Posted on October 13, 2016. Filed under: ODISHA, POLITICS | Tags: , , , , |

For the fans of cricket, a score of 50 is an achievement, be it in any format of the game.The batsman raises the bat and it is followed by cheers from the spectators inside the stadium and also those who are glued to the television. The statisticians also find themselves occupied with the record.

But the score of 50 for the Government of Odisha, led by the BJD, is by no means a matter of pride, rather it is a matter of shame. There is no batsman and there is no cricket match. The score, unfortunately, relates to the number of deaths of infants caused by Japanese Encephalitis in the district of Malkangiri. Of course, deaths have also been reported from Brahmagiri constituency in Puri district shortly after the tour of the Chief Minister of Odisha.

Malkangiri is one of the most underdeveloped districts in the state of Odisha. The district continues to be neglected by the rulers. The situation has not changed by much since the time the district was mentioned by P Sainath in his magnum opus ‘Everybody Loves A Good Drought’.

Usually, the Government of Odisha is in the habit of blaming the Union Government or some neighbouring state for its troubles and travails. The Chief Minister responds by reading a prepared statement and his party colleagues take the cue and carry it forward. The Chief Minister also has the habit of dashing off letters to the Union Government on any issue.

Sometimes, a party worker or even a Minister comes up with truly great arguments that can only be generated by politicians.When children belonging to the Juang tribe were dying of hunger and malnutrition, the Minister for Child Welfare claimed that the welfare measures of the state government could not reach the tribals since they lived on the hills ! She stated that the tribals would be encouraged to settle at alternative places.

Japanese Encephalitis is a disease spread through mosquito bites. Pigs act as the reservoirs of the deadly germ.

As always, the officials of the Government denied the initial reports. Then the monsoon was blamed for the spread of the disease. The good rainfall led to the stagnation of water and that resulted in the growth of the mosquito population.

Now, it is the turn of the pigs to take the blame.

in the aftermath of the reports of farmer suicides from different parts of Odisha, the Government claimed that most of the suicides resulted from matters not relating to agriculture or poverty. In many cases, suicides were attributed to ‘family troubles’ or ‘love matters’. Even a farmer who was nearly 80 years old also committed suicide due to ‘love failure’! Now in Malkangiri since infants are involved, no such reasons can be advanced, much to the chagrin of the rulers.

The Government distributed medicated mosquito nets with great fanfare. Those nets have not helped the poor people of Malkangiri.

The Government promises to start the vaccination against the disease from the month of December even as the doctors claim that there is no ‘treatment’ for the disease.

To paraphrase Bob Dylan,

“How many more have to die

Before they are counted as people”

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Posted on October 4, 2016. Filed under: BJD, ODISHA, POLITICS | Tags: , , , |

Recently, a couple of MLAs belonging to the ruling party-BJD in Odisha were found shouting slogans when the National Anthem was playing inside the Assembly. There is television footage that identifies clearly the offenders.
Initially, the spokespersons of the BJD denied any such incident. Later, it was argued that the members were so hurt over the ‘apathetic’ attitude of the Centre, that they got carried away and did the unthinkable and the illegal.
Of course, one of the most vociferous of the offenders, sought an apology. Now comes the question, for what offence? Is it enough to absolve him of the offence? Seeking apology for an offence not committed ? We are truly in the world of Kafka !
Many times in the past, celebrities have been booked under appropriate sections of the law for dishonouring the National Flag and the National Anthem. Ordinary people have been trashed in the movie theatres for not standing up when the National Anthem was played. Even Sourav Ganguly made it into the news for having the tricolour Green colour up on his batting helmet, many years ago.
So there is no law to punish the law breaking law makers.
This is how India can become a banana republic.

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Posted on June 26, 2016. Filed under: INDIA, POLITICS, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

The appointment of Gajendra Chauhan to the post of Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India(FTII), Pune was controversial to say the least. The students went on a strike for over a 100 days demanding a different chairperson. The protesting students wanted someone with a greater ability and talent in line with some of the ‘illustrious’ predecessors of Chauhan. Those opposed to this appointment wasted no time in showing to the world the ‘body of work’ that displayed the immense talents of Gajendra Chauhan. Politicians, predictably, jumped into the picture making it ugly and most of the time, comical. Even Rahul Gandhi could not contain himself and made for another hilarious attempt at grandstanding.

