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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Possessed!

He was attending on his ailing father-in-law when his mobile rang. He did not want to disturb the old man who was virtually on his death bed and came outside.

It was gloomy afternoon with daylight nearly snuffed out by dark threatening clouds and flashes of lightning and thunder in between.

He came under the shed in the outer courtyard of the old traditional house and answered his phone.

Suddenly a tremendous flash of lightning nearly blinded him and the accompanying thunder deafened him. His mobile blinked and went dead. As he looked at his phone in great astonishment a message hit him unawares making him dumbfounded.

He just knew that the lightning struck at least one person or more dead somewhere in the town or in the outskirts. He was instantly enveloped in an inexplicable wave of sorrow. He felt weak in the knees and sick...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Costliest Travel Concession Ever!

Most of the people in salaried class do get leave travel concession (LTC) annually or every two years. Depending on the employers the package benefits vary. If, by misfortune, you belong to the Government of India you do get LTC, but with repressively dictatorial conditions:
  • You have to travel by Air India come what may as if it’s you people that makes the bankrupt airlines viable and competitive. You have to go over their special LTC counters and book your tickets physically with their options for your travel. Even if their pilots are on never ending strike you are not spared. And you have to ignore all cheaper air ticket offers available online.
  • If your compulsory airline fails you at the last moment you can book only at the government appointed travel agencies most of which may not have online booking facilities. You can send in an application for booking and it hardly matters if your tickets arrive after your leave period is over.
I had recounted my sufferings earlier where my only crime was to opt for LTC for going to my hometown.
Coming back from my leave I was gratified to find an advance of 45,000 rupees (approx. 50 rupees a US dollar) in my bank balance which you cannot expect to get normally. My local office took account of my sufferings and loss of money due to the Air India strike and sanctioned the actual cost of travel (around 30.000 rupees). But the order had to go to the chief paying authorities in Delhi for final approval and payment.
After two months I was horrified to find 23,250 rupees deducted from my salary of August, 2011. On inquiry I got the Delhi letter that said under the booking restrictions I was not eligible for LTC and since the advance was given to me two months before a penalty of 1500 rupees also added making the total 46,500 rupees. It was to be deducted in two months in two EMIs. So I lost the same amount in September salary too.
But it was hardly over. The cuts continued in October too making the total cost of trying to avail LTC a staggering 69,750 rupees and counting! My Diwali darkened!
Maybe I am set to be punished for my crime for lifetime. So I am set to be the first Government of India officer ever to turn beggar while in service and to run to the streets for shelter!

LTC is a frightening word if you are in……..!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Team Anna: Ifs, Buts and Whys!

The core committee meeting decided today that there would be no restructuring or expanding the present Team Anna. They also said their movement was not anti Congress and that the charges and allegations against certain members are part of a smear campaign led by vested interest groups.

Problem is the core committee meeting was commanded only by the disputed trio—Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi. Crucial members who criticized them, who wanted Team Anna to be suspended, who termed Kejriwal and Bedi as the most arrogant members of the team and who protested the clear political turn Anna’s movement was taking.

Now, if you call the charges as part of a larger smear campaign this translates into saying that the Congress party told Prashant Bhushan to make that Kashmir comment, the Congress party invited Kejriwal to oppose them in their own election and also advised him how to embezzle funds without keeping accounts and the Congress party had been backing Kiran Bedi all the time in overcharging the hosts!

The comedy circus rolls on! Team Anna’s movement had identified Congress with Corruption. And now, they have said their movement is not anti-Congress! Does it mean that their movement has stopped to be anti Corruption? They will again be anti-Congress (or Corruption?) if their basic demand is not met by the year end. What a joke!

Has Anna Hazare fallen prey to such arrogant and people-made-most-powerful leaders? He must break his vow of silence immediately and answer all the questions. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Target Vegetables!

I often wonder why customers always target the vegetables vendors for bargaining and saving a few cents. Maybe because it is of everyday use, but the savings, if any, hardly amount to anything. This is relevant for India where markets are mostly traditional.

