Friday, May 8, 2015

EDITOR'S COLUMN

Friends

Monsoon seems to be making its irregular foray into the calendared seasons. On Indian landscape, it was always June/Sept as the monsoon months, October/Jan being winter and Feb/May as Summer. In recent times, with the global climate steadily changing for worse, rain has been playing hide and seek during most of April. This rain has unfortunately affected the standing crop at most parts of India leading to equally unfortunate suicide among farmers. Farmers have been at the receiving end of seasonal ups and downs besides the powers that be in reaching out to them in troubled times. Are we doing enough to the farming community, who provide our food security, in times of need? Its a question lost in the corridors of power in the wrangling between Federal and State responsibilities.

This is unfortunate but true that enough is not being done either by way of price support or when cash crisis hits farmers the visible lack of seriousness in addressing the cries of helplessness. That is indeed sad.

Land Acquisition Ordinance, which the Central government is stuck with, is having a rough ride. It has its apparent grey areas and a draconian aspect of ‘Eminent Domain’ of Dalhousie era of 19th century. Can Indians do this to their fellowmen? The debate is on. The last word is awaited. Hope the government addresses the serious issue of  Social Impact Assessment and Consent from land holders which has not been included in the ordinance. Is there a sinister motive behind or else why Ordinance?

Month-in-Perspective as usual has covered many happenings during April. We have expressed our concerns on the happenings with our usual take. Hope our readers shall experience the ringing truth in all those observations.

AAP dream run has suddenly hit the road block after an incredible show at the Delhi hustings. Differences among founding members have exploded in the open. Dirty linen is being washed in public. Arvind Kejriwal drunk with the power of historic win to the corridors of power in Delhi has expelled two of the tallest leaders of AAP. Both Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, who were already known across the country, much before AAP was conceptualised, are hoping against hope to save the party. Will that happen? We have taken it up in the Focus, the evolving AAP scenario. Readers are requested to revert with your feedback. Rest are as usual.

J.Shriyan

MONTH-IN-PERSPECTIVE

GUJARATH: We always knew that Coca Cola or Pepsi like beverages had harmful effect on consumers of these drinks. But somehow, the power that be, and of course, the business lobby managed it to remain outside the prism of health authorities all over India.
The recent news report about the declaration by mega cine star Amitabh Bachchan that he shall no more appear in the advertisement for cola’s while speaking at IIM Ahmadabad, is a positive development.
While it is a welcome decision, the government both in the centre and states, must necessarily insist on its laboratory testing to know what are the harmful contents it has. And, as alleged, if harmful ingredients are found, the government must necessarily insist on its removal. In food and beverages, the transparency, should be the by-word. Should these cola companies, refuse to fall in line because of so-called trade-secrets, these products should be banned. Instead, govts must encourage local drinks. Surely, Indians were drinking varieties of local beverages, even before cola’s made into the country. Cola companies are only making money for Shah Rukh Khans, Tendulkars and Bachchans, and of course for themselves at the cost of Indian consumers.
‘Make in India’, campaign of Narendra Modi, should also takeup “Make for India” slogan of RBI governor Raghuram Rajan.

UTTAR PRADESH: Punishment to juveniles who commit heinous crimes is unfortunately still being debated, due to the pressure of so-called civil society activists, who think, the depraved can change if they are kept in juvenile homes.
We have seen and witnessed umpteen cases of boys above 15 are being used by others to commit crimes of serious nature including rape and murder only because of this senseless law which forces a judge to release the convict, if he has already undergone 3 years in custody, since it is only 3 years in juvenile homes that these young criminals are forced to stay.
Despite articulated arguments in favour of including those who are over 16, as adults, has fallen on deaf ears.
And comes this story of an ‘accused shot dead by youth in court premises’ in Muzaffarnagar. Entering the court premises in a lawyer’s outfit, this absconding youth reportedly shot dead an alleged gangster, Vicky Tyagi. Report informs, that this youth had shot the gangster multiple times before escaping into anonymity. However report further states that according to police, this youth had escaped from a juvenile home last year. He was in the juvenile home (JH) for the crime of having killed, also by shooting, an eye-witness in another court and for which he was lodged in the JH after being declared juvenile, police sources had reportedly corroborated.
Hence it is very clear that there should be serious deliberations and laws amended, so that, these young criminals are made to suffer as adults for adult crimes.

CHHATTISGARH: Something is seriously wrong with naxalite Maoists, or else there’s no reason for the 4 attacks in 72 hours, resulting in the death of 15 combat men. The movement that started over 45 years ago, has lost its way. Lost its core agenda of empowering the marginalised, instead, became very violent in pursuance of the hegemonistic agenda of its left over leaders. As of now, it is still very much alive, since, those who are riding a tiger have a dilemma at the inability of getting off the back of tiger. As you try to get off the tiger’s back, chances are tiger may swallow you. Hence, perforce, they have to sustain the naxalism, if not the movement. Over a period there have been many who managed to retrace the steps and have surrendered. Hence, there is a definite slowing down of their activities since authorities in Chhattisgarh, as elsewhere, have been working towards reaching out to locals in naxal hit areas and trying to win them over. This has greatly affected Naxalites. To keep their perceived relevance intact, these sporadic violent attacks are thought to be a way out, for these naxal leaders. All affected states must take this menace head-on, to snuff out this naxalites at whatever cost. Only then, the governance, if any, can become effective in these affected states by making available to people, the larger share of the national pie, which is otherwise lost in combating this lunacy called Naxalism. 

