Friday, December 23, 2011


Human mind seems to relish the stories which left the best imprints on it during the infant stages. In a gap of a couple of days I happened to get hold of two different books on the characters in Mahabharatha. One was by a Chartered Accountant Ms Roopa and another by the much renowned Shri Gurucharan Das. The first one was a good preparation ground to launch me into the second. Both books left me with a lingering feeling that I was not merely Jekyll and Hyde but much more than that. The character of Karna was dealt with in great detail and left me feeling that I was indeed blessed ( despite the unending battles on the domestic front). At least it was not a scenario where someone had disowned me and sought me out only with a request to betray the faith of a friend.

The enchanting figure of Bhishma remained the favourite. All seem to only question him on the silence at the disrobing of Draupadi. No questions are raised on his ethics of fighting a battle for his brothers at a swayamvara of the sisters of Amba, Ambika and Ambalika. It is claimed that he was silent because of his loyalty to the throne of Hastinapura but it is forgotten that the same venerable man attested the completion of the exile period during the war with Virata. If one were to have the occasion to read the Anushasana Parva the thoughts that Yudhishthira is the hero of this epic will fall apart. Laid on a bed of arrows as well as undergoing the mental trauma of not being able to fulfil his pledge of ensuring that Hastinapura never comes to grief in a war, he excels by providing a discourse to which Krishna also raptly listens. The salient point that emerges is that an authority is not made of himself but by the persons accepting him as such. In the absence of acceptance where would the authority emerge from?  

In the epic, Bhishma is respected by his step mother and brothers and he wields the authority. Pandu regards him and the authority continues. Dhirtarashtra, the blind king, blind more in wisdom than by sight, does not trust the elderly man. However, he lacks the courage to stand up against him. As the reins go into the hands of the remote control of Shakuni and Suyodhana, the authority of Bhishma wanes. His efforts pale into insignificance. Effectively, he realises the futility of the situation. The pinnacle of this occurs at the time of humiliating Draupadi. It would be heroism to imagine him doing an Amitabh Bacchan and hold Dushasana's hands and utter " Agar Ma ka Dudh piya ho to, pehle mujhse takkar lo" or even do a Shahrukh Khan in saying to Draupadi " Main Hoon Na" . These are unrealistic heroes while Bhishma ages and reacts accordingly.

Then why does Bhishma battle on the side of the Kauravas? Well, he is a kshatriya warrior who would any day prefer a death on the battlefield than retire and watch the battle from the sidelines. Sanjaya can sit on the sidelines not Bhishma. Further, with Krishna on the other side, the balance of power could be evened out only with his presence. The choice is limited by  his oath and he does his nation proud by fighting dsipassionately till the end. He could timed his death before the war but that would be like out politicos who win elections on the sympathy wave. Suyodhana would have reigned supreme. It is for nothing that he is called Bhishma Pitamaha.

Gurucharan Das describes Krishna's strategies in detail but fails to credit Bhishma with avoiding a conflict among brothers. Though Kunti is unaware, Bhishma is aware of the truth of Karna's birth. The only way he could avoid the battle between the brothers and maintain the secrecy was to ensure that Karna does not venture into the battlefield. This he does by addressing him as Ardharatha. No father-in -law much less a step father-in - law can claim such credit and while the famed curse of Yudhishthira ensures that women do not keep secrets, Bhishma is not even noticed. The honour of intimating their kinsmanship is also deftly addressed by Bhishma when he requires the Pandavas to perform the last rites irrespective of rank and file leaving it to Krishna and Kunti to divulge the truth. The celebrated heroes of today's movies and teleserials fade in comparison. He has his human flaws but could anyone of aspire let alone rise to his levels of empathy and loyalty as well as accepting his fading authority with grace.

My hats off to him.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


A long vacation awaits most of the nation. Dussehra is on and the time to witness the fanfare at Ramlila Maidan where the huge effigies of Ravan will burst into flames. The East on the other has heralded the arrival of the deity of Durga who in her fiery avatar fails to deter her devotees who throng the streets of Bengal. In the west the dance of Garba brings alive the cultural tapestry while the South in its quiet pageantry worships Chamundeshwari and Saraswathi. On the whole a week that celebrates womanhood is on while many still wish to only live on a Woman's day. 

