Thursday, May 9, 2013

PARTICIPATIVE SUPPORT


A BIG THANK YOU

After completing our journey of 150th issue, we had come out with a booklet primarily intended to promote subscription for I & C. It was called “QUESTION OF ANSWERS…..An Invitation to Participate”. The booklet contained 20 subscription forms. Among others, we also had the pleasure of giving this booklet to Dr Hegde. Surely, we couldn’t have asked for more. Dr Hegde responded magnificently by sponsoring 20 of his friends, relatives and colleagues to be readers of I & C for 10 years. WE PROFUSELY THANK DR N.V.H FOR HIS EXEMPLARY GESTURE. We have pleasure in sharing some of our thoughts on the man in the following paragraphs. 
In Mangalore, if you are searching for a good human being with multiple dimensions, who is an industrialist, an educationist, a philanthropist, a spiritualist, a samanwaya man and an extempore speaker, you just have to take the elevator to the 8th floor of Ram Bhavan complex at Navbharat Circle and ask for Dr Nitte Vinay Hegde. As you usher into his well appointed office, where he presides over the destinies of hundreds of people who are associated with Nitte group, you will find him welcoming you with that trademark benevolent smile.
Born to an illustrious father Late Supreme Court Justice K.S. Hegde, on 3rd April 1939, Dr Hegde is a Science Graduate by education from St. Joseph’s, Bangalore.
Having tried his hand at different industrial activities, enterprising young Vinay took a pot shot at going on his own. Thus was born Lamina, which grew into a slew of multiple manufacturing activities to be called Lamina Group of Companies of which he is the CMD. 
Coastal Karnataka district of erstwhile Dakshina Kannada was already known nationally for its educational institutions and the enterprising spirit of Mr Hegde tried his luck in the expanding horizon in the globalised market place. He opened diverse institutions of Medicine, Engineering and other branches of knowledge, 22 to be precise, under the banner of Nitte Education Trust, of which he continues to be the president. Wanting to establish his own impeccable credentials in the educational field, he created state of the art medical colleges, which Medical Council of India recognized, to grant it status of University. He is the first and the current Chancellor of Nitte University.  
Recognizing his multiple industrial facets, he was appointed Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industries Mangalore Chapter for a term.
When Karnataka Govt. planned to create a committee of senior industry thinkers for drafting a long term plan for the all round development of coastal districts, it created Coastal Agenda Task Force (CATF). He was the first Chairman of CATF.
His successful presence in the educational scene of Dakhsina Kannada propelled him as the first Chairman of Board of Governors of National Institute of Technology, Karnataka Surathkal, a distinguished deemed university of higher learning, in coastal Karnataka. This was a Govt. of India appointment.
No wonder Mangalore University thought it fit to confer on Mr N. Vinay Hegde Honorary Doctorate, for his distinguished and longstanding service in the fields of education and industry.
Unassuming, unpretentious and ever smiling Dr Hegde is always a pleasure to meet. We wish him long and healthy life. We take this opportunity to let all our patrons know that we do need participative support. Kindly respond positively.    – Editor

EDITOR'S COLUMN


Friends

We are well into summer. But somehow, it has not been very hot. But being May, monsoon may not be too far. Hope the parched land in the interiors of India, especially around Deccan plateau, shall have some earnestly awaited reprive with some good south west monsoon very soon.

Political heat that descended last month on Bangalore has spread all over Karnataka, with election to state assembly slated for 5th May. What shall transpire is anybody’s guess. There is a possibility that incumbency factors can be decisive. Of course at I & C, its always wishing good for the best man out there.

Month-in-Perspective, subject to space constraints, tried to look at different happenings during the month, across India. The physical attack of a 5 year old girl child in Delhi, again exposed the vulnerability of children and barbaric instincts of sexually depraved men including teenage boys. Police once again proved, how badly law breakers they are. Aam Aadmi Party for the first time exposed the multiple standards of law enforcing agency of the capital. It was indeed a day of national shame. 

The sentence of Sanjay Dutt, the film actor, for his actions, of commission and omission, during the 1993, Mumbai blast strangely divided the public discourse on the issue of clemency. It was, prima facie, an open and shut case, but for the PCI Chairman, Marknadeya Katju, a former Supreme Court judge himself. As usual he poked his nose, where there was no space at all. We have tried to discuss the issue for its irrelevance, when a relevant movement by Arvind Kejriwal, for public good, media failed to provide space. But this has been so, many a time with media managers-barking up the wrong tree.

Hope our readers shall find our exercise worth their time. Rest of the issues are as usual. Do revert with your inputs. We value them.



MONTH IN PERSPECTIVE


MAHARASHTRA: Khwaja Yunus, 27 year old engineer from Parbhani in Maharashtra, was picked up in 2003 January, for his alleged role in the 2002 Ghatkoper (North Mumbai) bomb blast. While being transported to Aurangabad, allegedly he escaped and police alleged that in the encounter that ensued, he was killed. But the CID inquiry ordered by the Bombay High Court revealed that he had died in police custody. API Sachin Vaze, naiks  Rajendra Tiwari and Rajaram Nikam and Constable Sunil Desai are the four accused in the case.
Recently, Advocate RV Mokashi, the Special Public prosecutor for the CID in this case, had resigned, without assigning any reasons. Reportedly Mokashi is known to be an upright lawyer of high integrity, hence legal circle was rather shocked at his abrupt exit. 
The mother of Younus, Aasiya Begum was despondent at the latest development, but appeared determined to fight for the justice. “I have seen so many setbacks, this is just one more. As a mother who lost her son whose life had just begun and, who was not allowed to see even his dead body, I am not going to be deterred by any setbacks. I will fight till I die”.
If this is the anguished cry of a mother for justice, how many victims of 1993 Mumbai riots are still waiting in the wings for the deliverance of justice? After 20 years, on 21st March 2013, Supreme Court disposed of appeals by death row convicts so also actor Sanjay Dutt's in the blast case. But the survivors of the riot, can’t even get cases registered against culprits if they happen to be policemen. So the question that persists in Maharashtra, how are we going to address the issue of police non accountability for the crimes they have committed in the uniform. Sooner this is tackled in all seriousness the better for the country, especially when it involves vulnerable sections of our society. 
That Maharashtra is going thru an unprecedented drought in vast parts of the state is not a news. It is unfortunately a fact of life for a huge section of agrarian Maharashtra. It is an irony that the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, a Sharad Pawar protégé, has only badly exposed himself of his insensitivity by saying “if the dams were dry he could not fill them even if he urinated”. That remark was not only crude, it exposed his real mental makeup. It showed that he and his ilk are in politics for power and pelf only and not for public service. But the height of the insensitivity was the tender for food supplies to the official bungalows of CM Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, in a state reeling under even acute drinking water shortage.
It is very well known that every ministerial bungalow has a kitchen and kitchen staff attached to it. They cater to the households as well as their visitors/guests and staff. But obviously CM & Dy CM are not happy with their kitchen preparations. 
The tender for food was for a year, according to the paper carrying the tender details - devils printed as Rs: 100 crores, but officials clarified as only Rs: 1 crore. Assuming it is only Rs: 1 crore it works to over Rs: 4 lakhs per month, per bungalow or over Rs: 13000/- per day, assuming, the CM or Dy CM are at the bungalow on all days of the year and eat for all those 365 days, which is extremely unlikely. What can you call this, ‘an extravaganza’!!, in a state reeling under a very bad drought. And did they say that they are very pained at the suffering of farmers due to the acute shortage of water! Haven’t they!
The media savvy crowd has learnt in all details how law makers (MLAs) of Maharashtra had beaten up a policeman and have remained defiant, and how the political machinery made a drama of investigation and exhonerated all rogue MLAs and then got a case registered against the policeman himself, with no higher-ups in the police hierarchy coming to the defence of hapless policeman. 
If the entire episode has exposed the politics of arrogance of elected representatives, their utility for the state and its people remain a mirage.
A recent report titled “20 children die waiting for their open-heart surgery at the KEM hospital, as Maharashtra MLAs debate their privileges and rights”, has hit the nail on the issue of wastage of state resources which include public money spent on these MLAs upkeep as well as the expenditure on expensive elections. 
MLAs who are so upset with their rights and privileges have rarely shown, writes Anil Singh, “the same sensitivity when it comes to the grievances of those who have elected them to the assembly. Hundreds of farmers have committed suicide, the state is facing the worst drought in 40 years, hospitals don’t keep 10% of the beds for poor patients, resident medical officers in civic hospitals are contracting TB, nothing is coming out of Adarsh scam, co-operative bank scam, the irrigation scam. Even the death of 20 children awaiting open-heart surgery since January 1, did not move our MLAs. No one asked why KEM hospital has just one heart-lung machine despite being the premier hospital of the country’s richest civic body”.
Yes there is something seriously wrong with our political class. And as years pass, it is becoming increasingly bad. Is there hope?
The 4 week extension granted by the Supreme Court to actor Sanjay Dutt, to surrender to the jail authorities, has expectedly raised uncomfortable questions. Because, some Rs: 300 crores worth of business is at stake, you can get away, even temporarily from the application of law. And they call it ‘humanitarian’ isn’t it! What is so ‘humane’ about it, is a question begging for answer. If humanitarian angle is the reason for Supreme Court to act, then Zaibunnisa Kazi, suffering from cancer, was an eminently deserving case. She is old and infirm too. But quite strangely she was denied any consideration. Surely legal eagles should not suffer from such selective responses or else the expectation of justice from the ultimate arbiter will be lost.
Mumbra, in the Thane District of Maharashtra has always been a predominantly lower middle Muslim families. For varieties of reasons, including poverty, Mumbra grew as a ghetto. Of course governments can always make a difference. They are there, only to make a difference, but they do not do it in all places and to all people squarely and fairly. Mumbra didn’t receive the attention, like many other suburbs of Mumbai, for, once again, varieties of reasons. The growing population of Mumbra needed houses, and there were many, who jumped into supply the need, damn the law. Excess profiteering is always the bane of all business. House construction in Mumbra was no different. They sold the houses in Mumbra cheap, but both land & labour too was cheap in Mumbra, and therefore, housing contractors/owners could have provided better houses at relatively cheaper prices. But to give it cheap they compromised on materials usage and safety measures, away from the governmental regulation. Result had to be crashes causing avoidable deaths. So suddenly the govt in Thane are shaken off their slumber, drugged by corruption. They come cracking on all unauthorized buildings, and hundreds are suddenly rendered homeless. This is indeed the height of insensitivity. For the failure of the state governments, compounded by greedy developers and haste of gullible people, all added the sudden rooflessness. Of course, wrongs have to be corrected but it has to be a planned demolition with some kind of alternatives for the smoother transition. But then authorities have always looked for soft targets. Yeh Mera India.
Our media, like many other social mediums play the ball for the haves, like it or not. Their family histories, fortunately not the juicier ones, their tantrums, their celebrations hit media headlines. Of course,  Shobha De, unlike this writer, could be the most qualified and competent to write on the idiosyncrasies and other features of affluent and powerful of Mumbai city.
And comes the news that “Ambani Brothers have joined hands in a Rs:1200 crores deal”. Now, what is the deal, may not be important. But the fact that these two warring siblings, have at long last decided to shake hands, is an earth shattering news, to hit the print media front page headlines, of just about all major dailies, both English and some of the other Indian language newspapers, is something to be taken with a pinch of salt. After all, it was some business deal. At best, it could have appeared in some business/economy page of the newspaper. But to appear in the front page, that too as a ‘headline’!?
It wasn’t long ago that stones were found in the fuel tank of Anil Ambani’s chopper parked in some helipad in Juhu, in North West Mumbai. Was it some sinister plan to annihilate the junior Ambani? Then the investigating police found that one of the technical hand at the helipad knew more about it. He was to have been interrogated, or was interrogated, but the press didn’t get the wind of what probably this technical hand had blurted. And one not so fine morning he was found dead on the railway tracks near the Mumbai suburban Santacruz railway station. Reportedly he had no business to be at Santacruz railway station. He was not staying anywhere near Santacruz. His abrupt death or was it murder, left many questions unanswered, including how did stones get into the fuel tank of Anil Ambani’s helicopter? Under whose instruction it happened? Was somebody planning to kill Anil Ambani? Who would have benefitted by his death?
In the media, nobody asked these questions, so were the police quite. File closed? Nobody knows. May be it’s a private affair of the Ambani family. Why should, we, the ordinary Indians, know about it! Similarly why should we know about the Rs:1200 crores deal between the, now foes – now friends, brothers?!
How many of us remember the attempt on the life of Nusli Wadia, the owner of Bombay Dying Group, the once upon a time competitor to Ambanis? Police investigation reportedly did indicate the involvement of one of Reliance Industries Ltd. director. But that was the last heard of it. Yes since then much of the water has flown down the Haji Ali to Arabian Sea off  Breach Candy, the Mumbai water front of rich & powerful. Life had gone on then, so shall it, this time round too. Keep smiling. This is Yeh Mera India.

