Friday, 30 December 2011

Time to bid adieu to 2011

As the year 2011 draws to a close, its time to bid adieu to the old and ring in the new. Its time to introspect on the things which you've done, and those which you wished you could have done. Never mind, if you missed out on any opportunities, think about the flip side, the things you were able to achieve. The hopes you generated for people all around you, and happiness you shared. So what if you tread on a few toes to get to your destination, the important thing is that you didn't hurt any feelings while getting there. If you were able to achieve your destination by not being unduly harsh to others, you have done your job well.

Keep up the good job, don't get too perturbed by the incidents all around you, the road rage, the political gimmickry going on by parties who do public posturing. Things will change slowly and steadily, people with courage and conviction will come into politics and take this great Country forward. People who don't believe in filling their coffers with the money that rightfully belongs to the country. People who will treat politics like any other profession and do their job honestly, diligently, passionately and with integrity. Parties who look towards the good of the country more than scoring brownie points by underscoring each other.

Time will change and could be as early as 2012. We may see a savior emerge from the ashes who will lead this country to its destination. With this brighter thought lets say Good bye to the year 2011, and prepare to ring in the new year 2012.

Cheers!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Sans Frontiers: A surprise visitor - An Insect Beauty

Sans Frontiers: A surprise visitor - An Insect Beauty: Few days ago, Mom found a surprise visitor walking in all grace and elegance on our balcony. An absolute beauty it turned out to be!! It...

Sans Frontiers: Madira & Menaka

Sans Frontiers: Madira & Menaka: Once in a while when I happen to be in Guwahati, I often go on a walk along the river beach. And when I do so, I am being accompani...

Sans Frontiers: New year Count down!!!

Sans Frontiers: New year Count down!!!: 2011 is coming to an end and 2012 is fast approaching. The countdown has begun ...Each second ticking away in full gaiety is leaving s...

Mamta Banerjee ----- a game changer today

Mamata Banerjee of the TMC  has turned out to be the "game changer" in the fight for the Lokpal Bill. The Congress has fulfilled its commitment towards bringing a strong Lokpal Bill, which it made towards the Anna team. After having successfully passed the Lok pal Bill through the Lok Sabha, now it was the turn of the Rajya Sabha. It is well-known that the Congress party does not have the required numbers to get the bill passed from the Rajya Sabha. It was now therefore upto the opposition parties, as well as the allies of the government to get the bill through. But now it seems that the bill has been caught up in a large number of problems. Starting with the issue of reservation for minorities  being provided in the Lokpal panel, we have the problem of State Lokayuktas" being appointed under the Lokpal bill, which was opposed by all the regional parties including TMC, as well as the principal opposition party the BJP. A large number of amendments to the bill have been moved by the TMC, the BJP, the Samajwadi party, the BSP and other regional parties. It is quite ironical that the same parties who had supported the government in helping the bill pass through the Lok Sabha, should block the bill in the Rajya Sabha. Parties like BSP, TMC, RJD had staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha so as to enable the government to get the bill passed in the Lok Sabha. The same parties have taken a different stand and moved amendments on several clauses of the Lokpal bill. Majority of these amendments relate to the reservation clause, the Lok Ayukta being appointed under the Lokpal bill, and the bill being brought under Article 253 instead of Article 252 of the Constitution of India, greater autonomy to the CBI  and so on.

