Thursday, February 14, 2013

ISSUES & CONCERNS INITIATIVES


EDITOR'S COLUMN


Friends 

We are well in to the 2013. The month of Feb. is the traditional national budget month. Railway Budget is expected to be more rational with some fare raise across the board. If the services and safety has to be updated continuously, the element of fare raise has to be there. For far too long we have been operating pro-people budget. Deficit finance has always been the last resort to keep the people happy. There are many elements which contribute to the problem of deficit financing, uncontrolled govt. expenditure, subsidized goods and services, escalation of infrastructural costs by avoidable delays by the contractors for mostly wrong reasons. Besides, mopping up of resources from all sources, has to be on the basis of what-traffic-can-bear. Those who can, should pay more. Largesse to politicians should be under check. Every rupee saved matters. Finance Minister has promised a ‘responsible budget’. He is an intelligent man but being business friendly, he needs to be watched.
Month-in-Perspective has, as usual, tried to cover the pan Indian and global concerns. Of course, subject to space constraints. One of the issues that disturbed pan Indian sensitivity, was the highly emotive happening at the border involving two of our jawans killed. They were reportedly beheaded with one of the body left with no head and taken by the escaping Pak sentries. Of course as usual Pakistan has denied the diabolic role of Pak army.
We have taken up the issue of series of denials that Pakistan is known for, under Focus.  Hope readers would find it interesting and revert with your inputs.                                               

MONTH IN PERSPECTIVE


UTTAR PRADESH: There was this news last month that two Italian marines who are in jail facing trial for shooting dead two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast, were received by the Italian Defence Minister at the airport near Rome. These two marines were given the permission to travel to Italy for X’mas holidays, pending disposal of their case. Of course as was the condition of travel, these marines have come back and reported back to the authorities in Thiruvanantapuram. This was a reflection of the human dignity, the western countries attach to their citizens, that the country’s Defence Minister came to the airport to receive two ordinary compatriots, who are only security guards of a ship, undergoing investigation in a foreign country. The action of the Defence Minister certainly deserves to be applauded and is indeed a model. 
But look at our own establishments, both political and defence establishments.
Reportedly Pakistani sentries sneaking from across the border in Kashmir had, in thick fog, managed to kill 2 Indian jawans, with one of the jawan being beheaded. That was indeed most barbaric on the part of Pakistani troops, a charge as usual Pakistan has denied, since denial is increasingly becoming its official stance. However, what is sad is the response of our own politicians. While Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh did visit the family of one of the killed, Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh, and had attended the last rites, there was none for the other deadly case of beheaded soldier. There is genuine feeling of let down by the family of Hemraj Singh the soldier from U.P, who was decapitated. Sushma Swaraj, who had called on the family at the village in Mathura district of U.P. had reportedly observed “As per rules Defence Minister should have himself come here, if not, a state minister for sure. Home Minister or someone from PMO could have come. Even Army from Mathura cantonment could have sent someone. But sadly none came”. However probably only after media expressed its shock that U.P. Chief Minister made some feeble attempt to be there to announce some monetary compensation. In India sadly for people at the lower end of socio political life it is enough to throw some money, to make them keep quite, with no value for human dignity. At least that is what power that be think, whether politicians or babus.

CHHATTISGARH: Replying a query from an opposition legislator, Mohd. Akbar, the government reportedly admitted, having paid Rs: 1,40,00,000/- to bollywood actress Karina Kapoor. There were reportedly 245 artistes who performed on the state’s anniversary function, the Rajyothsava 2012, and the government paid Rs: 5,21,22,500/-  in total. Thus, 244 artistes were paid the balance Rs: 3,81,22,500/-, and one celebrity alone was paid 1.40 crore.
While it is accepted that, we have to have some kind of a celebration on the formation anniversary of the state, the expenditure of Rs: 1,56,240/- per artist on an average is rather high. But the expenditure on Karina Kapoor is absolutely mind boggling. The issue is ‘was it needed to bring this lady at such an exhorbitantly high cost of Rs: 1.40 crore?’ While overdoing is part of our culture, this one is definitely the ‘height of excess’. One of the serious charges of our national misgovernance is the lack of financial discipline. Whose father’s what goes! is sadly a national trait, when it comes to money belonging to someone else, more so with government funding. Would these governments show greater concern or large heartedness when it comes to the issues involving weaker sections of our society!? Answer, as we know, is profoundly negative.
And comes another news from Lucknow. UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, may not have found time to see the family of the soldier who was beheaded by the Pakistani army, but was at hand at the opening of Hockey India league match between U.P. Wizards and Delhi WaveRiders at Dhyanchand Stadium in Lucknow. And do you know who accompanied him!? London born, Hindi film actress Katrina Kaif. Would she come for the love of the game or some big money like Chhattisgarh govt. paid to Karina Kapoor?! No marks for guessing. All our governments have no money, if they have to pay Anganwadi workers or something similar, but money shall always be available aplenty for the whims and fancies of our politicians. This is Yeh Mera India.

HARYANA: The news that both, the Father and Son duo along with many babus and politicians have been convicted and jail terms pronounced, is a sign that judiciary is alive and kicking although rambling at its own pace. Om Prakash Chautala and son Ajay Chautala, the high profile politicians from Haryana, suddenly realised that they are just as mortal as any ordinary Haryaanvi. The story of sleaze in the appointment of teachers has been there for all the 13 years. It would have probably died in silence, but the CBI under UPA administration pursued it, partly because Chautalas are neither Congressmen nor UPA supporters. The sentence of 10 years rigorous imprisonment is harsh, but probably deserved. It may put some fear in the minds of all those who loot public money and exploit helpless victims to make fortune for themselves. So what, the main culprit was a former Chief Minister and co-conspirator his son!?

ANDHRA PRADESH: The poisonous hate speech by Andhra MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi has generated nationwide outrage. Though belated, Andhra police have acted. After a whole lot of drama, he has been put behind bar, and for the present no bail is available to him. What he had publicly stated speaking to his political audience, may be out of place to reproduce, but left no-body in doubt about the damage such utterance can cause, especially in a pluralistic context of India. There have been buzzer galore in twitter on the hate monger. “Akbaruddin Owaisi in hospital. Guess its more abt his mental than physical condition” said Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN/IBN. “Owaisi’s med report says he can’t walk long distances, in jail he won’t have to” twitted Minhaz Merchant, a senior journalist. “Owaisi supporters shouting ‘Owaisi sher hain’, arre bhai sher hain tho zoo mein rakho, sadak pe kyun choda hai?!”, stated one S.Shankara. “Book Owaisi for making violent threats” twitted Taslima Nasreen, the Bangladeshi writer. “Mr Owaisi if calling 100 crores of your country men your enemies is not waging war against the nation, then I don’t know what is” said a twitter, who called himself The Bad Doctor.
Thus, there have been massive outpouring in the media, although there have been politicians fishing as usual for their own catches.
The noose is getting tighter by the day for Kadappa M.P. Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of former CM of Andhra Pradesh Y S Rajashekar Reddy. There are many former Chief Ministers, in the country who are under dark clouds. There is Mulayam Singh, where Supreme Court has initiated proceedings. There is Maayawathi, who is under investigations for many financial wrong doings. There is Lalu Prasad Yadav, having uncleared criminal proceedings. There is Ashok Chavan, former CM of Maharashtra under few dark clouds including Adarsh scam. There is Jayalalitha who has probably the longest ongoing cases against her financial impropriety. There is B S Yediyurappa former CM of Karnataka with uncertain future hanging over him. Thus there are many so-called servants of public, the elected representatives, who only served themselves to loot the exchequer. Of course, if you are ally of the ruling party, or belong to the ruling party, then things, either do not move or moves rather slowly. Mulayam and Maaya are safe, because both saved the current dispensation at the centre, so is Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Jayalalitha and Yediyurappa, cases are going on. Ashok Chavan is a Congress man hence, no danger of investigation in the near future. Om Prakash Chautala and his son who are not with UPA are already in jail. Jagan Mohan Reddy has deserted the party of his father and therefore in deep trouble. It is true, that there is a strong case of wrong doings. There have been prima facie cases, where Reddy had to face the music. The latest to hit him was Enforcement Directorate with an order to attach property worth Rs: 143.74 crore, under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. There appears to be fool proof evidence, according to ED sources. Of course in the larger interest of justice and national benefit, such acts of commission, by enforcement and other investigation agencies, are indeed exemplary. But sadly it is happening very selectively. Cases of Maayawathi and Mulayam are some of the clear instances of crass favouritism. That is one of the sadder aspect of Mera Bharat Mahan.

