Friday, May 3, 2013

Karnataka & march to Delhi

It's the season of summer, everything seems bright and warm and its a start of a long, weary season. On political horizon, the picture is not as serene and simple. Ever since the first election were held in modern history, any where, every elections of a crucial importance. The next general elections could be of make of break for more reason than one. The largesse and finesse of Sonia Gandhi led Manmohan Singh Government's debauchery and economic mayhem has left people across various sections of society a need for change, to stamp the rot and infuse purpose and direction to whatever one may chose to call Governance. These are some of the factors that first come to mind which reflect the need to change the Government at the center.  

Red Flag raised : Intent and Will are missing. 

You want your Government to set a precedent and present an Intent of upholding Law of Land in the letter AND the spirit. This Gov runs devoid the rudders of intent and will to uphold the Law. I think if I want to list the scams, there are more compulsive and comprehensive sites to that. The details will intrigue you till you read it and see the impact of these scams on life around you in everyone life. The devil is present in great details. Just vote when the opportunity arises and get people to vote These scams have however one startling thing to consider. These are not claims of a guided sting operation of a Baba or a leading Stock Broker for favours or a media channel. These wrangles and loop holes are red flagged by Comptroller and Auditor General of India. It is an independent audit body, formalized by the Constitution of India and reports to the President of India.

The Supreme court has also in various court cases has also cautioned if not warned the Government of many wrong doing. The prevalent or in thing is to make sure not to break the law, break the spirit of law. Any scheme under this Central Govt is a crude (sweet?) word for a Ponzi scheme. If you go and look for one, believe me you will feel spoil for choice. The whole effect of this is this huge imbalance that's crept (or induced) in society. The rich feeling more entitled to privileges they think they own. The own yearning for more as things becomes dearer and paths to channel the aspirations become thinner and thinner. Food, clothing, and housing are now very dear privileges now one for the classes and not masses.

 I wonder if Sonia-MMS combo under the cloak of Compulsion of Coalition Politics armed with Propensity to Corrupt, Erode and Intimidate is a right precedent going forward.

 Institutions reduced to party offices. 

 This Govt has achieved an impossible of sorts. It is just amazing to utterly fail on all fronts, corruption, social malaise, money muscle, sub version of Law, intimidation of people who walk the path of law, the immense and that willingness to take up wrong means to wrong ends, to subvert capable Public Institutions, a tendency to use law to shield the guilty from the innocent and eye ball the witness, social indicators and sluggish growth on economic front, rotting and stinking mess few still call as India's foreign policy and stranded exports, debase value of Indian Rupee. I had faith of law of averages, but I willing to reconsider that.

 Its nothing short of a miracle and a marvel that someone can achieve such crippling, repeated failures and constantly look to stoop lower at each and every opportunity. In UPA's case sure they make found more opportunities than what existed and they have utilized all these opportunities to screw these opportunities without regret or remorse. The current political scenario is saturated with these shambles. All the wrong means in all the wrong directions. There are more and more symptoms propping up and pointing towards the the disease of ever failing Government. There is this authority and responsibility mismatch right at the top.

The PM has responsibility and no authority while Highest Command has authority and no responsibility. PM and Supreme PM conveniently skip speaking on any vital issue that needs their attention. They speak only to highlight that opposition is cause of all ills. This authority-responsibility mismatch is the Zeroth Law of Corruption of Congress. The First is to maintain this very status quo. If it means nullifying and debasing any individual or institution starting from President or Prime Ministers office so be it. All the Institutions without exception feel their foundations shaken some of these include Armed forces, CAG, CVC, CBI, CEC, JPC, PAC, Speaker, Bureaucracy, Governor, the list doesn't limit itself to these "few" instituions with the full stop at the end of this sentence. As the state is weakened internally, your external threats are magnified.

Thus Congress has reduced from a Syndicate to a Syndrome.  

Women left alone, feeling for worst? 

I wish to highlight two issues here. The first being violence against women being becoming a norm of sorts. The news of Carnage and Mayhem, the calls for stricter laws, more impunity have resulted is mass hysteria, just underscores things which are wrong in the prevalent society. Yes evidence is required to convict. But a stricter evidence is required to set a deterrent so that similar incidences are curtailed and reduced in future. The gory and horror has to be transferred the victims to wanna be villains. Law has to have to aspects, one is to make sure justice is administered quickly and effectively and second is to instill a fear of law. It is to make sure an adventure arena of crime is simply not worth the risk. It also calls for more effective policing and administration. This should definitely be a political issue as its directly affect half the voters and indirectly affects all of us.The women in the country for now seem to the the victim and the culprit of all misdeeds. It simply doesnt augur well for us as a nation. We are on the road to Anarchy and the dream destination is not far.
Yes the Gov has been an abject failure in this aspect as well.

