Friday, September 18, 2015

EDITORIAL COLUMMN

Friends

69th Independence Day has come and gone as usual into the national amnesia. The Prime Minister of the country Narendra Modi in his second appearance, at the Red Fort, addressed the gathering in his usual inimitable style. But it clearly lacked the intensity of the maiden speech. That uniqueness of the fire from the depth of his heart was deeply missing. If the 2014 rhetoric raised the national optimism to an unprecedented level, this time round, it was more stock taking of the 15 months’ performance of his NDA regime. No doubt he has led the nation from front. A very decisive prime minister we ever had. Rattling of statistics of the progress of the schemes like Jan Dhan yojana, then pension yojana, life insurance cover for poor, model village initiatives by MPs, toilets in schools and villages, etc., he claimed performance on his promise of 2014 speech.

While it is true that there have been some progress in many fronts, the progress certainly could have been better, if only the prime minister had more flexible approach with his political opponents. Besides, the promises were far too many, hopes raised earlier were of  high order not backed by adequate performance. Of course, still there are over 3 years left in office for Modi to perform. This time round the talk about the 'start-ups’ have no doubt raised hopes of youth. But then, it should not end up half done. However it is hoped since all that was promised are all work-in-progress, including Swatch Bharath Abhiyan, coming years shall have better degree of performance and therefore completion.

Addressing the nation was also President Pranab Mukherjee. As usual President being a figure head, and with political background of close to fifty plus years, surmourising has become his forte, which he or his government of those years couldn’t think and do. Look at this statement “We are an inclusive democracy and an inclusive economy, there is place for everyone in the hierarchy of wealth. But the first call goes to those who suffer on the brink of deprivation. Our policies must be geared to meet the ‘Zero Hunger’ challenge in a foreseeable future.” Well President, ‘Gareebi Hatao’ has been a slogan of your then prime minister Indira Gandhi, over four decades ago. And your party has been in power close to six decades. What have you and your government did to address this deep deprivation? While you have done nothing, you have promoted your private interest by making your son a Member of Parliament, from your constituency as if it is your private borough. You also tried to make your daughter an MLA in Delhi, and you are concerned about deprivation!!

But then, Indian politicians are all like Pranab Mukherjee, opportunists promoting only themselves and their families. This is Yeh Mera India.

Passing away of former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on 28th July has certainly rendered the country poorer. He has been a model human being, a model student, a model scientist, a model manager and indeed a model president. We have Focused on him, this month. He deserves more, however we hope readers shall find it worth their time. Do revert with your valuable inputs. Rest are as usual.

MONTH-IN-PERSPECTIVE

NEW DELHI: Some 24x7 high strung T.V channels went ballistic and some English dailies went hyper with front page top billed news item ‘Personal Liberty of individual under attack’. It was, as if, emergency was re-declared. All that had happened was an anxious government reeling under parliament logjam had issued direction to telecom operators and internet service providers to block pornographic websites. Reportedly, there was widespread outrage on social media and other media platforms, and central government as a ‘guardian angel’ of personal liberty responded with alacrity to restrict the directions to only those websites hosting child pornography.
Equally as guardians of liberty newspapers too had published elaborate editorial on the issue, wasting its precious newsprint on issues as pedestrian as a pornographic views portal. Other day, Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh Babulal Gaur had remarked “drinking as a fundamental right’, and why not! If decadent pornography could be elevated to the arena of personal freedom why not drinking liquor? There could be any number of health experts, who advocate limited liquor consumption as ‘good for health’. So at least there is health aspect to some extent, in alcohol consumption, what is there in pornography, except titillation?, which, if not controlled, lead to some disasters in public space finding explosive expression for suppressed sexual desire in young and not so young!? And our 24x7 media will have another sensational rape case!
For I & C, pornography or right to see pornography is not relevant at all, but the bankruptcy of our media and computer savvy intelligentia going overboard on this jaded issue of sex on internet, when there are any number of issues to get worked-up in our Mera Bharat Mahan! Do we all need to recognise, that these women who have been filmed in the act of sex only to make money are somebody’s sister, wife, daughter or even mother! More often, it could be the poverty of these women, which drives them to depravity in market place. Surely, all those guardian angels of personal liberty perhaps had no time to ponder on this miserable aspect of this money spinning business of pornography only because none of their relations are in this body selling commerce !
Supreme Court reportedly pulled up the central government for being casual in their approach to the serious issue of missing children in India. “Get your facts right” court had remarked to the ministry of Women and Child Welfare (MWCW) headed by Maneka Gandhi.
Court was reacting to the petition by the NGO headed by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. MWCW was responding to the query by the apex court to furnish the details of all missing children since 2013, and gave the figure as about 25000. This was in total variance with what the ministry had informed the parliament during question hour. According to reports datelined New Delhi, Maneka Gandhi, the minister had furnished the figure of missing children to be nearly 80000.
This clearly exposes the ministry. For whose welfare is this ministry functioning?
If they can give one figure to the parliament, the highest legislative body of the country, and other to the highest judiciary of the country, which are different from each other by over 200% then there is a serious lack of application. Either the bureaucracy is incompetent or the minister is not in control. Either way it is a poor reflection. This shows, how a grave issue involving helpless, vulnerable children is being handled in a way of completely disappointing and utterly irresponsible.
The news datelined New Delhi “Iranian Foreign Minister to meet PM & Sushma today” is a welcome one. Happening close on the heels of historic deal the Iranian leadership had with the western powers, it can augur well for both India and Iran.
While there will be many commercial interest discussion, there shall also be long term, socio-commercial arrangements discussed, primarily due to our long standing friendship. The strategic Chabahar port development, Oil exploration by ONGC, Railways and Highways development in Iran, besides long term oil & gas supplies agreement.
Coming to this so-called historic nuclear deal which Iran concluded, has no doubt hastened the lifting of economic sanctions of long years which did cripple the Iranian economy. But why Iran wanted to go nuclear? Was it because, it really wanted to have an alternative source of energy?! But Iran is sitting on rich oil & gas reserves, which is unlikely to run out in the foreseeable future. So why go nuclear? Could it be, for a secret desire to have a bomb? And that’s what got the West worried. And that’s why, Iran’s nuclear facilities are now kept open for inspection by the West. There is an element of explicit distrust. So for the next 10 years Iran is not likely to pursue its nuclear ambition, hopefully.
Of course, there are any number of opponents of this deal. From Republicans in the U.S. for Obama, who personally was involved in the deal, to Saudi Arabia and Israel in the Middle East, are very unhappy with this agreement. They wanted Iran to suffer from sanctions. But Obama is a visionary and he wanted Iran to be a partner in the middle eastern detente.
In the ultimate analysis, it may be good for the world and it will do good for India too.
Narendra Modi as Prime minister of the country is on missionary vision. A person, who want to be seen on world arena needs to be a visionary. But visionary also needs to be a person who translates these visions in the shortest possible time with least cost with most benefits to largest number of people, if not all of them. A law or an enactment or an initiative has to be, per force, people centric, not group centric. In all political arrangements, be it democratic, autocratic, centrist, leftist, rightist, there are always group dynamics working for groups only. A visionary leader who is a ‘karma yogi’ like Shri Narendra  Modi, is expected to be pro people, pro-weak and pro-vulnerable. He made right noises on 15th August 2014, from the ramparts of the Red Fort. So all thought, we are in for, as he rightly referred, ‘Achhe Din’. After over an year, although ‘Burrey Din’ has not come, ‘Achhe Din’ too look little distant. Not because he is not sincere. But because, he thinks only he can do good and that others have failed. Of course 68 years as a time factor, is little too long for an effective delivery system to be in place. It is true; India of 1947 is not the same as India of 2015. There have been progress and very laudable in many sectors. There has been a growth of a huge middle class society. An affording class has emerged, especially post 1991 liberalization, which is of attraction to global financial and business players. But this has also left a larger section looking at the growth with dismay and looking forlorn, not being part of this growth. This disparity needs to be urgently addressed before it goes out of sync. Modi was voted, hoping this could happen. His 15th Aug 2014 independence day speech enhanced this optimism.  But the hope generated then simply tapered off. Modi need to pull up his socks. Surely he means well, but then there are others too who means as well in the political landscape.  He has failed to co-opt their participative support. In his eagerness to prove his point, he failed to build bridges with other political players. ‘If you want to get along you need to go along’ is a time tested principle of leadership. He has failed to go along with his political opponents. It is true; corruption has been the bane of Indian politics and economics for all these 7 decades. All political parties have been party to the growth of this disease including BJP. But it is also true, that all political parties are also committed to the welfare of the people, despite polarization of vote bank politics. Hence, it is eminently possible to join hands for the common objective of growth with welfare. Managing whole of India is not same as managing Gujarat. Of course the withdrawal of Land Acquisition Ordinance is indication, that he is prepared to climb-down from his considered stand. This is indeed the need of the hour to take everybody along towards the growth trajectory.
Coming to the appeal by the Prime Minister to give-up the LPG subsidy, it has generated lot of reaction from across the national spectrum. Reports inform that some 20 lakhs have already surrendered their subsidy. There may be millions in the pipe line wanting to join. Yes there are crores of people who want  to do their bit for the country, not  just Modi and his BJP. But they have something to say.
‘Charity begins at home’ is a dictum we learnt from times immemorial. Indians are asking why this ‘subsidy giving up’ does not start from parliament canteen! Its a good question and needs to be answered in right earnest. Like general public, there are good parliamentarians  who have suggested that subsidy in the parliament canteen should be scrapped and have asked Lok Sabha speaker to initiate action, while there are many who have objected to it. Hence the Prime Minister and all his party MPs should set an example by paying the market rate for the canteen supplies. Arrangements for those wanting to pay market rate can be made by displaying two rate lists, subsidized & non-subsidized. Once majority of MPs take the call, rest will automatically follow. Honorable Prime Minister, please think it over. Some food for thought. It will also help your political stock so also that of your party, BJP.
UTTAR PRADESH: Most populous state of India, has its share of problems also in equal measure. Probably this too is another dimension of increasing uncontrolled population. The state is in the news most of the time, unfortunately for wrong reasons.
The latest is the action of senior IPS officer Amitab Thakur in moving an application before the Chief Judicial magistrate of Lucknow for filing an FIR against currently uncrowned king of UP politics, Mulayam Singh Yadav. ‘Netaji’ as is referred to Mulayam had reportedly threatened this IPS officer during a phone conversation, which Thakur had recorded as proof.
Saga of Amitab Thakur goes back in time. He is an activist police officer. His wife Nutan is his partner in his spare time activism. The couple is known to be no-nonsense type, trying to do their bit for a cleaner governance in the UPs otherwise murky environment.
In a move, that can be clearly called vendetta, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the son of Samajawadi Party supremo Mulayam, has reportedly unleashed a series of retaliatory measures. One of the charge is, believe it or not, a case of alleged rape has been registered with his wife being named as co-accused. Hence he has been suspended.
Anurag Thakur had incurred the wrath of SP supremo for following up the case of journalist Jagendra Singh burnt by four policemen at the behest of a UP minister, whose illegal mining activities were the target of Nutan, an RTI activist, who is also the wife of Anurag Thakur.
In a state, which is notorious for politician-police nexus, here is a sterling example of policeman living upto the ideals of policing. He and his wife deserves all support, moral and material, in their moments of its greatest need.
“Jagendra immolated himself, says his son’, informed a report datelined Shahjahanpur, and why not? After all, when money speaks even the living go dead. That’s the power of money. Some 6 weeks earlier, in mid-June, the family of Jagendra Singh, who was set on fire by four policemen, had called on UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, son of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh, the ‘Netaji’. They reportedly narrated the killing of Jagendra Singh, at the behest of a Minister in UP government Ram Murthy Verma. Jagendra Singh, the slain journalist had exposed the wrong and illegal deeds of minister Verma, who probably was funding SP supremo and his party. Reportedly Verma had ordered policemen to finish this Jagendra Sigh, which they obediently did. Also UP government coming under severe attack, suspended these policemen. But the family had filed an FIR against the minister. Probably via some middlemen inspired by the authorities, asked the family of the slain journo to call on the CM who is the ultimate arbiter of ‘justice’ in the state. Justice, the CM, indeed did. He announced Rs.30 lakhs as an ex-gratia to the bereaved family.
It was only an announcement but the whole story turned upside down, and the son Rahul Singh, of slain Jagendra Singh, goes to town to tell “Jagendra immolated himself”, and gave all cock and bull story to the media to give a clean chit to minister Verma, a friend in need to CM &  his friend ‘Netaji’ father. Indeed UP Chief Minister must be laughing at the fickleness of human mind. But, what if CM does not keep his promised announcement of  Rs: 30,00,000 ex-gratia?!, now that minister Verma got a ‘clean chit’.

