Sunday, 1 October 2017

BAPU








Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or BAPU as he is reverently referred to by countless people in India and abroad celebrates his birthday on 2nd October as Gandhi Jayanti. It is also celebrated as the International Day of Non Violence as declared by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution adopted on 15th June 2007.

Bapu was instrumental in getting us our freedom from the Colonialism of the British and the methods he adopted were Satya and Ahinsa - truth and non violence. His dogged perseverance, non co-operation movement, countless fasts, simple lifestyle and several non violent movements forced the British to finally let the Indians replace the Union Jack with their Tricolor and let them run the Country as free citizens of Free India - this happened on 15th August 1947. 

Since then India has moved on and progressed with leaps and bounds, but the ideals propagated by the Mahatma as Bapu was referred to are more relevant today than ever before. Bapu stood for simplicity and equality for all. So anyone who wishes to follow Bapu has to start with this. There can't be discrimination between two set of Indians and that's what Bapu stood for. Of course he stood for cleanliness and self reliance but that was to inculcate in his Ashram the habit of self reliance and cleanliness amongst his disciples. Obviously he wanted this habit to spread all over but then why pick and choose. He also wanted simplicity to be adopted. Bapu himself was an epitome of simplicity. All he had in his possession was a dhoti and a lathi and a pair of spectacles. He used his Charkha to genuinely spin his own clothes as well as spread awareness about Khadi among the masses, as he believed that wearing home spun khadi was promoting India. He didn't spin khadi to show himself off as the promoter of his image rather he did it as it was one of his daily routine. So whoever wishes to emulate the Mahatma has to start from his simple lifestyle. He mostly traveled on foot with just his lathi to give him company and that automatically triggered off a revolution. He commanded respect not demanded it, and of course he was amenable to all, meeting world leaders to journalists to the common man. Dalits were very dear to him as he believed that they were God's favorite and he didn't do it as a matter of hypocrisy or to promote himself or his party but because he was genuinely fond of them and wanted to uplift them.

We need more people like Bapu today as simplicity, truth and ahinsa has all but vanished - lets build an India which Bapu wanted where all people are treated equal, there are no discrimination based on religion caste or creed.

Those indulging in huge shows to showcase Bapu need to pause, are they doing it for him or for them? Depending on the answers they have to modify accordingly.

Cheers! 

The Unforgettable Hits Jagjit & Chitra Singh,Sarakti Jaye Hai, Bahut Peh...





crispy clear stereophonic sound for your listening pleasure - enjoy and I commend the person who has recorded/edited it - Cheers!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Fateful disaster on Elphinstone Bridge





A terrible tragedy occurred at the Elphinstone  Station foot over bridge on Friday morning at around 10.30 am on 29th September 2017 in Mumbai - ironically it was Durga Naumi Day.
Lakhs of people cross this foot over bridge at all times of the day more so during office hours - it connects Parel and Elphinstone Road railway stations, many cross over to change suburban trains - who knew they would cross tracks altogether and be crushed in a mad stampede on the stairways leading and exiting to this foot over bridge.

It had rained that fateful morning and the entrance and exit leading up to the stairways was all full with dirty rain water which had gathered with no means to properly drain it out. People had to get on with their lives, jobs, errands, festive shopping all sorts of things were to be completed. Suddenly there was commotion on the stairways which was already full to capacity and somebody slipped. Coupled to that was a rumor that the over bridge was shaking and could collapse.

Soon enough people were trying to exit the bridge as soon as possible which lead to old people, women and children falling down only to be suffocated or trampled upon. It was a horrible sight which shouldn't ever be repeated. People in their hurry to save themselves put pressure on those in front who couldn't bear the onslaught and were grievously injured or paid with their lives.
Surprisingly there were no police present to control the crowd nor was there any person from any Govt. department to try and evacuate the stumbling people. It was much after the tragedy had already occurred that police arrived but by then it was too late and people had already succumbed to death.
22 people perished in this disaster and countless many were injured with various degrees of injuries on their bodies.

This disaster could have easily been averted had pleas to build a second foot over bridge alongside the present one been accepted and work started in right earnest. Yet nothing was done by the then Railway Minister who had agreed in principle to sanction a wider bridge in Feb 2016 yet for reasons best known to all of them the work never started, and innocent people paid with their lives.