GUJARAT: The news datelined New Delhi “Set back to Modi as Supreme Court upholds Lokayukta appointment” gave highly mixed signals. Of course members of the media and politicians with socio/political leanings gave it a Modi centric bias as the above news from a leading English daily of the South. Certainly Gujarat needs Lokayukta there’s no doubt. However, on the one hand, the Supreme Court bench while criticising the role of Governor Kamla Beniwal observed that Governor “has misjudged her role and has insisted that under the Lokayukta Act, council of ministers has no role to play in the appointment of the Lokayukta and she could therefore fill it in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court and the leader of the opposition such an attitude is not in conformity or in consonance with the democratic set up of government envisaged in our constitution” while adding that appointment can be made “only with the aid and advice of the council of ministers and not independently as a statutory authority”.
This observation, prima facie, nullifies the appointment of Lokayukta by Governor. It is unconstitutional and therefore can be termed ultra-virus. Yet apex Court due to some predilictions decided to let go the governor’s action and validated it. This is very strange. In fact some of the print media newspapers termed it “Apex Court gets it wrong”. One paper even called it as “pronouncing someone a thief and then allowing the latter to keep the loot”. It was indeed mutually contradictory. However, what is indeed questionable is, there are many states where Lokayukta is not there at all, and nobody including Apex Court taking any stand. But the same court questioned the delay in Gujarat. Is it the selective wakefulness of the questioning authorities?!

WEST BENGAL: It is getting increasingly a ‘writing on the wall’ for Mamata Bannerji. She is slowly but steadily losing the ground swell, which brought name and fame for both for Mamata and her Trinamool Congress. Of all the people, it was Mahaswetha Devi, the Jnanpeeth Awardee, and a mentor to Mamata, who decried the breakdown of law and order in Kolkata and across West Bengal. Saying she has lost hope in the West Bengal government, she resigned as the president of Bangla Academy, the regulatory body of Bengali language in the state.
Unfortunately for Ms. Bannerji, it was not just her mentor, who is unhappy with her. Many intellectuals, who were part of her campaign to oust Left Front, are all disenchanted with her style of functioning as well as the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. Besides, the backward areas of Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore, who were deprived of all basic amenities under the Left government, continues live in same miserable state without any change, feels Mahasweta Devi. One more area where most people are disappointed with the government, is the politicisation of police. It is a well known fact that Trinamool Congress workers are generally treated leniently by the police, and that has contributed to great deal of lawlessness in the state. So the dream run which brought her to the Writer’s Building is waking her up to the reality of rudely broken sleep from a beautiful slumber. Can it be another La Mayawathi saga?

MAHARASHTRA: Sachin does not give up his cricket career, he becomes a news. He gives up one dayers, he is news. Now he is playing, of all the cricket leagues, Ranji Trophy. A fellow, who has been hogging the limelight, for right reasons and wrong reasons, is also becoming news for irrelevant issues.
“Sachin Hits form in Ranji Trophy” was the print media news, the other day. I really wonder how this becomes a news. News should have been, “Sachin once again denies a place for a budding youngster”, by grabbing a place which was not his at all, in the first place. Why can’t the media cry hoarse for this brazen act of selfishness of a cricketer who had it too much for too long, by any stretch of debate. This is another of the Indian dimension of extreme. If cricket is the passion for Sachin Tendulkar, he would do well to start a cricket academy to train boys from under privileged section of the society. Surely, Maharashtra govt. would be more than willing to help with land etc.

RAJASTHAN: The Chintan Shibir of Congress at Jaipur turned out a bit of Chinta Shibir when a Home Minister of the country called RSS and BJP as promoters of Hindu terrorism. While there is no doubt that RSS is a proponent of Hindu nation theory and BJP is the political wing of RSS, to brand them as promoters of Hindu terrorism is blatantly wrong and is with communal overtone. The statement was primarily intended to please somebody. Right enough it instantly echoed across the border with, characters like Hafeez Said ‘congratulating’ Sushil Kumar Shinde, the Indian Home Minister, for having said it. Of course there are any number of Congressmen who jumped to the back of Shinde to stand by him, while his party distanced itself from Shinde’s statement. Initially Congress too kept quite, but sensing the mood of people, including media, and of course to save itself from any political fallout, issued a belated official stand. While BJP will certainly exploit it politically, with right means and wrong means, it can dent the prospect of Home Minister’s party politically. In our body politic, nobody is straight and plays only for short term gains.
KASHMIR: There is this news coming from United States that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) pledging to enforce Islamic law in Kashmir and then in India. This news appeared in a Mumbai based English news paper datelined Washington. On the face of it, there was no news value, since India is a constitutional republic, there is no question of Sharia taking over the judicial precedence, whether in Kashmir or other parts of India. Even to think, for this Wali-Ur-Rehman, supposedly a top leader of TTP, is a wishful thinking of wildest imagination. Reportedly U.S. has announced $ 5 million reward on his head for his alleged involvement in the murder of seven CIA officials of Afghanistan. However what is pertinent in the, otherwise bizarre, statement of this TTP leader, is his observation that “Jihad launched by Pakistani government inside Kashmir has failed to yield any desired result, hence TTP would launch its own Jihad in the valley by sending its own forces into the valley”. The above statement has two sides, one fully exposes and confirms the complicity of Pakistan in fomenting insurgency in Kashmir and causing trouble. As usual Pakistan had always denied such an involvement. The second is the failure of Pak Jehadi in Kashmir and hence the newer jihad by TTP. Here this Wali-Ur-Rehman (WUR) should be told in no uncertain terms that he is having day dreams which can never happen. Yeh Mushkil hi nahee, naa mumkin hai. WUR, take a walk. It is a better way of saying than asking him to 'f... off'.

KARNATAKA: A Bangalore datelined report, attributing to National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon, “Arms dealers trying to contact Maoists” is a reflection of the bankruptcy of Maoists, their ideologues and arms lobby. If true, and there is every reason to believe NSA, it is very clear that fomenting trouble, and to keep India on boil is the sole purpose of these Maoists and their ideologue friends. The government is not only capable of handling any such development, but should send unmistakable sign that government means to take these trouble makers by horn, head on. There should be a publicity campaign to expose the diabolic design of these anti-national groups and hit them hard where it hurts them. Plans of army to tackle these insurgency groups have been on the drawing table and they should be acted upon without delay. Being democracy there will always be nay sayers. However the government at the centre and even in states, where these groups are causing trouble and mayhem, should chalk out steps to snuff these groups and put them out of business. That has to be a priority.

