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Saturday, January 26, 2013

64th Republic Day Of India-2013!

The Republic of India has completed 63 glorious years today. The 64th Republic Day has been celebrated across the country with the main spectacular parade function in the national Capital of India, New Delhi. Honorable President of India, Pranab Mukherjee took the customary 21-gun salute and ceremonially unfurled the national tricolor for the first time after being elected into the top post. The chief guest of the function was the King of Bhutan. The great martyrs of the Indian struggle for independence were remembered with the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh paying homage to unknown heroes. All of the three wings of the Indian Defense forces showcased their strength and the most advanced and latest technological equipments and capabilities. Beautiful tableaux from 19 states of India had been presented highlighting the unity amidst diversity. Huge crowds braved the winter chill and filled in this historical treat of a magnificent display of India’s rich cultural heritage and military might.

On this day of January 26 in 1950 the Constitution of India came into force and made the largest democracy of the world into a vibrant Republic of the Indian States

We wish all of you a very meaningful and happy Republic Day. We hope India would be rid of all evils like terror, corruption, crimes against women and factionalism in the coming months. Peace, harmony and safety must adorn the great country as the most essential ornaments. Let the colors of the Republic Day be the true colors of India cutting across the myriad ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic varieties.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crimes Against Women: Absurd Reactions And Ridiculous Laws! Part-II

The nationwide awareness and repulsion about the crimes against women and the media plus government initiated campaigns notwithstanding there has been hardly a let up in more heinous crimes. The horrifying question that looms large before us is “Do these in fact inspire male India to learn more about how to commit crimes against women rather than preventing them from such acts?” The ineffective and ridiculous rape laws in the country are also contributing for such an ominously emerging scenario.

Few days back another heinous gangrape of a 29 year old woman happened in a moving public bus in Punjab. Contrary to the ‘Bharat’ theory it was a line bus that normally plies in rural routes and there was question of the lady dressing improperly. Still, the bus driver and the conductor overshot her destination village and took the bus to a distant location where five more fiends joined for the crime. In another shocking case a serial rapist was caught and sentenced to death by a Maharashtra court, but a few years later the high court acquitted him due to lack of ‘evidence’. Within months of his release the sick criminal raped and murdered another nine year old girl in the holy town of Shirdi in Maharashtra. Reports of minors being kidnapped, raped and murdered keep coming in with ominous regularity over the past days from across the country.

The syndrome of ‘evidence’ is one more vexing issue with the ‘evidence’ often accentuating the trauma of the victims rather the criminals. If a rapist is found to be under influence of alcohol when he committed the crime ‘evidence’ against him gets altered to the effect that at the time of the act he was not in his senses and therefore he was not responsible for the crime. This most ridiculous interpretation seems to suggest that one can get drunk and commit all sorts of crimes and still not be accountable. Similarly, the most brutal fiend of the Delhi gangrape case has been tried in juvenile court since he fell short by six months from the juvenile age limit of 18.

The fast court in Delhi started hearing the gangrape case from last Monday, the 21st of January 2013, and all proceedings have been carried out in camera. Absurd situations still came up with some lawyers coming up to defend the fiends and one fiend appealing to Supreme Court that the charged situation in the national capital could jeopardize ‘justice’ being given to him. The Supreme Court had to agree hearing this plea because the fiend was still a citizen of India with ‘rights’. The Human Rights Activists worsen the atmosphere of hypocrisy and gender bias further. They keep silent when atrocities are committed on women as if they have no rights, but become vociferous when the so-called ‘rights’ of the criminals seem to get violated.

Some progress has still been made since the 16th December of 2012. Various initiatives have been going on around the country demanding stricter rape laws, change in juvenile justice system and end of the gender bias and discrimination. The three-member Justice JS Verma Committee that was appointed on December 23 2012 submitted its report on 23rd January to the Home Ministry suggesting sweeping changes, but falling short of supporting death penalty or chemical castration for the rapists or demanding changes in the juvenile laws. In fact, a public petition for prosecuting the juvenile criminal along with the  adult accused if the Delhi gangrape case got rejected by Juvenile Justice Board yesterday. Here again, the ‘rights’ of the criminals get the first priority rather than that of the victims whose rights get violated, robbed, exterminated, brutalized…again…again…and again. 