The whole exercise seems to be to discredit the Congress party who have taken the initiative to get the Lokpal bill passed through the Lok Sabha, and present to the people that it was because of the faulty bill brought about by the government that it could not muster support to get it passed through the Rajya Sabha. As it is the elections have been announced to the five state assemblies which are scheduled to vote in the month of February 20 12. In the event of the Lokpal bill being passed by both the Houses of Parliament, it would have been a dream come true for the Congress party to be able to tell its voters, that it has delivered on its promise of fighting corruption. Now the game adopted by the opposition parties, mainly the BJP seems to be to get the bill defeated somehow on the floor of the house and put the blame on the Congress party that it was not able to muster enough support to get the bill through the Rajya Sabha because of the faulty clauses put in the bill. The BJP has been known to block all the legislation introduced by the Congress in the past like the bill relating to FDI and other bills relating to reforms sought to be introduced by the government. It is small wonder then that the BJP would be the first party to block all attempts to get the bill through the Rajya Sabha where it is in majority. As it is, the regional parties do not want the Lokpal bill to be passed because of the fear psychosis it has created in the minds of the politicos that they would no longer be free to carry out their uninterrupted corrupt practices, which were being indulged in till now. The Lok Sabha having been adjourned sine die, no joint session of Parliament can now be called to introduce any amendments to the Lokpal bill in the Lok Sabha. The last day of the Rajya Sabha is in progress and therefore it would not be possible for the government to get the bill passed in the Rajya Sabha in its present form. It would therefore be in the interest of all that voting does not take place today in the Rajya Sabha and the bill is deferred till the budget session of Parliament. Till then the government would have taken into consideration the various amendments suggested by members of Parliament of various parties, and perhaps a more comprehensive bill would emerge which satisfies most of the parties who are playing politics today. Let's not agree to disagree every time and create confusion and chaos for the ruling party. It would be in the fitness of things for all parties to cooperate with the ruling party and act in the interest of the country as a whole. The government has made a Herculean effort and brought in a Lokpal bill which is quite comprehensive and has been able to pass it through the Lok Sabha. Unfortunately because of the diminished numbers in the Rajya Sabha it is not possible for them to get the bill passed on their own over there. It therefore becomes the duty of all opposition parties not to play petty politics at this stage and to bail out the government in its hour of difficulty. Today it is the Congress, tomorrow it may be the BJP which may be the ruling party, and I'm sure they would not like to face the same situation in which the ruling party finds itself today in. After all there is nothing wrong in getting a comprehensive Lokpal bill passed which is in the interest of all people, rather than cause the huge embarrassment for the ruling party which is catering to the whims and fancies of all concerned like the Anna team, as well as whimsical parties including its own allies. Hope the parties will see reason and bail out the government in its hour of difficulty. Cheers!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Is the Indian woman today really liberated

Is the Indian woman really liberated today? Can she really claim parity with men in this regard ? Question we should be asking is, are men ready to accept that women are liberated, is he ready to accept that women today need to be free from" his clutches". A man is free to party, he's free to flirt, free to take independent decisions, and generally lead his life as he wants it to be. But what happens to the woman, is she free to do the same ? Can the woman today take free independent decisions, can she speak her mind freely without having to think twice, take decisions which involve financial stakes, decisions of far reaching consequences, and generally game changing decisions. Let alone these major decisions, is the woman today free to take equally small and insignificant decisions like what she intends to buy, what she wants to eat, what she should wear, choose her friends, parties to attend, chose her companions, likes and dislikes, and generally how she runs her sex life, without being monitored.

A man perhaps would not think twice before having a fling, or taking advantage out of a compromising situation, which involves a lady. Don't think, if a man gets the opportunity to sleep with a beautiful woman,he would let go of that opportunity. Consider the same situation with a lady. If she got an opportunity to sleep with a man, she would perhaps think multiple times before going ahead with it, she will perhaps weigh the pros and cons associated with the situation, and even if she goes ahead with it, will keep feeling guilty about it for ages to come. The woman always has to suppress her desires, whether sexual, personal, financial or those relating to her household. Why does she always have to depend on a male to help her take that decision, or in most cases not to take the decision. Either it's a father, a brother or a husband, the woman always has to bend a little and show that she is the one who would have to compromise in case of a tie.