That day I went to the market on a few errands. First I wanted to buy sweets for Diwali and went to the most famous shop of the locality. There was a huge crowd there and as I inched closer to the counter I saw one customer with a countenance oozing opulence really monopolizing it. He was buying a wide variety of  sweets in big quantities. I decided to run away to another shop because of the fact that I wanted to buy just 250 grams of one variety!

After the customary purchase I went to the vegetable vendor for a few more items. As I was finishing the man oozing opulence approached the same vendor and started bargaining!

For an item priced 30 bucks a kilo he announced,’ I’ll give 20 bucks because I’ll buy two and half kilos!’ The vendor asked for 25 bucks. The customer announced his verdict again with a stamp of authority. I was instantly happy when the vendor refused! The opulent one moved towards his car maybe expecting a total recall! There was no calling back and I was ecstatic!

These vendors enjoy only a small margin because they have to buy stocks from the middlemen. Now, what do we gain depriving the poor people of their hard earned money?

If we need to save we need to look at some of other expenditures. Right? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Diwali!

Article first published as The Festive Interlude! on Technorati.

Wish  You  ALL A Very Happy And Prosperous Diwali!

Let The Festival Of Lights Lighten Up Your Lives! 

Now it is festive times in India! Diwali—the Festival of Lights—is celebrated every year during mid-October to mid-November for five days in most parts and for two days in other parts like the Eastern India. the exact date is arrived at by the New Moon day of the dark lunar cycle. For 2011 the festival is being celebrated from 24th October till the 28th.

Diwali is the biggest festival for Hindus. There are many theories on the origin of this festival. One says people celebrate the return of Lord Ram from 14 years of anonymous exile. Another says this is for celebrating the symbolic victory of truth over evil. Still one more theory says this is to welcome the harvest season--the Goddess of wealth, Laxmi, being worshiped as a mark of gratification.

In the eastern parts Goddess Kali—the most powerful and the fiercest Goddess—is worshiped to drive away evil forces and to attain the blessings of the noble departed souls.

As Diwali celebrations began on the 24th there was tremendous festive expectation from the accused of various scams to be granted the much sought after bail. But the court allowed bail only for one political leader on grounds of serious illness leaving all others to observe the festival in jails.

Every year with each festival in India there is a high alert due to the constant terror threat, particularly for important metros like Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and others. On this year’s Diwali eve five countries namely the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand had issued travel advisories cautioning respective citizens not to travel India during the festival season. The Indian government had been trying its best to convince them of the all-round atmosphere of peace joy and safety in India.

Joyous and in tremendous spirits people do not bother about such threats though, maybe because they are getting used to it or they strongly believe in the deities who, they think, would never impose miseries when devotees are worshiping so sincerely. They light up their homes and premises with rows of oil lamps and indulge in buying new garments, buying and distributing sweets and thundering evenings of get-together with fireworks.

Apart from the problems of noise pollution and sufferings for old unfit people and neighborhood animals the Festival of Lights is a great occasion to congregate and celebrate.

Happy Diwali to all! Yet Again! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cricket: India Thrash England 5-0 Completes Revenge!

Team India avenged their nightmare in England two months back right royally at the magnificent Eden Gardens, Kolkata. They bowled out England for a paltry 176 in just 37 overs to win by 95 runs. Another big win for Team India to make a clean sweep of the five-match one-day international cricket series.

England won the toss again and for a change elected to field first. Soon, India got into a corner at 123 for 4, but skipper Dhoni and Jadeja played brilliantly to rescue the innings and led the way for a challenging score of 271. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 75 with four huge sixes and in fact, he never got out in the entire series. A captain leading from the front with a whole lot of newcomers deservedly got the Man of the Series award.

Chasing 272 England were going very strong till the spinners duo Jadeja and Ashwin began to strike. With 4 wickets for 33 and a crucial innings with the bat too Jadeja got the Man of the Match award.

 The players that came out of the Series with flying colors are Ajinkay Rahane who kept on with his consistency from the English tour, Virat Kohli who is becoming a tremendous asset for Team India, Ravindra Jadeja, Ashwin, Pravin Kumar, Aaron and Vinay Kumar. Parthiv Patil also played well, but with Sehwag getting fit he is not in with a chance.

