Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blind Justice

Twenty six long years after the gruesome accident of methyl isocyanate (MIC) toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, the district court of Bhopal has finally delivered its verdict. Eight persons, including the former Chairman of the plant Keshub Mahindra (who is next to the CEO of the plant, Warren Anderson), were found responsible for negligence that led to the death of countless innocent citizens of Bhopal. But to the dismay and frustration of the world and the families of victims, the sentence is for a maximum of two years in prison and/or a fine. Adding salt to injury all the seven prosecuted have been released on a bond of Rs 25,000 for each in the same evening of the judgment. The charges framed against the guilty were under Section 304 A of the IPC, that is, the provision used often for traffic accidents. The cruel joke is equating the death of 20,000 innocent civilians equivalent to the offence of a traffic accident. This judgment clearly shows whose side the judiciary is taking and the class interests it is serving shamelessly.
The verdict is a clear sign to the multinational big business firms that there are no limitations of any kind (safety, environmental, labour regulations, profit plundering) for them for establishing industries in India and they can get away with any crimes including murder they happen to commit on the way, that is, without any prosecution.
While this blatant example is staring at us, I would like to rake up some history of a case that shook India and Indira Gandhi.

Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha of Allahabad High Court passed away in Allahabad on March 20, 2008, at the ripe old age of 88 years. His mortal remains were consigned to flames the same day but he will always remain immortal in the history of Indian judiciary. He was undoubtedly a great, bold, unbending and fearless judge. His courage was unsurpassed by any other judge of any High Court of our country since independence or even prior to that.
Justice Sinha heard the election petition Number Five of 1971 filed by petitioner Raj Narain against Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, challenging her election to the Lok Sabha in 1971 from the Rae Bareli parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, home State of both the petitioner and the respondent.

The hearing of the election petition took more than four years, concluding on May 23, 1975, and Mrs Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha in 1971 was declared void, she was pronounced guilty of corrupt practices under Section 123(7) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and was disqualified from membership of Parliament or a Legislative Assembly for a further period of six years. There was stunned silence.
Just within 13 days of the historic judgement delivered by Justice Sinha on June 12, 1975, the nation had to go through the trauma of the internal Emergency called on June 25, 1975.
It has also been disclosed that Justice Sinha could not be tempted, he did not submit to pressures. According to Mr Shanti Bhushan, Raj Narain’s counsel in the election petition, “While the case was being heard, the then Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, Justice DS Mathur, visited Justice Sinha. He was related to the Prime Minister’s personal physician. Justice Mathur told Justice Sinha that Justice Sinha’s name had been considered for the Supreme Court. Of course, Justice Sinha maintained a discreet silence.
Mr Shanti Bhushan has also disclosed that Justice Sinha declined the offer he had made as Law Minister in 1977 to transfer him to the Himachal Pradesh High Court so that he could be elevated as Chief Justice when a vacancy arose.

It is well known that after Justice Sinha delivered his judgement, he was put under constant surveillance of the Government’s intelligence agencies who were trying to fabricate a link between him and Jayaprakash Narayan. The fact is that Justice Sinha never met JP even once — either before or after he had delivered the judgement.
In November 1982, Justice Sinha was invited to deliver the third Jayaprakash Narayan Memorial Lecture at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi on the topic, ‘The Constitution, the Judiciary and the People.’ In the lecture that Justice Sinha delivered, he stressed on the desirability of a strong judiciary for the survival of democracy in India. He remarked that if the judiciary loses its independence, our political system would become undemocratic. On what is expected of a judge, he added, “A judge wears the robes not to flaunt his authority, but to remind himself that he is the high priest in the temple of justice and is charged with obligations of a most sacred character that he cannot avoid fulfilling, whatever the risks involved.”

