Showing posts with label Guest Blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guest Blog. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

A future blocked by a ceiling...

Every time I listen to a panel discussion about 'Breaking the glass ceiling,' I get miffed by the stories that are told. Not because they are glorified, but more per-say, as they convey only a partial narrative of the privileged minority of the population.

And while it is okay that this makes my blood boil, it is time things need to be said exactly as the way they should be. So, here I am, ruffling the hornet's nest and opening the pandora's box. But before you start looking for me – to punch me in my face, hear me out.

Yes, I agree, acknowledge, and applaud all modern educated quintessential women within and outside the corporate world. And that is indeed a remarkable feat, considering our history of generations laden with patriarchy.

The premise of my disagreement begins here. All these women, whose remarkable achievement we are in awe about – were highly educated, acted on their own will, and powered by their own confidence and determination ventured into a world dominated by men to achieve something which we did not expect them to. At least that what we are happy to believe – 'That they were not capable of achieving it.' Though this belief is nothing but shameful,

I would still say, "To some extent, such a belief is fine, since it reflects centuries of 'stinking upbringing' – telling us men that we are born superior."

I am sure, by now, either you are raging with anger or are confused, as I have not hit home yet. So before either one of you hits the snooze button, let me hit the nail hard, and put things where they belong.

So, here is my first question. Are we looking at the complete picture? I would say, "No". That is not even one pixel. Forget being a portion of the image. Because no one is talking about the barely educated or probably the un-educated woman on the street, who might be working as a housemaid, unskilled laborer, or some other odd job.

Most of these women face all sorts of resistance, domestic violence, social rebuke and discrimination, and a lot of other unmentionable things – from all directions.

Trust me when I say this, "99% of these unprivileged women don't even know that in some corner of the city that they live, has a talk-show going on, were some 3 or 4 significantly well to do and educated ladies are narrating some story about their life, which goes like – "I had to convince my dad for a week to let me study marine engineering at IIT."

To that, my fuming response would be, "WTF. Grow up and clean the wax out of your ears. Be happy that you had a father who understood what IIT and an Engineering Degree from there means. Think about the one whose father comes home drunk every day, beats his wife and daughter black and blue. And probably even does things that no sane person would ever think of."

Alright, before I start pointing fingers, lets me present some realistic data which explains the educational and social background of a few of our role models who have 'broken the glass ceiling.'
  1. The top boss of a global beverage company has two Masters' Degree in Management. One from the Indian Institute of Management and another from YALE University.
  2. The CEO of a global digital learning organization has a Bachelors' Degree in Engineering from IIT and a Master's Degree in Management from IIT.
  3. A renowned TEDx speaker and published author whom a popular social media website ranked as Top Voice for a recent year have done her college education from Harvard.
  4. Another one with a similar resume went to study at the London School of Economics. Yes, the same one where one of the country's past Prime ministers and a well-published economist studied.
I hope you get the logic I am trying to put here. However righteous or ridiculous it might sound, it is equally important to point out that all these educational institutes where our role models studied have an intake rate of less than 2.5% and probably an equally competitive graduation statistic. And yes, the education there is expensive, but it takes much more than sheer good luck to be able to have studied there.

Let me dive a little deeper, here I am referring to the section of women in the society who do not even know that phrases like – Equal Pay Parity, Gender Diversity, Martial R* is really a crime, and 'Saying no' is an option, etc. exist. Being submissive, keeping a low profile, remaining silent about any sort of abuse is all these women know and understand. All of which is unacceptable. The real effort of abolishing the disparity must begin here itself.

I have seen many people going gaga about many achievers calling them icons of 'breaking the glass ceiling'.

These are the people who have spoken at world podiums, written books, led teams, climbed mountain peaks, or even ruled nations. Life in its true sense is not just about a handful of people. There are a majority of women whose entire life can be summarized in 3 words – Struggle for existence.

However, I am not here to belittle anyone's achievements. Like I said initially, "I agree, all the women CEOs and Start-up Wizards have worked hard to get wherever they are. And, obviously, their success stories must be known, shared, celebrated, and followed as role models. But let us divert our attention on those, who have a similar story, but probably their narrative does not involve words like – College Degree, MBA, Start-up, Boardroom, Awards etc."

In my humble and personal opinion, the 'REAL Glass Ceiling' issues can be summed up through either of the following narratives.

  • For an average girl, the 'glass ceiling' is nothing more than – "Not being ogled upon, when she walks barely 300 meters from her home to buy a packet of potato chips."
  • For the one traveling to her school or college in public transport, it ends at – "Returning home without having a man touch her or making an attempt to.
  • For some, it is achieved every morning, if on the night before she was not beaten, was not forced upon, or the husband or a grown-up son did not snatch or steal money from her to buy booze or gamble.
  • For another one waiting to be married, the same so-called ceiling comes crashing down – on the day, she does not have to don a saree, wear make-up, and do a shy walk, in front of a bunch of strangers, desperate to evaluate her and find fault in her; just so that some extra dowry can be bargained.
I could go on and on with a long list of stories of the kind for which a different definition of 'glass ceiling' needs to be coined, and that too pronto. But I alone taking a step forward in that direction will not suffice. I would need help.

Now, if you are thinking of saying, "a drop at a time fills the bucket,." I would say my thoughts above are not even the first drop. They are just an honest realization that an empty bucket exists, which should have been filled a long time back. As I write this piece, I am just trying to look for a place where this bucket can be kept to get filled. And this place is not marked on Google maps. We need to create it from scratch. Probably, if you too agree that the bucket needs to be filled, share your thoughts so that we all together can make this place.

- Candid Speaker

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Guest Post: It’s not what it looks like. Its me!

Over the past few weeks, India has latched on to its newest hashtag - #MeToo.
Dozens of women have called out men with any semblance of power and accusations of how they harassed, abused, molested, tortured, or in any way inconvenienced them.
The men who have been accused have predictably reacted with shock, denial, and counter-accusations. Some have even apologised. 

And as usual, the media has taken sides - We are pro-feminists. And as always, we have condemned the men in the courts of our consciences.

So in the spirit of coming out and calling out, I want my 5 minutes of fame too. 

I am a 36 year old Indian woman, born and brought up in New York. I was drugged and raped by my friend at a frat party. I’ve been ‘raped’ twice since then by men who wanted to be my boyfriends and then dumped. 

When I moved to India 10 years ago, I thought my past was behind me and I could leave the scars of my past behind. How wrong I was!

My first boyfriend was a wonderful man. Or at least I thought he was. Until I started to work late nights. His patience and ‘understanding nature’ wore thin and his suspicion grew. He wanted to know who I was with and why I had to work late every night. He couldn’t believe a woman needed a career for all the real reasons a man needed one. 
The first time he ‘raped’ me, it was after a miserable argument where he said, emphatically, how he didn’t need my money. He needed my body and that’s all there was. He apologised to me the next morning. 
A week later, it happened again. 
And again.

