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Friday, September 27, 2013

Right To Reject: One Historic For Voters, One Shocker From Rahul!

The Supreme Court of India gave a historic judgment today. The public litigation petition demanding the Right to Reject for voters had been pending for last nine years and Anna Hazare during his Movement against Corruption in 2011-12 made a lot of hue and cry for this too. Today the Supreme Court put its seal of approval on this. Now voters can reject all the candidates in his constituency if s/he thinks all of them are crooks and useless.  There will be a new option in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), ‘None Of The Above’, so that all candidates of all parties could thereby be rejected by the voter. Exactly when the EVMs are going to be adjusted or the date of effect to this decision is a matter of pure speculation at the moment.

This is basically a negative vote, but the apathetic voters now need not sit at home and abstain from their constitutional duty. They can go to the polling booths and exercise their Right to Reject by voting for the new option. Maybe Voters’ Apathy could finally be tackled effectively. This landmark judgment has huge dimensions in terms of its possible repercussions, cascading impact and the final result. Politicians of all parties have been very guarded in their reactions and justifiably so. Already haunted by the words like ‘split votes’ or ‘hung houses’ they are scared indeed at the core of their hearts as to what this may finally lead them and the country to. The Supreme Court verdicts must be respected and followed at all costs. The consternation is more due to the Assembly Elections lined up for December, 2013 and then the real humdinger of a General Election in April-May, 2014. The Supreme Court very clearly points out that voting is a constitutional right while the right to reject is always a fundamental right. For all lesser mortals it is indeed a cause for great celebration.

Although not corroborated by facts the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi seemed to have been so very much inspired by this ‘right to reject’ that it immediately guided him making a brief appearance at an explosive press conference and rejecting the Ordinance on convicted politicians promulgated by his own government. At the Press Club in Delhi along with Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken Rahul said that the Ordinance was complete nonsense and that ‘it must be torn up and thrown in the dustbin’. He elaborated that all political parties made such compromises to suit their ends and his own party made a mistake in this same way. Just before making a dramatic exit Rahul was quick to add that this was his ‘personal opinion’. In the process he managed to shock literally everyone of all hues and colors—his own UPA government, all opposition parties, all varieties of the media and all citizens at large. Ajay Maken, continuing the press conference, supported Rahul by saying that his word is Congress policy. Several other Congress ministers followed with their support to their future poll prospect. That it has caused one more profound embarrassment for the distressed UPA government and finally the  Prime Minister who is presently in the USA is anybody’s safe guess. Some News channels have already started raging debates if the Prime Minister should really resign now. The opposition political parties including BJP especially seem to be fighting to come out of daze to properly react.

The Union Cabinet on 24th September had cleared the Ordinance to negate another landmark judgment of the Supreme Court that struck down a provision in the electoral law which allowed a convicted MP and MLA to continue in their post if they make an appeal to a higher court within three months and ruled that if convicted for a crime with a punishment of more than two years the concerned elected members must be disqualified instantly. This verdict was hailed in all sensible quarters in the country as an effective step to counter politicians with criminal backgrounds. The Government claimed that an all-party consensus had been reached on August 13 on this issue of negating the SC verdict and the BJP was very strongly in favor of legislation. Since the bill could not be passed in Parliament the Government took the Ordinance route. In this crazy political times the BJP vociferously opposed the Ordinance and yesterday represented with the President Pranab Mukherjee to send it back. This BJP move had tremendously angered the Government who termed it as the party’s consistent ‘double standards’. Now, with Rahul Gandhi coming out in opposition it is to be seen what the Congress led UPA government finally tells the President to do. In all, both these momentous events augur well for the lesser mortals of the country like us.

Meanwhile, the eloquent Information and Broadcasting Minister, Manish Tewary, seemed to in his elements at another press conference in the capital today just preceding the Rahul one. When asked by journalists to comment on the recent statement of Narendra Modi that ‘CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) is going to fight the coming general elections, not the Congress party’, the minister said, “At times the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi ends up speaking the truth only. Indeed, the CBI is going to fight the elections. The ‘Communal Bureau of Instigation’ is getting ready on his behalf for this’. And then he smiled, of course.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

India Vs Pakistan: PMs To Talk, Terrorists Strike Double Blow!

