Wednesday, July 12, 2017

MONTH-IN-PERSPECTIVE

Kashmir: “Police officer beaten to death outside mosque” is to-day’s (24/6/2017) headline in most newspapers across India. It happened in the problem state of Jammu&Kashmir.
Deputy Suptt of Police Mohd Ayub was reportedly stripped and stoned to death by a mob of slogan shouting group of people.
The officer was reportedly clicking pictures near Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid, and those who attacked him were mostly worshippers who had come for the night long prayer- Shab-e-Qadr. What a thing to do in the holy month of Ramadan! He was on security brief and was only doing his duty. At the most his camera could have been snatched from his hand, which too is illegal anyway. But unfortunately crowd thought he is a non-Muslim. An eye witness reportedly had said “Everyone believed that he was a non-Muslim intelligence officer who intended to capture the faces of protesters. His clothes were ripped apart. He was beaten to death.”
So, if you are non-Muslim you can be killed in Srinagar! Doesn’t matter the Ramadan month!
This unfortunately is the crux of the Kashmir imbroglio. Which neither the media nor the international community recognize. Ever since the Kashmir issue took the centre stage in media and in political discourse of India, it is the Muslim character of the issue that had stalled any resolution of the issue of Kashmir impasse. Even article 370 cannot solve this problem. It is the Kashmiris Muslim mindset, which do not want to be ruled by a Hindu majority India. Pakistani militants, Pakistani terrorists and Pakistani politicians have done enough harm to the so-called Kashmiriat and none in Kashmir protested when POK’s Gilgit-Baltistan was declared as a Pakistani state, when POK is a part of Kashmir grabbed by Pakistani army in 1947 itself.
Thus, our media, the international media and of course international community besides likes of Amnesty International must revisit the issue of Kashmir, honestly without any agenda. Then they will appreciate the true picture of the ground realities. Of course this is not to suggest that governments in India are blemishless, far from it. But none of the governments in India from 1947 to this day have ever looked at Kashmir as a Muslim majority state. It looked at it as just another state like all other states. In fact all central governments have done more for J&K than any other state of India. Indian governments in Delhi can be accused of some lack of imagination, at times, in dealing with J&K issues than being bigoted. That is the truth to be recognized.

New Delhi: That the nexus between babus and politicians in plundering national wealth is well known, is never in doubt. Instances of Disproportionate Asset among both politicians and IAS officers are innumerable, and therefore it has been the practice of successive governments at both centre and state to make it mandatory for all M.Ps and MLA/MLCs and bureaucrats to file every year their assets details with the government.
However, it is also very well known that many MPs MLA/MLC and babus play hide & seek in submitting their net worth to the authorities.
And comes this news, datelined New Delhi “Over 1800 IAS officers fail to disclose asset details”. Topping the list of defaulters is UP with 255 IAS officers having failed to submit their details of net worth. Following them are 153 from Rajasthan, 118 from M.P, 109 from West Bengal, 82 from Karnataka, 81 from Andhra Pradesh, 74 from Bihar, 72 each from Odisha, Assam & Meghalaya, 70 from Punjab, 67 from Maharashtra, 64 from Manipur, 64 from Tripura, 60 from Himachal Pradesh and 104 in Arunachal/ Goa & Mizoram from Union Territories Cadre.
Thus it is clear that all states in India have IAS officers who have failed to submit their IPR or Immovable Property Returns. Clearly they have reasons, why they have not submitted their IP Returns to the Deptt of Personnel & Training. Law of the land must be initiated and action taken against all those who have not submitted to the demands of the governance as required, and explanations sought for their increasing assets which they are hiding from the public security.