Referring to the risk of incurring the displeasure of the executive in being true to one’s judgement and conviction, Justice Sinha remarked, “Let a few heads roll here and there but the chariot of justice must be driven on and on, manned by honest and independent people who will mind no sacrifice too high to keep the chariot moving along its path.” He said that in a republic like India, “the judges represent the people and it is the people’s faith that matters. A silent majority always stands solidly behind such judges who discharge their duties without fear or favour.”
His judgement of June 12, 1975, did the entire judicial system proud. He was a judge of whom any nation would be justly proud of. His indomitable courage and judicial independence will continue to inspire and remind the present and future generations about what he did in upholding the independence of judiciary which is the cornerstone of our Constitution.
India urgently needs many more judges like Justice Sinha or the political system will ruin the country.

Monday, June 28, 2010

PDE: Public Display of Emotion

The act of crying has been defined as "a complex secreto-motor phenomenon (not excreto-motor) characterized by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus (which is in the eye of course), without any irritation of the ocular structures". This is a slightly complicated way of describing a simple activity. According to a study of over 300 adults, on average men cry once every month; women cry at least five times per month, especially before and during the menstrual cycle when crying can increase up to 5 times the normal rate, often without obvious reasons.
It is socially acceptable for women and children to cry, and less socially acceptable for men to cry. It’s considered girly for men to cry (there are other articles which say women love emotional men, but how many of you are willing to believe this). Even at school, boys find it embarrassing to cry (boys like to pretend grown up, impression making starts early).
The same cannot be said about Yeddyurappa, chief minister of Karnataka. It was a pity watching this elderly man wail like a kid in front of massive audience and TV cameras. It was an image of a helpless man expressing his grief.
He was literally pleading to the opposition parties to let him be in power for another 3 years. He doesn’t seem to be taking the criticism well. (This looks like the feeling in childhood when your dad yells at you in front of your friends)
This is the fourth time; Yeddyurappa has let up his emotions in public (come on guys, you know I am just talking about sad teary emotion and not the other quite popular emotion). Earlier, he broke down twice during the Bellary Reddy’s crisis in October 2009.
Once, when he announced to the media in New Delhi that he will have to drop former minister Shobha Karandlaje and shift bureaucrat V P Baligar to a different post. “I apologize to flood victims when they are facing problems, we should not have wasted time on this crisis. The people, I, trusted did not support me, I should not have been distracted, I hope God will forgive me,” he had said. Well, that’s another thing that he did not do anything for the flood victims even after this episode cleared out.
Yeddy broke down again on the same issue, when a week later, he visited Navalgund taluk in Dharwad district.

Don’t know why he had to apologize to the flood victims while announcing the forceful sacking of Shobha madam (who quite visibly is much more than a trusted lieutenant Ahem, ahem… not my perverted mind thinking but something every kid in Karnataka talks about) and Baligar (who was his right hand man, sharp shooter and trusted man Friday).
Daughter Umadevi feels the CM was becoming emotional of late. “I had seen him cry in public during my mother’s demise. But in recent times, he is becoming emotional,” she added. That’s a pity, because his wife died of unnatural causes on Oct 16 2004, and her body was found in the basement water tank. The prime suspect in this case is Yeddy Saar himself. Expectedly, the case was closed as the police did not find evidence of foul play. Apparently, she slipped into the tank and died.
“It’s nothing to do with work pressure (work pressure is for people who work). He is sensitive to issues concerning farmers and the common man, ” she maintained (Its ok if you are rolling on the floor now, I had a severe case of urinary incontinence reading this). Yeddy Saar, both Shobha madam and chamcha Baligar were not doing anything for farmers, on the contrary they were doing things for you. You could have given both these individuals some respect by announcing that you were crying for them.
Irrespective of what opposition leaders seem to be making out of it, there is nothing much any sensible person can comprehend from these emotional outbursts. But it’s surely not a pretty picture to see a head of the state shedding tears. This man has been giving wrong signals not only to the people of the state who managed to elect such whimper of man as their CM but also to the organizations that do business with the state.
Yeddy Saar, its time you stop public display of emotion and shift focus from increasing zeros in your property towards working for development of the state.
P.s. He hates being called Yeddy (don’t know if it makes him feel like teddy), he wants to be called BSY (Boost is Secret of Yeddyurappa)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Panchamda: You make my life

Today is RD Burman’s 71st birth anniversary. The most important thing I can do today is writing about Panchamda.

