Saturday, February 6, 2016

EDITOR'S COLUMN

Friends,

We are well and truly into 2016. As usual, February is the month of union budgets, as is the custom. We have two national budgets, one being Railway Budget and the other General Budget. While the General Budget is presented usually on the last day of the month, Railway Ministry presents its Revenue & Expenditure Budget some 2/3 days before the General Budget. We are in the leap year and hence February has 29 days. This shall be the second full budget of ‘Abki baar Modi Sarcar’. The 2014/15 budget, although lot of expectations were there, only the corporate sector appeared to have been happy. But social investment had remained disappointing. Whether, it was Agriculture, Health, Education or Malnutrition. There has been less than needed allocation and in some cases even reduced allocation. How do you have an improved and better human capital if you do not spend on social sector? Besides, Agriculture, accounting for over 15% of the GDP is employing almost 50% of our population and the government support in crisis is dismal, whether it is price support or government credit. Budget proposal should try to broaden the tax net to increase the revenue, including rich farmers. With FDI opening, there may have to be rationalization of tax structure for multi-nationals, who are out to make money from our systemic loopholes. However the most important expectation is, Budget should be people friendly rather than sector friendly. Railway budget too should provide for safe travel rather than Bullet train travel. Some little increase in the fare may be in place for increasing train frequencies, especially of local trains and metros. Incumbent Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu appears to be doing a good job. But Bullet Train can certainly wait, since it is very expensive and caters to only a miniscule section.

Month-in-Perspective is as usual include some of the happenings of January. We have tried to include as much as we could within the space constraints. However, there are issues like attack on Pathankot airbase by Pakistan based groups, or the sad suicide of a Dalit scholar at University of Hyderabad, which snow balled into lot of tu-tu-mai-mai without really touching the core issue of suffering by Dalits. Some ideological dimension appears to be present in this particular case. The killing of Air force officer inside a secluded barricaded area in Kolkatta while the Republic Day march past practice was going on, by the son of a political upstart, who happened to be a Muslim MP of TMC, or the socio-political violence in Malda between TMC and BJP in West Bengal are some of the news that couldn’t be covered. BJP fact finding central team was not allowed to enter Malda, triggering accusation that Mamata is in cover-up mode.

The issue including the iconic National Herald (NH) has been in the news for quite sometime. So is the happenings in Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA). While NH case was raked by Subramanian Swami, it was Arvind Kejriwal of AAP looking out for issues to pin-prick NDA government took up the DDCA ‘scam’. There have been many questions on the above two issues which we have tried to answer in the Focus for the month. As usual, we have tried to view and comment from an outsider’s perspective. Hope readers would like it. Rest are as usual. Do revert with your inputs.  

MONTH-IN-PERSPECTIVE

Jammu & Kashmir: All of us have to die some day, so did Mufti Mohd. Sayeed, the Chief Minister of J & K. 79 years old PDP leader died on Thursday, the 7th Jan., at AIIMS, New Delhi, after a brief but serious illness.
A politician since 1950 with Democratic National Conference. Since then he changed his political affiliations 3 times, before launching his current political outfit Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the death of Mufti Mohd. Sayeed had called him a “Statesman”, may be because of his alliance with BJP, or else he is known as a crafty politician. As the Home Minister in the VP Singh government at the centre in 1989, he is the one who introduced as the Union Home Minister, the controversial AFSP Act in J & K for the first time. It was during this time that his daughter Rubaiya was kidnapped by JKLF militants and was released only after releasing the arrested militants. Since then J & K scenario did not remain same and worsened over a period to this day. For whatever political compulsion he joined hands with BJP to form the government in early 2015. It was an opportunistic alliance. It had alliance irritants from almost the start and continued. His death may not end the irritant but may even become worse, since his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, who is tipped to take over, is a bit of a hawk and assertive. One has to wait and see.
However, the late J & K Chief Minister will be remembered for the frank admission recently in Chennai that “Education is most critical to uplift Muslims”. Addressing the United Economic Forum, a trade body, he was reported to have stated “There is no doubt that educational backwardness is the main reason why we have not been able to progress economically”. While remarking that the “decline in the socio-economic and education status of the Muslims started as early as the 18th Century”. Unlike Vice President Hamid Ansari, he did not ask for the reservation for Muslims for the redistribution of national pie. May his soul Rest in Peace.

New Delhi: There was this proposal by Madhu Agrawal, an RTI activist, who proposed that Republic Day Tableaus should be left for public display for general public after the 26th January also.
Her proposal is sensible, in as much as, this tablous are prepared with lot of commitment and involvement of people from different parts of the country. These are readied at huge cost of both men,  money and methods. They are also works of art displaying life and traditions of our diverse country from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and from Kohima in the east to Kutch in the west. It has its emotional and patriotic importance and make general public to view and feel nice and great about our country. Hence it makes immense sense to keep all these tableaus for extended public display at some centrally located place in Delhi, possibly, as close as possible to a Metro station.  This way, it will be both nation friendly and people friendly. Hope the suggestion of Ms.Agrawal reaches the power that be, in the corridors of power in New Delhi.

Nation is privy to the knowledge that Pakistan has for the first time cracked on those, who were supposed to be behind the Pathankot airbase attack, where 7 of our defence men lost their lives. This is the first time ever that Pakistan government has acted with such speed and purpose. We only wish it is true and seriously pursuing the matter. But what really went into this heightened reaction from across the border? What is the new thing that has happened, which forced the hand of Pak leadership? You guessed it right. It is the personal bonhomie that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has developed suo moto. Those who do not agree must go back to all those pictures of past few months, where Narendra Modi was with Nawaz Sheriff. There is a personal chemistry between these two. See those- all ears, eyes and mind that Nawaz Sheriff has on what Modi is saying on these pictures. There is palpable seriousness, not only in what Modi is saying but also the body language of Nawaz Sheriff in listening as seriously to what Indian Prime Minister is saying. Hope these augers well for the civil society of both countries.
And those who dismissed the last visit of Modi to Lahore to meet Shariff as theatrics, please do think again. These overtures work. Didn’t we all belong to the same home and hearth 68 years ago! Weren’t we all Indians then!

There was this news sometime ago that Supreme Court ordered Uttar Pradesh Government of Akhilesh Yadav to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to the victim for the wrongful detention of a retired forest officer by the police. Reportedly, apex court emphasised the need to protect honest officers who refuse to follow the unlawful diktats of their political superiors. Supreme Court  Bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi  and Justice N V Ramana had on record stated “some upright officers resist corruptions, but they cannot alone change the system which victimizes them through frequent transfers, threat to their families and fabricating and foisting false cases”.
The victim, the Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Dr Ramlakhan Singh was detained for 10 days on trumped up charges of disproportionate asset, alleged illegal mining and allegedly auctioning tendu patta leaves. The court order to pay Rs 10 lakhs, to be paid to Dr Singh although not big should have been made to be recovered from the person who falsely implicated the CCF, so that all those who take the law into their hands and play with the lives of people, as per their whims & fancies, are made to pay for it.

It is to the credit of BJP led NDA government to think loudly about the welfare of Muslims in deciding to develop Waqf Board properties for the benefit of the community. All news savvy Indians are privy to the information about the controversies surrounding Waqf properties. There have been accusations and counter accusations between different groups within Muslim denominations about the misuse of land and buildings belonging to Waqf Board all over India. But no government, whether state or central, in the past have taken the issue so very positively with a clear emphasis on the development of those properties for the benefit of the community. With the huge stretches of land available especially for grave yards, it has mind boggling possibilities of commercial and socio/economic exploitation of these properties. When properly put to use, according to Sachar Committee report, submitted many years ago to the UPA government, the commercial exploitation of these properties can generate some Rs: 12000/- crores annually. This amount, as and when realized, can be a huge boost to the marginalized sections of the community. Although UPA had the report in its hand for so many years, it is commendable that NDA took the initiative to realize the potential of this property to the welfare of Muslim community. Two cheers for NDA.

Maverick that he is, Subramanian Swami, the man of different hats, is currently in the electronic channels along with his cousins in RSS & VHP, on their regular tinkering with the issue of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Surely Lord Rama, who is held in great veneration as ‘Maryaada Purushottam’ by devout Hindus is not amused at this sabre rattling by this self appointed noise brigade.
When he began his innings in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken about the priority for toilets in every household in India than any temple issue. Hope he continues to think that way.
In the emerging Pan-Indian scenario, the latest talk about Ram Mandir can be divisive, which Sangh Parivaar must consciously avoid and delay. Or else, the accusation that the present dispensation at the centre is quietly playing its active role without being seen, in the alleged polarization of the Indian society. Of course, Indians, per se, do not get carried by these emotive issues. It is they, who are the guarantors of our secular polity, not any political party like Congress, Communists, Mulayams or Lalus. They are only opportunists muddying the socio-political space of the country.
Coming to Ram temple, it is very important that some wisdom should prevail on the people that matter across the Sangh Parivaar, not to insist on temple construction. All stake holders, as recognized by the Supreme Court must agree to utilize the place for some social projects, such as a large hospital, or a campus for higher learning. This will certainly bring the diverse section of Indians on a common platform of ‘Idea of India’. Hope it happens.  