Let's take the case of a woman who for some reason (and does there have to be any reason) feels attracted to a male who is probably not connected or bound to her by any personal ties. It is natural sometimes for a lady to feel attracted towards the member of an opposite sex for various reasons. It may not be necessarily sexual, it could be a compatibility issue, perhaps she may feel more comfortable in the company of another male friend, with whom she can share her innermost desires, her innermost feelings. Would her husband, father or brother, or any other male in her life, be willing to listen to her feelings, would he be willing to accommodate her desires? Would he be able to understand that the person he calls his wife,sister or daughter, may occasionally have to let go of her feelings and she may also have some inner desires, some fantasies, some dreams/aspirations, which she wants to fulfill. In case she shares this intent/wish with the man closest to her, would it be reciprocated in the right way. Would the man in her life understand her feelings and let her go ahead with her wishes. I have my doubts if she would be able to make her own choices. Therefore to say, that the woman of today is really liberated, is an understatement. For a woman to really liberate herself, it's the man who will have to change himself first. If the man in her life decides to accept that a woman today also has certain instincts, desires, feelings,hopes,dreams and fantasies that she has to fulfil or may want to fulfil, it is then and only then that the woman would be truly liberated. Unless that sea change happens, the woman will never feel liberated, no matter how many' Dirty Pictures' we may make or hold discussions on the subject, or protest that women also have a right to express herself, whether expressly or implicitly. 

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Friday, 23 December 2011

The Lokpal Bill 2011 debate -- Anna vs Government. Is the fight necessary?

The Lokpal Bill 2011 has finally been introduced. Even before it was introduced, there were numerous discussions on TV channels all over the country about the merits and demerits of the Bill. One English news channel even went to the extent of procuring the draft of the Lokpal bill even well before it was circulated in the Parliament, started a debate outside the Parliament, early in the morning, discussed it for 5 min and thereafter proceeded to reject it in 2 min. Reactions started pouring in from members of team Anna, all of them denouncing and rejecting the Bill as if some snake had been let loose in their backyard. Is this the way an important piece of legislation for which the country has been crying hoarse since more than a year now, should be handled? Is this the way members of team Anna should be behaving now that majority of their demands have already been met by the members of the Parliament? Here I want to make it clear that the Lokpal Bill actually was not started at the initiative of team Anna but was already in the process of being drafted by the Congress party, for which they have a separate drafting cell comprising of Ms Aruna Roy and other members, basically known as the National Advisory Council. When this process was almost complete, the corruption scam started breaking out in the country, and in the background of this, the Anna phenomena was born.

Now after due deliberation, consultations and a lot of all-party meetings, the Lokpal Bill 2011 has been introduced.Good bad or ugly, this Bill is here to stay and the whole country is wanting the Parliament to take up this Bill for discussion. Now is the time to rise up to the occasion and hear out the views of the members of Parliament representing various parties. Unless you allow the members of Parliament to present their views how can you come to the best conclusion. There might be some shortcomings in the Bill as presented, but unless you hear the views of other parties the best consensus cannot be evolved. Some parties are averse to the idea of the CBI being kept out of the Lokpal. Without defending this, I wish to state that making the CBI somewhat autonomous would serve the purpose better rather than bring it under the Lokpal. In a diverse country like India, where corruption stems at every level, in every nook and corner of the country there are bound to be floods of complaints against a whole lot of functionaries involved in the execution of the government policies. In such a scenario it would be foolish to overburden the Lokpal to such an extent that it crashes down under its own weight. In any case all this has to be looked at in a comprehensive manner. Apart from the Lokpal bill, the government has also introduced various other bills which take care of the situation and deals with corruption in its entirety. We can mention here the Whistle Blowers protection Bill, the Citizens Charter Bill and the Public Redressal  of Grievances Bill and the Judicial Accountability Bill. If all these bills are considered together, most of the problems regarding corruption facing the people today, would be taken care of. Whether it works out or not, only time will tell but then that is the case with every Bill which is passed by Parliament. If need be, amendments can always be carried out to specific sections of the Bills and it is not as if a bill which is passed will remain that way forever. These Bills are also open to judicial scrutiny, and they will be challenged before a competent court of law as and when the need arises. My only concern is that let the lawmaking body do its job. If a parallel set of agitation is sought to be carried out outside Parliament it would be a mockery of Parliament. The government has heeded to the voice of the people, sought to be represented by Anna and his team. They have labored hard to bring out these various pieces of legislation so that the problem of corruption can be sorted out. Give the parliament a chance, let them discuss the various bills placed before them, threadbare and then only we should be in a position to comment on the same, or agitate as the case may be.