RDB’s got his first break as a music director in Mehmood's Chhote Nawab (1961). The first song Ghar aaja ghir aaye to be recorded for the movie was sung by Lata Ji because RD wanted no one but the legendary singer to sing his first composition for movies. Mehmood gave him his second movie as a music director in 1965 - Bhoot Bangla. The soundtrack is notable for ‘Aao twist karein’, a Desi version of Chubby Checker's ‘let’s twist’. This is one reason why the whole world needs to be indebted to Mehmood.

RDB’s music had a certain free flowing quality about it. Like a clear stream of water frolicking forth, meandering, twisting, turning...all with such grace and supple rhythm, forever evolving, spreading freshness and life. He was the greatest. There can be no one like him.

Panchamda.. You are my god. Life is a better place just because of you. I really have no idea how my life would be without you. You are always with me.

Thank you for everything.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Football Fever

19th FIFA world cup is here (I am not writing this from South Africa unfortunately-, but I am intending to say the World cup has arrived). One month of football extravaganza (this can truly be called an extravaganza, unlike few other tournaments.. hic.. hic). We have seen IPL and surrounding dramatics, but this is a different level all together.
Coffee shops, pubs, roadside restaurants all have TV sets (different sized though). Its on TV (not the mention the live relay, but all news channels cant talk anything else), its on radio (you have to hear the bullshit they talk, wonder how many of them actually watch football). It’s a part of tea time, lunch time discussions (morons without any sporting interests or knowledge update themselves in order avoid being the dumb one of the group).
One such discussion involved me (I can confidently say that I am not among the morons mentioned above). This was over a cup of tea (most of my discussions happen over a cup of tea; hence they are spiritless discussions- dull & boring). While there were many others, this discussion mainly involved me & another guy (who also doesn’t happen to be one of the above mentioned morons).
We went on ‘oh did you see that match’, ‘what a goal’, ‘I am waiting to see this match’, blah, blah, bleh, bleh, bloo.. This then landed at ‘it’s a pity India is not in world cup or we could have dramatized it like the IPL’. (True fact, we would then have post match parties, where winners & losers would together give a ‘spirited’ performance).

This is when he landed a straight punch on my nose, ‘India has qualified for world cup once’. My mind said.. ’Whoa, WTF (sorry for the language, but that straight punch was too much for me to take and the shock brought out these words), hold on boss “India & football world cup” what nonsense are you talking about”. This is one of those situations, which puts an individual at a fix. It came out of nowhere and hit me like a bolt. Who can think of India in football world cup (don’t we suck at hockey, which is our national game)? For a moment, I wanted to tell this guy to cock up, no more jokes. But then this could be true too. A sudden thought flashed through my mind, ‘Am I appearing like a moron’ (like the ones mentioned above)?

I decided to be honest, ‘no sir, never heard of it’, ‘but seriously are you sure?’, ‘how could such a travesty have happened?’ He couldn’t give any further details.
My questions remained questions… I am sparing all you babies the trouble of looking dumbstruck on this topic. Here’s what I could dig out.

