Monday, December 31, 2007

Battle at Kruger

One of the most powerful videos I have ever seen and fascinated by it. I have lost count of the number of times I have watched it.

Imagine a baby buffalo (looks like an Indian Bison sans the white patch on its legs) which is mauled by a pride of lions and a crocodile surviving due to the collective effort of a herd of buffaloes. A must watch video, though amateurishly done, amazing. Truly, the ways of nature.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Benazir and Musharraf, Modi and Thapar

I have been thinking of ending this year and beginning next year writing things pleasant. But the happenings around has forced me to take stock of our neighbourhood. I have not been too much of a fan of Benazir Bhutto. I have not been in awe of her baritone voice or her macho looks. But her assassination truly was something that shook me. She was after all the first woman Prime Minister of any Muslim nation and also the beacon of the Bhutto legacy and family, and her life snuffed out like this shows the terrorist politics of the region. Nawaz Sharief too needs to be aware of the risks, though I am sure he will know what it is to be a politician in the military-ruled Pakistan, that any Pakistani politician is open to. As long as Musharaff supports and has the support and blessings of the "groups", he need not worry about his life. He is safe. But the politics and the fabric of the Pakistani politics and society has definitely taken a sharp dip southwards. Hoping our bretheren too can breathe easy in a "free and democratic" Pakistan soon.

I was also reading a write up by Karan Thapar about "Modification of Politics". The last paragraph was something I could not really comprehend. What does Thapar mean by sudden removal of Modi? He should be careful about the words he uses. Whatever said and done, Godhra or whatever, Modi is the democratically elected leader. This statement is unbecoming of a senior journalist. Ofcourse everyone has the right to freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Indian Constitution but this is definitely inflammatory to say the least. Some check definitely needed here

P.S- I see that the last paragraph in this write up is blocked now. Is it intentional or just accidental. Anyways, here is what was there when I first read it


Only the sudden removal of Narendra Modi can stop this. For he is the agent forcing this change. And whilst he's with us, he will do just that. I have no doubt Indian politics after Sunday the 23rd is another country. We have to live with new challenges. Some of us have to accept new leaders.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Vimochana and Conflict Resolution

Vimochana is one organization in Bangalore which has been striving towards gendered justice and also striving hard to place the "woman" in her rightful place in society. Donna Fernandes who spearheads this organization has done yeoman's ahem...should I say yeo-woman's service in this field.


The country is riddled with multiple issues around which conflicts are taking place. The conflict on issues related to ethnicity, language, culture and religion abound and mar the process of social and economic
development of society. Country is witness to the outbursts of violence in various garbs and around various issues. The social conflicts saw their peak in the terror of religion based in the most recent times. The
simmering ethnic conflicts in the northeast and Kashmir have been a semi permanent sore from many decades. And many such events have put the whole social thinking in to great turmoil and are pointers to the danger lurking in the unresolved social tensions.Also these phenomena are threatening the very existence of our democracy.

While democracy has enough space for all the diversities to thrive in harmony what we are witnessing is that some vested interests are using these diversities as the tool for implanting the conflicts. Communities and social groups and political outfits have not paid much attention to conflict resolution, and curbing the political trends, which are stifling the liberal and democratic space.


Vimochana - forum for women's rights, Bangalore and Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai and CIEDS Collective Bangalore are jointly organising a State Level Training Programme on Peace and Conflict Resolution at Bangalore between 17th - 21st January 2008.

It is a programme for a selected group of 45-50 participants.

2. Food and accommodation will be taken care of by the organisers.

3. Travel (II class train fare / bus fare) will be reimbursed for out station participants.

4. Selection of participants will be made to maintain regional balance.

5. Last date for application 31st December 2007

The course has been designed with the aim to address the many questions running through our minds. It aims to strengthen the plural norms and ethos. It, in a way plans to equip the social activists to be able to deal with various conflict situations to ensure that the rights of weaker sections of society are protected, preserved and strengthened within the democratic framework of Indian Constitution.

It will cover most of the facets of conflict and will put special focus on conflict resolution for Peace in general. The themes to be addressed will pertain to multiple diversities, linguistic, ethnic, cultural and
religious. Since the country is vast and diverse these multiple issues need to be taken up for a proper appraisal.

There is a realization that there is no systematic attempt to spread the message of Peace. Few committed workers are working for this, but it needs to be broadened a great deal. There is a need to build up a chain of activists who can take this message to nook and corner of the country.

1. Course Objective
 To impart understanding of Indian Situation
 To inculcate appreciation for religious, cultural and linguistic diversities
 To re-orient participant's thinking about different religious communities
 To promote value and peace education
 To equip the participants with adequate knowledge and skills to promote conflict resolution

2. Course Content

1. Theories of conflict resolution
2. Partition tragedy
3. Communal conflicts-Role of social common sense
4. Minorities
5. Kashmir imbroglio
6. Islam violence
7. Religion, Secularisation-India’s trajectory late 19th century
8. Uniform civil code
9. Communal politics post independent India
10. Democracy, pluralism & identity
11. Education: faith or reason
12. Politics of terror
13. Hindutva & gender justice
14. Communal organisation
15. Psychological roots of communal violence
16. Gujarat- laboratory of Hindu Rashtra
17. Religion & society: Indian context
18. Hindutva & dalits
19. Practising secularism dilemmas of Indian state
20. Mumbai riots
21. Adivasis
22. Strategies of conflict resolution.

3. Methodology
The training will involve Lectures by eminent scholars, religious heads and prominent activists followed by discussions. Methods like group discussions and interactive games, role-play will be deployed. Audio-visual aids will be used and films relevant to the training course will also be shown. Some of the proposed films are, War and Peace, Mr & Mrs Iyer, Zakhm, Pinjar, & Nata etc.

4. Eligibility – Criteria
1. Priority will be given to those who have Experience of working in the filed of communal harmony, human rights, women rights, etc.
2. Activists among teaching community will be preferred
3. Activists from both sexes can be nominated
4. Those who have genuine concern in Peace and Conflict Resolution.
5. Since the workshop is designed at a national level, the resource persons will also be from out side Karnataka and the course will be conducted mostly in Hindi and English. Therefore working knowledge of Hindi and English is necessary.

5. Venue:
Vimochana Training Centre, Kolar. Tel: (08152) 232801 / 232802.

Contact-
Donna- Tel: 080-25496934 (off)
Bhoga Nanjunda, Mob:9448206461

Pic- Donna Fernandes
Courtesy - The Internet

Monday, December 17, 2007

IIT and Dow Chemicals

In a move bound to send strong signals to Dow Chemicals that India has indeed not forgotten either the Bhopal tragedy or the unrelenting fight for justice to the Bhopal Gas vitims, IIT Delhi has decided to return the funding by Dow Chemicals for a three day international conference to be organized by IIT. This decision was taken on Saturday.

This was in response to a great pressure mounted by the alumni, students and supporters fo the Indian Institute of Technology. It was sad to read earlier about the IITs trying to get as much funding as possible from this company.

It is also reported that IIT-Madras has been urged to bar Dow Chemicals from recruiting on-campus. Such pressure is being mounted in IIT-Bombay as well as IIT-Kharagpur.

I had written earlier about the proposed partnership of IIT and Dow Chemicals

Just hoping the Bhopal gas victims do see the light of justice soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Who Won and Lost at Bali

In the nearly a decade since the U.S. rejected the landmark climate changeagreement known as the Kyoto Protocol, the U.S. has become accustomed tobeing attacked at U.N. environmental gatherings. But the pounding it took inthe tortured all-night negotiations that capped the UN climate changeconference in Bali was unprecedented. Not only did developing nations big and small from India to Papua New Guinea openly chastise the U.S. for its last-minute refusal to endorse the new agreement dubbed the Bali Roadmap,but — with the exception of a confused statement from Japan — not one of the allies that had generally stood with the U.S. the past two weeks —Australia, Russia, Canada — rose in its defense.

In the end, the U.S.'s total isolation was too much for even it to bear. "We've listened very closely to many of our colleagues here during these twoweeks, but especially to what has been said in this hall today," said leadAmerican negotiator Paula Dobiansky. "We will go forward and joinconsensus." Boos turned to cheers, and the deal was essentially sealed.