West Bengal:  “Head Master beaten for asking pupils to sing National Anthem”, was print media report from Kolkatta. In the same page of the news paper adjacent to the above news was a diametrically different news, “Embrace people of different beliefs, ideologies” attributed to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. What can we call this dichotomy? Bizarre, outlandish or incredulous?!
Here is a head master, Kazi Masum Akhtar, clean shaven, in shirt and trouser was training his students in the government recognized school, Talpukar Aara High Madrasa to sing national anthem for the 26th Jan. Republic Day celebration. It was a normal Indian patriotic action. But those who are opposed to the idea of Indian pluralism, radical clerics and the likes have beaten the HM and dictated that he should change to kurta and short pyjama and grow beard and this national song should not be sung in Madrasas. Prima facie it is an anti national act. Reportedly he was badly beaten by maulvees and their henchmen and also been banished from his school. But Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and West Bengal Minority Commission are reportedly silent on the complaint of this HM. Neither protection was given to the HM, nor any action taken against the attackers. If the admission of the Kolkatta Police Commission (KPC) to the State Minorities Commission (SMC) as reported, is to be believed, than its bizarre. Reportedly KPC has written to the SMC, that “his (Kazi Masum Akhtar) presence in the area might lead to communal tension”. It is a clear case of playing politics in support of violent fundamentalists as against law abiding citizen. Apparently in her votebank politics Mamata Banerjee has no qualms, if her voters are anti-national, so be it! Ironically this national song was written by India’s first Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagor, also a Bengali. And where is the Amir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan and their ‘intolerant crying brigade’? What do they want to say to this clearly anti national act by their own co-religionists?

Maharashtra : Prime Minister aspirant, former Central Minister, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, former ICC chairman, former BCCI chairman and the current president of Mumbai Cricket Association, and of course the Nationalist Congress Party Supremo Sharad Pawar in his long life of 75 years, truly did a singularly good job the other day. It was indeed very touching to read the report datelined Mumbai that “On the recommendation of MCA president Sharad Pawar, Rs: 10,000/- per month scholarship will be paid for 5 years to Pranav Dhanawade, the world record holder of 1009 runs not out,”.
That this was done, suo moto enhances the beauty of the action. Two cheers to MCA and its president.
Pranav Dhanawade, a student of K.C. Gandhi High School of Kalyan in north Mumbai, had scored 1009, while facing 323 balls and had remained not out. His 1009 included 129 boundaries and 59 sixes at over 300% run rate. All of 15, Pranav is the son of a rickshaw owner driver. He is the first cricketer anywhere in the world to hold this record. Ajith Wadekar, a former Indian Cricket captain has given an autographed bat as a mark of his appreciation of the young lad. With this open and public recognition, the future of this youngstar is guaranteed. Indeed two cheers to all concerned.

First it was the content editor Sudhir Joshi of ‘Congress Darshan’ who was shown the door for the unsigned article that appeared in it on the 131st birth day of Indian National Congress. Now, there are indications of Sanjay Nirupam the Mumbai Congress Chief, getting the boot. We all claim and revel in the claim that India is the world’s largest democracy. But, like all else, we too suffer from restrictive mindset of intolerance. Earlier Congress Party was critical of the suspension of Kirti Azad by BJP for taking on the party senior Arun Jaitley. Now Congress has bitten the bullet doing just that. After all in both cases it was the death of internal democracy. There are elements of truth in both what Kirti Azad had said on Jaitley and what Sudhir Joshi had said on Nehru and Sonia. Thus both Congress and BJP are no better when it comes to the internal democracy, except that the BJP is a wee bit better than Congress, in as much as BJP is not a private property of any one family or individual, unlike the Congress, which even Congress men would admit privately that it indeed is the marketing organization of late Rajeev Gandhi’s family.

When sometime ago, the fugitive anti-national criminal, Dawood Ibrahim’s property was auctioned in Mumbai, it was a surprise that a journalist turned activist S. Balakrishnan’s bid was successful, and he paid the deposit of Rs. 30 Lakhs. The property ‘Delhi Zaika’, a roadside eatery in the central Mumbai area of Mohd- Ali Road, was auctioned for Rs. 4.28 crores. How would Balakrishnan, who runs an NGO, “Desh Seva Samiti’, organize such a sum, was a question that appeared after he paid the deposit.
Yes, he didn’t have the required money and his hopes of raising, from 70 businessmen he approached, came to a naught. Now there is a prospect of his losing the deposit. But, aren’t we, as a people, as a government of the people, not concerned about this? He had planned to start a computer education centre for poor children in the defunct property. Why no businessman, for whom Rs. 4 crores wouldn’t have been a big deal, backed out? Fear of the criminal? So how do you stand by a brave Indian? Why not the government, centre or state, takes it over or even fund his NGO to help him run the computer school? After all, every union government in the past, including the present, had a vision of getting this fugitive to stand trial in India for his crimes against humanity. May be somebody should have suggested him to go ‘online’ to raise this Rs: 4crores. Chances are he would have made it. Mr Balakrishnan deserves all help in his bold step and his altruistic mission.  

Telangana: Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi not only needs to be congratulated but supported by every Indian, who is Indian at heart. His statements that his political outfit “MIM has taken a political stand that it is against all anti-national forces”, is praise worthy. MIM president was talking at Hyderabad that “he will not be afraid of the threat from ISIS and continue to speak out against ISIS, as it has nothing to do with Islam.”
Somebody had reportedly written on his wall asking him to shut his mouth and leave democracy. Report further informs that an alleged ISIS sympathizer had tweeted ‘It’s better for you to shut your mouth on Islamic state if you do not know the truth, Islamic state will invade India soon. You are disgrace for Muslims of India. Opposing Islamic State will lead you to hell only. Repent before end’.
Responding to this, Majlis-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) MP from Hyderabad had stated “You are a bloody Takfiri (a forbidden person). ISIS is evil. I am ready to counter your points. You can keep dreaming. Allah give you Taufeaq (blessing), so that you come out of ISIS darkness”.
Stating that he is not worried about his safety, that he moves around without security. He tells, ‘ISIS ideology is based on hatred, there is a need to finish this ideology. They are merciless. They massacred 1.5 lakh Muslims including scholars. He had to reply these tweets. Since they said about invading India and that’s rubbish, and that MIM is against all anti-national forces’.
This appears to be unequivocal affirmation of Asaduddin Owaisi’s patriotism. He is known to be a person making controversial statements. But this latest statements need to be widely circulated and he should be publicly commended for his unambiguous stand. So that message goes across that India is one against ISIS. Period.  
 
Kerala: New Year began with the Supreme Court approving the controversial liquor policy of Kerala government. It appears to baffle common sense. The law enacted by the State legislature allows the sale and consumption of alcohol in Five Star Hotels only. As opposed to this, it has prohibited similar sale and consumption in lower starred hotels, as also in bars. This in itself is completely discriminatory. So, it only provides a privilege to the rich, or those who have enough money to go to 5 star hotels. It is strange that apex court in its wisdom did not think it is discriminatory and is against the fundamental principle of our Indian Republic. Equality before law is one of the founding principle of our Republic. The apex court has now negated this principle by this questionable judgment.
It is true that Kerala government’s intention was to save the youth of Kerala by making it more difficult for the average person to purchase this beverage and consume. It is also true that Kerala has the dubious distinction of being the highest per capita consumer of liquor. Reportedly, Keralites consume 14% of the entire national consumption, when its population is only 3%. But by making it available only in 5 star hotels, the government has only helped the hotel owners to enrich themselves, who, in all probability, would raise the prices of these liquors in their bars and supplies to residents. Instead the government had the opportunity of increasing the taxes and wholesale price, by which atleast the state can get greater revenue. Thus it was not only the flawed policy, it apparently is a flawed judgment. Will it ever review the decision due to some public interest litigation! We have to wait & see. Hope the Supreme Court has a relook at the issue.

Sunni Muslim leader Kanthapuram A.P.Aboobacker Musliyar reportedly stated some time ago that “moves for gender equality are aimed at destroying Islam. The obstinacy that boys and girls should study sitting on the same bench is an indirect attack aimed at destroying Islam and its culture. Gender equality is not Islamic, not wise, nor humane”, he had said adding that women are fit only to deliver children.
There have been plethora of reaction against this reported remarks of this Aboobacker Musliar. Dr P.A Faizal Gafoor, the President of Muslim Educational Society (MES) had vehemently disagreed saying “such statements were actually giving weapons to outside forces to attack the community”.
“His remarks amount to insulting even his own mother. It is anti women. He should withdraw it and tender an apology to women community” reacted Marxist veteran and Kerala opposition leader VS Achuthanandan.Naxal turned activist Ajitha said “What he said was not only anti-women, but utterly communal. He had insulted all women in the world”. Accusing this Musliar of making such derogatory remarks in the past, Ajitha asked “What right does he have to make such venomous comments again and again?”.
Cutting across the socio/political divide people had blasted anti constitutional remark on women in general. Such retrograde people should be boycotted by the community for the larger good. They have no place in the evolving society.  
 