NEW DELHI: It is very unfortunate, after valiant efforts, by all involved in saving, Delhi’s gangrape victim, breathed her last. Ever since, there have been vociferous demand from all and sundry that punishment for the accused should be of a kind that would deter any prospective perpetrator to commit the crime. From, chemical castration to death sentences to stoning to death etc have been talked about. Govt. appears to be at least thinking on those lines. For once, the system seems to have shaken itself to bring about some changes in criminal justice system relating to attack on women’s persona. A newer aspect has been the involvement of those who are below 18 years, who are currently being treated as juveniles. One of the Delhi rape accused, who is slightly less than 18 years, by a few months, is being bandied about as a case in point. Reportedly he was the worst offender with most cruelty. By any sense of proportion he should be given the harshest punishment deserving his crime. Unlike the children of yesteryears, these children of to-day are far more informed and exposed to the wide world of media aberrations and public life. Thus are fully aware of what they are doing and have traits which can make any sensible sensitive adult sick. Such depravity should deserve no leniency at all. The judiciary must necessarily take the call, to set right the issue. Like Jug Suraiyya a senior columnist has stated, “adult crime deserves adult punishment” period. Justice Verma Panel should take note of it.
The amount of rabble raising and sabre rattling was only expected, post, the barbaric treatment of beheading the dead, by intruding Pakistani soldiers. But the sharpest yet the most sober response came from Sonia Gandhi, the Congress President. Her observation that ‘it is not possible to deal with an uncivilized country’ conveyed it all, to likes of Mani Shankar Iyers and to Pakistani leadership of course. Of course it has chastened even the ‘quite as cucumber’ Prime Minister Dr Singh and his foreign minister Salman Khurshid. Yes, for once all engagement should come to a standstill, to take stock of the situation and to review our whole approach to this western neighbour. Of course the cost of war is certainly beyond factoring, it is no option at all. There are subtler ways, and the government must take the opposition too, in its collective response. It should be seen as a national reaction. The recalcitrant behaviour of Pakistan is discussed in the Focus, where we have taken up the habitual denial mode of Pakistan, even when the country was found with their pants down. After all it was American government of Bill Clinton, called Pakistan ‘an international migraine’. It was not for nothing, that Madeline Albright, the then Secretary of state, had openly stated thus.
The news that “Leading Pharma companies owe the central government Rs: 2577 crores” is not a happy one. Report informs that Cipla is the biggest defaulter with Rs: 1700 crores due, followed by Ranbaxy, Rs: 650 crores and some others. All are privy to the fact that pharma industry is the most exploitative industry. They give huge cuts to the distributors, hospitals and practicing doctors, who store medicines. They hold medical seminars and conferences, for doctors, all paid for, in 5 star hotels. Besides all those working for the industry, are the best paid. All because they overcharge the consumers with their MRP. So, if government has, in its wisdom, allowed them to overcharge and wait for the good sense of these pharma companies to pay it to the government a portion of what they overcharge, that’s the most stupid thing to happen. How would these companies pay back which is already in their pocket? They will try every trick, not to pay or at worst delay as much as possible to pay as little as possible. With our legal redressal system, delay will be guaranteed without you asking for it. With private lobby in place as P.R. professionals, influencing politician and babus is a time tested tool. One more way how aam aadmi can be tricked.
Post gangrape episode in Delhi, there have been some ‘gems’ of observation from different sources. From RSS, Chief Mohan Bhagwat’s Bharath & India barb to MP Minister's Lakshman Rekha to Asaram Bapu’s Brother Sister syndrome, there have been quite a few ‘smart’ repartees. In public life, the golden rule should be, if you cannot add to the debate with some sense in what you say, best is to avoid adding any nonsense.
Going back to Mohan Bhagwath’s observation, we are reminded of a guy who wanted to marry a village lass, because, she is supposedly virgin, it is believed. But while on a honey money the groom learns that the village bride, the supposedly the virgin one, had all experience of physical contact which the urban groom did not have. So the point is there are n number of cases where the Bharath, or the villages are as bad as the urban India when it comes to violence against women. Of course, the public outcry against both MP Minister and Asaram Baapu has been vitriolic to say the least. Surely these observations have had only nuisance value and added only heat to the ongoing debate. In the best interest of victim, these intelligent men in power should just leave it to the law to take its course firmly and quickly.
The Central Teacher’s Eligibility Test – (CTET) held recently has exposed the open secret about the competence of our school teachers. The New Delhi datelined report in the print media “99% applicants failed Teachers Test”, has conveyed it all. The result of the CTET held in Dec. 2012, was recently out. Of the 7. 95 lakh applicants only 4849 have cleared either both or one of the two question papers. This is not merely shocking but appalling that someone, who is basically a graduate and a B.Ed to boot, could fail so badly is beyond comprehension. Something is apparently very wrong with our teaching and those who want to be teachers. Teaching has not become a passion, it has remained just a job for most. Even the governmental intervention in improving the quality of the education has apparently failed to empower the students with knowledge. In the absence of CTET, earlier there was no way of knowing the quality of these aspiring teachers. These teachers who are not properly equipped to handle subjects of teachings have failed in really enabling students to equip themselves to greater or higher demands of learning. Now these students who have just managed to pass their degree by just mugging to pass the examinations, are those who are in this 7.95 lakh applicants. It is not surprising that they are still not ready for the eligibility let alone teaching. Of course, after 65 years, it is indeed a sad reflection of how our government has failed. This is clearly an indication of the quality of huge number of government servants all over India. How can governance be better if the quality of education is what it is. If the governance has failed for all these 65 years, the quality of the education and therefore of our graduate assistants in these government departments, has lot to do with this failure. Would somebody up there recognise this truth?

WORLD: When Barack Obama was fighting his return election to the White House, there were those who thought, he couldn’t or didn’t do what he wanted to do in his first term. It was thought, at least, by I & C that, his return shall be a game changer. Especially his continued unhappiness with the Israeli regime in Tel Aviv, he appeared stymied with the age old Pro-Israeli stance of the U.S. He gives an impression of being a fair man. And comes the news, in matter of less than two months, since his repeat election to the world’s most powerful address. A Jerusalem datelined news by the Daily Telegraph quoted Obama as saying “Netanyahu is a political coward bent on isolating Israel”. According to the papers, Obama has privately spoken, that Israeli Prime Minister’s policies pose greater threat to Israel’s existence than Iran’s nuclear programme. Obama is apparently very upset with the recent announcement of building Jewish settlements in areas previously considered off limits, on land the Palestinians want for a future state. He appears to have come to terms with the view that “Netanyahu’s behaviour is self defeating and that every new settlement announcement only driving Israel towards near total international isolation.” This was probably the harshest ever observation by any U.S. President, of its long time ally, Israel. So far Israel dared to cock-a-snook at all and sundry with the U.S. administration standing by it. But right now there is a U.S. President who would not take it any longer the high handed, in-human, unreasonable behaviour from the Israelis. This was certainly well calibrated, just after weeks of condemnatory statements by some of the EU nations. Reportedly London and Paris are already considering withdrawing their ambassadors from Tel Aviv. 
As against this development, there are characters in Palestine who breast beat, saying, that they will never recognise Israel. Speaking in Gaza at the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, the militant wing of Palestinians, its leader Khalid Meshaal has reportedly stated “we will never recognise the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation and therefore there is no legitimacy for Israel, no matter how long it will take”. So it is matching in extremes on either side of the divide. The days of both Netanyahu and Meshaal is over. Day may be of liberals, who shall take the peace process forward for both Israel and Palestine to co-exist in peace and harmony. Hope Obama does it before he calls it off 4 years down the line.
If on Tuesday, the 15th January, reportedly Supreme Court of Pakistan orders the arrest of Prime Minister of Pakistan, Raja Parvez Ashraf, on 17th January, comes the report from Islamabad that the Chief of the country’s anti-graft agency, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Fasih Bokhari admitted that investigators had not uncovered enough evidence to arrest Ashraf. In other words, Bokhari evidently lacked evidence to make the arrest of the Prime Minister, but Iftikhar Chaudhary, the Chief Justice at Supreme Court of Pakistan, was in great hurry to fix Raza Pervez Ashraf, the PM. This situation is rather funny, and clearly inexplicable. There are lot of stories going round. There is this story making its rounds in Islamabad, “Pak capital rife with conspiracy theories”. The discussion is the timing of the arrival in Pakistan, of one Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, a politician turned cleric and the pronouncement of the judgement of the Supreme Court headed by Ifthikhar Chaudhary. Dr Qadri is an old politician who left Pakistan to live in Canada for a decade or so, and returned to the Pakistani capital possibly with an agenda, ostensibly to give the country a cleaner administration. Election is shortly due in Pakistan and therefore he is in great hurry. The case against Raza Parvez Ashraf is in the court since some time, probably since his appointment as Prime Minister. But Supreme Court of Ifthikhar Chaudhary wanted to suddenly act. It acted in haste, and its order to arrest couldn’t be executed, since the NAB, the watchdog has incomplete paperwork, and therefore not enough evidence to pin the Prime Minister, of wrong doing, if any. There may be a case but not a fool proof case. Is it embarrassing for Ifthikhar Chaudhary and therefore to judiciary in Pakistan? But funnily, same people and the same system, Pak judiciary and Pak executive, could not act on the whole lot of dossiers containing all kinds of evidence on Hafiz Said’s role on 26/11 Mumbai attack. Either they cannot act or are not willing to act. Isn’t it very strange! May be there are no compelling reasons to act. That is Pakistan for you.