WEST BENGAL: That Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a decisive leader is never in doubt. That was at work on June 7th, 2015, when he visited Bangladesh, and in less than 60 days of following the visit, the historic day had arrived for those 168 enclaves, the residents of which were stateless for all the 68 years of post independence from the British colonial masters.
On the midnight of 31st July 2015, the complex issue that lingered since independence, was put to rest into the pages of history of both India and Bangladesh. These enclaves were transferred to their respective recognized geographical area and all those living therein had the wholesome option of opting to the country of their choice. The human element was allowed a fair play by the leadership of both countries in the movement of people to their chosen landmass and to a nationality. They all will be, from now on, citizens of a country, either India or Bangladesh and hence shall be entitled to an identity card and access to all those services provided by the government to their respective nationals like, education, health care and other facilities, including a passport to travel around the world to either chase their dream or to simply go around the places of interest.
This resolution shall surely mark a new water mark in the evolving socio-political relationship between the two neighbours and should hold out promise of better days for all those who suffered so long for no fault of theirs. Hope it does.

NAGALAND: The historic peace treaty between Naga insurgent and New Delhi with a framework to finalise issues involving the nationalist socialist council of Nagaland led by Thuingaleng Muivah is one more instance of a decisive prime minister of the country. The present treaty is an outline within which both parties to the agreement shall try to work to bring lasting peace to the insurgency infested state. Of course, Narendra Modi, as a leader, has a tendency to decide things without consulting all stake holders. In this case too, he didn’t talk to states affected by the Naga insurgency and their demands. But, reportedly has assured subsequently that all stake holders will be on board while finalising the long-term terms of reference.
It appears there is an element of climb-down in the demands of the group and more scope for a possible settlement. In any case, it is a good beginning for both the central government and the people of Nagaland, so that the initiative by the present governments in the troubled North East will start bearing fruit in better development of North Eastern states in general.
With the longest insurgency in the North East coming to terms with the reality that insurgency cannot win against an organized state machinery, it is hoped that all those groups, including naxals would realise the futility of violent protests and come to negotiating table for a peaceful settlement so that all Indians can co-exist and enjoy the fruits of development. Hope it does happen.

MAHARASHTRA: Post hanging of 1993 Mumbai blast convict Yakub Memon has catapulted the issue of death sentence to the centre stage as never before.
Even when Ajmal Kasab was hanged for the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, this debate had cropped up.
Surely, death sentence, as medium of punishment is in a way ‘Statutory murder’. This is not a situation of action reaction. People get killed when there is an attack. But as a punishment, death sentence, has not been an effective deterrent.
However, even the hardened criminal like that barbaric ISIS beheader Jehadi John is reportedly on the run to save himself when his identity was reliably found out. Reportedly he has deserted ISIS operation and is in hiding somewhere in Syria. So, everyone loves to live and live as long as he does not naturally die. Even Yakub Memon, made, many attempts to save himself from the gallows, including the now famous, past midnight hearing by the 3 member team of Supreme Court judges. That the court decided to stick to the original judgement of ‘hanging by death’, surely shall have its own valid reasons. However, the principle of ‘rarest of rare’ is probably not always used with adequate clarity. There are any number of cases, the application of this principle was stopped short, according to many in the public space, due to interpretation of what constitute ‘rarest of rare’. Hence in many cases, death sentences have escaped by a whisker. Indeed there are countries, who have removed death penalty as a form of punishment from their statute books. Will India follow their footsteps? Probably not. Because India is not a country, but a continent with its own innumerable ideas of what is right and what is not right.
Lot of white has become black writing about the hanging of Yakub Memon, the 1993 Mumbai serial blast accused. It is true that hanging of an accused cannot bring back the life of victims or reduce the suffering of those, who were injured. But the gravity of the killing of 260 people, almost in cold blood, and injuring thousands has to be addressed and redressed. Unfortunately, it became a debate because Yakub Memon happened to be a Muslim, and there are likes of Owaisi who are waiting only to fish in troubled water. In fact people like Asaduddin Owaissi and his diabolic brother are completely misfits to live in a country like India. In a larger picture this man and his sibling are anti-socials and anti nationals.
The courts, from trial to apex court, have surely gone through all relevant details and confirmation of the guilt before deciding on the death rap. The fact that the highest court of the land, opened its doors after midnight and sat through until almost dawn only shows the seriousness, sincerity and honesty of the system. It was an unprecedented gesture by any standard.
Of course, to disagree, in a democratic milieu, is the right of all, and therefore one can forward all theories including some sensible and not unfair. But being the ultimate custodian of the law of the land, apex court took the call and responded the way it did.
Indeed, being vindictive may not help the larger cause of humanity and its co-operative co-existence. But then there are social dynamics which play its role, rightly or wrongly, where ‘to err is human and to forgive divine’.
But it is also true, that despite the claim of surrender, which has been contested by the police, he has reportedly never admitted to his guilt and ask for forgiveness, although a newspaper carried the headline on 31st July. “I am guilty, May Allah forgive me” reportedly uttered just before the hanging.
We all feel sad, when there is a death, especially when it is untimely. However, under the circumstances, we can only pray May His Soul Rest in Peace: Amen.
As a culmination of the over 22 year’s trial of Mumbai serial blast of March 12, 1993, Yakub Memon was convicted to be hanged until death. On 30th July he was hanged. Muslim society was divided on his death sentence. But they were united in demanding conviction of those who were indicted by Justice SriKrishna Commission.
Post Babri Masjid demolition in Dec. 1992, there was widespread protest which turned violent. Although Babri Masjid was in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, it was Mumbai, which saw the protest and violence. Why in Mumbai, why not in other places? Nobody has so far asked this question. Could it have been engineered by the likes of Dawood Ibrahim! So it was not a spontaneous protest, it was clearly motivated. When a violence is motivated and therefore funded by motivator, it is bound to be on large scale, retaliation was a follow up action. Of course, may be retaliation went berserk and close to 900 perished. In just over 2 months after the riot, the serial blast took place. This serial blast too was funded and was orchestrated from outside Mumbai, where Memon brothers turned out to be key players. Before the serial blasts Justice SriKrishna Commission (JSC) was constituted in Jan 1993 immediately after the riots had stopped, to inquire into the riots. Sensing trouble in the findings, the state government led by Shiv Sena and BJP disbanded the JSC within 3 years time in Jan. 1996, only to be reconstituted after 4 months in May 1996.
The commission had indicted many policemen and politicians including many Shiv Sainiks. The government of the day rejected the report. But even the government of Congress/NCP that came after did not do justice to the report and it languished. All the governments that came to rule Mumbai did not do justice to the dead in which Muslims were in larger numbers than Hindus. Hence when Yakub Memon, accused of March 1993, serial blast was hanged, and those accused of Jan 1993 riot remained unpunished, naturally Mumbai Muslims had a very valid reason to feel deeply let down. Will justice ever come to them who suffered in riots? is unanswered as of now.