BIHAR: This is nothing to do with Bihar per se. But happened in Bihar all the same. Notorious for being loud mouth or loose cannon, a Union Minister, Giriraj Singh is at it again.
First time he became infamous for his remark that “those who are opposing Narendra Modi should go to Pakistan”. At which time Prime Minister Narendra Modi had advised likes of Giriraj Singh to stop mouthing such ‘smart’ expletives. And comes the latest. Chatting freely among his supporters in Hajipur in Bihar, Singh had reportedly said “Had Rajeev Gandhi married a Nigerian and if she was not white-skinned, would the Congress have then accepted her leadership?”
In his remark, this union minister in Narendra Modi government, not only lowered himself in the eyes of the world, he degraded his own government and his Prime Minister. He also degraded all women besides directly insulting Nigeria. In all fairness, Narendra Modi, instead of leaving it to party spokesperson to mouth inanities, should have sacked him. That he didn’t react, even by way of a verbal reprimand like earlier instances, is a poor reflection as the man and the Prime Minister.
Ever since, BJP came to power there has been increasing bad mouthing by persons holding ministerial positions. This development is not only unhealthy but also has a sinister design. Prime Minister Modi, should he want to return to power after 5 years, then he better rein in such elements in its earliest. Or else an unpleasant surprise at the hustings need not surprise anybody.

KERALA: THE WEEK, 'the journalism with a human touch', belonging to Malayala Manorama stable, which claims itself as ‘ACTIVE WITNESS TO HISTORY’, carried under its ‘Guest Column’, a piece by a Pakistani writer, Ali Sethi.
He was writing on the violent reaction by the Christian groups on the aftermath of suicide bombing of two of their churches in a Christian area of Lahore. He was fairly critical of his country’s men and managers and how they have failed to protect Christians. He also talks about the low social placement of Christians in Pakistan, as he says “Most of Pakistan’s 2.8 million Christians are descended from low caste tribes converted by Anglican and Catholic missionaries during the British rule.
While saying Christians are worse off in Pakistan he wrote, “Unlike in India where the pressures of representative government and an ostensibly secular polity have offered some protection to disenfranchised castes”. This was a reflection of ignorance by someone who claims to be a writer.
This man called Ali Sethi simply does not know India and what India stands for. He could be a post partition product. But in these days of information revolution, it is eminently possible to update his knowledge about Pakistan’s biggest neighbour. His barbs reflect more than his ignorance, his prejudiced mind set which does not want to accept that his motherland is far behind its eastern neighbour in socio-economic & political indicators.
But what shocks the reader far more is that minorities, who formed 30% in 1947, is to-day just 3%. This 30% consisted not just Christians, but mostly Hindus and Sikhs, who were either forced to become Muslim, killed or they managed to runaway. Ali Sethi himself must be from high caste Hindu descendents, Sethi itself shows his Indianness. And there have been innumerable demolition of temples and this is what is written in the DAWN, a Pakistani English daily, published just few months ago.
Quoting a Sindhi gentleman, it reported from Karachi “We are completely insecure here. We are looted, but our voice is not heard, our temples are attacked in broad day light, but no one takes action, our girls are kidnapped and forcibly converted, only to hear more empty promises of justice. Nothing happened in the last 67 years and we don’t expect any improvement in the future. Things will only become worse”.
There have been reams of documented history of gradual annihilations of all minorities in Pakistan. Hindus constitutes the biggest and the most vulnerable and this Ali Sethi has nothing to say. And the tragedy is this THE WEEK, despite being part of active witness to history, thought it fit to publish his  grossly prejudiced views. Was it because, he wrote in favour of Christians, and Malayala Manorama group’s owners are Christians!