Here's a breakdown of what it means, who won and who lost:

WHAT WAS ACHIEVED--

The roadmap is essentially the beginning of a beginning. The negotiations to come have a specific end date — 2009 — and for the first time, dismantles what the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Yvo de Boer called "the Berlin Wall of climate change," the idea that only the rich nations need to take responsibility for fighting globalwarming. Both developed countries The two sides still have different responsibilities, with developed nations ready to take on more quantifiable emissions cuts, and developing nations preparing to take on less specific national actions, but no country is left behind. That matters because the majority of future carbon emissions will come from the developing world, and no climate deal can work without the participation of China and India. "The developing nations of the South areon the same road as the North," says Peter Goldmark, director for the climate and air program for Environmental Defense. "They're using the same road map."

Bringing the developing nations on board made it possible for the U.S. to join,since the Kyoto Protocol was signed. Lost a bit in the final drama was the Bali roadmap's most substantial achievement: putting forestry front and center for future climate change negotiations.

Deforestation accounts for up to 20% of man-made globalwarming emissions, but the Kyoto Protocol has no mechanism to support the protection of forests. That will change, and eventually tropical nations could be rewarded for not cutting down their forests, providing a way toreduce carbon emissions

WHAT WASN'T ACHIEVED:

The Bali roadmap contains no specific commitments or figures on the emissions reductions that developed countries will need to take, beyond language that "deep cuts" will be needed. Earlier in the week the EU fought hard to include a specific target of 25 to 40% cuts for developed nations by 2020, and a need to halve global emissions — two figures cited by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) latest assessment of global warming science. Neither made it into the final text, thanks largely to determined opposition from the U.S., although a footnote points to the IPCC report. For environmentalists who had hoped that the recent avalanche of data underscoring the rising crisis of climate change might prompt tougher action, Bali was a disappointment.

"It was a rather weak deal," said Meena Rahman, chair of Friends of the Earth International. "It'scompromised."

WHO WON:

After years of essentially rolling over against the Bush Administration on climate change, the EU showed surprising spine. A mid-week threat led by Germany to boycott the upcoming major emitter' conference — a Bush initiative that would bring together the world's biggest economies to talk about climate change But the clear big winners are China and India, which have fully arrived as major players on international climate action. China in particular came to Bali ready to negotiate hard, but also prepared to give something — a vital change after years of insisting that it would take no responsibility for climate change. While India began the negotiations seemingly disengaged, the country elevated its game in the final day, and showed that it was willing to go beyond its own narrow national interests. That was the case for the developing world as a whole, which stood up to the U.S. without scuttling the possibility of a future deal.

"The developing countries allowed this discussion to begin in a whole new way," says David Doniger, policy director for the Natural Resource Defense Council's climate center.

WHO LOST:

It should be difficult for a country to make the final concession that allows a landmark deal to fall into place, and still appear selfish and churlish — but the U.S. somehow managed to do that. Years of blocking climate action at every turn meant the Bush Administration came into the Bali talks with little public credibility, and while there was a sense before the talks that the U.S. might show flexibility, that hope was quickly dispelled. Throughout the negotiations the U.S. — with help, at least until the last night, from Canada, Australia and Japan — blocked attempts to make climate diplomacy match the urgency of climate science. "The U.S. needed to come in here and build up its credibility," says Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Instead, they just burnished their Darth Vader image."

WHAT'S NEXT:

That's the real question. The roadmap outlines the next steps for negotiation, and calls for a deadline of 2009 — in time to have a formal successor to the Kyoto Protocol. But as tortuous as Bali was, the next round— which will have to tackle the specific actions to be taken by developedand developing nations alike.

Courtesy- Reuters and the Hindu

Saturday, December 15, 2007

List of Songs -Anth Tak - Ab Kya Misaal Doon

This is the list of songs that were sung in addition to many sung impromptu and also added on later. Members, please give the addition to the songs you sang, so that we can update the list accordingly

Anthtak 29 Song list – 3rd October 2009. (1pm to 5 pm)

1. Chitra - Bhajan
2. Kishore panwar - Tujhko pukare mera pyar
3. - Dil ki aawaz bhi sun
4. Rama n Chitra - Man kyun behka
5. Venkat -Pacha malar poovu
6. Chahoonga main tuje
7. Geethika - Dheere Dheere Machal
8. Ramita - Yeh hausla
9. Chandra n Madhu - Aaja panchchi akela hai
10. Priya - Yeh Hai Reshmi
11. Mukunda Mukunda
12. Priya n Vijay - E sambhashane
13. Chitra - Agar tum na hote
14. - Naina Barse rimjhim rimjhim
15. Ramya - Yeh dil deewana hai
16. Rama n Chandrakumar - Dil ki nazar se
17. Chandrakumar - Yeh dil na hota bechara
18. - Dekha na hai re
19. Aashish n Geetika -Meri zindagi mein aaye
20. Ram - Geet Gata Chal
21. - Jo Tumko Ho Pasand
22. Priya venkat - Kajraare kajrare teri kaale
23. Vijay - Meri Aawaaz suno
24. - Aaj ki raat mere
25. Rama - Yeh dil aur unki
26. - Joake
27. Kishore p n chitra - Wada karle sajna
28. Kaushik -Pukartha chala hoon mein
29. Vivek - Jao na ( Tum jo ho to gaa rahi)
30. Priya n venkat - Tu cheez badi hai mast mast...
31. Vijay n Geethika - Ade Bhumi
32. Kishore n Chitra - Tujh sang preet lagayi
33. Manak - Hamne Jafa na sikhi unko wafaa
33. - Aapke hasin rukh pe aaj naya
34. Tara - Aji rootkar ab
35. Imtiaz - Humen tumse pyar kitna
36. Aashish - Yaaron dosti
37. Madhu n Kishore P - Ek shahenshah ne banvake
38. Keerthana - Chand phir nikla
39. Priya n Venkat - Sagar kinare
40. Akshay - Kya hua tera vada
41. Anurag - O aaj mausam
41. Keerthana - Janaki jaane
42. Ram -Janam janam ka saath
43.Chandra - Tum jo mil gaye ho
44. Madhu - Dil ka khilona haye
45. Suchin
46. Suchin n Rama - Narumugaye
47. Imtiaz - Chahiye thoda pyar
48. Imtiaz n Rekha
49. Ramya - Tiruppavai song - Maale Manivanna
50. - Yeh Dil Dewaana
51. Shruti - Maa…..
52. Rajesh shenoy - yaad na jaaye
53. Praveen - Mehbooba o mehbooba
54. Suchin - Pacha malar poovu
55. Chandra - Teri duniya se hoke majboor
56. Vijay
57. Ramya n Kishore P - tujhe jeevan ki dor se
58. Anurag - Zindagi kaisi hai
59. Manak - aaj kal mein dhal gaya
60. Chandra - Dilbar mere
61. Rama - Mizhiyoram
62. Ram - Pyar deewan hota hai
63. Kishore P - Tujhko pukare mera pyar
64. Kishore P - Ai mere pyare watan
65. Khushi - Jingle bells
66. Imtiaz - Yeh mera prem patra
67. Ram - Yeh mera prem patra- English translation
68. Vijay - Chupake yun dil me
69. Poonam geetika - aaj jaan ki zid
70. Saraswati Subramaniam -Tere bina zindagi se koi
71. Suchin Ramya - Andhi mazhai
72. Geethika - Chain se humko kabhi
73. Vijay n Priya - Jo wada kiya
74. Rama n Venkat - Nee padhi naan padhi
75. Venkat
76. Chandra - Yeh jawaani yeh deewaani
77. Ashish - Raat khali ek khwab me aayee
78. Vijay - Ab kya misaal doon

And the programme continues…………………………….
( Songs are not in the order they have been sung)

************************

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fireworks and Child Labour



TAMIL CHILD LABOUR

- *Think Of These Kids When Sparklers Light Up Diwali Sky* [IANS]

Every time a sparkler lights up the sky during Diwali festivities, spare a thought for Karuppuswamy, Chitra and Muneeswari - three of the nearly 40,000 children toiling away in Sivakasi District fireworks and match industry.

The three children feature in a 25-minute documentary film, *'Tragedy Buried in Happiness'*, shot by South Korean broadcaster Taegu Broadcasting Corp in August with the help of *Manitham, a rights NGO working with children, Amnesty International and the National Confederation of Human Rights.


No volunteer of the National Rural Health Mission ever visits 12-year-old Chitra,who has been confined for four years within the walls of her tiny room - ever since the child, a rank holder in her school, got burnt while making crackers in the town, 650 km south of the state capital Chennai.