Issue of alleged financial skull drudgery involving NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy and his wife Radhika and the CBI raid on their premises appears to be little wonky, to say the least.
Of course, it is all very well for Union Minister Venkaiyya Naidu to say “Law is taking its own course and there is no witch hunt”, is unlikely to wash.
It is true that there have been big money issue involving the husband wife duo and ICICI bank. It is also true that some `48 crores was written off from its interest income by ICICI bank. A share holder of ICICI has reported this matter and asked for its investigation.
Reportedly, SEBI, which is the regulating authority for share trading, was not informed, when NDTV promoters borrowed `375 crores by pledging their entire shares holding in NDTV as collateral.
So prima facie there is some financial irregularity in this whole case. But was that enough to raid a news channel, especially when there are any number of smart alecs in corporate sector who have unjustly benefitted from the banking sector?!
It is fairly known that NDTV has not been a ‘friend’ of the present govt. at the centre. So, it is largely believed it to be vengeful on the part of the central government to have CBI raid the residential premises of Mr.&Mrs. Roy.
Although the response of NDTV and its supporters including Arun Shourie that this is an attack on Freedom of Press, is a bit of over-reaction. Of course for Shourie, it is a case of sour grapes, that his talent and expertise was not used by Narendra Modi, despite Shourie being in BJP in the past and was a minister in NDA II, the Vajpayee government. He was very venomous against the central government, particularly union minister Venkaiyya Naidu.
The truth is there is a financial angle to the episode which is not above board, but the response of the authorities, has also not been overboard. There are any numbers of cases CBI and other regulatory bodies can investigate in this country, but nothing seem to be happening to them. Under the circumstances for CBI to investigate NDTV, is certainly uncalled for. While on the subject, it may not be out of place to refer to the episode, when NDTV lady interlocutor had asked the BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra to leave the debate when he had accused the channel of having on agenda. Wasn’t this an attack on Patra’s freedom of speech?!

What are the credentials on which author Ramachandra Guha was taken into the Committee of Administrators (CoA) of BCCI, is not clear in the public domain. However, what he says, as he quits his position in the CoA, appears eminently sensible and valid. As usual BCCI top brass has its own agenda. Despite his persistent observations on the happenings, not in conformity with the principles of natural justice, BCCI acted dumb & deaf.
According to media reports, he took up 3 issues of conflict of interest, superstar syndrome and vacillating / ill timing of leaks.
It is true, Anil Kumble, as Chief Coach of India was not available for any IPL teams as mentor, Rahul Dravid was allowed by giving a two months break in his India coaching ‘under 19’, assignment to take up IPL role. Was it to save money for two months when he was needed in Bengalooru for the camp beginning on March 11 for young players?
Then, despite MS Dhoni being categorical in his decision not to play tests, why was he given ‘A’ contract?! Again the issue of Captain/Coach ‘differences’, if any, was allowed to fester, when it could have been nipped in the bud, especially when there is Champions Trophy round the corner? Guha has raised other issues as well. But, then Indian managers, at least most of them are not known to be professionals or rather lack professionalism, will take their call mostly under duress. If Indian cricket suffers, so be it!

BIHAR: Mohammed Shababuddin, a notorious criminal, who is also an MP, courtesy Lalu Prasad Yadav is reportedly refusing to undergo lie detector test.
This criminal, who is currently lodged in Tihar jail, after being shifted from Siwan, is a 4 time M.P., has many cases of both extortion and murder. He is being tried by CBI for the murder of journo Rajdeo Ranjan, a bureau chief of a Hindi daily. According to reports: CBI has accused the criminal, of non-co-operation and is refusing for a lie detector test. Reportedly, he is ‘lying and concealing facts’ related to the case, CBI has said.
It is certainly not surprising that a criminal with a crooked mind, like this Shabhabuddin, will not be co-operative with the investigating agencies. He is also not expected to tell the truth. Then only way open to investigators is to subject him to lie detector tests. And Supreme Court has put a spanner in making it voluntary, by stating that ‘it has to be with the concurrence of the accused.’
Now this is incredulous. Not sure if it can be called a joke, since it makes investigating agencies helpless. Apex court may be entertaining demands for freedom of choice but in every exercise of fundamental right, the right to safety of individuals should be over riding everything else. It is time Supreme Court reconsider this aspect of lie detector test to fix criminals who have played nonchalantly with the lives of law abiding citizens. Hope apex court takes the call to make amends.