Agitation just for the sake of agitating is never in the interest of the country and it will not serve the purpose for which the agitation is sought to be carried out. The people of this country should not be brought to a breaking point now and again, mayhem should not be created in the name of removing the government every now and then. A government once elected has to last its full term, unless for some compelling reasons it falls on its own or resigns. Everyone should understand that the government of the day is for the people and by the people. The people should have faith in the government and in turn the government should be allowed to do its job. If the credibility of the government and its actions are questioned at every step, no government would be able to survive, and anarchy and chaos would prevail. I'm sure we don't want the same to happen to our country. We have attained freedom after a lot of struggle, now we have to carry the country forward and see that it gains its rightful place among the prosperous countries of the world. I'm sure the government of the day is aware of that fact and will do its job well. In case it doesn't, we all know what to do,when the next general election is announced. Till that time, let the government do its job, keep a check on its actions, and bring it back on track in case it strays from the right path. Cheers.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Politics - The Anna factor in India today

Anna - charismatic or enigmatic. The way Anna's campaign has captured the imagination of one and all is astounding. True, it all started off with corruption in high offices, the corruption which was brought to the forefront and rightly so, and no one is defending that.The Courts' will take care of that. Off late, Anna's movement has started showing strains of what it really aims at, it has now become absolutely apparent, that it is purely a political movement aimed at discrediting the government of the day, making it look weak in the eyes of the people at large.

When the movement of Anna took off, corruption was at it's nadir, the government was on the back foot, both inside and outside Parliament. It was being attacked on every move they made, their actions were suspect in the eyes of the people, and they had lost credibility. Perfect stage set for Anna to come in, and motivate the people against the corrupt practices highlighted in the media and elsewhere. The people just lapped it up, it was as if a Messiah had descended on the earth, a second Christ's coming, who would clean up the government, remove corruption and save them from the small day to day problems of corruption which they faced. Most of this corruption was related to ration cards, and delay in passports, small bribes to be paid for petty work to be done. Tax refunds and so on and so forth. The people were actually looking for an authority which could reduce these day-to-day problems of corruption if not totally extinguish it. Helped by generous followers of various groups, the methods adopted by Anna were an instant hit with the masses. His fasting for days together captured the imagination of the public, bringing back memories of Gandhi against the colonial rule, and the revolution had truly begun. The Government of the day made matters easier for Anna by making him a martyr overnight, by arresting him, and thereafter following the public outcry, by releasing him inside the jail premises. Anna made full use of the God send opportunity by sitting on a dharna in side the room of the top cops  in jail itself, and refused to leave till martyrdom was fully attained. Period. So far so good.

The Government was galvanized into action, what followed was a flurry of activity on the part of the government. A team was hastily created with half of the members of the Anna team being inducted for the drafting of the Lokpal Bill. The bill which was finally prepared was not acceptable to team Anna and what followed thereafter was another battle between Anna and the government, which saw the government buckling before Anna's demands. The entire opposition along with the government and joined by the Speaker made a frenzied appeal to Anna to call off his fast and a strong Lokpal Bill was promised. As part of its promise, the government formulated a standing committee which held a series of meetings and thrashed out the Lokpal bill threadbare. The bill as prepared by the standing committee, was circulated and again comments were invited from team Anna. Based on feedbacks, some changes were proposed and again the bill was prepared accordingly. At the last moment however the government preferred to re draft certain portions of the bill, giving the impression that the government was again buckling in to pressure.

The bill which has now been made ready after a lot of deliberations, is ready to be presented in Parliament. Anna has however made his intentions clear to boycott the bill, and to start a relay fast for three days and thereafter intensify the agitation and move on to the States where the polls are being held in early part of the next year. Intention has now been made clear by Anna, that they will campaign against the Congress,( a fear expressed earlier by many Congress leaders),in these coming elections. This move will directly benefit all the other parties especially the BJP, but will definitely go against the Congress. The ultimate plan has also been unveiled today that in the national elections to be held in 2014, they will campaign for the removal of the Congress party. The hidden agenda is thus out in the open, and events have proved what the Congress has all along been saying that Anna has the backing of BJP and its associate parties like the RSS and Shiv Sena.

