Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ayodhya Verdict Is Pro-India!

A 60 year old court case can only be settled with a verdict that supports peace and the Allahabad High Court's decision on Ayodhya has done just that!
I have always been proud of the judiciary of India - we are a corrective system of justice and not a punitive one! One of the principles on which Indian judiciary is built says that we should hate 'crime' and not the 'criminal'. In a case like Ayodhya what is a crime? The crime is not encroachment of one religious group or the other on a 'holy' land, it is the idea that religion is bigger than the Nation. And criminals are all those who fume this idea!
For most Hindus, Ayodhya is part of the biggest legend of all times - Sri Ram. An illiterate son of illiterate parents knows the story of Sri Ram and such is the strength of his faith that he would find it hard to believe that Ayodhya, the place of birth of Ram, can actually still exist in this present Nation of his where kids are dying of hunger! If Ayodhya is still here should we not be the best Nation of the world! If Sri Ram's Ayodhya is still on the map of India why are we so poor! If Ayodhya, the land which gave birth to Ram, is still a part of India then why do we rank so high in infant mortality rate!
I am a hindu. And like all Hindus, I believe in Ram. I don't find Ram some imaginary figure, I find him an ordinary human being who became extra-ordinary by his deeds and principles! I don't believe that Ram can do any miracles in the current world but yes I do believe that if a person has faith in his principles he can do miracles! And the most important principle of Sri Ram was to lead by example. Mariyada Purushottam Ram - was the best of men, not just by his birth but by his deeds. Ram's legend does not speak of any miracles - it speaks of a man who had courage to achieve what was right by means of sacrifice and perseverance. If we can learn anything from Ram it is to become the good that we want to see in people around us.
The verdict on Ram janmbhoomi is clearly designed to keep all the 'parties' happy! And I support this judgement for the simple reason that the most important concern for all should be peace and harmony. I'm happy because the trouble makers are (relatively) happy.
It is time for India to build better roads, bigger buildings, lengthier bridges, stronger bonds with the powerful countries of the world and fuller values and morals in her citizens - when there are so many important things to build why should you and I be concerned about building a temple or a mosque? It was time to move on towards a brighter future for India and the verdict is a step towards this direction. I am happy!
Jai Sri Ram.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Unlike CWG, Aadhar Meets Deadlines And Delivers!

Too much of CWG and Ayodhya has clouded more important news like the implementation of the Aadhaar project (Unique Identification Project). I didn't want the readers of CnC to miss out on things that will impact the future of our Nation in a much more comprehensive and positive way like UID project hence this article!
29th September, 2010, the UID or Aadhaar (Aadhaar - आधार - literally translates to 'basis' of things) project will be kicked off in a small village of Maharashtra, Nandubar, with the distribution of these biometric identification cards by PM Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
While several deadlines have been missed by the CWG committees, the UID project has been right on track and it is much more complex and challenging a task than building resources for a games competition and conducting them smoothly. The Union Government may have done many mistakes but the UID command and assignments are one of the major achievements of the Congress government.
An India where each individual is identifiable and no 'fake' citizens exist would be a much more secure India and would become a Nation on the path of success and glory! Kudos to the chairman of the UID project Mr. Nandan Nilkani and we wish him all success in the National roll out of Aadhaar!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Punishment For Corruption Should Be Same As That For Treason Against The State!

In the light of the recent events concerning the Common Wealth Games, Delhi about the misappropriation of public money and rampant mismanagement, the punishment for corruption should be reconsidered. According to the current law of the state (IPC), the only punishment for corruption is dismissal from the services! This is true irrespective of the amount of money involved.
While this leveling of punishment has been adopted to make sure that cases where smaller amount of money is involved are not treated lightly, this law largely overlooks the cases where a lifetime of wealth is created and a dismissal of service is not only a weak punishment but it in fact encourages the crime!
Especially in cases like the CWG, where National pride has paid a price, the punishment should be similar to that given for cases of treason. The punishment for treason can be life imprisonment or more! And if a leveling is necessary then all cases of corruption should be treated the same.
The fact of the matter is that corruption is actually an act against the Nation and her pride. Corruption pushes India backwards and chains down her aspirations of becoming one of the greatest of lands. When the Nation is paying such a huge price for the acts of corruption then it is but natural and sensible to equate it to treason. The fact remains that almost all people in positions of power are corrupt to a certain degree and the framing and imposition of such a law would be a rather tough job. However, India still has a lot of people (mostly those who do not don any such position of power which can be corrupted) who are not corrupt and a mass opinion formation is the first thing towards this noble step.
Personally, I would like to see every corrupt official who brings shame to the Nation stripped down and flogged in full public view so that each and every power wielding citizen of India thinks a million times before taking a single rupee to which they do not have a right! Imagine what a sight it would be to see the house of Kalmadi flooded with common people with lathis and chappals in hand asking for an explanation and showing no mercy for the shame that India has to bear. Imagine the golden sight when the likes of Mayawati, Jayalalitha, Mulayam, Lalu, would be treated with similar dose of Indian anger. If we can get angry with our sport persons for failing in cricket or hockey why do we not close in on these corrupt officials and politicians with the most fierce attack and bring them down?

