It is a free world

After a war-like situation in India recently, the armed forces have declared a new policy for all the people working within the troops. It stated that for Armed Forces 89 apps, including WhatsApp and Facebook, should be removed by all the people from their cell phones. Cell phones are a reality of life, but when you have different apps on the cell, these can be easily hacked. Once these are hacked, it can lead to any avoidable situation. A Lt Colonel in the army went to the Supreme Court against the order. Supreme Court resolved the matter quickly. They told the officer, “If you like Facebook so much, why not resign from your job?”

I know it is a free world but does an army person not understand the matter of national security? What was he trying to achieve? He is a senior officer in the armed forces, does he not know that honey trapping is also part of warfare these days? For those who are not aware of honey trapping, here is how it works. You have an account on any of these apps. Somebody wants to get in touch with you. After a brief exchange of messages, that someone turns out to be a beautiful lady. One step leads to another, and more and more interactions take place. Sometimes the lure of sex is used or maybe money. In the secret liaison, the compromised photos are shared or exchanged. In the end, or is it the beginning you are “Trapped” in a compromising situation, it could be monetary or in an awkward physical stage, leading to threats of exposure. It is a trap led by the enemy, and I am sure that a small % of people must be walking into such situations. This could lead to information sharing or security breach.

It is an age-old trick where the security of your nation is breached. I am unsure if the Colonel is not intelligent enough to understand the meaning of the order. Or probably the way people get caught into the honey trap, their thinking goes haywire for that moment. I am not challenging the statement by that officer claiming that he would use the apps responsibly. But sometimes one may inadvertently publish something innocent- I am standing on the shores of the serene lake and so and so. It is merely letting your family see the beautiful landscape in the Himalayas. But if your account is hacked, the enemy would know that the officer is placed at a location. It will also indicate how many troops are there etc. Colonel saheb, let us not get into an unnecessary argument and get upset that the Supreme Court dismissed your case.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/indian-navy-bans-facebook-espionage-racket-pakistan-6191139/

Given below are a few lines from the link above.

Days after an espionage racket was busted and 11 sailors were arrested for passing on sensitive information to a Pakistani handler, the Indian Navy has banned the use of Facebook by its personnel. Besides, the Navy has also barred usage of smartphones at naval bases, dockyards and on warships.

“The stringent step has been taken by the force soon after seven naval personnel were caught leaking sensitive information to enemy intelligence agencies over social media,” ANI quoted an official as saying.

The spy racket was busted on December 19 by the Andhra Pradesh Intelligence Department, which claimed that the sailors, recruited in 2017, allegedly passed information like locations of naval ships and submarines after they fell into a honey trap.

Similar arguments, like those of Colonel Saheb, are made by many people and organisations. National Rifle Association of America is one such organisation. The association under the garb of training people to use rifles, and holding competitions strongly supports the right to own and if required use guns for self-protection. The argument made sense during the wild-west days of America. In those days, people were moving from the east coast of the US to the west coast looking for land and what else, Gold. Those were the days of gold-digging. The West was really wild, and one was on his own. There was hardly any rule of law. Now the same USA is the second-largest democracy in the world, the wealthiest nation in the world. Now you need not go to wild-west. The west coast of the US is the most prosperous area in the US. You make money by being on Wall Street and by running Ponzi schemes. You make money by starting new technology startups, and venture capitalists give you money. You need a smart plan and a smooth tongue. It is okay if 98% of startups fail; failed companies on your resume are supposed to make you look smarter. In short, you do not need guns, but the rifle association begs (or brags is the right word?) to differ. Whenever there is a discussion about mass killings in the malls or the schools in America, the association’s argument is simple. People kill people, guns do not. It is the lax gun laws, it is the arms makers lobby that pushes such a stupid argument.

Another act that comes in a similar category is comments and actions about Coronavirus. I know of someone who is a smart guy living in the US currently- even today talks of it is just another flu and that people are unnecessarily scared about the pandemic. I do not see a difference in his thinking and that of Trump and his administration. The affected figure in the US is four million-plus and counting. Even today, in many areas in the US, wearing a mask is not mandatory. Trump started wearing a mask in public only a few days ago!

What happens to the so-called educated people? I am aware that there is a vast difference between those who take education and those who are educated. Being educated is a mindset. One may have studied up to high school but could be an educated person. It is what you absorb, that is important. The free knowledge and experience are available in this world, but you need to keep your eyes and ears open.

But most importantly, one should have an open mindset. There is no mathematical proof that wearing a mask helps in controlling the pandemic. But all the scientific communities are convinced that mask is the first line of defence. But since the topmost executive of the country is setting a wrong example, others follow suit. There was an incident in California. A customer was suggested by a restaurant owner to wear a mask even inside the restaurant. He pulled out a gun. Luckily, the owner was an ex-marine. He quickly disarmed the person. But what do you expect from the people who say that “Guns do not kill people, people kill people.”

After all, it is a free world!

 


Encountered


If I write the names of some political parties in my blog, some friends ask me if I have started writing on politics. No, there is nothing political about what I am writing. What I am writing today is about social upheavals that are taking place in India. There are haves and have nots in every society. The have nots are browbeaten into surrender!

Forget about the financial aspects of this divide. But sometimes we get so much carried away by our five thousand old matured civilisation, that we reminisce about those olden days and forget about what is happening today.

I am writing about the Vikas Dubey episode. I have been listening to debates on various TV channels. There were independent analysts, there were party spokespersons, there were Supreme Court lawyers. They were all talking, discussing threadbare the current state of affairs in UP (and Bihar in tandem). Most of them agreed about a few things. What is happening is a power game, and the “Vikas Dubey” is a creation of the nexus between everybody. Politicians, Police, Businessmen and Criminals. Media is also part of the link. Everybody is helping each other, both knowingly and unknowingly. Another thing all agreed was that Congress was not responsible for this mess because, since the last twenty years, they have hardly won a seat or two in UP.

The anchor for debate made a pertinent statement. He said, “Imagine what would have happened if Dubey was not killed. He would be in jail- or “jail suite”, have all facilities. He would run his empire from inside. A policeman would be his butler. Small-time or big-time politicians would come to “meet” him. The businessmen would supply all his needs. Slowly he would become an arbitrator to “resolve” their business disputes. Seeing all this, other big criminals would surrender to the king. In a couple of years, the government would not challenge his bail application, and he would be out. In another few years, he would win an election and maybe become a minister. Then I would be standing outside his bungalow waiting for some sound bytes, doing my job!” This one statement by the anchor, explains the whole situation in the country and especially in UP. When I say UP, it is always hyphenated with Bihar.

