Saturday, 31 May 2008

Burney's deportation:Unpardonable and Un-Indian

'Regrettable', that's how the Home Minsistry put it. But it's more than that, it is absolutely shameful. Former Human Rights Minister of Pakistan Ansar Burney is among the few to have risen above petty politics in the sub-continent and hasn't been bitten by the bug of myopic jingoism.

He is passionate about human rights, was working to save Sarabjit and other Indians lodged in Pakistani jails. Besides, he was coming to India to attend the Peace Conference. But the action of the authorities at the Indira Gandhi Airport is absolutely unpardonable.

Now the officials are passing the buck. We are hearing about a look out notice and that it was a mistake at the Regional Registration Office. But this could seriously damage the prospects of Indians lodged in prisons. Sarabjit's family was horrified with the mistreatment.

One thought that the days of mistreating the embassy officials of the other country and deporting them was over. There was an era when we saw Indian High Commission officials manhandled and later deported on the usual charges of spying. More over, it was not expected from our government to show such insensitivity. It takes time to build confidence but a rash action like this can jeopardise all the process.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Justice for Kataras: Muscle, money fail as Vikas Yadav gets life imprisonment

It was money and muscle that had turned the two arrogant brats, Vikas Yadav and his cousin Vishal Yadav, into believing that they will get away with the heinous crime of murdering Nitish Katara and later burning the body

The cousins will now have to spend the rest of their lives in jail. DP Yadav, a rogue politician of Western UP, may have thought that he will bail out his son Vikas and nephew Vishal but the inspiring fight of Nitish's mother Neelam has turned the tables.

Ofcourse, the verdict reinforces the belief of Indians that the courts remain the last hope in a society where everything is bought if you are rich and everything hushed up if you are well-connected.

The media pressure, the sensitivity of the courts and the fight of Neelam Katara has ultimately sent the two goons to prison. It is laudable. Though it took six long years for Kataras to get justice, it may never have come their way, had Neelam not remained firm and steadfast in her resolve.

Not every ordinary person can fight the case in such a manner. Nor all cases end up this way. But such sentences do act as deterrents for the power-drunk who feel that they can trample upon anybody and treat others are 'keeday makoday' .

The court didn't pronounce capital punishment. Had Yadav got death punishment, it would have had far reaching consequences. Still, it is a happy moment for Nitish's family and the rest of the law-abiding Indians.

We wonder, what Bharti might be thinking today. The case will continue as appeals will be made but given the popular pressure it will be almost impossible for the duo to expect any relief in future. Justice was delayed but not denied..
Photo: Nitish Katara

Monday, 26 May 2008

Gujjars on rampage: Rajasthan and beyond

Citizens get befooled through fake promises everytime by politicians but it is Vasundhara Raje Scindia's misfortune that she made a promise which Gurjars didn't forget.

The Gujjars (also Gurjars) are on warpath and the State government is clueless how to deal with the situation. Over the years Meenas, a dominant caste, benefited from the inclusion in ST category and continues to reap rewards. Only recently the Jats got a slice of the reservation pie and Gurjars felt that their status was under threat.

Now like a warlord, Colonel Kirori Mal Bainsla orders the Gurjars to go against the government. Thousands of Gurjars stopped rail movement, damaged government property, braved bullets and no less than 42 died.

Vasundhara Raje Scindia now wants Centre to bail her out of the situation. Meanwhile, Bainsla remains adamant. The scenerio remains pathetic, as you can't blame the Gurjars. The followers of Bainsla don't even understand what the are fighting for.

They feel reservation will open the doors of government jobs to them. With Gujjars planning to stop supplying milk and vegetables apart from spreading their movement to National Capital Region (DELHI), trouble lies ahead for the central government as well.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

BJP's dream of capturing power in South comes true: Lotus blooms in Karnataka

The BJP appears heading to win half of the seats in the Assembly elections and now the first BJP goverment in Southern India looks almost like a certainty.

The Congress is out of power and the father-son Devegowda & Kumaraswamy have been routed in the polls. The trends indicate that out of 224 constitutencies the BJP was all set to win nearly 110 or even more, which makes it the largest party and brings it in a position to form a government in Karanataka on its own.