More positively, a group of alert people prevented another heinous gangrape from happening in the city of Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Four fiends on bikes stalked and attacked a girl waiting for her brother in the street late at night. The group not only saved the girl but also captured one of the four fiends. The captured rapist was a murderer arrested once and then let loose due to lack of 'evidence'. 

The Young India Movement for Change must not let up and must continue in all its might till crimes against women cease for good. The spontaneous protests must pour back and continue to throng the streets till ‘male’volent India change for better…and permanently.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crimes Against Women: Absurd Reactions And Ridiculous Laws! Part-I

In the aftermath of the horrific Delhi Gangrape Young India decided to come out in the streets to build a movement for change. As the movement became stronger and spread across the country various changes in fact took place from banning of tinted glass vehicles to setting up of fast track courts. But the typically chauvinistic males of the patriarchal India hardly changed. On the contrary absurd reactions kept coming in casting aspersions on the victims rather than on the perpetrating fiends. And, ridiculously ineffective and archaic rape laws have been making the proceedings repulsive.

The commonest ‘advisory’ has been on the ‘clothing’ factor—what the victims wore and what the prospective victims should not wear. Surprisingly this huge group most often included ladies too—maybe due to the everlasting impressions imbibed from a patriarchal setting.  They say that girls or women tend to wear dresses that expose and naturally catch male attentions and provoke them into acts they would not have perpetrated otherwise. They remain as garrulous as ever even after you silence them with the following: 

  • If the fiends are attracted by exposure, are they immune to what the clothing hides?
  • Infants to grandmothers—none are spared. So what sort of ‘clothing’ exercise would they recommend for these victims?
  • If it is a personal matter for males to decide what to eat and what to wear, it must apply for the females too. Discretion and modesty as advised are applicable for both of them. If a male as per his habits finds a female offensively attired that does not give him the license to advise or control or molest or rape the ‘offender’.
In a reaction very similar to this kind of chauvinistic thoughts one right-wing fundamentalist leader opined that rapes happen only in ‘India’ and not in ‘Bharat’. By this weird classification he meant that urban culture of India invites atrocities against women while the quiet (covered?) ways of rural ‘Bharat’ vouch for less or no crimes. Well, the ancient traditions of ‘Bharat’ tell us volumes about how the emperors or kings picked and chose women to fill their harems, how the powerful officers or landlords did the same and how the males of rural India still do it. Since my childhood days I have been hearing the ‘wise’ saying “If you want a good life, control your women and keep them in absolute submission”. Rural India or Bharat does not need rapes to be committed in the open, because here everything gets done within the fours walls or under ‘cover’.

One spiritual leader said that the would-be victims should pray chanting hymns and call the would-be perpetrators as ‘brothers’ appealing to them to desist from their heinous act. He also reportedly suggested that the 23 year old girl in the Delhi Gangrape might not have tried used this option leading to her brutalization and eventual death. Well, the magnanimous leader too did not focus on the preventive aspects of the fiendish acts, but instead put the onus on the victims as has been the usual trend of male India.

Because of such colossal unwillingness of male India to come to terms with the basic problem more heinous crimes against women are still taking place despite the Young India Movement for Change and despite the nationwide awareness. (to be continued…)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cricket: And India Clinch The ODI Series Against England 3-1!

England’s record of ODI defeats in India got no better whey they lost the 18th one in the last 20 one day internationals played in India in Mohali today. India defeated England by 5 wickets with more than 2 overs to spare in the fourth one day international--a match that was far from being one sided like the last two. England started a bit too cautiously perhaps and seemed to be headed for another lackluster batting display when Root (57 not out off 45 balls) in combination charge with Kevin Pietersen (76) and Buttler (14 off 9) plundered nearly 100 runs from the last 10 overs giving the innings (257 for 7 off 50 overs) some respectability. Captain Cook tried his best putting up 76, but he had consumed far too many balls for that. The Indian chase too was not without hiccups and it could have gone either way more than halfway through. It was basically thanks to the Player of the Match Suresh Raina (89 not out off 79 balls) who was overdue to fire for India that India made it look easy in the end.