NEW DELHI: A completely avoidable controversy was created by Supreme Court Justice Kurian Joseph for the 3 days’ judicial meet organized by the Chief Justice of India. These 3 days unfortunately had included Good Friday. There were many who agreed with Justice Joseph, irrespective of their faith affiliations. There were also those who disagreed with Justice Joseph, who were from different religious back ground. 
Thus essentially, do we see the issue of a meet of Supreme Court judges through the prism of faith? At least, that is what Justice Joseph want us believe. “I only wanted to raise the serious concern-future of secularism in this great country,” was his take, on enquiry to his letter to the Prime Minister on the issue of this judicial meet and the dinner with PM the following day.
That Justice Joseph doubted the secular credentials of our country only because of this meet on Good Friday, is indeed very sad. We are given to understand that, this meet is routinely in the 1st week of April every year.
A retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Khan, while speaking to NDTV did say, that “for me as a judge, my duty comes first, and all else later, and therefore, when there is a call of duty, what day it is, does not matter’
For a highly decorated position of Supreme Court Judge, his duty certainly means far more than the religious significance of the day, in this case Good Friday. Interestingly, United States, it is reliably understood, does not have a holiday on Good Friday, even though Christians are more than 95% of its population. Can U.S. be declared non-secular for this reason, Justice Joseph?
Then you have these politicians, an M.P. from Kerala, mouthing inanities in TV channels, of hurting religious sentiments ever since the BJP dominated NDA came to power. These muck raking politicians should know that in 2007, a similar meeting was organised on a Good Friday and nobody complained. Was it because, it was not BJP dominated NDA in power, but Congress dominated UPA was! Besides, these politicians, including Justice Joseph should worry about the 23 years old unresolved Sister Abhaya murder case involving clergy, or the over 19 years infamous Suryanelli rape case involving P J Kurian, the present Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman where the last word is yet to be said or the 18 years old suicide case of Sophia College hostelite Indu Anto in Mumbai. These cases are all involving young girls from Kerala. Do you hear Mr Kerala politician? Secularism in this country is safe with or without Justice Joseph or these politicians, while it is also true that BJP need to be more sensitive to the concerns of all sections of our society without any distinction, period.
AAP is in turmoil. Sad but true that this newest political outfit is going through some unprecedented churning. 
In the generally corroded political landscape of the country, emergence of AAP was seen as an answer to those myriad questions making its rounds interminably, needing redress and address. But the latest development has thrown up serious questions about the future of this, otherwise harbinger of hope among the aam aadmi of India, that is Bharath.
The recent rupture within the ranks of its founding members is a matter of serious concern. Two of the country’s most respected names, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, being expelled from the Political Affairs Committee and the National Executive has clearly shown a measure of intolerance for dissent rarely seen in any political party. That their ouster was insisted upon by Arvind Kejriwal, the central figure in AAP, was the strangest development, devoid of any logic.
From what is available in the public space, despite briefings to the contrary, it is clear that the duo of Yadav/Bhushan combine have been rather badly treated by Kejriwal and his coterie. Their expulsion from crucial committees has the possibility of the birth of a breakaway faction. If that happens, there is going to be polarization of voters across the national spectrum. These two gentlemen may not have the vote catching charisma of Arvind Kejriwal, but the kind of esteem they are held in the media and public space across India, is very commendable, for their intellectual integrity, which is the greatest need of our time. Should they form another political party, it is sure to grow, in the long run, if not in the short run as Kejriwal led AAP had grown. 
Of course, the best thing to happen is, these two gentlemen are reinstated to their original position in AAP in the interest of aam aadmi and natural justice. But will that happen? It’s a very very big question.
Since many years, there has been a story going round for whatever it is worth. But certainly deserves repetition. There are 4 good things, we are told, American Salary, Indian Wife, Chinese Cook and British Discipline. Then there 4 not so good, or bad things. They are, Chinese Salary (now probably it is increasing) American Wife, British Cook and Indian Discipline. Hence, notwithstanding the debatability of all else, Indian indiscipline or lack of discipline stands out.
Indian’s are indeed the most indisciplined, which includes a great many educated, elites and non-elites. We, as a rule, like to break the law of the land with least remorse or remote concern. Whether it is spitting anywhere or littering garbage, using toilets in the train when the train is stationery on the platform/station, or wasting water, allowing the running water to keep running. Not only we do not close a public tap left open by somebody irresponsibly, we keep it open during the entire process of using the tap water, even when it could be on and off. We close the taps, after our complete use. Then of course, the road rage, signal jumping, over speeding, dangerously over taking, all heavy vehicle, rickshaws and tankers always driving on the emergency fast lane. There are umpteen kind of traffic offences we commit, as a nation. Of course Traffic police anywhere in India, could be a harassed lot, especially the one’s from Delhi, where the per k.m density of vehicle is the highest in the country.
And comes the news of an innovative approach to tackle the menace of bad-road-use. Delhi Police have hit upon an innovative way of teaching driving manners to Delhi’s bad road users. Reportedly, Delhi’s motorists are notorious for flouting traffic rules. For a starter, the traffic police have started with the idea of sticking the self sticking stickers with print in bold letters “I AM UNCIVILIZED”, on the front glass of the vehicle, which are wrongly parked or parked in No-Parking areas. Reportedly, there will be no-challans to fine these law breakers. Police is hoping that these erring road users do realise their sense of civic responsibility. Hope, at long last, this newer way of Gandhigiri can work, to make Indians in the capital city more disciplined. 
Our secular media men and women always accused mostly Hindus and their institutions and organisation for their alleged ‘intolerance’. That’s a done thing. And comes “Thampu strikes back”. The St. Stephen’s College principal Valson Thampu, is a known interlocutor who articulated with likes of Barkha Dutt and her ilk, that Christians are always under attack in India, which is far from truth, except for some sporadic idiocy from a miniscule section of idiots. But likes of Barkha Dutt and Thampu have always exaggerated and blew it out of proportion to make it sound like national disaster.
The Stephen’s Weekly, a digital magazine, edited by one Devansh Mehta, who is also the co-founder, appears on the net on March 7, and Principal Thampu bans it on March 11. A single member disciplinary committee was headed by a Professor. In the meanwhile the editor speaks to the press about the ban which irks Principal Thampu greatly, and upload an essay 'St. Stephen’s and Freedom of Thought’ lashing out at Mehta and the media.
In the mean while Devansh Mehta, a 3rd year Philosophy (Hon’s) student was recommended for Rai Saheb Banarasi Das Memorial Prize. Reportedly the said student was recommended for the prize for his high moral character, above average academic performance and extensive involvement in co-curricular activities and was slated to receive the award from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on April 18.
The Professor heading the Disciplinary Committee reportedly concluded Devansh Mehta of gross indiscipline. Taking the report as basis, Principal Thampu over-rules and rejects the name of Devansh Mehta.
Prof. Vijay Tankha, the head of the Philosophy Deptt. so also the son-in-law of Dr Manmohan Singh, and most of the faculty are upset at the unilateral action of the Principal Thampu. ‘It is disgusting that a man of religion will refuse a student the reward of his hard work.
Now certainly, this is no way, of encouraging youth to ask uncomfortable questions and ‘the principal has definitely crossed the limit’ was the response of teachers. So much for tolerance.
An Indian couple, settled in Canada, since over 40 years had reportedly adopted a child through a Canadian Government licenced adoption association, sometime in early 2009. After a series of interviews, home visits, the eligibility of the couple was cleared for the adoption of a child by name Bimala, who was 4 years and 8 months then. There is a Supreme Court mandated ‘two months’ deadline to clear all adoption related legal hurdles, in the interest of the child to be adopted. Its now April 2015, over 6 years have passed, but the child is still living in a Kolkata orphanage.
“I was approved by the Indian government through the Central Adoption Resource  Authority (CARA), fulfilled all the steps required by the governments of India and Canada for international adoption” was the exasperated desperation of the adoptive mother Mytreyi Bharadwaj. Unfortunately it was the judicial process that has stymied her attempt of getting the child out to Canada. Despite knowing fully well, the stated position of Apex Court, the Barasat district court in West Bengal rejected the application on the ground that “Bimala’s adoption would take her out of the court’s jurisdiction, making it impossible to monitor her welfare”. This was a ridiculous stand, which if accepted, shall stop all adoption. Besides, in Canada, laws are far more child-friendly and therefore the welfare of the child will be better monitored than India. The rejection on this ground simply made no sense. Calcutta High Court rejected, reportedly on technical ground. Approaching Supreme Court, despite over 18 months, has not helped the matter. It was, reportedly, getting routinely adjourned, despite clearance by, CARA, the union govt, West Bengal govt. Ms. Bhardwaj is planning to present the case to the Chief Justice, and hopefully the matter may after all be cleared. But in all this rigmarole child’s welfare was not considered at all. Could it be that all those manning the judicial process from district court onwards, 6 years ago, to the last attempt at Supreme Court, this month, were looking at Canadian $ to come their way, since the adoptive parents could afford to pay hefty speed money? Oh! How bankrupt we are as a country!