Yesterday during one debate a Supreme Court lawyer was strongly arguing that the current government has not followed any procedures like FIR etc. But one analyst told the lawyer that she was trying to condone the judiciary. Judiciary is equally responsible for the way cases are handled. A fast track case like Nirbhaya took six years to complete. It took another two years to finally hang those criminals. She also said the general public is so fed up with the judiciary that they celebrated when Dube was killed; this included Dubey’s parents.

Political analysts are also equally responsible. In an article in a newspaper yesterday, a well-known analyst has written as follows. “The alleged killing” of eight policemen by Vikas Dubey! My question is that the sequence of events was such that saying “alleged” was trying to be unnecessarily being politically correct. These officers went to the village and reached Dubey’s home- not alleged home, thank you! From the home, bullets were showered from the rooftop as well as from other houses. So why the word “alleged”- innocent till proven guilty? With the current situation, such statements are meaningless.

While Dubey was being taken from Ujjain to Kanpur, the media was chasing the convoy- a la Princess Diana! To hell with the seriousness of the crime. We must get our visuals, sound bytes- our channel must break the news. There was one videographer to shoot while the convoy passed through a toll plaza. Such meticulous planning!

Vikas Dubey became a vital cog in the fabric of the UP power game from 2002; it was equivalent to passing of the baton in a relay race. Whoever was in power, Dubey’s flag always flew high! A few murders and extortion cases were necessary steps in his rise. But the change of governments did not stop Dubey nor did stop the nexus in its track.

Everybody in the debate sessions agreed that something needed to be done, but when it came to specifics, the opinions split as usual into party lines. The police blamed the politicians saying that their hands were always tied. Lawyers noted that police high handed and cooperation with criminals made the situation worse. Others noted that when hands were tied, all the groups discreetly decided to join hands instead of going against the flow. The horrible phrase “if rape is inevitable, then at least enjoy it” fits appropriately to the situation.

Social media adds to the terrible situation. Rumours fly high all the time, and everybody knows everything. When Dubey escaped after killing eight policemen, questions were raised. When he was caught, there was a debate if he was caught or surrendered. Politicians and people shouting at the top of their voice, why such a horrible person was not killed! When he was dead, the human rights gang came forward and started making noise that India is on the verge of becoming Afghanistan- the bytes were uttered sitting in an air-conditioned room!

Under the garb of news collection, private discussions between police officer are video graphed and shared on national TV. The situation is so bad that, after Dubey’s death, the TV crew reached his family and were asking the family, how they felt! Oh, Come on! Dubey was a criminal and a terrible person, but he was a human being too! His family has the right to grieve the death- to hell with it! We want our bytes- we have to break the news!

Is there no solution? Honestly speaking, there is no real solution. There have been discussions about reforms for various systems mentioned above. But their goals are contradictory. If a lawyer finishes the case quickly, he loses on fees. If the media thinks emotionally, they lose on breaking the news. If politicians become honest- oh, that is an oxymoron! If criminals want to reform- see the 1965 movie “Once a thief” starring Allen Dellon! The system will not allow them to come straight!

At one stage, Bombay had its mafia raj. The government brought it under control, over a period using different methods using unconventional methods, sometimes. Punjab had its Khalistan movement. It was okay for the Khalistanis to take control of the golden temple. Human rights people woke up after the army went inside to remove the terrorists. In Kashmir, human rights people expected the security forces to use the Gandhian principle of offering the other cheek when they were slapped. When Naxalites killed 100 soldiers at Dantewada using IED, there were no comments from the peace lovers. Only when the security forces started acting to destroy the Naxalites, the human rights gang started protesting. When Afzal Guru, the terrorist, was being hanged the same group protested against our nation. Are they not Indians? They should consider themselves lucky that they are in India. In dictatorships, they would have been arrested or killed for treason.

Zamindars or landowners are more predominant in UP, Bihar and Bengal. Ordinary people have grown to “respect” the landowner, and such behaviour makes them bow before anybody with authority. It could be a minister or a babu or a policeman. In the case of criminals like Dubey, they surrender due to fear for life. When Dubey’s of this world are arrested, no witness will come forward because of this fear.

The only thing ordinary people can do is to ensure that they do not vote for any candidate with a criminal record. It is easier said than done in real life. If people get more educated, they may understand the meaning of changing the world through the ballot box! Pramod your naïveté is what I like, more than your blogs!


No one Killed Jessica!


Jessica Lal

Manu Sharma Killed Jessica Lal in public, point-blank because she refused to serve him a drink as the bar she was attending as a bartender was closed! I have written in details about the case. The subject came in my mind because Manu Sharma was recently released after serving a sentence. It seems that in India if you are rich enough, you can avoid, delay or get a reduced punishment. You can literally get away with murder, pun intended!

There is a saying. Justice delayed is justice denied! In any society, crimes happen most of the times which are done on purpose, but sometimes accidents also occur. These accidents even end up in deaths, loss of property, and loss of opportunities. In every democratic society, they are supposed to follow the legal procedures to handle crime. The average human tendency is to escape the punishment altogether or at least try to get the least possible punishment. The police and the legal system are such that they look as if these have been designed for delays.

I read about Manu Sharma; he shot dead Jessica Lall more than twenty years back, in Delhi area. The date was 29th April 1999. I will not bother about exact dates because these are not important but the general time frame is important.

The incident occurred at two am. Mehrauli police station had registered an FIR at 4 am, after recording Shayan Munshi’s statement. Shayan was moonlighting with Jessica as a bartender and hardly knew the local language, Hindi. The police seized two empty cartridges and found that a black Tata Safari was missing from the party. The Tata Safari was taken from UP police on 2nd May. Three days later, the police arrested Amardeep Singh aka Tony Gill and Alok Khanna. Following their statements, police reached out to Sharma’s lawyer; on 6th June, Sharma surrendered. The police arrested ten others including a UP politician’s son, Vikas Yadav.

The charge sheet was filed on 3rd August. On 23rd November, the additional sessions judge framed charges against Sharma under IPC sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of the offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 120-B (punishment for criminal conspiracy), and Arms Act section 27.

So far, so good!

The trial began in May 2001, against nine accused, fast by our standard. The prosecution examined 101 witnesses and two court witnesses.

During the trial, Sharma was released on bail on several occasions until 11th November 2003, when the Delhi High Court dismissed his bail application, following which the Supreme Court too dismissed his special leave petition. The trial court was merrily offering him bail. I am Manu Sharma! He was telling the society, “Nothing is going to happen to me! What did that broad think of herself!”

In the background, different wheels had started turning. It began with the eye witness Shayan Munshi. He was either bought or threatened or both. For two bullets found at sight, the police created a new story that two different persons shot from two different revolvers. Manu’s shot had hit the ceiling. Shayan Mushi signed his statement, written in Hindi- the language he did not understand, or maybe he was coerced into signing.