More often than not, women's inputs of politics were ignored if not laughed off. But situation is not changing, it has changed for good. Women increasingly finding voice through Internet and other media and highlighting nuances of politics which were previously brushed under the carpet of expertise. There are often more than once women taking charge of issue and driving the point. The fact that women are seemingly vocal about socio-political issues broadens the scope of political debate, more engagment with situations on the ground. Women voters most likely to come forward to bridge the urban-rural divide and help provide a decisive mandate, either way.  

Social Media is more social than any other media.

It is here to stay, it is enough for us to know more. I am not sure it will swing more votes towards the other candidate. But it will definitely keep everyone on their toes. Internet expansion in personal space has cut one way traffic of news channels and news papers to size. Now its a two way traffic. Yes it can lead to things going viral in a very pandemic sense. People jumping the queues to shot from the hip. But now there is definitely a feedback loop and  now the people claiming to be residents of moral high grounds have to that forgo this luxury.

What Internet has done is cut the fat rat tails and almost demolished the corridors of Chinese whispers. Yes there are expert yogis as well, landing there foots in their mouths, with amazing skill and tremendous frequency when it comes to tweeting something thinking its slapstick but hopefully they realize that often it is people are not laughing at the tweet they are at the person who wrote the article or the tweet or whatever. Moreover, Congress's pot holes have to be filled up, showing BJP in poor light does compensate for those pot holes, but at some point in time, when viewers, investor and stake holders need to call the media bluff. But for now we know which hand has reigns of media. However just like life in order to avoid ridicule, caution is advised, important to be right than being the first.

 Viable options to Congress.

Often Congress has exclaimed that they are the only ones, that can provide stable (never mind, corrupt) Administration. The fact that there are regional options at state and BJP at various state national stages itself spoofs the myth. It is fair to say that BJP in state Governments has implemented central policies better than Congress Government at center and state themselves. Congress and their allies have followed the cues from the central Government implemented the policies of corruption and loot.At current crop of leaders, Rahul Gandhi leading the charge inspire little in few but makes the rest of us laugh a lot. If leaders are dealers in hope, Rahul Gandhi deals in pettiness and hopelessness. He has consistently messed up issues, read things wrong, if he is reading them at all.. He needs to do more than just eat midnight meals in hut beside a dusty village road. If indeed he is crowned Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh hould defnitely feel entitled to be elevated as Machiavelli of Modern India.

However BJP and Congress both have structural challenges. Congress has to clean its politics. BJP needs to get more supple, more Congress like in handling issues. They get most things right, but seem a little gullible.Media being pro-Congress doesn't help BJP cause. All the more reason BJP to connect with people directly or through the Internet.

The Congress has misled this country for long, much of the ills and wrong and screw ups that have happened are Congress' wrong doing. The last bit of challenge remains is to see whether Congress can mislead itself to a political debacle in the interest of country.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

About: Bitter memories of 26/11

A week and four years have gone past, some memories of continues to hunt. It is simplistic saying Pakistan send a few terrorist. The Police was quick in denying an insiders hands. its too simplistic. Things don't simply seem to be true,sum of the parts fall woefully short of the complete picture. You can spin conspiracies theory but lives were lost and the city subtly would never be the same again. It wont reflect in four years and a week but we all know it. It's changed not for the good following this planned attacks, at least this time.

There were three posts written around that time focus on what happened, I look back at it with a feeling of numbness and dismay. Please feel free to read those.

1. Blog: Maximum terrorised city.

2. Blog: The Darkest hour.

3. Blog: In tough times.

This is just a tiny little attempt to pay homage to my people who died in action to save the citizens and city.

This is cross posted from my blog, link here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ireland and the Abortion Dilemma



The post has been published by me at CRI earlier 

Savita Halappanavar, seemed to be having it all, the young, good looking 31 year old dentist from Belgaum, was settled in Ireland, along with her engineer husband, Praveen, in the town of Galway. Add to it,  she was expecting her first child, and in the words of her husband, she was totally over the moon. Life indeed seemed beautiful for the Halappanavars, that is until October 28 when tragedy struck the family.  On Oct 21st, Savita was admitted to the University Hospital Gallway, complaining of severe back pain. An internal examination conducted on Savita, found that the baby would not survive due to complications, and it would be a miscarriage most likely. The next 7 days would be agony for Savita, though anguished over losing the baby, she asked if  it could be aborted. The consultant  however  replied that  as long as the foetal heartbeat  was on, they could not do anything. In the words of her husband, Praveen.
“Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita, a Hindu,  said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do."