WORLD: Intolerance has different shades, in Arab countries. There is this blasphemy law in most Muslim countries and they are very harsh.
Hence when Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced for 10 years in jail plus 1000 lashes for allegedly insulting Islam, it was taken with the usual helpless stoicism. He is in jail, and was handed 50 lashes already, sometimes in January last. These lashes are supposedly in weekly installment of 50. Reportedly after the first 50, further lashes have not been executed on Badawi.
But what is shocking and incredible is that the lawyer, who represented the case of Badawi, has now been jailed unheard. The report date lined Dubai informed that “Saudi appeals court upholds 15 years’ in jail for rights lawyer”.
This is the saddest commentary on the Arabian Gulf’s power house Saudi Arabia that it is suffering from an extreme kind of intolerance that human rights lawyer Waleed Abulkair refused to apologise to the court, for having observed that he “refuses to recognise the legitimacy of the trial court.
That was indeed a sad day for the human rights and come to think of it, Saudi Arabia swear by Islam!
Supremacy in cricket by way of WORLD CUP has come and gone. Australia proved beyond any doubt, why they are the champions, sledging or no-sledging.
But the ceremony post the final match between Kangaroos & Kiwis, has left a completely avoidable bitterness and controversy.
Rightly or wrongly, our great N. Srinivasan, the reigning cricket moghul, is at the centre of it all. By some quirk of events, the chairman of ICC N Srinivasan presented the trophy to the winning side, although according to the rules of ICC, the president, who is a ceremonial head, has the honour of presenting the trophy.
Reportedly, the ICC president, Mustafa Kamal, who is also the president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, had taken strong exception to some of the decisions of umpire in the quarter final match between India and Bangladesh. Reportedly his vituperative remarks went on record, and the ICC asked him to withdraw it or apologise for generalising umpiring as ‘bad’. Since, Mustafa Kamal refused to do either, he was denied the pleasure of presenting the trophy to the winner. So far so good. But what was really shocking, reportedly, Kamal was at his stinging best on ICC chairman N.Srinivasan, as he tendered his resignation as the President of ICC. He called him “rotten and controversial” and that he ‘feels’ bad even to mention his name. If that man is in charge of cricket, how will cricket run”. According to Srinivasan, Kamal wrote “These type of people should be away from cricket. These kind of people are polluting the game”.
Indeed, all that Mustafa Kamal stated are true. All knew it, but not many said it in so many words. But Mr Kamal, how did you manage to carry on till this world cup final with this disgusting ‘gentleman’ as your all powerful chairman? You knew all the while that he is rotten but stayed on to enjoy the crumbs of office. You too are like one of those from the BCCI. Yes, in all probability you would have lived for another day as the ICC President, wouldn’t have said what you said, if you were allowed to present the trophy and would have compromised your ‘honour’ to live another day with this ‘rotten’ Mr N. Srinivasan. Mr Kamal, keep smiling, there are ‘N’ number of men in BCCI, who are just like you, enjoying the crumbs but keeping their mouth shut.
That U.S President Barrack Hussain Obama is a visionary, was never in doubt. He is not merely a visionary but also a trend setter in international relation. As an advocate of co-operative co-existence, he had famously observed in his equally famous book AUDACITY OF HOPE, “We have a stake in one another, and that what binds us to-gether is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done”. 
That he tried to translate the above statement is there for all of us to see. Like he said, he has not been able to solve all problems that needed solution but he sincerely tried to address as much as he could. The fact that Americans believed in his commitment and honesty, they gave him the 2nd chance to be at the White House, despite not being very successful. 
As he had envisioned a world of détente, he has honestly tried to address issues involving Palestine, Iraq, Iran and now comes Cuba, the closest neighbour of U.S.
Cuba, as TOI Washington correspondent, Chidanand Rajghatta termed it was ‘demonised and victimised’ for over half a century, as an extended fall out of cold war dynamics has, at long last, been removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism by the U.S. Of course, as was known, all these years, the isolation of Cuba, as a supporter of terrorism is only due to its ideological proximity to the then USSR , with whom U.S. had a running differences which led to Bay of Pigs-fracas.
President Barrack Obama, realizes the strong arm tactics of earlier U.S governments over unequal powers to force their point of view. All through his political life he had advocated detente. And the handshake with Cuban President on the side lines of the Summit of Americans in Panama city only signalled the steady arrival of good days for the long suffering Cubans due to international sanctions of over 4 decades’ economic blockade. Obama deserves to be applauded for what he is doing and plans to do more to make this world a better place. Two cheers to Barrack Hussain Obama.
J.Shriyan