Today Chitra cowers before visitors, drawing up a grey sheet to cover her burnt body and her half burnt face. Her eloquent eyes speak to Hyuk Soo Seo's camera and say all that she does not tell.

Chitra's mother is reluctant to admit how much she was paid, what was the name of the unit where the accident took place. She only complains that it would have cost Rs.200,000 for the child's plastic surgery and that no one has helped her daughter.

Karuppusamy, 14, sits in an alley, surrounded by his siblings, stuffing gunpowder into holding trays for crackers. His hands and face are shrivelled. Asked if he feels pain, he says, 'No.'

Muneeswari's hands are yellow; no, not due to henna. 'The gum that the children in her work group use contains cyanide, which stains every hand that contributes to this industry,' said *G. Subramanian, executive director, Manitham.*

On camera, Muneeswari, 12, says she gets Rs.100 per week for eight to 12 ours of work every day. Her earnings help her parents feed her siblings.

Manitham activists say there are about 40,000 children working in the narrow bylanes of Sivakasi District, about 650 km south of Chennai and home to the fireworks and matchstick industry, employing 50,000 people.

'There is a ray of hope,' said rights activist and advocate Ajeetha B.S. 'We are beginning to notice a slight shift in the ages of the child labourers. A few years ago we found 10-year-olds working in these factories, now we find the children a little older, about 13-14,' Ajeetha told IANS at Chennai.

Another activist, not wishing to be named, added: 'What is happening in India today is exploitation of child labour, be it in the firework industry or in the farms. The issue is not poor working conditions, it is exploitation of children.'

India is estimated to have nearly 125 million child workers, 80 percent of them in rural areas. Appreciating the documentary, noted lawyer and rights activist Sudha Ramalingam said: 'We have been fighting to end child labour for more than two decades. The film is a shocking revelation of what still goes on.'

But making the film was not easy. Subramanian said, 'No Indian NGO or filmmaker was ready to shoot the film. We were, therefore, forced to go to filmmakers from Korea.' The documentary is in Korean, dubbed into Tamil and English. (Papri Sri Raman can be contacted at paprisri.r@ians.in)


Mr. G. Subramanian, the Director of the NGO, Manitham which has made this documentary says " This is said to be very first documentary made on Sivakasi Child.
Previously the fame dir. Shayam Benagal tried and failed. After facing a tough lot of opposition, we have made this. Original documentary was made with the support of Korean TV in Korean language. After that, we have dubbed it in English and in Tamil.

We made a jam packed public view on 03-11-2007 at AVM Studio, AVM A/C theatre, Chennai. Several Human Rights activists, film directors and noted personalities participated in that function.

NDTV, Deccan Chronicle, Indian Express, IANS has widely covered the stories Internationally. Thanks for support. You can have an idea by viewing this from our web page "

This DVDs priced, inclusive of postage charges, at Rs. 300 for naration in Tamil and Rs. 400 for narration in English is for sale and a part of the contributions goes to the affected children of Sivakasi. These rates are applicalbe for delivery within India.
The DD payment may be in favour of "G.Subramanian, Chennai" or payment can be made into the account as detailed below
I C I C I Bank:
Account Holder : Subramanian.G,
Account No : 6022 01518582,
Branch : Chennai R H Road, India

Dark indeed!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Priceless Amul


[Key Indian cricket fast bowlers Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, R.P.Singh and S. Sreesanth grappling with injuries. - Amul Ad for December '07]

All of us would have met the little moppet wearing the polka dotted frock. And we would have smiled at her, at her punchlines at some point or the other. This according to me, is advertising at its best. This endearing cherubic moppet has a place in the Guiness Book of World Records as the Amul's has the honour of being the longest running advertisement campaign. The moppet is none other than our little Amul Girl.

Amul ads have always been very creative, apt for the current situation, taking a dig at politicians, film stars or the current situation.Amul is said to be derived from the Sanskrit word, "Amulya" which means priceless. It however, is also the acronym for Anand Milk Union Limited.

We have heard about the big success story of the Co-operative movement in Gujarat to market milk which was eugolized in the Hindi Movie "Manthan". The architects of this movement being Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and Morarji Desai which led the farmers to do their own procurement, processing and marketing. In December 1946, Tribuvandas Patel and some dairy farmers registered the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers Union. Verghese Kurien, the father of the White Revolution, joined the union as general manager in 1950. In 1957 Kaira Co-operative registered the brand ‘Amul’ and Press Syndicate was entrusted the advertising job under the guidance of Jit Kantawala. In 1973, the Gujarat Milk Marketing Federation was set up which is today the largest milk federation.

The Amul Girl as the mascot was created so that at a time when hoardings were all hand painted, it was easy to paint her. The people who created the remarkable ‘utterly butterly delicious’ campaign were K Kurian, Eustace Fernandes, Sylvester Da Cunha and Usha Katrak of Advertising and Sales Promotion Company.

The Amul ads are something like the Common Man's cartoons by R.K. Laxman. Apt for the day. A mirror of our lives.

The Amul ads through the past four decades let us know how we have travelled the past 40 years. Hats off to a very Indian product, a very Indian mascot and advertisements very Indian.


[Bollywood's actress and dancing queen Madhuri Dixit in the movie "Aaja Nachle" (Let's Dance) in which music and dance being the essence of the movie - Amul's Ad for November '07]

Monday, December 10, 2007

Encounters...Murders?

I received an intimation about a meeting in Hyderabad today at the Press Club at 6 PM organized by Human Rights Forum (Manava Hakkula Vedika) to protest against the Andhra Pradesh High Court's judgment on Encounters.

The Judgement delivered by a Three Judge Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, two Judges Justice L. Narasimha Reddy and Justice G. Ethirajulu gave the verdict. The third Judge, Justice Bilal Nazki, dissenting with the majority judgement ruled in favour of the stance that rights groups have taken. But the majority judgement would only be regarded as the Judgement of the Court.

There would perhaps be no one in the State who has not heard the slogan "All Encounters are Murders". This slogan has been the defining element of the civil liberties and rights campaigns and democratic movements for more than 40 years now. People's campaigns and rights movements have also repeatedly clarified that this is not just a political slogan, but one which has constitutional and legal relevance. What this implies is that law itself recognizes an encounter as a murder. There is no big secret about this. No intricate legal or jurisprudential philosophy to be deciphered. It has become a habit of sorts for the police to declare after every encounter that, when they confronted an armed person to lawfully arrest him,instead of surrendering, that person attacked them (the police) which put their life in peril and therefore in exercise of their right to self-defence, when they engaged in cross-fire, that person succumbed to death. Even a murder committed in exercise of the right to self-defence is a murder in the eyes of law. If that were really to have been applied in the process of the exercise of the right to self-defence, then it would not entail any punishment, but by itself it would not cease be a murder. Whether the death was a consequence of the exercise of the right to self-defence is something that must be decided after investigation and by due process of law, but not in the declaration made by the person who has indulged in the killing, and such person has no right to make a declaration and go scot-free. A case of murder must be registered against him, crime investigation must be initiated, and he must be able to produce evidence in his favour that there were compelling circumstances that necessitated the murder. There is no difference between the police and the ordinary citizenry as far as this is concerned. Would there be any meaning to the right to life if the person who has indulged in killing is set to liberty merely by making a self-proclamation that he did so in self-defence. Would it not sound the death-knell of the right to life which is a Fundamental Right. We perceive that this is something that can be understood quite easily by any one. But it took a great deal of endeavour to make the Courts understand this and see the issue in perspective. The success in convincing the Court almost reached its threshold a decade ago, but slipped back to failure. The Andhra Pradesh High Court has recently ruled that *"An Encounter is not a murder by itself; it would be so only when a specific complaint is received that a certain police official killed a certain person intentionally and subsequently cooked up a story of chance encounter and only then should a case of murder be registered against him". **

*If the police wear masks on their faces and kill someone, or corner someone in the dark of the night and kill or if the deceased happens to be some anonymous Bangladeshi or Pakistani, killed in Hyderabad, who would have no relative or next friend to complain, there would be no specific or concrete complaint. Therefore these would not be murders! The High Court has ruled that in such cases a magisterial (executive) inquiry must be initiated and if anything suspicious is detected, steps must be initiated accordingly. Not only is this Judgement unconstitutional and a transgression of law, but is anathema to the very spirit of the right to life.

The Human Rights Forum and other Human Rights Groups are calling upon people to reject this Judgement and campaign for safeguarding the right to life.