As the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was en route to the USA to participate in the United Nations General Session scheduled to hold talks with the Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines, terrorists belonging to Pakistan groups struck twice in the morning hours today. Three terrorists in Pakistan Army uniform entered Indian territory and first attacked a police station at Kathua in the Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir and then an Indian Army camp. Ten people including an Indian Army Lt. Col and four policemen were martyred. Gun battle raged on for most part of the day in the jungles and the Indian Army issued a release announcing the end of the operation and confirming that all three terrorists had been killed.

The Indian Prime Minister condemned the attack saying that such dastardly attacks were aimed sabotaging the peace process. He, however, maintained his determination to push forward the dialogue by meeting Nawaz Sharif on Sunday. The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister also said that the terror attack was launched to derail the Indo-Pak dialogue. Meanwhile, it has been all slam and bang all over India with the opposition parties, mainly the BJP, slamming the Government for its weak kneed response to terror and for going ahead with PM level talks. Jingoistic voices have also been heard across the country including media newscasts and discussions.

Questions are many. While it can be argued that it is very necessary to carry on with the dialogue on a bilateral level for a lasting peace between the two neighbors the question remains as to peace at what cost. And, peace talks with which Pakistan—the Pakistan held hostage by the anti-Indian forces or the Pakistan with the normal people who want peach like the normal Indians? The Government of Pakistan represents which one? As per all facts and figures available always at India’s cost the terrorists and the Taliban dictate the government there to tread continually on the anti-India route. When would the democratic Pakistan show courage enough to get bold and take on the terror? When would the Pakistan Army get itself disengaged from the militants? When would the Pak process of eternal denial end ushering in peace rationalism? When would Pakistan break out of the stigma of a rogue nation? For India now—how to achieve peace with Pakistan and at what cost? At the moment it seems futile to chase a mirage called peace.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Humor In Corruption: The Grateful Bribe Taker!

The corrupt are the most despicable creatures infesting our Mother Earth in large numbers, particularly India. This is just not right not to be seriously critical about it. However some amount of humor in corrupt practices is always there to tickle you in the abyss of absolute darkness. And, if you are corrupt you can still laugh in a guilt-ridden introspection and maybe you give it up in the effort to enjoy. If you are honest you can laugh all the clearer and louder. Since in the present constipated situation in India you need to laugh out a lot we have decided to start a new Series ‘Humor In Corruption’ on September 8, 2013 and today this is the second installment. If you have your experience on this please leave your plot or write out the full story as a ‘comment’ below. We will publish it in your name.

Once upon a time somewhere in India I was having my warm cup of tea wrapped up cozily in woolens with the newspapers for extra company that wintry morning. I was on a family visit to one of my relatives in a lonely little town. My relative was an officer of the civil service posted there. I was to take the afternoon bus back home that day.

There was a knock on the door, and immediately the man servant came up to open it. As the door opened I could get a glimpse of two men in not so presentable attire fighting against the cold and with rather haggard looks. The servant asked them to wait and ran inside. I directed my attention back to my newspaper assuming that, as usual, they were the locals with those land related problems or issues.

My relative entered with a bovine smile as if he was expecting them, and waved them inside. Only then I noticed the loads they carried. One entered with two real big river fishes and laid them on the floor. The other entered with a maund of rice (maybe around 25 kilos), opened it a little and showed the variety. I immediately recognized it as the finest quality of rice with a sweet fragrance. The men stood aside bowing respectfully.

Aware of my quizzical looks my relative assured me, “Grateful folks, you know! How I helped them to clear their land settlement issues! No…it is not what you people want to think. They are just expressing their gratitude. This rice they have just harvested from the land they own now. And the fish…seem almost alive…no? Caught live and fresh from their ponds in their courtyards, you see!” The men remained expressionless all the while not even with faintest hint of a smile or grin.

I muttered to myself, oh really! They hardly sow and harvest this kind of export quality rice these areas. …And the fish seemed too big for their ponds. They must have spent a lot of money to be ‘grateful’. I kept on staring at the ‘gifts’ and back to the grinning officer.