I thought my boss, a woman, would understand what I was going through. I guess I just needed a hug, an ally to tell me I’ll be fine. 
It didn’t happen. Pouring my heart out to my boss only appeared to give her more power over me. She camouflaged power over me as empathy and I misread her signals. We’d meet over weekends and drinks at a pub transitioned into drinking at her home. After one of those binges, we ended up in bed. Now, I never knew I was bisexual and I don’t think I’m even attracted to women that way, but I know she knew what she was doing. The morning after was confusing to me. She pacified me and suggested I let it go as a ‘one off’ and move on. 

Working with her felt awkward. She was patient and wanted me to let time erase the memories. Sure. But it didn’t. 
Her patience began to wear thin. She started sidelining me in meetings and projects and it wasn’t too long before I began hearing hushed rumours about me. None of which mattered because I knew rumours and lies have short legs. 

That’s when Raj (fictional name, ofcourse) joined my team. Being a previously married man who had to fight hard for his divorce, he could cut the animosity in the office with a knife. Gradually, he learned how to separate fact from fiction and we made a good team. 
We’ve been dating each other for the last 4 years and he’s been patient with me. He has learned to deal with my trust issues and we still make a great team. 

But that’s not what this is about. 

Indians have been great at shaming other people.
We wear our hypocrisy on our sleeves and we, childishly, believe shaming another person is the most appropriate punishment/encouragement we can give. Partly because we are on our high-horses all the time and partly because we feel entitled. 

I’ve heard memes and jokes about how parents would shame their sons into doing better than Sharmaji’s son. Daughters, of course need to cook, knit and learn skipping ropes before being sold to the highest bidder when they reach their 20’s. 

We have our priorities terribly mixed up.

India is a country where a woman is raped every 20 minutes.
We have an appalling conviction rate. And even when prosecuted, it is just a matter of money and time, before the rapist will walk free. And one day, even become your legislator. 

India is a country where marital rapes will happen. A fact that has been endorsed by the highest court of the country. 

India is a country where female genital mutilation happens. Google for it. If men were subjected to something even remotely heinous, they would have fought hard to stop this.

India is a country which has states like Kerala. One that talks tall about the sex ratio, their matriarchal society and more. But try walking in a skirt and a T-shirt in Thiruvanthapuram and you will be ogled, bumped into, and groped. It isn’t any different in any other district within the State either. I was once catcalled when cycling within Wayanad. And I wasn’t even alone. 

Our sanitation standards are poor, economical inequality all pervasive, adulteration is rampant in the food we eat and the milk we drink. We can’t seem to get our roads done the way it should. We can’t seem to follow traffic rules for the life of us. We don’t have the political or moral will to treat each other with respect. Yes, there are a lot of issues within India. 

Getting groped, molested, harassed is bad. But so are acid attacks and rapes. 
I know because I’ve been raped, molested, groped and harassed. I’ve also had consensual sex with men and sometimes that was that and we never explored the step ahead. I know colleagues who have had to sleep with men. Sure it was for getting that promotion (which might have never come). But it was definitely consensual at the time she chose to sleep with him. Do you think she should sue him in, say, 10 years from now?
Do you think I should sue all the men and my boss for sexually abusing me? 
The abuse does leave scars but that is why I am in therapy. 

This movement will gain traction. Because none of the men will want to call out the hypocrisy of the women. Doing so will paint a target on their backs. 

Men I speak to are terrified. I know men who have started calling their exes (going back 15 years) just to apologise. They call it ‘I am sorry for hurting you and leading you on’. 
I call it Anticipatory Bail. 

Women on the other hand have got a new weapon. It’s an addition to a repertoire of tools that lakhs of women have used in the past. Case in point: Jasleen Kaur.
Thousands of estranged wives have abused Article 498A and the Domestic Violence Act to exact revenge on their men and his family for many many years.
This revolution is the newest tool in the hands of women who want to take down men. Either because the sex was bad or the outcome was not good enough. 

This movement couldn’t have come at a worse time. We don’t trust our banks, we can’t trust our politicians and now, we won’t trust the opposite sex. 

Women never had it easy in our country. We’ve had to fight for everything we wanted. 
And now, it will be a heck a lot harder.

But then it isn’t only the men who can do all this to women, right?
There are an equal number of ruthless women who do the same to men and other women. Raj was raped by men when he was a child. He was harassed at work by a woman too. 

Shouldn’t we treat crimes against another individual, whether male or female, equally? 
What’s happened to the practice of filing a lawsuit when a crime has happened?
What happens when the accuser is proven wrong? What happens to the person who she/he accused? 

So like I said, men are terrified. And if they’ve abused a woman in any way. They should be. This is the beginning of the end for them.

But women beware. Because if your allegations are false and if the men you accuse could get to the powerful positions they are right now, you can be sure as daylight follows darkness, you will be hunted down and made an example. And unlike Jasleen Kaur, you will not be spared. 
But if what you say is true, more power to you. File a lawsuit if you have enough evidence to back your allegation. Seek therapy for the wounds within. You’ll come through this stronger than ever.

In the meanwhile, the Courts should sit up and take notice. Or else this will be beginning of another sordid saga that will spiral into a social nightmare that will hurt both men and women in ways that we can’t conceive yet.

Monday, December 07, 2015

GuestSpeak: Land of the dying farmers

India is one of those countries where we can see all people from all faiths thriving side by side. People come to India from all our the world because of our education system and for the many opportunities we give. But being Indian I have often wondered why the government isn't doing enough to help our farmers. Farmers are our nation's backbone.
They put their sweat and tears to grow food that we eat (and waste). Yet they aren't getting a good yield and don't have a fixed price from the government. So who should we blame? Do you think government is main responsible for farmers death? I believe it is.

Why the government isn't able to control farmer suicides in India?

Having seen farmers closely, I feel Indian farmers are struggling because they don’t have fixed price for their crops and when farmers take loans for the cultivation for their crops either from co-operative bank or from nationalized bank, the loan amount will not be given to them at the proper interest rates, because loan amount has to be proceed through field officer for filed officer they have to pay some amount of money to release their amount by the time seeds are sowed, its time they applied pesticides and the delay caused a cascading effect. The amount they have borrowed grows and the interest that accrues exceeds the principle and when the crops fail, they cannot pay the money. Ones who survive, will barely exist or profit because there isn't a set mechanism in the government.

Do you think the government is unaware of their problems?