   WORLD: The biggest joke of 2016 is the reported statement of Pakistani cricketer turned politician Imran Khan on the state of minorities ( meaning Muslims) in India. He had recently visited India and had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to the reported statement datelined Lahore, he had raised with Indian PM, plight of minorities in India besides touching upon Kashmir and cricket.
It was like 'wolf reading the scripture.' What people  like Imran Khan and his ilk in Pakistan should understand and remember that in Pakistan, an Islamic country, Muslims are killing Muslims, hence imagine the position of minorities in Pakistan? Minorities were 30% of the Pakistan population in 1947. To-day it is below 3%. What happened to these people? Converted, killed or they just ran away!
In India, Muslims were about 9% of the population in 1947 today they are close to 15%. All of them enjoy the same freedom like majority. It is true there are idiots in a country of 127 crore people, hence some stupid things do happen. But Indians are eminently qualified and are managing these aberrations. There is simply no scope for likes of Imran Khan to poke his nose. Please 'take a walk' Imran or as an American would say “…k off”.

A 68 year old Gurcharan Singh Gill, a Sikh, was reportedly stabbed to death in California on the New Year day. Such attacks were not unknown. It happened in the past, especially after the World Trade Centre (9/11) attack and Osama Bin Laden emerged as the villain. This is primarily because of the beard and turban that Sikhs are sporting. Like Malayalis, Sikhs can be found in all parts of the world. They chase good things of life but they want to keep their peculiar identity of turban and beard, which was edicted when Sikh faith was institutionalized centuries ago. It had relevance those hundreds of years ago like the burqua among Muslim women. It has lost its relevance in 21st century, more so in those distant lands as United States. Sikhism is a liberal cult, it does not insist on uncut beard and long head hair. Hence there are any numbers of males among Sikhs who are clean shaven and short haired. Chances are, this 68 year old gentleman or those attacked earlier, could have lived on, if these ostensible signs of faith were not there. Could the community take the lead to save itself, especially when they are away from India!

‘Charlie Hebdo’ is a case of ‘too much is too bad’.  Suddenly the great champion of unrestricted freedom of expression started to 'feel lonely'. The report date lined Paris, ‘Charlie Hebdo feels alone in its fight to poke fun at world’ appeared in print. Report informs, even ordinary French, who are epitome of freedom, have, kind of, abandoned this messiah of ‘laugh at everything’.
Its latest cartoon on that Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi who fell into sea water from the boat his family was sailing, and swept ashore dead, has been rather in very bad taste.
The swept ashore body of child Aylan Kurdi had shocked the conscience of civil society the world ever on the suffering faced by imigrants. To some extent, European nations and even U.K and Canada had softened their stand on taking in imigrants after this heart rending sight of the dead child. Especially Germany, under Angela Merkel, had wide opened entry for Syrian imigrants. But the physical irritation suffered by German women at a New Year eve midnight revelry because of the migrants men has stiffened the German stand on migrants. Reportedly all accused are being departed.
Charlie Hebdo, as its wont, came up with the cartoon where Aylan Kurdi had grown, some 20 years down, is chasing a German women. It appeared to whole of the French population, as in extremely poor taste and sickening.
This and many other extreme types of cartoon have driven many French away from Charlie Hebdo, conveying in unmistakable terms, that lampooning beyond a dignified decent limit, will not take one too far and can be even counterproductive. That’s what is happening to master cartoonist Charlie Hebdo.

As if things were not already bad between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, the latest execution of a prominent Shiite cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr-al-Nimr has exploded into a diplomatic nightmare. As was only expected Iranians reacted rather angrily, by torching the Saudi embassy building in Tehran and a consulate elsewhere. Such a reaction could have been anywhere in the entire Middle-East, where emotion takes a precedence over rationality.
It is true that Sheikh Nirm-al-Nimr was accused of harming Saudis national interest by secretly encouraging rebellion. There is no way, it can be proved. Whether execution of a respected cleric is right for the alleged wrong doing is another question. The matter of cleric’s alleged involvement and the decision of capital punishment, being a very sensitive issue, Saudi Arabia could have referred the matter to Arab League and Organizations of Islamic Countries. Whether, these organizations have a locus standy is a moot point. But surely, it could have been a measure to have been exploited, instead of summarily executing the alleged traitor. But then, Saudi Arabia is the mightiest of all Arab countries, and no country shall dare to question its action. That’s how, now Arab League is conveying the meeting of other members to condemn and discuss the violation by Iran against the sanctity of Saudi Embassy in Tehran and elsewhere and no questions asked about the execution of the Shiite cleric. The world over, it is sad spectacle, where the action is not called upon to be grilled but the reaction is more often subjected to all grilling, while it may be true that reactions could be disproportional to the original action in gravity and quantum. That is rather a sad dimension of our world of homosapiens. We rarely think, if the original action had not happened or taken place, in the first place, the reaction would not have followed. But the world of facts is sadly different. Hope the present impasse between Saudi Arabia and Iran is somehow resolved for the peace and stability of the Middle Eastern region.  

ROLE MODEL

15 year old runs bare feet for 5000 mtrs

 Very little could have gone right for 15-year-old Baksho Devi, poor and fatherless, and with a stone in her gall bladder.  And very little has, actually, but for her courage and determination that have made her a hero on the social media, and in sports arena.
This Class 9 girl from Ispur village in Una district of Himachal Pradesh won a 5,000-metre race on December 22 to bag a gold medal in the district-level school athletics organised last week by the government, her coach Bagirath Chaudhry told IANS.
Baksho Devi won the race despite running barefoot – for her family couldn’t afford to buy her running shoes.  The youngest among the four sisters, Baksho participated in the race for the first time and won it despite a severe gallstone pain at the last minute, Chaudhry said.  She has now been shortlisted by the youth and sports department to participate in the state-level athletics meet.  “For me, P.T. Usha is a role model and her passion for athletics is an inspiration for me like others,” said Baksho Devi.  “I want to be P.T. Usha.”  Baksho, whose two elder sisters are married and the third one studies in Class 12, lost her father nine years ago. She juggles classes with domestic work along with her mother to earn a living for the family.   Her home is a little more than a shack and her diet bears no resemblance to what an athlete of her age should ideally get.   One thing she does not lack is resolve.   “I am determined to pursue studies and succeed in athletics,” she said.  
Her widowed mother Bimla Devi said she could afford neither the proper outfit nor running shoes for the budding athlete. The girl ran in her school uniform.  “Now the help is coming from various people and organisations. She is now participating in the state-level event with proper dress and shoes,” Bimla Devi said.  “The girls are not less than boys,” the woman added, whose youngest child is a boy.  She said a doctor based in Solan town has offered to pay for the treatment of Baksho’s gallstone after her plight went viral on the social media.  State Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has announced a cash prize of Rs.11,000 to the brave girl.  “She has presented an example that anything can be achieved in life with strong determination and constant efforts,” he said.

What They Said

I refer to your second ‘Open letter to Prime Minister Modi,’ published in the latest issue of "Issues & Concerns". (Jan ’16)
As is your wont, you wield your pen with great aplomb and to great effect. But I am afraid I do not agree with the issues raised or judgments drawn therein. Well, I do concede that you have fairly and objectively pointed out his positive qualities and statements as also his statesmen like conduct on many occasions. I also appreciate the fact that Issues & Concerns has no hidden agenda and is entirely motivated by a desire to raise issues relevant to the society we live in. But at the end of the day the question that needs to be answered is, whether the prime minister of a country (that too of the world’s largest constitutional democracy) should be judged by the electorate, the constitution and the judiciary, on the one hand or, by media and sundry disgruntled elements raising a cacophony in search of vote banks, on the other.  Mr Modi is one of the very few, who has submitted himself to the most rigorous scrutiny of the electorate and the judicial process and come clean. In my sixty plus years, he is the finest Prime Minister India has seen. Well, one can always argue that the best is not good enough. The only crime which he could be accused of is that of being a workaholic, fired by a vision of taking all Indians to a much higher and happier level! Unfortunately, many of us do not or, choose not to appreciate what he is doing and what he has already achieved despite the limitations imposed by a fractious democracy. I for one, remain an  unabashed admirer of the Chaiwala from Gujarat. Well, my opinion may count for little. But as Milton has said, "Those also serve who only stand and wait".
                                                                  Norbert M Shenoy, Mangalooru, via-email

Your open letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi published in I&C of January 2016 issue is an excellent piece of writing. You have rightly pointed out as to how he managed to come to power with pre poll promises of improving the living standards of people of India, and how he failed to fulfill the promises during the period of his rule till now. This letter should be an eye opener for him. Of course it is too short a time period for Mr. Modi to show marked improvement in the governance when it was not done for the past 68 years. Mr. Modi with his honesty, sincerity, clean image and capacity for hard work, we hope he will overcome all the hurdles and will be able to steer our country forward during the remaining period of his term.
I congratulate I&C for successfully completing 15 years of its publication and stepping to 16th year. Over the years the quality of articles published, the quality of printing and the design of front cover have improved tremendously.        
K.S.Thammaiah, Surathkal, Via-email
“An open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi” (I&C- Jan 16)
This is a daring & straight forward modern journalism and have shown that you are not a hypocrite. Our nation needs writers like you. Continue your good efforts. S.M Suvarna, Udupi