Sensing my total unwillingness to believe him my relative came and sat by my side grinning ear to ear now. He called the servant who took away the loads to the kitchen. The men saluted and left. He leaned back on the sofa philosophically.
“You just cannot refuse such wonderfully simple and large hearted local folks, can you? That will break their hearts. It is only the love and joy they want to share with you. Anyway…I would suggest you stay back for the night. Have a feast! You’ll really relish the fish curry with that steaming and fragrant rice!”

I decided to take the 11 o’clock bus so that I did not have to stay even for lunch.  I refused to think about how heavenly the fish curry would taste.

“Grateful people!”
“(to myself) Grateful, huh? Try to fool me…you bloody fool!”

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Global Terror: The Frightening Reality!

Till that unbelievable 9/11 attack terror did not seem to be a global phenomenon. But since then terror became an industry with the formation of many groups having their bases in countries like India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Internal factors of these countries made themselves prime targets of the attacks. India has been bearing the brunt of it in a major way since 1993 with many of its cities continuing to be soft targets. The US interests—financial, military or strategic—in these countries and the growing conflicts thereof finally brought terror to the US in a most inhuman way in terms of the 9/11 attack in 2001. Al-Qaeda emerged as the global force of terrorism. However, even then it could be said that terror did not assume a global role thanks to efforts on counter-terrorism by USA and to some extent India. After more than a decade terror returned to America in April, 2013 in terms of the Boston Attack and last Monday’s (September 16) attack on the US Naval Base where shooter (s) killed 12 people is still shrouded in mystery regarding any possible angle to terrorism. Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan continued to bleed all the while and India got hit again after a gap of 2/3 years. The scenario is fast changing and the frightening reality of a Global Jihadism is just about unfolding.

Now, Kenya, Pakistan and Iraq in the space of just one day—all mindless, barbaric and demonic attacks. On Saturday a series of bomb blasts killed at least 96 innocents. Night the same day terrorists mounted a cowardly on a crowded up-market mall in Nairobi. Around 10/15 gunmen mowed down the innocents with gunfire and even grenades that continued to Sunday today. At least 60 people including 2 Indians were killed and about 200 injured. The attack bearing a sinister similarity to 26/11 Mumbai terror attack is still not over as several terrorists are still suspected to be inside the mall holding hostages. Shebab, a terrorist group belonging to Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack citing revenge for Kenya’s military action in Somalia. And on Sunday today, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in front of a historic church in Pakistan killing more than 60 (rose to 78 later) innocents. This is seen as the biggest terror attack on Christian minority in Pakistan. What follows next and in which town or cities of which country it is hazardous even to guess. 

High time India evolve an global counter-terrorism policy in close association and cooperation of other countries like America. For India stakes are not only at home, but considering large chunks of Indian population in many other countries India must take the responsibility of protecting its citizens. The US is becoming increasingly unwilling to take up counter-terrorism operations single-handedly and therefore a global effort is need of the hour. Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh while reacting to a day of unprecedented terror violence emphasized just this fact. For this India need strong and committed leaders. High time political leaders come out of politics in national interest. It hardly helps matters that on Friday the 20th September a terror suspect of the Indian Mujaheddin just ran away from a court in Mumbai and Mumbai police did not have a clue for two hours. An intensive manhunt is still on to track the terrorist. Get ready now for any eventuality anywhere in the world. Time is running out. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

IPL Fixing Scandal: Son-in-Law Chargesheeted, Father-in-Law Still Wants To Be In Charge!

Mumbai Police today chargesheeted Gurunath Meiyappan, the former Boss of IPL franchise Chennai Super King (CSK) and son-in-law of the step-aside BCCI Boss N Srinivasan, for betting and leaking crucial team information along with Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh and twenty others. Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf and 15 bookies were also named as ‘wanted accused’ in the 11,500 pages long chargesheet filed four months after the IPL Spot Fixing Scandal rocked Indian cricket and the world of cricket. Gurunath Meiyappan who was arrested on 25th May, 2013 has been charged under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, sections 4 and 5 of the Gambling Act. He has also been charged under sections 465 (forgery), 466 (forgery of record of court or of public register), 468 (forgery for cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 490 (breach of contract), 420 (cheating), 212 (harboring the offender), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. Vindoo Dara Singh provided the Bollywood connection to the scandal and was allegedly working in close association with Meiyappan. Both of them were granted bail on 3rd June. As per reports they have been charged only for betting and not for spot fixing, maybe due to lack of concrete evidence. The next date for hearing on the chargesheet is fixed as November 21, 2013.