Elected bodies take oath in the name farmers but they do nothing for farmers. As a writer and a concerned citizen, I pray that the government, on behalf of farmers, provides them with high quality seeds and releases timely loans for the cultivation for their crops, to fix a standard price for every produce so that we can save the foundation of our agrarian nation. I feel farmers a forgotten lot because we are only exposed to consumer goods from malls or from markets. But do you think these products or directly brought from farmers? No. Middlemen end up buying the produce from the farmer at rates which are bad for the farmer and sell them at a premium.
We forget our lives are beautiful because of the daily toil our farmers put in.

Can the government fix this problem?

Yes, please open crop insurances in villages, where people can get their money even if their harvest fails. Buy produce directly from farmers so that they can also live a respectable life too. The Government can open separate market for all the produce to avoid harvests getting spoiled or rotten. 

Think about this - Our farmers are not happy. They should get a proper life and live a life worth living. You and I can help them live a worthwhile life. Support our farmers.

This is a guest post by a good friend and fellow writer Vasu Hebasur

Opinions expressed here are personal and solely of the author's and we may not subscribe to it. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

GuestSpeak: Hot under the collars

Our planet is getting hot under the collars. 
Global climate is the average climate over the entire planet. And the reason scientists and folks like you are concerned is that Earth's global climate is changing.

Greenhouse gases released from the industry burning fuels are the major factors for global climate change. Our oceans are a critical part of the climate system, with vastly greater thermal capacity than the atmosphere. Most of the net energy increase in the climate system in recent decades is stored in the oceans. A small, slow increase in their temperature has significant changes!

Globally, countries are facing challenges in dealing with environmental problems stemming from climate change. Countries with large populations are struggling because of global climate change. Citizen protests due to climate change across the world are growing every year.

Climate change is already beginning to transform life on Earth. Around the globe, seasons are shifting, temperatures are climbing and sea levels are rising. And meanwhile, our planet must still supply us – and all living things – with air, water, food and safe places to live. If we don't act now, climate change will rapidly alter the lands and waters we all depend upon for survival, leaving our children and grandchildren with a very different world.

Some of the most dangerous consequences of climate change are high temperature, changing landscapes, dwindling wildlife, and rising seas. 
I feel industries should have checks and balances in place to restrict the amount of pollutants into the environment. While growing more plants can control greenhouse gases, we as a global community must do everything it takes to do all we can to preserve our planet for our kids now, before it is too late.

This is a guest post by a good friend and fellow writer Vasu Hebasur
Opinions expressed here are personal and solely of the author's and we may not subscribe to it. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

GuestSpeak: When the world can live without fear

"Terrorism" comes from the French word terrorisme

Terrorism is the biggest threat to today’s world and not a single nation has been able to put an end to terrorism. Every day it is the biggest problem for global political leaders, every day innocent live are lost. Who should the people blame? Are the Government and the intelligence agencies lagging behind in their attempt to control terror activity? People who  are attracted to terrorism because of money are killing themselves as suicide bombers because they are not even bothered about their own life and family and to think this is all because of the lure of money.

People who subscribe to terror should get proper education and if it’s poverty then, global political leaders should think about providing opportunities, so when they have proper education people will not enroll themselves to terror and this could be one way we can remove the steady stream of terror recruits.

Recently, France suffered from terror strikes, where large number of people were killed when terrorists rained bullets on innocent people. 100s of beautiful lives and their dreams were killed. Their ambitions snuffed. Who should people blame for last week’s terror attack? Was it the intelligence that failed? Was it that they were not aware of the information? People have become scared to go out of their houses. Breadwinners fear to step out because they may never return alive..

This is not just France. Every major country has faced terror attack in the last 15 years. The Government should take serious steps to control terror activity so that innocent life can be saved and we can live without fear.

This is a guest post by a good friend and fellow writer Vasu Hebasur
Opinions expressed here are personal and solely of the author's and we may not subscribe to it. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

GuestSpeak : Romeo & Juliet : Ruined.

Project: A lousy adaptation of the Romeo and Juliet.

Title: Goliyon ki raasleela-Ramleela

Disclaimer: The character ‘Ram’ in the movie does in no way portray Lord Ram. No animals were hurt in the making, but we’ll show a dead peacock to tease Salman Khan’s taste buds. Evil Mojojo laugh.

No real women were raped or tortured but we’ll show damsels in distress just so we know that it’s India we are talking about and no Bollywood movie has scored well without a woman being irrationally exploited in public. Like, rapists will defile widows too, so there’s something new to watch.

My chores for the day:

  • Sign the most dead actress I’ve seen onscreen who gets ready to do absolutely anything that comes her way for a completely unrelated role in the movie for a dance. An item number. Have her dance to it and annoy my audience. She’s made Pitbull and satisfied him by sitting on his lap but that’s not enough, right?
  • Inane looking people with guns in their hands who shoot anyone who gets in their way. Even a little kid who just pees atop a terrace. “Just shoot at him now! Kill him! THROW YOUR EGO AROUND!”
  • Song.
  • Like every Bollywood movie, we will have a HUGE HOLI celebration! Lots and lots of people will dance in complete synchronization with each other and the air will be coloured in pink and yellow! My lead actress will enter wearing a bra-like something which barely covers anything and MAKE HER RUN. MAKE HER RUN LIKE THOSE BIKINI-CLAD WOMEN IN BAYWATCH! Let her rock that major-Cleave show going on there. She’s done enough by being a party girl in every movie she’s acted in, let me dress her up skimpy in this one too. And NO. Usage of combs is banned in the movie. No.One. Must.Use.Combs. Ram meets Leela, Leela meets Ram. They fall in love. Love at first sight, so romantic. More like LUST at first sight. She must practically seduce him by inhuman bodily gestures, so that at night when he’ll lurk around in her balcony, she can kiss him and almost make love to him.
  • Song.
  • Ah, my boy, Ranveer. Let’s give him a Greek sculpted body, lips that every woman wants to kiss, strong muscular arms and an oiled up chest FOR NOTHING. Just make him jump around like a monkey from terrace to terrace, hang out with his cheap,low-life friends and throw in some porn videos for him to watch to keep him engaged in his nuisances.
  • Song.
  • Song.
  • Song.
  • Song.
  • Yet another song, (WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?)
  • In every, every damn scene must they almost make love. Just touch each other in places and arouse their audience
  • Ooh Ooh! How could I forget!!! The two will run away, rent a sleazy, skeevy-looking hotel room and almost make love. They will get married and just when he puts sindoor in her scalp, they must kiss. Seal the deal with a long sensuous kiss. How about that? Am I not a genius?!
  • (Dramatic music in the background and temple bells ringing in the distance)
  • Evil Bitch mom strikes!! A loud pompous lady who has her widowed daughter in law take bullets out of husband’s chest with a knife. Every woman, every and every man in her household and under her tyrannous rule must carry weapons. They must show love, pain, sorrow, anger, depression, approval, denial BY SHOOTING THE AIR IN UNISON. Evil Bitch mom dresses up in black, wears heavy jewels, has dreadful bloodshot eyes and manly hands. She must in no way look like woman. Her weakness: Have a child hug her when she’s already caused a lot of collateral damage. Wait. Or I could get some guy to kiss her like Snow Whit was kissed. Way to go, I’m a whizkid with this shit.
  • THEY.MUST.SHOOT.RAM.BEFORE.RAAVAN.IS.BURNT. I am going to write a Ramayana of my own *Pretty Soon* and it’s going to be slick.. The UPites will go completely insane, my movie will gain publicity and Romeo can die.
  • The title can say an ADAPTATION OF THE ROMEO AND JULIET but not even one scene should really be an adaptation. It’s Bollywood. It’s way past Romeo and Juliet. We’ve come a far way. BUT LET’S FINISH IT THAT WAY. Have Leela lock her room, she has her bullet,he has his. Let them make have one last almost-love-making-session, and kill them off.
  • Woohoooooooo! 5 stars! I DID IT! This movie is going to be a sick production. It sure is going to disappoint millions of movie-goers.