On 21st February 2006, Sharma and the other accused were acquitted by the trial court. The trial court concluded that links in the chain of evidence were either missing or broken. The court held that the prosecution had miserably failed to bring home the guilt of the accused. The court accepted different theories and stories from the defence. The wheels were rotating fast to “misinterpret” things suitably so that all would be acquitted. It was supposedly a case where there was an eye witness.

The acquittal led to widespread public outrage, following which police submitted a status report to the Delhi High Court, which accepted it and took up as a fast-track case. Sharma was represented by Ram Jethmalani (now deceased) in the Delhi High Court and later in the Supreme Court.

On 18th December 2006, the High Court convicted Sharma observing that the trial court judgment was “an immature assessment of material on record which is self-contradictory, based on a misreading of material and conclusions were unsustainable”. The court sentenced Sharma to life, awarded lesser sentences to Vikas Yadav and Amardeep Gill, and acquitted six others.

Sharma appealed twice to the Supreme Court. In April 2010, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and life term.

The case displayed the influence of media coverage on the case. It was highlighted by the Delhi High Court as well as the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court observed that various articles in the print media gave rise to unnecessary controversy and “apparently, had an effect of interfering with the administration of criminal justice”. The Supreme Court held “presumption of innocence is a legal presumption, and should not be destroyed at the very threshold through the process of media trial and that too when the investigation is pending”.

The society reflected its reaction when there was a movie made with the title “No One Killed Jessica!” The film shows frustration with the system. The world over there is corruption, is a known fact. But we get utterly disgusted when it is done blatantly. I have a slightly different take on the entire scenario. The High Court and the Supreme Court made stinging remarks about the interpretation made by the lower court. Is there any system by which the judge involved can be hauled to the court for moral corruption? If money has changed hands, it can not be small money. Or maybe the judge was also threatened to make an interpretation suitable to the perpetrator. I am assuming that it was a case of the judge being threatened. I am sure the High Court and Supreme Court can provide adequate protection to these judges. Instead of just passing the remarks if this route is followed, such blatant law-breaking will not happen.

Some good things have started to come out. Following the conviction by the High Court, a different Bench directed the government to create a witness-protection policy. I do not know how rigorously the suggestion has been followed. It also brings out the subject of temporary jobs. What were Jessica Lal and Shayan Munshi doing, working as temporary bartenders? I have nothing against bartenders. But people usually try and take up jobs suitable to their education and family background. From what I have read, there was no “need” for these two to take up this job. Or was it is the glamour of getting an opportunity of mingling with movers and shakers?

Jessica Lal’s sister was advised by many not to pursue the case as high and mighty were involved. Has the society come to such stage that killing of a human being can be just one of the incidents? It also throws light on the so-called “High Society”! The party was supposed to be a private party in the honour of Bina Ramani, the Club owner’s husband. But it was said that anybody who paid a certain amount could barge in! So much for a private party!

The recent proliferation of social media has done one thing. Such cases and blatant behaviours can not get hidden. They get exposed rapidly. On the other extreme, we have now what is called “Trial by Media”! That is the other extreme of hiding facts.

Will justice or resolution of court cases be decided by the size of your bank balance? I hope not. Let us try to create a just world where everyone will be equal in the court of law! Amen- this seems to be the right word to end the blog!

 

Right or wrong! Or is it Quid Pro Quo!  

Quid1

Quid Pro quo is a favour or advantage granted in return for something. Given above is a funny representation of the term.

My father retired from the police department as DCP. His last posting was in Bombay, and he moved to Pune to live his retired life. One day he told me that his boss, the senior-most person in Bombay police, joined a large private company as the security chief, post-retirement. But my father did not join that organisation because he felt that they would not give the same respect as was given to him as a DCP.

He had a valid point. I am sure money must have been good, but in my father’s case money was the last thing on his mind. I see this type of dilemma faced by many people. What is right and wrong? Does it depend on individual circumstances, or are there any set rules? I feel that there cannot be any rules, but there could be precedents.

State Bank of India had a revenue of 2.8 trillion Indian Rupees for the year 2019. Arundhati Bhattacharya was Chairperson of SBI when she retired a couple of years back. Yesterday, I read in the newspapers that she has joined Salesforce.com as their CEO for India operations. Salesforce.com’s global revenue for 2019 was US $ 19/ billion. Their India operations to my knowledge are quite small. What would the lady who ran a colossal empire contribute to her new job? I am sure the money must be good for luring her to join. But I don’t think there is anything morally wrong in taking this step. But workwise, after SBI it would not be as challenging. I am sure that she is a great professional; she also must be in good health. She will value add to her new organisation. But I felt that the change is like running a global airline and then joining a chain which had shops on different international airports. But nobody can blame her of Quid Pro Quo!

Retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was yesterday made an honorary member of Rajya Sabha (the upper house of our parliament). He took the oath today among the boos! There have been editorials, Facebook comments and a lot of discussion in general that he did not do the right thing. I was also in a dilemma initially, and I did not think that it was the right thing to do, initially. But on rethinking, I am neither sure this way or that way. The Supreme Court Chief Justice is the most influential foundation of one of the pillars of democracy.

Justice1

One of my contemporaries became Bombay high court judge. Once when I met him, he said that there were many rules about their social engagements. They could not socially mix with hoi polloi like you and me. They could say hello to senior government servants if they bumped into each other in a club (Only specific clubs please). They could sit in a club with their family and not others. What did one do if the judge’s family was an influential political and business family? What is honest opinion? No two human beings have the same opinion on each subject. So if your decision is not to my liking then you are not honest, you are sold! How does one know if the judge has given an honest opinion on a subject? In some judgements, three judges from a bench give a view and other two give opposite view. Then are three honest or two?

To my knowledge, there is a complicated procedure to select high court and supreme court judges. I am sure committees do the vetting of chosen people. But these judges come from our society. They all had childhood friends, and they could have their ex’s. Judges are expected to be impartial and follow the rule of law “blindly” with justice. That is why they are called judges. When the judges find that in a case which they are handling, they were in touch in life with some persons, judges recuse themselves to remain and show that they are impartial. But as normal human beings, they have a tremendous pressure on them to be just, all the time!

The Rajya Sabha nomination in the current scenario is an honorary selection based on that person’s achievements in life in different fields. Sachin Tendulkar and Rekha were two recent examples of such nominations. I get a feeling that Ranjan Gogoi will be able to make more value addition compared to these two people. Many legal matters come up for discussions in the parliament. There are many ancient laws which the Government is trying to remove as they are irrelevant to today’s times. Indian Telegraph Act used today came into force in 1885. The telephony has changed so much that even Graham Bell will have difficulty in understanding what is happening today. I felt that Ranjan Gogoi would be a great asset to the parliament on legal matters. Why should his expertise not be used? What is the significance of not having judges in the parliament? Were the Government and the Chief Justice in Quid Pro Quo arrangement as alleged? What is Government? It is you and me. It is run by representatives elected by society. Was there any personal gain to the Government because of decisions supported by Gogoi? I don’t think so. Just because there is no precedent, the matter cannot be morally challenged. We have top police officers and armed forces officers joining politics after retirement, and they have become MP’s and ministers. Nobody talked of any Quid Pro Quo arrangement in these cases.