Maharashtra: Thinking out of the box has always been the precursors for a paradigm shift in development initiative anywhere in the world. India is no different.
And comes this news from temple town Shirdi. The Shirdi Trust, which manages the affairs of famous Saibaba shrine, is planning an innovative move to generate green power devoid of carbon monoxide.
Waves, whether from water or from air have always inspired the power generation, as is already known. Now comes the continuous foot falls of humans, as a possible newer way of harnessing power. Shirdi Saibaba temple attracts some 50,000 devotees every day, and the trust wants to exploit these foot falls of these seekers of Sai Baba. They are planning to install energy pedals, which opens and closes as people walk on it. This movement is expected to produce energy which in turn could be converted as power, the temple managers feel. According to trust sources, they plan to use this power to energise fans and bulbs in the temple area.
This is a commendable initiative coming from a temple authority, to not only generate power from nowhere but also help environment in its dependence on green energy.
While on the subject, it is important to note that Trust has plans to generate power by recycling the daily solid waste that is generated by both the temple and its thousands of devotes every day of the week.
Come this October, the Trust is having plans to start daily blood donation camp from its devotees, so also planning to start an IAS training institute for Tribal and underprivileged children and a cancer hospital .
It also has plans to help the families of farmers who have committed suicide, by providing them self employment opportunities for their women folks and help children pursue their education. These are truly path breaking initiatives and quite commendable. Hope they become model to all places of worship.

Agrarian crisis in different parts of India is clearly visible. Protest rallies, demonstrations and farmers suicides has been in news for many months now. Financial dimension appears to be the sole reason for this crisis, whether as loan or support prices or failed crops.
This issue of agrarian suffering has been there for many decades. Somehow, no government has come forward with some lasting solution. Problem festered, either due to the unimaginative official responses, or farmers’ lack of seriousness in managing their finance. Clearly there appeared to be leadership lacunae at both political level and among farmers. Hence issue persisted.
And comes this Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Corridor, a brain child of CM Fadanavis. Tom-tomed as a game changer, this stretch of over 850kms industrial thoroughfare is likely to need thousands of acres of land, most of which could be crop yielding fertile agricultural landmass. If this dream project has to see the light of the day land has to be acquired on large scale. And CM Fadnavis is on record claiming that “96% of the land has been measured”.
If the statement of the Chief Minister is true then not only land has been identified but also cleared for acquisition. But in reality, according to likely land losers and their leaders, this is not true. Political hype of success is something we all need to take with a fist full of salt rather than a pinch of salt.
Reportedly, organizations opposing this Industry & Commerce Corridor have threatened mass suicide if this ambitious state project is not shelved immediately, indicating the seriousness of the issues involved. According to media reports from the Suburb of North-Eastern Mumbai, like Kalyan, Bhivandi and Shahapur, there is large scale opposition to acquire land. Farmers, dependent on agricultural land for their living are clearly worried and have joined outfits who have opposed to the project while admitting to awareness of the possible devastation that this corridor can cause, farmers debunk the claim of Fadanavis of having measured 96% land needed for the project. Of course, people like Sharad Pawar, who have only tried to fish in the troubled waters most of their life, may be causing trouble to the govt. by inciting farmers. But the truth is people’s participation seems to have been given a go by that needs to be urgently addressed.        