Indian skipper Dhoni won the toss again and again took advantage of the wintry and foggy morning conditions in Mohali to seam England in. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (2 for 30 in 10 overs) fresh from his last encounters fired all cylinders bowling non-stop again and making run getting most difficult for England. Ishant Sharma too looked dangerous and only Shami Ahmed proved to be expensive. Later in the innings Ravindra Jadeja proved his newfound all-round ability by capturing 3 wickets for 39 runs in 10 overs. Despite good knocks by Cook and Pietersen England could not post a total in excess of 280 which could have proved to be toughly competitive.

Non-performing Indian opener Ajinkya Rahane was replaced by another non-performing ‘star’ Rohit Sharma who was not known as an opener either. Fortunately for Rohit the fog cleared by then and he could finally justify his selection with 83 good runs. Gambhir and Yuvraj fell early, and Kohli too could not repeat his coming-into-form performance of the Ranchi match. Suresh Raina batted through with cameo support from skipper Dhoni (19 off 21) and Jadeja (21 not out off 27) to take India to an invincible 3-1 lead over England. Except for pacer Finn (1 for 39 in 10 overs) who was unlucky not to get more wickets and spinner Tredwell (2 for 54 in 10 overs) other England bowlers could not bowl their team to a series saving victory.

Again, poor umpiring affected both teams almost equally. The fielding lapses too were evenly shared by the teams. It is again a thumbs-up for Dhoni in limited over cricket where he is still the best. The Scorecard:

The last match of the five-match India-England ODI cricket Series to be played on January 27 in Dharamsala is set to be remembered only for providing the coolest cricket environment, but unfortunately temperature there is reportedly improving fast.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cricket: India Look To Clinch ODI Series Against England At Mohali Tomorrow!

With two back to back one sided victories India have taken a 2-1 lead in the five-match ODI cricket series against England. The last win in MS Dhoni’s hometown Ranchi was the most resounding one. One was in some bit of a doubt when Dhoni won the toss and put England in, but who would understand the Ranchi pitch behavior better than Dhoni himself! The Indian bowlers rallied behind a resolutely positive skipper to skittle England all out for 155 in the 43rd over. With a rejuvenated Team India the chase was a forgone conclusion as they romped home with nearly 22 overs to spare. The biggest plus of the match for India was Virat Kohli who roared back into form with a masterful 77 not out with 9 fours and 2 sixes. To the great delight of the home crowds Dhoni came in to hit the winning stroke remaining not out one more time at 10. India won the match by 7 wickets. After a long phase of indifferent performances, team selection issues and reported division within the team, India now look set to clinch the Series at Mohali tomorrow in the fourth one day international against England. For the victorious English captain the Test Series Alistair Cook tomorrow’s game is a must win to entertain any hope of adding to history made in India against India.

The India Vs Pakistan Sports Fallout!

Meanwhile, the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistan troops and then Pakistan’s continual denying tactics tremendously soured the relations between the two neighbors and had a profound impact in the arena of sports-particularly harming Pakistan interests. Just when Hockey India tried to take Indian hockey out of the abyss and floated Hockey India League (HIL) with IPL like auction and franchises all 9 Pakistan players were asked to return home—a few of whom featured in Mumbai Magicians franchise. The Women World Cup Cricket Tournament was to be an entirely Mumbai affair with all the matches to be played here from 31st January. After the LOC incident the venue of the tournament was in the balance with the Indian cricket board asking the ICC to take the final call. Eventually all matches involving Pakistan were shifted out of Mumbai. The Mumbai sore of 26/11 terror attack became bitterer and expectedly no chances were taken.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cricket: India Level ODI Series Crushing England By 127 Runs In Kochi!