Team India proved its supremacy in one-day cricket once again. England did not look the team that swept Indian resistance away in the away tour. 

Well done, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Team India! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Support or Oppose At Your Risk!

Article first published as Support or Oppose At Your Risk! on Technorati.

Supporting or opposing an issue or an organization or individuals is not as easy as you may think. If you are smart enough you would definitely do a lot of calculations, confabulations and even manipulations to arrive at your destination. But still don’t make the mistake of having the last laugh!

If you belong to an opposition political party your religion of life is to oppose and so things are not very difficult here. You have to go on opposing the ruling party to the extent that if your rival calls a day a day you will have to call it a night. Problems come up when you decide to support or oppose a different organization having or not having mass backing..

You may be supporting the basic issue pursued by the organization, but you will have to support them in such a way that your opposition policy and consistency is maintained. If your party has some notorious records of misdeeds or connections then your support may be labeled as conspiracy.

If you belong to the ruling party your task is much more difficult. Your rivals are going to do the same irrespective of your support or opposition for an issue or organization or individuals. It’s a tight rope walk all the way and an acid test of your strategic priorities and interests.

If you belong to the common citizen category your case is almost hopeless. Basically because you are never recognized as an authority to understand the ‘issues’ involved in an ‘issue’. And, because you are always believed to act on impulses and emotions. So, your spontaneous support may finally lead you to oppose what you so spontaneously decided to support.

Simply put, as a dignified citizen it’s your duty to wholeheartedly support an anti-corruption campaign. But as you go along you may be confounded with questions like what is actually meant by corruption or who are corrupt or non-corrupt. There will be no one to help you out on this existential dilemma—let it be from supporting or opposing or neutral or fence sitters or subjective or objective or any comprehensible camp.

We cannot advise you so to sit tight within your four walls. Do go out and assert yourself. It’s going to be the toughest fight, we assure you!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

India Thanks Pakistan!

It is the rarest of rare occasions when India and Pakistan actually happen to thank each other. Whatever goodwill the game of cricket generates evaporates with the inevitable loss of one side!           

Around noon today an Indian Army helicopter started on a rescue mission in the Kargil region of Kashmir. It had to help out another helicopter that was grounded due to technical fault.

The indigenous Chetak helicopter could not land on the predestined location because of inclement weather, lost its way and strayed into Pakistan occupied Kashmir beyond the customary line of control.

The Pakistan authorities spotted it and forced it to land in their territory for airspace violation. The chopper along with the 4-member crew was taken into safe custody. Like anything between the two countries tension started building up.                                                                                                        

The Director General of Military Operations in New Delhi immediately got into touch with the Pakistani counterpart trying to convince that it was not a deliberate intrusion, but due bad weather.

Pakistan authorities accepted and released the chopper and the crew. They landed back in Kargil by 6pm. India’s Ministry of External Affairs conveyed a message of thanks to Pakistan.

We need a whole lot of such thanksgiving occasions to ease up tension between the two neighbors. 
Meanwhile, Team India made the one day international series against England 4-0 in Mumbai today defeating the rivals by six wickets with almost ten overs to spare. England were all out for just 220 in 48.2 overs and India hauled it up easily with Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina coming strong after a precarious 46 for 3. A fitting sequel at the venue of the great World Cup-2011 triumph!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gory and Grisly!

 The small screens of our homes come alive with horrific visuals time and again thanks to the strikes or attacks by the US and the allied forces. When celebrations follow such acts of raw violence a question appears in some corner of our mind—is something wrong?

Be it Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden or Muammar Gaddafi--their violent ends disturb that part of our mind. But at the same moment we tend to identify with the oppressed and terrorized people and celebrate with them.

Such terrorists or dictators are confirmed offenders of mankind. They fully deserve the horrendous ends they finally get. Throughout their destructive careers they leave a trail of unprecedented violence, brutalities and sufferings. 

Okay, they are demons. But we are still humans, no?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Big B and King Khan in Kaun Banega Crorepati!