The party had tried hard to build a base in the state. Unlike Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala where it is yet to establish a foothold, the BJP had managed to make a dent in the voteshare of Congress over the last decade, especially among Lingayats and other Backward Castes.

The election results are significant. With BJP heading a government in South India, it will be another jolt to Congress that still claimed to be the only national party. Also, the JD(S) leader HD Devegowda who wanted to play as a kingmaker has been rejected. His family-run party has won barely 30-odd seats.

It's BS Yeddiyurappa's moment, for now. For BJP it's a great opportunity to extend reputation below the Vindhyas and focus on governance rather than communal politics which had made it an untouchable in South until now.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

First correct your own anglicised name Mr Bal Thackeray!

At last, somebody* had the guts to say it to Bal Thackeray, the cartoonist-turn-politician of Maharashtra who feels that Mumbai is his fiefdom and that nobody else had a role to play in creating the Cosmopolitan, which it is today.

After his nephew's fascistic programme to divide the society on regionalistic lines, Thackeray has also repeated the same line. Shiv Sainiks want Bombay Dyeing, Bombay Stock Exchange (BEST) and Bombay Scottish School to drop the Bombay and change it to Mumbai.

I am staying at a hotel in Allahabad and find a shop bearing the name 'Nagpur dry cleaner'. One of his ancestors may have come to this City in search of livelihood and named the shop after his hometown. It also looks good to eye but a North Indian can't afford to do that in Mumbai in 21st century.

The Banarasi Pan Bhandar-wala in Mumbai changes the name to Mumbai pan bhandar to escape the rowdies of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Shiv Sena. And even Bombay, the old name of the City, is an anathema to them.

Why? Just because it is colonial? Even Bal Thackeray's name is colonial
, the spelling being that of British author Willam Thackeray who wrote Vanity Fair, an English classic. Why doesn't Shiv Sena supremo change it first to Thakre?

Vir Sanghvi*, in his column Couterpoint, in Hindustan Times, asks this question. It takes guts to say that. After all, Indian journalists who love to take digs at politicians really don't have the nerve to take the name of Thackeray sans Saheb.

From Bal Thackeray, he becomes Bala Saheb Thackeray just because his men can take law in their hands. The City and the nation have had enough of this drama. The uncle and nephew are trying to outwit each other in rhetoric. At this rate they may someday demand that the name of the country, India, should also be changed as it is also given to us by British.

The name, Bombay, was changed to Mumbai. Now, as Sanghvi writes, it should happen at its pace and not in such a manner. He ends his piece with the line, 'We are certainly not changing any more names only because he can’t handle his nephew'.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Terror Attack: Why of all places, Jaipur?

In a tragic yet surprising development, serial bomb blasts occurred at half-a-dozen places in Jaipur causing nearly 65 deaths on Tuesday evening. The blasts occurred in crowded market places in the Walled City.

The first blast was reported at around 7:15 pm. The Hawa Mahal, Manak Chowk, Johri Bazar, Tripolia areas in the heart of the Pink City were targeted. Within half-an-hour, the blasts took place one after the other, causing injuries to almost 100 persons.

But the obvious question is: Why Jaipur? Is it that the terrorists want to target places that were not considered vulnerable until now. Though Ajmer, another town of Rajasthan was targeted in the past, the blasts in Jaipur still come as a surprise.

Ajmer is well-known for the Sufi shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti. Due to the large number of Hindu and Muslim devotees who come to Ajmer, this is a major pilgrimage centre. But Jaipur!

Hyderabad, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kolkata, Delhi and cities with a history of communal clashes are targeted so that there is Hindu-Muslim tension and the aim of the anti-national forces is to create such divide. Seems, there strategy is now to target new Cities.

Jaipur is one of the foremost symbol of India's cultural heritage. Lakhs of tourists come to the Pink City every year and Rajasthan is the face of Indian tourism worldwide, along with Agra. The anti-national forces must have been desperate as there was no major communal or casteist issue in the country for long.