FOCUS

AAP INFARCTION
Is Kejriwal the villain !

Clean politics, which is being referred to as alternative politics has always been the yearning of a significant section of Indians, who had grown cynical with the established political parties. Aam Aadmi Party founded by Shanti Bhushan, a former Law Minister, his son, Prashant Bhushan, a senior Supreme Court Lawyer, Yogendra Yadav, a Professor and well known socio-political scientist, Arvind Kejriwal, the blue eyed boy of Anna Hazare movement and few other likeminded thinkers and doers, came as a breath of fresh air.
At a time, when most people had lost faith in mainstream political parties, this AAP, formed by educated, committed and principled gentlemen did hold out a promise of  value based principled politics. From November 2012, when the party was formed, the politics of this country did not remain same.
Election that came in 2013, has shown the potential of AAP. But committed a blunder by resigning after 49 days in office. It was the decision of one man, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, without consulting his Political Affairs Committee, and his electorates, who had asked him to form the government, took upon himself as a custodian of scruples in public life, to quit the government, ostensibly because, he failed to bring about the passage of Lokpal Bill due to the Congress party’s chicanery. It was an opportunity that not only AAP lost, to convey its seriousness in governance, it gave a whole lot of negative publicity to the party. It was a situation AAP could have lived without.
Loksabha Election came and AAP thought it can pull a surprise. It contested some 400+seats. But quitting the Delhi govt in 49 days, had created a deep gash in the public memory. Both Congress and BJP, mercilessly exploited the peoples’ disillusionment. Except in Punjab, it drew blank all over the country. But it did help create a space in the public domain.
Months that followed, did witness, all kinds of efforts to revive the sagging morale of AAP. More than anybody, its volunteers spread all over India tried to keep it alive by not losing hope in a better India and better politics.
In the meanwhile, there have been attempts at roping Congress MLAs, to form a government by hook or by crook. Having quit the government in 49 days, to again hanker for power, was certainly sending wrong signals. Yogendra Yadav and some others were opposed to the idea. Kejriwal’s insistence on having his way, was certainly creating irritants in the smooth functioning of  the party.
Sazia Ilmi, one of the more pleasant, liberal and articulative face of Indian Muslims, called it a day with AAP, accusing Kejriwal of being autocratic. All thought Sazia Ilmi was being fussy. After remaining without any political allegiance, she joined BJP months later. She is a right person in a wrong party.
Delhi election came by and the rest as the cliché goes is history. The unprecedented, electoral victory gave Kejriwal the power he wanted. The power to do what he wanted within his power as the convenor of AAP.
After the 49 days El dorado with the Delhi government, there have been instances of differences cropping up within the AAP leadership. There were questions being raised about the party’s constitution which suggested one-man one-position. Shanti Bhushan, the patriarch of AAP family had proposed change at the top after Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister. Sr. Bhushan not only had the moral authority of an elder gentleman, with impeccable legal background, he had also contributed the first revenue for the party. Reportedly he had given `1 crore as the first contribution of AAP.
Shanti Bhushan, had reportedly suggested Yogendra Yadav as the convenor to replace Kejriwal. Looking back, it was not taken kindly by Kejriwal, who began to nurse a dislike of Sr. Bhushan.
There were other founding members, with whom he was distancing himself from. Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, were singled out for his dislike. If Prashant Bhushan was the son of Sr Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav appeared to Kejriwal as his competitor. Was it because Prashant Bhushan has a formidable background or Yogendra Yadav was a respected public intellectual? The chasm grew quietly but steadily. It subtly started appearing that individual is greater than the institution.
The unprecedented victory in the Feb. 2015 Delhi election, made Kejriwal confident that whatever he does shall pass the muster. He had, in the mean while, strengthened his position in the party. 
He meticulously planned that it was not his proposal, but the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) decided to remove these two tall leaders of AAP, Yogendra & Prashant from PAC. That would leave him as the ‘Supremo’. But the subsequent meet of the National Executive (NE) comprehensively exposed that it was Kejrwial and Kejriwal alone who wanted these two leading lights of AAP out of PAC & NE. His stand was clear “Its me or them, both cannot be in the party.” The tele talk, the previous night, where he had used the terms “would have been kicked out” (laath marke nikaalthe the) against Yadav-Bhushan duo, made it very clear his veiled intentions.
Thus he clearly wanted that he will have no dissent to his leadership in the party. This was a clear negation of the fundamental principle of democracy, transparency and collective leadership, on which AAP was baptised. These two, most respected gentlemen in the public space were condemned unheard as - gaddhars  - traitors. That was the unkindest cut that Arvind Kejriwal, who was made convenor by the founding members, inflicted on these two founding members. 
In his zeal to take full control, Kejriwal unceremoniously dropped even Admiral Ramdas, the internal Lokpal of AAP. He even removed Dharmvir Gandhi, the Punjab M.P, as the leader of AAP Loksabha team, since Gandhi questioned the propriety and legality of the removal of M/s Yadav & Bhushan. 
On questioning the removal of Admiral Ramdas, the explanation given by Kejriwal’s spokesperson was, ‘his term as Lokpal had expired’. But ‘when did it expire?’, the question was never answered. 
Commenting on the development, a Mumbai based national newspaper had commented “So, the dream of a new politics, clean politics, lies shattered, smashed to million pieces, by the skullduggery of its latest and foremost salesman, Arvind Kejriwal. The AAP leader’s Hitlerian mindset has killed the AAP experiment. Now all that is left is yet another, one man party, a la Mulayam Singh’s Samajawadi Party or Mayawathi’s Bahujan Samaj Party”
What is the rationale of this removal of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan along with two of their supporters, Prof Anand Kumar of JNU and Prof Ajit Jha? Did he feel threatened by their eminence and clean public image? The paper said, “They were well meaning professionals widely respected in their respective spheres of work. Yadav is a social scientist who made his name as a psephologist. Bhushan is a senior Supreme Court Lawyer who has championed diverse public causes and spearheaded epochal PIL cases such as the 2-G and the Coal Scam”. So, could it be that, he wanted no opposition to whatever he had in mind for AAP and its future!
But AAP is not his alone. It belongs to all those, thousands of volunteers, besides Yadav, Bhushan, Kumar and the likes, who toiled and funded for the evolution of AAP.
How can Arvind Kejriwal do what he did? There appears to be a purge. He was not satisfied with their ouster from the policy making bodies, PAC & NE, he even got them removed from the party itself.
Recapitulating the NE meeting of 28th March, the paper says “Days before Saturday’s disorderly and even violent show of strength by Kejriwal and his fawning supporters at a farm house on the outskirts of Delhi, there was enough evidence that the decision to throw out the naysayers from the party was already taken. Kejriwal came, delivered the set piece charge-sheet against the Yadav-Bhushan duo and left, leaving the dirty work to be accomplished by his henchmen. The 'accused' were not allowed to say a word in their defence. Indira Gandhi in her heyday had conducted herself with a little more dignity than this mid-level revenue service babu-turned-self-styled-anti-corruption neta”.
Sagarika Ghose, a former editorial team member of CNN/IBN, writing in the Times of India, terming both Yadav and Bhushan as statesmen had this encomium, “Soft-spoken dignified Yadav is one of India’s sharpest political minds. On TV as well as academic circles, few have the acute grasp of Indian politics that he does. Bhushan is an upright and indefatigable lawyer–activist who has fought for many unpopular causes.” And she continued “Ousted rebels YY & PB weren’t accused of any kind of personal impropriety. Their only fault was that they failed to realise the folly of questioning someone anointed with a massive mandate. Yadav and Bhushan could never have been street smart cadres of AAP, rather they provided the party’s moral and intellectual appeal and its distinctive voice. It’s a tragedy that with the departure of Yogendra Yadav AAP has lost its Bhishma.”
Indeed AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal is bereft of intellectual backbone. Would it survive? May be ‘Yes’! But he has broken the hearts of thousands of volunteers across the country and have dashed the hopes of millions of Indians, who had hoped for a better India where both values and laws are respected. If 2015 elections have catapulted Kejriwal as a Hero, the aftermath, the unnecessary and highly condemnable ‘blood letting’ has reduced him to be a villain. In a situation, where winner takes all, he is no doubt ‘Jo Jeetha Wahi Sikander’. But then the original Sikander – Alexander the great – did not last long, is a historical truth. Thus, the question, what next? is  haunting YY/PB & Company and those about 4000 volunteers of AAP who had gathered at the Swaraj Samwad on 14th April at Gurgoan.
J.Shriyan