But I have seen some arrangements in Government and industry. I will share one example from the industry. Many years back, an organisation was legitimately trying to become a vendor to a large company. I will not go into details. But after the organisation got the entry, the real action took place. A few officers from the large company were on the verge of retirement. They had helped the entry of the vendor. These people could otherwise have quickly joined this company as they were competent professionals. But the sequence of events was such that it smelt of Quid Pro Quo arrangements. Is it morally correct? As professionals, they had many options. But their joining the vendor does not show the right attitude.

There could be a specific cooling-off period. When Jaya took voluntary retirement as additional director from a Government research organisation, she took two years of cooling-off teaching job before she joined the industry. I could understand this because her last project was with a nuclear power plant. Similarly, for other organisations or posts, the cooling-off period makes sense. But is it the right thing to not allow experts to use their knowledge? In the case of the Chief Justice, the money involved is not in crores as a member of parliament. When people say that he should not be made MP, they imply that he has breached the trust by the quid pro quo arrangement. What is the trust that he has breached? All senior officials are expected to be neutral and faithful to their organisations and jobs. If all others can do various things after retirement, why stop the Supreme Court Chief Justice?

I felt that Gogoi story is more of politics; suddenly people start riding a high horse! Polticians may get their browny points and Liberals will get a subject for discussion for next few months, over a glass of Chivas Regal. Government is already allowing lateral entry of professionals from various fields in government. So what is so special about Gogoi case? The jury is still out, pun, of course, is intended!

 

Titbits from real life 25022020!

Our life is full of interesting and annoying things. Some events create anguish in our minds, but life is good, in general. When you watch the video below, it will confirm that all is well with this world.

The incident took place in Pune. In Pune, the corporation is trying to do its best to make better footpaths, to start with, and in certain areas, the roads are getting converted into a walking plaza. For example, Fergusson road and J M road, main arteries in central Pune. Both are unidirectional roads, and the footpaths on both these roads are being widened. In India, we must have wide pathways because there are a considerable number of people walking. Before this widening, people would walk on roads because the footpaths were narrow and hawkers occupied a part of it. Since the traffic is unidirectional on these roads, the action taken will allow people to walk on the footpaths, comfortably.  Pictures of J M Road and Fergusson Road are given below.

But Pune has a unique road culture. Supreme Court has mandated that two-wheeler riders must wear a helmet. But wise people of Pune think otherwise. They don’t like to wear helmets, so they don’t. In between, there are drives to catch these rule-breakers. But even wiser politicians of Pune intervened and made the government stop such drives. Ultimately, it is my head! Who the hell is Supreme Court to tell me to wear a helmet?

The video above shows Mrs Gokhale from Pune. She did not take law in her hand. The wise riders in Pune treat the footpath as a unique way of riding bikes. Pedestrians don’t exist in Pune. Anyway to hell with them! Gokhale madam, one day decided to stand on a footpath and ensured that the bike riders got down from their High Horse position of riding on footpaths. There is a simple rule in life. If you need thirty minutes to reach somewhere, give at least ten minutes buffer. If you plan your schedule correctly, you don’t need to do stupid things like riding on footpaths. Yes, once in a while there could be an accident which would delay not only you but everybody. It should be treated as Force Majeure in business terms. Force Majeure is unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract and it is a legal term. But no events give you the freedom to break the fundamental laws with impunity. I have seen individuals helping traffic coordination in the absence of police. Mrs Gokhale and these good samaritans give you a good feeling about life. Way to go folks!

Then there was an exciting event about Usain Bolt of India. There was a news item in papers.

Srinivas Gowda, 28, broke the record in Kambala, a sport where people sprint 142m through paddy fields with buffalo. He is said to have finished in 13.42 seconds, while Bolt holds the world 100m record of 9.58 seconds.

People extrapolated the timing for a hundred meters, and it comes to 9.55 seconds. Wow! Incidentally, Gowda looks very fit in pictures. But we all start believing that this is true. Of course, it is printed in the newspapers. Immediately the government agencies woke up and sent him a train ticket to travel to Sports Authority of India office in Bangalore for trials- he did not go. Central Minister Rijju took notice and instructed experts to check.

Somehow in all this hallagulla, we forgot one thing. Gowda is 28 years of age, the age at which or before, the sprinters retire. Nobody gave a thought, how the timings were measured. Was the “start” tracked? No, it was not. Only the end was tracked,  of all the things, by a laser system. We have gone high-tech in buffalo racing!

Athletes like Bolt, practice with equipment, shoes and artificial track. They have special diets, coaches and a whole team of people supporting them and they practice, practice and practice. Their life revolves around athletics. Once these athletes show results, many of them get sponsorships.

Gowda has been running this buffalo race in a sport called Kambala. In the race, the buffaloes run, and persons like Gowda run behind them. They are definitely not pushing the animals, but animals are pulling them. He cannot be running in tandem with the animals. When he gets pulled, is it running? In athletics, the athletes use their toes while running while in Kambala the runner uses the heels for running. The Kambala is a sport where running is done in paddy fields full of water and mud!

Comparing Gowda and Bolt is like comparing Apples and Oranges! But how people fall for such traps? Why is such news even printed? Why a minister sends him an invite?

For records purpose, Anil Kumar Prakash (born 28 August 1978) is a retired Indian sprinter. He holds the current 100 metres national record of 10.30 s set at the National Circuit Athletic Meet held in New Delhi in 2005.

Can it be compared with the rumour of Ganesh Idol drinking milk? Why don’t we see through such items? It should start with news reporters. Poor Gowda may not have even heard of Usain Bolt.

Another surprising thing that we see in India is about the egos of people. For the formal banquet, in honour of President Trump, the opposition leader was invited. The opposition leader decided that because their “Interim” party president was not invited, he would not attend the banquet. Why the party president did not become the leader of the opposition is for that party to decide. Ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also chose not to join because of the same reason. Was he invited because he belonged to a party? No, he was not. He was invited because he was the Ex-Prime Minister. Party affiliation has nothing to do with the invite. It is because of sycophancy in Indian politics, such decisions are taken. Does it matter to President Trump? He will not even notice, either way. During the Namaste Trump event in Ahemdabad, Modi introduced Amit Shah to Trump. From his expression, Trump looked confused. He was asking Modi, ” Who is this guy?”