'Paan' - National Symbol Glorifying CWG!

'Paan' - the National symbol of India - got its real boost last week when the paan tainted wash basins and walls were posted all over the Internet!
Paan has long been ignored by the Indian media and people of the world at large though it is one of the most important elements of Indian framework. When you think of it a little, it is impossible to imagine any thing in India without that glamorous and magical bundle of colors. Right from its place in 'puja' where it is offered to the Gods while asking for their blessings to the offices where it becomes an essential tool to mellow down the ever so unyielding 'babus', paan has an authority to it which is far beyond any other chewable object of the world.
The CWG village's pictures depicting paan in all its glory is the treatment it should have got decades back! The pictures have offended a few 'foreigners' but the fact is that deep down every Indian is thinking that this matter has been blown out of proportions - what is wrong with a few paan stains here and there after all? We have come to live with them in perfect peace and harmony and they may look a little out of shape but they, in fact, are our favorite design patterns on walls and streets! I would be little surprised if most of those paan stains came from some minister or a senior authority inspecting the village for its cleanliness! After all, no official visit happens without the offering of a paan to the authority first! (My sources tell me that leaving a few festive days, Ms. Shila Dixit does not usually eat paan which is the reason why she has been chosen to do the final rounds of readiness checks!)
We have often paid heavy price for our these stains of paan but our love for the magical flavour and the laid back life that it advocates and instills has always won over those minor hiccups. Filthy trains, stations, roads, offices, homes, buildings, an occasional red color shower sprinkling on the road commuters from atop a bus or truck are but a few of the things we have been willing to accept in lieu of giving up paan. If you question the public of India in private (anonymously) they would tell you that they would rather give up CWG than chewing (and most importantly, spitting in most awkward of places) paan!
Long live the Indian culture, long live paan and the colors of joy it brings with it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mandir Aur Masjid Ki Kahani

What is the best possible solution to the Ayodhya case? While the judges fight it out tomorrow in Allahabad High Court, the solution quite clearly came from an unidentified school boy studying in Std. 7th in an unidentified school of Allahabad. The topic of discussion was not a 'Mandir vs Masjid' but whether the school would be open tomorrow so that the inter-house basketball match could happen for which they had been practicing for a long time!
The solution which everyone agreed to (without an exception) in the class was to construct a lush green park where the children could go for a picnic!
This was a low cost and effective suggestion for the resolution of a conflict which has taken many lives already. The apt thing to do with the land which has brought so many troubles in the name of religion was to make it 'religion-free'.
History is a potent inspiration for the man of action and at the same time can prove to be the mistress of the person incapable of action. Giving a judgement on the basis of history would be lame, what we should be concerned about is the present and the future or our country and her people!
The best possible solution for everyone in the country would be to forget and move on. While one sect needs to forget the 1500s 'history' the other sect needs to forget the 1992 'history'! Religion in modern India is not limited to Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian - it has expanded into a host of glamorous religions like doctors, lawyers, engineers, actors, architects, craftsmen, educators, industrialists, scientists, and so many more vibrant other religions. These religions live in perfect harmony, allow 'inter-religious' marriages, live, eat, sleep, travel together and contribute to the land which gives them an opportunity to excel in life!
The structures that should be of any concern to us right now are the ones that fall for no reason on workers and passers-by in embarrassing situations - the flyovers that collapse, the railway tracks that give way to tragedy, the roads that get filled with potholes within days of being made and above all the bridges and false ceilings that collapse in the games village in Delhi right before the CWG!

Will Jugaad Work For CWG?