‘Unofficial’ owner of the CSK and ‘de facto’ Boss of the Indian Cricket Board BCCI, N Srinivasan termed his son-in-law as just an ‘enthusiast’ when Meiyappan’s name came up in the scandal, but as the muck gathered his Board was forced to suspend Meiyappan. Now, N Srinivasan washes his off on his son-in-law saying that Meiyappan was already suspended and will have to face it entirely on his own as the law takes its due course. Well, the ‘doting’ dad-in-law cannot risk any link to any of his family members or friends simply because he cannot afford to give up on his hopes of bossing the BCCI again. During the peak of the IPL Fixing Scandal involving his own team and his own son-in-law plus the national clamor for his resignation he was, of course, forced to step aside, but he managed to do it in such a way that his clout over the BCCI was never impaired. Now, he is set to seek reelection as the President of the BCCI at the Annual General Meeting scheduled for 29th of September, 2013 in Chennai and he exudes full confidence in garnering the required votes.  Meanwhile, Asad Rauf claimed his innocence from the IPL Fixing Scandal while reacting to he being named in the chargesheet.

When corruption is the mantra for a degenerating country you can only imagine how many million chargesheets would be required to effect some clean sense in. Be it cricket or sports, politics or anything. We can only hope for positive developments. Let the good things happen…faster…effectively.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mumbai Rains: Final Monsoon Cheers And Onion Tears!

The 10-day Ganesh Festival in Mumbai this year was highlighted by one unique natural element—rains. It was termed unique because of its unerring consistency. Lightning and thunder marked almost every evening of the period with accompanying rains—at times quite heavy—most of the times. Mumbaikars worshiping their beloved God got almost used to it and made preparations in advance every evening. Most of them were not at all disheartened as the rains submerged the soaring heat bringing welcome cheers. Mumbai has just recorded the lowest-in-a-decade September day temperature. However, a lot of them were very disadvantaged caught by lighting and thunder on the beaches on most of the immersion days.

The consistency even improved. On the day of final immersion that is Wednesday-September 18 intense bursts of lightening and thunder started around midnight. And then the heavy rains that continued throughout the night and all of Thursday wiping out any rain deficit some areas might have been having even after a very productive South West Monsoon-2013.

One major cause of this unique consistency could be that the whole of August saw little or no rains. And of course, the Monsoon must have been planning all the time to bid a very strong and memorable adieu to Mumbaikars. However, man is immensely capable of negating Nature’s benevolence and bounty with exemplary greed, malevolence and selfishness.

Despite a most welcomed productive Monsoon the prices of vegetables, particularly onions, soared, soared and soared. The official reason shown was that there were excessive rains in some onion-producing regions of Maharashtra affecting the production adversely and therefore prices would have to remain high till new crops arrived in the markets. But experts confidently say that while production fell by just 10 percent prices rose by nearly 250 percent. Imagine, a vegetable normally selling for 10-15 rupees rose to 70-80 rupees a kilo. Add all kinds of costs including transport costs to the earlier price accounting for everything and even after that the hike cannot be justified. Experts say further that in wholesale markets the price is around 55 rupees a kilo and with all costs included the retailers cannot sell it for a price more than 60 rupees a kilo. The experts stop here and do not want to explain further for obvious reasons.

Well, there is windfall season for all middlemen and retailers with the political network thrown in as the hapless farmers look on puzzled. Not only in Mumbai, but all over India. No doubt mortals like you and me are shedding onion tears of absolute separation, but the ‘rightly’ blessed ones are rolling over the loot. What could the government do apart from sounding hollow warnings to hoarders not to artificially hike prices of onions by keeping back stocks illegally?

Why shed tears o’ fellow citizens? Say no to onions! You won’t die of hunger! And, next time don’t vote for the ‘onion politicians’!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mumbai Ganesh Festival-2013: A Rousing Farewell To The Lord!