FOCUS


A DENIAL REPUBLIC CALLED PAKISTAN


“Saarey Jahan Sey Achcha Yeh Hindustan Hamara”, that melodious patriotic song remained in this part of the geographical land mass, to be sung and sung again, for its sheer verbatim beauty. But the poet Allama Iqbal who created the song left this portion of the land of Hindustan for supposedly better pasture into the other portion of the land christened as Pakistan, by those who wanted a separate land for Muslims. The separation called PARTITION broke the country into three parts for ever, physically and mentally, and reduced the exercise into an estranged, wrangling, warring neighbours for all the 65 years of India’s post independence and of the creation of Pakistan.
Come August 1947, millions of Hindus and Muslims migrated to their chosen side from across the divided line decided by the then colonial masters, the British.  How happy and contended these mass of people are, after those tumultuous six plus-decades? It is a question of profound dimensions. 
Abdul Qadir Khan, known also as A Q Khan, the infamous stealer and dealer in nuclear technology, an Indian by birth but Pakistani by choice and migration, has recently warned of the second balkanisation of Pakistan, ‘if social evils are not rectified soon’. Writing in “NEWS INTERNATIONAL” under the title ‘Events of 1971’, this disgraced nuclear scientist, informs IANS, ‘Pakistan is at present in a worse situation than it was in 1971’. “It is plagued with all kinds of social evils. If we don’t rectify this soon, the day will not be far off when we disintegrate again. In order to rectify the situation, the first and the foremost necessity is to disengage ourselves from the foreign war and put our own house in order”, Khan had continued in his writing.
It is a timely and sensible advice. But the likes of Kayaanies, Qadries and Chaudharies of evolved Pakistan, would they listen to this sane advice? Of course, when A Q Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear technology, migrated to Pakistan, leaving behind the soil of his birth, in all probability, had no vision of the nightmare of the ‘Political Islam’ that his chosen country lapsed into.
Referring to the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 he further writes “It is most unfortunate that we in Pakistan have also not learnt any lesson from our past tragic mistakes. The break-up of Pakistan on Dec. 16, 1971was one such event. Pakistanis are fully aware of the reasons behind that tragedy, but it seems that our rulers and the establishment are oblivious to these facts, despite the fact that it was such a traumatic experience. In 1971, Gen Yahya Khan sent Gen. Tikka Khan to East Pakistan to crush ‘insurgents’. We saw our own army killing our own people. Extremely horrible scenes were shown on foreign TVs at that time. I was ashamed to see that such cruel acts could be perpetrated by Muslims against Muslims. Pakistanis against fellow Pakistanis. All are aware of the fact that West Pakistan considered East Pakistan a colony and treated its citizens in the same way as the British used to treat us. Then, as now, the rulers were under illusion that they would and could crush their opponents. They could not manage to do that to a very docile nation in 1971. They will be fighting for a 1000 years and bleed the country to destruction and disintegration”, he warned, as he concluded.
Of course, it is not clear, who are the ‘opponents’ that he is referring to, whether it is the land of his birth or the fundamentalist militants and terrorist outfits within Pakistan? 
A Q Khan is a pronounced Anti-Indian. He certainly wants a stable and strong Pakistan to counter India. But he is sadly aware, that this is not happening. But given to hyper illusions, political leaders of Pakistan have always indulged in jingoistic rhetorics. In their closed, dog-in-the-manger, mind set, they always thought that India is the Enemy No.1 of Pakistan. Accordingly school curriculum was designed to corrupt the young emerging Pakistanis to create hatred towards India. The recent book ‘Headley & I’ by the son of Mahesh Bhatt, who considers himself as a friend of Pakistan, is a case in point. He has come calling, on Indians at large, to tell “I loathed India from childhood”, attributing to Dawood Gilani, aka David Headley. Dawood Gilani is a product of Pakistan, and not of undivided India, and hence it is very clear, how the school text books were printed and published to cater hate mongering by the then Pakistani establishment. But, they, as is their wont, have always denied that such is the case. Denial is their essential spirit, whatever officially the Pakistanis and their Indian friends like Mani Shankar Iyer would say. Their habit of denial is rather pretty old. Here it is pertinent to note Dawood Gilani urf David Headley has not converted to Christianity, Pakistanis would have killed him if he has done that. He only changed his name to get a passport to travel in Christian name, since it was easier this way, to travel globally including India. This Dawood Gilani urf David Headley has confessed to being an ISI agent more than once while in U.S. custody for espionage and other criminal offences. He has been convicted and jailed for 35 years, for his role in 26/11 Mumbai massacre. As was only expected Pakistan has totally denied having anything to do with this Dawood Gilani urf  David Headley.
Immediately after the proclamation of Pakistan’s creation, in 1947 itself, it sent its army to Kashmir, and called it ‘Pathani tribals attacked Kashmir’. They kept denying since 1947 itself. It was their army who went into unguarded Kashmir, in the tribal attire. Thus, this streak of denial has a long history, as long as Pakistan’s own history itself. So, their denials at the latest barbaric act by its sentries, of beheading dead bodies of Indian soldiers, should not shock anyone. It is in their genes.  
Go back in time, to the day notorious fugitive Dawood Ibrahim ran away from India and found shelter in Pakistan for all the 20+ years since Mumbai riots. Pakistan has been denying his presence in the country. Even when one of its very prominent citizens, Javed Miandad’s son got married to this fugitive Dawood Ibrahim’s daughter, Pakistan did not blink. Entire glitterati of Karachi attended the marriage and yet Pakistan kept denying his presence in Pakistan. Being an Islamic republic and clergy being a dominant player in national politics, it is indeed very strange that Pakistan allowed this criminal to operate his illicit empire on its soil. Yet kept telling India that Dawood Ibrahim is not in Pakistan, every time India requested his extradition. It has done it innumerable times. It has always bluffed its way thru and world does recognise this truth, but Pakistan is unfazed.  
Karachi, the burstling commercial city of Pakistan, attracted hordes of people from the all over the subcontinent. After the migration of Hindus from  Karachi, Urdu speaking Muslims from UP and Bihar filled the vacuum, so did Pashtun from North West Pak in search of better pastures. Thus Sindhis, the original Karachiites, Mohajirs and Pashtuns occupied the socio-political space of Karachi. PPP, MQM & ANP, the political party of Sindhis-Pakistan Peoples Party, Mohajir Qoumi Movement, the party of Urdu speaking migrants from India, and Awami National Party representing Pashtuns interest, became the voices of these ethnic groups in the political landscape of Karachi. All these political outfits have militant armed wings. According to Andrew Marshal of the TIME, this fact is one of Karachi’s worst kept secrets. Of course, as usual, they have denied this too.
Look at the population profile of Pakistan. 98% are Muslims. 2% non-Muslims like Christians, Hindus & Parsies. This 2% has no political space hence are not trouble makers. However they do face trouble from some elements who want to usurp their women folks in marriages by forcible conversion or get them into trouble by hoisting false blasphemy charges, if they are found inconvenient to the ulterior design of these elements. These elements are often politically backed. But among majority there is an interminable conflict on sectarian lines. Sunny’s targeting Shias or Ahmediyas is fairly routine. Every year hundreds and thousands of people die in sectarian violence.
Writing from Karachi, Andrew Marshal of the TIME, however attributes violence to political differences. He titled his piece “PAKISTAN’S DARK HEART”. According to him there is huge chasm among political parties which are basically from an ethnic background. These differences are reflected on the streets. “Employers give jobs to members of their own ethnic group only” says one Abdul Ahad, a Kashmiri. “People have stopped trusting one another”. This distrust leads to recurring violence among Karachi residents. Hence there is a vacuum and this vacuum is being exploited by religious parties like Jamaat-e-Islami. Although these religious political parties could not influence the electorates to any serious extent, they too are not competent to bring about peace in the metropolis, thinks Andrew Marshal. He quotes a report by Crisis Group, a Brussels based think tank, who says that these religious parties “are commited to a narrow partisan agenda and willing to defend it through violence” and could be as bad as other political parties, in governance. ‘Karachi’, according to him “remains a maximum city with minimum governance”.
Post Mumbai attack of 26/11. When lone Pakistani-Ajmal Kasab from Faridkot-was captured, Pakistan totally denied initially, that Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistani. They even ridiculed the Indian claim by stating that Faridkot is in Bangladesh.
It was left to Nawab Sheriff, the former Pakistani premier to call the bluff. Then you have this Shahryar Ali, a Pakistani youngster, writing in a Pakistani Promotional website “The most embarrassing development now proves that the terrorist in fact is a Pakistani from the same Faridkot which we could not find on our map. His father identified him. It’s a day of national humiliation for us. Ajmal Kasab is a Pakistani from Faridkot, a fact we kept on denying at every level. But will we learn? but alas we still need proof”. 
Oh yes! didn’t Pakistan kept saying to the world that Osama Bin Laden is not in Pakistan, while he was very much in Pakistan’s Abbottabad for years, under Pakistan’s own security cover. And it was U.S. president Barack Obama’s single point agenda which got the U.S. Navy Seals to shoot Osama dead, right inside Pakistan, only a few kilometers from Islamabad. Pak denial blew on its face, so violently.
Then you have the writings by Gen. John Allen, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. He recently wrote in ‘Washington Post’, repudiating the repeated claims of Pakistan, that reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar is indeed in Pakistan along with his commanders, hiding in the areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. “Omar lives in Pakistan as do many of his commanders. From that safe vantage points, they have sent hundreds of young, impressionable helpless youth to their death and detention in Afghanistan. For this, they must forfeit their honour and any claim to Islamic virtue”, General had written.
Thus their denials are fairly common and hence should be taken with a pinch of salt. Pakistan in short, is not to be trusted. They are not trustworthy. They are always on denial mode. What can happen to the future of this country, is a loaded question. A Q Khan migrated from India to live for Pakistan, one day he may die for Pakistan. If A Q Khan, has no answer how can anybody else have the answer.