India qualified by default for the 1950 FIFA World Cup finals as a result of the withdrawal of all of their scheduled opponents. But the governing body AIFF (All India football federation) decided against going to the World Cup, being unable to understand the importance of the event at that time (this is another WTF moment, sorry couldn’t resist). Reason shown by AIFF was that there was not enough practice time along with selection problems although FIFA agreed to bear a major part of the travel expenses.
The myth is still there that Indian refused to play because they were not allowed to play barefoot but according to the then Indian Captain Shailen Manna, this was not the actual case and just a story to cover up the disastrous decision of the AIFF. The team has never since come close to qualifying for the World Cup.
Some more details
First international match: France 2 - 1 India, (London, England; July 31, 1948)
Biggest win: India 7 - 1 Ceylon (Then Srilanka), (Bangalore, India; December 16, 1963)
Biggest defeat: USSR 11 - 1 India, (Moscow, USSR; September 16, 1955)
FIFA ranking: 133 (current)
Highest FIFA ranking: 94 (February 1996)
Lowest FIFA ranking: 165 (March 2007)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Obscenity in Immorality

Guinness record holder & internationally acclaimed CHADDI collector Pramod Mutalik visited Nityananda in Bidadi Ashram.
Chaddi supremo has accused Christian missionaries of “falsely implicating” the swami in sex scandal. (Remember Nityananda’s statement I’m not a man. There’s no way I could have indulged in sexual activities with women. Do a potency test on me”. Coming after this statement, Muthalik’s expose’ makes us wonder if he did a potency check himself. Eeks, the thought gave me shudders. Nutless-nanda)
Some mischievous elements are trying to malign Hindu religion by resorting to such methods. Through doctored computer graphic images, the followers of Nityananda have been duped,” Mutalik said. (He has inside information that this whole CD was part of a video game that was created for play station3 by Zinga. They could not get Brad Pitt to star in it, so they went for the next best option Swami Fit-yananda. Before Zinga could come up with the official version, this excerpt was leaked. After this Zinga aborted release of this game)
Over 30 lakh CD’s of alleged sex scandal were produced and distributed just overnight,” he said, adding, the involvement of anti-Hindu elements are quite evident behind these attempts. (He has personally reviewed the video and commented about it poor video quality in his blog The least Tehelka could have done was to use a better camera.)
This man really deserves a PARAMVIR CHAKRA. He has been insulted on multiple occasions by fanatics of this country but he has the courage to come out in the open.
After he & his goons publicly molested young girls in the name of Hindutva, the whole country cried foul. The so-called educated society used all words in civilized dictionary to deprecate him.
After his tirade against Valentine’s day, there was a nation-wide Pink Chaddi campaign. Women across the country, used Gandigiri to insult Muthalik. While the whole country smeared him with virtual cow dung, he appeared unaffected. (I think the secret behind the thick skin could layers & layers of pink chaddis grafted over his skin)

Then there was another bizarre incident in front of camera. The whole country saw some youths smearing ink on his face when he about to give a speech. This could have been an insult to any other person but Muthalik felt that he was just a victim of gang wars between TV channels. (He must have wiped the soot off like dirt using the collection of pink chaddis)
Last but not the least was the sting operation by Tehelka, which brought out the businessman in Muthalik. The ‘RENT A RIOT’ footage exposed him of ready to organize a riot for money & his links with underworld. Everything that he & his sinister organization had done was questioned. But having denounced every inch of an emotion called SHAME, this man has the courage to face the camera and talk like a virtuous man. He really deserves an award for his shamelessness & lack of apathy.
By supporting a man of the stature of Swami Nitya-Ahaa-nanda, Muthalik has taken IMMORALITY to obscene limits.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Creative Menopause

“I cannot believe this army. As far as consumption goes, it’s more Gandhian than any Gandhian, and has a lighter carbon footprint than any climate change evangelist. But for now, it even has a Gandhian approach to sabotage; before a police vehicle is burnt for example, it is stripped down and every part is cannibalised. The steering wheel is straightened out and made into a bharmaar barrel, the rexine upholstery stripped and used for ammunition pouches, the battery for solar charging. (The new instructions from the high command are that captured vehicles should be buried and not cremated. So they can be resurrected when needed.) Should I write a play I wonder—Gandhi Get Your Gun? Or will I be lynched?”