Brilliant beginning of January issue with PM Modi – first fist – up!
Your editional crisp and clear on issues and GDP.
‘Issues’ on Salman Khan, reminding times of Emergency by Indira Gandhi caught my eyes in particular.
Devadasi system hurts, all said and done ‘MAN MANAGEMENT’ is always at it worse. Monkey mind triggers mad mad world. Open letter to PM Modi has mixed marks.
All said and done ‘TIME TELLS EVERYTHING’.
WAIT & WATCH, WORLD WILL LOOK AT US WITH RAISED EYE BROWS.   
                            Dr. J.N. Bhat,  Mangalooru

I read your last issue (Jan'16) and found it very interesting. It covered most of the issues the country faced.  The Month-in-Perspective, covered  most relevent issues in the country. The pay commission and its implementation is a matter for introspection for the government as well as the people themselves. The subject of Devadasis is a century old exploitation practice by the upper caste, which has escaped all the legislative controls because of the controllers being the exploiters. The hypocritical English media controlled by the exploiting class has systematically dealt with it in the inner pages till now. Your crusade against these issues and concerns will certainly bring some change in the society. The Salman case, is a mockery of our judicial system. Our judiciary is only limited to interpret half bred legislation rather than delivering justice.
An open letter to the Prime Minister is frank and straightforward evaluation of the BJP government and specifically our dynamic Prime Minister. The comparison between the promises and implementation is true to its content. Continuing from the editorial of year at a glance, the magazine has been able to effectively highlight the shortcomings of the government. The hopes of the 120 crore people is put to test under the present government. The few good things implemented get washed away with the religious fundamentalism of few members. The intolerance debate, has been spoiler for the government. A letter, which the Prime Minister should take note off-to introspect and correct the course to take India to the promised height.                                                       
 Vidyadar Durgekar, Author, via email
 
Open Letter to PM Narendra Modi (I&C Jan) Good one, but some places I am not in agreement with you.                                              Prof. BM Hegde, Former V.C Manipal University, Via email

Open Letter to PM Narendra Modi (I&C Jan) Very balanced. Hope opposition will not use it.                                                             Dr. Ravishankar Rao, Mangala Gangothri

Open Letter to PM Narendra Modi (I&C Jan) Sensible and sound.                                                    
Dr. Satish Rao, Nitte University, Mangalooru
 
Open Letter to PM Narendra Modi (I&C Jan) I agree to most of your article. Good advice.                                         P Kishore Rao, Mangalooru via-FB

Open Letter to PM Narendra Modi (I&C Jan) You have given nice and comprehensive perspective on the present political scenario.                                        Captn Virendranath , MangalooruVia  FB

Open Letter to PM Narendra Modi (I&C Jan) Wow..great..article..  Truely a "wake up call" to our Namo sir...                                                                               Mohidin Kunhi, MangalooruVia

Open Letter to PM Narendra Modi (I&C Jan)
Mind blowing and at the same time mind boggling article. Hope Modiji would be able to understand the meaning between the lines and gets recharged to look within India more than outside India in coming days. To me he looks like the last "Man of Goodhope" for building a New India.                                                                                                                      Prakash Naik, Muscat, Via FB
I am assuming that you want him to read or be appraised of the "Open Letter". Otherwise it is just an editorial for the readership and that would be then end of it.
The key objective is that for the sake of India, we want him to succeed, despite his past and his shortcomings. 
The letter has many good points. However the style of writing, parts of which is cynical and sarcastic, detracts from achieving the goal.
The advise on what he should do or not do comes across as patronizing. There are more mature and formal ways of conveying the same intent by focusing on the problem that needs to be addressed without providing advice.
All in all I do not approve of your Open Letter. You are capable of doing a lot better.
Rajan Shashtri, Karwar, Via email

I’m truly impressed by your “An open letter to PM", through which you have touched the burning problem of malnutrition, child labour, child mortality and unhealthy children of our country. I do agree with you that he has unceremoniously  dumped great leaders like L.K Advani, M.M Joshi and Yashwant Sinha. Narendra Modi is a great Marketing Manager, thus it is rightly said that “Ooper Sherwaani- Andhar Pareshaani”. In brief this unique letter is worth preserving and it should be an eye-opener to our P.M and he must act accordingly to the betterment of the party, himself and betterment of the nation.                                                                                       K.K Kanchan, Kundapur

Thank you for the very informative and well articulated Focus. (I&C- Jan'16)
You have praised- criticized-advised PM Modi. Fine. But to some extent you are mistaken, aren’t you?. “I know better” this suits Kejrival who is impudent, not Modi, who has been humble. You also said he should build friendship with Kejrival for the national good. But he didn’t, he won’t. That’s why we people appreciate him. He knows where to keep the broomstick, why it is used for? He doesn’t need to have friendship with Kejriwal.
First of we should not be prejudiced. I hope you have read “Amrita University students take part in building toilets in some parts of India. When foreigners can take such initiative, why can’t we?  why are we not ready, why don’t we come out and help others? Yes we are selfish, greedy, we just think about our family and least bothered about the under privileged. 
Hence we have to join our hands too instead of simply criticizing Modi for each and everything. He is not omniscient. Don’t worry, good days are ahead.       
                                                                                           Chaithra Padukone, Nitte, via email

This mail is with reference to 'An open letter to the  PM'. Many of the points raised by you in your letter has been in the print media  and discussed on the Media  for a long time. I feel it is waste of print material to rake it up once again. As an editor I feel that this letter should not have been published. The letter has to focus on the implementation of all the central schemes by  each state and the reach. I feel as an editor the basic principle to discuss and bring out the statistics of each   scheme. I feel let down reading your article as it is not of any significance to the main vision of your issues. The letter reflects the lack of idea and the depth in serious issue to discuss national Issues.                                                                                                        Prof. Raj Mohan, Surathkal,via email

Sir,
Thanks for taking time to write to us. I&C only highlights those issues which main stream media have forgotten to persist with. I&C believes, issues of relevance has to be kept alive for those concerned to take the call. Your response betrays a certain degree of ideological disappointment. Kindly refer to feedbacks from other readers. Our CONCERNS are only ISSUES. I&C is a movement, where all are welcome to participate, including you. If evolution has to be revolution all should join the effort. You are welcome to participate.                                                                                                                                                                -EDITOR




 

 