By Oct 28 lunchtime, the foetal heart stopped beating, womb was removed, and internal bleeding and complications  resulted in the issue going critical, and she passed away of septicemia. As per Praveen, timely action by the medical authorities could have saved Savita's life.  Now whether the medical authorities were guilty of negligence or whether it  was a genuine medical error, will be known only  after  the internal investigation launched by the hospital is over.

The issue here though is of  Ireland's  stance on abortion, an issue  that has often left the country polarized with an equal number of  people in the pro-choice and pro-life camps. And to be honest though, this is not just an Irish issue.  Andorra and Malta have banned abortions totally, while Holland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Austria have more liberal abortion laws, the gestation period varies from country to country. On the other scale is Italy where abortions are officially forbidden, but doctors do it in private, anyway that is another issue,

The fact remains that abortion is illegal in Ireland period, except in the case that there is a risk to the life  of the mother, which also includes a risk of suicide. Now the question may be asked, if  this was the case "Why was Savita denied an abortion, her condition was life threatening in itself?".  Quite valid and perfectly logical, except that this particular clause still remains a grey area in Ireland, to date Governments are yet to clarify on this.  If we take the two rules on abortion  as is here.

Abortion is illegal in Ireland except where there is a real and
substantial risk to the life (as distinct from the health) of the
mother. Under current legal precedent, this exception includes
where there is a clear and substantial risk to the life of the mother
arising from a threat of suicide. You should undertake a full assessment
of any such risk in light of the clinical research on this issue.
In current obstetrical practice, rare complications can arise where
therapeutic intervention (including termination of a pregnancy)
is required at a stage when, due to extreme immaturity of the
baby, there may be little or no hope of the baby surviving. In these
exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to intervene to
terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother, while
making every effort to preserve the life of the baby.
I really am not much of a medical expert, but  even as a layman I still find the above two clauses sort of  ambiguous. In the first case of  risk to life, it looks to be permitted only if there is a full assessment  of the risk.  The second case is even more ambiguous,  it says that it you may have to protect  the  life of the mother while trying to protect the life of the baby. Again my view is that of a layman,  maybe a trained medical practitioner could have a better understanding of the above two clauses.  One more thing, it is illegal to abort  the  foetus even in the case of abnormality,  which could prove life threatening.  There have been protests by women on this issue, with demands for limited abortion services  to women carrying such foetuses.

To actually understand Ireland's stance on abortion, it is imperative to refer to an older act, Offenses Against the Person Act, 1861, where abortion was mentioned as a criminal activity effectively, and  any one helping in the act  were penalized. It was an act passed by the United Kingdom when Ireland was still part of it, but the Act stuck around even after independence too. In 1973, the Irish supreme court, in the McGee vs Attorney General case conferred spouses the right to privacy in marital affairs, something that was a jolt to the more conservative, family oriented Irish society. In the same year the US  Supreme Court ruled in favor of an individual's right to abortion in the Roe vs Wade case, a ruling that caused concern in Ireland, that there would be a similar act here too. Around 1981, a group of  anti abortion campaigners lobbied hard for the Irish Govt to introduce an anti abortion act, that would prevent the Supreme Court from interpreting the Constitution to provide for abortion. With all the  3 major Irish parties-Labor, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael accepting the proposal it was just a matter of time.

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

In 1983, Ireland passed the 8th Amendment to the Constitution after much debate, over the wording. It  was supported by around 67% of the voters, with a clear divide, the Fianna Fail, Roman Catholic clergy, pro life campaigners on one side and opposed by Workers Party, Sinn Feinn, feminist groups, some Labor senators and some of the Protestant churches. What the Government did was to ensure that any changes to the existing abortion laws, would have to be put to the people, and could not be carried out by the State on it's own. And this resulted in a sort of a deadlock situation, Government not really taking any steps on it's own to repeal the abortion laws, while the voters showed no interest in going for a referendum on it.


In 1992, a 14 yr old girl Ms.X  was raped by her neighbor, which left her pregnant. As abortion was illegal in Ireland, even for rape, incest cases,  the family had to travel to England to get it done. The girl mentioned having suicidal thoughts, and her family requested the Garda Siochana( Irish police force) if DNA from the aborted foetus  could be used as proof against her neighbor.  However the then Attorney General, Harry Whelan, sought an injunction against the abortion, claiming it was against the law.  The Supreme Court overturned it,  and  in what is described as  Ms.X vs Attorney General case, 3 amendments were  proposed to the Irish constitution.