Will Jugaad work for CWG?
India is known to run on 'jugaad'. Never has a lack of perfection been glorified more than in the case of this classic Indian way of doing things - come up with an ad-hoc fix and complete the task!
Jugaad has been such a huge force for India that people have nothing against a movie which depicts a baby being delivered by a vacuum cleaner (3 Idiots?). A student who lazies around for the whole semester and happens to pass 'magically' by jugaad is not just never questioned but rather appreciated by friends, family and the teachers! Jugaad is never a word that people frown at, it is a wonder way of fixing almost any problem in the least of resources possible. And with such a huge population and so less resources (less because they have been jugaad'ed up the corrupt asses!) jugaad is often needed to make things run from day to day.
CWG is in a mess. Anyone who has visited the site or seen it on TV or newspapers will tell you that CWG 2010 needs God's blessings more than anything else now! Had it been any other country, the hope would have died long back but not in India. The hope for a successful CWG lives on because we have a massive belief in jugaad. Deep down inside each of us is a feeling that tells us that it would all be fine ("ज़िन्दगी में भी हमारी हिंदी फिल्मों की तरह last में सब ठीक हो जाता है"), CWG 2010 will be an event which will be remembered not for its folly and corruption but for its grandeur and excellent show of our athletes.
For the first time, I do not want things to work for India! I want CWG to be scrapped off!
I want all this to fail so that we start appending our beliefs and theories of jugaad. We know that many people have amassed huge proportions of money, destinies have been made, responsibilities insulted and a whole Nation let down by power and money hungry individuals who have teamed up against their own Nation! And even after this blatant insult of values, if the CWG show runs well, the belief of people in jugaad will forever live and haunt the generations that come after us. I don't want things to run in less than perfect way when the reputation of a Nation is at stake. I want things to fail so that the moles are routed out and taught a lesson which instills a fear in the minds and hearts of the corrupt and hungry!
The foot-bridge collapse, the report of the team from NZ, the terrorist attack, the rains, dengu, all are conspiring against CWG and rightly so. Indians need to understand that there is no substitute for hardwork and honesty. Jugaad can run a machine but it will never be able to run a Nation.
Corruption is an act of treason against the Nation and should be punished accordingly!
As far as the already built infrastructure is concerned, it should undergo a thorough testing and if found safe according to any standards it should be donated to the Nation in all good spirit so that it can become the breeding grounds for Golds and Silvers in International competitions!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What Are 5 Biggest Challenges For India?

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Why India Needs A Non-Crippling Policy On Religion!

People in India have religious freedom. So do people in USA. The ambiguities surrounding the interpretations of 'religion' have seeped into the rights and 'not-so-right' of religious freedom too. The debate over Park51 (the controversial area near ground zero where Muslims have been offering prayers for quite sometime now but a mosque has recently been proposed) is flaring the sentiments of the residents of US, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. But, the debate and the exchange of heated arguments are well in place as they are avoiding conflicts and loss of life and property.
The situation in India is strikingly different though the issues are largely the same. The difference arises out of the intervention of law of the land and the priorities that law and religion have respectively. Park51 is not new to the local Muslims of New York, they have been offering prayers in that place for quite sometime. It is not a Mosque though, but a place where they gather to offer prayers. The furore is created on the proposal of building a mosque there - an official, designated place, approved by the municipal authorities of New York. If nothing else, it does bring out the planned approach that the law follows when it comes even to religion and its practice.
Consider a similar situation in India. Any controversy would revolve around the 'discovery' of such a controversial temple or mosque! The municipal corporation has little control over a temple or a mosque springing up in a locality. In fact, these places of worship are one of the finest ways to gobble up state land and encroach the area, even if it happens to be in the middle of the street! The Indian state machinery has often failed in handling religious outbursts and clashes - a fact that remains true since before independence during 'direct action day' or even much before that during the times of the Mughals, the formation of Khalsa, etc.
The big question is about prioritising these two important issues - religion and state! I have always believed that religion is a personal affair and the moment it clashes with the functioning of the state, a check should be imposed. But, this is not entirely true. There are many states which follow, largely, a common religion and it helps to unite their nation. But, again, the reality of the day is that countries like India, US, Malaysia and parts of Europe are multicultural, multiracial and multi-religion. And it is important that a common thread is found to unite the nation and a dividing theme like that of religion can never be it.
 In such cases, religion has to take a backseat. The state must come before the personal choices - that of religion, faith, caste and creed. Any instance of the state taking a hit due to religion will result in a potboiler created by a selfish few and that is what has been happening in India for quite sometime.
What we may need is a strict policy on religion and its practice. Why should loudspeakers be allowed on top of makeshift temples and mosques? Why should highways be blocked for religious processions? Why should the industry, education and lives be kept at stake due to the outbreak of religious hatred? The answer is simple. In India, religion votes and when every vote counts, religion is simply the most important factor for a win!