OPEN LETTER

History my dear Arvind, Beckons

You knocked on the citadels of power. And rattled not just the Congress, not just the principal opposition but also stirred the conscience of a billion Indians. And today history is knocking at your doorstep.
The Time has come to showcase your resilient-magnanimity. Not  for your brethren and comrades-in-arm-Prof Yadav or his companion Prashant Bhushan, the gentlemen with his quixotic smile and cerebral legal prowess. Your magnanimity is for AAP. It can infuse life-giving oxygen to this asphyxiated infant.
You wept when political churnings curdled & threatened to split this enfant-terrible. You said “I can’t fight Yogendra bhai. He is like my elder brother." We deeply cling onto hope here. That you will see reason to embrace back the founding members with dignity. And I am sure Professor Saab will match your magnanimity eye to eye. And so will Prashantji’s pragmatism rise to the occasion.
It is surely not for your sake or Professors or our lawyer activist’s. It is for the nascent AAP movement. It is not just a political party, not just an alternate entity. It has been the refreshing new breeze that blew over our landscape and infused hope. It is the change whose time has come. It’s inspiration for our youth to come out of their languid apathy and undo all. The wrongs of our previous political dispensations. Our freedom struggle will finally not go in vain Sir.
An RTI activist like you, who has borne the brunt of the chilly Delhi nights, who fasted  on those streets, can’t fail to recognize the death blow this movement is facing. Surely you do mean to have a Lokayukta in your party. Like the famous cine artist who declared solemnly that “Mere Paas Maa Hai!’’, wouldn’t you want to have Rear Admiral Ramdaas to on your side?!! What ails you my friend? Where indeed is our hero who burst on the scene to catch the imagination of the youth as dramatically as the Hero who came out of the “Phata Poster’’.
Believe me, it is never too late. Even if the doors have been closed, they can be opened anew. And there can be nothing greater than that to stump the political outfits and their hand maiden, our sting news channels and electronic media. As you infuse new life &vigour into AAP, I am sure your hacking cough will also disappear.
Do heed Sir. This parting of ways of yours and Professor Saab’s will deeply hurt the AAP movement. You will not be able to see an ordinary AAP volunteer eye to eye, their dismay, dejection, despair are too stark to miss ‘’Woh Subah Kabhi To Aayegi, Who Subah Kabhi To Aayegi” janab.
A fervent prayer on my lips. History is at your doorsteps. WAKE UP SID.