The festivities of Dussehra would in reality culminate only in the lighting up for Diwali which would see the lamps dotting the landscape whilst the crackers crackle around. New account books emerge to augur a profitable financial year while the sweetmeats are gorged with ease. The schools normally shut down for a vacation leaving the children to celebrate these traditional festivals.

Fast forward to the present day while we see posters put up for holiday camps for the children. One of the reading centres had organised a project work for kids wherein the different parts of different animals are pieced to harmoniously depict an imaginary character. In the era of post Star Trek obviously the imagination runs riot. An animal with the body of elephant, tail of a tiger, horns of a buffalo, face of a giraffe makes an appearance to the lusty claps of the young crowd. Thankfully, the imagination of the children were rooted in reality while they tried a mix of existing characters. There was not a single specimen which did not have the parts of existing animals. The flipside to it was the fact that the parents did not find time to even show the animals to the children nor spend time with them. Instead they were put to a long classwork and homework of a different kind. 

A small chat with the kids came as a revelation. They were also to do some holiday homework so as to not lose touch with the academics. Sports grounds which have disappeared reduce the feasibility of outdoor games. A new generation is born which does not revel in sibling rivalry or visit any place of a relative for a vacation. They tend to be governed by their own goals. Powered to goals they would be excellent career makers but would they make good citizens?

Time will answer this musing.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011


A weekend with a mood to read led me to the Reliance Time out and as I sifted through the tempting tomes placed neatly, many a treasured gem tempted me with their competition for my attention. Guha's Makers of modern India was the first one which my hands picked up to find different viewpoints of esteemed personae. Amongst them were some of the irresistible pieces of vision of the veteran Rajaji. His simple prose of Bharatiya vidya Bhavan in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were quite a contrast to his eloquence in these pieces which convincingly refuted many of the illustrious persons such as Gandhi, Nehry among others.

Even as I was planning to pick this one, my eyes wandered to the shelf of Indian writers wherein was perched a enticingly titled paper book. As I see it proclaimed L K Advani. The need to see something from his viewpoint for a mercurial leader was one while the fact that it was a collection of his blogs was as much revealing. Touching moments with rarely cliched language revealed an unknown facet of this towering personality who is raring to go on another yatra. The material in the book made one aware of the "Never say Die" approach of this man. As I was making my mind not to conclude any matter dismissively, a book by Malvankar on the Assassins of Gandhi caught my attention.

This book sent the one by Advani to the shelf while it perched itself in my hands. The first chapter of partition was gripping and took me to the days when I had reeled under the pains of Train to Pakistan or the sorrows brought out on the small screen in Buniyaad. The conflict of opinions of Gandhi , Madanlal, Apte, Nehru, Patel, Jinnah and Godse were all there. Strong willed men pushing the destiny of not only their persons or followers but of peoples who were unknown. Each of them had a viewpoint. Each was right to himself but pray did anyone display the empathy required?

Three books with viewpoints of persons who shook the world by their actions. They were strong willed and went by their viewpoints. I understood their viewpoints but differed on them at varying points to varying degrees. Empanthise I did but disagreed. Strolling out, I asked to myself, is empathy a virtue, a vice or a sign of weakness?

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Fests and feasts go hand in hand in every land. The tribute to days of fasting by feasting is best celebrated by the Iftar during Roza and the Easter feasting after the Lent. A little known fact to many of the present day is the fortnightly Dwadashi feasting after the Ekadashi fast which is observed by the austere Hindu. Thus, while festivals celebrate the existence of the vitals known as the stomach to the taste of the tongue and aromas to suit the nasal instinct they also pass of as devotion to the Lord. The best way to relish a feast is by enduring sessions of fasting. The pains of the fast is now scientifically established to be a means of healthy living too. This gives a silver lining to the pangs of hunger too.

Fast forward to the Ramlila Maidan where a celebrity fasted his way through the mires of law making. 12 days of fasting followed by a weekend of festivities commencing from Ramzan and Gowri through the Ganesha appetizer into the St Mary's feast. Annaji could be relishing many a feast after a fast that has made him dear to all the Lords (pun intended).

Having gone through this exercise mentally, I am bewildered by the way my own vitals behave. Normally there is no pangs of hunger much to the constraint of people around me who tend to gain a feeling that I am deliberately feigning to attribute gluttony to them. But strange are the ways of this small but vital organ that on a day of feast more so when the festivities are due to commence latter in the day, the breakfast is expected to be given a go by. A person who could normally skip a meal or two, I find that my stomach has some strange aversion to fest related fast and sends messages for some gulping to be done. It is on these days I am reassured that I indeed possess this vital organ but am also deeply anguished that it refuses to behave for the short period of time.