TELENGANA: Hyderabad born Sania Mirza has been awarded with Rajeev Gandhi Khel Rathna for her top class tennis exploits both in India, but mostly in international tournaments. The recent high profile win has been her doubles crown at the Wimbledon, the Mecca of Lawn Tennis. While there is no doubt that she has been playing extremely well and deserved all awards that are available for such performances, she needs to be celebrated as case of women’s emancipation especially from among her Muslim sisters and cousins. That is unfortunately not happening. Is it because, she appears more cosmopolitan and not a victim of male domination in her attire and public posture! While she is a model for all Indian women to be emulated, she is particularly so for her country cousins, who can look at her and take inspiration to grow in life. After all she is one of them. Community also did not rejoice when Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was made the Bharat Ratna, followed by being made the 1st citizen of the country. Could this be because, he never overtly indulged in the practice of his faith? Or he was more Indian and less Muslim? which is what all Indians should be, more Indian and less Hindu or less Christians etc. There is certain degree of aversion from among a section of the community, about these icons being accepted by the majority Indians. This attitude is certainly not right in the context of a larger picture of plural India.
Community need to accept differences within with more openness for its own larger good. Hope its leadership take the call when needed.

WORLD: So our western neighbour Pakistan is at it again. They did a Kasab on Naved, the second terrorist to be caught alive in Udhampur in Kashmir, although his father Mohd. Yakub has reportedly confirmed to Indian media sources that Naved aka Usman Khan is his son and is an LeT operative.
As usual Pakistan is on a perpetual denial mode, despite the reported submission of Naved to Indian security forces that he is from Pakistani Punjab’s Faisalabad city in the area called Ghulam Muhammadabad. But Pakistan says, his name is not there in the national data on citizens. If Indian records of such data can have millions missing, it is no surprise there may be similarly millions missing in Pakistan’s official data. After all, by any stretch of comparison, India is better managed and administered than Pakistan.
But then, to borrow from Narendra Modi, denial syndrome is in the DNA of Pakistan. It has a long history. Among many such denials, the case of Ajmal Kasab is a classic one. Ajmal Kasab was the lone terrorist caught alive by the heroics of our hero Tukaram Ombale during the 26/11 Mumbai attack. But Pakistan kept consistently lying that this terrorist is not a Pakistani and one of their newspaper even ridiculed Indian claim saying Faridkot (Kasab’s village) is in Bangladesh. And Nawaz Sheriff, the Prime Minister, then out of office, ridiculed Pakistanis and newspaper stand. A Pakistani youngster, Shahryar Ali, wrote in a Pakistani promotional website “The most embarrassing development now proves that the terrorist in fact is a Pakistani from the same Faridkot which we could not find on our map. His father identified him. It’s a day of national humiliation for us. Ajmal Kasab is a Pakistani form Faridkot, a fact we kept on denying at every level. But will we learn but alas we still need proof.”
Thus denials is a part of Pakistan’s political culture. Will Pak ever come out of this weird dimension of its public life? is a question making its interminable rounds.
In a direct contrast, or can we say challenge to ISIS, although not intended, PTI reports from Kathmandu, “Muslims in Nepal want a Hindu State” (TOI –Bangalore 13th Aug). In a world of Islam, where ISIS wants to rule the world, it is very heartening to see that Nepalese Muslims expressly desire being ruled by another religious group.
Reportedly, in an unusual move Muslims in Nepal have chosen not to go with the proposed secular constitution instead back the campaign for reinstating Nepal’s former Hindu identity.
According to Amjad Ali, Chairman of Rapti Muslim Society, “It is to protect Islam.” He feels, Islam is better protected under Hindus, than under secular constitution, where, Anarkali Miya, a member of CPN-UML CA, feels, ‘missionaries shall be trying to influence people from other faiths to follow Christianity’.
This is interesting, especially, because, in India, Nepal’s big neighbour to the South, the whole press and a section of political class is accusing Hindu organisations of conversion, while the reverse is true.
Echoing similar sentiments, the report informs, that Babu Khan Pathan, the President of  Rashtrabadi Muslim Manch Nepalgunj has stated on record, “We don’t need a secular identity, but want to see the country called Hindu state as this ensures safety and security for all, and 80% of Muslims are in favour of Hindu state identity”.
Whether it is right or wrong, it is for Nepalese Muslims to decide. But one thing is loud and clear, that they have no problem with a Hindu state. Do you harken Asaduddin Owaisi, brothers & cousins of India?!  
This uncrowned king and dictator of North Korea – Kim Jong-un must be a lunatic, competiting with ISIS barbarians in his cruelty to his fellow men, who either disagree with him or criticise him.
Ever since he took over the reigns of managing North Korea after the death of his father Kim Jong II, there have been executions.
Latest to be silenced was the Vice Premier Choe Youg-gon. He was executed by a firing squad, sometime in May, as per report from Seoul, for voicing frustration and opposition at the policies related to forestry being promoted by Kim, the dictator. Choe Yong-gon did not survive even a year in his premiership after taking over in June 2014.
Earlier this year in April reportedly, Defence Minister Hyon Yong-chol was executed by Anti Aircraft fire for insubordination and dozing off during formal military rallies.
The hands of this intolerant and cruel leader is full of blood of all sorts of people in his country who disagree with him and his methods. None of his forefathers have been as cruel, although they have ruled this impoverished portion of earth called North Korea, with an iron fist, for more than six decades.
Ever since this Kim took over the power after the death of his father in 2011, South Korea's intelligence informs that there have been dozen of senior officials executed for different ‘offences’. He has also executed his own uncle, Chang Song-thack for alleged acts of treachery. Uncle's two aides were reportedly executed earlier for aiding him in his ‘act of treachery’.
Thus, in his paranoia, in his attempts to remain unrivalled & unquestioned, he has taken to killing all his opponents in cold blood. Such people are disagrace to humanity and it is time, there is a mass upsurge within North Korea, and the world should support any such move, to dethrone this cunning despot.