Ganesh Festival-2013 is coming to a close today as millions of devotees fill the streets of Mumbai to bid a fond adieu to their beloved God. Lord Ganapati, the peoples’ God who stands for showering happiness and success, and destroyer of all obstacles, has arrived this time in the city on 9th of September when more than ten thousand public organizers and more than a hundred thousand household worshipers brought and installed the Ganesha idols. As per customs and rituals some of them immersed the idols in the Arabian sea on pond specially provided for Eco-friendly idols on the 2nd, 3rs, 5th and the 7th day. Today, the 10th day as per the almanac this year (normally this festival lasts for 11 days), the last farewell is being accorded to Ganapati.

You can see a sea of humanity on every beach of the city and the surrounding areas and streets giving the administration the biggest traffic challenge of the year every year. Mumbaikars are used to this great day when they hardly venture out with cars during the peak time and if they do go out on urgent errands they promptly return home by maximum 4pm. The local holiday declared every year on this day helps both the public and the authorities. Security arrangements are also foolproof thanks to the constant efforts to prevent lawbreakers and most importantly terror strikes.

The great immersion is set to continue till tomorrow morning as big Ganapati idols take time weeding the way out to the beach with devotees waiting to give their last prayers at every junction. Like the King of Lalbag (Lalbagachyya Raja) sets out on the journey in the morning of the 10th or the 11th day and the final immersion takes place on the morning of next day. Devotees constantly chant prayers fondly and request Him to come back early next year. The scenario is same in every city and areas of Maharashtra with only the size or volume of the processions varying. Jai Ho!

Humor: Who Is The Common Man?

Three friends are discussing and debating about whom could ideally be described as the common man:

Friend 1: “Common man is someone who has to struggle very hard to get everything from onions to ownership flats.”
Friend 2: “Common man is someone who suffers the most from all the hikes—be it petrol price, LPG price, bus or taxi or train fares, cereal prices, water or electricity rents and so on.”
Friend 3: “Your definitions mean that common man includes the poor or the poorest of the poor too apart from the middle classes. That makes it more than ninety percent of our population. Yes, utterly common indeed.”
Friend 1: “You are dead right. It is so common that you tend to find thousands of them packed into every square kilometer.”
Friend 3: “You forget something there. Common man is also someone most loved by the politicians. They cannot even exist without the common man. Their manifestos, policies, declarations, rivalries and fights and all are centered on the common man.”
Friend 2: “But then, why the common has to struggle still? Politicians do everything for them only.”
Friend 3: “Because the common man gets divided between too many bidders and in the process moves back to square one before every election. The highest bidder again promises bigger benefits and the common man falls for it again.”
Friend 1: “And, the uncommon man that is less than ten percent of the population capitalizes every time,  rolls on the benefits provided to the common man and saves more and more money election after election.”
Friend 2: “What is the most common factor about the common man?”
Friend 3: “Forgetfulness.”
Friend 1: “What is the most uncommon attribute the common man must accumulate to get uncommon?”
Friend 3: “Commonsense.”
Friend 2: “Where do you find the largest stock of the species of the common man?”
Friend 3: “India.”

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday The 13th: Death For Delhi Rapists, PM For Modi And Life Ban For IPL Spot Fixers!

Friday the 13th September, 2013. If you remember the movie for the sheer horror of it you must remember this particular date for the sheer excitement of it. One-two-three…on three counts of major developments in India. This date is considered unlucky as per superstitious beliefs of Western culture, but this particular date proved auspicious and lucky on three major counts. An auspicious beginning for a rape-tormented country as all the four accused in Delhi Gangrape rape were sentenced to death by a fast-track court in Delhi. It definitely proved lucky for Narendra Modi as the faction-ridden BJP finally managed to take the bold decision of anointing him as its Prime Ministerial candidate for General Elections-2014. A triumph for all genuine cricket lovers as the disciplinary committee of the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) imposed life bans on Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan for Spot fixing in IPL. Proof enough to make you reconsider the scare long attached to ‘Friday the 13th’!

Crowds Waiting For Verdict
The whole nation waited with unabated breath as the fast-track court in Delhi reserved its verdict for the afternoon of Friday the 13th September, 2013. Finally dot at 2.30pm Indian time yesterday the court straightaway announced its verdict of death penalty for all four accused in the Delhi Gangrape case. The Bench observed that the shocking brutality involved in this case made it ‘rarest of rare’, and the criminals could not be spared the capital punishment. Whole of India welcomed the decision—the victim’s family expressing happiness at justice being given after nine months; the political parties considering it as the beginning of a new chapter for increasing conviction rate and preventive punishment in crimes against women; almost all intellectuals saying such stern measures are indeed required to instill fear into the minds of rapists and all women activists and youth leaders welcoming it as a positive step. Huge crowds gathered in front of the fast-track court demanded the same punishment to the brutal juvenile currently lodged in reformatory for a maximum of three years.