FOCUS

NATIONAL HERALD & DDCA
QUESTION OF ANSWERS
There is this proverb in Kannada, “Irulu kanda baavige hagalu bidda haage”, which means, ‘to fall into a well in the day time, that can be clearly seen in the night’. Or so, it appears, the imbroglio involving National Herald and Sonia Gandhi & her son Rahul Gandhi , the President & Vice President of Indian National Congress.
It was way back in the 1930s, during the freedom struggle, a need for a newspaper, was greatly felt by the Indian leadership of those days. Good number of them, were exposed to English education, either in England or in India. Hence they were aware of the need for a newspaper to articulate their thoughts on the freedom movement and related issues concerning India and its people. With the idea of starting a newspaper, a group of people, (details not available) got to-gether to form an Indian Non-government Company, was planned. According to available information The Associated Journals Ltd., was incorporated as a public company on 20th Nov 1937 with the Registrar of Companies, Delhi. According to the same source, the authorized capital of this company was Rs. 100,50,00, 000/-, so also the paid-up capital was Rs.91,31,39,710/-. And the registered activity was printing and publishing. The present registered office address is Herald House, 5-A Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi – 110002. Probably its original registered office may have been in Lucknow, since National Herald newspaper was started in Lucknow during Sept. 1938, by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Due to the British restriction of pre-1947 days, National Herald had a chequered growth. However post 1947, it grew both in circulation and popularity. In Lucknow, it was based out of Nehru Bhawan. In 1968, it began another office in New Delhi, which also became the registered office of the owners of National Herald, the Associated Journals Ltd.
Although National Herald was owned by a cross section of Indians, it mainly operated as the mouth piece of Indian National Congress (INC), the dominant political party of that time. Besides English, in later years, National Herald had both Hindi and Urdu editions, named Navjeevan and Qaumi Awaz.
After 1977, when INC lost power, for the first time, under Indira Gandhi, the publication of National Herald was stopped for 2 years. However with uncertain future the paper finally closed down in 1998 and under court order some of its assets were sold to settle debts. During its 60 years or so, of its existence, due to lack of modernization, it slowly and steadily lost out to the other newspapers in circulation and therefore advertisement revenue. But the show had to go on. Since, it was largely doing Congress Party bidding, Congress Party kept advancing finance to keep National Herald alive. 
When, National Herald (NH) eventually closed down, Associated Journals Ltd., the registered owners of NH owed to the Indian National Congress Rs. 90.25 crores as interest free advance.
A very important point to note here is, although NH functioned as an organ of Indian National Congress (INC) the ownership of NH was not with INC. AJL is the owner of NH and its allied publications. AJL had many shareholders, who may not be members of the INC.
According to the annual report submitted by AJL for 2008/09, on 30/9/2009, there were 1062 shareholders, which got reduced to 1057 during 2009/10. However it rose to 1089 during 2010/11 and stood unchanged till 2014. Interestingly, shareholders included one Abhim Investments, with the address shown as Pratiksha, Plot No:14, 10th Road, Juhu Scheme, Mumbai. This is the well known residence of Amitabh Bachchan. Reportedly Abhim Investments holds 1 lakh shares of AJL. Among other well known names were the names of father of Shashi Bhushan, the Law Minister in Janata government, so also grandfather of supreme court retired justice Markandeya Katju. Around the same time, Young Indian Pvt. Ltd. (YIL) was inducted as one of the shareholders of AJL. Somewhere in December 2010, Board of Directors of AJL consisting Suman Dubey, Satyam Gangaram Pitroda (Sam Pitroda), Oscar Fernandese, Motilal Vora, Deepaklal Ratilal Baboria and Deepandar Singh, transferred the entire equity to YIL in lieu of taking over the Rs: 90.25 crore debt, YIL paid Rs: 50 lakh for this acquisition. How and from where the fund was generated was a question not answered. Immediately thereafter INC decided to assign the Rs: 90.25 crore debt that AJL owed INC in favour of YIL, thus made it the owner of INC debt in the books of AJL. Thus AJL became a fully owned subsidiary of YIL by virtue of this decision and transaction. However prima facie, this act had no legal sanction. Reportedly YIL had 76% shares in favour of Ms. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, balance being in the name of Oscar Fernandese and Motilal Vora in equal parts, who are both INC functionaries. Since National Herald was generally perceived to be an organ of INC, the transfer of equity in favour of YIL did not become a breaking news for our sensation hungry 24x7 electronic media.
As luck would have it, it had to be Subramanian Swamy, currently nothing to keep him busy, to spring a surprise, and possibly an unprecedented turmoil within INC. In 2012, he was the president of the now defunct Janata Party. Angling for issues, AJL transfer to YIL became a springboard for a fulltime occupancy for Swamy. Sometime in 2012, he filed a complaint before the trial court alleging that INC leaders were involved in cheating and breach of trust in the acquisition of AJL by YIL. Swamy alleged that YIL had taken over the assets of the defunct NH in a malicious manner to gain profit and assets worth about Rs: 5000 crores. He also alleged that YIL had paid just 50 lakhs to obtain the right to recover Rs: 90.25 crores loan that AJL owed to INC.
The question here is, as a news paper asked, ‘Why would you tinker with the ownership of the Associated Journals Ltd, publishers of the now defunct National Herald newspaper, unless you have some ulterior motive?’ Indeed all Indians, who are concerned, have this question, whether the swapping of the debt of Rs: 90.25 with the ownership of the AJL, had deeper and sinister design than what meets the eye?
According to the available information, there are land and buildings owned by AJL in many parts of India, in Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Indore etc. Clearly AJL was sitting on a goldmine. Reportedly, the Herald House in New Delhi was rented out to Ministry of External Affairs to locate its passport office. And this could be only a ‘tip of the ice berg’, on its commercial exploitability. Then the commercial complex in Bandra, a high end Mumbai suburb, on the land allotted for Nehru Library and Museum. Then the Multi Storey building coming up in Panchkula on the outskirts of Chandigarh. Thus it is very clear that its real estate potential could be really huge. Of course, by making settlement with shareholders, INC probably could have taken over AJL for its own resource mobilization. Obviously that was not to be. Surely some legal mind helped it arrive at a decision to float a new company YIL and with the help of only book entries and with the help of the government of the day, transferring the ownership of AJL to YIL was a smooth affair. No eye brows were raised and no questions asked.
Until one day it got Subramanian Swami, worked up, who cried hoarse of wrong doing. Being Congress in power, none bothered. The following year he knocked on the door of the court. Again nothing happened. However, the change of guard at the centre opened all possibilities. In the meanwhile Swamy changed his colours to Saffron. He joined BJP. It became an asset and liability at the same time. Maverick that he is, his every action or inaction started being linked to BJP and the Prime Minister Modi.
Matter started moving in the court. Metropolitan magistrate Gomati Manocha, had issued summons to Gandhis and others to appear on 7th Aug 2014. This was challenged by INC in the Delhi High Court and got the summons stayed. On Dec 7 2015, the high court dismissed the appeals filed by INC leaders observing that prima facie the case “evidenced criminality”. “After having considered the entire case in its proper perspective, this court finds no hesitation to put it on record that the modus operandi adopted by petitioners in taking control of AJL via Special Purpose Vehicle, that is Young Indian, particularly, when the main persons in Congress Party, AJL and YIL are the same, evidences a criminal intent. Questionable conduct of petitioners needs to be properly examined at the charge stage to find out the truth”, the Delhi High Court is reported to have said in its December 7, 2015, judgment.
Another aspect that has come to light is the donation that YIL received, was reportedly from a Kalkatta based business man through a hawala operative, could be in cash, could be unaccounted slush money.
Hence it appears to be fairly problematic for the directors and shareholders of YIL with shareholders of AJL like Shanti Bhushan waiting in the wings to stop the wrong doing by INC and its leaders. It looks uphill for defendents in the case. Best course available to them is to restore the status quo ante in AJL and save themselves of all the ignominy that may follow.

Delhi Cricket Association

Cricket is a national obsession. But Indians never thought that the administration of cricket can become an obsession for politicians and their hangers on. Since some years, Indians were dished out, details of goings on in BCCI, and the shenanigans of those who used to call shots in the corridors of cricket administration. Ever since IPL started some 8 years ago, it’s been hogging the public space for varieties of reasons. And we have witnessed all kinds of boxing going on, mostly off the pitch. As we are witnessing, some kind of a belated changes in the BCCI with changes at the top and possibly some transparency in the accountability of the humongous transactions among all stake holders, except of course the general cricket mad public and may be even the government of the day. May be someday BCCI may come under RTI and probably even pay some income tax to the state exchequer. Things started to look-up with the new BCCI president at the helm.
Suddenly DDCA which is the acronym for Delhi District Cricket Association is in the news for all wrong reasons. In some places, they even write Delhi & District Cricket Association. But for all intents and purposes it is Delhi Cricket Association. However, for the purpose of this write up, and because it is routinely referred to as DDCA, will keep it that way.
There is this Firozshah Kotla Cricket Stadium in Delhi. As a cricket playing ground it was reportedly started in 1883, for Englishmen to play cricket. As the world knows, cricket was an Englishman’s game in those years. This cricket ground slowly grew in providing better facilities to players & cricket lovers. As there is no end for improving comforts to all those who want to be in the stadium as players, as viewers and the rest of the crowd,  slowly the cricket ground became a stadium, with all amenities.
This stadium is currently being managed and maintained by DDCA. Like all cricket associations of every state and the controlling agency called BCCI, has all kinds of attraction to all kinds of people. Primarily this attraction is due to the fact, that there is big money in it. Where there is honey, bees are bound to be there. Whenever there is more money than you can reasonably handle with care and openness, opaque dealings become the norm. Corruption, financial misdemeanor etc are the different references that are made to such situations. Hence DDCA with bag full of money, was no different.  
Kirti Azad, BJP’s 3 time M.P from Dharbhanga in Bihar, who is a cricketer turned politician, has been making allegations of financial bungling in DDCA for a longtime. Even at that time, Arun Jaitley was the president of DDCA. But the nomenclature, was honorary president, without the involvement in the day to day administration of the club. He was the president of DDCA during 1999 to 2013, a period of some 15 years. Azad’s accusations of corruption falls within this period, and hence he feels, Jaitley as President, is culpable.
Thus, it was in 2012/13 that the UPA government of Manmohan Singh ordered investigation by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), of the Corporate Affairs Ministry. Reportedly, SFIO, did find some discrepancies in the accounting including some technical errors. However, there were no serious mistakes to warrant any penal action on any of DDCA functionaries. Reportedly, Jaitley, who resigned as DDCA President in Dec 2013, was fully cleared of any wrong doing, with SFIO report maintaining that there was nothing against him. Hence, prime facie, it should have died a natural death. But that was not to be. Why, this had to be raked up in 2015?
Right now, all Indians are aware that there is an inquiry on DDCA. Delhi government led by Arvind Kejriwal, waiting in the wings, if only to embarrass BJP and its Prime Minister Naredra Modi, has ordered its own inquiry into the affairs of DDCA. As is becoming clear, both Kirti Azad, the BJP-MP and AAP govt. in Delhi and indeed the Congress, are only targeting Arun Jaiteley, the 2nd most powerful man in the Union Government. This is little funny. The UPA government, where Congress was the major partner, had clearly exonerated Arun Jaitley, by its own SFIO report, is strangely looking for blood.
In the already vitiated and polluted political environ, this latest targeting could have been avoided. AAP, as its wont, is only fishing in the troubled water. But why is Kirti Azad, who won for three consecutive terms as an M.P on the BJP ticket should be gunning for Arun Jaitley, that too after a serious effort of BJP party president, to stop him from holding press conferences, giving statements to the press etc?!
However, DDCA and some senior cricketers are reportedly ‘solidly behind Arun Jaitley’. So also, DDCA working president, Chetan Chauhan, also a former cricketer has said that ‘Jaitley had in fact worked for the betterment of cricket in general and had made the Feroz Shah Stadium into a world class facility and it was uncalled for to drag him into this controversy’.
It is true that Azad has been talking about financial irregularities in DDCA under Arun Jaitley, for a long time. But party, for no particular reason, did not pay much heed. He continued his tirade even after, the then government of UPA cleared Arun Jaitley, in particular, of all wrong doing. It is known in party circles that Azad is a bit disgruntled. Reportedly, his wife was denied a party ticket to contest the parliamentary poll. He had also allegedly demanded plum posts in the government for his brothers, which did not materialize. Thus, is he trying to sully the image of Mr. ‘Clean’ Jaitley, if it can stick! Whatever the merits of the charges of Kirti Azad, and the charges leveled by AAP government in Delhi, the fact remains that there have been instances of financial skull-drudgery within the workings of DDCA. It is also a fact that these bungling happened during the presidentship of Arun Jaitley. Just because, he was not involved in the day to day running of the club, can he be exonerated?! 
The answer is indeed a resounding ‘NO’. He has the vicarious responsibility. You cannot, ipso facto, preside over the affairs of an institution which is corrupt in its dealings and claim. ‘I am innocent.’ That will be insulting the very primacy of the law. Responsibility, prima facie, has a vertical mobility going upward.
Indeed, your hands are not dirty, but can that exempt your responsible and responsive role as the head of the institution! Of course, the damages, for defamation, as claimed by Arun Jaitley, from Arvid Kejriwal and his party functionaries, may well be within his right, but he is answerable for the dereliction of his duty as the President of DDCA at the time of those alleged corrupt episodes. Period. Hope, he rises to the occasion to put the record straight.