Here is a story of Afroz Shah, a 36 year old lawyer from Mumbai, who led a team of volunteers to work on the beach of Versova in Andheri, a suburb of Mumbai. For months to-gather he toiled along with so many men and women. The infamous beach was transformed into a clean and beautiful place.
Swatch Bhaarath Abhiyan (SBA) was the brain child of Prime Minister Modi. It is true even UPA had a vision of Nirmal Bhaarath. But sadly not many have heard of it. But Modi, no sooner he announced it on 15th Aug 2014, he followed it up on 2nd Oct, the Gandhi Jayanthi Day, to get down to the street to clean the street. It may be even a photo-op, but it appeared in the public space. And it is around -visible and noisy,- all through these past 3 years. He even spoke about it in all his radio talk, the Mann-ki-baath. That is where he referred to the work of Afroz Shah. There are many unsung Afroz Shahs all over India, doing this SBA.
This makes an ordinary unbiased person to take note of the different man that Modi is, always upfront decisive and leading. His open praise has greatly bucked this Afroz Shah. An elated Afroz has reportedly told PTI, that “This recognition has encouraged me to expand my mission, of cleaning beaches across the country.” That’s the connectivity that Modi creates, whether those professional haters of Modi like it or not.
Here it is interesting to recount that Narendra Modi, during his speech at London’s Wembley Stadium in Nov 2015 had said “In Rajasthan’s Alwar there is a man called Imran Khan. He made 50 mobile apps and dedicated those apps to the students for free. My India is in that Imran Khan from Alwar”. Imran is a maths teacher in a government school.
Yes, Modi, in his inimitable style has catapulted these two men from nowhere to public space to be well known as selflessly working for the general good without any publicity. Surely, for the rest of their life, both Afroz Shah and Imran Khan would remember Prime Minister Modi for all their life. That’s being a model leader of men, which shows he is not only well informed but concerned as well.    

This India's Chief Coach (ICC) is in the midst of silly but completely avoidable controversy. Talking about the alleged differences between the captain Kohli and coach Kumble, a former legend Sunil Gavaskar has reportedly stated that “Captain-coach need not be on the same page”. How true! Differences is the hall mark of all relationships, organizational or personal. Relation, if it’s meaningful, must survive such minor irritants.
Indians and the cricketing world are privy to the success of Indian team during the 2016/17 season. Hence any complaint about the coach is completely misplaced. Besides, Kumble has played for long time to understand the management skill, on and off the coaching arena. If anything, it is Kohli, who needs to be sermoned about his on and off field behaviour, as was visible with the visiting Aussie Team. His performance in IPL too had left lot to be desired. Hence any last minute attempt at rupture by vested interest that Kumble was ‘overbearing’ is not only sinister but also motivated.
Gavaskar is on record having said “Kumble has done a very good job as coach”. Thus for those who are on some fishing expedition, should be told of their place. And those who call shots in BCCI should not be distracted by this ‘ill timed’ bomb. Or else, Indian cricket will lose the committed service of googly man from Karnataka. He may not allow himself to be humiliated by another interview for the job of Chief Coach of India. Take it or leave it.

KARNATAKA: BCCI is a powerful cricket board by any reckoning for its sheer money power. Anybody would be more than happy to be associated with this organization, but not Ramachandra  Guha, the Bengalooru based historian.
What prompted the Supreme Court to appoint this writer of repute is not known. But, if values and integrity are the consideration then Guha has come out with flying colours. Referring to “unaddressed conflicts of interest”, “Super Star culture of BCCI” and their “insensitive handling of chief coach Anil Kumble issue”, Bangalore based Ramachandra Guha has resigned from the Committee of Administrators (CoA). This CoA was appointed by the Apex Court, to look after the overall affairs of BCCI.
He has, rightly raised the issues of conflicts of interest on the part of Sunil Gavaskar, Saurav Ganguli and Rahul Dravid, the greats of yester years. We all know Gavaskar has business interest in Professional Management group, which takes care of Indian Cricket players endorsements but he is also in the BCCI panel of commentators who comment on very same cricketers. That’s a clear case of conflicts of interest, whether Gavaskar agrees or not. Similarly Rahul Dravid is in contract with BCCI as a coach of ‘India A’ so also mentor to IPL franchisee Delhi DareDevils. Both are making money for Dravid, which is true but wrong. Similarly R Sridhar, the India fielding coach is also having contract with IPL’s Kings XI Punjab. Ganguli who is President of Bengal Cricket Association is also a T.V. panelist. Clearly all these former legends have been allowed due to their influence in the BCCI corridors. MS Dhoni, being given ‘A’ contract despite him being out of main format of Test, that is clearly a case of Super Star influence. Guha was very critical of Captn. Virat Kohli for his interfering with appointment of coach, so also commentators. Reportedly, it was at the insistence of Kohli, Harsha Bhogle was dropped as a commentator. In an earlier occasion Bhogle was reportedly critical of Kohli while on the air.
He blasts both Rahul Johri, the CEO and Secretary Amitabh Chaudhry, for insensitively and casually handling of Anil Kumble affair.
Thus it is very clear that all is not well with BCCI. However it is in the interest of transparency that persons like Ramachandra Guha are retained in CoA. Hope Apex Court shall take the call and ask him to reconsider his decision to quit and continue.