This is how Arundathi Roy defines Naxals. An in-depth essay appeared on Outlook magazine. This is after she spent lot of time in the jungles. Not sure if she was trying to explore the wild side of herself or she was just running away from the routine stressful life.
This was then followed up with a very confusing interview in one of the news channels (don’t remember which one, but doesn’t matter). She kept confusing viewers & interviewer with some weird argument about differentiating between tribals and Maoists. I had an intellectual indigestion and felt an urgent need to purge out the overdose of confusion. For most part of the interview, I could not make sense of which side she was on. She kept yapping on how tribals are being attacked in the name of Maoists. She also mentioned that these tribals had taken up guns to fight injustice.
I could not stop myself from reaching out to the remote. I rather watch ‘Saas & the city’ on headlines today rather than being subjected to this emotional atyaachaar.
Here’s a quick synopsis of what Arundathi Roy has been in news for.
1. In 2008, Arundhati Roy announced that Kashmiris desire independence from India, and not union with India. She expressed her support to this cause.
2. She campaigned along with activist Medha Patkar against the Narmada dam project, saying that the dam will displace half a million people, with little or no compensation, and will not provide the projected irrigation, drinking water and other benefits. She donated her Booker prize money as well as royalties from her books on the project to the Narmada Bachao Andolan.
3. In a 2001, she spoke against US Military invasion of Iraq in The Guardian. She put the attacks on the World Trade Center and on Afghanistan on the same moral level, that of terrorism. Roy criticized US President George W. Bush's visit to India, calling him a "war criminal”.
4. She criticized India's testing of nuclear weapons in Pokhran, Rajasthan. Roy wrote The End of Imagination (1998), a critique of the Indian government's nuclear policies. It was published in her collection The Cost of Living (1999). She also crusaded against India's massive hydroelectric dam projects in the central and western states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
5. In August 2006, Roy, along with Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and others, signed a letter in The Guardian called the 2006 Lebanon War a "war crime" and accused Israel of "state terror.
6. Roy has raised questions about the investigation into the 2001 Indian Parliament attack and the trial of the accused. She has called for the death sentence of Mohammad Afzal to be stayed while a parliamentary enquiry into these questions are conducted and denounced press coverage of the trial.
7. In 2003, the Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha, a social movement for adivasi land rights in Kerala, organized a major land occupation of a piece of land of a former Eucalyptus plantation in the Muthanga Wildlife Reserve, on the border of Kerala and Karnataka. After 48 days, a police force was sent into the area to evict the occupants—one participant of the movement and a policeman were killed, and the leaders of the movement were arrested. Arundhati Roy travelled to the area, visited the movement's leaders in jail, and wrote an open letter to the then Chief Minister of Kerala, A.K. Antony now India's Defence Minister, saying "You have blood on your hands’
8. In an opinion piece for The Guardian (13 December 2008), Roy argued that the November 2008 Mumbai attacks can not be seen in isolation, but must be understood in the context of wider issues in the region's history. Roy warns against war with Pakistan, arguing that it is hard to "pin down the provenance of a terrorist strike and isolate it within the borders of a single nation state", and that war could lead to the "descent of the whole region into chaos".
9. In an opinion piece, once again in The Guardian (April 1, 2009), Roy made a plea for international attention to what she perceived, based on reports, to be a possible government-sponsored genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
10. Now, Roy has criticized Government's armed actions against the Naxalite-Maoist insurgents in India, calling it "war on the poorest people in the country". According to her, the Government launched the offensive in Naxals to aid the corporations with whom it has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs).
11. Roy also calls India a ‘fake democracy’
Having said all that, this is the same person who won the booker prize in 1997 for her book, ‘The God of small things’. This book was partially based upon real life incidents. How did an author land herself into a self appointed full time critique and anti-India mouth piece?
Could be a creative menopause!!
Suzanna Arundathi Roy, we enjoyed your book. We would have been happy if you had continued writing. But we do not enjoy your hysterical diatribes against India & all things that are Indian. ‘The Algebra of Infinite Justice’ is not in the same league as ‘The God of small things’