Another hilarious thing I read was a news item from Kolkata. Communist Party of India (Marxists) took out a procession shouting, “ Trump, Go Home!” What a joke! Who cares for them? People don’t even bother about them in West Bengal? Will their sloganeering matter globally? What is this group of people trying to do? What are they trying to show? Communism does not exist in Russia and China today!

We have all sorts of jokers in our public life so no point keeping the count of these people. They give us relaxation in our daily grind.

Fundamental rights! 

Fundamental rights are those rights which are essential for the intellectual, moral and spiritual development of individuals. These rights are integral or indispensable for the existence and all-round development of individuals; hence, it’s called ‘Fundamental’ rights. These are enshrined in Part III of the Constitution of India.

Following rights are the fundamental human rights that every citizen of India has the liberty to enjoy; they form a vital aspect of the Indian constitution. They help in preserving human dignity and allow every citizen to live with selfrespect. They accentuate the fundamental accord of India by guaranteeing the same rights to everyone irrespective of their religion, caste, creed, place of birth, etc.

  • Right to Equality
  • Right to Freedom
  • Cultural and Educational rights
  • Right to Freedom of Religion
  • Right against Exploitation
  • Right Constitutional Remedies

These are enshrined in Part III (Articles 12 to 35) of the Constitution of India.

The above statements are heavyduty statements for an engineer like me. But these are the bread and butter things for Supreme Court lawyers who make their millions guarding fundamental rights of people. For the lawyers, things look pretty good. The fundamental rights are being challenged quite regularly these days; the lawyers profession is like that of a share trader. Share trader always earns his 0.5% irrespective of whether the buyer and seller make or lose money.

In the last week or so, a lot of fundamental things are being challenged in the Supreme Court. Are the Supreme Court’s comments indicative of the direction that we will see in India?

The first and foremost is a case of death of a fourmonth child of a couple, taking part in peaceful protests at Shaheen Baug. The incident was taken by the Supreme Court “Suo Moto.” (on their own) The child died as it was taken to the protests by its parents. The winter was harsh, and after the child was taken home, it died due to exposure. The Supreme Court has sent notices to both the Central and Delhi government to inquire how this happened. They are expected to report back within a specific time frame.

During the argument, two lady lawyers representing the child’s side made statements as to how CAA and NRC are wrong. They also argued that the poor child was called Pakistani/Terrorist. The Chief Justice Mr Bobde made a valid point. He told the ladies not to stray from the main case. He further said that the matters about CAA/NRC are already in the court, and the current case was not about these issues. Here the topic being discussed is the fundamental right of the child. Why was the child exposed to severe weather? As a minor, it had no control over where it was taken? Why it’s fundamental rights were not protected? Who gave the rights to the parents to expose it to the harsh weather?

People, in general, forget or do not bother about other people’s rights when they are not in the right frame of mind. They trample on the rights of the others. Their mind is so vitiated that they forget that others also have fundamental rights. When one forgets about the rights of their own child, they won’t bother about other people.

Another case is about the fundamental rights of people on the same subject. For a long time, people have blocked the road passing through Shaheen Baug. The Supreme Court said that the protesters have the fundamental right to protest. But many people and institutions have filed petitions in the Supreme Court on the same subject. The Court wondered why the protests are continuing when the matter is sub judice! The Court further said that they have the right to continue to protest. But what about the protesters blocking the road for others? What about the fundamental rights of local commuters who are required to face a long detour due to continued protests? In this event too, both the Central Government and Delhi Government have been asked to file their reply to the Court. The Court has told the protesters to talk to government agencies to give them a suitable place for protesting without disturbing the fundamental rights of others. The Supreme Court has also said that they will provide the final decision after hearing the protesters side!

Another compelling case is about SC/ST reservations. Here the Court has argued that the people in this category had to face discrimination over an extended part of history. The historical wrong needs to be corrected. But it does not mean that it becomes a fundamental right of this group of people. The government can take affirmative action in this case for giving them jobs, but the same rule cannot be applied later when the promotions are offered during the service. It is not a fundamental right of the human that needs to be corrected at every stage. Supreme Court gave a decision that since the matter does not involve fundamental rights, the group should go to the government for resolution. Supreme Court cannot provide a directive to the government.

Another tricky case that the Supreme Court is handling is the Sabrimala case. It applies to Muslim personal law also. For the Supreme Court that it is a significant case, hence they have formed a panel of nine judges to handle the case. The main argument here is whether religious bodies can give a diktat which overrides the fundamental right of women provided by the constitution! It is a classic case of the rights of institutions against the rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. In a democracy, it is always said that the constitution is supreme.

The last one year has been important for India as the Supreme Court has resolved a significant dispute about the Ram Janmabhumi. Both sides have accepted the result gracefully. I feel that all parties should show the same grace, in future, regarding other notable cases that will prove to us and the world that India is not an anarchic democracy, but it is a working democracy.

The most challenging point is discussed and the disputed is the right to freedom. Everybody has the right to freedom; all the people in our society have this fundamental right. A person or group demands its right and gets it. But while doing this, the group tramples on someone else’s right. In the case referred above, the protesters blocked the road. The blockage caused inconveniences to thousands of people who used the way every day. Such situations create issues which need to be resolved.

One fundamental right you and I have been denied since independence. It is the control over who governs us. Legislators who stand for elections are selected on the socalled winnability of the candidate. The candidates educational background, experience, achievements and most importantly, criminal background are never discussed openly. There are weak rules about these aspects. Now the Supreme Court is hearing a case where election commission has recommended that all this information about the candidates selected be declared in vernacular newspapers, and on the party’s website within a stipulated time of 24 to 48 hours of selection. At that time, parties should also announce why the candidate is suitable for selection. In Delhi Vidhan sabha election, the % of those with criminal background has gone up from 24 % to 43 % from 2015 to 2020! It is our fundamental right to know how a person with murder and rape cases is suitable for election!

It appears the only institution that can bring back normalcy to the current turmoil in India is Court. Let us hope that the liberals and persons who don’t accept anything against their thought process allow the nation to function normally. I sincerely hope that they change their thinking from “My way or Highway”!

This is added late in the blog. Nothing to do with fundamental rights but shows how tough the Supreme Court is. This morning they blasted the government and Telcos for not paying a single rupee out of 92000 crore Rupees due. By evening the government has started issuing notices circle wise to Telcos! Telcos are given time upto 11.59 pm tonight!

Justice Delayed 

Justice1

The problem with the law is that it is blind. It is quite like the plight of a young blindfolded child trying to hit a piñata – there are always chances of collateral damage. The blindfolded statue of Justice which is supposed to portray Her objectivity and therefore Her greatest strength also becomes Her greatest weakness. 

Justice, as a concept is depicted by a statue of lady justice which is blindfolded, carries a balance and a sword in hand. What is the significance of this depiction?  

Lady Justice is most often depicted with a set of scales typically suspended from one hand, upon which she measures the strengths of a case’s support and opposition. 