Well it is nothing short of a super brat. The pangs of hunger simply die down as the rituals end and the feast is up for serving. It appears to be more a psychological issue but decades have gone by and there is no change in this affair. On normal days my pals suggest that I could be nominated for any fast to be undertaken but what happens if the super brat behaves the way it does on festival days?

Therefore, while the media ran live shows on the parleys being held, the supporters feasted in the presence of Anna, I was quietly inquiring the vital organ of Anna as to whether it also behaves this way? The mail logjam has apparently ensured that this query remains in the realms of mystery. As though this is not enough some channels beamed statistics of the various fasts held by Anna and also by others like Gandhi and Bhave. Must be quiet a feat to fast to feast too. How do these men manage this each time?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


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The channel surfing on the Independence day took me repeatedly to the black and white images of Jawaharlal Nehru delivering the famed Tryst with Destiny speech. After a good many repetitions I felt the compelling need to get hold of the transcipt of the speech to understand what was really the import of this much talked about oratory. Google made the job easy and soon I stumbled upon the speech which on reading I felt should necessarily be reproduced and here it is:
Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment, we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity. At the dawn of history, India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and grandeur of her success and failures. Through good and ill fortune alike, she has never lost sight of that quest, forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of misfortunes and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future? Freedom and power bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon this Assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom, we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons us now. That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfill the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means, the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over. And so we have to labour and to work, and to work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart. Peace is said to be indivisible, so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and also is disaster in this one world that can no longer be split into isolated fragments. To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we make an appeal to join us with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.
The appointed day has come -the day appointed by destiny- and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken. Yet the turning-point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about. It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the East, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materializes. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed! We rejoice in that freedom, even though clouds surround us, and many of our people are sorrow-stricken and difficult problems encompass us. But freedom brings responsibilities and burdens and we have to face them in the spirit of a free and disciplined people. On this day our first thoughts go to the architect of this freedom, the Father of our Nation, who, embodying the old spirit of India, held aloft the torch of freedom and lighted up the darkness that surrounded us. We have often been unworthy followers of his and have strayed from his message, but not only we but succeeding generations will remember this message and bear the imprint in their hearts of this great son of India, magnificent in his faith and strength and courage and humility. We shall never allow that torch of freedom to be blown out, however high the wind or stormy the tempest. Our next thoughts must be of the unknown volunteers and soldiers of freedom who, without praise or reward, have served India even unto death. We think also of our brothers and sisters who have been cut off from us by political boundaries and who unhappily cannot share at present in the freedom that has come. They are of us and will remain of us whatever may happen, and we shall be sharers in their good [or] ill fortune alike. The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman. We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action. To the nations and peoples of the world we send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy. And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service.
Truly a well written concise speech which set the ambitions, goals and future in the perspective of the shackled history. Pragmatism is the hallmark of the vision in the speech. The flaws of the man may have been  many but this speech should teach many a soul who indulge in rabble rousing and long winding speeches without substance many a lesson. We have had history text books which make a passing mention to this epoch making moment and the oratory of Nehru. Should we not incorporate this as a lesson in the language text books to teach the nuances of language to the students of the day? Contrast this with the Dr. Kalam's lecture to the legislators of Karnataka which is also placed here verbatim:
Dear Hon?ble Speaker and Members of Karnataka Legislative Assembly and faculty members of IIM Bangalore, I am delighted to be with you for the inauguration of the orientation programme for the first- time- elected members of Legislative Assembly and the members of Legislative Council, organized by the Speaker in association with IIM, Bangalore. I congratulate all the first time elected representatives and wish them success in their endeavors for development of Karnataka and service to the public.