Now comes another appointment. The Central Government has appointed Chetan Chauhan to be the Chairman of the National Institute of Fashion Technology(NIFT). Chetan Chauhan played test cricket for India and opened alongside the great Sunil Gavaskar. There is no denying the cricketing abilities of this Chauhan. But heading the NIFT requires talent and ability which is simply not available with Chetan Chauhan. Again, there were debates and discussions from both sides.

No political party can claim to be ‘holier’ than the others when it comes to appointments being doled out as favours to a party worker as a reward. All are equally guilty. There is simply no colour or ideology that can be attached any significance when it comes to such appointments.

There is still one appointment that the Central Government has to make and that is concerning the Reserve Bank of India. Given the import, the ruling party would not dare put some party worker to preside over the money supply of the country.

One appointment was made in the last week and it would have made perfect timing if some party worker from the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) were asked to become the Coach of the Indian cricket team. It would not have been controversial since the head of the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) is a Member of Parliament belonging to the BJP. Interestingly many politicians have in the past or in the present associated with the running of cricket in India.

At least Gajendra Chauhan was an actor while the other Chauhan does not have any experience, leave expertise in matters relating to the fashion industry.

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Posted on March 7, 2014. Filed under: HIGHER EDUCATION, OFF -BEAT, PERSONAL, POLITICS | Tags: , , , |

A couple of days before the surrender-cum-arrest of Subrata Roy Sahara of Sahara, one of his sons read out a statement before the media. Like any other dutiful son, he talked about the respect his father has for the law of the land, among many other attributes and adjectives glorifying the senior Roy. But one thing struck a bell in my head.

While asserting that his father and the company did not do anything wrong, the son vouched for the contribution made by Subrata Roy to the country.

Sometime ago with the opening of a new ‘world-class’ terminal in the international airport of Mumbai, the promoter’s son expressed satisfaction over his father’s ‘gift’ to the nation as if the project was funded out of his pocket!

Many years ago, when a business house launched mobile services, it was also supposed to be something of a gift to the country.

Politicians of all kinds belonging to different parties do not shy away from stating their desire to gift the hapless people a better nation.

In this context, I would like to recall the views of some colleagues of mine over giving private tuitions in contravention to the regulations laid down by the authorities. A colleague who taught Mathematics made a lot of money from tuitions and he asserted that this act was something of a service to the needy students and the society! This is some activity where the Private Marginal Profit is much bigger than the Social Marginal Profit.

But I am an ordinary man who does a job to feed himself and his family and I am not at all ashamed of putting my narrow personal interests above those of the nation. I shall never put the cloak of national interest over my self interests and never have any intention of giving ‘gifts’ the country.

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Posted on April 14, 2013. Filed under: HIGHER EDUCATION, INDIA, OFF -BEAT, POLITICS | Tags: , , |

The Sunday Story ‘CHANGE’ in The Hindu dated 14/03/2013 made for an interesting read with write-ups stressing the import of campus politics and inevitably there was one about the recommendations made by the Committee headed by J M Lyngdoh, a former Chief Election Commisioner of India.

As a Lecturer for more than 18 years and in-charge of conducting elections to various students associations,I have come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no need to hold elections in the campuses for it does no good.In fact, the entire campus atmosphere is vitiated with the entry of political parties and large amounts of money and muscle power. Not only the students even the staff are also affected by the involvement and the interference from the political parties.

In the said page, it is mentioned by S N Vijetha that the limit on expenditure of Rs.5000 per candidate is something that is not practical and also something that no candidate ever wants to adhere to.For me, the most sticky recommendation is relating to the attendance.In most cases, the aspirants are not in the habit of attending the classes and the college authorities are often pressurised to give the required attendance under duress from local politicians.When some college decides to take the proverbial bull by the horn, there is no support from any corner of the state administration.The student unrest following the disqualification of aspirants due to the lack of attendance forces the state administration to cancel the elections only to hold them at a later date.

I welcome the recommendation that gives a student only one chance to contest the elections for in the past many students used to have a monopoly over certain posts for a long time.Similarly, the fixing of the age limit also has put an end to serial contesters.