The police, obtaining the guarantee that by killing someone, intimidating those who would want to complain and ensuring that no one deposes during the magisterial inquiry would put the very life and existence of common citizens in jeopardy. Just to recollect the incident that took place in Vishakapatnam not so long ago. An honest bank official was very brutally murdered by some ruthless persons. Subsequently, the police caught hold of two suspects and gunned them down and declared that they resorted to that step as the two persons had retaliated against them (the police) and they had no other alternative but to fire at them in self-defence. Either owing to fear or some other unknown reason, none of the family members of the deceased complained. What they said in the magisterial inquiry, whether at all they said any thing is not known. So, is that all? No dispute, those who had callously murdered the bank official must be dealt with as per law and punished. But who is to impose the sentence of punishment? The Courts? Or the Police? Let us assume for the sake of argument that these two were indeed responsible for the murder of the bank official. Today the police have killed these "bad" people. Tomorrow they would go ahead and kill "good" people and in a way best known to them would ensure that there is no specific complaint and that no witnesses depose during the magisterial inquiry. What then? To attack the opposite person in legitimate exercise of the right to self-defence is a remedy available not just to the police but also to the ordinary citizenry. Law clearly provides that the right to counter-offensive attack must be proportionate to the threat caused. If a person over-steps his limit and causes injury beyond what is required of that situation, it is a crime. Precisely for this reason, a person who claims that he resorted to violence in exercise of the right to self-defence is not permitted to go scot-free. How much of threat that person faced, how much of force or counter-attack did he resort to in order to over come that is something that must be established in due process of crime investigation. Moreover, law places the burden of proof on that person to prove to the satisfaction of the Court that he caused only that must force as was necessary in that situation. All this implies that a criminal case must first of all be registered against him, crime investigation conducted and the facts must come out of the investigation. In the case of ordinary citizens, this is a principle that the Courts accept. A principle that is routinely implemented on a daily basis. Law makes no distinction between the police and ordinary citizenry to the effect that the former must be treated differently. Nonetheless, the High Court opined that a different principle must be applicable in the case of the police. The High Court says that it is quite difficult to concede to the argument that the police, when commit crimes, in the course of their duty must be placed on the same footing along with ordinary citizens, given the fact that the police establishment has been placed in charge of a colossal responsibility of preserving public peace and security, controlling crimes and maintaining law and order. If at all any one has the authority to come to such conclusion, it is the legislators, but do Courts have that authority? The legislators of this country did not opine that to deal with the crimes committed by the police in the name of their duty, a separate Penal Code is necessary. The Indian Penal Code makes no distinction between the police and ordinary citizenry in this regard. Wherefrom have Courts the power to imagine what is beyond the pale of law. "Do those who resort to violence have any rights? "

This is a question that we come across quite often. Though this might sound quite convincing and even justifiable, is a society that recognizes the rights of only the good people a truly civilized one? Only that society can claim to be a civilized one, which recognizes the rights of even those who, for reasons good or bad, out-step the generally accepted boundaries of society and treats them as equal citizens and even if they are sought to be contained,they are dealt with only within that right framework. It is because of the fact that our Constitution-makers recognized this principle, they incorporated and guaranteed equal rights to all citizens. They did not draft the Constitution in an ambience of peace and tranquility. The Constitution of India was written in one of the most turbulent and violent times in history.

In the context of the partition of the country scores of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs resorted to and were subjected to bloodshed and killing on religious lines.There was an exodus of whole villages. At least ten lakh people died. The international community witnessed a hitherto unknown massive exchange of populace. Notwithstanding the fact that the Constitution was scripted during these intensely troubled times, it guaranteed equal and inviolable rights to all citizens. It is quite poignant and sad that the Courts seem to have conveniently forgotten that spirit. It would have been a very ideal and welcome situation if everyone respected and followed the law. But the problem arises when some one inflicts harm on others but claims equal protection of law and rule of law.

True, the Penal Code nowhere recognizes the principle that only those who follow law have the right to seek equal protection of law and rule of law. There is also no principle that there shall be no constitutional protection for those who refuse to respect the law. But the High Court opines that a person or group that indulges in the killing of innocent people and propagates to indulge in such killing cannot have the right to claim all forms of protection in the process of the state containing it. This is a totally anti-constitutional opinion. Setting aside the Constitution for a moment, a society that treats any one and every one in a civilized manner is only a civilized society.That society which treats only those who conform to its norms and standards in a civilized manner is not civilized in the true sense of the term. Even otherwise, the police are not just doing away with those who as asystematic programme kill "innocents". They are also assuming the role of justice-dispensers and killing those whom the Courts can, after due process of inquiry punish. They are also straight away shooting down those who are branded as "naxalites" despite having the opportunity of lawfully arresting them, without making any meaningful effort in that direction. As was the case with Mudigonda firing, they are also gunning down those who refuse to budge to their diktats of putting on hold their protest. They are also casually sniffing out the lives of one or two persons, whenever they perceive that crimes are on the rise and these hooligans must be reigned in and are creating a sense of fear-psychosis. The inappropriate and skewed understanding of law has resulted in this wrongful judgement.

Citing the incident of the attack on the Parliament of India on the 13th of December 2001 and of the five persons whom the CRPF Jawans gunned down, the High Court asked if cases of murder should also be registered against those 5 Jawans. The Court further extending its opinion said that if a case is registered,the intent of those who had come to attack, was only to kill the parliamentarians and not the Jawans and therefore, these Jawans would not be able to claim protection under the exercise of the right to self-defence and they would therefore be punished. But the right to self-defence as incorporated in law, not just extends to us but also to safeguard the person of others when in peril. Not just this, the police also have a right recognized in law to use necessary force to control crimes. Whether in exercise of the right to self-defence or in the course of discharge of ones duties, what needs to be established is whether force commensurate to the situation was exercised or not. And to prove this, a case must be registered and investigation conducted. What if, of the five persons whom the Jawans gunned down, only four had come to attack the Parliament? What if the 5th person were to be a tourist with little or no local contacts? Should his death also be counted in the list of the other deaths, if there is so specific complaint to the effect that the Jawans killed an innocent person, presuming him to be an assailant? It is therefore ever expedient that a case of murder must be registered and swift crime investigation must be done. All this does not mean that those CRPF Jawans would be suspended or they would be arrested. There is no rule that as soon as a case is registered they must be arrested or suspended. But an independent and impartial crime investigation must be forthwith carried out. If after due investigation, it is found that whether in the exercise of the right to self-defence (includes the right to defend the lives of others in peril – emphasis added) or in the course of discharge of ones duties, the accused resorted to firing in good faith, he/they can be declared as innocent. Adopting this kind of a practice would be a manifestation of a civilized society. Closing down a case uninvestigated, as happened with the attack on the Parliament in which 5 people were gunned down, is an expression of incivility. We conclude by making some observations on the profound faith that the High Court has reposed in the magisterial enquiry and the prominence which the Court has ascribed to it. These inquiries are carried out by officials of the rank of RDO's (Revenue Divisional Officers). They do not have any of the powers that a Court has. They cannot summon any witness for inquiry. They have no power to impose penalty in case any one does not turn up for inquiry or to depose. There would be no cross-examination of witnesses in that inquiry. The opinion of the Inquiring Official is not the Judgement. Above all, the police, whose respect for the authority of the Judiciary is itself questionable, have little or virtually nil respect for these inquiries. The police can very easily round-up the Office of the RDO and the village of the deceased and make sure that no one turns up for investigation and inquiry,and this is something that they quite often do. To argue that a case must be registered only if truth is established in such an inquiry is equal to saying that it is not necessary to register a case at all. Looked at any which way, this Judgement is a serious blow to the right to life of people.

The Human Rights Forum is organizing a State-Level Meeting on this issue and campaign for safeguarding the right to life.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Day for the Girl Child


Today is dedicated to the Girl Child.

We have days dedicated to Special causes all through the year. Today is also the National Day for the Mentally Challenged and also today is the SAARC Day.

Well coming back to "Girl Child Day", girls are generally considered a burden and not welcome in Indian homes as much as a male child would be. A few days back I had seen an article on India being a terrible place to be born a girl.

The reason for all this is the still largely prevalent dowry and the traditional marriage system as well as the pathetic position that women generally occupy in the largely patriarchal Indian Society. Female foeticide is still not a thing of the past and girls being abandoned by their parents or relatives is very much happening.

Whatever the development programmes maybe initiated by the Governments, maybe at the Central, State or District levels leaves a lot to be desired in terms of implementation. There are many NGOs in the scene who do yeoman's work, but it is much lesser than what is needed at the moment.

