There are areas of contention between Bangladesh and India, as in the case of construction and operation of the Farakka Barrage by India to increase water supply to the Hooghly River. Bangladesh has been arguing that it does not receive a fair share of the Ganga water during the drier seasons and gets flooded during the monsoon; when India releases excess water. At the same time Bangladesh wants India to expedite the signing of an agreement for sharing the water of the Teesta River. That Agreement was to have been signed during Dr Singh’s 2011 visit to Bangladesh, but had to be deferred because of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s objection to it. Mamata did not even have the grace to accompany Dr Singh to Dhaka. She preferred to sulk. What is little known is that there are 300 more rivers in Bangladesh out of which 57 are trans-boundary. India and Bangladesh share a 4,096 km land boundary covering five Indian States, namely, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram. This has resulted in large-scale immigration of Bangladeshis into Indian territory, notably Assam-a fact which Dhaka refuses to acknowledge. The Congress-led government in New Delhi has always maintained a closed eye when it came to Bangladeshi immigrants. As the Guwahati-based daily The Sentinel angrily noted, “the government stand on this-especially that of the Congress-ruled governments-has been that there are no Bangladeshis in the state and that the people who have been identified as Bangladeshis by the people of the state are in fact Indian citizens”-an act of unforgivable pretence. Asked the paper, reflecting Asasmese opinion: “Is it not the bounden duty of the so-called mainland India to save Assam – an integral part of the Indian Union?” Good question. Bangladesh has also been guilty of worse crimes in the past. As Garga Chatterjee, a scholar of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently noted, as of 1997, through various versions of the Enemy Property Act, 53 per cent of the land owned by Hindus had been forcibly taken over, most of it between 1972 and 1980 which had affected 4 out of 10 Hindu households. Dhaka, of course, does not give it a second thought. No Hindu has received compensation. As in the case of Hindus driven out of Pakistan, Delhi has nothing to say. And our secularists have even less. When it comes to the problems facing the Assamese people, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh sounds dumb-struck. Where our Islamic neighbourhood states are concerned, the approach is one of See No Evil, Hear No Evil. That does not mean that Begum Khalida Zia should not have been invited to Delhi. Practical politics demands that we keep all political parties in and around our country in good humour. The reception accorded to Begum Khalida must be considered in the context of the likelihood of her returning to power in the 2013 elections, only to play China’s game. Now Delhi had been noticeably relieved when Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League had come to power in the elections at the end of 2008, but the tendency in Bangladesh has been to vote out the party in power. Possibly, in 2013 the Awami League may be shown the door, and the BNP welcomed back. One can only hope that Begum Khalida will continues to accept India as a real friend, and mind its concerns. But then, only time will tell. China has the money and the will to keep India surrounded and on tenterhooks. It has bagged Pakistan in the west. Bangladesh can be an easy victim in the East.