Sunday, October 3, 2010

The day I came to the verdict…

It was then 2:30pm or around . three of us were having lunch at a Park Street restaurant that posed quite a deserted look as the staffs of the restaurant had outnumbered their customers. Karim was busy babbling about his trivial issues that had apparently agonized his life and had jinxed it with all evil intentions. He has discovered recently that ‘one of his girlfriends’ has been cheating on him for being with two other men at the same time.

But that day, the 30th September Thursday, had served us with much bigger issues to talk about. But Karim seemed to have no hint of the day’s offering.

I noticed the manager and his associates were more keen on listening the news than providing us with the generous hospitality that we are used to. The t.v was set so low that they were having a trying time to get to the bits of words from the patter. And for me it was the ‘Breaking News’ in red that I had to rely upon. The ‘Ayodhya Verdict’ was to be out in no time. That morning my mom had repeatedly urged me not to step out of my house with all her available weaponry. With red glare to promises of making me a good palate to leading me to some envisaged unwanted conclusions of the fall out of the day’s BIG verdict, she tried all. I ensured my mom , with all my strength, of finding me a safe haven if any such thing occur. Wearisome mom withdrew all her restraints and I freed myself.

My other friend was not like Karim, by religion. He comes from a very liberal Hindu family and I have never found any propensity in him towards politics. But when the Breaking news popped up that some political honchos were asking their countrymen not to give in to any disappointment and show respect with dignity to the verdict (whatever it might come up with), my friend gave out a loud ‘huh’ and said,”these crooks are the one we should be afraid of…not of any stupid verdict.” Karim who was facing against the T.V and was still busy convincing us how his life had really been derailed by ‘one of his soul mates’, felt stark bewilderment at once and the very next moment became very annoyed at being interrupted. I winked at my other friend and he readily took up the cue and feigned deep engrossment in Karim’s problem. Karim’s derailed speech was hurriedly set on the track.

We were then out of the restaurant. Verdict was also out along with us. We three were still the three of us- together, walking down the pavement. Everything I glanced upon looked very similar and very dissimilar concurrently. I felt for the first time in the day that the ominous impression had been successfully passed on to me by my mom that morning.

Karim’s phone rang. It was his parents from Roshanpura, delhi. I clearly understood why they have called Karim at this hour. The two of us stood at a distance quite intentionally.their conversation lasted for 7-10 mins.Karim came back. With gargantuan curiosity cropping in our minds, it proved to be an uphill task for me to ask Karim the simplest question, “what happened?”. A lump in my throat put the spoke between the wheels and all my endeavor ended in smoke. Karim suddenly answered tom my question that I was still trying to utter. He said it was his mother asking ‘bout his whereabouts.

“I don’t understand all these. Maa asked me to behave properly with you all. Can you believe it?she told me not to overreact. Overreact? For what? Babuji has been crying since the results are out. God.” Karim told us that he has never seen his babuji crying even in the harrowing time of their lives and he now wonders how can his father now cry at something which can in no way alter their living.

All of a sudden, I realized this issue to be more trivial and petty than the issue with ‘one of Karim’s girlfriend’ that at least has the potency to hamper our friend’s life (for at least one afternoon).

Karim uttered, “such non-sense…”.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


It is the vicious cycle of poverty that has stemmed from the meagre investment that our insanely irresponsible ruling ministers have made into the rural system. Inspite of the fact that 64.5% of our total population depend solely on Agriculture ( 2001census),UPA II`s report pitifully registers a decline in total expenditure on rural economy from 3.34% of the GDP `08-`09 to 2.59% of the GDP in 2010-11.

Praveen Jha (The Honorary Economic Advisor to the Centre for Budget & Governance Accountability) rightly states on the emphasize that UPA II has put on the augmentation of urban infrastructure…"seems to be based on the premise that even though the bulk of the country lives & works in villages, India is rapidly urbanizing."!!