Amendments 13 and 14, that allowed women the right to travel abroad for abortion and seek information on services in other nations were accepted. However Amendment 12, which sought to make abortion illegal even if the mother had suicidal tendencies was rejected by the electorate in the referendum. It  was one of the most polarizing events in Irish history with the pro choice and pro life campaigners equally vocal on bothe sides. The reason why in spite of the ruling the Irish Govt has not yet clarified it's stand on that issue, as many did not want to upset the more conservative sections of the Irish population.

A similar case occurred in 1997, when a 13 yr old teen, Ms.C was pregnant after being raped. On the basis of the 1992 Supreme Court judgement in Ms X vs Attorney General case, the High Court decided it was valid for her to undergo an abortion here owing to her suicidal tendency. She however had the abortion in UK later on.  Even though the EU did not favor a ban on abortion, they however made an exemption in the Maastricht Treaty for Ireland.  It  was another landmark case, A,B,C vs Ireland in the European Court of Human Rights that bought the issue into much more clear focus.  Without going too much into details, the case concerned 3 women A,B and C who had to travel to UK to abort what they deemed their unwanted pregnancy. The  3 women claimed that their rights to abort  were violated and they had to go abroad.  In the case of C, though the court found there indeed was a breach of her rights. Suffering from a rare form of  cancer, C claimed there was no effective process in Ireland for ascertaining the risk her unborn baby had due to the exposure to it. And she was forced to travel to UK, undergo a rather messy abortion, which left her with prolonged bleeding.

The biggest grey area is the lack of legislation by the Irish Government, on these particular cases  where abortion is  allowed. In spite of the Supreme Court rulings, no Govt to date has yet to come out with a proper clarification or legislation in this regard. As the European Court of Human Rights observed,  lack of proper legislation means that Ireland is still governed by archaic laws related to prohibition.  The lack of proper legislation means that  even if you are legally qualified to have an abortion,  you still do not want to take a risk here. In case the abortion was found not to be accord in with Art 40.3.3 of the Constitution, the doctor ran a risk of  serious criminal conviction, imprisonment, even if it was done keeping the risk to her life in mind.  The problem is  What is not in accord with Art 40.3.3 has not been legislated. Why would any medical practitioner want to risk their career here?  The stats tell a story, in 2010 itself around 4000 of the women undergoing abortion in UK were found to be from Ireland.

It  looks like it has taken the case of a high profile death to goad the Irish Government into action, Major protests against the anti abortion ruling, have been forcing the Government to rethink it's  stance on the abortion issue.  The Irish Government can no longer dilly dally on this issue, they would have to take a stand sooner or later.. And yes while the death of  Savita  Halapannavar is tragic, this is not a time for chest thumping, threats, hysterical rantings. The Government needs to be handling this issue in a sensitive manner. Whether we like it or not, it is the Irish Government that has to take a decision at the end of the day on this issue. There is a whole lot of  people in Ireland who see the abortion issue as something being imposed from outside. Add to it the clergy still holds sway, and the Govt would not want to antagonize them. So while we make our views clear to the Irish Government, it would be best left to them to decide on how to carry it forward.



I  finally  would like to acknowledge the following sources that have helped me in drafting this article.

http://www.thejournal.ie/ireland-and-abortion-the-facts-424165-Apr2012/

www.thejournal.ie/twenty-years-on-a-timeline-of-the-x-case-347359-Feb2012/

http://www.medicalcouncil.ie/Registration/Guide-to-Professional-Conduct-and-Behaviour-for-Registered-Medical-Practitioners.pdf

Sunday, October 28, 2012

God and a Dream



I do not believe in fake babas and sadhus. Neither do I believe the Mayan Calendars, having said that I admit deep down inside, I do have a respect for Supreme Being. Ideally I visit Hanumaan Mandir on Tuesday or Thursday, however if I cannot make it, then Sunday is as good as any day that starts with "T". At the beginning of 2012, I asked god of two things, freedom from my previous job and some quality time with my parents. The amount of alcohol in my body just negated the pious prayer and I had to wait till June when god finally heard me but not exactly.

Talking about God, he seems to love artists and musicians. I do not know what he was up to this year until I met him yesterday, in dream, of course! Let me share with you my dream:

I had just left the PVR Saket after clock had struck past midnight and was pretty happy with the screening of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, 3.5 out of 5 , for king of romance. Just then I had this snoopy feeling that somebody was following me, hilariously 00:30 is not a time bothers me usually but it was a cool night with winter approaching, enough to give you Goosebumps. I lighted my milds and looked around to reassure myself, everything looked fine. I moved on, just then moment of truth struck me, I was no more feeling the cool wind and was in fact feeling warm. Now this was bothering me, Goosebumps aside, I was sweating. I then thought of a reason, you are walking too fast you idiot, almost running. I never felt more scared in my life, not even when I was caught drinking by my parents!!!!