PUNJAB: President Pranab Mukherjee is not the same as Pranab Mukherjee, the former Finance Minister. As Finance Minister, he may have dilly dallied lot of time, taking  decisions, for reasons known and unknown. He is a man who knew too many details of financial misdemeanors from across the socio/political spectrum. 
But as President, probably he has turned over a new leaf. He does not procrastinate. Right or wrong, he has taken quick decisions on Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru. The mercy petitions of both were rejected and the law took its ultimate course. Now comes the case of one Dharmapal, a rape convict, who while out on parole, murdered the victim and four members of her family in 1993. In 1999, he was awarded death sentence. A person who not only raped a hapless woman, then without mercy murdered the victim and her 4 family members. How does he deserve mercy? And the powers that be, couldn’t decide his mercy plea. A mercy plea is a democratic legal option available to all convicts. But there is a system in place to deal with it. And sadly, this system failed for all 14 years to decide on this unfortunate case. It was left to the present incumbent Pranab Daa to decide, and he was cleared to be hanged on 15th April. Procrastination is always an enemy of progress. If as Finance Minister Pranab Daa has failed, he does not want to fail as the occupant of Rashtrapathi Bhavan. He has sent unmistakable signals. Two cheers to President Pranab Mukherjee.  
GOA: SPCA – State Police Complaint Authority, probably the first of its kind in the country was operational in Goa since some time without any fan fare. It is truly a very positive step in criminal justice delivery system, especially when there are n number of instances of police high handedness and lack of accountability for the actions of commission and omission from the police fraternity. Although there are no details available in the media about its functioning, apparently there are about 50 cases pending before the SPCA in Panaji. The former chairman, Eurico da silva, who resigned in Jan. this year, is a politician. No details are available on his track record. However, the recent incumbent Justice RMS Kandeparkar, a retd. High Court judge has taken it, rather, in quite earnest. Reportedly, he took up two cases on the first day itself. This is the seriousness needed in making the ordinary victims of police brazenness see some hope that justice may, after all, come their way. While media should certainly highlight such development with greater visibility, Government in Goa deserves to be congratulated for their path breaking initiative.  All states must emulate the Goan initiative. There are states like U.P., Bihar, West Bengal, Haryana, Punjab who certainly need SPCA in the respective state capitals. Incidentally, it was in 2006, that Supreme Court had suggested this SPCAs, as a part of the police reform.

GUJARAT: There is something, which is not really healthy about what BJP is trying to do in going head-over-heels in projecting Narendra Modi, as a future savior of India. Narendra Modi, may be personally incorruptible, but is he the best that has happened to India? Answer is an emphatic ‘NO”. Being incorruptible is definitely a very positive aspect of a leader. But a leader has to be also sensitive. He has also to be open to suggestions, to ideas from others. Modi appears to be rigid. He has his own idea of what constitutes growth. No doubt, being, a person with no apparent financial self interest, although a big plus point, his no holds barred ego, can be a big stumbling block for his ambition for a role. Even in his own Gujarat, he is not accepted, on face value, fully. His detractors have all kinds of stories to buttress his negative image. Some may be true and some may be false. But the lapping up by a section of BJP led by its president Rajnath Singh, can create hurdles by this over-kill. If at all BJP wants to offer alternative governance at the centre, a mere Modi-fication of the model is not enough. Development has to have a human face with inclusiveness spoken by Rahul Gandhi. Like Robert Lynds ‘Sermon on shaving’, to have a clean shave, one needs to have not only a good razor, but also a good brush and an equally good lather. Hence there has to be marriage of ideas for a human governance to evolve as progressive and humane. Something Rajnath Modi & Co has to realize. 

WEST BENGAL: The first time Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appears to be always on short fuse, just about to burst. She is more in the news for wrong reasons and right enough media is asking ‘if she wants to be a one term Chief Minister’? 
To protest the death of one of their student leaders, Sudipto Gupta, in Kolkatta, which Mamata Banerjee had dismissed as “small and petty” while at a cultural function at Kolkatta, the CPI(M) students’ wing had gheraoed her and her cabinet colleagues outside Yojana Bhavan in New Delhi.
Amit Mitra, West Bengal Finance Minister was allegedly man handled by the SFI  crowd, tearing his kurta, while Mamata Banerjee was safely escorted. Here what needs to be noted is, Mamata was clearly told not to get down from her car before entering the Yojana Bhavan gate. But, as if to challenge the crowd, she decided to walk past the crowd and ministers just followed her. It was very stupid of Mamata to do what she did. She invited trouble, despite police advising against walking past the crowd, then she calls Delhi unsafe. She even invented, despite police escorting her to safety, that these boys could have killed her.
As if to avenge the ‘humiliation’ of their leaders, Trinamool congress protesters stormed past the gate keeper in Presidency College and attacked students. They went on a rampage, breaking the lock of the gate and ransacking the 195 year old Bakers Laboratory. Vice Chancellor Prof Malabika Sarkar had reportedly remarked that ‘this unprovoked attack on peaceful students within the campus needed to be condemned a hundred times’.
An upset Governor, who is also the chancellor of the university, apologised to the students for the happening and demanded apology from CPI (M) for the ‘so-called’ attack in Delhi on the West Bengal Chief Minister. An usually no-nonsense former national security advisor was combative against the opposition apparently under the ever changing political equations at the centre.  CPI (M) on their part is taking up the ‘politics’ of Governor M K Narayanan to the President Pranab Mukherjee. He was acting probably under ‘instructions’ from the centre, to keep the ‘maverick Mamata’ as one paper called her, in good humour. But clearly she is doing disservice to West Bengal and to her own personal and political image.