Vision for the constituency

When I see you all, in front of me, dear friends, a thought comes to me, which I would like to share with you. Political system of a democratic nation gives vision for the nation, focuses on the national development and executes various missions of federal government through the supervision of the Parliament. Similarly, at the State level, political vision drives accomplishment of missions under the supervision of the legislature. Now this process is extended to the individual districts and constituencies. Still, over the years, the political system does not enjoy the full confidence of the public. Why? How to give respect for the politics? Political system is equal to Political politics and development politics. Higher the developmental politics, it will get higher respect among the citizens. Political politics was essential for your election, and you have already crossed that milestone. Today, what is needed for your constituency is the development politics. Large number of people live below poverty line in your constituency, the illiteracy rate is considerable and the employment seekers and under employed people outnumber the availability of employment opportunities. Hence the mission has to be, to make the constituency a developed constituency meaning:

1. A Constituency free from poverty, crime and ensuring dignity to every human life in an unbiased manner.

2. A Constituency free from illiteracy with state of the art skill development or higher education to the youth.

3. A Value added employment for all with enhanced percapita income.

4. Provision of healthcare services to every citizen and eradication of diseases like TB, Cholera, Malaria, HIV/AIDS and Leprosy. Mass screening and provision of proactive healthcare system leading to reduction in IMR, MMR and chronic diseases.

5. Working for creation of enduring infrastructure for safe drinking water, drainage, sanitation, irrigation, transportation, power and enhancing the tourism potential in your constituency.

6. Making the process of administration efficient, transparent and corruption-free, so that every citizen feels comfortable to receive the services without any hassle and contribute maximum to the development with core competence

7. Making the constituency a better place to live, in terms of all the aspects given above, so that there is a possibility of reverse migration.

8. In essence, the constituency should have sustainable development with protected environment which will make the leader a friend, philosopher and guide of each and every family of the constituency.

Achieving these goals will lead you to perform development politics and you will grow from stature to stature in the hearts of the people as well as in the political ladder.

Defeat the problem and succeed.

When I see you all, I would like to recall my experience in Karnataka. My theatre of action started in this land. I would like to share few experiences that will be relevant to all of you today. First and foremost experience was my assignment in ADE High grounds, Bangalore where I was designing, developing and flying a Hovercraft. I used to fly the Hovercraft. This is the place where I had the fortune of coming into contact with Prof. Satish Dhawan, who was then a professor in Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, popularly known as TATA institute, celebrating its centenary this week. Prof. Satish Dhawan taught me how to design the contra rotating propeller for the hovercraft. The big message he gave me was, "Kalam, if you don?t do anything, no problem. If you do a complex mission or task, problems are bound to occur. Problem shouldn?t become your captain; you should become the captain of the problem, defeat the problem and succeed." This message I got during the 1950?s. Even now, when I have completed 77 orbits around the sun, this great advice has remained the beacon light for all my actions. Why I am saying this to you, dear Hon?ble members? First and foremost you have succeeded in getting elected . I congratulate you on your election. The citizens of your constituency have reposed faith in your leadership qualities. You will be handling hundreds of problems everyday. You should defeat the problems and succeed with integrity. I am sure, you will do it and win hearts.

Give, Give and Give and receive happiness
Dear friends, I moved on to many missions within the nation. During the last five years, I have visited number of institutions in Karnataka. I would like to share some of the experiences. During April 2007, I participated in the 100th birth day celebrations of Sri Shivakumar Swamiji of Siddhaganga mutt, Tumkur. This function was attended by many political leaders of the state. I met Shivakumar Swamiji in the mutt and I found in him a radiating smile. During the function, Swamiji stood erect at his 100th year and gave an extempore speech for 15 minutes to half a million people of Karnataka with a smiling face. At that time, I asked my self, what makes Swamiji in his 100th year of life to be in that happy state of mind. He has "given, given, and given" and hence the happiness radiates from him.
Sree Sivakumara Swamiji is an example of spreading the message of "giving". He has been on a tireless mission of socio-economic development and eradication of evils of illiteracy and discrimination through giving. He saw education and alleviation of hunger among the masses as an effective means to enrich human capacity which in turn would contribute to national reconstruction. During the last seven decades Swamiji is the founder of well over hundred and twenty five educational institutions ranging from nursery to institutions of technology, pure science, arts, management, vocational training and performing arts. Here is a personality who has given education, healthcare and food for thousands and thousands of people and in turn he derives happiness. The more you give to your constituency, the more happiness, the more cheerfulness will engulf you.