Most of the candidates who come out successful in the elections learn the art of things like collecting funds from various sources very quickly and that should be a stepping stone into Indian politics where it is increasingly becoming difficult to come across a politician who is not corrupt.

More importantly, we are in a country where entry into politics is determined by the lineage of a person, cutting the political teeth in the campuses is hardly required.

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Posted on March 22, 2013. Filed under: CBI, DMK, INDIA, POLITICS | Tags: , , , , , |

The morning started with the news that CBI was conducting raids on the house of M K Stalin. The timing of the raid raised eyebrows with the DMK pulling out of the UPA over the issue of human rights violations by the government of Sri Lanka. The BJP caoutioned anyone from withdrawing support to the UPA.It looked as if the SP and the BSP were uniteed in bailing out the UPA only for the fear of being hounded by the CBI.

Then came the startling news with most of the top leadership of the UPA expressing unhappiness and disapproval over the timimg and the manner of the raids.The Finance Minister P Chidambaram was the fi4rst off the blocks while not to be left behind tyhe Prime Minister Manmohan SIngh too joined the bandwagon.Even Mayawati too expressed unhappiness over the raids.The Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde who presides over the CBI was silent, though.The Union government even went to extent of distancing itself from the actions of the premier investgating agency of the country blaming the raids on the local sleuths of CBI based in Chennai. With the CBI earning the wrath of the high and the mighty, the chances of the presnt boss of the agency being offered a plum job post his retirement, simply vanished.

In a bizzare way, the CBI gained an sutonomous status with the power to take on the high and the mighty even when not given the go ahead by the political masters! In one instance, the demand of the civil society or the mango men of this country was met and how.

But as the day rolled on, news trickled that the raids were called off midway and fingers were pointed at the Union government. The whole autonomy thing went up more quickly than the famous disappearing acts of Houdini. The BJP went into the familiar accusation of the government interfering in the working of the CBI.

Finally, in the evening, the CBI clarified that it was an investigation based on a complaint received by the DRI-another investgating arm of the government about a vehicle-Hummer in the house of M K Stalin.There was no such vehicle ever found in the premises and the raid was called off.

The boss of the CBI can breathe a sigh of relief but some scapegoats have to be found and taught a lesson so that the high and the mighty of the land should remain above the law of the land.

Congratulations to the CBi for completing level zero!

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Posted on September 21, 2012. Filed under: CORRUPTION, INDIA, POLITICS, SCAMS | Tags: , , , , |

Many years ago I watched a Bollywood movie where the hero enters a scene by tearing a film poster apart.Now, in the context of the so-called ‘big-ticket’ reforms, the hero of the movie has been torn apart but there are posters all over proclaiming him as the messiah.

For long the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been touted as the great reformer and the saviour of the Indian economy.For long, he has been seen as the odd man out in the murky world of Indian politics.For long, he has been the darling of the media-both domestic and international.

But all hell broke loose when the Prime Minister and his government were criticised for inaction and policy paralysis especially in the context of the economic reforms in The Washington Post.

The Prime Minister has been accused of being a silent spectator to the allegations of corruption and wrongdoings of his ministers.He even had the gall to refuse any explanation.More appalling was the fact that he questioned the credibility of the CAG in estimating the loss to the exchequer arising out of the scams relating to 2G spectrum and the allocation of coal blocks.It is interesting to note that a man who always wants us to believe estimations regarding economic growth, employment creation and poverty reduction can question estimations made by others.

Like the proverbial Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Prime Minister has attempted to relaunch himself in going the distance when it comes to economic policy.Predictably, he is being hailed as being courageous enough in biting the bullet.Suddenly, the international media set the record straight in their appreciation of the work done by the Prime Minister.

I wonder how the poor Indian farmer would benefit from the FDI in multi-brand retail.I wonder how the average Indian would benefit from the FDI in the civil aviation sector.But I am not wondered by the boost that the FDI is going to do for the ‘untarnished’ reputation of the Prime Minister.

Today, the Prime Minister took to national television to explain to us poor Indians the rationale behind the reforms.He sought to highlight the benefits for the people.

Tomorrow, there will be posters in all the newspapers saying the same things in bold print.

Truly, the hero has gone and there are posters.