Kumar Strikes For India! 
After losing the ODI Cricket Series against Pakistan and then the high scoring first one day international against England in Rajkot Team India at last found its winning ways in Kochi today when they crushed England by 127 runs and drew level at 1-1 in the five-match series. The victory came thanks to a positive MS Dhoni (72 off 66 balls) batting well with 7 fours and 2 sixes, and captaining his team well, and of course, the flyer from the Player of the Match all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja who made 61 in just 37 balls with 8 fours and 2 sixes. India plundered 108 runs in the last ten overs and 68 off the last five thus neutralizing their tentative finishing blues of late and posting a competitive 285/8 in allotted fifty overs on a pitch that promised to help the bowlers in the second session. Though the Indian opening pair struggled again, the team progressed predictably to 174/4 off nearly 40 overs and the worries about Virat Kohli continued despite his 37 runs, India finally did well winning the toss. For England Finn and Dernbach captured 2 wickets each while Chris Woakes, playing his first match in India replacing injured Brisnan, did not have a memorable experience.

Shami Ahmed who replaced off-color Dinda struck first for India capturing Bell caught by Dhoni with the score reading 4/1. Then India’s exciting newcomer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar dealt England deadly blows by capturing three top order batsmen bowling non-stop 10 overs for just 29 runs to reduce England to 73/4 in the 15th over—a position England could not recover from. Though Kieswetter and Patel tried to build a partnership the guiles of Ashwin and Jadeja did not allow that. England crashed to paltry 158 with 14 overs to spare. There were two umpiring blemishes in terms of lbws, but fortunately these were shared evenly by both teams. While ominous looking Yuvraj Singh (32) suffered the first, England captain Cook (17) jolted his team with his. The Scorecard:

If Team India can stick to its newfound confident ways the five-match ODI Series would really promise to open up with England led by top-form Alistair Cook never willing to do the double of Test and ODI Series win against India in India. The teams next go to Ranchi, Dhoni’s hometown, for the third one day international on 19th January.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Brutal Pakistan Attack On Indian Soldiers Inside Indian Territory!

Last few days we had been talking about revival of India-Pakistan bilateral cricket relations and expressed hope for a positive chapter of amiable relations between the two neighboring countries. But unfortunately today we are again jerked back into the usual sticky atmosphere of suspicion, distrust and denial. Why and how the same sore comes up again and again is the question that never gets answered. Cricket or not cricket.

Taking advantage of the dense fog and mist a group of Pakistan troops infiltrated hundred meters into Indian Territory across the Line of Control (LOC) in the Mendhar sector and ambushed an Indian patrol party. The attackers brutally killed two Indian soldiers and injured one. The marauders reportedly beheaded the two soldiers and carried one head back into their country. This is a blatant violation of  the LOC and ceasefire regulations. The brutal act cannot be accepted in any form of military confrontation. We strongly condemn this act and Pakistan must answer. The cycle of the eternal denial must be broken now and once for all.

The Government of India has termed this brutal attack as ‘provocative action’ and condemned it. The Government has vowed to “take up the incident with Pakistan Government and expected Islamabad to honor the ceasefire agreement strictly”. This Pakistan action follows the firing of mortar shells towards Indian Army posts across the LOC on January 6—the day the cricket teams of both the countries were meeting in the India capital Delhi for the third one day international match.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cricket: India Deny Pakistan A Clean Sweep In New Delhi Chiller!

The Airtel ODI Series between India and Pakistan was lost and gone when Pakistan routed India in Kolkata on January 3 and the third ODI in Delhi was reduced to a match of academic interest. But it was still India Vs Pakistan, and the crowds were all there to enjoy every bit of a rare encounter in the capital. When the two neighboring giants are involved every match is bound to be riveting whatever the statistics say. And what a match it turned out to be! It had all the ingredients of a typical India-Pakistan thriller strongly reminding one of the Sharjah low scoring classics. This ‘inconsequential’ match was almost written off by many when India winning the toss and batting first huffed and puffed, as usual nowadays, to just 167 all out in the 44th over. But Dhoni and his team sensed something in there for the bowlers and after a long time the Indian skipper looked positive and determined to make a fight out of it. The crowds stayed put there to cheer on the impossible. The Indian winning margin of 10 runs looked huge in the end.