FOCUS

APJ ABDUL KALAM: A human being par excellence

As you read this, over a month would have passed since the passing away of Bharat Ratna Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the former president of India. As usual for all the month of August APJ appeared in print in one paper or the other. It was as if it was never enough, and there is still more to say. The avalanche of goodwill that this diminutive man commands, is mind boggling. It was as if he was another Mahatma after Mahatma Gandhi.
Abdul Kalam was born to a little educated boatman Jainulabdeen in Rameshwaram. Family of Jainulabdeen was of ordinary means. However they were determined to give young Kalam, best of proper education. As the life unfolded itself, Abdul Kalam not only grew in years but also grew in stature to become one of the best scientific brains of not just India but of international repute. Penguin Books writes on him. He ‘is one of India’s most distinguished scientists. He was responsible for the development of India’s first satellite launch vehicle, SLV-3, of strategic missiles, weaponisation, building local capability in critical technologies. Held senior positions in ISRO & DRDO before becoming Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India, a cabinet rank. He had the rare honour of being the recipient of all three highest civilian awards of Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna, besides receiving some 30 honorary doctorates from all over the world’.
The rocket scientist that he grew up to be called, propelled him to be the Bharat Ratna in an India, which took immense pride in making him the 11th President  of India on 25th July 2002. In an India where 80% of the population consists of Hindus, Abdul Kalam was the 3rd Muslim President.
Despite having been born into humble background, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, by the sheer dint of application and hard work achieved pinnacle of success. He was every inch a very proud Indian and made every Indian proud by his clean and exemplary life. According to S. Gurumurthy, a chartered accountant and well known columnist “For ordinary Indian, Dr Kalam represents all that a great man should have – humility, simplicity, honesty and transparency”, while RSS said “He is a dreamer of great India”.
Writing about himself Dr Kalam writes in his epochal works of thoughts “WINGS OF FIRE”, that he inherited honesty and self discipline from his father and from his mother he inherited faith in goodness and deep kindness. He speaks about his three friends, all from the orthodox Brahmin families, so also the respectful friendship between his father and the chief priest of the Rameshwaram temple, who was father of one of his friend.
He had, at times, brush with unpleasant situation which he never allowed to grow into bitterness within him. Narrating an incident involving a Brahmin teacher, who asked him to go and sit on the back bench instead of the first bench, he was sitting with his friends. This had greatly hurt him and his Brahmin friends. He recollects how the chief of the Rameshwaram temple, Laxman Shastry, asked bluntly, the teacher, to apologise or leave the school for trying to vitiate the school atmosphere by introducing intolerance among the impressionable minds of young children. This shows the sensitive side of Dr Kalam and his acceptance of culture of tolerance so early in his life. He remembers his science teacher, again an orthodox Brahmin, who Dr Kalam describes as a rebel, and how he took keen interest in young Kalam’s studies. Normally, good students are favourites of teachers. Hence it is obvious that Dr Kalam was deeply interested in science from his school days. Dr Kalam informs ‘one day he was invited by the science teacher for a meal at home, and how teacher’s wife refuses to serve the youngster at the first instance, and changes completely, the second time, after seeing the brahminical rituals he observed while eating and after eating’. They were all intimate details of an evolving youth coming to terms with the realities of his surroundings during his growing years.
He recounts what his father told him when he was set to leave for Ramanathapuram from Rameshwaram, “Our love will not bind you nor will our needs hold you” and how his father consoled his grieving mother quoting Khalil Gibran “Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.” And Khalil Gibran was an Arab Christian. This shows, his parents too being open minded and young Kalam allowed himself to be mellowed in the mould of his parents. Goodness of his parents became his innate strength.
In Ramanathapuram, he joins Schwartz High School, where he comes in close contact with Iyadurai Solomon, one of his teacher. According to Kalam teacher Solomon instilled in him a sense of self-worth and inspired him to look at life confidently. He talks about his mathematics teacher Ramakrishna Iyer who praises him for his cent % marks in Maths saying ‘this boy is going to bring glory to his school and to his teachers’, despite caning him on an earlier occasion.
It was in 1950, he joined St. Joseph’s College in Trichi and completed his BSc. There was nobody in his family who could guide him. Flying always fascinated him, hence in pursuance of his dream he joined Madras Institute of Technology for his degree in Aeronautical Engineering and completed his degree along with the project completion and training in HAL in1958. Thus it took more than 27 years for him to complete his professional degree, which normally one can complete by the age of 22 years. However, the years he spent in School in Rameshwaram and Ramanathapuram, the College in Trichi and MIT, all moulded young Kalam into a disciplined, committed, kind and sensitive human being, deeply committed to hard work to realise the dreams of his family. He was the most educated of his time in Rameshwaram. His close and sentimental association with all his teachers, be it his Science teacher Sivasubramania Iyer in Rameshwaram, Rev.Solomon in Ramanathapram, Rev. Sequeira, Prof.Iyengar, Prof. Sastry in St Joseph‘s in Trichi, Prof Sponder, Prof. Pandalai, Prof Rao and Director of MIT Prof Srinivasan, left him deeply impressed on his young persona. As a disciplined, no-nonsense and committed student, he was the dream student of all teachers. These very same qualities took him to unparalleled heights in his professional life.
Having joined his first assignment at Delhi’s Directorate of Technical Development & Production of the Ministry of Defence in 1958 as Senior Scientific Assistant, although he had dreamt of being pilot with Indian Air Force, which he failed narrowly to get. Surely destiny had other plan for him.
During these post independent years, most of our defence requirements were being imported. Hence import substitution was the challenge India had to overcome. Young Kalam, inspired by deep sense of nationalism always felt that its only strength that respects strength, hence, always felt that India must produce its own defence equipments.
An indigenous manufacture of a prototype of hovercraft, as a ground equipment machine was planned at his work station and he was made the leader of the team. There were hardly any information, literature or expertise available on hovercraft within India. The thought that if Wright Brothers could envision and fly the first flying machine with only their years of cycle fixing background, an Aeronautical Engineer is surely better placed to experiment, thought young Kalam.
When you are destined for bigger things, things happen providentially. VK Krishna Menon, the then Defence Minister of India came calling to see the hovercraft and had a ride on it. He confirmed that Kalam had “demonstrated that it could be done” and asked Kalam for a more powerful prime mover and call him for the second ride. Although bigger and better hovercraft was ready before schedule, the ride did not happen since VKK Menon was out of political office. On the road to highways bumps and humps are bound to happen. Comes along Prof MGK Menon of TIFR (Tata Instt. of Fundamental Research) who takes the ride which VKK Menon had missed earlier. Young Kalam’s destiny and probably that of India’s defence capability changed forever. He gets appointed as Rocket Engineer with ISRO under the wings of Prof Vikram Sarabhai. Soon Thumba rocket Launching Station was set up. Rest, as the cliché goes, is history. He built up from scratch India’s first indigenously made Satellite Launch Vehicle. During his association with ISRO, Abdul Kalam closely worked with Prof Sarabhai, Prof Satish Dhawan and Dr Brahm  Prakash. As a manager of men, all these gentlemen were deeply impressed with the style of his project management. A former director of Indian Instt. of science, Prof Padmanabhan had observed “Dr Kalam has an admirable quality of making junior scientist feel very important”. “Dr Kalam has an extraordinary capability to think ahead and work with people with great enthusiasm. He can identify the strength of each individuals” was another comment of Dr A S Pillai, Chief of R & D at Ministry of Defence. “His humility is shocking” was one more of the many, from a junior associate in a science project. He was immensely popular among his colleagues.
The first 100% indigenous effort of Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) succeeded on 18th July 1980, after an earlier effort on 10th Aug. 1979 had failed. Originally, it was planned for 1974. But then, the kind of trial and tribulation of the entire team at ISRO with the involvement of some half a dozen government agencies, with some 250 engineers working continuously under demanding conditions of inelastic demand and uncertain supplies, snags, delays were bound to be there. Fortunately the government of the day, of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, was very appreciative of the achievement of Kalam and his dedicated and committed team. In 1982, Kalam moved to DRDL in Hyderabad. It was from here that all the missiles, including Prithvi and Agni were conceived, planned, built and successfully fired at the missile testing site at Balasore in Odisha. Kalam writes in his autobiography ‘Emergence of India as a self reliant country in the field of guided missiles upset all the developed nations of the world’. Indeed, it was Kalam who, driven by the principle that ‘a nation is greater than an individual’ and ‘strength only respects strength’ brought about the sea-change in the defence preparedness of the county. These were the single most important factors that catapulted him to a Bharat Ratna. The humble background he came from, and his personal growth trajectory, where discipline, hard work, commitment coupled with no ego, no frills, simple nature, kindness and dreaming big for his country made him a darling of his countrymen, who celebrated his being made the President of the country. He was the most respected and loved president of free India. His observation that “I will not be presumptuous enough to say that my life can be a role model for anybody, but some poor child living in an obscure place, in an underprivileged social setting may find a little solace in the way my destiny has been shaped. It could perhaps help such children liberate themselves from the bondage of their illusory backwardness and hopelessness”. This was perhaps the most beautiful statement of his humility and genuineness. He was every inch modest to the core. Describing President Harry Truman, his biographer Merle Miller had remarked ‘Last human being to live in the White House’, a remark that would undeniably apply to President Kalam as well.
The country is certainly poorer without this model human being, who was beyond any narrow sectarian, religious & linguistic bigotry. Hope the spirit of this extremely unassuming gentleman lights our path in nation building in the days ahead.

Three Indians & how diametrically different !

Smitha Mishra, writes from New Delhi, on 28th July, 2015
He is rushing towards the policemen surrounding the barricades put up to regulate the surging crowd. As he nears one policeman, he requests to be allowed in. This priest in the customary white robe has just landed from Kochi and is visibly worried that it may be too late for him to pay his last respects to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the former president, the ‘Missile Man’, the Bharat Ratna. The priest found himself in the long winding queue outside 10, Rajaji Marg, where thousands still waiting, and the crowd is swelling. While the army has taken charge of the arrangements, the number of people thronging to this high security zone in Lutyens’ Delhi is something even they could not foresee.
‘‘Now you know why he will always be the peoples’ president,’’ comments a supervising officer. And how right he seems to be: There are bare bodied Sadhus, old women who cannot walk without help, there are soldiers in hundreds, there are IT professionals, CEOs of companies, shopkeepers, businessmen, scientists. And there are students, youngsters in thousands, crowding every lane and street that leads to Rajaji Marg.  Rahul is a 10th class student. He has come here after reading Dr Kalam’s inspiring books in his library. ‘‘I wanted to come and see one last time the man who made India so proud after rising from such a humble beginning,’’ says his companion Vikas who just finished his studies and started work.
Hafiz Ghulam Sarwar points at his two sons aged 10 and 7 years. He has come all the way from Nangloi just for the sake of his sons. ‘‘For me Dr Kalam will always remain an epitome of patriotism. He has taught all of us that one can serve the country even without an affluent background. I always tell my sons about this great man. Today I want them to pay their respects in person.’’
Everywhere, from the long winding queues to the soldiers on duty, people are sharing their thoughts and past experiences about Dr. Kalam. A few teachers scold school children asking them to keep quite.
As the children turn down their volume, the guy in a big straw hat strums his guitar and starts singing an old Raj Kapoor number…‘Jeena isi ka naam hai’. This is no mourning crowd…it’s the celebration of a great life.
If this was at 10, Rajaji Marg, in New Delhi, the ground near Pamban Bridge in Rameshwaram where the mortal remains of former president Kalam was laid to rest was no different.
A sea of mourners continued to wind up their way to Peikarumbu grounds on Thursday, hours after President Kalam was laid to rest with full military honours in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The milling crowd of mourners, who patiently waited for their turn to pay tearful homage and floral tributes to the departed octogenarian, stood as ample proof of why Kalam had earned the sobriquet “People’s President”.
Even on Wednesday night, much after Kalam’s mortal remains were lifted from the spot where these were kept for public homage and shifted to his modest residence — the ”Kalam House” — to facilitate family rituals as per Islamic traditions, thousands of people kept going to his home. This despite strict orders that visitors would not be permitted to pay homage to the 21st century inspirational icon after the body was handed over to his family. But throughout, it was an orderly crowd.
It was a rare scene to find thousands of mourners turn up for the funeral of a humble man in a remote town, far away from Tamil Nadu’s Capital city of Chennai. Tamil Nadu, for all practical purposes, shut down from dawn to dusk in memory of their beloved departed son who won admiration all over the country and even abroad. All shops were closed voluntarily. There was no disorderliness that comes with a large crowd. That was the perfect tribute to the man whom the thousands of men, women and children loved, transcending the barriers of caste, language and religion.
Kalam’s mortal remains were taken in a procession to the Peikarumbu ground. As the coffin was lowered, cries of “Jai Hind”, “Vande Matram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” rented the air. Many children were seen wiping their tears. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived at around 11.15 pm accompanied by Tamil Nadu Governor K Roasaiah, placed a floral wreath on Kalam’s body and stood saluting the departed soul along with personnel of three armed forces. Modi went around the body and met Kalam’s 99-year-old brother Mohammed Muthumeeran Lebbai Maraiyacker and to the surprise of onlookers bent and touched his feet to seek his blessings. The body was then taken to the burial pit where prayers were offered with BJP leader Shanawaz Hussain and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad joining the family in prayers. As the body of Kalam was lowered in the pit for burial, Modi returned and stood in silence as the Army gave a triple gun (21 rounds) salute to the late President.
Tamil Nadu Ministers and the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh (Chandrababu Naidu), Karnataka (Siddharamaiah), Kerala (Oommen Chandy) and others paid homage to the departed leader. Meanwhile, in a rare gesture, authorities of the famed Ramathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram conducted a special pooja by lighting ”Moksha Deepam” to pray for Kalam’s soul.
Around the same time, in Mumbai, another fellow Indian, Yakub Memon was being cremated. Thousands of people had reportedly gathered to witness the cremation. They had come, not because they were in love with the man being cremated. Somebody had organized the crowd in short notice.  Yakub Memon was a convict in the March 1993, Mumbai serial blast. He was accused of being a planner and finance manager of the mayhem that caused the death of some 260 people. He was a chartered accountant and knew his figures well. This serial blast was supposedly a sequel to the riot that took place in Mumbai during Dec.1992 and Jan. 1993. The riot took place allegedly for the demolition of a decrepit old structure of Babri Masjid, not being used for prayers for a long time. This masjid was in Ayodhya, but the riot broke out in far away Mumbai only. Nobody asked the question why in Mumbai, and why not elsewhere including Ayodhya? Could it be that, the forces which got the crowd for cremation at the Bada Qabrastan near Marine lines in Mumbai, was also involved in the riot!?
So two personalities, one deeply loved and respected by the masses across the national spectrum and the other, accused to be one of the prime mover of a blast that killed some 260 in sectarian violence.
Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaissi is known to be venomous in his utterances. Living in an India, which produced  a hugely respected and loved Dr Abdul Kalam, this MP is busy with his divisive plan of action to divide the country between Muslims and Non-Muslims. He has reportedly remarked recently that “Muslim population in the country will be equal to that of Hindus in the next 250 years”. What could be the idea of such a statement? May be he wants to feel that numerically Muslims are no less than Hindus? He along with his brothers had reportedly remarked, to mean somewhat similar, sometime ago in Hyderabad “One lakh Muslims are enough to wipe out five lakh Hindus”. If this statement is true, then these Owaissi brothers are enemies of this country, they are only echoing what that Pakistani Hafiz Sayeed has been saying that “he shall not sleep until India is dissolved into Pakistan”. Indian Muslims need to recognise that these Owaissi brothers are not their well wishers. They ought to know that Pakistan is a jelly state, an ‘International Migraine”, where Pakistanis are killing their own people, that is, Muslims are killing Muslims. So what is Owaissi promising by making Indian Muslims equal to Hindus in 250 years? He is only poisoning the minds of impressionable Muslim youths. So Muslims of this country should shun such characters and must look up to Dr Abdul Kalam as a true universal citizen.