The awakening should happen from within and till that time, we will continue to have these special days for the girls who loathe the day they were born.

Pic- The Internet

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Burma's Person of the Year 2007

Burma Digest has come out with the names of some people who can be voted as the Person of the Year, 2007. We can contribute in our little way to the auguring of peace and democracy in a country where "freedom" is almost non-existent. One has to read the guidelines and vote.
Hoping our brothers and sisters in Burma awake to democracy soon

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tamil and Kannada, Classical Languages




Tamil has been declared a Classical Language whereas Kannada is still in the queue for it to be declared one. The only Indian language which has been recognized as a Classical language by International bodies is Sanskrit.

Both Tamil and Kannada are ancient and have a very rich heritage. Both are beautiful languages, though my knowledge of the IlakkaNa Tamil is very limited. Advocates of the Kannada language feel that the language has been slighted by the Government according the Classical status on Tamil and not yet on Kannada.

It was with a sense of pride and happiness that I read the report that Tamil Brahmi inscriptions have been found on pottery found in Egypt and it belongs to Circa 1 Century B.C. This shows that India was very well connected with many parts of the world through trade and commerce.

Instead of taking this to be all about a regional language, we should be proud that there is proof of an Indian language having withstood the tests of time and onslaughts of different natures.

Now that Tamil is a Classical language, it is just a matter of time before Kannada too is accorded this status.

Tamil is the official language in a few countries like Srilanka, Singapore and Malaysia. Hoping they too accord this status on Tamil so that Tamil gets closer to the coveted status of being a Classical Language recognized by the International Bodies.

Pic- Courtesy The Hindu

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Black Cats to counter Black Magic

Can anything beat this? Gowda's Black Magic Gets Yeddy Z- Plus screams the Bangalore Mirror today. The report says that the "Saat din ka Sultaan" may feel better with gun-toting security personnel, automatic weapons, a motorcade or bomb detection squad guarding him agianst the black magic et al, but the state treasury is feeling the pinch. Its wallet is lighter by Rs. 18 lakhs per week.
This is in response to Mr. Yeddyurappa accusing Deve Gowda and his family indulging in black magic against him and that it is a threat to his life. Nasty politcs this

The only other person in the State given Z-Plus security is the Governor Rameshwar Thakur.

Z- Plus security is the top most security arrangement that can be given to any political leader or VVIP. This is given to those enjoying the VVIP status when there is a threat to their lives. One pilot vehicle and two escort vehicles, each with ten men will be provided. Moreover, security personnel will be deployed round the clock to their residences.

All visitors will be screened with a metal detector. In addition, the traffic police should be prompt in clearing traffic in case the VVIP is travelling by that particular road. Z-Plus includes bomb experts, automatic weapons, light bullet proof jackets, metal detectors, armed guards, ambulance, a motorcade etc. The police along with a dog squad have to check the VVIP's house everyday. His security will be supervised by an officer of the rank of ACP, with the assistance of an inspector and six police personnel.

The Bangalore Mirror says.."But thank god, the Z-Plus security system does not include the use of jammers in Yeddyurappa's case. If jammers are used, then all mobile network coverage within a certain radius depending on the range of the jammers will be shut down. Even a remote will not function. It is a device fitted to escort vehicles, which cuts down the transmission of high frequency signals to avoid bomb blasts etc."

Hmm....so much for an ex-Chief Minister. Now I wonder what Deve Gowda's response would be for this. Will he seek a higher security cover?

Only time will tell what is in store for us!!

Courtesy- Bangalore Mirror

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Sound of Music


Have they stopped making such movies?

The movie, a musical is one loved for the songs, the actors and well, the Sound of Music ofcourse. It is all about a captain who has 7 children and our heroine, Maria goes in to take care of them. The brats that they are, they try to chase her away but she manages to woo them. Set in the nazi period, it is a wonderful movie.



Do re me is a favourite with children. But my all time favourite is the Confidence song and love the portion
I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!


Then there is this "These are a few of my favourite things" So fresh and peppy even today. I cant have enough of watching and listening to all these songs

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nann(mm)a Bengaluru

I am suddenly in a nostalgic mood...remembering the city as it used to be and the state it is in now..



I love Nanna Bengaluru very much. Bangalore has always been home though I have stayed in Bombay too for sometime and visited quite a few cities. Nothing to beat the charm of Bangalore. Much as I might crib about my city, it is more out of love for the city.

Those were the days I remember as a toddler we used to walk through M G Road to Cubbon Park. It was another story that my mother or father carried me most of the walk. I still vividly remember collecting the May Flowers strewn on the roadside pavements. The traffic, compared to today used to be next to nil then. Going to Bal Bhavan and going on the toy train, eating popcorn. I have relived all that again with my daughters though we have not walked on MG Road to Cubbon Park.

We used to go upto the top step of the Vidhana Soudha and peer inside through the sliding shutters and look in wonder at the painted roof and the chandeliers. Now all one can do is look at the marvel from the pavement. Well, security.. I can go on and on about Bangalore. Here is something about Bangalore.
When I read this, Oh yeah, Bangalore is definitely the best city. The phenomenal growth of the city has attracted many. However, political uncertainty seems to be putting people off too, per industry reports.

Climatically too, the "pensioners paradise" was very pleasant with nobody complaining about the heat, and most middle class houses did not need a fan. Now it is hard to see houses without air conditioners.

There are a lot of issues that I would like to mention here which I am saving for subsequent separate posts.

Whatever one may say, no other city (Call it frog in the well syndrome and I dont care) can beat the beauty of Bangalore. Well, it still IS the Garden City and can remain one if we strive to atleast keep it this way.

Pic - Me

Friday, November 2, 2007

Save Kannada and the Microsoft Connection

What is the connection between Kannada language, literature and Microsoft? The reports are that Microsoft has submitted a letter of intent to the Government of Karnataka (well, do we have one) to establish paperless offices. The opposers say that it is riddled with errors. They have started a Save Kannada Campaign. Is it save Kannada? Does Kannada need saving or is there an ulterior motive in just ensuring Microsoft doesnt do this project? The site itself seems riddled with contradictions

My question is, we have so many companies and agencies in India offering software solutions worldwide, cant we do what Microsoft has proposed to do?

ಕನ್ನಡ ರಾಜ್ಯೋತ್ಸವದ ಹಾರ್ಧಿಕ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು‌

Thursday, November 1, 2007

BJP Rally

These were some sights witnessed in Bangalore on 31st October 2007 during the BJP Rally to pressurize the Governor to invite BJP-JD(S) combine to form the Government which put the traffic in total chaos. I was driving from MG Road towards Raj Bhavan where I asked a Policeman if I could drive past, he said sure madam, 'Democracy". If you can make space, you can drive by:)



This was near Minsk Square




On MG Road



Brisk business for some balloon vendors infront of Chinnaswamy Stadium


Infront of the Queens Statue, Cubbon Park, M G Road


Gathering for the Rally


Buses bringing supporters in hordes

Monday, October 22, 2007

Paan - The ubiquitous Spit

Paan or the betel leaf has a very important place in our society. Be it from offering it to the Gods or to offering to people after a sumptuous lunch or dinner it has its own significance. It is said to contain digestive properties and is also used as a mouth freshener.

These can be bought from any roadside dukaan. And we can find the spots or maps created by the paan chewers along every street, though it has considerably reduced in recent times. I remember in erst-while Bombay, the corners in staircases used to be the favourite places for paan-spitters and of late we see a lot of pictures of Gods or writings from holy scriptures to dissuade people from spitting.

In the City Civil Court Complex in Bangalore, all the walls are plastered with notices that anyone found spitting would be fined.

I found this site which has a good deal of info about paan.

This I picked from here
A simple Paan can be prepared in following way.

Betel leaf is washed carefully and then dried with cloth.
Mix spices such as cardamom, anise and katha with choona (lime paste), grated coconut, different kinds of supari (betel nuts) and small piece of various candies.
Add the mixture on the betel leaf.
Fold the leaf into a triangular shape and secure it by piercing a piece of cloves into it.
You can keep Paan fresh on ice with rose petals.



I have had a very bad experience with paan. When I was in School, I had participated in a parade of NCC,as is the practice, we were given our lunch and also on that day, in addition there was paan. I had eaten that and when we walked to Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore where the parade was to take place, I felt I was floating and felt extremely dizzy. It was my luck that it rained cats and dogs and hence the parade was cancelled. Imagine leading a contingent of floating and swaying cadets... I still cant fathom what was added in the paan and it gives me shudders to even think of that.