Modi Anointed By BJP President Rajnath Singh
If you thought the anointment of the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as Chairman of BJP’S Campaign Committee in June this year as the first step in eventually making him the Prime Ministerial candidate too you were almost proven wrong. Because, the BJP found itself back in square one as earlier. The pioneering BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani who resigned from his posts prior to the earlier Modi anointment and had to be injected a series of right-wing ‘advice’ to comply opposed this time too and kept crucial senior leaders on his side.  BJP troubleshooters worked throughout the night of 12th September and commendably succeeded in convincing senior leaders on the side of Advani to participate in the party’s Parliamentary Board meeting the next day for the formal announcement. This time the supportive right-wing organizations did not stay limited to only advice, but volleyed directly for Narendra Modi. However, the veteran still could not be won over and Advani did not participate in the Board meeting and instead shot out a strong-worded letter to the BJP President.

The BJP President said he had followed the anti-incumbency factor and the growing countrywide popularity of Modi that justified his decision. Finally around 6pm on Friday the 13th September Narendra Modi was declared as BJP Prime Ministerial candidate for the forthcoming general elections. Old guards are getting sidelined for allowing in the new wave and this seems to be the right step. However it is na├»ve to think that the most powerful old guard Advani would behave nicely and cozily hereafter. Apparent divisions in BJP are speculated widely by both the media and the ruling parties particularly Congress.   With Rahul Gandhi almost projected as the UPA Prime Ministerial candidate General Elections-2013 is set to assume the form of a presidential poll like in USA. However, the states and the immense diversity of India makes any general elections altogether a different proposition blessed with glorious uncertainties. The alleged polarization factor of Modi form of politics is also another serious angle to look into.

Chavan and Sreesanth
Finally some good news for genuine cricket lovers. Two of the cricket fixers in IPL Spot Fixing Scandal, S Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan, who were arrested and jailed in recent times, were banned for life by the disciplinary committee of the BCCI yesterday following an extensive report submitted by the anti-corruption committee of the Board.  Three others were handed lighter sentences while the fate of the king-pin spot-fixer Ajit Chandila was not yet decided. Meanwhile, Sreesanth said that he would appeal against the life ban in court.

Friday the 13th. A date to remember. For positive reasons, not the scares!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Delhi Gangrape: Convicted But Debate Delays Punishment!

India is a country much used to outrages and debates. Maybe we have mentioned this earlier in these pages. When something horrific happens the nation gets outraged. By the time outrage eases debate takes over. And by the time debate takes over everything about it literally gets over. Back to square one the nation waits for the next most catastrophic to happen.

A fast track court in Delhi convicted all the four accused (the main accused was found hanging in his cell in Tihar Jail sometime back and the another got away with three years for being a ‘minor’) of the Delhi Gangrape case on September 10, 2013. They were found guilty in all thirteen charges made by police against them. Judgment was to be declared today, but got postponed till Friday as debate took over. This is despite all the major forces pitched in this case including the victim’s family, major political parties, the women leaders and the youth organizations demanding death for the rapists most emphatically and vehemently.

Unfortunately in India the worst possible criminal finds a ‘defense’ lawyer who always vouches for the ‘innocence’ of his/her clients. Even terrorist Ajmal Kasab who butchered innocents in full view of the world got a lawyer to ‘defend’ him. The courts listen to their arguments too and various irrelevant factors like ‘poverty’, ‘economic compulsions’, ‘impressionable age’, ‘no previous criminal records’, ‘the families of the criminals’ etc get brought into play. As if the criminals are driven to commit unheard of brutalities by these factors only and at heart they are the angels of angels. What to say or do, this is our legal system ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ is a part of it.