The End.


This is a guest post by a budding blogger and avid movie buff - Suparna Havelia.
She describes herself as a very boring person who loves romantic books.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Guest Post: Creating Photobooks online

Now a day’s digital photography has become custom. Everyone is using that and you will feel like you have an awesome amount of unorganized pictures. There is way to arrange all your photos wonderfully in a photo book that is available for all generation to view it.

Ψ First of all if you are planning to order for photo book then decide for what occasion you want to order it. For e.g. Christmas, wedding, kid’s memories, Trip to some place etc. it should be always worth looking back and remembering that days.

Ψ Always look for Photo Books discount deals that are beneficial to you while shopping.

Ψ Collect all the pictures which you want to include in photo book. Look at all the photos from your folder in computer and decide which should be included and excluded. Make sure that the pictures you wish to use are best and exclusive. The people who are present should be identifiable in a snap.

Ψ There are basic fundamentals required for making photo book. There are so many websites where you can create photo book. Creating the book online is absolutely free of cost.

Ψ In most of the cases you can view it and even send it to your friends and family members. You are not incurred with any charges until the book is printed.

Ψ It merely depends on you what type of book you want to print; a soft cover book or hard cover book. Both will have different printing charges. Some coupons offers free shipping charges and some of them don’t if you are having coupons or coupon codes for free shipping.

Ψ There are many photo companies which can be helpful to print photos.

Pick a service for creating an excellent book. Tons of services are available online such as “Kodak Gallery”, Shutterfly, Snapfish, Scrap book, free shipping at Mixbook etc. The services varies with prices, quality of the books that are provided, sharing of the book, templates they offers, and even whether they tell you to create book online or via an application form that you can download to your desktop. There are many pros and cons related to these approaches that these services offer. So pick the best that works best for you.

Ψ Create your own book. Put all your favorable snaps on pages by themselves and mix it with less favorable snaps on the other pages. If you are doing it on your own then you will never do that wrong.

Ψ Be sure that the book you are making will be meaningful for recollecting the past memories.

Ψ Making this photo book and gifting to your friends on their birthdays or special events will add an extra charm in their occasion.

Ψ If that book is related with your friends then you can print multiple copies of that and distribute among the group.

Ψ Creativity and themes are vital because it adds a different and unique look.

Ψ Crazy look, fonts, stickers, attractive background is necessary for it.

Ψ Many online sources are offering this service for free. Make sure that the source which you are using is free and allows you to use the coupons.

Author Bio:-

Sophiya Aden is a contributor and writer for She writes how to save money at the time of online shopping. Couponing can save your budget while you are ordering for photo books.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

GuestSpeak: When pictures speak

Carter's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph
Before I come to the point it’s important for one to understand where I am coming from. Here is an account of a relevant story that I feel would help me express my feelings and the message I am trying to convey in a better way.

"I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken (recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek) if I am that lucky" excerpts from suicide note of Kevin Carter who took his own life by taping one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe and running the other end to the passenger-side window. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carter's prize winning photograph was sold to the New York Times; the photograph first appeared on March 26, 1993. Hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask the fate of the girl. The paper reported that it was unknown whether she had managed to reach the feeding center. In 1994, the photograph won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.

My inspiration to write this post came from above mentioned story, my own real experience follows -
Few years back I watched a programme on migrating animals, where an injured baby baboon unable to keep up with pace of other baboons is left behind by the mother. Towards the end of the programme they showed baby baboon being watched by some vultures while mother though concerned about the baby but left with no choice decides to move on with the rest. Being an animal lover I could not bear the thought of baby being attacked by the vultures so I immediately switched over the channel .I kept on brooding over and wondered why couldn't the camera man rescue the baby, treat him, feed him and drop him where he belonged, I cried and cried for months together finally went into acute depression. There on I am not allowed to watch discovery channel. I totally understand the law of nature and phrases like 'Survival of the fittest'. But we as human beings and an intelligent species can avert few of the tragedies that we tend to ignore.

Several times we watch a man or a woman beaten up in an inhuman way or someone run down by a vehicle bleeding to death I can cite any number of such examples that I must have watched on news channels. In each case I have simply switched over the channels for the reason that neither I can bear the inhuman act nor insensitivity of the camera person, or an anchor who takes pride in narrating the whole incident that took place in front of his or her eyes but made no effort to save a life. Their selfish concern seems to be making breaking news that goes like “murder caught on camera" and I wonder is the camera person/photographer as a human being not  morally responsible to avert such tragedies or  should they simply concentrate on what they are getting paid for ??

There is a need for all such photographers, camera men, journalists to take a lesson from Carters case that was much criticized for having not saved the child, who while on a trip to Sudan, was preparing to photograph a starving toddler trying to reach a feeding center when a vulture landed nearby. Carter reported to have taken the picture, because it was his "job title" and leaving.  He came under criticism for failing to help the girl.

The St. Petersburg Times in Florida said this of Carter: "The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene."
Alka Narula (c)

Written for 'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' by our guest blogger Alka Narula.
Find more information about her at Indiblogger

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

GuestSpeak: Warriors

source: The Economic Times
Lot of nonsense is being spewed on the net about the controversy involving the Army Chief. Unfortunately, the gentlemanly, week, effete and our non functional figurehead prime minister is being dragged into all this. The entire Sikh community is being maligned. Some officers and others from the chief’s camp have made this a communal issue. This is a first for a proud and secular Indian Army. The fact of the matter is that neither JJ , VK or even Bikram are officers of any great stature or brilliant and no where near outstanding. Indian Army looks back with nostalgia and yearns for officers of the caliber of Thimmaya, Manekshaw, SSP Thorat, Chotu Sen, Inder Gill, Satinder Singh,Eric Vas, Prem Bhagat, Harbaksh ( this is by no means an exhaustive list, or anywhere near it, its only representative), to make a comparison. Present day generals are just careerists. Only expectation I would make is AK Singh( present Southern army commander).