I then heard someone whisper in my right year, "Did you like the movie?" I almost pissed in my Jeans before I could mumble "Yes".
I looked behind, all I could see was a shadow , defying all logic of science that a shadow is formed when an object is placed before light and ... I gathered some courage and asked, "Who are you?" , he answered " I am God". 

I was thinking this is insane, God does not play pranks on its devotees, and it’s all black and white, heaven or hell. I asked him, "Am I done with my time on Earth?" He said, "No but someone else is?"

I was wondering, was this a part of my Job Description, was I supposed to consult Him for matter of death and life. However, I was happy, happy to meet Him, remember I am not a religious zealot. I could not hide my happiness at the fact that people who spent their entire life going to temple have been ignored
.
God then asked me, "Will you feel sad if I take away this Chopra guy". I said, "This is cruel, you cannot do this". 

I then started playing MCQs with Him. "You can take away Ramu, he is a great director", I said. God replied, "No, he is not done with his quota of bad films and he needs at least 3 good films in a row".

Me- “Karan Johar"

God- "He is too young, I do not want a Gay Pride Parade so soon in heaven".

Me - "Madhur Bhandarkar"

God- “We do not want sensationalism in heaven, Urvashi and Menaka are still young"

I was obviously not good at playing KBC with Him and I asked "Why do you want a director? What about an actor, musician or a Song Writer”.

He answered - "Ghalib was feeling lonely these days, so I called Jagjit to lend him some voice. I was not happy with only music and I noticed Monroe sad, so to spark some romance I called Devanand and Rajesh Khanna too. Now I need a man who can see romance the way I see, so I want Yash to be back with me".

I retorted - “Madhubala and Kishore Kumar are also with you, can't you find enough romance. Raj Kapoor was the man who gave Premrog and Satyam Shivam Sundaram and you called him early too." 

I was angry and to an extent that I was ready to even defy His existence. I was sad and I would not have been so angry, if I had not been asked this. 

God- “My son, Yash's time had come. He has made his last movie; I think he should now come to me. He is going to another world, a world that is equal, safe and beautiful. I just came here to tell you that you should not feel sad but rejoice a lifetime that was. Try to understand the romance as it is, the world is full of hatred, and you should find love and feel blessed."

He gave me a pat on my back and a little nudge, the alarm rang, it was 5:30 AM and date was 21st, October, 2012. Jab Tak Hai Jaan was yet to be released and Yash Chopra was 12 hours away from final journey.

And about my wish list - Early August I got a job and my Parents visit me too often!!!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blog: Sorry state of affairs.

This post was update few years ago and has previous been previously posted here. But I guess political scams which have come to light has made the challenge a bit tougher.

I felt sorry all of the weekend and then Monday followed, the reasons were various, yes India lost the test match, it has been raining virtually non stop and I don’t remember when I last saw the Sun perhaps it was early last week. The worst thing perhaps was the serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahemdabad. I must be thankful to God that Surat did not face an untoward incident.

I have a soft corner for all the three cities; have cousins and friends dwelling in Ahemdabad and Bangalore. I lived in Surat for three years still have very caring friends who call/mail almost every second day since I moved back to Mumbai and it is a lovely city for foodies. The city  of Surat has great sense of joy and casualty. It is laid back city with people flaunting money but not in a derogatory way. The climate is really pleasant for better part of the year. The evenings are great in the sense that there is a gentle breeze that flows after sunset and people line to back alleys for junk food. It would have been a rude shock to host of lovely people. The floods which I saw there was one of the worst natural disaster anyone would wish to see.

Terror and Globalization.

The crude terror is perhaps side effect or cons of globalization. The whole thing of terrorism balances the pros of Globalization. The pros are many so are the cons. I don’t want to list the pros of globalization as off now, I wish to highlight the cons.
The pros of globalization helped set up huge international business centres like, London, New York, Mumbai, Madrid. A lot of people will associate these cities with top business opportunities that these cities have to offer. The cons of globalization also find the reasons appealing but in a different sense to people who have lost it all (here senses). All the cities that I have mentioned have been through the trauma due to terrorist activities. Mumbai serial blasts, the earliest being March 93, the latest they say 11 July. Madrid and London have had there dark dates with the cons of globalizing forces.

Local taxes extra.