NEW DELHI: NPA or Non Performing Assets of public sector banks has always been a subject on which the managers of this countries finances paid only a lip service. Reportedly as on 31.12.2012, NPA figures for these banks have been pegged at Rs.1.55 lakh crores and corporate defaulters stand at some 54%. ‘Whose father’s what goes’. Not many in public space have either discussed it or wrote about it. Because it is the public money, not many are bothered about it. The story of this NPA has a long history, since cheating too has long history among we homo sapiens. It is a well known and accepted norm that no loan is given without proper security, except micro credits under some government scheme. Therefore any loan becoming non-performing or non-recoverable, is only because something is amiss somewhere. Either it is the bank official assessing the loan worthiness of the loanee, or the Bank has grossly misrepresented the facts. Or both official and the loaner have colluded to defraud the bank. These three possibilities, more often than not, are the reasons for a loan to become an NPA. Of course there are reasons of force majeure, or act of god or something similar. But they are not many, and there are formal and accepted norms to treat them as bad debts. Hence most of the NPAs which have remained in the books for years on is only because of three reasons noted above. Thus, it is the avarice of some, over the national interest, which preceded to cause this virtual national loot. There has to be therefore laws or court intervention to check this rot not just statement by Finance Minister “Bank should recover loans from affluent promoters” in the wake of “La affair Mallya & Co.” Responsible person should be made accountable by both, making good the loss and undergo criminal liability terms, of the law of the land, period. 
There’s an ongoing fierce debate about the speech by Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi to the captains of India Inc, recently. Of course there have been all kinds of analysis by pro Congress group and pro BJP group to primarily run down the other. But frankly both had their own plus points. It is not the fault of Rahul Gandhi that he is born into Ghandy or Gandhi households, but he appears to be a good human being. To begin with it is indeed very important to be a good human being, ability can always be hired. But what is relevant and therefore important, but strangely not touched by any of the supporters or the critics of Rahul Gandhi, is the decisiveness of taking action against your own people, people close to you. Modi has scored hands down, on this count. At the top he has no friend or relation either to help or someone who would misuse his position. Same cannot be said about Rahul Gandhi, especially when there are characters like Robert Vadra and his family involved in questionable transactions but yet not subjected to public scrutiny.  This shall be the most important corner stone of the moral tone of his leadership. His shouting brigade must understand this, sooner they take note of it, to make amends, the better for the Congress, take it or leave it. 
When, K.C. Chakraborthy, the RBI deputy governor gave a clean chit to three private sector banks of any charge of money laundering, he was clearly jumping the gun, when nobody asked him for his intervention in the issue. 
News that came from New Delhi was “ICICI Bank suspends 18 of its employees” as soon as the Cobrapost online magazine exposed the goings on in the bank vide their sting operation. The sting had revealed how bank employees were accepting black money from customers to convert it into white.
Thus, any clean chit by RBI or its higher functionaries without knowing the truth is highly objectionable since they are bankers to the banks, and therefore legal guardians of these financial institutions to ensure that they function above board in a very transparent manner.  
‘The act of a man demanding money from his father-in-law to set up a business six months after marriage will not come within the ambit of dowry’, observed Supreme Court, the other day.
Prima facie, this can, at best, be only an opinion of some learned judges. This can equally be argued as a case of dowry demand.
The case is of one Vipin Jaiswal of Nampally, Hyderabad, who allegedly demanded Rs. 50000/- from his wife Meenaxi, after six months of marriage, to start some business. Meenaxi apparently came home to her father to inform her parents of the demand by her husband Vipin, and did not return. That was around late 1996. In April 1999 Meenaxi committed suicide. Family of Meenaxi probably filed a case of dowry demand and both trial court and Andhra Pradesh High Court held Vipin responsible for his wife’s death under Dowry Death provision (304B) of IPC.
Here, Meenaxi’s death by suicide may or may not be due to the demand of Rs: 50000/- for business by the husband, as she has not, apparently, blamed her husband for her suicide. It could be the family, which refused to pay the sum, and therefore made the life of their daughter difficult and probably has forced her to commit suicide. Here both parents of the daughter, so also husband can be questioned from different legal angles. The fact remains that husband demanded money from his wife, and not from any of her family members or friends of her family. A wife is vulnerable for pressure, especially those freshly married, and therefore she is the first port of call for any monetary demand from the husband. This was primarily the reason why she left home and never returned. If Vipin loved his wife, and family of Meenaxi were really unable to meet his demand, he had the option of taking the wife back, which responsibility he abdicated. Therefore it could be surmised that for him Rs: 50,000/- was more important than his wife. 
Similarly, the family could have played some via-media role, since there was no violence by husband on wife, to bring about the rapprochement to save the marriage and the life of their daughter,  which they didn’t. Thus both played villain to the detriment of an innocent girl who had to die for no apparent reason. The courts need to go beyond the mere interpretation of the legal provisions to make a humane case of such litigations. 
News reading public is fully aware of the statement “The timing of the raid is most unfortunate”, attributing it the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Dr Singh was reacting to a CBI raid on the residential premises of MK Stalin, son of DMK supremo Karunanidhi. Prima facie, the reaction of the Prime Minister of a country on the searches by the highest investigation agency of the government, is totally uncalled for. Come to think of it, even Chidambaram, Kamal Nath & Kapil Sibal trio too, had reportedly remarked “We strongly disapprove the CBI action”. A sly interpretation of the above remark could also mean “How can you do it without our knowledge?” Reportedly Dr Singh had slammed the CBI for the raid, while CBI had insisted that it was routinely planned and not targeted. If the above details are, which are in the public domain, to be believed, then the latest report of alleged “Govt vetting of CBI report” can be equally believed. It was the court monitored, but CBI conducted investigation on the coal mine allocations under Dr Singh, also known as coalgate. While some news papers have made it as a BJP ‘red-herring’ there were others like CPM’s Sitaram Yachuri and JD(U)’s Shivanand Tiwari were wondering that this was for the first time that they heard of such a thing as clearing the CBI report by the political bosses, before submitting to the court. That’s indeed an expose of another kind.

WORLD: Like communists the world over feel, as part of a larger whole, Muslims too feel that they are bound by an universal brotherhood, or at least that is the impression making its rounds. Be it Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, or the Palestinian cause, alleged Muslim suffering in India, a good number of Muslim organizations – both peace loving and violent – screams that Islam is in danger. In India, we have seen violent demonstrations, when Al Aqsa mosque was allegedly desecrated, many years ago. However around the same time Pakistani army – consisting of entirely Muslims-was ruthlessly crushing East Pakistanis who are also Muslims. Indian newspapers were carrying stories of Pak army atrocities on East Pakistanis of Bengali speaking Muslims. But strangely, these Indian Muslim groups, who were violently protesting for the alleged desecration of Al Aqsa mosque, in far away Jerusalem, were deafeningly silent on the sufferings of one of their very own, but speaking Bengali, not Urdu. In Jerusalem, it was Arabic, but Indian Muslims, identified themselves more easily with them rather than East Pakistanis of Bengali origin.
This aspect revived itself, after seeing the Shahbagh square demonstration in Dhaka, by young Bangladeshis, who are up against the communalist and those fundamentalists who had opposed the nation’s independence from Pakistan. Dubbed as Bangla Spring, this awakening constitutes a challenge to religious orthodoxy and extreme Islamism. It is a well known fact that there was a section of East Pakistanis, who were opposed to the creation of Bangladesh, who consciously and deliberately took side of West Pakistan, to retain its hold, over East Pakistan. This group, also known as Razakars, actively participated in the horrible acts of violence and genocide against the liberation of forces and the section of Bengali public supporting liberation forces.
Now the life has come full circle for this anti-national forces who are basically Islamic fundamentalists. This is good for Bangladesh and good for peace loving Islam, not necessarily for those hate mongering violent practitioners of the faith. Indian Muslims must take note of this.  
General Pervez Musharaf was always an over confident man. His overconfidence ultimately did him in. He came back home from his English hibernation and self imposed exile with a confident hope that he has solutions to all problems of Pakistan. All Pakistani rulers of the past, except Asif Ali Zardari have always exploited the anti-India feelings among Pakistanis to remain in power. In the anti India campaign, the Pak army always played the key role. His arithmetic that he will be able to revive that atmosphere, if he is successful politically, has turned turtle. 
All his calculations went upside down, when all his electoral nominations were rejected, one after the other. He had four of them. For his political detractors, it was, as if ‘Khuda Bhax’. Icing on the cake for these detractors was the ultimate indignity heaped on the general, by the very same judiciary, he had suspended in 1999, by ordering his arrest. His bid to escape from the court premises to delay the inevitable was not successful and was finally put behind bar.
He was comfortable in England. His overriding ambition coupled with over confidence let him down when the crunch came. That is the sad end to the Mushraf game plan. Future uncertain, for the General.
For all you know, Pope Francis, the temporal head of the Roman Catholics the world over, could be the unlikely game changer in a deeply polarised world. Not only he is simple in his living style, he is straight in his articulations of global issues. While asking for peace in all regions of conflict, whether Middle East, Asia or Africa, he stressed only talk, to confrontation. “In a world divided by greed and easy gain, wounded by selfishness, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by iniquitous exploitation of natural resources” “Peace be on earth” was his message on Easter Sunday. 
His simplicity without the formal pomp of his predecessors makes him singularly different. “While he has irked the status quoists, he has been accepted whole heartedly by the ordinary people “He connects with people, I feel good about him” was the remark from most  people.
Christianity being the largest religion in the world, the personality of Pope Francis can be the factor that could influence course of global events in the coming days. Hope he holds the candle in an otherwise dark world.