For God’s sake, why a sub-human criminal cannot be considered that and that only! Why their inhuman acts are no longer important as the cases progress? Why their families are dragged into the picture by covering them publicly and even airing what they have to utter? Why talk of reforming these brutes as if the honour and lives they have devoured are material enough only for getting outraged and starting debates? How do you know you can reform them? Won’t these perverts clutch at the straw to escape capital punishment? How can you risk the honour and lives of many more women again when you let loose these ‘reformed’ animals in the society? High time India stops to be a ‘democracy’ when you deal with enemies of mankind.

We demand Death for the Rapists. Don’t ever wait for the ‘rarest of rare cases’, give them death in every case. Don’t get outraged in your comfort zones. Don’t debate. Come out in the streets. Take Action. Now!  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Humor In Corruption: The License To Drive Your Hurdles Away!

The corrupt are the most despicable creatures infesting our Mother Earth in large numbers, particularly India. This is just not right not to be seriously critical about it. However some amount of humor in corrupt practices is always there to tickle you in the abyss of absolute darkness. And, if you are corrupt you can still laugh in a guilt-ridden introspection and maybe you give it up in the effort to enjoy. If you are honest you can laugh all the clearer and louder. Since in the present constipated situation in India you need to laugh out a lot we have decided to start a new Series ‘Humor In Corruption’ from today. If you have your experiences on this please leave your plot or write out the full story as a ‘comment’ below. We will edit and publish it in your name.

Once upon a time one young man in a town somewhere in India submitted an application for a driving license in the local office. He had already bought a second-hand scooter and learnt how to drive it too through a friend trainer. As per normal procedure he was called for a driving test consisting of mostly objective questions. He wrote out his answers feeling relatively confident that he would sail through.

To his utter dismay he was informed that he failed miserably. He understood that some people there wanted money and if he reappeared the same result would follow. Therefore, he approached a family friend who was a high-ranking civil service officer. The officer spoke to concerned people in the transport office and asked the young man to go there the next day.

The young man nervously entered the room of the transport officer. His answer sheet was immediately called for. As the clerk brought it for inspection by the officer the young man could see the cross marks encompassing the sheet. The transport officer took his pen; cut out the cross marks and put in the ‘right’ marks against all the questions. The young man sat there spellbound.

“Okay…you have passed with distinction. Come tomorrow for the driving test and get your license.”

The young man was finally ready to drive away to ecstasy while some souls there in the office shed tears of agony of a missed opportunity.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Humor: The Swarm In A Teacup!

Say No To Tea!
We have already seen how some snobbish and ludicrous bosses try to cut down on wasteful office expenditures. All such characters necessarily boil down to the entirely harmless cup of tea. They deprive their lesser colleagues and visitors of their intrinsic right to a cup of tea as if by doing that they manage to save a whole lot of expenditures. This is only an extreme case of being pound-foolish and penny-wise. At the moment we would like to regale you with another classic example concerning your harmless cup of tea.

The boss in a local production house wanted to adopt austerity measures and it was factually doubtful if he was actually directed by his headquarters to do so. And he came down heavily on the tea served now and then from the hospitality budget. Maybe he wanted to show his tea-clout as some of his furious colleagues would like to say. The office hospitality account was available to him and the next two in the hierarchy, but suddenly the boss started book-keeping keeping a register close to his heart and checking it every alternate hour for possible tea entries. There was an immediate austere impact as the eligible colleagues gave up on the hospitality and decided they earned enough money to buy and serve their tea. Meanwhile the boss continued to have his breakfasts, lunches and snacks from the hospitality apart from the tea.

There was a recording that day which involved a VVIP, and a large entourage, as usual, was expected. The officer in charge of the recording thought that since it was strictly official the boss would order tea for all in the rehearsal.

The tea did come indeed as the peon entered with the tray and placed a cup of tea in front of the VVIP. Then the peon went out and the officer in charge hoped that he would reenter with more cups for the other visitors. But that never happened. In huge embarrassment and anger he stormed out and shouted at the peon for such uncouth manners. The hapless peon stammered that the boss ordered him to bring only one cup of tea. The furious and frustrated officer took out his purse, handed out a note and instructed the peon to bring tea for all and a cup specially offered for the boss. And, he took a resolve then and there never to take tea from the hospitality account.