Another feature of this is localization of terrorism. The ISI or the unwanted, malicious International interests now seems to have gone local with their agenda. It may be business outsourcing of a different kind and appreciation of the local talent in a different way. The last thing to say is that the principle directives continues to pour in from beyond the Indian borders. The black money is assisting the activities, no more difficult to handle RDX seeming replaced by easier available Ammonium Nitrate which is nothing but a substance used as a base in making fertilizers, India being an agrarian country and fertilizers being subsidized; transportation and procurement of this is not something too difficult for these guys. I would like you to read columns by B Raman on Rediff. I did read what he had to write.

The three musketeers.

There is an obvious participation by Indian systems as well. The “system” meaning the “neta-babu-thulla” nexus. Neta is a politician/local criminal, Babu is an epitome of a corrupt bureaucrat in the government and thulla is a paan chewing, chillar hunting policeman. There is nothing that should be unknown to at least one of the pillars of the system. As the three have close watch on the neighbour hood there is a radical change required. The sooner the better.
I mean is it so easy to even plan and execute such acts? Has there to be a political consensus in how to deal with terrorism? I say before the terrorist attack the next time, start dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani Kashmir bomb it, burn it hammer it to stone age. The perpetrators of attacks on Parliament should be nabbed sooner rather than later.

What if that too ...  ?

The attacks now include public transport and hospitals. I mean they people law cant maintain its own course anymore because terrorism both religious and regional is gaining ground fast. The tier two cities namely Bangalore, Ahemdabad Jaipur, Benares are now on the list, Mumbai is always there. The bombs hat didn’t went off in Surat and even in Ahemdabad and Bangalore for good or would have been a more sorry state of affairs.

What to do?

Go local with administration the lowest babu should be made responsible and accountable along with the other two pillars. The laws should be tougher. The emphasis should be on both restricting terrorist activities and making sure the person responsible doing these acts when caught should not be insulated by politics in the name or region or religion. The justice should be upheld in letter and spirit. It is time to take a tough stand. The Indians who support terrorist activities should face the heat.

If the survival of the fittest means weeding out the vitriolic, so be it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mysore-Palaces,Silks and Sandalwood

 (This was first published at Boloji.com , Mysore:City of Palaces,Silks,Sandalwood by me way back in 2001, it was also the first article of mine to be published on the net. In view of the fact that Dussehra season has begun, i am republishing the article with slight modifications).

Mysore a name that has embedded so deeply in our Indian consciousness. Every lady in India aspires to wear a Mysore silk sari, Mysore pak is a favorite sweet meat for many Indians, Mysore Sandal Soap is something most of us used to take bath with as kids. Mysore the city of dazzling palaces, glittering silks, sandalwood handicrafts. A city with a glorious history, a vibrant present and a promising tomorrow. Its a city where one can keep one's soul intact, and people have not yet rushed headlong into consumerism and money mindedness. A truly lovely city it has not yet turned into the vast overcrowded slums unlike other Indian cities. The city of rich culture,  Carnatic music, Mysore paintings yet this city is a thriving industrial, commercial center and also the next techno polis after Ban galore.


Legend has it that this city was named after the Buffalo demon Mahishasura whom Goddess Durga slayed here, no wonder that Dussehra is the main festival here. Every city in India is associated with a dynasty which has played a major role in the development of the city, Tanjore and the Cholas, Hydrebad and the Asaf Jahis, Madurai and the Pandyas and when one speaks of Mysore, the Wodeyars are the ruling family here, they are one of the few royal families that still play a major role like the Scindias in Gwalior. The old province of Mysore comprised the areas of Mysore, Talakad, Kodagu and Srirangapatnam. The Wodeyar dynasty which was founded by Yaduraya in 1399 AD has dominated most of Mysore history. Chikkadevara Wodeyar was the man who expanded the Mysore empire while Kantareeva Narasimha Raja Wodeyar recaptured Mysore from the Dalavayis. The interim period saw the rise to power of two of India's most famous personalities-Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan was the first to build an army on scientific lines and took on the might of the British. Known as the Tiger of Mysore, his acts of courage, bravery are renowned. This brave heart died at Srirangapatna fighting till the last.


The modern phase of Mysore began from 1800 with the ascent to the throne of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. Governor William Bentick took over Mysore in 1831 and in 1881 restored it back to Chamaraja Wodeyar. But Mysore began its phase of development and modernization under the rule of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV from 1895-1940 often referred to as the Golden Age of Mysore. He was assisted by his two Dewans-Mirza Ismail and the towering genius, builder, engineer Sri M.Viswesarayya. The Mysore Palace, Jaganmohan Palace, Lalita Mahal palace all were built during this period. The world famous Brindavan Gardens and the Krishnaraja Sagar dam were built in this time too. With the advent of Independence in 1947,Mysore passed under the Government and the Wodeyar dynasty came to an end.