Since the 16th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents impartiality, the ideal that justice should be applied without regard to wealth, power, or any other status. But in some statues, the blindfold is removed. The explanation is that the maidenly form of the statue implies that she will be impartial.  

The sword in her hand indicates the power that she has as the final authority. It suggests that there is no argument on the decision taken by the authority of law.  

All these definitions and discussions are fine in. But does one always get justice in real life? What is the definition of justice? After all, the justice system in any state or for that matter in the world is based on rules and regulations decided by you and me or our representatives. So, the justice system is fluid and needs to change as per the situation. At the same time, it cannot change at the fall of your hat.  

The thoughts about the justice system started in my mind as I have been reading about the Nirbhaya case. (The brutal rape and murder of one lady in Delhi by a gang of six thugs including juveniles in the year 2012.) After a long and delayed case, finally, the verdict was given to hang all the culprits to death. But the convicts are taking advantage of the loopholes in the legal system.

Nowadays, when I read the judgements, a term regularly is used “rarest of the rare cases.” In many countries, the death penalty is not given. But the maximum sentence given is life imprisonment. It is difficult to say what is right and what is wrong. India still has the death penalty in its system. But sometimes the term “law is blind” seems to be appropriate. In the Nirbhaya case, the most brutal attacker was a juvenile! But what should be the definition of a minor? Simply because the person is below eighteen, he/she is defined as a juvenile. The brutality displayed by the young person in the Nirbhaya case was so severe that the person should have been hanged publicly; if possible, he should have been stoned to death. He got away with a stay of three years in a correction centre. I am sure that he is leading a healthy life now as an adult. I am not sure if it is possible to live normally when the person had behaved so brutally. Maybe he is a demon in human form.  

The sentence given to them is to hang by death. But it appears that the ruling was that all of them should be hanged together. Why is that so? The only logic a common man like me understands is that since they performed the act together, they should be hanged together. To me, it is the most illogical. All these guys are taking advantage of the system and are making appeals after appeals in cyclic manner. If an appeal delays the hanging of one person, all persons escape the hanging. Innocent till proven guilty is a sentence which one hearstypically. But once these guys are proven guilty beyond doubt, the current system allows them to delay the final act. It is making the mockery of the system. How long the cyclic appealing will continue, only the god knows. The system does not consider the family of the victim. They are looking for closure about what happened to their beloved daughter.  

One side story in this episode is equally awkward. A well-known Supreme Court lawyer, Indira Jaising, has suggested to the family of Nirbhaya that they should pardon the convicts. She has given the example of the pardon by Sonia Gandhi in Rajeev Gandhi assassination case. But no two families are the same. Who is Indira Jaising to tell this family about forgiveness? It only adds to the agony. Why has Indira Jaising not filed a PIL to ensure that the cyclic escape route for the convicts should be eliminated from the system 

A couple of days back, there was an attack in London during the daytime. A terrorist attacked a few people with a Matchette which was as long as someone’s arm. One person died, and a couple of people were injured. The attacker was caught by the anti-terrorist squad a few years back. He was sentenced to three years of prison. He had appealed, and during the hearing, it was found that as per the existing laws, the attacker could not be kept in jail. So, he was released after the stay in prison for one and a half year. He was released. But there are hundreds of such cases in Britain and these persons are required to be physically followed to ensure that they don’t attack people. But there is a limitation of how many such people can be observed. 

The terrorist was under the surveillance, but still, he managed to attack and kill. It was the system that released him. The British law or for that matter laws of any country were designed and defined when there was no terrorism as we have today. They were planned when there was hardly any migration. It is observed that the terrorists in most countries are migrants. These things take time to change. But real-life situations like terrorism and immigration don’t wait for the laws to change. These aspects of life are like time and tide! They don’t wait for anybody.  

What is the solution for this? I honestly do not know. But one thing for sure is that preachers like Indira Jaising should not interfere in somebody else’s life. Her daughter was not raped and murdered. When the event occurred in 2012, Indira Jaising must have surely burnt a few candles in the candlelight march. I hope she had not met Nirbhaya’s family at that time to suggest to be lenient to the perpetrators.  

 

 

 

 

Freedom, Democracy and Equality! 

26th January 2020 is the day India completes 70 years as a republic. After the initial euphoria in 1950, the government settled down over a period but faced many challenges, later. Emergency in 1975 was the biggest challenge that we met. But people rose to the occasion and overcame that issue. During those tough times, the courts did not come out with flying colours.

What do we see in the 70th year? How have situations changed in the last five to seven years? The main change was the technology. WA, FB, Instagram have made connectivity easy among people. Any news, any event spreads all over the place like wildfire. It spreads like the Coronavirus may spread. I am not sure how many people understand the information they receive. As usual, there are pros and cons to the subject of technology. Watching the feed on these apps, you will be surprised to see how much venom is there in the minds of the people.

In this context, Freedom, Democracy and Equality are big words and have great importance in any democratic country. The words are being thrown around easily in recent times in India. The recent events and protests have thrown Indian society in turmoil. Humans until they complete their education are dependent on parents and teachers for guidance, support and push. But the recent events show that this bond has become weak or it is broken. Both teachers and parents are out of sync with their children.

The protests started in JNU about the increase in fees. Tuition and other fees were increased. The students wanted a rollback. The hostel fees from mighty Rs 10/ month were raised and now rolled back to Rs.10/ pm. It is an open secret that hundreds of “parasites” live in these hostels where there is almost no fee. When the agitation started, why there was no dialogue between the teachers and students? Is the bond broken? Or is it because of the atmosphere that is vitiated due to political elements in the unions? Don’t the parents of these students read newspapers or watch TV? Are they not aware that these students are not going to classes for months together?

I have been reading about these students and listening to them. Frequently, I hear the words Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Equality. How does the government handle a situation where law and order problems are created? When protestors start throwing stones, burning buses, damaging properties are police expected to be silent spectators? The police are in a very tricky situation. If they act, they are blamed, and they are also blamed for inaction. Now it is a month since the roads are blocked in the area called Shaheen Baug in Delhi. The blockage is causing inconvenience to hundreds of thousands of people travelling to Faridabad and Noida. Court has directed the police to check the possibility of breaking the deadlock. Why is this direction given? The reason for this is the attack by masked persons on JNU. There are claims and counterclaims and both sides are blaming each other. The courts want to play it safe!

During that incident, the University authorities called the police to be available near the gate in case their help was needed. Police were asked to enter the premises at 7.45 pm. It was almost two and a half hours after the fight broke out. The people involved in the attack had sticks and hockey sticks with them. Police used lathi-charge to break the fight. The assault led to more protests against the police; hence the court has given them the directive to act peacefully to break any demonstrations. The atmosphere in these institutes is such that teachers can not have any dialogue with students due to the strongly politicised atmosphere.