J.Shriyan

FOCUS


Sanjay Dutt: Barking up the wrong tree!
& Arvind Kejriwal: 
Making of a political Mahatma


Is there something wrong with the way private thoughts are being articulated in public space?
When I & C conducted an elocution competition, for district colleges, last year, the subject was “Towards Fair Society – Where did India go wrong?” Top Prize winner of the competition from St. Agnes College had reversed the question and asked “Where did India go right?” Of course, she had enough and more to prove her point.
Thus the 1st question that can similarly be asked, ‘Is there anything right the way private thoughts are being articulated in public space, primarily intended for private benefit!’ There have been many subjects of the private nature which were brought in as a subject of public debate.
One such debate is the mere 3 ½ years of imprisonment confirmed by the highest court of the land, for an offence, the apex court called ‘serious’, to the bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.
Saga of Sanjay Dutt’s tryst with the law of the land has a history of over 20 years. It was post 1993, Bombay Bomb Blast case, that he was arraigned in 2006, by the designated TADA Court, for possessing AK 56 and other ammunitions illegally.
The competent authority at that time took into consideration all aspect of the case and he was given 6 years prison term. After 18 months, he managed a bail, when his case was rendered free of terror angle by the court.
Now that the case has been concluded after its trip to the Supreme Court, which is an inevitable process, by those affected, who do not agree the lower court version of the case. So after 20 years, among all those who were affected by the High Court verdict some got reprieve and some didn’t. Among those who couldn’t convince the court was Sanjay Dutt’s attorney. Surely for good reason the apex court decided to confirm the 5 years imprisonment of Dutt, although there were justifiable clamour to book him under TADA which could have attracted longer prison term.
Here it is pertinent to go into the details of Sanjay Dutt’s relation with the underworld, the conduit which provided him with prohibited arms and ammunitions. As soon as he returned to Mumbai from his schooling in Shimla, he got in touch with people dealing with ‘Heroine’, the banned drug. Since ‘Heroine’ was an expensive drug, only underworld could provide it. Sanjay’s cinema proximity made it attractive for the underworld to creep into celluloid’s murky world, and it grew with years, and Sanjay Dutt sunk deeper into the drug net. Of course, his stint with drug eradication programme did help him make a comeback but his friendship with the shady world of mafia, remained intact. Like most affluent spoilt brats, he didn’t think of its implications in a wider national context. That was how, he came to store those dangerous, prohibited arms and ammunitions in his house, as quid pro quo for the earlier drug supplies. He simply didn’t think for a moment, that this storing of such dangerous arms could be patently anti-national, especially when procured from confirmed enemies of the nation. The argument that this dangerous weapon was for self defence, is plain & simple hog wash.
It was on 21st March that Supreme Court confirmed the conviction of Sanjay Dutt and the PCI Chairman, Justice Katju, comes rushing to rescue the actor, who is the son of Sunil Dutt and Nargis, both former Members of parliament, so also were bollywood actors. What was driving the retired justice to rush for the rescue act is a mystery, although he claimed to have moved by humanitarian consideration! Which obviously he didn’t have, for those thousands of faceless prisoners rotting in Indian jails, for years on, across the country! The sympathy that Justice Katju is trying to invoke for Sanjay is utterly and completely misplaced. 
No sooner, PCI Chairman made an appeal to the Maharashtra Governor, clamour got louder exponentially, as if it was an absolute miscarriage of justice. From the law minister of the country, Ashwin Kumar, to I & B Minister, the ebullient and bombastic, Manish Tiwari, to actor and Tourism Minister Chiranjeevi, to actor Mrs Jaya Bachchan. NCP General Secretary D.P. Tripathi, too jumped into Katju bandwagon besides actor Rajanikant praying for Dutt’s welfare. Also their running mates were actor Jayaprada and her former SP mentor Amar Singh, joining the chorus, including Shanti Bhushan, a former Union Law Minister chipping in with his piece in The Hindu, “This plot needs a new ending”.
Among all those who pitched for the release of Sanjay Dutt after the appeal by PCI Chairman Katju, the most interesting observation came from Manish Tiwari. He had reportedly stated “Justice Katju has been a very eminent judge of the Supreme Court, whenever he articulates a position on an issue, people both inside and outside the government listens to it carefully”. For sure! especially after his Modi diatribe, he will be the darling to likes of Manish Tiwari.
However what needs to be told to the likes of Manish Tiwari, are some of the observations in the media, in letters to editors: which calls for, I quote, “Katju’s clamour for pardon to Sanjay calls for redefining the job description of the role and duties of the chairperson of the Press Council of India, lest other should step out of boundary which he seems to revel in his statutory position” unquote. Then you have this Congress bull in the China shop, Digvijay Singh, Congress Gen. Secretary, who has reportedly asked for clemency “Since Sanjay Dutt was only 33 years”. In a country where even a 10 year old is not spared (U.P episode of 10 year old rape victim being locked up by the police) how do you think a 33 year old should be exhonerated, that too for a serious offence!? Isn’t  Digvijay Singh making a joke of himself?
This observation in the print media is not an isolated one, there have been many articulating such thoughts in the media. He is far too officious (in Kannada, it is called ‘Adhika Prasangi’) in his penchant for interference with uncalled and unsolicited comments.
While there are any number of all those concerned for the welfare of Sanjay Dutt, a friend of underworld, there are equal number of those who want the law to take its course. Leading the other pack is the maverick politician Subramanya Swamy of Janata Party. There are also political parties like BJP & CPI who are opposed to the grant of pardon to the cine star.
While film actors are naturally rallying behind Sanjay Dutt, since he is one of them, it appears very intriguing for the former Supreme Court Justice and the current Press Council Chairman Markandeya Katju, to dash to the press to make an appeal for clemency.
The appeal looks all the more funny that despite Sanjay Dutt announcing at a press meet called at his residential premises that he shall not seek pardon and shall undergo the balance of 3 ½ years of imprisonment. He also has stated that he will surrender to the jail authorities before the expiry of the period of 4 weeks allowed by the court, and that he will complete all his film commitments before the time expires. Since Sanjay has made it so clear, for Governor of Maharashtra to act in haste recommending to the Ministry of Home Affairs is certainly uncalled for. In a country where hundreds, if not thousands, languish in jail across the country, without trial for years to-gether, this act of Governor smacks of an agenda driven largesse. This certainly reflects the poverty of thinking fairly and squarely.
For Justice Katju to sing paeans about Sanjay’s ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’ for his pro Gandhian roll, and therefore he should be pardoned, is to have mortgaged his sense of proportion. AK 56 possessed by Sanjay Dutt, was part of the consignment of weapons and explosives brought for the serial blast. Court had ruled out release on probation because of the serious nature of his offence. Besides, isn’t it a shame that neither the court thought, nor police suspected that Sanjay Dutt had the prior knowledge of the bomb blast, given his proximity to the perpetrators of the crime, but failed to inform police? In fact, the very verdict of the apex court of convicting Sanjay for only 5 years is based on questionable premises.
Justice Katju has been variously called, including insolent, authoritative, overbearing, egoist, a nut case, a megalomaniac and the likes. As can be easily felt, somebody will certainly pull the plug. He has been mouthing expletives and unnecessary comments which reflect poorly on his quasi judicial position.
Going by the contents of his remarks, and those of others asking for pardon to Dutt, the argument of possessing AK 56 for self defence falls flat on many counts. It gives rise to an extremely untenable question “Can all Indians who have threat perceptions, both real and imagined, get arms unlawfully in the name of self defence?” asks a reader Maheshwari from Dehra Dun. “The argument that Sanjay Dutt had no choice other than acquiring illegal weapons from questionable sources to protect himself and hence must be let off is laughable. An illegal act is an illegal act” said, Rajeev Ayyappan of Madurai. Section 96 of IPC expressly denies anybody the right to obtain arms, that too of totally prohibited description, like AK 56, for private defence. Besides Dutt got the rifle from a proclaimed offender with whom he was on friendly terms. If the court assumes, under the circumstances, that Dutt could be part of the operation, the judge cannot be faulted at all.
Hence for Justice Katju, who was a Supreme Court judge, so also Chief Justice of Madras High Court, to make light of the sentence by the TADA court – 6 years – and that of Supreme Court – 5 years – is to expose his overbearing nature in the public spaces. 
Interestingly in twitter/internet there were these remarks. 
“Since Sanjay was a Lok Sabha candidate and functionary of Samajwadi Party, the accusation by BeniPrasad that Mulayam has relation with terrorist may be relevant”.
“Why there is so much heart burn for some people that Sanjay being jailed? Is he some social revolutionary?” asked another.
“The one who transported the weapon, got 10 years, and the one who possessed only 5 years?” asked the third one.
“Justice Katju hold a constitutional post and should do nothing to undermine it.”
“If persons associated with acts of terror can be pardoned on such appeals, what is the need for courts?”
Thus there are n numbers of comments on the boorishness of Justice Katju’s over enthusiasm in asking for pardon for Sanjay Dutt. In fact his statement that despite Dutt’s wanting to comply with court directive to surrender, “I am going to apply for pardon to the President and to the Governor of Maharashtra” confirms his clumsiness. 
Yes, when all is said & done, Dutt must undergo the jail term in the larger sense of justice, otherwise it will indeed be a travesty of justice, not the other way round, as Shanti Bhushan so fervently makes a case of, when he suggested “This plot needs a new ending”. Right enough Prabhu Ananth from Coimbatore had this to say “The legal and justifiable end to the plot would be to honour the Supreme Court verdict in letter and in spirit, especially after he acquired an AK 56 from notorious criminals ostensibly to protect himself, instead of going to the police.”
At this point, it is very pertinent to reproduce what Abhitej Singh Sandhu, the grand-nephew of Shahid Bhagat Singh had to say, while insisting that law must take its course, “What these political leaders, actors are doing by raising their voice requesting reprieve for Sanjay Dutt, are in fact insulting the judicial system”. 
Coming to justice Katju’s impertinency, he had written an article “Even the Chairman has the freedom of speech” for which, there were n number of letters, to the editor, castigating him.
“True, Justice Katju, has the right to pass comments but his responsibilities should take priority over his freedom of speech. A retired judge doesn’t need to be reminded of this” Dhanajay Kulkarni from Bidar wrote.
While admitting Katju’s frankness, CP Chandra Das of Airligton reiterated. “As some holding a high office of PCI, he should restrict his frankness to issues which have bearing on the fourth estate. All citizens have the right to freedom of speech, but it will be prudent on his part to exercise restraint in his own interest”.
“Imagine what will happen if all those occupying high constitutional offices start expressing their personal political views” was the take of A P Viswanathan from Chennai.
No wonder recently some social activists have written to President Pranab Mukherjee and PM Manmohan Singh, seeking removal of Markandeya Katju as PCI Chairman for “misusing his position to take up causes of convicts of serious offences of anti national nature”. In coming months, such demands will only grow louder. 
If 24x7 media gave whole lot of time for Justice Katju vis-à-vis Sanjay Dutt, it is very pertinent to observe that neither the media nor this PCI Chairman, who is a ‘CONCERNED’ citizen of India, had any time for the fast that Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party had undertaken for the aam aadmi of Delhi. He has been fasting since almost15 days.
The 24x7 media, who were quick to report (Headlines Today) that ‘fast by Kejriwal is fading’ within the few days of its commencement, went absolutely quite, as if they were forced to do so. And this ‘very concerned’ Justice Katju, who is very selective in his selection of issues, was no-where around, when one of the cleanest men in public life, whom TIME has reportedly anointed to be the 100 most influential person in the world, was fasting for clean politics. Arvind Kejriwal, by any stretch of imagination, can be expected to give a very honest fight to give a clean political party to the nation. Unlike, Justice Katju, who betrays politics in his writings and public utterances, Arvind Kejriwal is a person who has given up cushy job to serve the cause of greater good. There’s a whole lot of Indians, who can learn some lessons from his life of selflessness. Hope Indians of all hues, come out, in open support for him and his party. Only worry is, there is a need of dedicated selfless battery of men committed to the larger good of the nation. Such men, are the real need for the AAP to go from place to place from strength to strength. Only then can there be hope for politics and therefore better governance. It is indeed a travesty of justice that a person whom Indian media, and their creation Justice Katju, have ignored, for the TIME magazine to come out openly to vote  Arvind Kejriwal as the only Indian to be in the 100 most influential persons in the world. It’s a shame on the Indian media and Justice Katju.
While Justice Katju and the electronic media spent precious time and resources promoting the cause of a vagabond drug addict turned film actor turned so-called ‘honourable man’ but caught with contraband highly dangerous arms, for them to ignore, an emerging ‘messiah’ in the form of Arvind Kejriwal is to have lost a sense of balance of what constitutes right and wrong in a public space. At least the ‘TIMES” intervention can jolt them out of their magnified stupor. 