Amitabh Bachchan, the host of the current version of Kaun Banega Crorepati, invited Shahrukh King Khan for a special show yesterday, the 20th of October, 2011. Running for nearly two hours the show had everything the great Twosome was capable of delivering, acting, enacting and just talking. 

Basically King Khan came to the show as a publicity stunt for his forthcoming science fiction movie Ra..0ne (meaning Random Access-Version 1.0). But once on the hot seat one has to play. And, Shahrukh played on with his customary wit and presence of mind matched equally point to point by Big B and won 5 million rupees for charity. The invited audience had a treat of lifetime seeing two huge favorites playing it out right before them. 

They taunted each other, made jibes at each other and also exchanged seats for brief while. Shahrukh even walked up to Big B and massaged his back trying to catch a view of the host's monitor screen while telling how the massage eases up tension to play the game better! The issue of Shahrukh hosting the show once also came up with King Khan at his humble best apologizing for the audacity! He invariably addressed Big B as 'Sir' all the time. This is worth noting that the legend is always addressed as 'Sir' by anyone coming in contact--irrespective of whether s/he belongs to film fraternity or to the cultivating profession.

It was a fun-filled episode anyone could have enjoyed to his/her heart's content. The channel producers definitely knew the marketing potential of such a show! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cheating For A Good Cause?

Article first published as Cheating For A Good Cause? on Technorati.

Traveling by air in economy class and claiming reimbursement for business class can be termed as a confirmed case of cheating if not a corrupt practice.  If you are entitled to travel by a certain class you must produce the invoice plus boarding pass for reimbursement in any kind of institutions—let it be government or private.

A national newspaper of India broke the news first thing in the morning of October 20, 2011. And, as is the current pattern of affairs it had to relate to a member of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption civil society.

Kiran Bedi, the third prominent member of the civil society to come in dispute, is entitled to a seventy five discount on air tickets thanks to her winning a gallantry award earlier. But on being invited for a program by NGOs or institutions who always pay for travel Kiran Bedi charges them full air ticket money. Not only that, she charges for business class tickets even if she travels by economy. So her final bill invariably runs at least five times over the actual money spent.

Now, the anti-corruption crusader and a retired officer of Indian Police Service defended her actions by saying that the money thus saved went always to her social trust for a bigger cause. It’s her choice to decide by which class to travel. And that she maintains transparency in all her activities.

The moral implications are tremendous and are enough fuel for yet another intense debate for days to come. If you are a cheat and you cheat for a noble cause then you are not a cheat! But what about the institutions that get fleeced or robbed for no crime of theirs? Are such NGOs or institutions that invite Kiran Bedi are constantly involved in rabid anti-social activities thus giving her the right to come and rob them?

This is a kind of insults-to-injury situation for Team Anna. Many voices cutting across civil and political circles are already articulating vehemently against this act. Let there be police investigations, let there be enquiries, let Bedi clarify to come out clean and the like!

Just one question comes to mind! If we allow cheating for a noble cause how many people of this planet are going to live in safety and in happiness? Besides claiming for reimbursement there will be a huge mob claming for nobility who get empowered to cheat! 

Can we term cheating a corrupt practice? We humbly ask! India Against Corruption must decide!


Meanwhile the top stories at the moment:  

Col Muammar Gaddafi was killed in Libya today. After a NATO strike on Gaddafi’s fleeing convoy fighters belonging to National Transitional Council of Libya killed him. Forty two years of dictatorship and brutal rule came to an end thanks to the eight month old bloody struggle by the rebels. Celebrations all around in Libya. Declaration of liberated Libya expected soon.

Team India win the revenge series against England 3-0. At an exciting match played at Mohali today India beat England by five wickets with just four balls to spare. England batting first posted a challenging total of 298 for 4. India finished the game 300 for 4 powered by sound opening partnership and overcoming a few hiccups midway.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Latest Articles!

India Vs England Tomorrow! India lead the five match series 2-0. Tomorrow revenge will be completed? Are they prepared?
Read Here....

The three Khans are huge stars of Hindi Cinema! But if we look at the facts we see they are mostly living normal family lives...except few hiccups! 
Read Here...