Protests are freedom of expression. But what about the rights of other citizens to reach their destination smoothly and on time? Now the examination season is starting. What can a student do if he or she does not reach the hall on time? Both students and others have equal rights. A demonstration can happen for one day, one week, but now it is more than one month. How to break this tangle? The initial protest started about fees, and now it is converted into CAA/NRC protest. Students are doing a few demonstrations in different cities, but the Shaheen Baug is taken over by housewives and old ladies along with their grandchildren. I never bother about religion etc. but the majority of the people seen at Shaheen Baug are Muslims. The same is the case with Prayagraj, formerly known as Allahabad. It indicates that the people from the Muslim community have not understood the principle behind these laws.

Where are the leaders of the Muslim community missing? Why are politicians from different parties not explaining to these people about the new law? It means that political parties are very keen to politicise the issue. Even after the discussion takes place, everyone doesn’t have to support the legislation. There is a freedom to oppose anything and everything in this country. Around 150 litigations have been filed in the Supreme Court. In the initial hearing, the Court has disagreed to stay the law. The Court has asked the government to give their reply within four weeks. Once the matter has gone into the court of law, what is the point in continuing the protests and demonstrations? You don’t want to accept the new law. You don’t wish to heed by the court ruling. What is that people exactly want?

On one side, the authorities have started a campaign to explain what CAA is all about. The second aspect is that court proceedings have started. If the protestors still want to continue protest, how to resolve this? Or we are back to my way or Highway?

The way forward is that both sides go two steps back. Or we can say take two steps forward. In life, except for birth and death, nothing is absolute. The dividing line that is currently seen is not a line drawn on a stone. Treat it as a line in the sand; let the waves wash away the lines. There is always a middle ground if we want. There is a possibility that the Supreme Court may change a few things. Supreme Court ruling has to be accepted by both the sides anyway. So why not start the discussions now. We are all from the same country. It hardly makes any difference if you are a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian. We belong to the same country.  So take those few steps, friends!

And don’t forget the great song!

 

Leave me alone!

Leave me alone; I am a private person. Who the hell is the world to know about my private affairs? My privacy is so important to me that I will not allow Aadhar interference. Finally, proponents of privacy won their battle in the Supreme Court, won the battle and ensured that Aadhar was delinked from many areas of our lives. The most surprising part is that financial institutes and banks have approached the Supreme Court to allow them to link their customers to Aadhar again. Why? Because they are idiots and do not know as the know-all gang knows. Mind you; I don’t want the Orwellian Big Brother watching me over my shoulders all the time.

BigB2

I was wondering what do the likes of Google know about us. Well, I can briefly say everything. Majority of cell phones in the world are android based. Whenever we do something on the phone, Google has its hand in it. It starts from unboxing the new phone to using apps, what you bought on Google Play, everywhere else. Whenever we perform these acts, the app seeks permission to access contacts, location, SMS, photos and God knows what! If we say no to anything, we get a message “Your cellphone or the app will not perform correctly.” 95 % of the people are like you and me. So we mutter a few expletives but say okay buddy take access to whatever you want. I don’t care, but Google cares. They use these permissions to monetise whatever they can. Honestly, I don’t care. I have no secrets to hide. It’s not only Google, but others like Facebook also do the same thing. I am searching for something on the net, and maybe I go to Amazon. The next day, advertisements for these products are seen on my Facebook account, while I serf.

Coming back to Google, it allows you to download the data about you that it has saved. The file can be enormous in Gigabytes, depending on our activity. The link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you’ve taken on your phone, the businesses you’ve bought from, the products you’ve purchased through Google.

These days I hear stories about men willing to accept their wives all demands if they find that the wife has the husbands cell phone in her hand. I understand that it is because the WhatsApp has quite a few “secrets” many times. Once you come to know what Google stores from your “activities”, well it saves everything. You will not allow your wife to touch your phone. It will store the details of the area you were roaming with your buddies or GF when you were supposed to be busy in the office meet the deadline. You would rather be dead if she knew where you were! You may say that Pramod is in a mood today to write some funny stuff; it’s nothing weird. I am very serious. You don’t believe it. Let me tell you all the secrets. If your spouse is in IT, then she knows the stuff anyway. But rest assured that she is ignoring your sojourns.

Here we go.

Google has data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to; they also have the Google books you’ve purchased, the Google groups you’re in, the websites you’ve created.

They also know the phones you’ve owned, the pages you’ve shared, how many steps you walk in a day.

Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you’ve been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone.

Click on this link to see your data:

google.com/maps/timeline?…

Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices.

Click on this link to see your data:

myactivity.google.com/myactivity

Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10 lb in one day?) and income.

Click on this link to see your data:

google.com/settings/ads/

Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep.
Click on this link to see your data:

security.google.com/settings/secur…

Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether you’re going to be a parent soon, if you’re a conservative, if you’re a progressive, if you’re Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, if you’re anorexic …

Click on this link to see your own data:

youtube.com/feed/history/s…

Do you believe in me now? Or you still have some doubts. Okay. I will share details about what Facebook stores about you, discretely.

Don’t worry, and I will not write about it. Are you feeling a bit weak in the knees; are you feeling thirsty? Do you need to see your doctor? Don’t panic. The feeling was the same for us guys when a copy of Playboy magazine was found in our school bag in our younger days. But in those days, nobody knew that our friend, okay I will name him xxx, used to tell XXX stories after we completed our cricket or badminton!

Will Google use such data for nasty purpose? I don’t think so, at least I hope so. A simple response of Yes to the seemingly innocent question has led to this problem. It is tricky. Many people in the world use birth dates, abcdef, 111111 or such simple variations as passwords. Accessing your accounts with these passwords can be done by you and me too!

The other extreme was a friend. We went and stayed with him for a couple of days; Jaya and I requested access to his wifi network. He collected our phones and laptop and went to his library at home. I said, “Don’t worry, I will punch the password.” He smiled and said, “I use a password which is 26 characters long”. Phew!

Is what Google and Facebook doing the right thing? They claim that they collect the data to make our experience personalised. Maybe! They ask for permission to access, and we give permission every time because it makes things more convenient. We use the Google map, and they need to know the location. But they save all the activity that we did. Many apps make our life easier. There is no doubt about that. So finally it comes to Privacy Vs Convenience!

All things have their plus and minus points. If you have no secrets to hide, if you easily handover your cell phone to your wife, you have no issues. But else…

You have already handed over the control to Google; mind you, I have not written about how Facebook watches you! Sleep well!

BigB1

 

Leaders of Indian Democracy- a tough journey!  