The Congress party which has been trying its best to appease Anna and his team before the elections begin has found all its hopes dashed. It should understand that the agenda of opposition parties is only one fold, the removal of Congress from power. It is therefore very important that the legislation as planned by the Congress party and its policies are put before the people as well as Parliament. Let the people decide whether the ultimate objective of what the Congress party promised in its manifesto when it came to power, has been fulfilled or not. The BJP has been successful in fighting a hidden agenda by standing behind Anna and letting him throw muck at the Congress party. So far this tactic seemed to have worked. Now it is up to the Congress to appear to be honest and sincere in its efforts towards the people. Since Anna is banking upon the people to support his campaign against the Congress, it now becomes imperative for the Congress party to unveil its grand plans for team Anna as well as expose the hidden agenda which they have been following all along. You can fool some people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time. The Congress party should now educate the people of this country on the gameplan being followed by the principal opposition party through Anna and his team. So outside Parliament, it is game plan Anna, and inside Parliament we see that all important legislations are being blocked by the opposition and a sense of insecurity and chaos is sought to be created in the country. In this power game being played by these parties, the economy of the country continues to suffer, and that is the main reason why the production level  has also gone down. Hope the Congress will negate the ill effects being generated from this fight between the opposition and the ruling party, and give the country a sense of déjà vu, a sense of prosperity which it badly needs, and clear the mess that has been created as a result of this fight. Cheers !

Snapshots



This is somewhere in Kasauni.
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Monday, 19 December 2011

Pets

After much deliberation, I dedicate my next post to my pets. I have a small dog, a white Spitz, and have named him Snowy. I remember the first time I met him was at a Nainital hotel in the year 2000. I was taking a walk in the lush green garden of my hotel early in the morning when I saw these small amazing pups playing in the field nearby. They were white in colour and extremely fluffy and playful. Their mother, whom I came to know later, was called Rinky, was lying stretched out next to them, as if guarding her booty.

When she saw me approaching her family, she looked up suspiciously, as if sizing me up and gauging my reactions to her small little pups. She needn't have bothered, as I was a maverick dog lover, who flips at the sight of cute dogs. As I approached nearer, I stopped some distance away from the pups, observing them play and bite each other playfully. At this point of time, out jumped this playful inquisitive creature, who was destined to travel with me and came running up to me. He just wouldn't leave me alone, biting at my pants and playfully climbing up on my toes. His playful manner and his innocent tactics struck a chord immediately and I decided to adopt him there and then. I enquired who the owner was and found that the mother was being looked after by a family,who worked for the hotel I was staying in. I struck a deal and immediately picked up the cute little pup and named him Snowy, for his delicate white colour and because I was very fond of Tintin and his dog Snowy.I don't know why but he reminded me of the comics I had read all through my childhood. Mission having been accomplished, I set about arranging for a small basket in which my little pet could be carried through my journey to my hometown.

We had to leave Nainital the next day via Ranikhet, and so stopped at the golf grounds in Ranikhet. As soon as I set Snowy down on the ground he went away running exploring the length and breadth of the vast ground now available before him. It was as if I had purchased the entire ground for him and he was the master of all. Yapping away with joy he ran at breakneck speed to cross the entire ground within seconds of his release. Amazed at his speed and agility, I ran after him, afraid that he might get run over by someone or some stray dog might attack him from nowhere. After a lot of running, Snowy decided to stop and started rolling all over enjoying the green grass and the freedom he was able to achieve in the vast ground before him. How I reached my hometown with Snowy concealed in the basket is another story, which I  reserve for the next post. If you see my Twitter photograph, which was taken just six months ago, you can see that I'm holding Snowy in my arms. Cheers.

I have one small little bird called Sapna who is incidentally also known as the Australian lovebird. She has been with me for over more than a year now and is a very happy-go-lucky bird. Incidentally I started with four birds, but released three about six months ago, which I realise was a mistake, as I really don't know their fate thereafter. I was told by the person from where I had purchased the birds  that they normally don't survive the onslaught,of the already existing birds in the sky and are usually attacked by them. I hope nothing of the sort has happened and they are safe wherever they are.More about the antics of  Sapna in my next post as there is a lot to describe.