Recently, “Outlook” magazine( C S Dogra’s article), and a mossufil vernacular paper called “Chauthi Duniya”, have been writing uninformed articles about the army , the Sikh community and the present controversy. One Maj Gen Sinha has been fwd the same to army officers. And there has been an angry, hard hitting, apt,and logically reasoned  rebuttal by an officer K J Singh who is a friend of mine . I am reproducing the rebuttal and the mail fwd. by Mag Gen Sinha which i strongly feel should be made public.

Two Army Chiefs after 31st May 2012?

The current issue of Outlook has come up with the future scenario of Army’s succession: Sting in the Tail:Will There be Two Army Chiefs on May 31? by C.S. Dogra. Inspite of the cacophony to remove Genereal  V.K. Singh from the post of Chief of Armed services, both in an embedded media and the Parliament, he continues to stay and the issue of his fading away is deferring like Derridean trace. Magazine Outlook outlines how there will be two Army Chiefs on 31st May,2012 since the issue of age has still been not settled after the government withdrew its order of 30th December,2011. Another linked up news pertains to the filing of caveat by the government in the Supreme Court against  a PIL  on the issue of not making Bikram Singh as next  Chief.   The coming month is going to witness a see-saw battle between votaries of General V.K.Singh, the honest activists, the enraged nations on one side and the votaries of General J.J.Singh’s communal succession plan, the crooked, corrupt and bought-up media on the other side. General V.K.Singh’s enemies are few but powerful since they are the brokers masquerading as editors, retired generals, “stateman”like politicians and product of ‘crony capitalism”. They have singular mantra- to infect India with ‘crony governance’ which is quite evident and needs no description. But, the most powerful attempt to remover General V.K.Singh was made under the aegis of a suave gentleman  of ‘Walk the Talk’ fame, Shekhar Gupta, now nicknamed “Broker Gupta”.

The Indian Express published an intended scoop on 4th April claiming that the two troops of Army based in Hissar and Agra marched towards Delhi on 16th January night, a day when General V.K.Singh filed writ in the Supreme court on age issue. The  target was General V.K.Singh. There was obvious attempt to discredit honest Army chief by suggesting that he intended coup, and thus to pave way for his sacking. Only a week ago, a secret letter that the Army chief had written to the PM on the preparedness of armed forces was leaked and hue and cry was made by a particular lobby in media to sack the Army chief for the leakage. The government ordered an IB enquiry into the alleged leakage and it is being reported that the Army Chief has been given clean chit.

But, questions have been raised against the IB Chief, Nehchal Sandhu by Sunday Guardian.  The newspaper claims that  Sandhu is very close to former army chief, JJ Singh, the incoming army chief Bikram Singh and the retired Lt.General Tejinder Singh against whom General V.K.Singh has forwarded complaint to the CBI for attempt to offer him bribe in the year 2010.The obvious  reason is the regional and communal lobbying. It is merely the kinship, since all of them are turbaned gentlemen including the source of the story to the Indian Express .  The role of Sandhu is under scanner in escalating the controversy to discredit General V.K.Singh.

There is  growing perception in the armed forces that the Sikhs officers have usurped meritocracy within armed forces and with the access to the highest political level , indulged in nepotism and clan-kin favoritism, which has created fault-lines within armed forces.

All this started with the UPA I coming into power when Sardar Manmohan Singh Kohli was anointed the Prime Minister. There was push to appoint a Sikh General. In the preceding months, as Gen. NC Vij’s term  was coming to an end, there was speculation that JJ Singh might be superseded by Lt.-Gen. Shammi Mehta, an Armoured Corps officer. Name of Lt. General Hari Prasad and Shantanu Chaudhary too were making rounds. The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabanthak Committee issued a strongly worded statement favouring JJ Singh .  Finally, Gen. JJ Singh of Maratha Light Infantry took over as Chief of the Army Staff on 1 February, 2005. He was the first ever Sikh to become the Chief of the Army. The communalization of Indian Army began from this very incidence. General JJ Singh cried before the camera in his very first press conference on 23rd November, 2004 upon receiving news of his elevation as Army Chief in Chandigarh.. That was such a sensational image.    General JJ Singh’s tenure saw the rise of corrupt Generals

Sometime in 2005, General JJ Singh  initiated the ‘look down policy’ to determine the ‘line of succession’ to the top position in the Army .He was not looking for immediate succession as he was to be succeeded by kinsman, general Deepak Kapoor. But, he  was looking to the year 2012 and found one  Sikh kinsman, Brigadier Bikram Singh from Ravva village in Amritsar. JJ Singh  realized that events and dates relating to the then Major General VK Singh, who was sure shot to become Army Chief in 2010, needed to be manipulated if Bikram Singh was to succeed him in 2012!

An operation was  started  to work out a plan to retire V.K.Singh only in May,2012 so that Bikram Singh could take over. It had to operate at two levels. All the competitors of the Brigadier were to be sidelined and General V K Singh’s term was to be reduced.  Those to be neutralized included Brigadiers Padam Budhwar and MM Chaudhary, and Major-Generals Shujan Chatterjee, AK Singh and Ravi Arora, a gold medalist from the same batch as Bikram Singh.
One also must ponder that General V.K.Singh  was born in the Army’s hospital in Poona on 10 May, 1951. MH Kirkee birth cetificate, Birth Certificate issued by the authority under Births and Deaths Act 1880 (Central Act),  Rajput Battallion  DO Pt II Order where his father, Lt. Col Jagat Singh who  was working as Major  at that time,also records this date. The birth has been verified as 10 May 1951 under the provisions of Army Order 773 of 1973.

The same date was recorded in  his matriculation certificate and General Singh's  Identity Card which is a document issued by the Academy after his commissioning. Other documents like  Passport, Voter’s Card, Driving License, PAN Card have the year 1951 as date of birth. His  each and every Annual Confidential Report (ACR) initiated since the commissioning  bears 1951 as  date of birth.
Even a confidential communication dated 1 July, 2011,(A/4501/01/GEN/MS(1) from Lt-Gen. GM Nair, Military Secretary, to the Defence Secretary, and seen by Defence Minister  A.K.Antony, categorically states that 10 May, 1951, was taken as the DOB by various Selection Boards for promotion of VK Singh to Brigadier in September 1996, to Major-General on  25 October 2001 and Lt.-General on 30th September 2005.All the honours   that General V.K.Singh has been conferred has the citation bearing 1951 as the birth year. As per Supreme Court Judgement in Feb 2010, the permissible document in DOB is birth certificate.