OPINION

Don’t tinker with RBI – Moody’s

New Delhi : American research firm Moody’s Analytics, in a report, warned against the NDA government’s moves to tamper with the autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India in deciding on interest rates, as being potentially damaging for the economy. “Moving to the new model would severely dent the RBI’s competency: Credibility would be  lower, politics would drive decisions, and transparency would be reduced,” the economic research conmpany said.
The government last week released the draft Indian Financial Code, which proposes to remove the RBI governor’s veto right in the monetary policy committee.Besides taking away the RBI governor’s authority to veto interest rate decisions, the draft  also proposed that the monetary policy committee would have four representatives of the government and only three from the central bank, including the RBI “chairperson”.
“Overall, we believe that tampering with the central bank’s independence would make it difficult to anchor inflation expectations.
This would weigh on India’s economic prospects, particularly financial market stability,” said the Moody’s report. “But given the criticism of the draft bill, it is unlikely to pass parliament,” it added.

FEATURE

Social justice: Will it ever come!

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for Me – and there was no one left to speak for Me.
(Martin Niemöller, a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor)

The state inaction in response to the brutal murders of SatishShetyy (five years ago), Dr Narendra Dabholkar (nearly two years ago) and Govind Pansare (over three months ago) has generated a lot of discontent among democratic-minded citizens of Maharashtra. Hum Azaadiyon Ke Haq Mein, a collective of NGOs and individuals in Mumbai, has started a campaign titled ‘Who is shielding the Guilty?’ in response to the antipathy shown by the criminal justice system. The NGO amplifies the voices of resistance and supports the legal battle and protests led by the victims’ families.
The late Satish had used the Right to Information Act to expose massive land scams by the construction lobby in Pune from 2005 to 2010. Due to his efforts, multi-crore projects of IRB Infrastructure had to be shelved. Infuriated persons started threatening Satish and he asked for police protection. However, this was not granted. On the morning of January 13, 2010, he was attacked in Talegaon.
The whistle-blower social activist was posthumously given the Sajag Nagrik Award. It was received by his brother Sandeep at a function held in Pune. The National Right to Information Forum has initiated the Satish Shetty RTI Gallantry Award. Another recognition, also posthumous, was the 2011 Unsung Hero of the Year Award by the NDTV (LIC) Indian of the year.
After four years of investigation, CBI recommended that the Satish Shetty murder case file be closed due to ‘lack of evidence’. For the past five years, Sandeep Shetty has been fighting a lone battle with police, courts and the CBI. Sandeep  has exhausted trying to burst the corrupt system that is coming in the way of genuine investigation.
For more than four decades, the late Dr Narendra Dabholkar had been at the forefront of the anti-superstition movement and had exposed several ‘god-men’ who fleeced poor people in the name of witchcraft and inflicted barbaric violence on innocent victims. He was campaigning to get the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill passed in the state assembly. He was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne assailants while he was out for a morning walk in Pune on August 20, 2013. His daughter, Mukta Dabholkar, has been running from pillar to post to bring his murderers to book.
Massive protest demonstrations, rallies and sit-ins have been organized by democratic-minded citizens’ organisations throughout the state, expressing solidarity with the Dabholkar family. Except for enacting a much watered-down and toothless version of the bill Dr Dabholkar had been fighting for, the state has not done anything. The government has not put details of the investigation of the case in public domain.
Govind Pansare was active in the working class movement for more than 50 years. He supported riot victims in Kolhapur. Pansare had campaigned against a temple being built for the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi. He was threatened several times. Pansare (82) and his wife Uma (67) were gunned down at point-blank range. He lost his life and she was seriously injured. “We repeatedly told the police to investigate this angle, and yet they chose instead to inquire whether he was involved in property disputes or industrial disputes,” says Prof Megha Pansare, his daughter-in-law.
Social activist Ketan Tirodkar has filed a public interest litigation, seeking transfer of the probe to CBI. Pansare’s daughter Smita and daughter-in-law Megha have filed an application seeking permission to intervene in the PIL. They have asked for a SIT probe monitored by the high court. Prof Megha accused the state government of lacking the political will to nab the killers since there has not been much progress in the case.
Consistent coverage by the media and the integrity of purpose shown by relatives has kept the issues of these three whistleblowers alive. There are innumerable more who are being silenced by an unjust system. This is indeed a trying time for people’s movements, as a deadly combination of draconian laws, corporate greed, an active land mafia and market fundamentalism has trampled upon the dignity and survival prospects of the toiling poor. What happened to Satish Shetty, Dr Dabholkar and Pansare can happen to any of us who believe in secular humanism and distributive justice. It is time to build solidarity with individuals and organisatons fighting for social justice. Inaction will only strengthen the evil forces.

The writer is director, Centre for Study of Social Exclusion & Inclusive Policy, and heads the Department of Economics, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai.