It was a freezing cold day in New Delhi, but the surface of the pitch was dry promising a lot of runs. Maybe that encouraged Dhoni to try put on some runs on the board by making first use. Despite Ajinkya Rahane replacing a listless Sehwag in the openers’ slot the Indian top order acted the same way it has been used to over the last couple of years. They did not have a clue to the pace and the swing, and even to spin. All of them were tentative in putting the bat out in a kind of forward defense, but never coming decisively forward, failing to anticipate which way the ball would move. They continued to perish after consuming lots of balls, only Yuvraj Singh coming at 37/3 in the 10th over told them that boundaries could still be scored. But his quick innings was too good to last for long. When pace of Irfan (2 for 28) and Junaid (1 for 17) seemed to have engulfed India it was finally the spin of Saeed Ajmal (incredible 5 for 24) that finished off India for 167. Suresh Raina (31 off 60) and captain Dhoni (36 off 55) gave the Indian bowlers something to fight for. Interestingly Dhoni got out in a one day international in India after for the first time after March, 2011! Pakistan was set to notch up the first ever clean sweep of 3-0 over India in India.

Intense and accurate bowling and a top class fielding effort from the Indians made run making difficult for Pakistan right from the start of their innings with wickets falling in regular intervals thanks to youngster Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2 for 31). Skipper Misbah (39 off 82) and Umar Akmal (25 off 50) struck a productive partnership and at 113/3 in the 34th over Pakistan were well on course. But spinner Ashwin broke that partnership by sending off Misbah and when Jadeja got Umar Akmal stumped the match suddenly in the balance. Inspired spells by Ishant Sharma (3 for 36) and newcomer pacer Shami Ahmed (1 for 23) stopped Pakistan crafting a victory from the jaws of defeat for their country. Mohammad Hafeez (21 off 31) who refused to give up was the last man out caught by Yuvraj off Ishant Sharma and Pakistan got all out for 157 in the 49th over giving desperate Team India a memorable win. MS Dhoni was chosen Player of the Match for his positive vibes and Nasir Jamshed who scored two back to back super hundreds got the Player of the Series award. Significantly there was not a single half century in the entire match. Pakistan win the ODI Series 2-1 and take home the Airtel ODI Trophy proudly.  The Scorecard:

This much needed win gives India some heart to face up to England for the forthcoming ODI Series starting on 11th January in Rajkot. But the cumulative rot in the Indian team cannot be wished away with this exciting win. Suddenly the Indian bowling that has been under the hammer constantly looks better thanks to the sprightly youngsters and its batting that has been the strong-point for years is in turmoil. Humiliations piled up both abroad and at home make the hard decisions a must. The money-rich Indian Cricket Board likes it or not. 

This short India-Pakistan Series after five years is expected to help bettering relations between the two garrulous neighbors. It was heartening to watch supporters of both the countries enjoying and expressing themselves freely in the packed stadiums. Cricket lovers in both countries would definitely want more and more cricket classics between the two arch-rivals in the near future.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hosts Thrashed Again: Pakistan Clinch ODI Cricket Series In Kolkata!

The rot in the Indian cricket team became only too visible again today at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata when Pakistan thrashed the hosts in the second one day international by a massive 85 runs taking an invincible 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI cricket Series. The money spinning and superstar-laden hosts are no longer safe even in their own backyard. It was not for nothing that India suffered successive eight Test defeats abroad; it was not for nothing that England visited them at home and annihilated them in Tests; it was not for nothing that their batsmen, spinners, pacers and fielders continued to fail miserably match after match. The IPL brand icons could not even win the T20 Cricket Series both against England and Pakistan. And, nothing still is going to happen to the Indian team as we had said earlier. How could anyone dare change it? Once the superstars are out of the national team their respective club teams would be thrown out of business! 