J.Shriyan

MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS

The  Zero bill resturant


Imagine going to a restaurant, ordering from a ‘no prices’ menu, and when you are done with your meal, your bill reads zero. Sounds impossible? Not really. At Seva Cafe you never pay for your meal, because the person who had come before you had already paid for you.
A concept that aims to instill a sense of generosity, the cafe, which began its journey in Ahmedabad seven years back, is run chiefly by volunteers. In today’s age when money is the chief mode of transaction, it attempts to defy the laws of economics, and continue daily transaction on peer-to-peer generosity.
So at Seva, in order to continue this cycle of giving, you are expected to contribute an amount — any amount that you wish — towards the next customer’s meal. So instead of a bill, what a customer gets is a small note, saying that the meal was a gift from someone who came before him or her.
 “Our model is counter intuitive to big models of transaction. The aim is to foster peer-to-peer generosity without looking at the other person as someone who is needy, or who needs help. We believe that within communities people can sustain each other,” says Siddharth Sthalekar, a long time volunteer of this concept.
In Ahmedabad, the story of Seva cafe began when a small group of volunteers decided to start something like this on a dedicated space contributed by an individual. They were helped by ServiceSpace, a completely volunteer-run organisation in the US, which was already doing such experiments on “acts of kindness” with great success.
“The cafe in Ahmedabad runs from 7-10 pm, Thursday-Sunday, every week, until 50 guests are served. Volunteers, who come from a diverse background, cook the meal, serve it to guests, and also do the cleaning. Guests are told that the meal is a gift by the person who had come before them, and if they wish they can continue the cycle,” Sthalekar says.
Care is taken that anyone who steps into the cafe is treated as a guest, and not a customer. So you will be greeted at the door with a hug and smile, maybe some kumkum too, after which the volunteer will show you to the table with a smile.
Encouraged by the success, a larger group of volunteers got together under one umbrella, called Moved By Love, a year back to further spread the magic of Seva to other cities, like Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. Here, restaurants “convert” themselves into the Seva cafe model at regular intervals — maybe once a month — and are taken over by the volunteer force.
The conversion, usually for a day, happens on a pre-announced date, and volunteers pool in their resources to make the Seva cafe happen. Because of this reason, the menu is usually kept simple, so that “the focus is more on the act of giving, rather than on the food”.
In Bangalore, for instance, the Vriksh restaurant usually opens its doors on a Sunday afternoon to get itself transformed into a Seva cafe. “The restaurant provides the resources like space and electricity. A volunteer may say that she will make laddoos for this many people, a photographer may say that he will make a collage of pictures of the event. There are no demands, and no one is asked about their contribution. It’s all about unlocking synergies,” Sthalekar said. “I remember in the Mumbai Seva cafe a person came all the way from Pune, lugging 10 kilos of flour, as his contribution. Touching moments like these fuel this cycle on,” he added.
Bangalore-based Saumya Pillai, who works in the IT sector, is a big supporter of this concept. “I heard about the Seva cafe from a friend who, ironically, stays in the US. Intrigued, I decided to try it out with my friends. It was amazing,” she said. “When you see people sweating it out in the kitchen so happily, without any motive, and serve you with the words, ‘this meal is a gift’, it touches a chord somewhere. Nothing inspires you more than a selfless deed,” Pillai added.
But what about sustainability? Surprisingly, Sthalekar says that the model is very much self sustainable, and runs on the basis of guests’ contribution. Having said that, in the Ahmedabad Seva cafe, there are three regular staff members who act like the anchor, while the rest are volunteers. “There is no external intervention, like support from NGOs, or the government; there are no fund raisers. If a project is not sustainable, maybe it was just not worth it”.
In Bangalore, Anupreet Dhody and Susheel Nair, owner of Vriksh, where the cafe is organised, say that the event has been a major crowd puller, surpassing their expectation. In January this year, for instance, much against their expectation of 30 volunteers and 70 guests, they got 135 guests. A few other restaurants are also keen to let their space be used as a Seva cafe once a month.
The concept of gift economy is catching on across the world. The Karma Kitchen (a baby of ServiceSpace) for instance, works on a similar pay-it-forward as-you-wish model. It was started in Berkeley, back in 2007. Similar concept-based cafes and restaurants are catching on in other countries too, like in Germany, Indonesia and Australia.
“Now our effort is to standardise the cafe model. For instance, decide on things like how frequently should the cafe be organised in different cities, if the cafe should be run in association with anchors, or only by volunteers, and the likes,” Sthalekar said.
Undoubtedly, such a concept has a strong foundation of belief on the basic goodness of a human being.
Azera Parveen Rahman

FEATURE


Science is understanding nature!