Secret of healthy living in a hostile world

 “The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men.”
   JC & AW Hare.
When one ponders over the multitude of risk factors in and around us in this hostile world, one wonders as to how we are alive at all.  Medical claptrap informs us day in and day out about the multitude of potions-chemical drugs, surgeries, special foods, tonics etc to keep us alive. The truth is that most, if not all, of those heavily advertised items damage the system further than helping us. The truth is that there is a very complicated, yet simple system inside each of the one hundred thousand billion cells inside the human body which function better than a super computer to compute all the internal and external inputs through multiple sources to transduce them into coherent methods to eventually put in place two fascinating energy systems, a low energy and high energy systems, to keep us going.
Let us first examine this nature’s computer inside every cell which existed for nearly a billion and half years before the first nerves ever appeared in Jellyfish. It took another half a billion years for cranial nerves and brain to appear in organisms including man. The myth that the brain and the nervous systems alone keep us going has to give place to a more holistic view that there are many other important systems that help keep man alive. Then we will progress further in our understanding of human physiology and pathology. Life is a complicated system of individual cell function in the body in an interdependent manner to keep us alive and healthy. If the ten thousand odd proteins that are present inside each one of the trillions of cells in our bodies do not work well we will have disease states. For recovery from any illness, body cells will have to function normally again.
Our approach in the “so-called” evidence based modern medicine is to try and correct those changes (not knowing what they are) in disease states using chemicals or surgery. As a quick –fix, apparently, they help some people some times but all of them damage some part of the human system almost always, some times as late as five years after the event. One good example is a pain killer trasylol which is now known to kill the recipient as late as five years after he/she had it! What happened to another pain killer wyoxx is now common knowledge. These measures have now resulted in considerable misery for mankind. To quote the most authentic scientific body of the USA : “The National Academy's data attributes 100,000 deaths per year to physicians' errors, added to well over 100,000 deaths due to severe drug interactions and another 100,000 fatalities from hospital-based-infections. (For a detailed analysis, see Death By Medicine, by Gary S. Null, et a)”. This is from a country with less than one third the population of India. Thank God, we do not have statistics like this for India.
What is the remedy? We must get to know the true physiology of cell function and try and see how we could restore that in the unlikely event of disease in a more natural way rather than inflicting chemical and surgical damage to the cells where possible. The fruitless research of modern medicine is based on statistical science and not true hard science. The “failure of millions of dollars spent on AIDS vaccine, failure of interferon as a wonder drug for cancer management with the latter still eluding a cure despite billions being wasted on cancer research and cancer screening (the latter has been shown to be useless and dangerous), and the ravages caused by drugs like Thalidomide and Thorazine,” are there for all of us to see. Reports are pouring in now to show that Thalidomide was used in pregnant women in New Zealand those days as guinea pigs for testing the drug, resulting in many monsters being born there.
We need to arrange an urgent marriage between the beneficial remedies in modern medicine “like the excellent emergency care methods, brilliant surgical successes, time tested and harmless pharmaceuticals as also the newer life style changes” with the best and scientifically authenticated multitude of methods in many other systems of medicine into a judicious integrated system of medical care that is inexpensive, safe, and effective under all circumstances. Unfortunately, the vested interests in modern medicine are scuttling every effort in this field by hitting those efforts with an old but, effective whip “there is no evidence base” in other systems of medical care. This is the biggest lie in the world.
Let us examine how we can use natural methods to get the damaged cells back to normalcy. The ten thousand odd proteins in each cell are functionally better than our supercomputers. They have two energy systems-the Low energy system and the High energy system. Initially, the proteins process all the information they collect from the body as also the outside world into a low energy information system which primes the other proteins to a high energy functional system that could power the body as a whole. In this milieu there are certain specific proteins that do the directing or chaperoning job very effectively. One such chaperone protein is the Heat Shock Protein, HSP 70. It is otherwise called Stress Responsive Protein (SRP 70) as it responds to every kind of stress in the cells.
The HSP 70 protein is supervised by the HSP 70 gene. HSP 70 protein could be re-primed by heating the cell to 47 degree centigrade but, that can never be done in the human body. The other method is to use some kind of natural energy to do the job. In health the cell uses the energy coming from the main source, sunlight, as also the magnetic energy generated by lightening throwing a halo of Schuman energy field around the earth. (Schumann effect) Since all proteins are but carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen as in the DNA along with amino-acids that come from food. The electromagnetic energy used by the cell proteins which is then transduced to fire the mitochondria inside every cell to produce energy needed for life.
Glen Gordon was one of NIH’s brilliant young scientists, 4th in hierarchy at one stage. He was a pioneer in this field of trying to regenerate the damaged (ischaemic) cells back to normal. This made the American Medical Association to file a law suit against him, which did not materialize at the end. He lost his entire grant support, though. He would not relent. He has come up with a small Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field (PEMF) generator powered by a battery to stimulate and up-regulate the depressed HSP 70 protein and thereby regenerate the cells again. My own initial enthusiasm with this toy of his is exciting. This is not the right forum to disclose such serious research data as it has to be done through a recognized scientific publication. None the less, the results are an opening for us to look more deeply into many such natural methods of making the sick cells (individuals) to regain their strength and health without any long term detriment to the owner in the bargain.
The marriage between the best in both the worlds, as suggested above, is our only solution in this dangerous state in which modern medical claptrap and statistical science have landed us. We need a holistic approach to human, nay, all problems of this world.

 “And all the loveliest things there be Come simply, so it seems to me.”
  Edna St. Vincent Millay.



Tribute to an intellectual

Dr K Shankar Shetty, born in 1941, after having lived an eventful life of 74 years, is no more. On 25th Aug, as he was getting ready to visit a doctor, he collapsed and didn’t recover. He passed away on 1st Aug. While he was alive, he lived a remarkable life as a banker, economist and a man of letters.

Dr Shetty was known for his integrity as a banker. He has some 40 years of active banking exposure both in Reserve Bank of India and Vijaya Bank. He retired as General Manager of Vijaya Bank attached to the office of CMD. He had a brilliant academic career, having bagged many awards and first ranks. Being 1st rank in MA (Political Science) of Bombay University, one of them. Was an active member of bankers organisations like IBA, Banker’s Club etc., and held senior positions. He was a prolific writer with some 15 books to his credit on diverse subjects, involving banking politics and sociology. As a member of the editorial board of I & C he was participative and contributed to its deliberation.

Until his last days, he was busy writing. We in I & C will miss him. Yes all of us have to go one day leaving a vacuum behind, so has he. May his soul rest in peace.
-Editorial Board


HEALTH

How sweet drink kills ! 

In the first detailed global report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages, researchers estimated deaths and disabilities caused by diabetes, heart disease, and cancers in 2010.
 "Among the 20 countries with the highest estimated sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths, at least eight were in Latin America and the Caribbean, reflecting the high intakes in that region of the world," said lead author Gitanjali Singh, an Indian-American assistant professor at Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Tufts University. Of the 20 most populous countries, Mexico had the highest death rate attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages with an estimated 405 deaths per million adults (24,000 total deaths) and the US ranked second with an estimated 125 deaths per million adults (25,000 total deaths).
In the study, sugar sweetened beverages were defined as any sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, sports/energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, or homemade sugary drinks such as frescas, that contained at least 50 kcal per 8oz serving. The estimates of consumption were made from 62 dietary surveys including 611,971 individuals conducted between 1980 and 2010 across 51 countries. In 2010, the researchers estimate that sugar-sweetened beverages consumption may have been responsible for approximately 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease, and 6,450 deaths from cancer. The impact of sugar-sweetened beverages varied greatly between populations.
The estimated percentage of deaths was less than one percent in Japanese over 65 years old, but 30 percent in Mexican adults younger than 45. About 76 percent of the estimated sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths occurred in low- or middle-income countries.
"The health impact of sugar-sweetened beverage intake on the young is important because younger adults form a large sector of the workforce in many countries, so the economic impact of sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths and disability in this age group can be significant," Singh said.

Excess vitamin A disrupts immune system

London: Too much Vitamin A shuts down the body’s trained immunity, opening door to infections to which we would otherwise be immune, says a new study, reports IANS. According to the study, excess Vitamin A makes the body ‘forget’ past infections. The findings suggest that although Vitamin A supplementation can have profound health benefits when someone is deficient, supplementation of the vitamin above and beyond normal levels may have negative health consequences.  Two different types of Vitamin A are found in the diet. While animal products such as meat, fish, poultry and dairy foods have preformed Vitamin A, plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables contain the other type — Pro-Vitamin A.
“This study helps to explain the mechanisms of anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin A and by doing so opens the door to identifying novel ways to modulate the immune response and restore its function in situations in which it is dis-regulated,” said Mihai Netea from Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

‘Purest’ water in Belfast: 26 pounds

London : If you wish to have the purest water then you will really have to dig deep in your pocket, or so it seems looking at a Northern Ireland hotel’s recently launched drinks menu that will be served by a water butler, reports ANI.
The five-star Merchant Hotel in Belfast has announced a new dedicated water menu with the most expensive bottle costing 26.45 pounds and has also revealed their plan to employ water butler, reported the Daily Mail.


IT CAN ONLY HAPPEN IN INDIA !

I.V. fluid meant for animals administered to human

Patna : There were angry scenes in a district hospital in Raisen district when it was found that a patient was being given medicine meant for animals.
The attendant of a patient created ruckus in Civil Hospital, Raisen on Friday after an intravenous fluid (dextrose) with a label reading ‘only for animals’ was administered to him.
The district administration has suspended a paramedical staffer sister Durga. Further probe is being carried out.
Three packets of dextrose out of 10 cartons supplied to Civil Hospital are of ‘animal use’.
The ruckus sparked when an attendant of Munne Bhai Painterwaley, admitted in the Civil Hospital’s men’s ward, suddenly noticed that the glucose being infused to him through a drip carried a label reading ‘only for animals’.
Raisen collector J K Jain, talking to press, said, “A paramedical staffer, sister Durga has been suspended with immediate effect. The matter is being further investigated. This is true that the glucose being administered to Munne Bhai was actually meant for animals.”
“A probe has been launched to ascertain how such a bottle reached the hospital and how it was being administered to a patient.
Action would be taken against anyone found guilty,” collector Jain said while adding, “there were 10 cartons of dextrose supplied to Civil Hospital but only three pieces of dextrose samples meant for animal were supplied in 10 cartons and all the other medicines are okay.

ETCETERA

Photo of shooting!

London : Zimbabwe has sought from the US extradition of the dentist who killed Cecil the lion, the most famous creature in the country’s national park. Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri said at a press conference that Walter Palmer, 55, was a “foreign poacher” and that Zimbabwe’s prosecutor general had already started the process to have him extradited, BBC reported.    A bilateral extradition treaty between the US and Zimbabwe has been in effect since April 2000 in cases where an individual is charged with what would be a criminal offence in both countries. Palmer, a keen big game hunter who is said to have paid around $50,000 for a chance to kill Cecil, will be facing trial for financing the illegal hunt if he is extradited to Zimbabwe. Cecil was a male African lion who lived in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. The animal was shot on July 1 in the park.