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Posted on May 14, 2012. Filed under: INDIA, POLITICS | Tags: , , , , , |

There has been a lot of concern over the sufferings of Hindus living in Pakistan. Predictably, the media and the politicians contributed their mite to bring this subject to the notice of the government and the common man. The government had to step in and the Minister of External Affairs, S M Krishna, in his own inimitable style promised to do the needful.

The plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and the alleged crimes committed by the armed forces of that country during the conflict with the LTTE was another matter of great concern for the government of India. Things became so serious that India decided to vote against Sri Lanka in the United Nations.

Even as Indian leaders have shown great concern for the safety and security of people of Indian origin living abroad, the same cannot be said for the plight of the hindus who were driven out of Kashmir. Indian newspapers carried stories written by Western journalists about the ethnic cleansing that took place in far way Yugoslavia and also in some part of the African continent. The same media calls the riots in Gujarat post-Godhra a pogrom. But when it comes to the sad story of the Kashmiri Hindus, everyone is silent.

Why this callous indifference?

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Of Drought & Twitter

Posted on May 4, 2012. Filed under: OFF -BEAT, PERSONAL, POLITICS | Tags: , |

Many parts of the country have been experiencing drought like conditions for many years leading to farmer suicides.In this context, this is a completely fictional account of how our ‘beloved leaders’ and some celebrities would react to drought in their own inimitable style on one of the icons of the present day-twitter.The resemblance to the people quoted here is intentional.

1.Sonia Gandhi:It is for #drought #MNREGS is to help people dig ponds to store water.

2.Rahul Gandhi:I realize there is #drought but you must realize that ours is the only family that can fight #drought.

3.Manmohan Singh:It is to get water and remove #drought that #India needs #nuclearpower.

4.Sharad Pawar:There is no #drought.Why drink water when there are colas,diet drinks and fruit juices?

5.P Chidambaram:I want to create a national security agency to fight #drought and this team there is consensus.

6:Jairam Ramesh:The centre is giving so much money but the states are not using it properly and this is the cause of #drought.

7:Prakash Karat:The #drought is due to imperialistic conspiracy and is the symptom of the malaise under capitalism.

8.Kapil Sibal:There is #drought because most #Indians drink too much water while using #socialnetworks on the #internet.

9.Pratibha Patil:#drought? That is why I have abroad so many times, even with my grandchildren.

10.Naveen Patnaik: The #drought is due to the step-motherly attitude of the centre.The allies of #UPA are getting more water.

11.Prithviraj Chavan:What #drought? Come monsoon and you can swim on the roads of #Mumbai.

12.Vilasrao Deshmukh:I am going to give more land to builders and filmmakers for making their own water to remove #drought.

13.Akhilesh Yadav:There is #drought because the #elephants and parks of #Mayawati drank too much water.

14.Pranab Mukherji:I have addressed #drought problem in my budget speech.There is a need for supply side management.

15.Mamata Banerjee:There is no #drought,it is a Marxist conspiracy.There is so much water in the streets of #Kolkata

16.Manish Tewari:The #drought is all in the fertile imagination of a sterile mind.

17.Subramaniam Swamy:The #drought involves very powerful people and I have evidence to prove it.

18.Ram Jethmalani:I will put 10 questions everyday regarding #drought.

19.Abhishek Singhvi:#drought? Is any cd of this conversation is being made?

20.Nitish Kumar:The #drought is due to the misrule of #Lalu and #Rabri.Require another term to solve the problem.

21.Oomen Chandy:Don’t worry about #drought.There is plenty of toddy in #Kerala.

22.Narendra Modi:There is #drought everywhere except #Gujarat.Follow the teachings of Vivekananda and invite more industries to get water.

23.Kiran Kumar Reddy:There is no #drought in #Andhra due to the blessings of #SoniaGandhi.

24.YS Jagan Mohan Reddy:My father brought rains to #Andhra.With him gone, there is #drought.Make the #CM,will bring rain.

25.Sachin Tendulkar:#drought? Wait till I become 60 and score my 500th 100.

26.Amitabh Bachchan:I can speak about #drought only if the right sponsor is found.Can my family take part?

27.Aamir Khan:I am a thinking actor and need more time to say about #drought and that is the truth.

28.Anil Ambani:My father wanted to give mobiles to all so that people would spend more time talking and not worry about #drought.