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


“Whosoever would be a man must be a non-conformist.”
                                                          - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Science is all about telling stories about how this wonderful wonder, nature, works. Each story teller understands nature in his/her own way. Naturally, science will have differences of opinion and keeps changing from time to time. That which does not change does not qualify to be called science.  Naturally, we have had our share of surprises as also misunderstandings. All this is fine. The big bang theory, the relativity theory, quantum mechanics, as also many others that followed do have their share of misunderstandings in built into them as long as scientists just rely only on their five senses to study and understand this enigma, nature. Medicine, which follows the natural sciences of physics, chemistry and biology has to, per force, have the same degree of uncertainties and possibly more as the human body is a greater wonder than many the other aspects of nature. Human mind seems to be unfathomable, at least, for the time being. Applying the faulty reductionist science to the dynamic chaotic human physiologic laws leads the medical world into the bottomless pit of misunderstanding resulting in human suffering, making our interventions worse than his/her disease. Our whole edifice, built on the concept of individual diseases and their treatment, seems to be getting torn apart.
Having said that, I must explain in simple terms the difference between the usual reductionist science that we use and the chaotic holistic science that nature follows. Let me simplify that without losing the essence. Let us say that one wants to know the taste of a nice chocolate. If he goes to analyse the chocolate for its contents as is done in reductionism, one comes up with sugar, cocoa, and milk as the main ingredients. Then we study the tastes of the three separately. If, in conclusion, we pronounce that the chocolate should taste like sugar, milk or cocoa, even a child, which has tasted chocolate in the past, will disagree.  Similarly, while studying the effect of fresh garlic on human health one goes by studying its individual constituents like anti-oxidants and the SH group that gives its smell; one comes up with wrong conclusions. Just as chocolate tastes as a whole, garlic will be an effective drug only when eaten whole, that too after chewing in the mouth for the saliva to activate its vital action. The last two actions are called holistic actions vis-à-vis the reductionist ideas of tasting sugar as chocolate!
The hot topics in science today are the moon journey and stem cell research. Both these efforts are trying to bend nature’s laws to suit our convenience and not trying to understand nature. I shall avoid the moon journey for this article because of space constraints. Stem cell research has become a money spinner. In fact, that is the bane of scientific research. Societal respect for science seems to depend on the quantum of grant money that one gets. Knowing how one gets these grants etc, I need not tell the readers that only those that know the ropes do get those grants. Lesser mortals who are not in the loop might find it hard to get in. Research institutes, coming up like mushrooms all over the country, are vying with one another to get into to either AIDS or stem cell research, where plenty of research funds are available.
One could manipulate the stem cells in vitro in any way one likes but, when they are inside the human body they do not necessarily follow what the scientists want them to do. They might have their own compulsions of holism to do what they do depending on the environment. In short, there are innumerable imponderables inside the human body that we are not able to account for and manipulate from outside. The same holds good for genetic engineering. One could do anything in vitro to engineer the genes but once inside the system gene penetrance depends on the environment to a great extent! I wonder why people do not talk about the audits on the outcomes of the first trials of genetic engineering in patients with leukaemia. What matters at the end of the day is healing outcomes, as all our “so called” science is to help patients in distress. Predicting the unpredictable outcomes based on our reductionist thinking is akin to giving respectability to astrological predictions.
The million dollar question is: could we learn from nature about the working of such cells which are pluri-potent in nature? My good friend, Bart Flick, a noted orthopod at University of Georgia, could answer at least a part of this question along with another great researcher, Professor Rustum Roy at Penn. State. Bart was lucky to have had training under that great electric man of medicine, Becker in New York University in the 1950s. Whereas a house hold salamander could regrow its cut tail in a few days, a frog or you and I can not do that! Why does this happen? How could the salamander, a less evolved animal, do that while higher evolution comes in the way? It reminds me of how the snakes can suck their myocardial blood directly from the ventricles through small holes in the endocardium that spread the blood through fine meshwork of vessels all over, while we, the higher evolved creatures, need a separate circulation-the coronary tree, which seems to be the best business where we claim to improve their blood supply with our interventions (going in between with malice)! 
Silver is a great healer of human ills from “times out of mind” in Indian Ayurveda. Rustum Roy could get nano-silver particles in water to heal many ills. Bart did similar experiments on wound healing. In place of the conventional dressing, Bart dressed wounds with silver mesh that got a small current from a DC source. The latter might do two things-a) it might get the silver deposited as nano-particles on the wound thereby avoiding any infection, and b) also reverse the cell wall polarity at the cut ends for the cells to grow. The wounds heal! He has even healed fingers with the terminal digit cut off to re-grow to full fingers with finger nails and finger prints! That is not my story today. Bart did something wonderful which tickled me. He learnt a great lesson from nature as a bonus!
He was fascinated to see some gelatinous glistening debris on the healing wounds stuck to the inside of the silver mesh. He cleverly sent the material to the laboratory without telling them where it came from! Lo and behold, the report said that it was from the bone marrow with many blast (mother) cells that are pluri-potent. I understand that as a great lesson that nature had to teach us, but we did not learn up until Bart came up with his innovations. If the environment is created that is conducive, nature can produce pluri-potent cells (akin to stem cells) at the site, without our expensive stem cell research, to repair the cuts without any effort on our part. This is called observational research and learning science from nature. This is not trying to teach nature a lesson or two as our moon voyagers and stem cell researchers are trying to do and achieve the impossible with their grants. I do not think Bart got any grant for this serendipitous research outcome. I strongly feel that this kind of research of carefully observing nature as to how it tries to keep man (or any other creation) alive on this planet deserves the best Nobel Prize. 
May be in the next article we will see how a simple Pulsed Electromagnetic Field energy could stimulate the ischemic myocardium to re-grow new perforating vessels to relieve anginal pains as also to increase the left ventricular ejection fraction. My friend, Glen Gordon, who invented this simple device was himself a patient waiting for a heart transplant after a massive heart attack from which he survived by the skin of his teeth.6 His ingenuity from his dying bed did the trick and made him walk out of the hospital with his own heart remodeled to bicycle through half of the United States to convince his doctors at Washington University Hospital that he was alive and kicking. Glen Gordon is another great innovator and a nature observer about whom and his research we will write, God willing, next time after I  get myself convinced of its good effects on my patients. 
Let us teach our brilliant scientists, our young children in school, that true science is learning from the workings of nature as our best teacher. Let us change our educational system from Rota learning and memorizing to creative curiosity in every child where it is dormant. Every new born child is but a genius waiting to be allowed to blossom. (e=out, ducare=deliver). Let not their schooling come in the way of their education! While a good teacher teaches, a better teacher preaches, the best teacher reaches the child’s heart! Thank God for giving me such great friends like Rustum Roy, Bart Flick and Glen Gordon.

“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
                                                                      - Oscar Wilde.

                                         

YEH MERA INDIA

Govt panel finds lapses in drugs approval


New Delhi: A government panel has found irregularities in approval of 38 drugs without clinical trials on Indians with nine of them cleared by drug controller without reference to any expert and said the exemptions “appear to be due to pressure from pharma companies”, reports media.
The expert committee, set up by the government to look into irregularities in approving drugs, has recommended that all 38 such approvals, shall be reviewed by the newly constituted New Drug Advisory Committees. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health had in its 59th Report pointed out that 38 drugs were approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) without conducting clinical trials on Indians between 2001 and 2010.
“Such approval was sporadic till 2007 (only 4 drugs given exemption in 7 years). The spurt started in 2008 when six drugs got exemption and the number has risen to 14 each in 2009 and 2010. The reasons are not clear but appears to be due to pressure by the pharmaceutical companies,” the Expert Committee, headed by Secretary, Department of Health research and Director General ICMR V M Katoch, observed in its report.
“The DCGI has approved nine of these drugs without reference to any expert between 2006 and 2010,” the Committee further observed, adding that in several cases the opinion of experts as forwarded by the companies has been accepted even when most such “experts” were not from the academic institutions and in many cases the contents of letters were identical.
“The experts have recommended waiver of clinical trials only in six cases. In all other cases the recommendation is for early marketing. They have not recommended that the procedure be short circuited. The decision appears to have been taken by DSGI,” the expert Committee observed.