J.Shriyan


(The title was coined, after the latest development at the border. However, while searching for images of denials in the internet we were surprised, to find a Pakistani writer, who had written an article “The Denial Republic”. Thus the accusation has a history. Of course it is in a different context. We have reproduced the article in following pages.     - Editor)

The Denial Republic

Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi
We are approaching Pakistan’s 64th Independence Day but we continue to debate the reasons for the partition of British India and the establishment of Pakistan. There are disagreements on the root causes of the current socio-economic problems and what should be done to address them. Is there anything to be improved in the society or are Pakistan’s problems caused by an international conspiracy hatched by the followers of other religions and civilisations.
An important section of public opinion seeks the explanation of Pakistan’s establishment and current problems in the developments of the pre-independence period. Instead of focusing on the strengths of the Muslim community that led them to ask for a separate state, they highlight more what they call the exploitation of the Muslims by the Hindus of British India. The emphasis is on distinctions between the Muslims and the Hindus which, in their view, are still relevant to addressing the current India-Pakistan relations.
The exploitation theme can be referred to as a factor in the history of Pakistan which has greater appeal for those who experienced the pre-independence society. However, this argument loses much of its appeal to the second and third post-independence generation that is experiencing exploitation by their countrymen, invariably the Muslims. Unless their problems and concerns are addressed, their attitude towards that state and society is going to be influenced more by their own experience rather than the historical narratives of exploitation.
Today’s Pakistan must appear relevant to the present and future of the generations that have been born and trained in Pakistan. They are looking for a better future for themselves and Pakistan’s institutions and processes must facilitate that.
The MQM represents another kind of dilemma. Its stalwarts live in the nostalgia of the pre-partition period and talk of their exploitation in Pakistan by other ethnic groups. Some of them think that they still have the option of returning to India.
There are those who track the current problems back to the establishment of Pakistan and the decisions made in the early years of independence. They argue that Pakistan was established without giving a serious thought to what was to be done subsequently. Many decisions were made on the spur of the moment rather than taking into account the long term implications. For example, some analysts track the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan to the passing of the Objectives Resolution (March 1949) that incorporated Islamic identity in the political and constitutional arrangements for the future. This is viewed by many as yielding to the pressure of Islamic clergy which the latter used subsequently to justify their demand for a purely religion-based political order.
The Objectives Resolution was not the beginning of emphasis on Islam but a natural corollary of the employment of Islamic identity, culture and history for political mobilisation and identity formation by the All India Muslim League in the pre-independence period. The framers of the Objectives Resolution were convinced that the modern notion of state and democracy can be combined with the teachings and principles of Islam that were viewed as the ethical foundation of the Pakistani society rather than a set of punitive and regulative injunctions.
If they rejected the puritanical and orthodox view of the Islamic state, they also avoided the other extreme of a secular system like that of Kamal Ataturk’s Turkey. They adopted a midway house approach of keeping an identifiable linkage with Islam but not assigning the responsibility of enforcement of Islam to the state. All Pakistani constitutions direct the state to “enable” the Muslims to lead their lives in accordance with the teachings and principles of Islam. Another constitutional stipulation emphasises that there will be no law contrary to the principles and teachings of Islam. The basic change in the role of the state from an “Enabler” to “Enforcer” of Islam came during the military rule by General Zia-ul-Haq who began to enforce Islam through state orders and machinery for achieving his domestic and foreign policy agenda. Until 1977, there is only one instance of such enforcement; the state and society generally pursued a moderate disposition towards religion.
The current religious and cultural intolerance and militancy is the product of the policies adopted since 1977, especially from 1979 onwards when Zia-ul-Haq embarked on enforcement of Islam to the satisfaction of orthodox and conservative Muslim clergy. It is very difficult to draw the conclusion that if the founders of Pakistan had sought a new basis of identity for Pakistan after independence Pakistan would have been free of the on-going extremism and militancy.
Another explanation talks of external conspiracies against Pakistan for undermining the predominantly Muslim state and society. This discourse views all domestic and foreign policy developments as a function of religion. As per this view, the non-Muslim world is arrayed against Islam and there is a global conspiracy against Pakistan. This means that there is nothing wrong with Pakistan and Pakistanis. There is nothing to improve within the society but it has to be protected from the onslaught of the adversaries.
A variant of the conspiracy explanation is the well-known statement that Pakistan has all the needed natural, agricultural and human resources but the leadership is unable or unwilling to use them for the welfare of people or there is some international conspiracy for dissuading them from benefiting from these resources. The theories on international or domestic conspiracies are popular with the societies in decay that refuse to admit that something has gone wrong with the society. They also do not develop the capacity to meet the challenges to the future of the society because they are convinced that all conspiracies are bound to fail.
In the present day world, no matter how a country has come into existence and no matter what mistakes its rulers have made in the past, it cannot overcome its problems without acquiring modern knowledge and technology. This needs to be coupled with unemotional reflection on the problems or failures.
Pakistan cannot overcome its present difficulties by externalising its problems, blaming the past rulers or living in the delusion of possessing unlimited resources. The nations that have achieved socio-economic development in the last 50 years have assigned the highest priority to acquiring knowledge and technology and sought solutions through dispassionate self-analysis and sustained efforts. Pakistan’s future depends on how the current problems are addressed. This calls for building a knowledge-based society that assigns premium to professionalism and rationality.

The writer is an independent political and defence analyst. He was Visiting Professor of Pakistan Studies at Columbia University''s School of International and Public affairs (SIPA) from January 1996 to July 1999, and the allama Iqbal Professor at Heidelberg University, Germany from 1988 to 1991. Until 2001, he was a Professor of Political Science at the Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan. Rizvi obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.Phil. in Politics from the University of Leeds, UK.

FEATURE

  What is great about science?