29.Mukesh Ambani:My group is now digging for oil and in future I shall dig for water to solve the problem of #drought.

30.Vijay Mallya: I cannot fly my planes and you worried about #drought?Will buy more liquor stocks to quench the thirst.

31.BJP: The #drought is due to the appeasement of the minorities.

32.Baba Ramdev: The #drought is due to our #MPs.Have yoga and costly herbals to reduce the need for water

33.Team Anna:The #drought is due to corruption.#Janlokpal is the only cure.

34.Jayalalitha: The #drought is due to the misrule of #DMK

35.Montek Ahluwalia:The #drought is due to the higher demand rising from declining poverty under the #UPA.

36.Dinesh Trivedi: I wanted to increase the railway fares to fight #drought but my party won’t listen.

37.Chiranjeevi:I once danced and brought rains in the film #Indra.Will do the same to end #drought and provide #socialjustice.

38.Suresh Kalmadi: I will bring #OlympicGames to #India and the swimming pools will take care of the water scarcity.

39.A Raja:There was no #drought under #Kalaignar.Besides, I get sufficient water in jail.

40.Kanimozhi:The problem of #drought is to be addressed once people forget my role in the #2G scam.

41.Nira Radia:No one has talked to me since the tapes were released.Will dial the right people to address #drought.

42.Ratan Tata:Will have to think about a #nano solution to the problem of #drought.I leave that to my successor.

43.Barkha Dutt:The buck does not stop with me over #drought.Will host a debate to get the solution.

44.Digvijaya Singh:#drought? It is all a conspiracy hatched by the Hindu terror groups near the Batla house.

45.Mayawati:Let me enjoy the cool confines of #RajyaSabha.The #drought can take care of itself.

46.RBI: will do the tweaking of the key interest rates to remove #drought.

47.Shah Rukh Khan:My next film is titled ‘Rain-on’.There are amazing special effects in water that will solve #drought.

48.Indra Nooyi: who cares about #drought when there is #Pepsi?Bring more #FDI to reduce #drought.

49.Lalu Yadav: I am going to #Pakistan to solve the problem of #drought by creating bhai-chara.

50.Rajnikanth:Ena #drought rascals? I shall look straight into the eyes of the sky and rain will pour.

51.Common Man-Aam Aadmi: is there anyone who will provide me some water in these times of #drought?

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Posted on January 26, 2011. Filed under: POLITICS | Tags: , , , , , , |

In 2007, the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh addressed the leaders of Indian industry on the occasion of the Annual Session of the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry).

The speech of the PM caused quite a bit of stir then as it talked about many things that the Indian industry would need to do in order to build a more just and humane society.

One of the key points was in relation to the ‘soaring CEO compensations’. This led to a lengthy debate and the government had to clarify about having no intentions of taking any measures to curb the compensations.

It is true that in most of the cases, the remunerations received by the personnel at the top of the management ladder have touched stratospheric levels. There is one view that in an economy as inequitable as India is such compensations fuel conspicuous consumption and hence could be a trigger for a possible social unrest coming from the side of the most deprived of the population. At the same time, are these compensations not for the deserving? The people who are accused of taking home large remunerations have the right to enjoy their fruits of labour.

Now a few days a group consisting of some very famous names including one Mr.Azim Premji wrote an ‘open letter’ to the PM expressing their concern over things like ‘corruption’ and the ‘governance deficit’. Asked for further comments, Mr.Premji called the lack of governance a natural calamity.

The PM should answer the questions raised by the likes of Mr.Premji. If the ‘soaring compensations’ taken by the CEOs are a matter of national concern, then what about the thousands of crores looted by the politicians? The PM is a witness to the brazen misuse of power by those in power yet he remains indifferent while not being hesitant to sermonize. Some of his cabinet colleagues question the methodology used in the estimation of the loot.

If the CEO of a corporation does not deserve his compensation, then what or who gives the right to the politician to loot the country is something that the PM has to answer. The PM is the CEO of the country and so he has to take the lead and responsibility in doing the right thing. It is beyond the thinking of any reasonable person as to how this present UPA dispensation can do anything good for the common man or the AAM AADMI!

It is time that the shoe is on the other foot, PM and it surely pinches.

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