Smart dog

London : A two-year-old brainy dog in the UK can solve maths problems faster than a toddler due to his special talent for sorting shapes, recognising numbers and knowing around 60 different commands.  Cooper the super intelligent pooch can also stick his tongue out on command and has been deemed ‘smarter than a toddler’ for his remarkable talent. Owner Kirsty Forrester, 28, recognised her animal was good at learning tricks when she taught him to stick out his tongue on command. “When I first got him I noticed his tongue sometimes poked out. When he was three-months-old I took him to puppy training and got the idea I could teach him to stick it out on command,” Kirsty,  was quoted as saying by Mirror. Cooper performed so well at puppy school that he was given extra homework as he advanced way beyond the other dogs. The two spend around 20 minutes a day practicing tricks, although this can increase to several hours when he is learning a new command, the report said.  Kirsty believes her pooch could have what it takes to make it in show business. “I wanted to see if he would enjoy working for TV or commercials. He seems like he would be well suited for it because he learns quickly. When you put a new object in front of him he knows you want him to do something with it,” Kirsty said.



SERIAL: INDIAN IN COWBOY COUNTRY

TWO LINES:

Friday was a mixed day at work. As soon as Satish arrived in the morning, he received a call from Clark’s vice president of operations, Steve Longorio. Their company’s equipment had passed a crucial field test at a customer test well. He congratulated Satish and said that the hard work of the previous five years was beginning to show some payoff.
The customer had committed to using their equipment on the next five development wells on offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico, but he still had to get past their drilling superintendent, who abhorred unproven equipment in his bottom – hole assembly. Steve asked him to accompany him to Lafayette, Louisiana, to meet this resister and turn him around.
Satish was unaware that over his nine years at Clark, he had built a good reputation in the company and the drilling industry for being not only a good engineer but also a pragmatic one, who understood the motivations, risks and concerns that dictated each action on  a drilling rig.
He was famous for a posture he took whenever he was at a lectern. He would hold up his right hand, stretch out four fingers, and say that the top four guidelines for any decision were: “number one, health, safety, and the environment, number two, quality, number three, schedule; and number four, cost.”  He was passionate in the pursuit of these objectives and admonished and threatened to fire anyone who would sacrifice or compromise the first two.
Satish was a natural to talk to customers. He was a good listener and could communicate succinctly with them, absorbing  and using their local accents to make his audience comfortable. Moreover, his reputation for being uncompromising on his first two objectives usually preceded him to meetings, which comforted oil company personnel. In addition, he loved to try local cuisines anywhere on the globe, which also pleased his hosts.
He was most at home in Lafayette, where he enjoyed authentic spicy Cajun cuisine, Zydeco bands, and the Cajuns’ unique sense of humor. At times, when Clark’s field crews drilled in an area that had extra-hot cayenne peppers, a field hand would remember him and FedEx him some overnight. Laura, his assistant, held these potent packages in her outstretched hand when she brought them to him-their spicy fumes penetrated paper and brought tears to her eyes. She claimed that one package had almost burnt her fingers!
Satish was elated to hear the good news about the field test from Steve. He felt that it would give him substantial leverage when he went in for his annual performance review with his boss, John Boudreaux. Over lunch, John congratulated him for his role in the successful field test and his other accomplishments over the year.
He told him that he was going to receive an above-average increase in his pay, thanked him for the exemplary job he had done, and ended with, “I am sure you’ll continue doing a great job over the next year”.
He then gave him a performance review document with comments suggesting that he review it and, if he agreed to its contents, sign it. If not, annotate the document and send it back to him, and they could meet again to discuss it.
Satish was happy with the raise, but disappointed that he had not been promoted to director, especially after his significant contributions to the recent success. Besides, he was the only “manager” in the entire company who reported to a vice president. He shared this thought with John, who told him that his hands were tied, and that he had attempted to compensate the shortcoming with a higher raise.
Satish said little after that. The two had a pleasant lunch, discussing his impending trip to Lafayette and how to handle his first layoff that afternoon in a humane manner, while following company policies and procedures.
It was a depressing task, telling his employee that his services were no longer needed, especially on a Friday afternoon. He fought hard to keep the employee, but John told him that it was a corporate mandate to cut at least ten percent of the headcount, Satish was lucky that he was being asked to cut only one person from his staff of twenty-seven people.
Joe, a Cajun, had been a conscientious company man for more than fifteen years, but had not attempted to stay current with his field of expertise. Over the years, Clark moved him around from one position to another, performing delegated tasks by hand that people could easily perform with personal computers. He had seen the writing on the wall, and had asked to be laid off during the next round. Yet the task was an unpleasant one.
Satish liked Joe, and after he had given him the bad news, he suggested that they meet after hours to see how he could cushion the transition. The “redundant” employee was then escorted by a human resources assistant to his car, after a time was set for him to come to the facilities over the weekend to pick up his personal belongings.
Later that afternoon, Satish declined invitations from his fellow managers to join them for their traditional weekend beer. Instead, he joined to discuss his plans. Then he embarked on his forty-five minute drive home to Monica and their one-year-old daughter, Seeta.
As soon as his car pulled into the garage, the back door of his home opened and Seeta, his infant daughter, ran out, all wobbly. She grabbed his knees and said, “Carry me.” He obliged her, and while he was being showered with kisses, he entered his home.
“Want some chai?” Monica asked as she poured hot water on tea bags in two mugs. “So, how was your day?”
“We had great news and bad news,” he said.
“Bad news?” she asked with concern.
“I had to lay off an employee and, trust me, it is one of the worst acts a manager can do. They don’t pay me enough to do such things.”
“Is your job safe?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said, sounding positive. “We had a successful field test. We now have funds for the next phase.” He and Seeta, who was sitting on his lap, sifted the mail. He quickly dispatched junk mail to the recycling bin, separated bills and magazines for his personal attention, and sorted out sale and coupon sheets for his wife.
“Oh, by the way,” he said, “I had my performance review today. It was good. I got a good raise but no promotion.”
Monica could see that he felt as if he had let her and Seeta down. She had seen her husband give Clark every iota of the physical and normal energy he possessed. When she met his superiors at office parties, she heard nothing but genuine praise for him; yet, an unseen obstacle prevented his ascent in the company. She told her husband that some day he would be rewarded for his efforts.
Soon a cup of hot chai arrived at the table, accompanied by some Gluco biscuits, imported from India. On cue, Seeta reached out for one to munch. Husband and wife chatted about various topics, from Monica’s excessive dieting to lose the weight she had gained during her pregnancy, to who brought what to a women-only lunch at a friend’s place, to how the other women had loved the exotic taste of her version of a Middle Eastern baked dessert.
“Thank God I kept some at home for you. There were no leftover!” She teased him: “How can you eat that stuff?”
“I love it. It’s the best.” He went over, kissed his wife, and said abruptly, “I have to go for a haircut.”
“Now?”
“Yes! Now! I am overdue for a haircut. Tomorrow we have to go to a wedding reception, and the barbershop will be crowded in the morning. I’ll be back in half an hour. You won’t even notice that I am gone.”
“OK,” claimed his wife. Seeta looked up, perhaps puzzled at how easily her mother had granted her father permission to leave the house so soon after he had just arrived.
“Wait,” his wife said. “I have a coupon for you, for your haircut.” She pointed at the refrigerator. “And, by the way, can you buy milk, and whatever multigrain bread is on sale, and some cheese, the kind with jalapenos and chilies in it?”
Retrieving the coupon, he headed for his favorite barbershop. The one he frequented had a sports theme to it, with a receptionist behind a pastiche of a stadium ticket window. A large-screen TV tuned to a baseball game dominated the lobby. Many sports magazines were clumsily scattered around the sitting area. Every element tried to add some masculinity to this enterprise with only women employees.
“Last four digits of your phone number, please,” chimed a perky high school kid.
He gave it to her.
“Any preference for a hairdresser?” she asked.
“I’ll just go with first available, please,” he said. He proceeded to the waiting area with its stale, dog-eared magazines and its grainy, large-screen projection TV with shrill sportscasters whose looks were marred by the bulging veins of fake enthusiasm in their foreheads and necks.
He really didn’t care what the announcers were so excited about, so he sifted through magazine. Before he could get past the table of contents, a young Oriental woman called out his first name.
For decades, he had heard his name mispronounced in every possible way, and he instantly recognized his name in the jumble of sounds this Asian woman made. He stood up and approached her. This petite woman had a name tag that said “Quynh.”
“Hi, my name is Quynh”, she said.
“Hi, Quynh,” he said.
She led him to a seat and pointed to it with the poise and grace of a model on a TV game show displaying the grand prize. As she wrapped a protective sheet around him, she said, “You say my name correctly.” She was visibly pleased that her name was not mispronounced.
“Hey, if I can say Zbigniew Brzezinski, Quynh is a piece of cake,” he bragged.
Quynh was puzzled by the comment, and understandably so.