N.R Narayana Murthy, is a person who walks the talk. I was reading a 3 weeks old news paper from Mumbai, Free Press Journal. I do get Deccan Herald and The Hindu, in Surathkal Mangalore. But do not remember to have read this particular piece of news in any news paper.
Hence when I read this report in FPJ, I felt nice and thought I should pen this and possibly mail it to Mr. Murthy. There is no doubt that NRNM is an iconic personality in his own right. Media savvy public is fully aware of his child Infosys and the model corporate culture that he practiced and sustained within his company.
Employee stock option that Infosys practiced had few peers in corporate sector. He was very liberal. Hence, when I read this report “Murthy asks his senior executives to take pay cuts to stop IT layoffs” was not surprising at all. That is typical Narayan Murthy, always upfront in reaching out.
Market upheaval is an accepted phenomenon that comes and goes. But job cuts, especially at lower level can certainly be better managed as NR says. While stating that industry has dealt with the issue of layoff several times in the past he is reported to have said, “I have a feeling that it is possible for us to protect the jobs of youngsters if the senior management people were to make some minor adjustments- adjustment of taking salary cuts”.
Surely he was speaking from his own experience of having practiced what he preaches. This statement of NR needs to be publicized in media and other forums for the larger good of those who are affected, not just in IT industry, but across the employment generating sector. His tribe should necessarily grow.

One Narayan Swamy, an administrative officer (AO) at the Directorate of Prosecution, Bengalooru was arrested, reportedly, by the Karnataka Lokayukta police some months ago. He is in judicial custody for over 60days. But our government in Bengalooru is strangely sitting over the grant of PSO (Prosecution Sanction Order) to go ahead with his prosecution, so informs the print media.
According to the press, this person, Narayana Swamy was involved in the recruitment of 197 Assistant Public Prosecutors (APPs). There appears to be serious irregularities in the recruitment, and as AO, Swamy is suspected to be deeply involved.
Reportedly Lokayuktha has completed the investigation and have confirmed the role of Narayana Swamy, in fudging answer sheets. Reportedly, police have sent some 75 answer sheets, possibly manipulated after the examination and that Swamy also has forged the signature of a senior judicial officer.
The written examination and subsequent recruitment took place sometime during 2012 & 2013. The investigation by Lokayuktha was started in 2014 and Narayana Swamy was arrested in March 2017.
Sometime in early May 2017, Lokayuktha Police sent a request to the government in Bengalooru asking for PSO. However, until 15 days ago, the Deptt of Home Affairs, Govt of Karnataka, reportedly has not acted. There is every chance that the accused may be released on bail, since police could not file a charge sheet within the stipulated 60 days, in the absence of PSO.
Surely lot of money must have changed hands in this recruitment of APPs. It could run into crores of rupees. It is very clear that this Narayana Swamy, has got connection in the right place to stymie the ongoing investigation. It could be, as is well known, both politicians and babus eat from the same plate. And those who have eaten the ill gotten money will try to save the accused.
It does not matter to the political class that those who deserved, but could not bribe their way, failed to be recruited. But then, it has always happened in this Mera Bharath Mahaan, where imaan (honesty) is at a discount and be-imaam (dishonesty/cheating) is at a premium. Isn’t it a case of CRY MY BELOVED COUNTRY! Oh, Poor Mother India.