Team Anna in deep trouble? Politics of corruption unfolding fast! 
Read Here...

Your big boss can really give you jitters sometimes! But how can a mere comma come to your help?
Read Here...

When you dabble with your gadgets like a simple mobile, just be careful...because great danger may be lurking round the corner! 
Read Here...

Just enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Corruption Rigmarole!

Article first published as The Corruption Rigmarole! on Technorati.

Now statistics reveal that the Anna impact of Hisar by-election is around fifty thousand votes! This means the Congress candidate opposed by Team Anna polled fifty thousand votes less than he did in 2009 and lost his security deposit.

Okay, since Team Anna says that corruption symbolizes Congress their anti-corruption campaign has resulted in taking away that much votes from pro-corruption (Congress?). Unfortunately, this is not the correct picture.

Because, statistics also reveal that the winning candidate and the second ranked candidates have one and two court cases pending against them. We may not delve into the records of their illustrated fathers in their governance here, but records do tell a consistent story. Incidentally, the Congress candidate had no cases pending. And, the winning candidate and the second ranked candidate polled more than hundred thousand votes each compared to 2009.

So, why did Team Anna support them, though indirectly? They maintain that they did not support the other candidates and only asked people not vote for Congress (corruption?). But for whom the people were supposed to vote then? Team Anna just cannot tell them to abstain, because that will be most undemocratic thing to do in the largest democracy of the world. So, votes were indeed cast for maybe for a variant form of corruption about which Team Anna had been maintaining an eternal silence since the beginning of the movement.

To confound matters, nobody acknowledged the Anna impact. Not the winning candidate, not the second candidate, not the routed Congress party and not even the beneficiary national opposition party BJP that had supported the winning candidate and had been attacking the ruling party repeatedly for corruption while one of their prominent leaders was put in jail and denied bail.

Corruption seems to be having a rich variety of faces and forms about which Team Anna does not seem to be aware of. If they lead a mass movement against corruption they, at least, must be able to recognize the faces.

Damn it, how does corruption look like? Could anyone please enlighten this hapless writer?\

More disturbing news! Two Team Anna members resign in Delhi and leaves team. Arvind Kejriwal get a shoe thrown on him at a meeting in Lucknow. And, Anna is still silent! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Hisar Connection--Team Anna Claims Victory!

Article first published as The Hisar Connection--Team Anna Claims Victory! on Technorati.

The suspense drama over the Hisar by-election has finally ended. Kuldeep Bishnoi of the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) supported by the country’s main opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won the three-cornered contest.

Bishnoi won only by a narrow margin over the nearest rival Ajay Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). The congress candidate came as the distant third—almost the same scenario of 2009 general elections.

The irrepressible Team Anna member, Arvind Kejriwal, has already claimed victory and sent out a message to the ruling coalition led by Congress that ‘the result is a lesson to learn from’. But the winning candidate dismisses Team Anna’s campaign as ‘no impact’! The Congress too writes off any Anna effect as it never won the seat since 2004.

Now, Bishnoi is the son of Bhajan Lal, a former Chief Minister of Haryana, who won this seat in 2009 and it became vacant on his death subsequently. Chautala is also a son of another former Chief Minister of the state and the fight was basically between these two. The only difference between them could be that the Chautala rule had more records of corruption cases!

The real twist for Bishnoi came from the last minute BJP support and exactly here the Anna effect could be palpable, because the BJP has been reaping the maximum mileage out of Team Anna’s anti-Congress or rather anti-Corruption campaign. Thanks to the huge scams unearthed during last two years the Congress has come to be literally identified with corruption. And Congress being in the ruling coalition or the government is naturally the only target. Corruption is common to most political parties, but only the party in power becomes the big target.

Kejriwal is quick to clarify that Team Anna opposed the Congress candidate only and did not support the other candidates. But once you dabble in politics things get really complex.

Since Anna Hazare in now ‘silent’ and his team is in a critical transition, the final word on the new political identity of Team Anna cannot be delivered as yet. Team Anna must realize their responsibilities better, because the millions supporting a noble cause may be easily misguided by petty politicking and insincere words.