IAS officer transferred 45th time



Chandigarh : Senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who had ordered a scrutiny of land deals of UPA chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, was transferred by the Haryana government to an inconsequential post. Khemka, now managing director of the Haryana Seeds Development Corp (HSDC), will now be secretary of Haryana Archives, which is responsible for preserving public and private records in the state.
Khemka has been transferred almost 45 times in his two-decade-long career as an IAS officer.The latest transfer came after Khemka highlighted irregularities in HSDC, leaving the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government embarrassed.

Beacons only on ambulance: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said it would decide whether a person other than a high functionary is entitled to use of beacons and sirens on their vehicles in view of their being misused and flaunted by people as status symbol.
A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi also said it would examine whether closure of roads for facilitating movement of VIPs is lawful and constitutional.
 It also said beacons and sirens be used only on ambulance, fire services vehicle, police and army vehicle.
“We think you can remove the red lights from all other vehicles straight away.    One thing is there in the mind of people that they dislike the red light. Why not reconsider removing it? That will be a great signal for bringing everybody at par,” the bench told the Centre.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by a Uttar Pradesh resident on misuse of beacon in the state.
In earlier proceedings on January 17, the bench had strongly disapproved of police protection given to “all and sundry,” including MPs and MLAs facing no security threat. It had also directed the Centre and all states to furnish names of the people given security and the expenditure borne by states on it.

When a morgue died

Mumbai : Even as civic hospitals are keeping corpses in emergency wards because of lack of space in the morgues, a mortuary with a capacity of 100 has been lying idle at Sion Hospital for the past one-and-a-half years because the occupation certificate for the building was pending.
The municipality issues an occupation certificate after checking that all formalities have been completed.
The racks of the morgue were installed more than a year ago and the AC plant is functional but the morgue which is attached to the new OPD building that had come up in 2011, has been lying unused.
“The morgue along with the new OPD building was supposed to be up and functioning by 2009 but we are yet waiting for the BMC to issue the OC so that we can transfer the bodies there,” said a senior doctor from Sion Hospital.
Construction work on the new OPD building began in February 2005. The building was supposed to be ready by 2009 but it took two more years to come up as the plans were revised in 2006 but there was no budgetary provision for it, said chief engineer of BMC, J Patgaonkar.
Dr Avinash Supe, Dean of Sion Hospital, was unaware of why the occupation certificate had been delayed. “I have recently joined, so I am not aware of the reason behind the delay,” he said. Manisha Mhaiskar, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health), had no time to meet this correspondent. She also did not reply to a text message on the issue.
Dr Supe said the new OPD building finally got an occupation certificate and that it would be fully functional in five to six months. As of now, only the first two floors of the building are being used for OPD purposes during the day. Some of the rooms on the fifth floor have been given to resident medical doctors on a temporary basis.
Dr Supe also said that the mortuary building would be in use in the next four to five months.Explaining why most health plans are still stuck in BMC’s infamous red tape, Dr Pragna Pai, former dean of KEM Hospital, said, “The condition in BMC hospitals has been deteriorating over the years instead of improving. One of the reasons is that administrative staff and hospital deans are changed too often. Because of this, the new person in charge of a hospital is unaware of the issues or plans that were supposed to be taken up.”
“Other than this, there is a lack of coordination between various departments in the BMC and hospitals. Deciding deadlines through timely meetings and sticking to them is essential which will make the health officers more accountable to the public,” added Dr Pai.


MONTH THAT WAS


351 excellence schools for SC students


Bhopal: The Scheduled Castes Welfare Department is running 351 Schools for Excellence for scheduled caste students in the state to impart quality education to them. Of these, 90 are district-level and 261 division-level Schools for Excellence. At present, 18 thousand students are pursuing education in these schools. A provision of Rs. 11 crore has been made to run these institutions during current fiscal.
Admission to these hostels is given to tribal students having obtained over 60 percent marks and on the basis of merit list. There are 45 hostels each for boys and girls at the district-level. There are 147 boys hostel and 114 girls hostels at the division level. Free training in computer, library and career building is being imparted to students at these hostels by subject experts.

There are exemplary youngsters!


Oslo — Two Norwegian teens returned 467,200 kroner (some 62,000 euros, $81,500) they found left on a train by an elderly passenger. The pair found the treasure in a handbag left on the seat of a train.
"When I opened the bag, the first thing I saw were these wads and wads of bills," one of the teens, identified as 16-year-old Bendik, told local daily Vestby Avis.
"My first thought was to call the police," he said. After looking in the bag more closely, the good samaritans found the passport of its owner, a man in his 70s.


Helplessness of Apex Court !

New Delhi: Former Bihar governor Buta Singh's occupation of a government bungalow in the national capital invited sharp criticism from the Supreme Court which slammed the estate department for adopting a "pick and choose" policy while evicting unauthorised occupants.
The apex court disapproved that Singh, a former Union minister, was provided with the government accommodation because of the threat perception, saying that "there is no nexus between security threat and government accommodation".
 It also questioned the government for regularising the allotment of 11-A Teen Murti Marg in favour of Singh, whose three year term as the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Caste, ended in 2010.
"Why this allotment was regularised in favour of one gentleman ( Buta Singh)," a bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya asked additional solicitor general P P Malhotra.
It wanted to know "under which provision of law the accommodation was given to Singh".
The bench, which stopped midway while dictating the order, indicated that the notice issued by the estate department pursuant to the court order to get the accommodation vacated for unauthorised occupation under the public premises (eviction of unauthorised occupants) Act shall remain stayed till the matter is heard at length.
The bench said government will not act suo motu as some persons were targeted and all unauthorised occupants were not treated at par by the authority in the eviction procedure.


UNICEF & child abuse!

Monrovia: A Liberian actor has filed a $25 million lawsuit against UNICEF for alleged child abuse over his starring role aged 13 in a fundraising film as a murderous child soldier who tortures his victims. Mike James, now 28, says he and other cast members have been "stigmatised as rebels, killers, cannibals and drug addicts" after being recruited for the 1997 film "Soldier Boy" and made to act out eating human body parts. The actor said he was appalled that video copies of the film were being sold for up to $200. "I was not given a dime of the millions that UNICEF raked in from the sales of a movie that ruined my life," he said. UNICEF was not available for comment.

BRAIN initiative: Obama way

Washington: Saying that he wanted the next job-creating discoveries to happen not in India or China, but the US, President Barack Obama has unveiled a $100 million initiative to unlock the “enormous mystery” of the human brain.
“I don’t want the next job-creating discoveries to happen in China or India or Germany. I want them to happen right here, in the United States of America,” the president said in an event in the East Room of the White House.
“And that’s part of what this BRAIN Initiative is about,” he said referring to the initiative, dubbed Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. “That’s why we’re pursuing other ‘grand challenges’ like making solar energy as cheap as coal or making electric vehicles as affordable as the ones that run on gas,” Obama said.
“What if computers could respond to our thoughts? Or language barriers could come tumbling down? Or if millions of Americans were suddenly finding new jobs in these fields — jobs we haven’t even dreamt up yet because we chose to invest in this project? That is the future we are imagining. That is what we are hoping for,” he said.

Revolutionary Pak move!

Islamabad: For the first time, Pakistani voters may get the choice of not voting for any of the candidates in the fray for the May 11 general election, with the Election Commission deciding to incorporate “none of the above” option in ballot papers. The decision to include the “none of the above” option in ballot papers was made at a meeting of the poll panel chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, officials told the media.
Since the measure will require legal backing, a formal proposal will be sent by the Election Commission to the Prime Minister about issuing an ordinance, the officials said.  A blank slot will be included in ballots along with the names of candidates in every constituency.
If 51 per cent of voters opt for the blank slot, a re-election will be held in the constituency, the officials said. The meeting further decided to monitor activities in all “sensitive” constituencies on election day by satellite. A formal proposal will be sent to the Information Technology Ministry to help in this regard, officials said.
 In a separate development, the Election Commission said it had received 17,186 nomination papers for the polls to the national and provincial assemblies. The figure includes 5,802 nominations for the National Assembly or lower house of parliament and 11,384 for the four provincial assemblies.