FEATURE

Pain-man’s greatest enemy.

Pain has been man’s greatest enemy from time immemorial and shall be so for all times to come. Pain is also the best method the body can convey that all is not well with the owner to urge him/her to take some remedial action. The physiology of pain is still not fully understood although from time to time people discover something new to evolve a drug treatment method. Pain killers, as they are called, are the real killers. Aspirin, the first pain killer to the latest complicated pain killers that the greedy drug industry has researched are making a big business, but are the leading killers in the adverse drug reactions (ADR) list. Some of them had to be withdrawn from the market as they led to heart attacks and heart failure even up to five years after their administration!
The dark side of pain killer research is that the most powerful pain killer, morphia, has recently been shown to act through its placebo effect ONLY! (Sc. Transl. Med 2011; 3:70) After this elaborate study from four universities was published I had a new thought on pain management. Why not we use the body’s capacity to contain pain as a tool in treatment? I thought seriously about making use of exercise as a mode of pain treatment. Conventional thinking in medicine was (is) that any bodily injury or disease needs complete rest for good recovery. This myth was blown off by one of my former teachers, Professor Bernard Lown, who invented the first chair treatment for heart attack patients in 1952. Up until then heart attack patients were put to bed permanently, mostly to meet their maker in heaven sooner than later through deep vein thrombosis!
This did not attract as much curiosity as the then American President Eisenhower’s heart attack three years into his first presidency. His two cardiologists, the fathers of modern American Cardiology-Sam Levine and Paul Dudley White, took courage in both of their able hands and asked him to be mobilised soon to not only run the remaining part of his presidency, but to contest for the second term as he was very popular. Eisenhower ran a hectic campaign and won the second term to complete it successfully. Early mobilisation became a reality since then. People started thinking that mobility soon after a major heart attack is one of the ways to keep people healthy and fit. I still remember the early days of heart valve replacement surgery. I was working for Malcolm Towers, a great cardiologist who was the left hand of one of the fathers of British cardiology, Paul Wood along with Evan Bedford. Our surgeon was Miss Mary Sheppard; a lion of a surgeon, tall and well-built she could out beat any man. This chain smoking thoracic surgeon was a dare devil. When she replaces one, two or, even, three valves patients remained in the ICU for eight to ten days and then only mobilised. A new young, dynamic, short built, Egyptian, Magdi Yacoub joined us as a second consultant surgeon by then from the National Heart Hospital where he was senior registrar to Mr. Donald Ross.Magdi’s valve replacement patients were mobilised on the second day even when they were in the ICU and they did much better.Miss. Sheppard stopped doing valve surgery conceding that Magdi did a better job, a magnanimity rarely seen among greedy doctors today. All these convinced me that work is good and rest is not that good for recovery.
I had a major car accident 40 years ago when I had 18 stitches on my scalp and a big bandage. I came home the same night and did not take even a single pain killer that were prescribed telling my mind that after allpain can be controlled by the mind. That did the trick. The role of the mind in controlling pain is now well understood. Mind being not in the brain helps much more in relieving pain.
I used to have a nagging pain in my left deltoid and triceps (shoulder) as I use them once a day to cut open a tender coconut for its water for breakfast. I had to pin the coconut down with my left hand to chop off its front portion with the right hand. Conventional methods, drugless of course, did not help. One day I gave my left shoulder a lot of work, like carrying large beds upstairs and also carrying my loaded suitcases in the left hand.My triceps and deltoid have been free from pain since then. Aches and pains are a sign of life in old age and doctors and patients together drug them so much that some elderly people are on two-three PAIN KILLERS on an average!I advise them to exercise to the best of their ability to get rid of the pain instead of resting and eating the killer pain medicines. Results have been very encouraging.
I travel a bit and each time after a long a hectic travel by plane, car etc. I get pains almost everywhere. When I get back I go for a long walk despite the fact I would have been fagged out completely.The real joy and josh that one gets after this mild exercise is something to be really enjoyed rather than learnt from others.Now I have made walking exercise a must after a hard day’s work and exhaustionto feel fit again. The exhilaration after bad day’s exhaustion is something one must enjoy to get convinced.
The other menace of pain is the misuse and abuse of pain killers. A researcher, Krishna Rao, told me that in a small village, Gogi (Gogi Thanda) village, Post Kamalapur in Gulbarga District of North Karnataka where he had done a survey for Fluorosis he found 300 tablets of Declofanac were sold daily in a small beeda-beedi shop in that village in addition to many prescription pain killers doctors there give. His health survey showed many kidney, liver, and heart diseases in that village.If this were the situation in a small remote village, what would be the pain killer load and consequent ADR load on the people and our medical system? 
Doctors were useful to treat pain in the past, present and will be useful to treat them in the future as well. We should innovate treatments for pain and suffering. Drugless treatments will not only be inexpensive; they will be healthy as they do not have the added menace of ADR.
***************

                 


ISSUES OF CONCERN

Unsung Public Cleanliness Workers

They are the ‘foot soldiers’ of public cleanliness in the Silicon Valley of India. Unseen and unsung, they work tirelessly to clear the streets and the sidewalks of garbage, and keep other public amenities, including washrooms, clean. They impinge on public consciousness only when some lapse is noticed, but even then, those who complain little realize that the onus of responsible use of public amenities rests on the user first and foremost. Yet, Kanakamma and her ilk soldier on with determination.
“I came to Bengalooru from Villupuram in Neighbouring Tamil Nadu over 33 years ago, along with my parents and four younger siblings, recalls 47-year-old Kanakamma. “My mother fell ill and passed away, my father, a worker in the unorganized sector, became an alcoholic, and it was left to my maternal grandmother to raise us. As money was extremely scarce, my sister Maryamma and I did not get to go to school. Instead, we swept roads, collected and sold bits of paper, plastic milk sachets and other items found around large houses located near our low-income neighborhood in Bengalooru. Many of those living in the posh houses would hesitate to even give us water to drink,” she adds. On the face of it, Kanakamma’s adult working life and that of Maryamma are not different from their growing up years and, yet, there is a difference. The sisters now sort and sell dry waste at a collection centre run jointly with the Bruhat Bengalooru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP or Bengalooru Municipality). They work tirelessly, without even one day off in the week. But they are both active members of Hasiru Dala, which translates as Green Brigade, a collective of around 7000 waste pickers, 500 scrap dealers and people who manage 33 dry waste collection centres in Bengalooru.
Hasiru Dala members have equipped themselves with knowledge about fundamental rights and social entitlements. They have been campaigning for respect and dignified treatment by the state and society. They have also managed to enhance their financial status by integrating their work with the formal waste management sector, and negotiating returns collectively.
Kanakamma has one daughter while Maryamma has five children, including daughters Surya and Sonia. While 20 years old Surya discontinued her studies after completing primary school due to the poor economic condition of the family, Sonia, age 14, is a high school student at present.
The members of Hasiru Dala, who are largely socio-economically marginalized Dalits, meet on a regular basis to discuss and resolve their  common and individual challenges. They also organize awareness sessions where they learn about their rights and basic social elements such as a family ration card, voter identity card, health insurance under the Rashtriya Swastha Bima Yojana (RSBY), and the procedures associated with obtaining these documents.
“After Maryamma and I Joined Hasiru Dala, which we got to know through a co-worker, I received an identification card, an apron and gloves,” says Kanakamma. “My colleagues and I learnt about the need for garbage to be segregated at source. We provide garbage collection services to residents of apartment complexes and neighbourhoods. We educate the residents on the necessity and method of segregating trash. This saves us time and energy, and also minimizes the health hazards to which we are exposed, like respiratory and skin ailments. It also helps us maintain our self-respect.”
Krishna, in his late twenties, is another member of the Hasiru Dala. His family too migrated from neighboring Tamil Nadu. They are traditionally bone collectors, a group often referred to derogatively as chappar. Today, he manages a dry waste collection centre, jointly with a few others like him. “My mother, who had eight children, was employed in the informal sector and earned very little,” says Krishna.
“When I was around 12 years old, I started working as an errand boy for a shop keeper for around Rs 1800 a month. I starved on some days because there was no money at home to cook or buy a meal. Studying beyond class seven was impossible as I had to contribute to the household income and the quality of teaching in government schools was unsatisfactory while the cost of private education was high.”
Life became a bit easier after a social worker trained Krishna and his friend, not only in soft skills like the norms of conducting themselves in front of officials and people belonging to the upper strata of society, but also in managing money. With this training, Krishna found a job as a trash collector at a premier hotel in Begalooru. “A few years later, I heard that through Hasiru Dala, I could take charge of a dry waste collection centre which is operated in conjunction with the BBMP. In this role, I have learnt how to delegate tasks to people, manage finances, et al,” says Krishna. “I now earn enough for my family and am very happy that I am able to support my mother who worked very hard to raise our family”, he says proudly.
“Through Hasiru Dala, we recycle more than 665 tonnes of dry or inorganic waste every month,” explains Krishna. “We also send at least 150 tonnes of organic or wet waste for composting and run three Biogas plants in Bengaluru. We play a major role in diverting garbage from huge open dumps, recycling resources and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, thereby making the environment of the city less hazardous”.
The Hasiru Dala also provides housekeeping services to private firms, educational institution, hospitals and various other establishments. The members earn enough to give their children a reasonable education. This is significant because, traditionally, people employed as municipal cleaners, including those who clean public private spaces such as sewage canals and washrooms, have been trapped in the same profession for generations, unable to find the means to equip their children with either the academic qualifications or alternate skill to upgrade their lives.
Some of the waste pickers produce audio content about their lives, lively hood, labour rights and social entitlements, which is broadcast every week on Radio Active, a community radio station based in Bengalooru.