In another by-poll in Anna’s home state of Maharashtra a sure-shot candidate jointly supported by the Congress was defeated by the BJP, though by the narrowest of margins. The significant fact is that the said candidate was the wife of the earlier candidate belonging of course to a different party who expired recently. Now, this could the real impact of the Anna wave.

But finally, what matters is what a political party does after being voted into power!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Hisar Connection!

Article first published as The Hisar Connection! on Technorati.

Anna Hazare, the great crusader against corruption in India, and his civil society members had campaigned heavily to get the candidate of Congress, main political party in the ruling coalition of India, defeated in the Hisar by-election for Indian Parliament held on October 13, 2011.

Hisar is situated in the Indian state of Haryana. What would have been a routine listless by-election on account of the death of the seating candidate has become a nationwide rage thanks to Anna Hazare and his team’s campaign as a part of the mass movement against corruption.

Team Anna had been asserting continuously their apolitical character and that they had no political ambitions. They said their only motive was to pressurize the government for the fast passage of a strong anti-corruption Bill in the winter session of Parliament starting November, 2011. But once you ask the people not to vote for a particular candidate you are indirectly supporting the rival candidates and by all accepted standards this means politicking. So, there had been ongoing mud-slinging and political banter.
The polling in Hisar was over seventy percent.

The Congress party is said to be resigned to defeat because it was the only seat the party lost in its sweeping victory in 2009 general elections in Haryana. So, only a worse than 2009 loss could mean some victory for Team Anna and if such a thing happens then Anna is most likely to claim it as the verdict of the masses against corruption.

But claiming any political victory amounts to a political victory only and by accepting it Team Anna’s avowed apolitical character is set to take a beating. In case of a surprise win for the Congress the scenario would be the worst for Team Anna. Apart from losing their apolitical character this would amount to a demoralizing political failure.

All attention is focused on the outcome expected tomorrow, October 17, 2011. But meantime Anna has started his vow of silence for self-purification from today. Now, with all the confusing questions and claims for victory or defeat Anna is going to be silent. If the onus of answering or claiming fall on the disputed members of Team Anna…well…confusion is likely to be confounded!

Whatever happens, the Hisar Connection is finally going to establish Team Anna’s political character beyond doubt.

Whether a civil society leading a mass movement against corruption should become a political body or not would be altogether a separate topic of intense debate set to continue indefinitely.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Religious Eating!

Article first published as Religious Eating! on Technorati.

Indian people have certain religious rituals associated with eating. But due to resurgence of modern times and thinking people are getting secretive about such rituals.

The crux of religious eating is simple to decipher. Just before embarking on your dish you think of God and thank Him for being so kind to provide such benefits.

I witnessed my grandfather doing those rituals elaborately whenever and wherever I had the privilege of having meals with him. He would always sit on the floor and make a circle of water drops around his plate of rice and other items. Then he would offer grains of cooked food on the water drops at the central point. This simply meant he was offering to God whatever he had access to eat. I used to wait eagerly for the rituals and enjoyed a lot.  Everyone present started eating just when he was ready.

These rituals are disappearing fast with the onset of modern lifestyle and people who know are becoming secretive lest others laugh at them.

Once having a dinner on transit at a railway canteen I accidentally saw one middle-aged person sitting on a table in front of me moving his hand around the rice plate and touching his forehead. He repeated this several times looking suspiciously around and in the process he discovered me staring at him—to his horror and mine too.

I instantly withdrew my look and concentrated my attention on my food knowing fully well that the person would keep on looking at me before he really ate. In a deliberative mood I started telling my wife about it cautioning her not look that side as if we were discussing some investment plans. I sensed that though the man started eating finally he still paid furtive glances at me trying to make out if I was making a joke about it.

If you are so noble and want to pray to God before having your meal why be secretive about it? I wonder! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Team Anna: A Classic Case of Impatience?

The basic question is ‘why Team Anna has to oppose or support a political party’. Anna Hazare and all his civil society members repeatedly declared their ‘apolitical’ nature and that they had no political ambitions. Then, why don’t they understand that opposing a political party has to be a political act, because the act becomes an indirect support for other parties. Already reeling under charges of having right-wing fundamentalist support Team Anna is not doing any better by asking people not to vote for Congress.