An investment of Rs.1 crore in roads lifts as many as 1,650 poor people above the poverty line. With such reports (from International Food Policy Research Institute) before eyes and with all those manifestoes bearing pro-poor commitments in mind, one wonders, how such dismal state of countryside urges the Government to inject 23% increased allocation into the construction of National Highways while it`s only 6% for the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana !

With the heart of India residing in the quagmire of villages, with blood flow being restrained at every instances, it is fanciful to expect the emergence of a healthy India, besides, it leaves an enormous space to be apocryphal about the worthiness of UPA`s effort in ``Bharat Nirman``.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


With liberalisation oozing then, and now gushing into our life at every now and then with its fruits bearing the every chance of human prosperity has been the paramount reason behind the thumping of today’s media and it’s personnel basking in the light of collective and utmost freedom. As in England, here also, things have been quite jovial for this industry and environment has been quite conducive for its multiplicative growth. Mr. Narayan Murthy has rightly observed this to be one of the beneficial effect of liberalization whose exponential growth marked the gross progress and socio-economic development, at large for the mass.

Media plays the role of statesmanship. Especially news broadcasted on the electronic media is tended to be lapped up,promptly, by the common man without dredging into much with the objective of finding out or verify it’s status. The scintillating presentation, brilliant oratory and radiant graphics leaves no scope of being cynical for them and hence an entire mist of trust engulfs them. Therefore as we see media with its abysmal potency generated by having direct link with public mind and health… creates opinion, shapes the judicial ability of the billions, govern their actions, motivate {and modulate} their conscience and that in turn,is what, makes up a nation! This unguided and unrestrained imposed authority has recently become the matter of worry and threat to our national security and the heat of which is being felt every now and then by our dignitaries who often are seen to be pleading to these media men for penning down the unbiased truth, which otherwise may have pernicious and widespread adversity (on a local to international scale).
This is nothing but all the blessings of liberalization, that the boom in the news wing has lead to the mushrooming of a number of news channels, local and national, hundreds , thousands and still counting…nudation has been succeeded by competition and as a consequence an urge of getting news at the first hand is what always goading them, failing which they land up with often exaggerated, distorted, to even false news serving as pure public entertainment. This practice has let the malice creep into the system with the fullest exploitation of human mind.the grunt of the public has been misdirected several times. In the endeavour of reaching to the public efficiently (but not effectively), often they have been seen building up stories and adhering unnecessary hype to such single events. Falling prey to the ephemeral power of any government is evident in their overt campaigning for them mostly during the election time.(as I, myself, has found star ananda and chabbis ghanta , the two Bengali news channel clamoring for the two rival parties in Bengal. This is awfully painful and baffling to see how differently they portray a single event with completely contrasting conclusions each time, parting their devout audiences already, much before the party itself send out its manifesto or set out for their own propaganda. ) I wonder how and where from do the hindi news channels excavate those extraordinary, sensitized news from home and gali corners on earth and sometimes beyond earth, as well! Splendid diversity, energy with which they drag 10 lines with all possible tones, tunes, fonts and colours, grimacing faces with every word delivered, enthusiasm for an hour( mannerism with which they assert some points, the ease with which they slight public mockery to their ludicrous behavior) and superhuman magnitude is what they should be credited for.
Obsessed with rating points, news of gargantuan national interest, like the dantewada massive killing of jawans by the Maoist goes subsided or pushed back into the pages by the glamour and charisma of the reigning IPL.
Television has simply run amok. It is unaccountable as there is no audit of the media in the media. Bringing in specialist of their choice and setting the priority of issues and the pertinent events by themselves clearly displays the propensity of the media towards any particular and thus their favorite.
Here is a speech delivered by National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar menon and china’s ambassador Zhang yan at a seminar in new delhi on“India and China: Public Diplomacy, Building Understanding” that states how fearful they both had been as such sensitive issues regarding India and China are often manhandled by our thriving media cooking and always ready to add up a bit more salt to it.After a survey of relations between India and China in the past 60 years, he said: “You might ask what this has to do with public diplomacy by India and China, the topic of your seminar. Everything is my answer, for two principal reasons. One is the shrill and over-excitable commentary on the relationship that has appeared in both countries in the last year or so. The emergence of ‘nativist’ voices, and the loud expression of opinion as fact in the news media which purports to express public opinion could introduce volatility in perceptions. We have all witnessed this phenomenon in India-China relations in the last year or so. When the world is changing so rapidly, and when uncertainty in the international system is at unprecedented levels, neither India nor China can afford misperceptions or distortions of policy caused by a lack of understanding of each other’s compulsions and policy processes.”Zhang Yan pleaded politely for an end to the “war of words”.
It has always been there…the war of words… but recently has been aggravated by the television media. It is of utmost importance to feel the exigency and act in the right direction with proper know-how to burst the bubble of can do anything attitude of the news media and as for the people they need to be more rational and simply should not be guided by any specific news channel or news paper, though I believe, it is quite difficult without government intervening into it (as one can never shuffle through all the papers and survey through all the channels ,before going to work, before taking up his/her decision!).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Women: It Is About Being Human