This episode was enough for me to stay away from paan totally, never to touch it except the once I tried it in Infantry Road's paan shop in the cellar of the Samarkhand complex recently. This Air-conditioned shop has a fine array of paan and lots of customers flocking in.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ban the Bulb

Continuing my earlier post on Conservation which is becoming a very important issue, I came across this by Greenpeace urging the banning of the bulb. I would urge everyone, for whatever it is worth, to send the mail to our Government. Even if an iota of difference is made, it might mean a world of difference to our future generations

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Conservation- The path ahead

Protecting nature in India often means competing for valued living space and resources with some of the country's most under privileged people.Industrial and commercial pressures are also expanding rapidly, undermining the ecological integrity of parks in hitherto unprecedented ways. Simply garrisoning the fortresses will not, indeed, cannot work.

But for wildlife and humans to survive, each other requires a synthesis of the best of the insights the biological and humanistic disciplines have on offer. It also calls for innovative and often out of the box thinking.

Drawing on the book he has recently co-edited, Dr. Mahesh Rangarajan in his book, "Making Conservation work", looks back and ahead, not only at why things are at the current impasse but of how we can move forward. It is possible to look ahead with cautious hope, drawing on the systemic strengths of Indian democracy to reconcile competing demands and keep priceless biota intact in a manner that is just and stable.

P.S- Talking about Conservation, I chanced upon Blackle and the quantum of energy it could save in comparison to Google. I also saw this Blog by Google.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

World Elders Day

World Elders Day is celebrated on 1st of Oct every year.
This is the UN note on Ageing for 2007:
Older people - a new power for development.Why a "new power"?

A demographic revolution is underway throughout the world. Today, world-wide, there are around 600 million persons aged 60 years and over; this total will double by 2025 and will reach virtually two billion by 2050 - the vast majority of them in the developing world.

In our fast ageing world, older people will increasingly play a critical role - through volunteer work, transmitting experience and knowledge, helping their families with caring responsibilities and increasing their participation in the paid labour force.

Already now, older persons make major contributions to society. For instance, throughout Africa -and elsewhere - millions of adult AIDS patients are cared for at home by their parents. On their death, orphaned children left behind (currently, 14 million under the age of 15 in African countries alone) are mainly looked after by their grandparents.

It is not only in developing countries that older persons' role in development is critical. In Spain for example, caring for dependent and sick individuals (of all ages) is mostly done by older people (particularly older women); the average number of minutes per day spent in providing such care increases exponentially with the carers' age: 201 minutes if the carer is in the age group 65-74 and 318 minutes if aged 75-84 - compared to only 50 minutes if the carer is in the age group 30-49 (Durán H, Fundación BBVA, 2002).

Such contributions to development can only be ensured if older persons enjoy adequate levels of health, for which appropriate policies need to be in place. In line with the Madrid International Plan of Action, the World Health Organization launched in 2002 a document "Active Ageing - A Policy Framework", outlining its approaches and perspectives for healthy ageing throughout the life course.

"Ageing is a development issue. Healthy older persons are a resource for their families, their communities and the economy."
- WHO Brasilia declaration on healthy ageing, 1996.


I was thinking aloud as to what could be the fit way to celebrate World Elders Day. It is probably one of the least glorified of all days. Does it show our apathy? Probably we do forget that it is just a matter of time before we too are there, being the "Elders".

There is an organization called Nightingales in Bangalore, Malleswaram which has done a lot of work towards making the lives of the elderly a pleasure. They also have day care for the elderly who can spend their time with a lot of people from morning till evening. The atmosphere there is very nice and I for one, felt that for some elders who would otherwise be all alone through the day, it would be a blessing to have homes like this where they can do all activities and also talk to a lot of people. It seems to be a very healthy place with all the elders there sporting a happy smile.

Remember the contribution our Elders have made in our Life,Society,,Country and the world.Lets Stand together and honour the Senior Citizens,"We are proud of all our elders for being part of our lives".

Phew At Last!!

Phew At Last!!

After trying all ways and means to access blogspot, I found that I could get onto my dashboard and so can post blogs. It is only that I cant view any blogs. Hoping I find the time to take it up against my ISP and come back to blogging.

All the while, I have been trying other ways too, and my friend Suchin too has been helping me find ways to atleast post something while the issue is being resolved...like e-mailing the post directly to the blog. Before I could explore that, this opened and hence here I am test posting!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Is there anything to Hyde?

The Hyde Act is divided into the binding and non-binding clauses. As per this report, what the left is objecting to is contained in the non-binding portion. But on a cursory glance of the Act I had yesterday, I felt that there was more to this than what meets the eye. There are "portions" in the binding portions too which might cause problems. I will post on this after studying the Act in its entirety and what 123 means to India. Is it going to be as simple as 123?

Surely, if this goes through, a major energy crisis within our country would be averted and it would help India on a large scale. But should we not exercise care and also ensure that we dont bow down but get things on our terms?

126 Military agreement is on the anvil. This has already caused a stir in the region with China and Pakistan upping their ante.

We should remember that the US Presidents are very powerful in that they can exercise three powers by which they can pass the executive orders, they can veto and they also have the extraordinary ability to cause acts such as the Hyde to be amended. This actually enables them to act as dictators. So we should exercise the utmost care and read between the lines but at the same time try to benefit the maximum out of the given scenario

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Graffiti

I have been wanting to blog for sometime, but due to time constraints ( I have been working for almost three weeks now without a break), could not even visit some blogs that I regularly frequent. Hope this kind of a hiatus doesnt happen anymore :)




On the 60th anniversary of our independence from the clutches of the colonial rule, it is imperative to ask and to assess how free are we today – to breathe clean and fresh air, to walk without severances in our own neighborhoods, to access drinkable water, to eat and live healthy and to choose our livelihood – in the city or village, we live in?

Are we becoming enslaved to an overpowering pursuit of globalization? - at the cost of destroying our local habitat and making it unlivable.




Can Bangalore leverage its advantages in research, IT and other technologies and its remarkable economic success to solve its problems – its unruly traffic; poor air quality and road safety; its dirty or disappearing lakes and ground water; and similar problems in managing its food supply chain, greenery, housing and land-use planning, electricity and waste ? Can it turn its impending crises on its head?

Building on its success as a Global Outsourcing hub, can Bangalore "upgrade" to become a Knowledge and Innovation Hub? Will Insourcing become Bangalore's new mantra?


Bangalore can leverage its advantages - in Research, IT/ITeS, Telecom, Bio-technology etc. - to solve multifarious problems of transport, air and water pollution, road safety, food supply, housing etc. At the same time, Bangalore can emerge as a national hub for IT-driven urban infrastructure and management and a global hub in the near future. For a city that has brought so much pride and glory to the country in recent times, can it rise up to the new challenges?

15 years of its glorious rise later, Bangalore's IT industry has tapped into a scarce pool of talent - engineers, graduates, post-grads and management professionals. Should it continue to primarily export all its services? Or should it contemplate developing solutions for the country beginning with Bangalore itself and self-regulate to commit 15-20% of its resources to the local needs, just as farmers are prohibited by law to export 100% of their produce even if agricultural produce prices become lucrative in the international market.

Just as the country would have a food crisis and millions would starve, export-oriented IT companies must realize how they are "crowding out" domestic market companies for skilled labour force, making it scarce or cost-prohibitive for companies which address local needs to hire good talent.

How do we gear up for a healthy and appreciating rupee that is close to its purchasing power parity and make it attractive to do business locally? In a remarkable way, a healthy domestic market will also provide a buffer for "outsourcing" export-oriented companies not to undercut each other on their billings to appropriate projects and upgrade to a new phase of Innovation-led growth.

As Bangalore introspects into its problems and develops pathbreaking solutions to become a truly world-class city, it can also package and export to rest of the world as its mantra to a new phase of growth and sustained profitability. This is what can be called - " Insourcing".



There is a seminar conducted on this in the Windsor Manor Sheraton on the 15th of this month from 3.30 PM. People interested in our city will find it interesting.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


My daughter had been waiting for the release of this book for a very long time now. And July 21st was the P-Day, I mean D-Day. She had warned us about long queues outside book stores and how she wanted to go and stand in the queue and absorb all the Potter mania and be amongst the first to get hold of the book.