It has been noticed that hawkers and peddlers of petty goods invade this over bridge and make the passage of people even more difficult. Beggars add to this commotion. One may ask where was the law enforcement agencies in such a scenario? The answers are not far to seek. Most of them were bribed to stay away by these very people who lead to the over crowding.

Had the concerned people woken up in time and started construction of the better and wide over bridge this could have been avoided. The stairways are also small and slippery. This could be replaced with an enclosed escalator with proper maintenance as in metro stations and the problem could never have occurred.

Yet in India things just don't move until there is a calamity or people die in some major incident such as this one. Sad but true. This is not the only one, there are several other pressure points where over bridges need to be widened or rebuilt - people cross over during rush hours and incidents such as these are just waiting to happen.

The powers that be, have to be quick in their decision making and implement decisions where safety and survival of people are concerned.

Take this as a wake up call and please start implementing things on the ground. Believe me the peoples lives are important and can't be taken so lightly. They will in turn bless you. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

Women in urban India - a perspective








Taking up from where I left - let me today focus on the perils of being a woman in urban India. Women today have come a long way since Independence. They are represented in almost every sphere of life and get an opportunity to rub shoulders with their men counterpart yet there's a nagging doubt which prevails in India when it comes to women.

Everybody wants to cash in on this feeling that they(the men) have done or did something for the women. Take the much hyped instance of a lady becoming Defence Minister - it was actually touted as 'an event' - unlike when a lady became External Affairs Minister. Not to say it's not a great achievement - it surely is - but shouldn't it come naturally as a person being selected for hard work and integrity hence finding place in the Council of ministers as a consequence - that's it - why should we 'segregate' it into something else - a battle of sexes.

Similarly take the Reservation issue - what was stopping political parties across the spectrum from giving tickets to 33% of their women candidates - in election after election only a minuscule percentage of women were given tickets by all parties - but no, first it has to be 'categorized' as something being 'reserved' or kept aside for women - I agree if it's 'reserved' it will become mandatory for all parties to field that many women candidates - but the same result could have been achieved by progressive thinking within political parties that women form the backbone of half the population of this Country and therefore need to be given a voice in the political sphere and decision making of India.

Unfortunately that's the way things move in India. For every move made there are 'manipulative' people 'behind' the 'gratitude' as if crumbs are being doled out. Coming back to the topic at hand women in urban India are still in the 'fledgeling' stage - for every little inch of victory they are made to fight - be it the issue of  Triple Talaq or women being inducted as future fighter Air Force pilots, or being given a stellar role in the armed forces.

Sexist remarks at work or while going to work are common without realizing that it's a criminal offence cognizable by law. So the thinking of our glorious males needs to change. Women cannot be made the butt of sexist objects - they have to be respected for their individuality and what they decide for themselves. What they wear eat or drink should be their own decisions. The males in whatever role they maybe - fathers, husbands, or friends need to understand and appreciate this position of women.

If women have to claim their rightful place in society they have to come forward and demonstrate their skills and capabilities to handle problems independently irrespective of male gaze, domination or interference. Women have to stand against discrimination at work places, at home, and in various spheres of life where they have reached through dint of hard labour and on their own.

India is a Nation where Goddess Durga is worshipped and women have been placed on a high pedestal both in our religious scriptures as well as both culturally and socially. So are we evolving as a progressive society or being regressive so far as women are concerned. A small incident of an inter caste marriage evokes a monstrous response. A harmless advertisement giving indication towards 'safe sex' draws ire from various quarters.

We started out by giving tremendous respect to women but as our society progressed we can't get regressive towards women - rather it should be the other way around - there should be equal opportunity for women in all spheres of life and a sense of involvement in taking independent decisions.

The principal Opposition party in India has been led by an able woman who was also at the helm of affairs for the period of 10 years when the same party was in power and the Country progressed at a decent pace. Even today there are several women leaders in the present Cabinet of ministers who are doing very good work quietly and efficiently. Several women are running successful businesses and are heading bureaucracy. India has its fair share of sports personalities in girls and women who have done the Country proud. India has had its share of great women leaders like Indira Gandhi who took the Country forward so there's no reason to feel dejected.

Let's hope India will show the way in treating women as equal partners in its development - Cheers to that sentiment.