Well, what people do to save a few cups of tea! In India, normally a full cup of tea is never offered and people are used to take only ‘cutting’ tea and in most offices in India the rates for ‘cutting’ tea is 4 rupees per cup. Therefore, if you serve tea to ten people per day your office incurs a cost of 40 rupees and maximum of 1200 rupees a month—a little more that 18 dollars (at current rates). There go your austerity measures!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cricket: Sachin Tendulkar To Bow Out At 200 And Retire?

The Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has crossed forty years of age having a glorious 24-year-long career during which he created and broke many world records and made 15,837 runs in 198 Tests with 51 hundreds. He has achieved the unique feat of scoring a century of centuries when we add 49 one-day hundreds to his Test tally. However, all good things finally come to an inevitable conclusion and therefore in case of this unbelievable cricketer too speculation about his retirement has been rife, particularly after he announced his retirement from one-day and T20 cricket rather suddenly. During the IPL-6 he suffered an injury to his left hand which perhaps advanced his retirement from IPL too. Meanwhile, he did recover fully from his injury and has been included in Mumbai Indians team for the Champions League this month. But two basic problems persisted all the time, first his age and second his indifferent form in Test cricket for the last 38 innings that did not witness a single century. On Sunday a sudden BCCI decision has brought this issue to the forefront again.

The BCCI in its meeting in Kolkata made an announcement about West Indies being invited to play a two-Test Series this November and reports say that West Indies has already agreed. This was really unexpected because India is already committed to play a bilateral Series in South Africa this November, 2013-January, 2014. Australia is coming in October for a 7-match ODI Series. From February to September, 2014 India have a packed cricket schedule too with West Indies coming for a full bilateral tour in October-November. Moreover, South Africa has not reacted well to this unilateral decision and what changes it agrees to make in the itinerary is to be seen.

The BCCI decision therefore is being clearly seen as a move to help the little master to complete the unique feat of figuring in 200 Tests on home soil. A feat no cricketer of the world has achieved so far. The two Tests are likely to be played in India’s cricket heaven Kolkata and the legend’s home-ground Mumbai. Nobody would ever want to miss out on the little maestro’s 200th Test in Mumbai and BCCI would definitely go to any extent to stage this momentous event. And befitting such a climax of climaxes Sachin Tendulkar would definitely to bow out after that saying a grateful goodbye to his fans and admirers all over. Yes, all good things do come to an end. But are we ready yet to see the last of our living legend Sachin Tendulkar?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Newsroom Humor: In Search Of The Dollar!

Even as the busy professionals of the local news channel get about making feature/interview stories on the nosediving Indian rupee against the US dollar in their inner minds they get perturbed too. They get the bytes of experts disturbing them further that the freefall is likely to continue for months and it would cross even the 80 rupees per dollar mark. Their meager salaries too threaten to mire them in the devaluation sludge.

Schemes for the poor like the Food Security Bill that promises to make staple grains available at 1-2-3 rupees per kilo bring out the contrast of the devaluation. They wonder aloud as the amused editor takes note:
“My goodness! See what just a single dollar can buy now in India! 68 kilos of coarse grains, 34 kilos of wheat and nearly 23 kilos of rice (at current rupee-dollar rate)!”
“Right! I have one solution. Pay salaries to all of us Indians in terms of dollars! Then you won’t need to implement any pro-poor schemes or programs ever.”

Of course, they laugh away the incredibility of the whole thing. Some other brainy buddies suggest other options as the amused editor looks on:
“High time we leave India!”
“Where? America? You are hardly welcome there nowadays, pal!”
“Well, we can still choose other countries where they pay you in dollars. And we must settle there. See, you go to study there your costs increase now by nearly 30 percent.”
“Okay…let us discuss this with our elders and parents. Maybe something acceptable emerges out!”

Of course, they grin away the impracticality of the whole thing. However, they get some news immediately that only corroborates their mutual consternation. A 68-year-old lonely Indian settled in the USA wants to get married and gives out matrimonial ads hoping to find a few applications from maybe 45+ or 50+ Indian ladies. But whoa! He gets more than 150 applications and counting that include even young girls in their twenties.

In view of the dollar-psychosis threatening to go viral it would be in America’s national interests to do something positive from their side too to boost the value of the hapless rupee or else face the biggest exodus of the Indian kind of the millennium!   
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