Roti Bank

A unique ‘roti bank’ has been launched in Aurangabad city for the poor. People can ‘deposit’ rotis here, and the poor, aged, sick or the unemployed people can ‘withdraw’ a basic fare of freshly-cooked rotis and a vegetarian or non-vegetarian dish.
The Roti Bank — first of its kind in Maharashtra and second in India after a similar venture in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh — was launched on December 5 by Yusuf Mukati, the founder of Haroon Mukati Islamic Centre (HMIC), on the busy Jinsi-Baijipura Road in the heart of the city.
“Over the years, I saw many poor people, especially Muslims, who can’t afford one square meal a day… The situation is pathetic in large families with just one bread-winner. But because they live a dignified life, they do not resort to begging,” Mukati said.
 Targetting many such poor and deprived families, the idea of a ‘Roti Bank’ crystallized — and the 38-year-old Mukati made it clear that beggars would not be entertained here. After discussing with his wife Kauser, and his four married sisters – Seema Shalimar, Mumtaz Memon, Shehnaz Sabani, Huma Pariyani — the ‘Roti Bank’ finally went ‘public’ with a modest 250 ‘depositors’ on December 5.  Initially, curious passers-by would stop to ask about it but feel delighted to see it was a noble initiative.  People have to fill up a form for Roti Bank’s membership.
“We allot them a specific code number. The request is simple — Simply deliver us a minimum of two freshly cooked rotis and a plate of vegetarian or non-vegetarian food that they prepare for family at home daily,” Mukati said.
The idea clicked and within a fortnight the membership shot up by nearly 25%, and Mukati — who runs a garment shop along with his realty consultancy — is optimistic it will double soon.
“The bank timings are 11 am to 11 pm. People can voluntarily ‘deposit’ their food, once a day or even more… Similarly, the poor people can come any time to collect the food as per their convenience and availability,” Mukati said.
 The unique bank provides special carry bags with a code number to each ‘depositor’ on receipt. It is checked for freshness and quality, and then disbursed to the lucky families daily.
“The membership is growing, and occasionally food deposits are also higher than expectations — So, on an average, we feed around 500 poor people daily,” Mukati said. He emphasized that over one-third of the donors and beneficiaries are non-Muslims and want to increase their contribution gradually “since food is the right of all human beings, irrespective of religion or financial status”.
As word spread about the noble venture, wedding organisers started dispatching the extra food left over due to guest absenteeism.  “Since launch, at least six Hindu wedding organizers sent us 50-60 plates of excellent vegetarian food and another dozen Muslim marriage organisers also sent a similar quantity of non-vegetarian fare,” he said.
“We store it separately in huge freezers with a capacity for 700 packets. The beneficiaries can take the food of their choice (veg/non-veg),” said Mukati while appealing to big restaurants, deluxe hotels, corporate and industrial canteens, flight kitchens and mega-event organisers to contribute their unconsumed, extra food for the Roti Bank.
He feels it will ensure there is “absolutely no wastage” of food anywhere any time in the city of 1.17 million population of which around 31% are Muslims.
Dwelling on the deplorable plight of Muslim women in the city, Kauser, his wife, said the divorce rates are very high, especially among young women.  She said the problem is acute – thousands of very young illiterate or semi-literate girls are pushed into marriage with much older men, and then divorced very soon. Their families borrow large amounts for marriages.
“These unfortunate girls, at times with tiny children, have no social security, nobody to house, feed or employ them,” said Kauser, who helps her husband in the Roti Bank venture.
In its own way, the Haroon Mukati Islamic Centre is contributing to women’s uplift with an academic centre for 2,000 girls in which they impart regular spiritual and vocational education in 15 different vocations, including yoga, fashion designing and computers.
“This equips the young girls with a capacity to earn a living and in case of any future problems, at least they will not starve or be driven to the road,” Kauser pointed out.
Incidentally, around 100 girl students from middle or upper-middle-class families have become Roti Bank members and contribute daily. It is disbursed among their less fortunate classmates.


POLLUTION

Climate change impact may be worse than thought: study

London : The global land surface temperatures may rise by an average of almost eight degrees Celsius by 2100, if significant efforts are not made to counteract climate change, a new study has warned.Such a rise would have a devastating impact on life on Earth. It would place billions of people at risk from extreme temperatures, flooding, regional drought, and food shortages, researchers said. The study conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh in UK calculated the likely effect of increasing atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases above pre-industrialisation amounts.
It found that if emissions continue to grow at current rates, with no significant action taken by society, then by 2100 global land temperatures will have increased by 7.9 degrees Celsius compared with 1750 as the base year. This finding lies at the very uppermost range of temperature rise as calculated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  It also breaches the United Nations’ safe limit of two degrees Celsius, beyond which the UN says dangerous climate change can be expected, researchers said. Researchers first created a simple algorithm to determine the key factors shaping climate change and then estimated their likely impact on the world’s land and ocean temperatures.  The study was based on historical temperatures and emissions data. It accounted for atmospheric pollution effects that have been cooling Earth by reflecting sunlight into space, and for the slow response time of the ocean.“Estimates vary over the impacts of climate change. But what is now clear is that society needs to take firm, speedy action to minimise climate damage,” said Roy Thompson, a professor at the University of Edinburgh. The findings were published in the journal Earth and Environmental Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  