What I can give?
Friends, I went to address and interact with the students community of Al-Ameen in Bangalore. While addressing the students and teachers, I received more than 30 questions. All the students were asking me, "what can I give to my nation?". Such students are there in Karnataka, who are willing to contribute whatever they can for the development of the state and the nation. I am sure; the members can definitely use this important resource.
Corruption free movement starts from home

Next I would like mention about another great event which took place at Adi-chunchunagari while attending the FUREC (Foundation for Unity of Religions and Enlightened Citizenship). On the dais, I saw many leaders representing different religions, many political leaders, the Chief Minister and Cabinet Ministers. I addressed over 54,000 students of various schools and colleges hailing from Karnataka, followed by an interaction session. There a 10th class student Ms. M. Bhavani studying in Adichunchanagiri Composite High School, Sharavathy Nagar, Shimoga asked me the following question.

"Dear Sir, What is the role of students to stop corruption which is deeply rooted in our county just like cancer?"
Agony of the young mind is reflected in this question. For me it was an important question, since it came from a young mind. I was thinking what type of solutions we could give. My thought process was the following:

I said there are one billion people in the country and nearly 200 million homes. In general there are good citizens everywhere. However, if we find that people in few million houses are not transparent and not amenable to the laws of the country, what can we do? Every home apart from parents have one daughter or one son or both. If the parents in these houses are deviating from the transparent path the children can use the tool of love and affection and correct the parents to come back to the right path. I asked all the children assembled in that gathering, "in case, parents of few children get deviated from transparency, will you children boldly tell your parents, father or mother, you are not doing the right thing. That is what we are taught by you and in the school." Most of the children spontaneously responded, "We will do it". The confidence comes from them that they have love as a tool. Similarly I have also asked the parents in some other meeting, initially there was a silence, later, many of them hesitantly agreed that they would abide by the children?s suggestion since it is driven by love. They took an oath from me. The oath was "I will lead an honest life free from all corruption and will set an example for others to adopt a transparent way of life".
Finally I told the students that they should start a movement starting from their home. Youth of today have to fight to eradicate corruption by making each home righteous. This happened in one of the constituencies of Karnataka. Normally every body complains about corruption. But here was a youth of Karnataka, who wants to contribute to remove the corruption. The message I would like to give it to you is, corruption free constituency, corruption free Karnataka and corruption free India are certainly possible and legislators of Karnataka could be the role models. Will you be?

Karnataka can do
During my various visits to Karnataka, I have met people from different walks of life, extremely serious about development of the state. As a matter of fact, this inaugural function itself has created tremendous enthusiasm not only among yourselves (I am thankful for the responses from several of you for my questionnaire) but also from many citizens who have given valuable suggestions). I was happy to witness BAIF'S intergrated development programme at Manjunathapura, Tiptur Taluk, Tumkur, Karnataka and to meet the confident villagers. I had seen in Gulbarga, how people from many villages were looking upto the Suvarna Gramodaya rural development initiative. Hope it is progressing well. Recently I visited the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore and witnessed the many innovations in seed and farming practices done by the researchers and faculty members. Through the medium of Satellite connectivity, I interacted with farmers from Shimoga, I have interacted with the legal community, the scientists, people serving differently challenged, women entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, software experts, societal transformers, students and people from various professions. All of them convey one single message. What is that? We can make Karnataka a developed state and everyone is willing to contribute his or her bit.

So, dear friends, here is a great opportunity for you, to take up this responsibility and work with a missionary approach to set targets for progress for society and achieve them. Now let me give some typical examples of developmental efforts from other states.

Water management

I want to share an experience, recently I happened to witness. In Coimbatore, many areas are filled with houses and thatched homes and are densely occupied. As per the satellite map, these areas had been the place for lakes earlier, with their inlets and outlets sealed now. Few great minds joined together under the leadership of Mrs. Vanitha Mohan and started the initiative called Siruthuli (meaning small drop). This ecological project aims to bring back the glory of Coimbatore and its rich heritage. The project is represented by people from all walks of life and professionally organized. The primary focus is on large scale rain water harvesting, afforestation, sewage / waste water treatment and solid waste management. They have already standardized and revived 5 of the nine primary lakes and tanks in Coimbatore for large scale rainwater harvesting. Over 600 saplings have been planted on the bunds of the desilted tanks and are being maintained. They are moving towards a target of planting 15 lakh trees. The comprehensive study has indicated outlet of the city sewage as 10 million litres per day. A pilot plant is being taken up for sewage treatment to treat one million litres per day. The treated water will be sold to the agriculturists and industrialists as a revenue earning measure. The garbage and debris to the extent of over 26,000 cubic meters in one of the city?s largest tank have been removed. These are the major achievements for developing a growing city by the people. Certainly in your constituency, you might have witnessed many water bodies are non-functional and may require de-silting and there will be many water bodies which are occupied. If you activate the water bodies that will definitely help improving the ground water situation of your constituency.