But, once the Operation to install another Sikh as future General started, someone   in the MS Branch ‘discovered’ VK Singh’s UPSC application form mentioning 1950 as his year of birth, which was filled not in General Singh’s handwriting, but by his teacher  Mr. BS Bhatnagara  at school, while General V.K.Singh  was legally a minor . On 3 May, 2006, the Military Secretary branch was asked to raise VK Singh’s date of birth issue based on this error .General JJ Singh and his succeeding kinsman, Deepak Kapoor forced VK Singh to accept this anomaly as his date of birth, before elevated as Army Commander without which he could not have become the Chief of the Army.

By ensuring the reduction of  VK Singh’s tenure  by 10 months and eliminating other competent Generals, the two kinsman paved way for elevation of Bikram Singh as Army Chief in May,2012. A memorandum signed by thousands of ex-servicemen, including high ranking officers of the three services, was submitted to the President in her capacity as the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, to do justice with VK Singh, but the same has not disposed off.  The MoD issued an order on  30 December, 2011, and  changed the DOB of the Army Chief arbitrarily, this was the handiwork of another Punjabi kinsman, a Joint Secretary in the Ministry. The General rightly moved the supreme Court  and had to withdraw application once the government submitted to the Court that the order dated 30 December,2011 has been withdrawn.

But, then an uproar was made seeking General Singh to quit his post. Once it was not done, various lobby that included corrupt retired generals, arms dealers and kinsman of the succeeding General   planted news that the Army  was tapping the  phones of Defence minister in South Block using mobile interceptors in Raisina Hills.  Army HQ issued a press release on March 5  and charged Lt. General Tejinder Singh with planting such rumours to create rift between political and military authority. It is against this press release that Tejinder Sigh moved theDelhi Court to initiate defamation proceedings against the Army HQ.Tejinder Singh was provided ample space on English news channel controlled by same vested foreign interest who are also hands-in-gloves with arms market.

The institution of army is facing the ripples in whole controversy which is meant only to see that Bikram Singh succeeds as the Army chief. MG Devasahayam, former IAS officer and chairman of an NGO Citizens Alliance for Sustainable Living in Chennai and activist working for transparency in governance, has claimed in various writings that  TKA Nair,  is reported to have told his confidants that VK Singh had to go in May 2012 because the‘Prime Minister had assured his wife that General Bikram Singh would be the next COAS’. So, here is the clue to the controversy. Crony governance and the nepotism is happening at the very top.

Chauthi Duniya  weekly magazine was the first to report that  PM Manmohan Singh  met General JJ SINgh and Lt. General Bikram Singh at his sister’s house in Kolkata.  Further enquiry reveals that while on official trip to West Bengal on 21-22 August,2011,  PM  Manmohan Singh had dinner at his sister Govind Kaur's house inSouth Kolkata along with his nephew Ravinder Pal Singh and his wife Kuki Sahni. The surprise attendee were General JJ Singh, Governor of Arunacahal Pradesh  and architect of age prolongation of General V.K.Singh and Lt. Gen Bikram Singh, who is incumbent Chief of Army now. What transpired among them can be guessed  by any sane person!

Now, the government has announced that after General V.K.Singh, another Sikh Bikram Singh will succeed. He will be succeeded by another Sikh gentleman, Dilbagh Singh Suhag. It is not that Marathas and Bengalis and Telugus, Biharis, Tamils are less capable general. The fact is that it was a Bihari   Major General  J.N. Chaudhary who got the obstinate Nizam of Hyderabad to accede to India. It is Thimmaiya , a Manek Shaw, a General Jacobs who led India to momentous victories. While Bangladesh war was won by the brilliant acts of General Jacobs, the then Corp Commander of Eastern Command, the whole credit was taken by General Jagjit Sigh Arora, a Sikh gentleman. From 1857 onwards to 1942 movement, from 1984 dissent to nowadays open corruption in Armed forces, if a community which has to be figured for their act of compromising national interest, it is the Sikhs. But, what message is being given that out of five successive  Generals of Armed Forces, four has to be  Sikhs and many of them purely corrupt who got the virus of corruption into the most puerile institution of Armed Forces. This itself is going to cause major dissent whenever the next gentleman succeeds. The signs are already visible. General V.K.Singh has forwarded complaint from a Trinamool M.P. Ambika Banerjee against Lt. General Dilbagh Singh Suhag to the CBI. But, inspite of this fact, the MoD chose to appoint him as the next Corp commander of the eastern Command in place of Bikram Singh. A group of retired officers and bureaucrats have moved the Supreme Court challenging the appointment of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army chief on the ground that he was allegedly involved in a fake encounter in Jammu and Kashmir in 2001.

Challenging the appointment, the petitioners, including former Navy Chief Admiral Ramdas ,veteran journalist Sam Rajapa of the Statesman and former IAS, MG Devasahayam, and former Chief election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy, alleged in their PIL that Lt General Singh was involved in the fake encounter and the case is pending in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. There is another allegations of fake encounter of  the killing of five persons in Pathribal after the incident in Chattisinghpura during Bill Clinton’s visit to India in which 36 Sikhs were killed. Reports  suggest that  CBI filed the report after three years and Army HQ vide its Letter Number A/38240/MO/3A dt 30 Dec 2004 took protection  of AFSPA to ward off allegations against Bikram singh. Further while Lt Gen Bikram Singh was the Commander of the Indian contingent of UN peace keeping mission to Congo in 2008, serious allegations were made against 51 personnel of a coy of Sikh Light Regiment for rape and molestation.Lt Gen Bikram Singh had headed the Congo mission for a part of the period. The CoI ruled that  relationships with Congolese women  were  paid for or were consensual!!!

Bikram Singh’s daughter-in-law is a Pakistani. Her father is a Pakistani and mother, Central Asian .When various M.P.s complained to the government, an IB clean chit was provided. It is interesting to learn that if a government servant communicates with a foreigner particularly from enemy nations, he is liable for prosecution. One has seen the case of a junior diplomat, Madhuri Gupta who is lying in jail for having a relationship with a Pakistani gentleman while posted in Islamabad.. But, here a senior Army Officer who will be the hub of nation’s security would have a Pak national within his own courtyard. Army rules also provide that if  one has  close relative who happens to be  a citizen/national of some other country ,the same  has to be  informed  in writing. It is learnt that even this was not done in his case.