The Government had given a note on the historic evening of August 27, 2011 indicating their support for three basic demands of Jan Lokpal Bill and asserted its commitment to bring the Bill in the winter session of Parliament starting November.

But Team Anna is continuing with its never ending threats charges and invectives thus giving an open invitation to all political parties to indulge in mud-slinging. Kejriwal had sort of clarified that ‘we are appealing to people not to vote for Congress till it passes the Bill’. Just what is meant by this? Now you vote for the opposition parties and after the Bill is passed revert back to voting for Congress?  Are the Indian people so gullible? Supporting a great and noble cause does not make the supporters absolutely blind fools! On the other hand main opposition political parties are just cashing on the unexpected or maybe expected windfall thanks to Team Anna!

Team Anna, just why don’t you wait for the winter session to begin? Yes, it seems to be a classic case of impatience for a handful of individuals who have been riding on unprecedented national and international limelight. How could they afford to get forgotten or unnoticed ever for a day! Right?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dr. Prafulla Kataky Gets Amulya Chakravarty Translation Award.

The fifth Amulya Kumar Chakrvarty Translation Award-2011 was presented to noted author-translator Dr. Prafulla Kataky on October 9 at an august gathering held at the Veterinary College Auditorium, Guwahati.

Eminent writer Dr. Lakhsmi Nandan Bora officially gave away the Award to Dr. Kataky (third from left).

Dr. Kataky wrote and translated more than forty books and classics of world literature.

A local music group presented Borgeet-- an Assamese classical variety of vocal music--at the function.
Amulya Chakravarty's second son Jyotirmay Chakravarty--ADG of Police, Assam--also presented a few songs.
The need for high quality and genuine literary translation work was emphasized by the authors present in the ceremony. The function was organized jointly by Amulya Chakravarty Memorial Trust and Panjabai Sahitya Sabha (local literary body).

The biennial Award was started in 2003.

Detailed report in Assam Tribune.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ghazal King Jagjit Singh (1941-2011) No More!

Today, the 10th of October, 2011, 8.10am—the end of a momentous musical era. Indian Ghazal king Jagjit Singh breathed his last at a Mumbai hospital following a brain hemorrhage he suffered on September 23. He had been put on life supporting system and though there were signs of improvements in between death prevailed finally.

Jagjit Singh had a strong, soulful, filling and soothing voice supported by powerful melody that lingered in the auditorium and on the spellbound listeners. Along with his singer wife Chitra Singh Jagjit Singh created his own Ghazal genre that almost matched the popularity of the film music genre. His forays into playback singing and music direction for several mainstream Hindi movies and television serials heightened his music’s mass appeal even further. The singer-composer couple also created history in Indian music by using the first ever digital multi-track recording for their CD Beyond Time (1987)—India’s first digitally recorded album.

We did our school and college days getting to know his voice and his music. The Unforgettables (1975), the first Jagjit –Chitra Singh album to release in India and a huge commercial success—is still unforgettable and nostalgic for us. We came to love and grow with Ghazals thanks to Jagjit Singh. Ghazal, a complex and poetic musical form in Urdu language having its Arabic origins, had been simplified by Jagjit Singh with the inclusion of easy lyrics and modern musical instruments to increase its mass appeal. His commanding voice and infusion of melody revived an almost dying genre. Despite having the greats like Begum Akhter, Mehdi Hasan, Talat Mahmood and Ghulam Ali as contemporaries his music kept on growing more and more popular except for raising a few puritan and critical eyebrows initially.

Jagjit Singh had a sense of pain and melancholy in his voice that got more acute after his only son died in a tragic road accident in Mumbai in 1990. Though he fell silent for six months after the tragedy, this melancholy enriched his voice further making it more touching and appealing. He had left behind a huge body of work behind in a career spanning five decades and 80 albums. His concerts had been regular in different parts of India and abroad. He was to perform in Mumbai with Ghulam Ali on the day he was taken ill and hospitalized, never to return to stage ever.