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

“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it in himself.”
Galileo
Science, like religion, has become so dogmatic that any view that does not fit into the accepted views of the “greats” in science is outright rejected. Many thinkers feel that time has come for science to be kept at a respectable distance from governance in any democracy. The original definition of secularism was that the Church in Europe had to be separated from the government. We need to reinvent a scientific secularism if our civilization has to survive. I have been, from time to time, reminding the powers that be that all that is labeled as science need not necessarily be the truth. There are so many loops within the loops in science, influenced by the vested powerful groups that distort the scientific views. It is all the more dangerous in the filed of western medicine which, we in India, accept as gospel truth. People in the west are now having second thoughts about their own science. Thinkers have been opposing those ideas for a very long time.
Paul Feyerabend, writing in his book, Against Method, has this to say which supports my long held belief in the same arena. “Science is neither a single tradition, nor the best tradition there is, except for people who have become accustomed to its presence, its benefits, and its disadvantages. In a democracy it should be separated from the State just as Churches are now separated from the State.” Paul is not any ordinary man either, to be ignored! He replaced his good friend, Karl Popper, who used to rule The London School of Economics for decades as its unrivalled mentor and the Professor of Philosophy of Science. Later Paul became the Professor of Philosophy at UC Berkeley and Professor of Philosophy of Science at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. His other books are Philosophical Papers and Farewell to Reason. He died in 1994.
For a country like India it is all the more relevant. To give one small example: while we have 67 million hungry children dying by thousands daily even in 2012, because we have neither the will nor the money to given them food, we seem to be very generous in giving thousands of crores of tax payers money for the Moon Mission! Many, many such ridiculous “so called” scientific enterprises are encouraged by the governments obsessed with the scientific research mind set in preference to simple live and let live efforts for the hapless poor masses. In our civilization today, the poor end up paying for their poverty with their lives. Today’s scientific research, more so in medicine, is driven by the vested interest industries. Minds shackled by grants and merit awards can never ever think out of the box. They are like frogs in the well. 
We were interviewing professors for a Technology Institute the other day. It was a shocking experience to sit there and listen to the arguments of the “great” brains from our so called premier institutes who were under the false impression that ONLY repetitive, copy cat, me-too research papers of the conventional type published by the “international journals” were to be the yardstick for promotion, the teaching experience of decades (appreciated by students) not withstanding. In reality neither science nor rationality or research papers are universal measures of excellence. “They are particular traditions, unaware of their historical grounding,” feel thinkers in the field. 
The problem with scientific research in our country is that the centres of excellence and the universities depend on team work for their grant getting research where loyalty to the group, adherence to tradition, the restrictions of publication, the peer review process and the fear of losing further grants will come in the way of free thinking. Any one who breaks out of this immurement gets thrown out of the group. Most people, of course, can not and do not think out of the box. The few who can are afraid to lose their status, honour and chance of getting awards and prizes. They hang on to go with the flow. The cumulative effect of all these is the mundane repetitive research that we churn out year after year!
Karl Popper’s The Logic of scientific discovery, Thomas Samuel Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and John OM Bockris’s The New Paradigm all espouse similar philosophies. The paradigm shifts are not linear phenomenon but are modified by non scientific societal needs. Writing in his classic The Limits of Science Peter Medawar, a Nobel Laureate has this to say: “I am a professional scientist and a lover of science; there could be no greater misunderstanding of the purpose of this book that it is in any way anti-science. This is just to exculpate science from the reproach that science is unable to answer those ultimate questions. But that does not mean that science is not great, I argue. Those questions that science is not able to answer are the ones that science is not designed to answer.” He compares science to a railway engine not designed to fly. If we want to former to fly it will simply not be able to do that. To me this looks like a very na├»ve argument. Science is only a method and if that is the tool to get answers from nature it should not be designed for a particular task. If that is designed that way it can never claim the pride of place that it occupies today!
Western science today rules the roost all over the globe. The reason is not that western science has any inherent rationality but power play.  The colonizing nations thrust their will on the colonies and their science served them to produce weapons of destruction for their victories. Western science so far has created very efficient instruments of death. Some of our shallow thinkers feel that the third world would be starving now but for western science, green revolution etc! What they forget is that the troubles, in the first place, were created by western concept of development. One good example in the new world is enough to prove this point. “For centuries the Cuahuila Ameri-Indians never exhausted the natural resources of Southern California deserts and lived in the midst of plenty”. They had discovered more than sixty kinds of edible plants and many more with powerful medicinal properties. Western science did not do that. Today, with all modern science and evidence based medicine only a handful of white families live there with great difficulty! Western medicine probably succeeded partially in controlling infections but the over all results of decades of scientific research has resulted in western medicine being the leading cause of death in the USA today.  Reductionist drug molecules damage the human system while herbal medicines work like food inside the human system to heal the system without damaging the system in the bargain. Western science is one of the many roads to human wisdom and not the ONLY one.
Bruce Lipton, one of the leading cell biologists of the conventional science, goes a step further to demand for a new paradigm in science lest we should all perish with our present scientific thinking. Civilizations are made up of societal consciousness. Nuclear Third World War would be the end of human kind on the planet. Does any one doubt that this possibility is the fall out of reductionist thinking in science? We have nothing to fear the death of our old civilization based on outdated thinking in science and rationality. We need a new consciousness of unity in diversity. We have to treat the cultural auto-immune diseases threatening to annihilate human kind with radical surgery to usher in a new ear of unity, compassion and camaraderie. The newer communication methods might escalate the spreading of this new message faster than in the past where information could not spread this fast. 
The scientific theories and newer discoveries in future should be all in the internet for a true “peer review” by thousands of minds rather than the “scientific” impact factor of the cloistered scientific journals of today where a handful of peer reviewers with closed minds decide the fate of a new thinking! The citation index and the impact factor of the latter kind of research published on the internet would be surpassing and unprecedented. Our ancestors for eons had survived in this hostile world with their ingenuity and their scientific and rational thinking. It does not behoove us today either to question their authenticity or their antiquity citing our western scientific models, which are at best “designed to move on one track only like a railway engine and not designed to fly” as noted above by Peter Medawar. Our ancient wisdom was all powerful and was not confined exclusively to the railway track. Our ancient wisdom has stood us in good stead through centuries and has survived this long, based on the more reliable observational research. It is unwise to reject anything just because it is old and hug anything new because it is new and, therefore, better!

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” 
Isaac Newton



YEH MERA INDIA


24x7 Mental Helpline from BMC



Mumbai: Considering the urgent need for people with mental health problems to just have someone to talk to, the BMC will be launching a 24 x 7 mental helpline.
The helpline is aimed at reducing the increasing number of suicides every year, violence against women and stress. “It has been shown that just talking to a suicidal person reduces the chances of committing suicide,” said Dr Shubhangi Parkar, Deputy Dean of KEM Hospital and Head of its Psychiatry Department. She said the helpline will have trained counsellors who will counsel those who call at length. Dr Sandhya Kamath, Dean of KEM Hospital, said that they are in the process of hiring trained counsellors for the helpline.

Swiss wants to check black money flow

New Delhi/Bern: Often accused of providing safe havens to black money from India and other countries, Switzerland has proposed a new bill to prevent its banks and other institutions from accepting “untaxed assets” from their clients and put in place a stricter due diligence regime.The Switzerland Federal Council, the apex decision making body of Swiss government, has asked its finance ministry, the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), to submit a consultation draft at the start of 2013 to meet its goal of preventing banks from accepting untaxed funds from their clients.While a revised tax treaty has come into force between India and Switzerland for exchange of information on untaxed assets and money laundering related activities, the rules require sufficient information for any banking details to be shared and many requests face the risk of getting rejected in the name of ‘fishing expeditions’.

Less than1% conviction out of 635 rape cases in Delhi

New Delhi : There has been only one conviction out of over 600 cases of rape reported to Delhi Police this year even as crime against women has been on the rise in the national capital.
As many as 754 accused were arrested in the 635 cases reported to Delhi Police between January and November, the highest in past five-years, Home Ministry data said.
Of these total accused, only one was convicted while 403 were facing trials, investigations were pending against 348 and two others were discharged. A total of 572 rape cases were reported to Delhi Police last year as against 507 in 2010, 469 in 2009 and 466 in 2008.
The Delhi Police arrested 745 accused last year. Of these, 18 were convicted, 34 were acquitted, 597 were facing trials in different courts, 86 were still being investigated and 10 were discharged for the crime. In 2010, out of 685 arrested accused, 37 were convicted and 107 were acquitted. Trials were going on against 518 accused and investigations were pending against 13 others, the data said. Whereas, a total of 675 and 604 persons were arrested for rape in 2009 and 2008 respectively. Of these, 82 were convicted in 2009 and 52 in 2008, the data said. As many as 211 were acquitted in 2009 and 119 in 2008. During 2009, investigation was pending against one accused and in 2008, probe involving 17 accused was yet to be completed, the Home Ministry data said.
The national capital has also reported 624 cases of molestation of women between January and November and the police have arrested 768 accused. However, conviction was done in only one case. The trials were pending against 402 accused and investigations were pending against 356 others suspected to have molested women, it said. A total of 657 cases of molestation of women were reported last year in which 910 were arrested. Whereas, in 601 cases of molestation of women reported in 2010, 552 in 2009 and 611 in 2008, 867 accused were arrested in 2010, 826 in 2009 and 912 in 2008, the data said.
Only three were convicted for molesting women last year, 12 in 2010, 11 in 2009 and 16 in 2008, it said. A total of 835 accused arrested in 2011 were facing trials. Also, the trials were pending against 811, 737 and 780 accused arrested in 2010, 2009 and 2008 respectively, the data said. The national capital has reported 111 cases of dowry harassment between January and November this year. Besides, 98 such cases were reported to Delhi Police last year, 78 in 2010, 118 in 2009 and 104 in 2008.
There were 128 dowry deaths reported in the national capital in the first eleven months this year as against 142 and 143 such deaths in 2011 and 2010 respectively, it said. A total of 193 cases of eve teasing were reported to Delhi Police between January and November in which 200 accused were arrested. Of these, 105 were still under investigation and 95 were facing trials, the data said adding that there was no conviction in any of the reported cases.

Youth tied to car, dragged nearly a kilometre

Jabalpur: Three persons were arrested  for allegedly dragging a physically challenged youth by tying him to a car. 
The accused have been been identified as - Devendra Baidehi, Anil Sahu and Sanjay Sen, garha police station in-charge JCM Chandel said. Ajay (23) alias Ajju Thakur’s father Ratan Singh said that all the three accused were his son’s friends. Last year, due to an alleged accidental firing Ajju had suffered serious injuries in which one of his legs was amputated.
Though all of them had assured him that they would bear the expenses of his medical treatment, they refused following which Ajju gave a statement to the police against them. 
However, the police said after Ajju suffered bullet injuries in his leg he was admitted in the government medical college hospital and police had registered a case against him under Arms Act and other sections. 
According to police, on Friday, there was heated argument between the victim and Devendra over the their friends Sanju’s love interest . Following the argument, Devendra threatened Ajay with dire consequences. Devendra walked into to Ajay’s house at around 6 am with his friends, forcibly took him out and tied him to his car. Ajay sustained serious injuries after he was dragged behind their car for nearly a kilometre, police said.