When the matters came to the light, to scuttle any controversy, the government had on March 3 announced the appointment of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army chief.This smacks of subterranean reasons.  A small mistake  by General  V.K. Singh"s  teacher,Mr. BS Bhatnagar becomes a national "C" issue(Curious), but so many controversies and apparent complicity of another gentleman has to be pardoned off in the interest of the kin-clan greasing.

Since the government has not decided upon the age as of now,  no Retirement proceedings of General V.K.Singh have been  set into motion . This is done only after a Retirement Warning Letter has been issued, generally about eight months-one year  before the date of superannuation. In the absence of a “legal order” from the government following the withdrawal of government order dated 30 December,2011, the Military Secretary’s branch in the army headquarters is in a fix. The issue has turned complex after the government filed a caveat in the Supreme Court yesterday on the PIL filed by Ramdass and his colleagues upon Bikram Singh’s appointment.What if the appointment of Bikram Singh comes under legal scrutiny? What if General V.K.Singh's age does not get decided within next 30 days? What if General V.K.Singh emerges as a national icon against the corrupt bureaucracy and the  communal patrimony? (The Supreme Court has now dismissed the PIL. It is evident that the highest Court does not want to be dragged in the dirty affairs of the Executive as of now and has taken a hands off approach.)

In all probability, the government would either elevate General Singh as the CDS(Chief of Defence Staff )and let  Bikram Singh to take over as COAS or would sack  General V.K.Singh. In the second situation, V.K.Singh will emerge as a hero and would stir the nation’s imagination by joining  hands with  Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare  in the agitation scheduled for 3rd June in New Delhi. In case of his elevation as CDS, he would rather opt for not joining and declare a victory against the crooked network in the governance system and join the  civil society movement with the Army pensioners, who had already  extended support to two  movements against black money and issue of Lokpal. There are more than 15 lakh ex- Army Pensioners in the country. A strong cadre of army pensioners, Baba Ramdev’s followers and Anna Hazare’s appeal among the disenchanted, networked youth who are longing for ‘authentic’ action and not merely “clicktivism”; it would herald the beginning of purge of corrupt and goons who have glued to India’s every strategic point in governance under the worst political CEO . A political CEO who has emerged as  a Machiavellian and a Paretoan wolf  masquerading as "silent statesman"  is to be blamed for replacing   Meritocracy with communal  patrimony . He will be accused by the coming generation for heralding ‘crony governance “in India.

Dear Gen Sinha,
I am surprised that a officer of your ranking should fwd such silly , ill informed and a nonsensical mail. It is not only factually incorrect but scurrilous. You as a responsible officer should not be forwarding every crackpot ejaculation spewed by cranks. If you troll the net you come across many such absurd and far fetched tattletale blabbermouths. It is when they are given credence by a person of your rank( rank only , not standing or stature) that it encourages the riffraff and rumor mongers.

Now, my point by point rebuttal.

All right JJ was no great shake as a chief or as a Gen officer. But he was the senior most Army commander. Why should he have been superseded by Shammi Mehta or any other XYZ. This donkey ,CS Dogra has spewed venom against one community by indulging in innuendoes and hearsay.

Look down policy from Brig onwards? You serious?Arre bhai you were a Maj Gen ?

Yes, VK does have a point , in as far much as his DOB is concerned. Pune MH records. DO Pt 2 orders etc. Sterling, impeachable evidence, tenable under the evidence act in a court of law. But for Lord’s sake why the hell did he buckle under pressure /duress to give in writing twice, accepting his DOB as 1951? Does this man deserve to become COAS? Good Lord man , tomorrow he will surrender under duress. He should have stood up like a man and refused to buckle under, and taken the matter to court then. He would have definitely won hands down . He chose the easy way out. Surrendered. Now he is making a nuisance of himself . He is belittling the entire officer class. Its very very very embarrassing. Chiefs do not , I repeat do not, put up statutory complaints and ROG’s and definitely do not go to court. This man has made an Ass of himself. He lacked the courage and the will to go and seek legal redress when he should have done so as a Maj Gen and corps commander. He goes to court when he has nothing to loose, other than the reputation of the military officer class as a whole. Big Deal.

Now, some mofussil rag called Chauthi Duniya( about whom nobody has heard of) is given credence. In the PM’s sisters house in Calcutta, a conspiracy is hatched by the PM,  JJ , and Bikram. Oh Gen, come on now , grow up man.

And my dear wise guy, Gen J N  Choudhary, was from Bengal , and not Bihar. Jonny Jacob was Chief of Staff  Eastern Command and not a corps commander in 1971. Aroura, was the Army Commander Eastern Army. Now, in the Army who is responsible for success or failure, the commander or his staff officer? If the Eastern campaign had resulted in a balls up, would Jacob have taken responsibility?

All right,all right, its Dilbeer Singh Suhag and not Dilbagh Singh Suhag. DSS is not a sikh but a jat.

Bikram did not head the Congo mission . He was in the UN head quarters in Congo as adviser to the Secty Gen . He had no command over troops.

Bikram’s daughter in law has absolutely nothing to do with Pakistan . Both her parents are from Tajikistan. Both are US citizens, and so is she . Yes , she is a moslem. So?

Insinuation , that Sikhs are anti national hurts the most.


In 1849, after a series of battles namely , Chinnanwala, Ferozepur and Mudki, the Sikh army was defeated by the British ( Bengal Army, now Eastern command), commanded by Lord Dalhousie. Read in history what Dalhousie had to say about the battle of Chinnanwala ( he wrote later that he thought this was the end of the British Empire in India).The Bengal Army breakdown in the Sikh wars was as follows:

INDIAN                              ENGLISH

74 Bengal Inf Bns                 20 Inf Bns

52 Madras Inf Bns               4 Cav Regts

26 Bombay Inf bns              Total 18000 British Troops

20,000 Indian Cav

Total 103,000 Indian troops

The Sikhs were livid . They were defeated by fellow Indians(?). There was no concept of India, before the British came . It was the white man who created India. Neither Ashoka, Nor Chandara Gupta Maurya, nor Akbar ruiled over India as we know today. So, therefore, do you blame the Sikhs who did not support the mutiny just 8 years later ? Eureka, they were supposed to forget what happened just 8 years earlier and integrate themselves as Indians? Think, man think.

All right here is some more.Since 1860 onwards in the fight for freedom the British hanged Jailed killed etc. , the figures are as follows:

Total Indians killed by British 2175 , out of which 1557 were Sikhs.71.58%

Total Indians sent to Kalapani ( Celluar jail in Andamans) 2646, out of which 2147 were Sikhs.81.14%

Total hanged demanding freedom 127 out of which 91 were Sikhs.71.65

INA   total 20000 out of which 12000 were Sikhs.60%.