TOLERANCE

First Gurudwara in U.S. in a disused church

Chicago :  The Sikh community, in a major city in the US state of Illinois, will have their first Gurudwara soon by converting a 30,000 square feet foreclosed building that earlier served as a Baptist church.
 “The old building, which is spread in 30,000 square-foot, is being renovated as Nanaksar Sikh Temple and would serve as a single temple in Rockford, Illinois where over scores of Sikh families live,” Nanaksar Sikh Temple supervisor Baba Daljit Singh Ji from Chicago told PTI over phone.
The proposed Temple, situated at the Kishwaukee Street third Avenue in the Forest City, will have a grand opening in September middle, he said.
Any symbols of the Christian faith in the former church like crosses or stained glass will be preserved during the renovation work and will be donated to local churches or to the Salvation Army, Baba Ji said.
“People now have to drive a long way to visit the nearest temple in Chicago Milwaukee or Madison for worship as there is no temple in Rockford. This will be the first one. So we are doing this for the Sikh community,” he added.
“We need their (citizen’s) moral support. We want to educate the people in the community in the neighbour just how we can do something good for the country through the temple,” Baba Ji said, adding that the Rockford city government is helping them in the renovation process.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

Muslims in Nepal want a Hindu state

Kathmandu: In an unusual move, Muslims in Nepalhave backed the ongoing campaign for reinstating the country's erstwhile Hindu identity, saying they are more "secure" under a Hindu state than under a secular Constitution.
"It is to protect Islam," said Amjad Ali, chairman of the Rapti Muslim Society. CPN-UML CA member Anarkali Miya said she has personally experienced missionaries trying to influence people from other faiths to follow Christianity. "Nepal should not adopt secularism. It will only create more problems in future," Miya said.
"Turning the country secular is nothing but a design to break the longstanding unity among Muslims and Hindus. So there is no alternative to reinstating the country's old Hindu State identity in order to allow fellow citizens to live with religious tolerance," said Babu Khan Pathan, chairperson of the Rastrabadi Muslim Manch Nepalgunj said.
"We don't need a secular identity, but want to see the country called Hindu State as this ensures safety and security for all," Pathan added and claimed that around 80% of Muslims in Nepal are in favour of Hindu State identity.



SILENCE IS GOLDEN

“If you are happy in a pile  of shit, keep your mouth shut” said, the wise man

Washington : A fugitive bank robber has been arrested by US police after they recognised his pictures in a newspaper as an actor in a low-budget horror film. Jason Stange, 44, had taken a role as a doctor who commits a 'deranged act' in a film called 'Marla Mae'. Images of him appeared in a piece publicising the shooting of the film in a newspaper in Washington state.    Police agents recognised him and arrested him at a restaurant close to the film set.
Stange had pleaded guilty to an armed bank robbery in 2006 and was given a prison sentence of almost ten years. Last year he absconded from a “halfway house” facility and a warrant was issued. Brandon Roberts, the film’s producer, told the local News Tribune that Stange was a talented actor who was well-liked by the cast and crew.


YMI

Failed in board ‘XAM but boy clears AIIMS entrance – board not showing him his papers

The AIIMS result, which was published on June 25, showed that Ravi got the 18th rank in the OBC (other backward class) category. Prior to this, Ravi’s intermediate result came out on June 17 in which he got 60 in Physics, 60 in English, but only 10 in Chemistry.The BSEB chairman LP Singh was also taken aback when he came to know about it. “How can a boy, who secured good rank in AIIMS entrance examination, get merely 10 marks in Chemistry,” he asked the joint secretary of the BSEB Harihar Nath Jha and instructed him to rectify the mistake in the marksheet, if any, within a day. The answer copy was sent for scrutiny. However, the marks remained unchanged.
Meanwhile, Ravi, who studied in MS College at Alauli in Khagaria (ancestral place of Ram Vilas Paswan), was asked to attend the counselling session at AIIMS on July 8. Ravi went to New Delhi but without the marksheet (as it was still under scrutiny of the BSEB).
The authorities in New Delhi did not allow him to attend the counselling session and gave him another three days time to come again with the original marksheet. Ravi is now running from pillar to post to get his answer-book re-evaluated.
“It’s impossible that I could score only 10 in Chemistry. I should be allowed to see the copy,” said Ravi, who spends the entire day at the BSEB office hoping against hope that once his marksheet is corrected, he would get admission in the prestigious institution.“The chairman of BSEB has himself seen the answer-copy. There is no scope to increase even a single mark. He will get marks according to what he has written,” said the secretary of the examination committee Ashutosh Kumar.
The 17-year-old student is now ruing his fate. “I have to appear for counselling in Delhi on July 12 with the improved marksheet. The BSEB should at least show me the answer-book to clear any misgivings,” he reiterated.


Rupee wise & 1000 foolish

New Delhi:  The National Green Tribunal spent more than Rs 30,000 to recover the Rs 10 fee from an RTI applicant, drawing sharp reaction from the CIC which said it was a case of "penny wise pound foolish".
"After hearing story of spending for legal battles to deny information up to Rs 30,000 for an IPO of Rs 10, the proverb 'penny wise pound foolish' has to be rewritten as 'rupee wise and thousand foolish'," Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said in his order.
The appellant had paid the fee of Rs 10 in the form of court fee stamp, which the NGT said cannot be realised by their office, and thereafter, the office wrote to the appellant to pay the Rs 10 fee in the form of IPO or demand draft.
He was also asked by the NGT to collect the information from their office. During the hearing it emerged that neither the copy of the letter nor proof of dispatch was presented to the Commission.
When Acharyulu questioned the standing counsel of the NGT, whether around Rs 50 was spent on writing a letter asking for Rs 10, the counsel said 'yes'. "If the appellant, as asked pays Rs 10 by IPO/DD, NGT would spend another Rs 50 to send back information. If appellant paid Rs 10, NGT's loss still remains Rs 40. If information is dispatched, cost will go up to Rs 100," Mr Acharyulu said.
The Commissioner said instead of all this spending CPIO should have sent the information sought. The learned counsel said if not the audit would object why money due to government is not collected, he noted.
Acharyulu pulled out a certified copy of a document from NGT regarding engaging an advocate for their RTI cases.
As per this rate, the advocate is paid Rs 31,000 as retainer per month, Rs 700 for conveyance for conference, Rs 11,000 for conducting first appeal and Rs 21,000 for second appeal plus 10 per cent clerkage charges besides miscellaneous expenses, the Commissioner pointed out.

"The NGT pays Rs 31,000 as retainer, Rs 11000 plus Rs 21,000 for first and second appeals asking its advocate to present 'expert argument' how absence IPO for Rs 10 is stumbling block to furnish information about selection and rejection of candidates for some post," he said in the order.

The Commission said this reflects lack of concern for transparency and also for public money and leaves common man wondering reasonability of this attitude.

"Is it worth spending Rs 33050 plus to deny information? Because of such attitude, doubts raise about 'fairness' of process for recruitment for Group D-Multi Task Staff. This also indicates a dire need for to sensitise personnel in NGT to break this kind of mindset of denying the RTI at the huge cost of state exchequer," he said.
 
When leaders stood with schools

Mumbai: A meeting of the joint action committee of city-based schools took place to stand with 35 schools in Malwani area in Malad which are under hammer as they are constructed on the government land. Shikshak Bharti president and legislator Kapil Patil said, “Principals and teachers of 35 schools are on strike from earlier this week. It is a very sensitive issue as it is concerned with 35,000 students in these schools.” The concerned schools in Malawani received a demolition notice from the High Court as these buildings are constructed on the plots belonging to the government. To protest against the notice all schools are kept shut down. Patil added, “BJP MP Gopal Shetty, Congress legislator Aslam Shaikh were present for the meeting which unanimously stated to stand up with these schools. We had requested the Chief Minister to help these schools and the CM had agreed to our demand. We have next date in the court. If  things go wrong, we will protest on larger scale.”

If onions stolen visit astrologer

Mumbai: A farmer in north Maharashtra, who had approached the police recently to complain about the theft of his onions, was left stunned after he was allegedly told to contact an astrologer to trace the thieves. “I was taken aback after the police told me to contact an astrologer to trace those who stole my onions,” farmer Sunil Patil of Lonikhede village in Dhule district told PTI.
Patil said that after he approached the nearby police outpost to file a complaint, the police did not register his complaint but visited the village to undertake a panchnama, which is normally done after a case is lodged.
“The police asked me whom I suspected to be behind the theft. Now, why would I approach the police if I had known who stole my onions,” he said. The theft was of around 40 bags, containing onions worth Rs 80,000, the farmer said. However, Dhule Superintendent of Police Sahebrao Patil, denied that the policemen on duty had asked the farmer to approach an astrologer.“If it is proved after an inquiry that policemen did tell the farmer to go to an astrologer, they will be suspended immediately,” the district police chief told PTI over phone from Dhule.
“I have looked into the matter. My officers have visited the spot. I spoke to the policemen on duty at the outpost,” he said.

Teachers not eligible but they evaluate SCC/HSCC answer papers

Mumbai : Member of Legislative Council, Ramnath Mote, created a sensation by alleging that unauthorized teachers have been checking and evaluating the answer sheets of the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) examinations conducted by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE).
Mote, in a letter to education minister Vinod Tawde, alleged that scores of teachers who are checking SSC and HSC answer papers are not authorised by the education department. This raises a question mark over the quality of evaluation in the state board. Every year, some 3 million students appear for the SSC and HSSC examinations and over five lakh students appear for re-examination. According to the board guidelines, there should be one teacher for every 250 students and one moderator per ten teachers for evaluation work. Only experienced teachers should be given the task of paper checking and those who have long experience are entrusted with moderator’s responsibility. Only these authorised teachers should carry out the checking and monitoring task of board answer papers. Mote alleged that board officials illegally give the task of paper checking to inexperienced teachers for their vested interests. These teachers do not have required educational qualification and teaching experience of the concerned subject.
Mote said that he made repeated complaints to the state board officials in this regards, however, the board did not take cognizance of it. He said that if the situation continues, then he will approach the court in this matter. A board official, on the condition of anonymity, said, “On several occasions it is observed that major schools and senior teachers are reluctant to take responsibility of paper checking and moderation. Board always gives preference to experienced teachers and when they say refuse to carry out this work then the board goes for next in seniority.”