I prefer not to write blogs about politics, but so many things have happened in the last six months, that I am compelled to write one more time. The blog is not about comparing leader A with leader B. It is about the leaders who took decisions and moved forward as against those who preferred the status quo. It is about accidental leaders; it is about “leaders” who were led by remote control. The discussion is also about the changes in society and its thinking. Hindsight is always 20:20. So it is easier to comment on things that happened sometime back. We need to understand that today’s times and decisions will only be understood better 50 years hence. History is an easier science than prediction.

We also need to consider separate periods as “Before the Internet” and “After the Internet”! Nehru led the post-independence era. The society loved the handsome, cigarette smoking prince. One hundred and fifty years of British Raj ensured that society became naïve.

Anything that the authorities did was considered good, and people rarely challenged them. The nation glorified poverty, but Nehru’s fashionable lifestyle was never challenged.

The first significant unrest was in the late fifties as Maharashtra was being split into Gujarat and Maharashtra. During this agitation, people from Maharashtra wanted Marathi speaking area around Belgaum to merge in Maharashtra. In this agitation, 106 people died in Police firing. It led to the conversion of Flora Fountain in Bombay into Hutatma (Martyr) Chowk. The leader at that time was Moraraji Desai. Then there was Goa agitation. Indians wanted Portuguese to leave Goa. But this happened after a lot of unrest and a small armed forces confrontation. Then occurred the 1962 China war, where Indians were unprepared. Luckily, China stopped the fight unilaterally. It was the first kick that made us understand what the real world is all about. Nehru’s downfall started from this incident, and he died, a sad man, in 1963! India continued to be led by the old guard as they never wanted to retire. China war did not need history to prove how India was ill-prepared to face the world both politically and otherwise.

Shastriji’s quiet leadership during the 1965 war made India a little more confident!

In the case of decision-taking leadership, history decides whether their decision was right or wrong. In came Indira Gandhi. She had to remove the old guard, which she managed with aplomb. Indira Gandhi took two significant decisions. She helped Bangla Desh to become independent, thus splitting Pakistan. The act indicated that India had some spine! You don’t need only to be tough, but you also need to show that you are tough. She nationalised all the banks leading to the start of the socialistic era in India. In hindsight, it proved to be not a very right decision. For joining the global economy, it was a retro step. Her next brave decision was to send the Army into the Golden temple in 1984! Had she not taken that decision; Khalistan movement would have created another Kashmir due to indecision. Operation Blue Star resulted in her assassination, but it was necessary to have Blue Star! Here the terrorists were Sikhs! They were trying to take advantage, hoping that the government will be soft and will not enter the Golden temple!

Rajeev Gandhi took some excellent decisions about computers with advice from Sam Pitroda! But his miscalculation cost India dear in Sri Lanka; LTTE took their revenge by assassinating him in Sri Perambuddur!

By the time Narsimha Rao’s term was over, the system got used to status quo. He is said to have opened Indian Economy to the world. But this was done under duress in 1992 as India’s financial condition was critical. India had to borrow money against “family” gold. Coalition governments, Bajpayee Government and later Manmohan government were in status quo mode. Good, soft people sometimes are not enough to run a vast country like India. India is a complex country and has diversity. Different people think differently and want their solutions to suit themselves. These may contradict with the requirements of other states!

The effectiveness of government actions, people’s reactions and court interventions collectively define the society’s acceptance or rejection of any event. Two events show how unfortunate events were allowed to happen. After Indira Gandhi’s assassination, the silent support by the then government allowed hundreds of Sikhs to be murdered. The Gujarat government was a mute spectator and silent supporter of riots after the Godhra incident. But during the last ten years, “Post the Internet” news and rumours have started spreading fast with the advent of social media.  The significant aspect of the Internet is that Government cannot hide any news from people. But at the same time rumour mongering is rampant. The courts intervene whenever they can at a reasonable speed. During the recent CAA event, there were 99 litigations entered with the Supreme Court. The court quickly acted upon these by clubbing them together. They told the litigants that CAA could not be stayed legally, at the same time they informed the Government to have all India campaign to share with people the detailed information about the law. The court told the political litigants to stop the riots first before the litigations would be heard.

Now let us talk about the government from 2014. The government took actions on many issues and went away from the status quo norm. It has been acting fast and is seen to be implementing many schemes. Aadhar Card, GST was the action started by the previous government but was implemented by the Modi government. When massive all India changes of this nature are being implemented, problems do crop up. The opposition must question the government for errors but should give support in the process. Article 370 was a similarly swift decision by the government. Ayodhya Ram Mandir decision was handled with finesse by the government!

Similarly, NRC has been in discussion for more than a decade. The Supreme Court had intervened in 2015 and had given the directives to the government. But one thing is sure; the current government is taking fast actions and not maintaining the status quo! At the same time, people have changed. During the emergency in 1975, the people of my parent’s generation were not brave enough to show dissent, openly. “Post the Internet” information flow has speeded up. It is a good thing that people of my generation express disagreement openly, now. The young people of today have been trying to push the government effectively. After all, these are young people, so they behave like young people. In their enthusiasm, they go overboard and make significant mistakes. They are, after all, young folks are with hot blood. It is the responsibility of opposition parties to ensure that harmful elements of the society don’t take advantage and create an unhealthy atmosphere by rioting and arson. It is the responsibility of every adult irrespective of their political allegiance to help make these demonstrations peaceful! Demonstrating against something which we don’t approve is our right given by the democracy.

Governments usually act when their backs are to the wall, or there are elections around. Current governments tenure is till 2024! So these actions were not crucial for them to act.

In a diverse country like India, it is difficult for any government to take action which will please everybody. Now with BJP losing elections in many states, there will be strong opposition at the state level, which is essential. But state governments must remember which laws are in the Central Government list and which ones are under state government list. They should not take an unreasonable stand like eight or ten states have said that they will not allow CAA in their states! The position is legally not tenable because it is under Central Government list. By taking such a stance, these states are starting unavoidable fights.

What is my preference; a government taking actions or status quo governments? Status quo is a big no, no! Any entity that acts is likely to make mistakes, like Indira Gandhi’s emergency. Such acts are known immediately to be vicious. But the effects of other actions would be known after twenty or thirty years.

But one thing is for sure that all governments should be benevolent and be soft on people, especially the young ones. They should ensure that society does not get divided. It should not be us versus them under any circumstances. Words like revenge are not acceptable. The UP government recently used this term. But at the same time, the UP government is the first state government in India which has shown the guts to use the Supreme Court ruling. The ruling allows the authorities to fine rioters to reimburse the property damaged. Today it is easy to prove the participation in riots because of video recordings.

Action, softness with people and non-divisive methods will lead to vibrant and better India! There will be some unhappy people whatever you do! But one thing is sure. There will be tough decisions, there will be fights but my country will never be divided! There will be Prime Ministers who take actions, but there won’t be dictators!

India’s tallest flag at Guwahati!

IndianFlagatguwahati