We deeply mourn this great loss to Indian music and the Ghazal genre.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Why Road Rage Increasing?

Cases of road rage have been on the rise in almost in all parts of the world specially India. We see or hear or read about them regularly. There have been verbal fights, fisticuffs and even deaths. Why? There is a basic mentality involved due to which accidents happen too.
Based on observations and experience we can list out the following main reasons:
  • People are always in a great inexplicable hurry. They look as if a loss of even few seconds would cost them their life. Vehicle drivers and bikers get restless and agitated the moment something obstructs their smooth way. Curses, abuses and slandering come spontaneously leading to fights and even deaths.
  • They love their vehicles obsessively, irrespective of if they are proud owners or just chauffeurs. They cannot tolerate even the slightest brushing by another vehicle and get ready to kill instantly it happens.
  • They think they are always right and the other party is always the wrongdoer. They are ready to go to any extent defending their pompous righteousness. You just cannot reason with them, can only reason why.
  • A constant dislike for discipline and traffic rules and a blind love for speeding. Some big offenders like the trucks and the public buses lead the way and seem to inspire others.
  • Frequent traffic jams and increasing stress make the drivers angry and edgy all the time.
Solution? Well, the drivers must do the opposites of all the factors listed above. This involves changing the basic mindset. Traffic cops must be efficient, able and understanding, and should not always be on the lookout for a quick buck. The governments must enforce traffic rules and fully control the process of giving driving licenses.
Love your car, but love all the others too driving their cars. Drive safe and road rage will stop raging. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Assam Literary Translation Award Announced. Distribution Ceremony On October 9, 2011.

Amulya Kumar Chakravarty Memorial Trust, Guwahati will present the fifth Literary Translation Award-2011 on October 9, 3pm, at the Veterinary College Auditorium, Khanapara,Guwahati. The honors will go to another well known author-translator of Assam--the final winner is being selected by a distinguished panel of writers  from a few worthy nominations.

Official announcement has already been made and this year's Award goes to noted author-translator Prafulla Kataky. The Award consists of certificates and a cash prize.

My father, Amulya Kumar Chakravarty, had been our greatest teacher  in principles of honesty, efficiency and simple living-high thinking since our childhood days.  Today we are very grateful and thankful to him, and are proud to be able to lead our lives the way he so ardently desired. At a time when corruption is ruling the roost and movements launched against this evil, we remember our father for enabling us to live with our head held high. My younger brother, Jyotirmay Chakravarty, who is presently the Additional Director General of Police, Assam, has had a career known for efficiency and brutal honesty. He is also the winner of the President's Medal for distinguished service this year.

We hope this biennial Award, constituted and financed solely by our family efforts, will go on promoting the standards of literary translation works in Assam and also inspire everyone with values and principles held so dearly to heart by Amulya Kumar Chakravarty.

On his twentieth death anniversary today--the sixth of October-- we remember Amulya Kumar Chakravarty with fond and tearful memories.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mumbai...32 Bucks...Happy Living!

It's indeed time to rejoice and celebrate! Well, don't you know? The authorities have declared a brand new program! As per that if you manage to earn 32 rupees a are rich! Okay, little are not poor at least! Now you must be feeling a carefree mood. Just what are you planning to do with new-found richness...sorry not poor!

Have your day out! Go for a morning tea. Take a cutting at 4 rupees at the most dilapidated joint. Then plan your breakfast. Go to the same place and have Bada-Pao snack and again a cutting. At the most you will part with only 15 rupees.

Now plan your most important meal--lunch. Want to go for a better place and non-veg? But how much you have left? Still 13 rupees? You are best advised to group with other 'rich' mates and have a feast on any street side bowl kitchens. Nothing left for supper? No problem! Most of rich people fast often for making their bodies slimmer and trimmer. What? You are rich, man! Thinking of another day? Rest assured, tomorrow never comes!

Oh good god! You have a family too? No problem! Your wife must be earning 32 bucks a day too. Leave it to her to feed clothe and educate your children.

Hark! Make way for the new-rich please!
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