Shoot the messenger–BMC way

Mumbai : Instead of initiating an inquiry into its own deeds to find out the reasons behind such massive corruption, the standing committee of the BMC decided to ask for an inquiry into why a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report was filed on the civic body without the State sanctioning it.
Rahul Shewale, chairperson of the standing committee said, ” The CAG made this report on the BMC although the State did not ask it to do so. We will ask for an inquiry into why this was done.”
The CAG had slammed the civic body for increasing the cost of road projects in the city and spending an additional Rs 702 crore of the taxpayers’ money without following the necessary procedures, in the report that was presented to the State Legislature during the Winter Session in December.
The CAG scrutinised road works done from December 2009 to October 2011 and the Sena-BJP-led civic body has been severely criticised in the report for the poor state of the city roads and massive corruption. The audit scrutiny reported that roadwork contracts, originally worth Rs 1,160 crore were increased to Rs 1,863 crore without inviting fresh tenders, which is mandatory. The cost of 30 of 46 cement-concrete roads was increased by Rs 469 crore and 29 of 42 asphalt roads by Rs 233 crore. These additional contracts were awarded to the same contractors.
The report said that the increased cost, called variation, was 62% for cement-concrete roads and 57% for asphalt roads.
Corporators from the NCP and the MNS demanded that a CBI inquiry be initiated on the basis of the CAG report against BMC officials who had been in charge during the time when the report was filed. However, the very same corporators, led by MNS group leader Dilip Lande and NCP group leader Rais Shaikh, walked out of the meeting when Yashodhar Phanse, Leader of the House in the BMC, offered to read out the names of corporators who had made proposals that were under the scanner in the CAG report.
The standing committee has now decided that since the BMC has been maligned in the CAG report, it shall ask for an inquiry into why a CAG report was filed without sanction from the State.
D M Sukhtankar, former municipal commissioner, said that the CAG does not need anybody’s sanction to carry out an audit. “It is a statutory authority and has every right to look into public money. The BMC has its own auditor but the CAG does its own auditing because a lot of roadwork in the city is undertaken by the State. Such a decision would not have been taken at the bureaucratic level,” he said.





MONTH THAT WAS


Thai Deputy PM charged over export of 100 tigers to China


Bangkok : A Thai deputy prime minister was charged in connection with the export to China of 100 tigers, an endangered species protected by international law, the attorney general's office said.
Plodprasod Suraswadi approved the export of tigers from Sriracha Tiger Zoo - a popular tourist attraction a few hours from Bangkok - to a Chinese breeding firm in 2002. He was the head of the forestry department at the time.

312 hectare land turns green


Bhopal: People of a small village Takhla Khurd in Barghat Janpad of Seoni district have done a work in a short period what other people take years to do. Tall trees instead of weed now stand in 312.66 hectare area in the village as a result of hard work, dedication and willpower on the part of total 15 persons. Small and big wild animals are also thriving in this man-made forest. Now, people of the village have also started cultivation of lac in this forest. These villagers have earned net income worth Rs. 3 lakh 41 thousand from sale of about 4,300 lakh kilogrammes of lac grown by them from May 3 to November 12. Presently, three self-help groups are undertaking lac cultivation here.
People have also constituted a Forest Protection Committee in the village, which is situated in Amagarh Forest Range of South Seoni General Forest Division.


Expired noodles kills child

A five-year-old girl died while other family members were taken seriously ill after they consumed a packet of expired noodles in south Kashmir's Kulgam district, PTI reported quoting police. 
Superintendent of Police (SP), Kulgam, Muhammad Shafi Mir said Abroo, daughter of Nisar Ahmad Chak of Manzgam village, along with her parents and three siblings, fell unconscious after consuming the noodles, which had expired in the year 2007. The SP said the pack of noodles was brought from the shop owned by the family and run by Chak and his brother Gulzar Ahmad Chak. 


Ad council raps 15 firms

New Delhi: The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) pulled up 15 companies, including GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) and Max Life Insurance, for misleading claims in their advertisements. While GlaxoSmithKline was asked to withdraw the commercial for its energy drink Horlicks, Hindustan Unilever was asked to pull out the commercial for its toothpaste brand Pepsodent Expert Protection. In May, ASCI, along with AdEx (a TAM Media Research entity), had formed the National Advertising Monitoring Services (NAMS). It has taken action against 205 allegedly misleading advertisements against which complaints were received between May and October. In 2011, ASCI had upheld 177 advertisements.


 Toxic cough syrup kills 40 in Pak

Lahore: At least 12 more men have died after drinking adulterated cough syrup in Pakistan's Punjab province, taking the death toll since November to 40, officials said on Saturday. The total number of deaths this week has risen to 20, health officials said.
Eighteen deaths occurred in Gujranwala and Toba Tek Singh districts and the remaining in the provincial capital of Lahore. Another 40 men are being treated in several hospitals. Twenty men, a majority of them drug addicts, died in Lahore in November after drinking the Tyno cough syrup.
The latest deaths involved a cough syrup named Dextromethorphan, Punjab Health Secretary Arif Nadeem said. The deaths in Gujranwala and Toba Tek Singh were very similar to those in Lahore, he said.
Nadeem said an excessive dose of the active ingredient in cough syrups had resulted in the deaths. 


Dalit beaten with slippers for sitting on bench!

Chennai : Even as some politicians in Tamil Nadu have been campaigning against girls of upper castes falling in love with Dalits and marrying them, a man was beaten up with slippers by Caste Hindus for sitting on a bench.
The shameful incident occurred in Vanakankadu village in Pudukottai district in central Tamil Nadu (nearby the famous Thanjavur). The victim Annadurai is the husband of a Dalit Panchayat chief Kalaimani. Incidentally, Kalaimani was in the news recently when she  defied the diktat of Caste Hindus and fought for her right to hoist the national flag on Independence Day at the Panchayat office premises.
According to police, Annadurai had gone to the office of Village Administrative Officer and was sitting on a bench. A few members of the Caste Hindus took this as an affront to their caste hegemony and rudely asked him to get up from the bench. When Annadurai refused to listen to their orders, the Caste Hindus removed their slippers and began beating him. They also attacked him with wooden logs until he was rescued by some onlookers.
An injured Annadurai was then admitted at the Pudukottai Government Hospital and the Vadakadu police have registered a case. However, no arrests have been made yet.
Ironically, his wife, who was elected Panchayat president last year, was not allowed to hoist the national flag during this year’s Republic Day celebrations at the Panchayat office. However, during the Independence Day, she stuck to her position and ignoring warnings unfurled the tricolour, which had angered members of the upper castes.

New intelligence unit to detect coporate frauds: Pilot

New Delhi: Faced with a growing number of financial frauds, the Corporate Affairs Ministry is setting up a new intelligence unit that will delve into 'data mining' from all possible sources to detect any wrongdoings by the companies and their promoters at the earliest possible stage. "In the Ministry, we are setting up an intelligence unit. It is at a nascent stage. We would be putting technical people with lot of experience and expertise on the job and these would be the people who can mine the data," Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot told PTI. "The idea is to have a set of people to do the data mining, collection and checking of records that is available on various platforms, and them link them with the inputs from investigating agencies," Pilot said. Meanwhile, worried over fraud in the health insurance sector, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority plans to build an advanced detection and prevention system to check fraudulent claims. In order to reduce the cost of insurance inflicted by fraud, Irda said it is proposing to build advanced detection and prevention systems at industry level to identify fraudulent claims before payment occurs and to improve the accuracy of fraud detection.





ABRACADABRA

When X'mas left Britons poorer


London: Christmas has left millions of Britons in debt, as one in four-22 percent-said they would not have been able to afford Christmas without borrowing.
A survey by consumer group found that nearly half of Britons — 46 percent — used credit cards, overdrafts, store cards or payday loans to fund the festivities, the Daily Express reported.
Average borrowings were 301 pounds but six percent took 500-1,000 pounds while two percent borrowed more than 1,000 pounds.
Five percent had to borrow from friends or family.Despite this, 56 percent spent less on Christmas this year than last year, with 43 percent cutting back significantly, the daily said.
Soaring food prices meant 48 percent did not buy as much to eat and 45 percent bought lower quality food.
With energy and food costs rising, the survey also found that people don’t feel positive about the New Year, with 54 percent expecting their household budgets to be squeezed even tighter.


With vodka, stranded elephants roar to life


Two Indian elephants, owned by a travelling Polish circus, were transported from Novokuznetsk to Omsk, an official said. The hay in the truck caught fire from the diesel engine heating the cargo section, where the elephants were.
The truck had to be stopped and the elephants promptly released. They escaped the fire unharmed, but were left stranded on a Siberian highway in winter.
The handler made the animals jog so that they did not freeze, the official said.
Meanwhile, local authorities were alerted and the animals were moved into a heated garage nearby.
As an added precaution, the elephants were served two cases of vodka mixed with warm water.
"They roared like it was the jungle... Must have been happy," the official said.
The pachiderms got away with minor frostbite to their legs and tips of their ears, nothing that would disrupt their performance schedule, a spokeswoman for the Omsk city circus said.
Their handler was hospitalised, also with frostbite.