And thus came this attack. The incident is serious in magnitude and of grace concern because it was not a solitary blast. There was a series of blasts that took place in the City including a car bomb blast. Let's hope that our security agencies nail the culprits in this case.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Liar Apollo docs to face trial

It's good to hear that the Supreme Court rejected the Apollo doctors' plea and they will now face the trial in the Rahul Mahajan drug case.

Remember the straight face with which these docs kept lying for days in front of media persons! They destroyed evidences and fabricated the reports. All attempts were made to show that Mahajan hadn't taken drugs. Even the hospital's registers were tampered.

The docs did all that just because the young brat was well-connected and had ample money. The doctors should have treated him to the best of their abilities but they became accomplices in a crime.

Dr Anupam Sibal, Dr Abha Gupta, Dr Awadhesh Bansal, Dr Prasad Rao, Mukund Pandey and Ali Ganai other than the staff of the hospital who did the conspiracy must face the trial. They can hire a battery of good lawyers, may get the case drag for long and even get acquitted.

But at least they will have to make rounds to the court, face a degree of embarrassment and the society would recall how they weaved a web of deception to save a young man. In June 2006, Rahul and his father Pramod Mahajan's secretary Bibek Moitra were admitted to the hospital.

Moitra had died in the incident. Though Apollo authorities kept on insisting that there were no traces of drugs in their urine and blood samples, the other lab reports confirmed that drug overdose led to the system failure.
The doctors went to Supreme Court agaist the High Court judgment which refused to quash the charges levelled by the police against them. But the Supreme Court rejected their appeal and they will now face charges under Section 177.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Bush cries: 'India eats my food'

Dubya is dumb, everybody knows. Once again the American president has proved it his statement on global food crisis that Indians eat more and causing the shortage the world over.

The greedy guzzlers of all world energy, Americans, have suddenly discovered that Indians eat a lot and want to eat better.

"There is a strong middle class in India, about 350 million, more than the population of United States of America and they want to eat well so our food prices are rising."

First, Condoleeza Rice said it. And now George W Bush has repeated it. So a healthy India makes US uncomfortable.

And Indians are still far from eating well. Farmers are committing suicides, droughts have ruined Bundelkhand and though Indians have moved on from the old days, such statements exhibit typical American Arrogance.

After all, for US the sole concern is their own economy. The dollar is weakening and there are no signs of its resurgence. For once every Indian party and politician seems to have come together on this issue and have issued strong statements. Of late, they were all under perpetual awe of USA.

America has ravaged countries after countries from Japan to Afghanistan in the last sixty years. It cares little about global opinion and about lives of other human beings on the planet. For Oil, which it needs to drive its economy, it has imposed wars on third world countries in our neighbourhood in which millions have been killed.

What one expects from such a nation? The statement is hardly anything comparable in magnitude to America's misadventures in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Dubya's era is gone. A few months on and we will have another guy in White House.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Was Malika Sherawat's dress revealing?

Is there no issue left in this nation except dress? Sania Mirza, Cheergirls in IPL matches and now Malika, who was quite well-dress on this occasion.

It's just another publicity stunt. Almost a week after Malika Sherawat appeared at a music launch function in Chennai, a self-styled guardian of our culture has filed a complaint with the police.

The Hindu Makal Kachi leader though a bit late, realised that Mallika had dressed in an improper way. Obviously can't see the gyrating hips of actresses on the channels and the much bawdy dances on South Indian (and of course, North Indian) TV Channels.

It has become a fashion to talk about 'indecent dress' in India. A Moulvi issues a fatwa about Sania Mirza's dress, the actor-turned-politician Shotgun finds the cheergirls obscene and the Tamil Nadu guy finds Malika's dress as vulgar.

He even doesn't like the way she dared to sit ie cross-legged in the presence of Chief Minister. Malika and actresses like her court such controversies but it is also a way to get publicity for little-known politicians by filing cases in either police station or approaching courts on the issue of morality and preserving culture.

The complainant says her revealing dress and expsoure caused mental agony to people. In a lighter vein, I must say that it must have caused agony as she was quite 'over-dressed' given her reputation!

[Bollywood actress Malika Sherawat's photo at the Chennai function]

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