Snowy in the same golf ground at Ranikhet 6 months ago.
I also have a fish aquarium in which I have 4 fish right now.



Saturday, 17 December 2011

Diana Raj Kumari Photography: Greenish Chrysanthemum

Diana Raj Kumari Photography: Greenish Chrysanthemum: *** Diana Raj Kumari Photography ***

Politics

PM says working day and night to introduce Lokpal Bill in Parliament, as early as on Monday, and no one should doubt our sincerity towards the cause of Lokpal. Has he taken into account the strategy of BJP and its associates to accomplish indirectly what they could not achieve directly, through Anna.
Please understand Mr Prime Minister, Anna party has a bigger agenda on hand, its a long term plan, a web spun for the Govt,  to isolate it to such an extent that ultimately it can hand over power to BJP on a platter. The people have found a crusader in Anna. The youth of the country is frustrated and generally angry, they could have been channelized by Rahul Gandhi, but he has not generally risen to the occasion. Can't be blamed, since he was kept under wraps for so long, that he will now take time to learn the nitty gritty of politics. This feeling has been channelized by Anna and his men, the youth today is a rebel without a cause, and they love an undercurrent of rebellion attached to any movement. Govt bashing has therefore become a passion with one and all.

What the Govt should do : 
Although I'am nobody to advise the Govt, however as a concerned citizen, I can think aloud and hope the Govt will sit up and take notice. Firstly take charge, as they say, take the bull by the horns and then tame it. I don't have to tell you who the bull here is!

Think rationally, the people today are not fools, they are well informed, and they are guided by perception. So please make policy guidelines, consult your 'allies' well in advance and when you are ready, go for the kill.

People will respect you for the 'feel good factor' as and when you start generating it. Explain to the people, through public platforms, speeches and the media what your policies are, why you need to introduce certain Bills, why FDI is good for the country or vice versa, your plan to bring down inflation, which is working now, the long term plan towards economic growth, the plan to stabilize the rupee and so forth.

Tackle issues like corruption, price rise on a high priority, the people especially youth should get the feeling that the Govt is not lagging behind, and has the answer to almost everything, I repeat, almost everything.

If you are proactive in your approach, take sensible decisions, and are generally in tune with the people of India, you are on the right track, and then people of Civil Society would merge in everyday society and gradually fade away.

So don't take the people for a ride, build their confidence instead, and see the result. Cheers.


Friday, 16 December 2011

Politics

Congress is trying its best to not let the Anna phenomena overpower it now. The Lokpal Bill is proceeding on expected lines, and sticking points have more or less been sorted out. Main Anna demand as regards the inclusion of PM seems to be sorted out. Inclusion of Group C and D employees could be taken care of the by the respective Lokayukta's. Team Anna also realizes that they need the support of all parties to get the Bill through, so they would not object to the Centre's proposal for 50% representation to SC/ST in the Lokpal Panel. Once the Lokpal Bill goes through Congress hopes to bring back its image of a go-getter Govt , an image which has certainly taken a beating in recent times.

The FDI proposal for retail and sectors like airlines,education and even fashion industry needs to be discussed and then put across with adequate safeguards. Concerns of the Opposition and Allies in this regard need to be addressed before the decisions are put up for implementation. There should not be any surprise announcements which may trigger off chain reactions. Here's hoping the New Year 2012 brings more cheer for the country and     ends the logjam type situation which has emerged recently. Cheers!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Personal

Went to attend the programme 'We the people' on NDTV anchored by my favourite Barkha Dutt. Topic was whether 'Parliament is becoming a House of adjournment'. Panel speakers comprised of Chandan Mitra, Mani Shanker Aiyar, Derek O' Brian, Jay Panda, Mark Tully etc. Speakers expressed diverse views on why the Parliament was not running. Liked the views of Jay Panda who advocated that some rules need to be framed in the day to day running of Parliament, some minimum working hours as mandatory. Some advocated no pay if no work put in. I asked a question as why Parliament could not run so that we can know the views of various parties on issues like FDI etc. If leaders can come and debate in TV studios why can't they debate in Parliament