Agriculture productivity increase  the agriculture and farming sector, I had an interesting experience in Bihar on agriculture productivity increase, which I would like to share with you. The TIFAC mission has resulted in doubling the productivity of Rice and Wheat in areas near RP Channel-5 in Bihar using innovative integrated farming and marketing methods. These results have spread to many areas through people?s efforts and are applicable to the whole of Bihar, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and other areas which have similar agro-climatic conditions. These regions could be transformed into the granaries of India.

On 15th October, 2008 I visited Illedu village in Kancheepuram District., Tamilnadu. There, National Agro Foundation (NAF) is engaged in uplifting the quality of life of the rural citizens by providing know-how on advanced agricultural practices, characterization of soil, soil upgradation through proper systematic soil testing, matching the seed to soil, systemic approach for the pre and post harvesting methodologies and providing market connectivity. They have realized productivity increase ranging from 40% to 150% in different agriculture produces such as rice, sugarcane, vegetables and other horticulture products. I have come across similar success stories in respect of doubling seed cotton productivity in Punjab, when I visited Gheri Buttar village, where I met farmers. Also in the field of sugarcane cultivation, in Maharashtra, the intervention of the Vasant Dada Patil Sugar Institute, Pune has enabled farmers to increase the yield of sugarcane by 36 percent. These experiences can definitely be emulated by the farmers in your constituency. The message I would like to convey here is: "The farmers, agriculture scientists, industry and TIFAC worked together for doubling the food production by managing the existing environment with system oriented approach and inculcation of innovative agricultural practices among the team members". When this is possible, your leadership can bring together all the stakeholders and enhance the agricultural productivity in your constituency.

Sustainable Rural Development
The integrated method which will bring prosperity to rural India is called PURA, which envisages four connectivities: the physical connectivity of the village clusters through quality roads and transport; electronic connectivity through tele-communication with high bandwidth fiber optic cables reaching the rural areas from urban cities and through internet kiosks; knowledge connectivity through education, skill training for farmers, artisans and craftsmen and entrepreneurship programmes. These three connectives will lead to economic connectivity through starting of enterprises with the help of banks, micro credits and marketing of the products. We need to establish approximately 7000 PURA Complexes in the country encompassing approximately 2.3 lakh Village Panchayats. There are four operational PURA?s in the country pioneered by the private institutions independent of the government efforts, namely Periyar PURA in Vallam, Tamilnadu, Loni Pura in Loni, Maharastra, Chitrakoot PURA in Madhya Pradesh and Byrraju PURA in Andhra Pradesh.
Now I would like to share the experiences of my recent visit to Byyraju PURA in Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh. Byrraju Foundation of Satyam has undertaken the mission of establishing 32 Ashwini centers benefiting 116 villages with the population of around 500,000 people. It has provided the electronic connectivity through wireless (512 kbps to 2 mbps), knowledge connectivity in cooperation with National Academy of Construction, Hyderabad and other domain experts, thereby creating economic connectivity in these villages. This rural intervention has resulted in reverse migration of citizens from Hyderabad to Beemavaram.

The message here is: PURA is an integrated sustainable rural development programme with focus on employment generation through rural entrepreneurship by providing physical, electronic, knowledge and economic connectivity. PURA is a tool for bridging the Rural ? Urban divide.

Each one of you may plan and lead the realization of 5 PURA complexes in your constituencies with public-private partnership for bridging rural ? urban divide thus bringing sustainable development of your constituency in an integrated manner instead of concentrating on individual infrastructure development, water and sanitation independently. It could be a Hill PURA, Plain PURA or a Coastal PURA in partnership with university or a corporate.

Improving urban constituencies Infrastructure in cities like Bangalore are overworked and I am sure you are working to enhance them, so that the various missions in aerospace, software, machine building, biotechnology and other fields which you have nurtured are carried forward as internationally competitive fields. Of course there is a great urgency to develop tier two cities like Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli, Dharwad, Belgaum, Gulbarga and Mercara with good connectivity and appropriately sized airports. One of the major factors is to provide pollution free atmosphere for healthy living.