I am not sure if she slept at all last night. We set out early in the morning today to the book store at Sadashivanagar. Surprise of surprises, there was nobody there except us. And, the staff at the store were just removing the books from the boxes and putting them up on display. They had made arrangements to ensure smooth sale of books and the feeling of achievement I could see on my daughter's face, to be amongst the first to get her copy of the book is too difficult to explain. And she was touched by the dedication in the book which said, Dedicated to 7 people, the last one was you..."if you have stuck with Harry until the very end". She said so sweet, thank you Rowling.

Leaving her and all the Potter fans with the Deathly Hallows... and waiting for the book to be released :-) (by my daughters) so that I too can read it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Auto Fellow

I am autofellow autofellow
Four knowing route fellow
Justice having rate fellow
Good people mix fellow
Nice singing song fellow
Gandhi borning country fellow
Stick take means hunter fellow
Big people's relation fellow
Mercy having mind fellow da
I am all poor's relative fellow da
I am always poor people's relative fellow da
Achak means achak only; Gumuk means gumuk only
Achak means achak only; Gumuk means gumuk only

Town become big, population become big
Bus expecting, half age over
Life become hectic in time, exist in corner of street
Ada eye beat means love coming they telling
You hand clap means auto coming I telling
Front coming look, this three-wheel chariot
Good come and arrive, you trust and climb up
Mercy having mind fellow da
I am always poor people's relative fellow da
Achak means achak only; Gumuk means gumuk only
Achak means achak only; Gumuk means gumuk only

Mummy motherfolk, danger not leave
Heat or cyclone, never I never tell
There there hunger take means, many savoury
Measurement food is one time
For pregnancy I come free mummy
Your child also name one I keep mummy
Letter lacking person ada trusting us and coming
Address lacking street ada auto fellow knowing
Achak means achak only ; Gumuk means gumuk only
Achak means achak only ; Gumuk means gumuk only

Got this as a forward...rings a bell?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

E-Judiciary

The sea change for the better being brought in with the computerization programme in the courts is laudable. Most of the courts, atleast in Bangalore are computerized and we can also check the status of different cases, cause lists, last action taken on a particular case etc online, though NIC does have a disclaimer which says it is not responsible for any wrong information.

The electronic display of cases in all the courts in the Karnataka High Court has also made life much more easier for us advocates to keep abreast of matters in different courts. The computerization in the different City Courts too is a tremendous effort in keeping up with the times and providing proper information to both advocates as well as the parties.

It is very heartening to read about the further computerization that is happening all over in the judiciary.

This is what President Abdul Kalam had to say....

"Our judicial system is dynamic and an institution which is throbbing with life catching up societal and technological evolution. As the ultimate protector of human rights and the final resort for dispensation of justice, the citizens of India look up to this institution with hope. Our Society is going through a unique dynamics due to the shortage of leadership with nobility. The only hope the nation cherishes and looks to is the judiciary with its excellence and impeccable integrity. We should do everything to make the judicial system succeed. It is said that a nation fails not because of economic progress but because of an increase in decision makers with small minds.

"This casts a very heavy responsibility on the entire judicial system to live up to the expectations reposed in it and to maintain the sacred aura attached to it unsullied. Qualities of honesty and integrity are synonymous with each member of the judicial system. e-judiciary will be an enabler in the realization of transparency, speed and equity in the judicial decision making process. With these words, I launch the Computerization of Courts by the Supreme Court of India. I am confident that with the effort taken, Indian model of e-judiciary can become the best in the world." (9 July 2007)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Films of Desire: Sexuality and Cinematic Imagination

It makes interesting reading the reviews of the films to be staged in the "Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action" organized by The South and Southeast Asia Resource Centre on Sexuality and Moving Images And The International Centre to be held in PANAJI, GOA between July 14-15, 2007. The event, Films of Desire: Sexuality and the Cinematic Imagination, a one day event, will focus on Southeast Asian Cinema and will feature inter alia Screenings of features, short films, documentaries, animation, music videos and experimental films that engage with ideas of sexuality in South and Southeast Asia. Discussions around the different ways in which desires get articulated, normative and non-normative representations of sexualities and how filmmakers' intentions may be displaced by multiple readings by the audience.

This seems to be an interesting event in The International Centre,Goa,Goa University Road , Dona Paula on 14 July between 4 pm to 8 pm and on 15 July between 4 pm to 8.30 pm. The details can be procured from the website

A brief outline of some of the movies to be showcased in the two day festival and their review-

BEAUTIFUL BOXER, Ekachai Uekrongtham , 118 minutes/ Thai with English subtitles/ 2003/ Thailand

Based on the real life story of Parinya Charoenphol, a Muaythai boxer who underwent a sex change operation to become a woman. The movie chronicles her life from a young boy who likes to wear lipstick and wear flowers to her sensational career as a kick boxer whose specialty is ancient Muaythai boxing moves which she can execute expertly with grace and finally her confrontation with her own sexuality which led to her sex change operation.

LOVE FOR SHARE , Nia Dinata, 120 minutes/ Bahasa Indonesia with English subtitles/ 2006/ Indonesia .

The film is an intriguing portrait of polygamous lifestyles in contemporary Jakarta. A gynecologist Salma discovers, to her shock, that her husband has taken a second wife. She tolerates successive wives as'a good Muslim wife'should, until an incident forces her to cater to everyone in his circle. Siti, a country girl, realizes too late that her uncle, who has moved her to Jakarta with the promise of sending her to beauty school, has other intentions. In a packed household, Siti's hope for survival rests in her growing intimacy with one of her uncle's other wives.And Ming,a waitress and material girl, contrives to become her Catholic boss' second wife. The lives of these three women from different classes and ethnic backgrounds intersect as the similarities in their stories are revealed.

SEA IN THE BLOOD, Richard Fung, 26 minutes/ English/ 2000/ Canada.

An intensely moving personal essay about living in the shadow of illness, Sea in the Blood explores two of Fung's closest relationships — with his late sister Nan, who died in 1977 of a rare blood disorder called thalassemia (which literally means 'sea in the blood'), and with his lifelong lover, Tim, who has been living with HIV since 1980.

STRAY CATS , Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil, 115 min/ Filipino, Tagalog & English with English subtitles/ 2005/ Philippines.

The film follows the parallel love lives of Marta,a middle-aged advertising executive, and her gay friend and duplex landlord, Boyet. Both are waiting for the men who they believe will fulfill their hopes and dreams. Boyet writes romance novels inspired by Marta's idiosyncratic anxieties about Steve, her noncommittal boyfriend. Hoping that Steve will eventually ask her to settle down,Marta is quietly envious of Boyet's 'family' —his adopted son, Jojo, a 15-year-old pickpocket, and Dom, his financially dependent lover. Willing to play the stereotypical roles of woman and gay man, Marta and Boyet embrace their hopeful fantasies. All these hopes
turn out to be illusions, however, and as they mature they decide to take matters into their own hands.

THE MATCHMAKER, Cinzia Puspita Rini, 10 minutes/ Indonesian with
English subtitles/ 2006/ Indonesia

A simple story about Kay, an eclectic girl with both beauty and sweetness and a guy who seems to fall for her.Their eyes locked and she had him besotted since the first second he saw her, in his bookstore. The simple yet charming guy, named Darren owns a bookstore and she is quite a regular customer. A conversation over the book she ordered actually begins what we think as a start of a romantic journey. While, Kay is cooking a master plan which involves Darren in her own mind, they enjoy their times together. A week after their first meeting, Kay decides to launch her master plan.

These are but a few of the movies to be showcased. Should be a double bonanza if one heads to Goa now, a nice holiday and the added attraction of the movies. Anyone game for it?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

How Times Have Changed!!!

I still hear the authoritarian voice ringing in my ears when we had been to participate in an interschool competition in BEL School, Bangalore ordering us to keep quiet. I, in Class 9 then was representing my School in a Quiz competition and we were asked to maintain silence while the competition was on. We were asked to sit in one place and be disciplined.