While Mysore does have a number of palaces, forts, museums the crowning glory is undoubtedly the Mysore Maharaja Palace. The original wooden palace was destroyed by a fire in 1897 and the new one was rebuilt by Henry Irwin in 1911.The exterior of the palace has Indo saracenic features with a series of domes and arches. The interior of the palace is richly decorated especially the Grand Durbar Hall. Filled with ornate ceilings, intricately carved doors, frescos from the epics give a royal splendour.To the south we have the Kalyana Mantapam, which has an octagonal roof covered by stainless glasses. Tall iron pillars wrought at Glasgow adorn the central hall. The glazed tiles on the floor are imported from England while the chandeliers are of Czechoslovakian make. The royal throne believed to be captured from the Vijayanagar empire is displayed during the Dussehra festival. The second floor has the Diwan-i-Am durbar hall which contain some wonderful paintings. To the south we have the Amba Vilas, the Diwan-i-Khas which has some wonderful inlay work, frescoes and tastefully decorated pillars, ceilings. During Sundays, public holidays the entire palace is decorated with lights making it a treat to watch, and its also illuminated during entire Dussehra.



If the visit to the Mysore palace has exhausted you or you would love to have a more romantic getaway, the Brindavan Gardens is the right place for you. These world famous gardens would be familiar to many viewers of Bollywood, Tollywood films where the hero and heroine would croon sweet nothings. Built in 1932 during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV on the terraces of the Krishnaraja Sagar dam its a meticoulosy planned garden. While the dam was built by Vishweswarayya the gardens were designed by Sir Mirza Ismail. The massive dam was conceived as a multi purpose project by Shri Viswesarayya,for satisfying the water needs of the agricultural lands in Mandya, Mysore and ensuring power supply to Sivasamudram project. The gardens contain a number of fountains in all shapes and sizes and in the evenings they are tastefully illuminated giving the entire gardens a fairy tale look.

The Chamundi hills which dominate the landscape of Mysore contains the 12th century temple of Chamundeswari Devi, the patron god of the Wodeyar Dynasty. The 16 ft high Nandi statue carved out of a single rock is one of the most magnificent sculptures and the second of its kind in India (the other one in Lepakshi, AP). The Chamarajendra Art Gallery contains the famous Mysore paintings and invaluable paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. There is a vast collection of art objects like the drama clock from England, Japanese carvings, Roman carvings etc.The Mysore Zoo established in 1892 is regarded as one of the finest zoos in India. The zoo has a collection of white tigers and there are 2000 animals, 85 species of plants in the campus. The St. Philomena's Church is one of the oldest churches in India. Built in 1840, this is patterned on the lines of the Cologne Church in Germany. The cathedral rise to a height of 165 ft and has beautiful glass stained interiors which depict the story of Christ.


And any visit to Mysore would be incomplete without a visit to Srirangapatna, the summer capital of Tippu Sultan. Now a small dusty town, its name is derived from the massive Ranganatha Temple dedicated to Lord Ranganatha and one of the 3 temples to contain Vishnu in a sleeping pose (Srirangam in Trichy and Anantapadmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum are the others). The most famous sight is Dariya Bagh the summer palace of Tippu Sultan which he built in 1784. He named it as Dariya Daulat Bagh which means wealth of the sea. The walls of the palace contains paintings of the battles fought against the British and the various belongings of Tipu are also exhibited, including his famous sword. The Gumbaz at the other end of the town contains the tomb of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.

Apart from that Mysore is also the starting point to many other famous tourist spots like the wildlife sanctuaries of Bandipur, Nagarhole and Ranganathittu, the hill stations of Coorg and Ooty, historic places like Halebid, Shravanabelagola. Mysore is also a major center of fine arts and culture in India. The famous Mysore paintings originate here. The prestigious Fine Arts college imparts teaching in Music, drama and dance. The sandalwood crafts made her are world famous while the silk saris are the most sought after by Indian ladies. The rich culture of Mysore can be seen during the Dussehra festivities when leading musicians, singers, dancers exhibit their talents here. Mysore is also one of India's leading educational centers in India. The Central Food Technological Research Institution, DRDL, are prominent among them. The Mysore University is one of the oldest ones in India. The National Institute of Engineering is one of the most prominent engineering colleges in India. It also has the famous Mysore Medical College and a number of professional institutions.