So far I have given certain working examples with respect to education, healthcare, corruption free society, agricultural productivity increase, water management and PURA for sustainable rural development. Dear friends, I am giving these real life examples so that it can increase your confidence and provide a message that "you can do it". In short I want to tell you, "you can do it", "your constituency will do it", "Karnataka will do it", and "India will do it".

At this stage I would like to give you some suggestions regarding utilization of constituency development fund.

Hon?ble Members, as you are aware, you are all eligible for allocation of constituency development fund of rupees 7.5 crore during the next five years . You may visualize the total availability of rupees 7.5 crore and plan important infrastructural activities, which will be beneficial to the citizens of the constituency. Some of the programme which you can implement through this fund could be:

1. Identifying the water bodies in the constituency which need de-silting and opening of the inlet and outlet. As you are aware, whenever rain occurs, only the de-silted tanks will get full and also increase the level of the ground water in the region. You may also consider linking up the water bodies in the constituency. You will be remembered for this action by all the Members of the constituency.

2. Girls education needs the highest priority. Someof the major reasons, why girls are not sent to the school is the non-availability of toilets and the distance of the school from the village. There are many schools with just a single room. You can assist the existing schools or in starting special schools in your constituencyin improving children friendly infrastructure including toilets. These children and their parents will remember you for life.
3. You can conduct a survey of Primary Health Centres and ensure that the centre is provided with a Doctor and minimum supporting staff along with equipment and medicines. You can allocate funds for tele-medicine connectivity between PHC and the district hospital in your region which will enable provision of quality healthcare to the citizens.

4. For providing medicare to the remote areas of your constituency, provision of well equipped mobile hospital could be considered which will go to different villages of the constituency on specified date, so that the patients can be treated in the village itself. What could be better than providing health care to the needy.

5. Development of state of the art skill in welding, construction, repair and maintenance of electronic equipments will provide value added employment to the rural youth. You can organize special courses for the youth of the constituency for acquiring special skills in the polytechnic or ITI located in the constituency or the district headquarters. This is a great opportunity in creating global cadre skilled people.

6. Organizing street plays in the constituency depicting the social evils such as dowry, corruption, girl child feticide, gender inequality, child marriage and corruption, so that the citizens of the constituency are made aware and facilitated to improve their societal characteristics. This will be a great opportunity to inculcate value based societal system.
Dear members, for all development missions to be successful and completed in time with value addition, science and technology has to be injected into all the missions at the right time and with the coordinated help of scientists, academicians, industry, NGOs and with the committed leadership provided in each missions. With the introduction of e-governance, in which your state has shown leadership, you can be enabled in your communication with the administrators and citizens and transparent management of missions. Certainly you, as the elected leader of the constituency, can become the facilitator for transforming your constituency into a fully developed constituency. Fortunately Karnataka is blessed with great scientific institutions like ISRO, DRDO, IISc, HAL, BEL, CSIR laboratories, Bangalore Agricultural University, IT institutions and number of educational healthcare institutions. Most of the development work in your constituency needs scientific and technological solutions to accelerate the development. In such a situation, scientific linkages should be established with the nominated panel of experts maintained at the Chief Minister office. Hence I suggest, you should have an honorary advisory council for your missions, so that you can achieve the sustainable development in an accelerated fashion in the emerging knowledge society.
Conclusion: Friends, in any system of human Endeavour performance excellence occurs, when there is a vision supported by hard earned competence and creative leadership. The competence in political activity comes through understanding of the constituency requirement, working with the single goal of development, harnessing and networking the talent and infrastructure for development, executing the work in a time bound manner with public sense and integrity in a transparent manner and carrying out mid course corrections with public feedback. Now let us see what is creative leadership?

I have seen three dreams which have taken shape as vision, mission and realization. Space programme of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), AGNI programme of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) becoming the National Mission. Of course, these three programmes succeeded in the midst of many challenges and problems. I have worked in all these three areas. I want to convey to you what I have learnt on leadership from these three programmes:

a. Leader must have a vision.

b. Leader must have passion to realize the vision.

c. Leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path.

d. Leader must know how to manage a success and failure.

e. Leader must have courage to take decisions.

f. Leader should have nobility in management.

g. Leader should be transparent in every action.

h. Leader must work with integrity and succeed with integrity.

For success in all your missions you have to become creative leaders. Creative leadership means exercising the vision to change the traditional role from the commander to the coach, manager to mentor, from director to delegator and from one who demands respect to one who facilitates self-respect. For a prosperous and developed India, the important thrust will be the availability of number of creative leaders.
I am sure with your creative leadership; you can transform your constituency into a developed constituency with in the 5 years.