You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women.
- Jawaharlal Nehru

…and so can we rate our country by ourselves…(unaided by any statistical tools nor being accompanied by any commissions report ). The one we refer as our mother, our goddess, the one who empowers the whole of the future generation of the country (in terms of health and merit) are the most marginalized, disempowered and subjugated lot. And thus the condition of our nation : being self-sufficient in agriculture, leading milk producer in the world, with much bragged about its cocky industrialization we are still a developing country-one among hundreds. For them who trusts more upon survey,analysis and written statements punched with data more than the visuals that they often witness with their own eyes, India, as honoured by World Economic Forum, stands at fifty-ninth position interms of a country’s competitiveness. And per capita GDP analysis has tagged the country with no.57.

But still we cannot afford to be cynical as that would definitely undermine the “little” progressively happening here. See for e.g., how women of potentiality, celebrities are taking up the causes and moving their feet, which previously used to rest only on petals and red carpet, into the quagmire of dirty politics. Some joining the NGOs. How hard are they trying for the betterment of this lot, but synchronously to make a fortune out of it is what they are trying harder for. For some it is the ultimate stance to grab media attention, while for some it is just a pickle that stimulates their taste buds and a saviour from the boredom of regular schedule. But the pompous women’s day celebration with contrasting stories of their miseries and achievements (though the hunger , malnutrition, maternal mortality, ill-treatment, insecurity outnumber the privileges that a women is served with in this country) all on a single page is really too little to be boastful of. The news of our government’s skimpy attempt to restrain the “sarpanch patis” (husbands of the women panchayat head) from exercising their unlawful absolute supremacy, dominating their wives and exploiting the 55% reservation in village panchayat (for women) at their own purpose has really portrayed that nothing more than this “little”, our administration can be of help to them, after 60 years of independence.
As is visible, most if not all, the women centric policies has proved futile and that is due to many fold reasons.corruption,bribery, chicane, lack of urge and sincerity etc.and all this can be rectified at large by changing our age old conventions, perceptions towards women and by feeling what is the pure & urgent need to have them in the main stream, why are some of us actually clamoring for women reservation in legislature.

We, each of us, surely need to change our outlook coz that would be beneficiary to none other than our development, our intellectual upliftment. This is a very common psychology that people like us (who have been under the oppression of a imperial rule for so long and suffer constantly from the fear of losing out, being annexed again at a point of time or other) look down upon them who do not earn. So, giving the women, around us, a chance to earn their living by themselves will help us in transforming, broadening our mindset automatically and will also retrieve them from their sulking complexities.