And out of the remainder 30,20,30 and 40%,nearly 90% were from Bengal or were punjabi mussalmans.

Your call Gen.
By the way Gen , what arm do you belong to? How much active soldering have you done? I am curious.

Hope you will fwd this to all to whom you fwd the earlier mail.

K J Singh

Written for 'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' by our guest blogger Alka Narula.
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Sunday, May 06, 2012

GuestSpeak: Presidential Comedy

The Hindu dated 5th May 2012 carried a very curious cartoon in its Editorial Page today. The Cartoon featured an elite art camp with our dear leaders both from let right and everywhere in between teasing their right brain. They were trying out impressions of a statue that was wrapped up in a white cloth. So what significance would this cartoon draw, none! Had it not been given the caption “The president”. The cartoon vividly describes the nation’s political debauch!
source: The Hindu

We live in a very dangerous political environment. Before us lies the reality of a politics that is quintessentially ‘spine-less’ in nature, where decision making means compromising everything to maintain power and policy making is preserving the interests of the politicians and never that of the nation. I don’t know whether there can be a better mockery of democracy than the present selection criteria and methodology of the election of a president in India. Our selection process is baseless, bountiful of covertness and a mockery of the enterprise of democracy.

Our political parties place a puppet in the ultimate chair of power in India, every time carefully selecting the most non-responsive, least active person to command our armed forces. There have been exceptions and in the initial years this method has produced some of the finest leaders in India’s history but the times are different now. Then there was a sense of nation willingness and patriotism was abundant in supply, we just won independence, we just achieved freedom remember? Some of the finest men who were instrumental in our struggle for freedom later took to the helm of India and all were just fine, But as India progressed it stated to forget it’s on past and ‘moved on’ and in the hurry to be a world power it has forgot its value and it’s rulers has succumbed to the ill effects of power.

We live In the times of coalition reality where public good takes a back seat and the ensuring that the coalition remains a coalition is considered the first priority in today’s politics. To please each one they do something slanderous and our presidential election is no different. I believe that we should follow the way presidential elections go in US where the people have a higher role to play. Its time our presidential elections stop happening in the citadels of power and come down to the ‘amm aadmi’. The revival of Indian politics would take time and a whole lot of will power; I doubt that there is any sign of such a drastic change in the foreseeable future for now. India has been forever the flag bearer for democracy and in order to remain like that we need to act urgently to resolve any institutions that could possibly be driving it away.

Written for 'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' by our guest blogger Rupertt Wind.
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

GuestSpeak: An Italian Job

‘Enrique Lexie’ is a name that we are very familiar with, the Italian oil tanker whose marines shot a couple of Indian fisherman. The fate of the marines who are currently in  prison in Kerala are not one that is to be worried about, they are being treated well by our ‘foreign’ obsessed police force and the judicial verdict taken care by our money driven advocates and prosecution.

The recent high court comment was worth notice; it opened its sentence with a precise remark. “Money made them forget everything” pointed out the court in the wake of dismissal of charges by the accuser after getting a very fat check. The high court is absolutely in the right in demanding a large sum from them for making a mockery of the Indian Judicial system and wasting its time. I would say it could have considered a few divorce petitions in this time and it could have been of a greater worth than this
pointless exercise.

For a recap, this is the unfolding of the drama in a nutshell. On the 2nd of March, Italian Marines placed abroad the Italian oil tanker “Enrique Lexie” shot at an Indian fishing boat killing two of the fishermen hailing from Kerala in India. The state government of Kerala was swift, the made the ship anchor of coast and arrested the two Italian marines responsible. The incident attracted international fame or at-least the attention of Italy, Italy was quick in response sending in their Minister and ambassador to India to handle the situation. But till a week ago it looked as if the perpetrators of this horrible crime would get the rightful punishment and justice would be served to families of the deceased.

But things took a downward turn when the SAC of India came out with a statement that baffled everyone, He said that the ship was outside the Indian Jurisdiction and India had no right what so ever to try the ones who killed two Indians in cold blood. This reckless single statement literally nullified all progress the prosecution has made in the case that already by reached the Supreme Court. The case still persisted due to the will of some of the parties involved But Italy was smart enough. They offered the families an offer they could not refuse, a cheque of Rupees 1 crore each, something that could set them
for life and just as we know it they accepted. I don’t know whether I could blame them? Rupees 1 crore is a large sum especially for a fisherman and his family.

The Italians did a real good job. The fact remains that the Italian marines are going to walk away as free as they ever have been, but the question poses a greater question before us, Does as the rest of the world say both in private and public that, Does Indian’s really have a price tag?

Written for 'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' by our guest blogger Rupertt Wind.
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Recommended Read:
An earlier post on the Enrica Lexie

Saturday, April 28, 2012

GuestSpeak: What’s in a name?

source: world wide web
Have you ever wondered why in most of the applications you fill, you are never asked for your mother’s name? Or if you are asked it is always after that of your father’s? Has it ever occurred to you why is it that children all around the world use their father’s surname? Have you? Well if you have not then do give it a thought!

It’s a mother who carries a child within her for nine months before bringing him or her to this beautiful world of ours. She is the one who invests a lot throughout her life to give her baby a wonderful and happy existence. When I say this I do not in any way mean that a father’s role is not vital. What I feel is if bearing the father’s name and mentioning it in every application is warranted then why not state the mother’s name too. She has played a role which is if not more than atleast equal in importance to that of the father.

Shakespeare famously wrote ‘What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. While that is true but you cannot deny that a person is always first introduced by his name to his friends and acquaintances. When we meet a person for the first time; we do not ask what his hobby is or where he lives first. We ask what his name is to start with. So yes ‘name’ is indeed very important. So if the parents have equal share in raising a child then the child’s identity should most definitely be associated to both too.

A woman when married is expected to change her surname to that of her husband’s. Eventually when the couple has children then it is the husband’s surname that is carried forward. This to me is unfair and definitely not to my liking. What I feel is that the children should carry the last names of both their parents or have no last name at all. And I feel it is justified as the role and significance of either parents can’t be ignored.

The rules or dogmas of the society where the identity of a person is very closely intertwined with the father were made centuries ago. The same tradition is being followed till date. But I think the time to shake things up a little is now.

I am not sure how many have heard of the Khasi’s of Meghalaya. They have a tradition of using the mother’s last name for the children. I for one think it is very progressive as atleast the woman who invests her whole life in nurturing her children gets some social recognition for being the mother.

They say a mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie, and if she can forgo all her desires or wishes at some point in time for us then I think it’s high time the society puts her at the same pedestal with the father and if that begins with the surname or a space in the application forms then so be it!
Written for 'Hold the Thought, Get the Point' by our guest blogger Nabanita Dhar.
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