Now, talking fork that makes bizarre sounds while eating

London : Japanese researchers have developed a new talking fork that speaks different words and plays bizarre sounds while a person eats. The fork contains a micro-controller, a speaker, amplifier and battery within its handle, and generates a variety of sounds depending on the type of food being eaten.
The sounds are apparently generated by the resistance value of the food as it is bitten off the fork – the noise it produces as she eats a chicken nugget sounds remarkably similar to a chicken clucking, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.
The fork is the concept of a research group from the Ochanomizu University in Tokyo. A video about the instrument shows a woman enjoying bites of numerous types of foods as the fork produces some rather odd sound-effects and even speaks to her.
When the lady in the video tucks into a piece of tempura the fork proclaims “Garigori” and “Shori” while a stick of cheese produces the word “Paku”. Apparently longer pieces of food will cause the fork to produce multiple sounds and words while they are eaten. As the lady licks ice-cream off it, it produces a rather high pitched and fast spoken “pakupaku”.  Researchers from the Ochanomizu University in Tokyo aimed to inspire people to try different types of food and encourage a more varied diet, the report said. They also suggest the fork be used as a communication tool for couples. 

British neighbours spend $64,000 on feud over a bin

London: Two British neighbours went on to spend a whopping 40,000 pounds (about $64,300) in a legal dispute over a moveable garbage bin.
The legal tangle started after one of the neighbours named Liaquat Ali refused to shift a bin from the drive their neighbours share. It infuriated his neighbour Iqbal Suleman, who complained that the bin blocked his van, The Sun reported.
“My wife and I moved the bin to the widest part of the alleyway at the back where we know any van or car will fit through easily,” said Ali, a computer analyst.
As the matter could not be settled, Suleman engaged lawyers to write to Ali.
“Then we received a lawyer’s letter about ‘damages’ and ‘losses’. We thought it was a joke,” said Ali.
As the battle headed to court, Ali fixed four CCTV cameras to spy on Suleman, 45, and his bin in Edgware town in London. But his costs soared to 36,370 pounds after his lawyers compiled 40 pages of evidence.
Suleman hit back with 300 pages of photos and witness statements. By defending himself, he spent 2,000 pounds.

20% of Britons use bed- sheets for over a month

London : Nearly one fifth of Britons do not change their sheets at least once a month, that could give rise to host of health problems, ranging from asthma to rhinitis and eczema, reports media.
A survey of more than 2,000 people in the UK found that more than half of them sleep in dirty sheets – and women are more lax when it comes to bedroom hygiene, the Daily Mail reported. The research found just two in five of Britons change their sheets weekly – in line with the standards of TV’s cleaning gurus Kim and Aggie.
A further 36 per cent change bedsheets fortnightly, while 17 per cent admit to changing dirty sheets just once a month or even less frequently. Meanwhile six per cent of house-proud people stripped the sheets more than once a week, one per cent of people admitted they were changed just once a year, while three per cent had no idea.
But 40 per cent of men managed a weekly change, and a further eight per cent did it even more frequently than that, commissioned for the home retailer Dunelm Mill. Dr Adam Fox, a paediatric allergist at a leading London teaching hospital, warned that dirty sheets could exacerbate a number of health problems.
“We spend about a third of our lives asleep and this is reflected in the debris that we leave between the sheets. Our bodies shed millions of skin cells each day, many of which rub off in our sleep and are deposited in our beds. In addition to skin cells, our bodies also secrete fluids, sweat and oils during a long nights sleep,” Fox said.




THE LAST PAGE


Why  not  aim  at a South Asian Union?

Dr. M. V. Kamath

So at last, India has woken up. It has, on the face of it, hardened its stand against Pakistan. Not only has the Army Chief Gen. Bikram Singh warned Pakistan that India can retaliate at “a place and time of our choosing”, he has told his commanders to be “aggressive in the face of firing”. Singh, however, has discounted the possibility of the skirmish leading to a full-fledged war and has also discounted the possibility of Pakistan resorting to nuclear warfare saying that it has no relation to the local conflict. Besides the Army Commander, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh as he should, has also warned Pakistan that it cannot be “business as usual” in the aftermath of the beheading of an Indian soldier. Not much of a threat, but may be Dr Singh does not want to sound too aggressive and is only waiting for further development before a more definitive step can be announced. What are the likely developments? There are media reports that 2,500 Pakistani terrorists are waiting at the LOC to cross into India, to disturb the peace in Jammu & Kashmir. That likelihood cannot be ignored. What if they do, with Pakistan’s connivance, subtly or openly? The general impression one gets from reading the media is that war is not an option. But how long are we to take Pakistan’s continuing encroachment on Indian soil? What if they do not return the decapitated head of the Indian soldier we have asked for? Taking the issue to the United Nations is no option. It would be sheer madness. If attempted, India will be neatly entrapped, considering the new friendly approach towards Pakistan that the U.S. is now following. We can’t expect Washington to be helpful when, presently, it has decided to give a hefty $ 3 billion as aid to its subaltern ally. We have to play the game in a way that benefits us. Meanwhile, the arrogance of Pakistan should not be under-estimated. Our peace-mongers do not apparently understand the Pakistani mind-set. The Army hates India – there can be no two opinions about it. The way its spokespersons present its case, what starts as a skirmish may end in nuclear bombardment – and never mind if India can level down its neighbour into dust. India would inevitably suffer a lot. Three points need to be remembered. One, Pakistan Army is untrustworthy. Over the years it has broken every promise it has made to India. Two, the hatred that Pakistan has against India has no end. And who says that? Irfan Hussain, a proper Pakistani who once served in the Pakistan Civil Service. In his book: Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan, Islam and the West he says he once asked a Pakistani commanding officer whether it was wise for Pakistan to take on the Indian Army. Writes Husain: “I will never forget his reply: in all seriousness he said that one Muslim was equal to five Hindu soldiers and this would redress the military imbalance between the two countries”. And this after Pakistan had lost four wars and, on one occasion, India had taken over 70,000 Pakistani soldiers as prisoners-of-war. Pakistan still lives in the age of Ghazni Mohammed. And what Pakistan Army employs are not soldiers, but barbarians.  Against this background it would be foolish to expect Pakistan to come to civilized terms with India. One can’t even accept any willingness on the part of Pakistan to come to a temporary settlement. For Pakistan it can only be temporary, to be broken when it suits it. Three, the argument as always is that the ‘core’ problem is Kashmir and unless it is resolved to Pakistan’s satisfaction, it will have the right to stir rebellion in the Valley. Islamabad must be firmly told that Kashmir is not negotiable and any effort to disturb the peace and tranquility of the state will be met firmly and uncompromisingly. Importantly, the United States, in particular, must be told that its continued aid to Pakistan is unacceptable and will be taken as being highly offensive. When president Eisenhower was once told so, his reply was that American arms and equipment provided to Pakistan was not meant to be used against India to which V.K. Krishna Menon’s riposte was that arms had yet to be manufactured that were functional in only one direction. Pakistan has three options: One, it can ignore India’s feelings, push jihadis into Kashmir and as usual proclaim that it is in no way involved in it. Inevitably there will be killings and Pakistan will lay the blame on India. Two, the U.S. may, just may, tell Pakistan to behave itself and some behind-the-scene diplomacy may get to work to prevent a major conflict. Three, a political solution can still bring normalcy but what kind of solution can that be? One suggestion is the formation of a South Asian confederation, in which India, Pakistan and Jammu & Kashmir can be equal partners. The latter would then belong neither to India nor to Pakistan nor would it be “free”, since it would be part of the confederation. The idea may be dismissed as too far-fetched and Utopian, but then can one think of any other solution, apart from a full-time war in which Pakistan is totally destroyed and India will simultaneously pay a very heavy price? One thing should be clear: Hatred will take Pakistan nowhere. It will only eat into its own vitals. It will have to be permanently subservient to a foreign power, be it the United States or China. Pakistan is already seen to be on its last legs. It is practically accepted as a failed state and its sliding down into the drain is a matter of a few months. A South Asian Confederation will go a long way to bring not just peace but prosperity to the region and if India and Pakistan can come together, one may expect Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar not to speak about Nepal and Afghanistan to join the Union. And what India confers on Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan can confer on Baluchistan, in a face-saving device. But all this calls for some hard thinking. Is Pakistan ready for it? For that matter, is India? The European Union can serve as a model to both India and Pakistan. For both it can be a win-win situation. If a South Asian Confederation or Union comes about, it can become the most powerful unit in the world, and the envy of the United Nations. But then who is to take the initiative? Surely, not Dr Manmohan Singh? Too bad we don’t have another Atal Bihari Vajpayee in politics today. So it will be bloodshed and more bloodshed in the months and years to come.