With such a plethora of riches its no wonder that Mysore has produced some of the greatest persons in India. M. Visweswarayya the towering genius, administrator and builder. Field Marsha Cariappa the first Commander in Chief of Free India hailed from Coorg. Kuvempu the towering literary genius and Jnanpeeth award winner. R.K.Narayan the famous Indian writer, Dr. Raja Rammana, cricketers like Javagal Srinath and last but not the least M.R.Narayanamurthy, the founder of Infosys who set new standards in management and pioneered India's entry into the information age. With a pleasant climate, peaceful atmosphere, leisurely pace of life, one hopes that Mysore shall always retain its charm.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Autopsy CAG report on BJP


Ever since the CAG report was tabled in the Parliament it was only evident that the Monsoon session may well not see the light of the day! What is well known that Congress and Corruption are no two different entity, this Post is not about Congress!

Detailed report on huge loss of 1.86 l crore has to be attributed to Bad Governance, Policy and the Inefficiency of the Screening Committee. This said Committee which is headed by the Coal Secretary also has the Minister for Coals, State Representatives that includes BJP and the Left leaders !

CAG has Indicted  the "Screening Committee" which should actually look into the Planning, Identify the bidders establish their Credentials, check out if they have fudged their books in order to qualify the Prerequisite ( should have been in Mining Business, should not be Associated/related with any Political leaders, Give an undertaking that Coals would not be sold to the Open Market) these are some of the very few Norms out of many Strictures the Screening Committee Profile is!

Alas there was a complete hand in Glove by all three Political Classes the Centre, the Right and the Left cutting across the Ideological difference colluded as one in making for a Big One time Loot of the County's Resources!

The cry of "Resign PM" which is a welcome move should also extend to BJP leaders like
I didnt stop the the loot because there was Consensus for the Scam
  • Nitin Gadkari - who had directly/Indirectly helped his Son to get few blocks, His Friend and Rajya Sabha MP Ajay Sancheti ( SMS Infrastructure) these two closed Ones of Nitin Gadkari has caused a loss in Chattisgarh close to 1,000 Cr! 
  • Raman Singh - Involved with Push Steel,  Prakash Industries (Incidentally Owned by the brother of BJP leader Jai Prakash Agarwal) . These two companies were pushed by heavy recommendations from the BJP quarters. They were also Involved in selling the Coals to the Open Market! ALso doing rounds is Navbarath Miners who came in with BJP blessings! One has to add a foot note that a strong Recommendations for Speedy approval for Push Steel from Motilal Vohra a congress Leader! It Only shows that there was a systematic Collusion between BJP and Congress!
  • It is also alleged that Ravi Shankar Prasad had played a key role in Allocation of Coal Blocks not only in the BJP ruled States but also in Odisha! Naveen Patnaik letter to Ravishankar Prasad for favoring Jindal Steels! One do not not know what are losses Incured individually as a State to give a Cumulative staggering 1.86 L
Apart from the above  Mentioned Companies there are many which never deserved to be invited for such Bidding, they also are found to be front Companies for few BJP leaders apart from Many COngress leaders!

One may conclude the Magnitude of Corruption by BJP  is far less than the COngress, true but that cannot be the basis of an argument! The Yardstick Applied to BS Yedurappa and Reddy brothers also needs to be applied to Nitin Gadkari, Raman Singh,Ravi Shankar Prasad, Naveen Patnaik, Prakash Karat and Ajay Sancheti in equal terms!

Though the above Involvement of the BJP leaders will not hold any Water in the Court of LAW! As the Allocation of the Coal Block lies only with Centre but Morally BJP leaders cannot absolve themselves from these charges!

There was always these "Whispers" that Reddy Brothers were Paying huge Amounts to One of the top BJP leaders which was always rubbished! 

Hardly One could have Point fingers against ABV/LKA but off late and ever since Nitin took over as BJP it seems the Plague of Corruption has reached the doorsteps of the Party!

Handy tool of Congress the "CBI" has already started Investigations on the above Mentioned Firms and Certain BJP leaders! Soon enough BJP might find itself  in a quandry,  already we see them being Isolated in the Parliament unless they straighten up their house, rest is assured that coming back to Power at the Centre would be just another dream!

For the betterment of the BJP Party it is time that they need to Introspect the  Various Scam tainted leaders! One may find a common denominator Nitin (BSY, Raman Singh)  and Sushma ( Reddy brothers)!

Now the Uproar in the Parliament against PM as said earlier is a Good Sign at the Same time leaders involved within BJP should quit Office to Prove their Mettle! Else it just an act of Hippocratic!

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