Probe Rs 27,000 cr loss in Petronet deal: Former Secretary

New Delhi: A Rs 27,000 crore loss caused by an alleged change of contract by a Qatari company supplying liquid gas (LNG) to Petronet LNG needs to be probed, former Secretary to Government of India E A S Sarma has demanded.
Sarma in a letter to the Prime Minister's Office sought a CBI probe in the role of officials of Oil Ministry and Petronet LNG Ltd in allowing RasGas of Qatar to allegedly violate the contract for supply of 7.5 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
He wanted a probe into the issue of how Petronet, whose Chairman is Oil Secretary, quietly switched to buying lean gas, which can only be used as fuel, instead of rich gas that can also produce petrochemicals and cooking gas (LPG).




ABRACADABRA

Lost & found


London: A UK man has been reunited with his stolen wallet after 35 years with all the contents intact  except for the small amount of money it contained.  Richard Lane suspected the wallet was stolen at a leisure centre in his hometown of St Ives, Cambridgeshire in 1978. The wallet was found by the contractors behind a wall on the top floor, near the lift shaft. The battered old wallet complete with everything apart from the money has now been found inside a brick wall cavity by builders refurbishing the leisure centre in St Ives.An appeal to find the owner was launched and Richard was alerted by his mother.  


Queen Elizabeth II gets £5mn pay hike  


London : Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has been given a hefty pay hike of 5 million pounds for the current financial year to carry out her official duties. The 86-year-old Queen received 31 million pounds last year, but that will be increased to 36.1 million pounds in 2013-2014 financial year. Under the new arrangement, the Queen receives a grant equal to 15 per cent of the profits from the Crown Estate, calculated two years in arrears.



Most ancient Romans ate like ‘animals’

Romans are known for their sumptuous feasts, but according to a new study, an incredible 98 per cent commoners ate food that was seen fit only for animals. Romans are known for eating well, with mosaics from the empire portraying sumptuous displays of fruits, vegetables, cakes and, of course, wine. However, common people ate millet, a grain looked down upon by the wealthy as fit only for livestock, according to a new study published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

Rail track stolen-that too-2 kms long

Moscow: Unidentified criminals have stolen over two km of railroad track in the Moscow region, transport prosecutors said. The theft has caused damage worth over 1.6 million rubles ($ 52000), they said. The tracks were taken from between the stations of Sazonovo and Pilevo east of Moscow.  The railroad there was formerly used to transport cargos of peat, but has been abandoned for several years.

Mother starved children to death

Tokyo: A 25-year-old mother whose two young children starved to death surrounded by rubbish after she locked them in her apartment, has been sentenced to 30 years in jail in Japan. Single mother Sanae Nakamura regularly left her daughter, 3, and one-year-old son, in the apartment in western Osaka while she spent the night at her boyfriend’s house, reports said. She had begun leaving them alone in March 2010, the Asahi Shimbun said, adding that sometime in early June that year she stopped coming home. But when she did eventually return later that month the two tots were dead, the paper said.


THE LAST PAGE


The menace of political blackmailing

Dr. M. V. Kamath

Nothing is more sickening than Bihar Chief Minister’s cheap attacks on Narendra Modi in recent times that reflect a mixture of rank jealousy, consuming hatred, massive ignorance of past history and pure selfishness of which one can find no parallel in India’s long and turbulent past. Nitish Kumar wants to capture the Muslim vote in his state by book or by crook. And he thinks that this is best acquired by targeting Modi as a blatant communalist. Most unjustly Modi is charged with inciting riots following the bestial killings of 55 plus innocent women and children in a Sabarmati Express coach at halt in Godhra. Deliberately forgotten is the fact that Modi had summoned army assistance to help control riots within 24 hours of the first incident. Two facts are forgotten, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated, Rajiv Gandhi took his own time to summon the army. Two, no Hindu was ever killed in the gruesome and deliberately organized anti-sikh riots. In Gujarat the riots took a heavy toll of Hindus as well. Nitish Kumar, it seems, has purposefully forgotten these facts. The trick is to paint Modi as a killer and thus make him detestable. Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister would have surely applauded Nitish Kumar’ s technique, so closely associated with the Nazis. Over and over repetition of a lie raises it to believable truth. What is appalling is Nitish Kumar’s praise for the skull cap that Muslims now wear-an example of determined communalism that deserves the strongest condemnation. It is as if the community is openly saying “We are Muslims, first and last. We are different from you. Realise it”. No more communal a stand can one envision. But Nitish Kumar wants Modi to accept it as a token of secularism! One does not know whether to laugh or cry at this idiocy, wearing a skull cap is a calculated assault on the oneness of India and is a rampant exhibition of separatism, which must be exposed. Do Hindus indulge in such sartorial displays? Do Christians? Or Jains or Buddhists or any other minority in the country? Incidentally, since 1947 there have been riots after riots in India mostly in states administrated by – who else? – Congress, with Congress leaders serving as Chief Ministers. Think of the following: 1964 riots in Jamshedpur, Bihar. Numbers killed: 2000 (Chief Minister then was a Congressman K.B.Sahay). 1980 riots in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. Numbers killed 200 (C.M. V.P.Singh, Congress) 1969 riots in Ahmedabad: Numbers killed, 2000 (C.M. Hitendra Desai, Congress), 1983 riots in Nellie, Assam. Numbers killed 2,200 (C.M. Hiteshwar Saikia, Congress). Unofficial figures for those killed exceed 5,000. 1989 riots in Bhagalpur, Bihar: Numbers killed 1,150 (C.M. Bhagwat Jha Azad, Congress). Some 50,000 people were displaced and 11,500 houses torched. And property worth crores of rupees were destroyed. One of the worst riots in the country took place in Mumbai 1992/1993 when over 1,788 people were killed and the Chief Minister was Sudhakarrao Naik, a Congressman. The 1984 anti-Sikh riots lasted fifteen days. Involved Congress politicians and police have got away. The 1987 Meerut riots lasted two months. It took a 13,000 strong Army detachment to restore peace. Is Nitish Kumar aware of all those riots under Congress regimen? At no time was any Chief Minister charged with dereliction of duty. But then they were all Congressmen. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi himself turned a blind eye to the anti-Sikh riots claiming that when a large tree falls, the earth is shaken and no more impudent an excuse has ever been made. Rajiv Gandhi got away with it. And Jagdish Tytler is still free. Nitish Kumar has to be put in his place and must be told in clear language that blackmailing in politics is not acceptable.  A poll taken by the Times Group suggests that if elections are held tomorrow, neither the Congress nor the BJP will get the required majority to assume power. Further, according to the poll, between them, the non-Congress and non-BJP political parties will get 272 seats. The king makers will be Jayalalitha, Mamata Bannerjee, Mayavati and Orissa’s Biju Patnaik and a worse tragedy would be hard to imagine, if Nitish Kumar joins the gang. The BJP has three options: Give up Narendra Modi as NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate to retain JDU support. Retain Modi and risk losing JDU – and, by implication the chance of capturing power – to maintain one’s self-respect. BJP, needless to say, has already told off Nitish Kumar in no uncertain terms. Considering that in normal circumstances the election is scheduled to be held a year later, there is time for the BJP to re-invent itself and present a united face, Nitish Kumar notwithstanding, to capture the nation’s heart. Narendra Modi popularity is on the rise, especially among the young and women. BJP can survive Nitish Kumar’s invidious duplicity. But the Times Group poll must be taken as an early morning warning to BJP to pull up its socks. Intra-party differences must be settled and it may be a wise thing for Sushma Swaraj to call up Uddhav Thackeray and tell him that she is not interested in getting nominated to the Prime Ministership. The Shiv Sena is attempting to divide the BJP. Modi’s stature should get increasing support and he must be told to go on a nation-wide tour, just as Jawaharlal Nehru did prior to the 1937 general elections, to win the hearts of people by his sheer personal presence. It will work. But it is going to be tough assignment. Gujarat need not necessarily be presented as a model for economic development. But consider this: In 2001, the per capita income in Gujarat was Rs: 17,227. Now it is Rs 57,508.  In Bihar the same PCI in 2005 was Rs 7,914 and now it is Rs 15, 268. The poverty rate in Gujarat in 2001 was 23%, now it is 16.8% - a solid achievement. In Bihar, in 2005 it was 54.4%, now it is 53.1%. In Gujarat, in 2001, the upper primary School Drop-out rate was 37.22% now it is a low 7.9% whereas in Bihar, in 2005 if that rate was a high 74.69%, now it is 55.14%. In Gujarat in 2001 the investment in industry was to the amount of Rs. 66,068 crore but now it is a mighty Rs 2,005,000 crore. In Bihar the same in 2005 was Rs 40,730 crore and now it is Rs 319,000 crore. In 2001 in Gujarat the installed power capacity was 4,888 MW while now it is 23,437 MW. In Bihar in 2005 the same installed power capacity was a mere 598MW while now it is 1,850 MW. Do these figures mean anything? Nitish Kumar is free to play to the gallery, but he is only becoming a figure of ridicule. The man cannot hold a candle to Modi and the sooner he is exposed, the better will be for all concerned. India has to be saved from the ravages the UPA has wrought and Modi, it must be made clear, is the one who could do it.