Regards
DrChitralekha J.S.

TRIBUTE TO A NOBLE soul

It still resonants in our ears, how approbative he was of our commitment and quality at ISSUES & CONCERNS, be it the foray into print journalism or be it our reach out initiative. It was as if our tummy was full and no food was needed for weeks. Yes, like all else, every beginning has an end. So it was on 7th April, the compassionate voice of Justice Kalamanje Jagannatha Shetty was stilled forever, to remain only in memory.
Born on 15th Dec 1927, in  Ambalpady, in the coastal Karnataka district of earst-while Dakshina Kannada, retired Supreme Court Justice K.Jagannatha Shetty left this mortal world for his heavenly  abode at the end of his journey on this sorry earth. While he was alive, he was a professional to the core, in his elected field of law and justice. In his tall frame, he looked very stern, but that frame had a kind, reasonable and a fair heart, which reflected in all his public posturings including his judicial pronouncements. He was a judicial luminary with impeccable probity and eminence. His journey from being a lawyer to the higher judicial positions in the Apex Court of the country has been meteoric. As an acting Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court to be the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, on the way to the Supreme Court bench, was a reflection of his standing in the judicial hierarchy.
Our association with Justice Shetty has been of only over 6 years, but those six years were very satisfying for us at ISSUES & CONCERNS. He is one of our most eminent and respected readers. For the benefit of those who do not know, we reproduce what we wrote in our editorial of Oct. 2009. Quote “Our Bangalore representative Shri Sanath Kumar Punja, had given us a list of 50 gentlemen from the Bangalore Bunts Directory, which to our good fortune, included the name of retired honourable Supreme Court Justice K. Jagannath Shetty. His, no holds barred, approbation of our commitment to the objectives of I&C has really bucked us up. Coming from the judicial luminary of his probity and eminence, was no less than a testimonial for all that we have been doing for all these 9 years. But the icing on the cake was when we called on Justice Shetty at his Bangalore residence. We were truly humbled by his graciousness and large heartedness. At the end of our exchange of thoughts of over an hour on issues and concerns, we were left speechless by one of his incredibly noble gesture. He handed over a cheque of Rs. 25,000/- for our child centric reach out programmes, a generosity we never expected. Justice Shetty shall be remembered for all time to come at I& C. We invoke almighty god to grant him good health and long life for years to come.” Unquote.
It is sad, he is no more. But as Babita, his daughter, philosophically accepted, it was INEVITABLE and was indeed as Samuel Butler said the, ‘WAY OF ALL FLESH’. 
We will miss greatly the affectionate welcoming smile at the door of Sai Sadan, which we were fortunate to be recipient on those many occasions, shall be reduced to only memory.                       May his soul REST IN EVERLASTING PEACE   - AMEN

FEATURE

Statins and cholesterol- the fig leaf has come off.

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

“It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” 
Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit

Statins are the most sold, most dangerous, most talked about reductionist chemicals used in the western medical therapeutics to get a “better report” of fat profile of the hapless unsuspecting humans whom we call as patients because they have lots of patience to bear with all the insults that we inflict on them. Teachers taught that statins are the best bet to get the patients fat profile back to “normal”! Some of those teachers at the Harvard University were later shown to be on the pay roll of the statin manufacturers! Students had to regurgitate that in the exams to get their coveted degrees. The drug barons took bets about their sales and spent a billion dollars in one year for advertisement and doctor hospitality to net just about $ 13 billion in one year!  
The CEO of a company was the happiest at his success. Almost every one that is on statins had to suffer not one but many side effects both, symptomatic like muscle pain and muscle loss or asymptomatic ones like liver damage, muscle damage, kidney damage, brain damage, and what have you. An Australian study had shown that every patient given statins shows microscopic muscle damage almost from the beginning! The scariest part of the whole saga is that these companies knew to start with that stains were dangerous drugs that destroy the human liver function. Liver produces cholesterol in our bodies to keep us alive and healthy as cholesterol forms the cell membrane of every human cell of which we have 120 trillion in all. Billions of them die a natural death (apoptosis) daily to be replaced by new cells. The raw material for the new cell membrane (wall) has to come from body’s chlolesterol manufacturing body, the liver.
The latest British Medical Journal (March 21, 2015) has a large invited article by Sidney Wolfe, an advisor to the Public Citizen group in New York. Rosuvastatin, the latest darling of the thought leaders among the medical profession who work for the industry, has been the leader in the market with annual profit of 13 $billion and the company had spent $ one billion a year for promotion which includes doctors’ hospitality as well. The JUPITOR study, one of the largest studies in the conventional sense, statins had not passed the litmus test. Although there are some pharmacokinetic differences between the various statins they all belong to the same family that work identically inside the human system to block the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. One of the largest studies of statins in the world, a meta-analysis of one lakh thirteen thousand three hundred and ninety four patients, showed that between 7-27% of patients on statins will become diabetics in one year. The Rosuvastatin study, an RCT done long before the drug was certified for human use by the FDA, had shown rabdomyolysis, muscle degeneration. How could that drug be licensed? It got the green signal from the FDA and went on to become the most sold drug! That much for the honesty of our regulatory controls to safeguard patient safety.
Be that as it may, the very connection between fat profile and heart disease is so shaky that if we went into it from oneend to the other so many skeletons will stumble out of the regulatory body’s cupboards. The whole edifice of fat-diseases connection started with Ancel Key’s study. That study was so badly sexed up and doctored to get positive connection where none existed. Rest of the story was built on that dry sand foundation. Truth, unfortunately, is very lazy. By the time truth could pull up its pants to start, falsehood and mystery will have gone round the globe twice over! We might break our heads but the most powerful pharma lobby will prevail, truth notwithstanding. God save mankind from this unholy nexus between drug manufacturers, the medical profession and the regulatory agencies. Thank God, the industry has not succeeded in getting statins put into drinking water supplies! They have put it into the POLYPILL- a Rama Baana for all ills. Hope for that utopia where truth prevails.