SERIAL : 32

INDIAN IN COWBOY COUNTRY
THE HUNT

They saw themselves as being very different from the Brown Baggers, their thrifty colleagues at the outplacement office who brought predictable sack lunches: a sandwich, some chips, and a piece of fruit or a yogurt. However, Satish had a different point of view. The Lunch Bunchers were senior executives, while the Brown Baggers were mid-level managers. He fell somewhere in between, but preferred to hang around with the Lunch Bunch, who treated him like an equal.
Dan was Jewish and had served in the Israeli Air Force as a fighter pilot. He was lanky yet muscular, and the nattily dressed aviator had that-in-your face, go-for-the-jugular attitude of a good “closer”. He was outspoken and easy to read, sharing with Satish that he was a superb salesman but a lousy manager. He preferred to close huge, complex deals and not be bothered with “pissassed” administrative details. “I began closing my salesmen’s deals myself, rather than managing them,” he shared with the group as the reason for his departure from Brumliere.
He had that cavalier attitude that camouflaged his perceptive powers and quick, sharp judgment. He was the most successful of the bunch in his job search because of his networking ability, aided by the strength of his connections. He was aggressive and relentless in his job pursuit, and once he picked up the scent of an opportunity, he honed in on his target with the tenacity of a hound after its prey.       
However, every job he had pursued was a small fish, which he shared with his colleagues at the outplacement center. He coached some of the candidates on how to land these jobs, and the successful ones and their families were ever grateful to him. “Think nothing about it,” he would say when they gave him minor tokens of gratitude. When some were over-effusive in their gratefulness he said, “If you feel so grateful, just send me your first paycheck.” This quickly tempered their appreciation.
Twice-divorced, with a wife and child on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, he joked that his life would not be complete without a wife and child on America’s third coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. Driving the latest model German sports cars was his passion, and he changed his automobiles every year. He had more speeding tickets and dated more women than any person Satish knew.
Sam was a rotund African American who has a soft-spoken, sophisticated demeanor about him. He was always polite and well-groomed, oozing quiet confidence and somewhat introverted. However, when he got on a podium or was center stage, he transformed into a powerful motivational speaker. He had a thundering voice and a rhythmic, alliterative speech pattern that could resonate and move anyone who heard him.
His father was a preacher in a small town in neighboring Louisiana, which explained some of Sam’s commanding presence under the spotlight. But his career was buil1t around accounting and financial engineering, a low-risk, high-reward path that his father had chosen for him and encouraged him to pursue.
He had the etiquette and demeanor of a cultured person and presented himself professionally at all times. He was always immaculately dressed in well-fitted dark suits, white shirts, and designer ties that complemented his perfect haircut, trimmed moustache, and well-shined and relatively new Italian shoes. 
Sam did not leave any of his job-search papers at the outplacement office. He carried a designer briefcase with a security code lock that contained his confidential papers. At the end of the day he carried home a four-inch, three-ring binder that contained all his correspondence.
He was disciplined and methodical in his search. He came in punctually at eight AM and left a little after five PM to be with his wife of twenty years. This childless couple had adopted children from a Fifth Ward neighborhood, and every weekday evening, at a church, they helped primary school kids with their homework.
Darrel had an impeccable New England pedigree and his family would have preferred him to stay in the area, married one of their kindred, and propagated their species. He followed the family track and, after his masters in engineering from MIT, joined a local engineering firm that was developing new drilling technologies for the oil and gas industry.
In the late seventies, the U.S. was in a sustained recession due to OPEC’s machination of oil prices. Challenging engineering jobs that Darrell preferred were amply available only in the exploration and production industry. He compromised with his family that he would not move out of New England and chose to work for Trustmink. But his constant travels to Houston and other centers of oilfield activity exposed him to an adventuresome life that he had never seen in the Gatsby-like, croquet and country club environs of his birth.
During one of his frequent trips to Houston, he met a Mexican American woman and, to the consternation of his family, married her. He fulfilled his family’s perception of being a black sheep when he moved to Houston after a major oilfield services company acquired Trustmink. He went on to become the president of his product division.
About six months earlier, he had refused to lay off any more of his staff and offered to resign instead so that, “You can do your own dirty work.” The conglomerate moved in one of its own hatchet men and gave him a generous package that included one year of outplacement services.
Clyde was the only native Houstonian in the lunch bunch. He was called a banker, but he saw himself as a senior salesman, selling financial instruments to the oil industry. He had spent almost thirty years with the same bank, starting as a part-time employee when he was an undergraduate student at the University of Houston’s accounting program.
His father had been employed by a petrochemical plant, and he grew up with his sisters and brothers in the modest neighbourhood of Pasadena, Texas, immortalized by the film Urban Cowboy.
 His family was originally from West Texas and he had a raw, deeply creased face with a weather-beaten look, a laid-back swagger, and a drawl to prove it.
Despite his triple bypass heart surgery, he loved beer and barbecue. A large belt with a shiny buckle the size of his palm kept his pants from slipping down his portly midriff. He wore cowboy boots with his suit, and an Indian bolo tie.
He enjoyed his work, the camaraderie, and wining and dining with clients. He had been very successful in his career until his bank had been acquired by a New York multinational bank that had determined that he did not fit the profile of their “customer-facing” executives.
The official reason for his departure was that he had retired after thirty years of service, but the exit package he negotiated included outplacement service for a year. At his retirement party, when he received his gold Rolex watch, he smiled wryly and told his audience that he was too young to spend the rest of his life golfing, fishing, and hunting. Instead, he was hoping that a silver fox like him could have a second career with another small Texas bank, and that he looked forward to competing with “them young Yankee pups from New York.”
A devout Baptist, he donated his Rolex watch to his local church auction. He continued to wear his trusted, twenty-year old Timex that, like his heart, took a licking but kept on ticking. His personable, “Aw shucks, I’m just a country boy from West Texas,” deportment made people underestimate him. He exploited this during negotiations of complex oil and gas financing deals.
Satish spent the first ten days, as predicted by Scott, his counselor, completing his self-evaluation tests at an easy pace. The last six months had worn him out, and he enjoyed the unhurried pace in the outplacement world. He could reach the office at about 9.30 AM and leave at 3 Pm, both to beat the horrendous traffic jams that clogged Houston freeways. In between, he took off an hour and a half to be with his Lunch Bunch. The rest of time, he meticulously wrote detailed answer to his test questions.
When he returned home, he sat with Monica and Seeta and watched children’s shows on the local PBS station. After a quick dinner, the trio would amble to the park and back, talking as if they had just discovered each other. After Seeta went to sleep, they would sit with each other and some sitcoms on TV before retiring for the night.
To Monica, it was as if a new Satish was awakening. He was relaxed and calm, and lost the sharp edginess that was building during the last year. This was the first time in their three-year marriage when they were together, doing nothing but quietly enjoying each other’s company. In one week, a soft solace descended on the family-until Satish saw the result of his tests. They rattled him.
While Satish believed that his strengths were his analysis and synthesis skills, the test showed that his strengths lay elsewhere, in a much larger scope than he had imagined-in leadership and execution. His major strength was leading professionals in complex situations, which in his myopic way he had applied to his engineering group.
 Another test revealed that he was on the borderline between introversion and extroversion, though he thought himself to be inhibited. The biggest surprise was that the tests showed him that he was stronger in his intuitive and perceptive powers than in the analytical powers that he admired in himself.
At first, he was disturbed by the results. He shared the findings with Monica, who dissuaded him from dismissing them. During their now frequent walks to the park with their daughter, they talked about the implication of these findings, but there were no obvious directions in his job search. He was confused, but his wife was not.
As their daughter played with her pail and shovel in a sandbox in the park, Monica took her uncertain husband’s hand and held it caringly.
Both said nothing until he said, “It’s like I’ve discovered a whole new person that I never knew.”
“Well, Satish, that’s the person I have known and grown to love. You just saw yourself differently,” she said.

OFFICIAL AMNESIA

A SOLDIER’S FATHER

The helicopter appeared over the late morning horizon. We were to receive Mr Lachhman Singh Rathore who was visiting our Flight Unit to perform the last rites of his son, Flying Officer Vikram Singh.
 Only the day before, I had sent the telegram, “Deeply regret to inform that your son Flying Officer Vikram Singh lost his life in a flying accident early this morning. Death was instantaneous.” It was the first time for me- tomeet and manage the bereaved next of kin, in this case the Father of the brave officer.
While most of the desolate family members insist on seeing the body, many a time there isn’t a body to show!! Flying Officer Vikram Singh’s remains were only a few kilos –scrapped from what was left in the cockpit. We had to weigh the wooden coffin with wood and earth.
The pilot brought the helicopter to a perfect touchdown. Soon Mr Lachhman Singh Rathor was helped down the ladder.A small and frail man he was, maybe of 80 years, clad in an immaculate dhoti.
As I approached him, he asked in a quiet and dignified whisper, “Are you Venki, the Flight Commander?” “Yes Sir.” “Vikram had spoken to me about you. I’d like to speak to you alone for a minute.”
 We walked to the edge of the concrete apron. ‘I have lost a son, and you have lost a friend. I’m sure that you have taken great care in arranging the funeral. Please tell me when and where you want my presence and what you want me to do. I’ll be there for everything. Later, I would like to meet Vikram’s friends, see his room and, if it is permitted, visit his work place. I then would like to return hometomorrow morning.”
A commander couldn’t have given me clearer instructions.
The funeral, with full military honours, was concluded by late afternoon. After the final echoes of the ‘Last Post’ faded away, Lachhman Singh spent the evening talking to the Squadron Pilots. Vikram’s roommate took him to see Vikram’s room. Lachhman Singh desired to spend the night in his son’s room instead of the guest house we had reserved for him. Early next morning after a tour of the squadron area, my boss took him to his office.
While later, the staff car took Lachhman Singh to the civil airfield two hours away.
As the car disappeared round the corner, I remarked to my Boss, “A brave man he is. Spoke to me like a General when he told me exactly what he expected from us during his stay here. I have never seen a more composed man on such an occasion. I admire him.”
“Yes, Mr Lachhman Singh Rathore is a warrior in his own way. He sired three sons and has laid to rest all three of them.
His first son Captain Ghanshyam Singh of the Gurkha Rifles was killed in Ladakh in 1962 War. His second son, Major Bir Singh, died along the Ichogil Canal in 1965 in an ambush. His youngest, Vikram Singh, who had the courage to join the Air Force, is also gone now. More to our country’s defence than All of us combined.”
Yes, he is indeed a brave Indian; in fact HE is MORE INDIAN than anyone else – His sacrifice can never ever be repaid by the Country!! He is almost a Martyr himself!!
But our Great Nation does Not know this simple Giant -- India only knows that Super Rich Cricketers  and a bunch of actors and actresses to be conferred PADMA VIBHUSHANs and PADMASHREEs !!
But what about the ' Losers '?? Those who have SIMPLY LOST their EVERYTHING to the Nation. Like this Father of Three Brave Soldiers.
PLEASE DO PASS THIS ON TO EVERY SINGLE INDIAN CITIZEN.
We do need to stop awarding all the awards to intolerant actors or cricketers or politicians. They are paid enough and more.
The soldiers who guard our borders, a teacher who makes million young people knowledgeable, a doctor who serves at the cost of his health need to be recognized more than the glamour stars.