Overcast conditions again here in Kolkata like in the first ODI in Chennai and for a change captain Dhoni won the toss. The ‘conditioned’ skipper naturally did not opt to bat first fearing the seam and the swing of the dreaded Pakistan bowlers. But the Indian bowlers could not take any advantage, as always. Pakistan roared to 141 for no loss in just the 24th over and looked set to run away with the match scoring in excess of 300. Yet, Dhoni’s IPL favorite all-rounder Jadeja led a fight-back with Ishant Sharma in particular and Pakistan lost all ten wickets for the addition of only 109 runs with nearly two overs remaining. The target of 251 was not unattainable at all for India in India. For Pakistan Nasir Jamshed achieved his third successive hundred against India (his first in Dhaka in Asia Cup in March this year and the second in Chennai on 30th December, 2012) scoring 106 splendid runs. 

Dhoni justified his defeat in Chennai by saying that the seaming pitch behaved better in the Pakistan innings, but here in Kolkata perhaps the pitch conspired against him considering the way the Indian batsmen struggled to get runs and perished in heaps. The IPL maestros suddenly lost the perspective of scoring quick runs in limited over formats as each batsman consumed a huge lot of balls for the runs. Captain Dhoni (54 not out in 89 balls) presented the only half century of the innings, but he seemed to have lost his faith completely in last minute miracles. Team India fell 165 all out in 48 overs.The Scorecard:

Maybe this shameful Series defeat against the archrivals Pakistan at home will not be taken lightly by the cricket administrators. Maybe something could change for Indian cricket. But the looming IPL in April-May this year cannot be wished away!

The India-Pakistan cricket magic has been disturbed this time. No twists and turns, only heavy one-sidedness. No if-you-win-first-me-next turnarounds, only Pakistan and Pakistan…winning. The third and last ODI in Delhi on January 6 thus gets reduced to a formality. But with England coming ‘thrashing’ back for the ODI Series against India the superstars may just make a last ditch effort, not for national or any kind of pride, but to stick to their positions in the team for deal life till, of course, the IPL.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

India: New Year 2013 Welcomed On A Heavy Note!

New Year 2013 had been ushered in on a sad and heavy note throughout India. The horrific gang-rape of a 23 year old girl on a moving public bus in New Delhi on the evening of 16th December, 2012 had cast a shadow of anger, anguish and grief all over the country. Spontaneous protests broke out mainly in Delhi where the girl battled for life for days and the Young India Movement For Change started spreading to other parts as safety for women became the primary concern. The suffering girl was shifted to Singapore early morning on 26th for better treatment, but her brutalized and battered body gave up the fight early morning of 29th December. The nation plunged into grief. The sad mood got further accentuated by more crimes against women reported from various parts of the country in a brazen display of indifference.

The Government of India at its highest level decided to cancel all New Year parties and celebrations. The Indian Army issued advisory to all its formations across the country not to celebrate New Year 2013. The refrain was adhered to by the other two wings of the Indian Defense Services—the Navy and the Air Force—too. Many hotels and clubs in Delhi and other cities followed suit. Our media channel Doordarshan canceled all its entertainment programs made specially to usher in the New Year at all regional levels.

In the national capital Young India continued the protest rallies and silent sit-in demonstrations throughout the past days and nights including the New Year eve and on the New Year today defying the biting cold.

In Mumbai candle marches, protest demonstrations and anti-liquor public meetings were held late into the night yesterday. The revelry was visibly much less than witnessed last year or in recent past. Fireworks were scattered and subdued at the strike of midnight.

Respect women who are also your loving grandmothers, mothers, sisters and wives; ensure safety for all them locally, regionally and nationally; carry on the Young India Movement for Change to press for stringent rape laws and effective policing with working helplines; debate tirelessly on the punishment options for the rapists ranging from chemical castration to the death penalty and take action at the very sight of those dreadful animals and protect your sisters stoutly. Only these can make 2013 a
Year     for all of us and all of India
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