“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking...” 
Leo Tolstoy


LAST PAGE

The story of Socrates

Dr. M. V. Kamath

My dear Gauri

The Buddha lived about 500 years before Christ. Socrates came a little later (469-399 B.C.) and lived in the great age of Greece after two Persian invasions had been repulsed.
At that time Athens, presently the capital of Greece, was a small country town but still the centre of the Greek world. The Athenians had achieved a high degree of civilization with popular representation in local government. They were great talkers and when they wanted to exchange ideas they would gather at the market place and there, in the halls, or under the colonnades, or in the open air parliament (of which every grown man of Greek origin was automatically a member), they talked and argued, tried law suits and generally enlightened themselves.
Now Socrates was a stone mason and carver who believed that he had a divine right to test all statements. So he found delight in questioning public and private citizens, arguing with them at length to test the validity of anything they said. This is called the Socratic dialogue. The only trouble was that, in the process of arguing, he made many enemies!
Like the Buddha, Socrates did not write anything himself, but he had a brilliant pupil, Plato (427-347B.C.), who had set up a school of philosophy in an olive grove on the outskirts of Athens, known as the Academy, and who remembered the words of Socrates and set them down into a more or less complete system. So what we know of Socrates comes to us through Plato.
If you keep challenging everything and everyone, a day will invariably come when your popularity will be reduced to zero. And that is what happened to poor Socrates. When he was nearly 70 years old he was accused of impiety and of corrupting young people. The charge was serious and the case went to ‘court’.
The ‘court’ consisted of 501 Athenian men who were chosen by draw of lots. There was no judge or jury. The majority opinion among the 501 prevailed. Socrates argued his own case very brilliantly, but the ‘court’ by a vote of 281 to 220 adjudged Socrates guilty of the charge. The law required the guilty to propose his own penalty, but his chief accuser, a man called Meletos, demanded the death penalty. The law itself did not prescribe any penalty and the ‘court’ was free to choose between what Meletos proposed and any alternative Socrates cared to suggest.
Socrates told the ‘court’ that he had no money to pay as a fine. Banishment , perhaps, No, said Socrates, at his age, he had no desire to be constantly moving from place to place. He could not stop arguing either. As he put it, a life without inquiry was not worth living. Besides, if he promised not to talk, nobody would believe him anyway. But if pay he must, he would propose a fine of thirty minas of silver and his friend Crito, Critobulos and Apollodors would stand surety.
But the ‘court’ was after his blood. He had annoyed too many Athenians and, after some further discussion, they voted to condemn Socrates to death. That did not in the least worry Socrates who was fully prepared for the eventually. He told his accusers that if they believed that by putting men to death they would stop everyone from reproaching them because they were wrong, they were making a great mistake. As for him, in death he hoped to meet great men of the past like Homer and Ulysses. And in that place where they lived, surely no one would be put to death for asking inconvenient questions?
He was quite philosophic about his impending end and took leave of his accusers saying: “And now it is time to go, I to die and you to live, but who of us goes to a better thing is unknown to all but God!”
What a brave man was Socrates! In jail his friends called on him on the day he was condemned to die by taking poison. Instead of being upset or miserable, Socrates calmly discussed with his friends the nature of the soul, of truth etc.
He was to drink poison at sundown, but minutes before the due time, he called for the cup saying that there was no point in clinging to life. When it was brought to him, he drank the poison fearlessly without trembling or showing any signs of distress. He was only worried that he may not have offered the Gods a proper libation.
At this point he heard the wailing of women. “What a scene!” said Socrates. “One must make an end in decent silence”: and so the women were sent out.
As the poison began to take effect, Socrates lay down and uncovered his face. He summoned his friend Crito and said “Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepois, pay it without fail”. “That indeed shall be done”, replied Crito. “Have you anything more to say?” There was silence. From Socrates there was no reply. He was dead.
What a brave and wonderful man was Socrates! No one remembers the name of his accuser Meletos. But Socrates lives forever as a philosopher who put his right to ask questions even dearer than life itself.
In my next letter I shall write to you about a remarkable man called Kautilya who is talked about to this day.

Your loving 
Ajja