I was in for a very nice surprise yesterday when I went to Ambedkar Bhavan to pick my daughter up from the All India inter school national competition conducted by Horlicks called the Horlicks Activity, the biggest inter school fiesta. It was all about energy and enthusiasm and noise what with the organisers asking the audience to scream, dance and generally have fun and the children were more than willing to do so. There was a banner outside which read "CAUTION: WHIZKIDS INSIDE" . :-)


I saw the energy and the involvement with which the children were participating in the group dance, music etc conducted yesterday and today. It is a very interactive and wonderfully conducted competition having all schools from Bangalore participating. Another surprise was when the team from St. Joseph's Boys European School was represented by an all girl team. Well, they clarified that girls were also in the School now :-)



All in all, a very nice change from the routine work being with children shouting and cheering teams, a dhamaka. The half an hour I spent there was enough to have my adrenalin pumping and getting me all charged up. A nice Friday evening it was. Kudos to the organisers for coming up with such a wonderful competition which was more about participating than anything else.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sycophancy of the Highest Order


It was celebration time for Katta Subramanya Naidu in Bangalore today as it was his birthday. And what a way to celebrate...by putting up or encouraging putting up of hoardings all over the city defacing the beauty of our city. What a waste of money. They proclaim him to be "Badavara Bandhu" meaning "relative of the poor". Is this the way to help the poor? Encouraging all this is We, the People. What a sad state of affairs.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Interesting HR Practices

In today's Bangalore where software companies are still mushrooming by the hundreds, the HR in most software companies are trying their best to keep the employees within their brood and stem the attrition rate. The whole idea is that the HR is being quite innovative now a days to keep the employees motivated and though the companies grow multifold, they retain the personal touch.

It was very interesting to read that Aditi Technologies had brought in an elephant and the works on the day new employees were inducted into the company and they were welcomed within the fold by the application of tilak and the performance of aarti. The new recruits were really thrilled to be given such a royal welcome.

In iGate, the employees get together every monday for a music performance in which any employee interested can display their talent. This has become such a hit that the phrase "manic monday" does not exist for iGators.

Another company "Continuous Computing" takes a break from continuous computing at lunch time when the company switches off all lights and the employees relax and go to sleep in the office. Some of them also get their pillows, mattresses etc to have a good, undisturbed siesta for 45 minutes. Also the employees have different smileys which they display on their cabins as per their mood. If the employee has a weepy, then the grievance of that employee is taken care of. What with employees asked to sleep and clients instructed not to disturb the staff during the afternoon siesta :), one need not be surprised to find smiling smileys all around

Surely it seems like a dream working for these software companies. However, will these practices stem attrition? Will the employees be satisfied with what their employers dole out to them?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What a place!!!!

There are these small little tiny places strewn all around the city which dole out clean, tasty food from the usual traditional stuff that tingles one's taste buds to the really exotic ones which has us raising our brows in appreciation.

One such place I discovered when I went for my walk around the Malleswaram area is Sairam Juice and Chats on the 16th Cross somewhere between 6th and 8th Mains very close to MES College. I went back after the walk, drove to the place alongwith people from home.



They are very innovative with the chats there from Dahi Bhel to Nippat Masala to Chips Masala. And their churning out is so tasty that we were longing to eat more though we were full. It is all right I guess to sin once in a while. To top it, the people there are very friendly with pleasant faces and smiles that it is quite an experience though we have to stand on the pavement to eat (we sat in the car as it was drizzling). They are quite clean too. Bangaloreans should check out this place just like Veena Stores and Asha's in Malleswaram

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wishes for Sivaji




It was a surprise to see this hoarding wishing that the film Sivaji would run to a centenary (dont know what that means though.... 100 days??) infront of Cauvery Theatre which is showing Sivaji. Surprise to see Kannada fans pitching for a Tamil film. Is it the Rajnikanth-Bangalore connection? Or... well I smell something here :D

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rig Veda A World Heritage


It is indeed a proud moment for all Indians that 30 Manuscripts of the Rig Veda have been recognized as World Heritage. It is the earliest available work written by the Aryans in the Harappan Civilization. It was written between 1800 and 1500 BC. The hymns in the Rig Veda show how the people in the Indus Valley Civilization led their lives, what they believed in and also how they praised their Gods.The Rig consists of 1028 hymns,10552 verses(39,831 Padas) and is the longest of the Vedas.

This, though late,is but just a recognition of the ancient and rich culture that is India.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Unveiling the Purdahnashin




All was well with the world of Purdah till our Presidential hopeful Pratibha Patil rattled the hornet's nest claiming that the purdah system was started to protect the women from Muslim invaders and Mughals in particular. What about the heavily purdhah-ed women of Rajashtan?

Once when I was still doing my law, had been to Delhi as part of our course and so we went to Jaipur. There was a wedding taking place in a temple and the bride was fully covered with clothes and flowers from head to toe. We wanted to see the bride. With a lot of charm and persuasion, a few of us girls managed to go see the girl lifing her purdah, she was such a young delicate girl, so beautiful, the feeling we had after seeing her was will she be this way always within the purdah... Sad state!!

Law too exempts certain classes of people from personal appearance in courts. Once amongst them is the purdahnashin(or the lady wearing the veil). She is not expected to appear in courts.

I just read a precis by Sanjeev Nayyar from the book "Thoughts on Pakistan" written by Dr. Ambedkar about the Purdah System and am reproducing it below-

"Purdah system - That something more is the compulsory Purdah system for women. As a consequence a system of segregation of Muslim women is brought about. ‘Friends have reproduced excerpts of purdah impact’. All of them are confined to the same room, not expected to visit outer rooms. These burkha clad women walking on the streets is one of the most hideous sights one can witness in India. Such seclusion cannot but have its deteriorating effects upon the physical constitution of Muslim women. They are usually victims of anaemia, tuberculosis and pyorrhea. Their bodies are deformed with their backs bent etc. Ribs, bones and nearly all their bones ache. Heart palpation is very often present in them. The result of this pelvic deformity is untimely death at the time of delivery. Purdah deprives Muslim women of mental & moral nourishment. Further they become narrow and restricted in their outlook. Being deprived of a healthy social life, the process of moral degeneration sets in. They have no desire for knowledge, because they are taught not to be interested in nothing outside four walls of the house. It makes them helpless, timid & unfit to fight life.
The origin of purdah lies of course in the deep-rooted suspicion of sexual appetites in both sexes and the purpose is to check them by segregating the sexes. But far from achieving that purpose, it has adversely affected the morals of women. They have limited contact with the outside world; the men have no company of females except children & aged. The isolation of the males from the females is sure to produce bad effects on the morals of men. It requires no psychoanalyst to say that a social system that cuts off all contact between the two sexes produces an unhealthy tendency towards sexual excesses & unnatural and other morbid ways & habits.

Purdah is also responsible for social segregation of Hindus from Muslims, which is the bane of public life in India. The Hindus do not want to establish social contact because it means contact between a Muslim man with and Hindu lady and Hindu man. Surely Purdah is found amongst a section of the Hindus too but it lacks religious sanctity, as is the case with the Muslims. ‘Friends what the Hindu ladies do is to have a ghoonghat, meaning covering of the head and face. Again it is more prevalent today in smaller towns & villages. A number of ladies cover their heads only as a mark of respect to elders. However, Hindu women do not wear another layer of clothing like Muslim women do'.
Thus there is stagnation in the social life of the Muslims. But there is also stagnation in the political life of the community in India. Their predominant interest is religion. Politics is essentially clerical and recognizes only one difference namely that existing between Hindus and Muslims. None of the secular categories of life have any place in the politics of the community and if they do find a place – they are subordinated to none and the only governing principle of the political universe, namely Religion.


Does it matter whether the purdah is one layer or two layers. The idea is to keep the women folk in seclusion. And it really does not matter what the origin, this system defintely has to go if India has to grow. This also means the relevant changes in the Laws too have to be brought about.

Pics-The Internet

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Messages and Forwards

Talking about SMSes and forwards,there are so many being circulated that I hardly spend anytime reading them. However, there are two that I liked..

One was an SMS I received which went like this-
What is the difference between the rest of India and Bangalore?
In the rest of India, people drive on the left of the road whereas in Bangalore you drive on what is left of the road.

How true..

Another one which I have received innumerable times but still I read it fully each time I receive it is this--

The white man said, "Colored people are not allowed here." The black man turned around and stood up. He then said: "Listen sir....when I was born I was BLACK, " "When I grew up I was BLACK, " "When I'm sick I'm BLACK, " "When I go in the sun I'm BLACK, " "When I'm cold I'm BLACK, "When I die I'll be BLACK." "But you sir." "When you're born you're pink, " "When you grow up you're white, " "When you're sick, you're green, "When you go in the sun you turn red, " "When you're cold you turn blue, " "And when you die you turn purple." "And you have the nerve to
call me colored?" The black man then sat back down and the white man walked away....

Food for thought this?