World: A Minor earthquake shattered the uneasy peace in the Middle East. In a sudden development five of the Arab nations have severed their diplomatic ties with Qatar. That was unthinkable under all kinds of circumstances. But then sometime things of this nature can happen in a dynamic world order.
Reportedly Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain have decided to call back their envoys from Qatar. Reportedly even Yemen, Libya and Maldives have followed the suit. The reason ostensibly is Qatar’s support of terror groups.
World is privy to the fact that there is no love lost between Iran and Saudi Arabia, two major powers in the Middle-East. It is true that both groups, one led Saudi and the other led by Iran are sympathetic to terror groups. One is Sunni backed and the other Shia backed. But, world is also privy to the fact that it is Sunni led terror groups causing larger and widespread mayhem than Shia led terror groups. But then in a world, where might is right it is the stronger one who shall dictate terms and call shots.
That this latest rupture was caused immediately after U.S. President Trump visited Saudi Arabia and signed some $ 120 billion arms deal with them is only proving the point. Trump was harsh and tough on Iran, while in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi has only taken it further by breaking relationship with Qatar, an ally of Iran.
Of course, war of words between the two sides have already started. Some of the other members of Islamic organization are trying to play mediator which is essential to cool ruffled temper.
India has relationship with most mid-east countries, which is generally warm. India can play a meaningful role. After all the fight is against a common enemy, the terrorism. Hope doors to dialogue opens among these disturbed groups for a larger cause of global peace and war against terrorism.  

There was this news datelined London “Italian Court upholds ban on Sikhs carrying Kirpans”. Personally, as a plain human being, I think it is perfectly in order and nothing wrong about this court order.
Kirpan is a dagger. It is considered sacred by Sikhs, the followers of Saint Guru Nanak. An unnamed Sikh living in Gaito, Northern Italy was caught leaving his home with a 20cm knife and was fined Euro 2000 by the local court and had the knife impounded. He reportedly appealed against the fine imposed on him for carrying the dagger, which according to him, ‘is his religious obligation’.
The Italian Supreme Court, while dismissing his appeal had reportedly remarked
“The multi-ethnic society is a necessity, but it can’t lead to the formation of conflicting cultural groups of islands according to the ethnicities they are made up of, precluding the unity of the cultural and judicial fabric of our country, which identifies public safety as an asset to defend and as such bans carrying weapons and objects aimed at injury,” while observing that migrants who choose to live in the western world have an obligation to conform to the values of the society they have chosen to settle in, even if values differ from their own.
It was very clear that, while they accepted the multi-ethnicity in societies as a necessity, court insisted that it should happen within the concept of public safety as an asset to defend.
It was indeed very balanced, matured and a fair judgment. In a multi-ethnic society, any violation of safety norms has to be firmly dealt with. Besides, all migrants, who want to opt to stay in their chosen country should, prima facie, has to accept the law of the land, period.
Yes, Sikh community along with other ethnic groups who insist on their so-called sacred practices or matters of faith, in a foreign land, has to, perforce; accept such verdicts on its face value in the larger interest of a bigger picture of social harmony, by either merging with the main stream or come as close as possible to live a life of peace and stability for all stake holders.

Judgements involving minorities in Pakistan is a bit of joke. There was this news tit-bit in the press “Hindu teen can stay with Muslim Husband: Court”. The single judge judgement of Sindh High Court in Karachi couldn’t have been otherwise. Even if the judge was convinced that girl was indeed kidnapped, as complained by the parents of the teenage girl, he wouldn’t dare to go against the Muslim majority in Pakistan.
Kidnapping good looking Hindu women has been the order, for all the 70 years, since the creation of Pakistan.
According to the parents of the girl, the teenager was kidnapped in the dead of the night from their residence, and was forcibly converted  to Islam and married off. She was forced to state publicly that she has married the Muslim man, of her own free will.
Thus, for the record before the court there is no illegality. An innocent girl was made to succumb to the lust of a man. This is the norm. This is the story of how over 30%, Hindus and Christian in the Pakistan of 1947, are now around 3% only. What happened to the 27%?

J.Shriyan 

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