It is very difficult, here akin impossible, to divert one’s stereotypic one way directive thinking overnight but every body of us should acknowledge by heart that a house can not run without everybody’s equal participation in it, a country can not straddle its branches uniformly in all spheres of development by subsiding the rural progress… similarly gender disparity will also never let human to flourish with its full humanity.
(human being the evolutionarily and physiologically most complex and most wonderful creation of God.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Save Visva-Bharati

The bizarre idea of visiting shantiniketan (“the adobe of peace” at bolepur created by gurudev Rabindranath Tagore)at the onset of the year 2010 cropped into my mind when I was made to believe (by someone) about the sorcery of the first day of the year, that says whatever you do on the first day, it’s effects persists for the rest of the year. And I thought what’s better than to enjoy peace for the rest of the year especially when number of bandhs escalating exponentially in Bengal, red and green’s tussle intimidating bengalees at every hour of the day, people, all over, bent upon starving on their sweet will to procure a statehood for themselves, when Obama is all set to increase expedition more into Afghanistan without caring the least for its civilians and at the last when climate summit has failed and climate itself is haunting us with its dreadful nightmares.

Stepping into the red soil of bolepur, all the miseries of the city life was crowded out by the deluge of Rabindra sangeet that barged into my mind at once. Such is the mystic force of Rabindra spirit that has shrouded the entire arena of art, crafts and innovation. I had, by then, already started filling up of my cardiac bag by the plentiful of available air required for life sustenance back there in home. Well, as this is not a travelogue, I better move into the original part. I grew quite confident about the serenity of the place just to topple over the most unexpected stone of corruptions and malpractices.

“Niharika” the art gallery hosted by the profound artist Prof. Selim Munshi presented some of the most enchanting, stunning and awe-inspiring works of him. I was privileged to know a lot many things from the man himself. Swept by emotion he exuded some of the bitter facts of his life and hinted about the decadence of Visva-Bharti (shantiniketan university) with the most mournful weeping heart. I was startled to know the adobe of peace and purity had already turned into the adobe of rouge and malpractices (since 1966) and glaring instances like money laundering, forgery in assessing marks of students, nepotism in appointment procedure and unlawful extension after superannuation etc. are eating up the institution from within leading to the sullying of its heritage and golden image. He pointed to some of his spot-painting of some of the most beautiful landscapes and residence of dignitaries only to tell us that those sites are not present now, either demolished or morphed. Being an ardent devotee of Rabindranath Tagore and a respectable, responsible ‘adhyapak’ (Professor) in fine arts in visva-bharti he took the plunge into the muck several times to uproot the core of malice. In 1987 he tried to draw the attention of the then Acharya of Visva-Bharti, the union minister of human resource, and all members of the executive committee of Visva-Bharti… he went against the workings and appointments of some of the highly corrupt high-officials, incurring a heavy toll on himself in terms of health, time and money , but to no avail.

He writes, “It is an irony of fate that a few of them are still holding the position of MP and it makes me laugh when I read their speeches in newspapers that they want to free society from scams”. I could easily sense the pain climbing up my spine,my entire identity becoming too numb to react in absolute helplessness when his trembling voice spoke the last few words of his bereavement. The man of his stature, {who has earned recognition and appraisal from some eminent personalities like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Lal Bahadur Shastry, Jawaharlal Nehru and others, who has made himself a place in many magazines, books and newspapers, whose work has been documented quite a number of times on television, radio etc, who has held 12 times solo exhibitions (even at parliament house annexe in 1996)} after serving for 39 years has been victimized by high level corruption multiple times. His promotion was detained. Even his son was not sparred. but still his zeal to work for the betterment of his serving ground is yet to die down. I realised how much the decadence of this institution must have tortured the man who has been seeing this place for about 58 years, how disastrous this must have been for the old man dreaming about a lustrous shantiniketan and waking up to the reality of its gradual decay. Like a true ‘ashramik’ he is there, facing all odds at his age of 72 but still awaiting a blatant response from the people and government, an impartial CBI probe and the resurgence of Shantiniketan in all the colours and glory, it has inherited from its hoary past.

(Don't let this 1st january to be all the same for this man and for Shantiniketan)