May God bless you

Both the leaders gave directions and presented their visions. The latter had to present an elaborate plan which was like providing food on a platter, In either case are we at least able to follow the letter let alone the spirit we have unduly failed.

Would we read these gems of directions to instil in ourselves at least a semblance of direction and make our tryst with destiny?

Monday, August 15, 2011


Independence Day of two nations being celebrated on two consecutive days with the same pageantry as well as sustained by the same cultural ethos. The lines being converted into barbed wires in some places and in some others the terrain leaving no room for even a semblance of a line being drawn. Six decades later could we atleast not agree to celebrate our Independence day on the same day since the stroke of midnight determined the effective Partition between three nations - United Kingdom, Pakistan and India.

The thoughts drifted across to another scenario.The walls across two nations came down erasing the artificial differences sowed within them. Chancellor Kohl who was a professor of history must be the only one who can be credited with making history as well. On the other hand we have also witnessed the creation of new states with more persons being entitled to the privilege of being called a head of State or head of Governement. This does makes one wonder who is the better of the lot - the one who felled the wall or the ones who built the walls.

Building walls is an easy task. Tearing into another's emotions and the creation of divides have been a favourite of many playwrights in building a background to even a teary romance. Building bridges have never been easy. Barriers in the form rivers, streams, hills, mountains or human minds have always lived upto their reputation in ensuring that the minds do not meet. Well yours truly is no exception as I would venture to share. Sir MV and Sreedharan would perhaps vouch for it.

It was at the time of the release of the famed Ben Kingsley starrer Gandhi. The nation and the world wondered whether the movie would win acclaim or turn controversial. The release ensured its success, a resounding success. A relative of mine had dropped in and she had words of praise for the Father of the nation. As a staunch admirer of Bose, Patel and Tilak, I entertained only disdain for the hero of all hearts. After a fierce debate, she merely told that we would discuss the same two decades later. Years rolled by. I graduated from a collegian to an employed citizen. Crossroads cropped at every corner. As usual I had a view point but few contested the same while the majority kept silent. It was presumed that this majority would have entertain the same viewpoint as mine. Steps ahead, one noticed surreptious movements in all other directions. One was left all alone. A few friends gathered at moments of crisis to lend moral support and indulge in some friendly bashing. All others spent time in flattery. Disillusionment set in.

It was not too long a time before I realized that it was a herculean task to keep even a second person in one's loop let alone a whole nation. Grudgingly, I turned back to the history paper books. I chanced upon one of Patel's correspondences with Nehru and Gandhi as well as the Kings who were aspiring for return to their glorious pasts. Another one was on the triumvirate of Gandhi, Patel and Nehru. The insight these books gave to me is a treasure which is incomparable.

Years later, Ramachandra Guha came up with a master piece on thinkers of India. He cateorised Patel as a doer and not a thinker. Wisdom taught me to agree with this seasoned man. Patel could enforce and implement but was not the master of hearts. Nehru had endeared himself to the masses while Gandhi was a master of the masses. Gandhi surely could dictate terms to masses which few could accomplish after him. Obviously, history gave him, despite his several flaws and blunders, the place he deserved . Nothing could rob him of this trait and honour. On any given day, when I launch into a moralistic sermon and turn back to see only the physical presence but lack of moral courage exhibited in the sneers of the persons around me, I never fail to salute this man.

After saluting him, I still choose to follow the path of Patel to say at least let me be a doer if not a thinker. Only time can tell whether I have been able to at least contribute something to my chosen path. The class of these greats are lost on us if we do not at least endeavour to do something in our chosen paths. Hence, I rededicate myself on this day of Independence to my chosen path of being a small time doer.

For doing I need a dream. Kalam asked us to dream. I dare to dream of success in my path of duties while I would love someone to bring the states of Bangladesh, Burma, Pakistan and India to form into a consolidation of states as a first step and then close into a well knit nation.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


The festival season in the Indian sub-continent has begun and the relationship between siblings highlighted by Nagapanchami, Raksha Bandhan et al. This was preceded by the Friendship Day and will be followed by the feasting of Ganesha. Not to forget the Iftars which mark the end of Roza everyday in the month of Ramzan or Ramadan.

The trip down this festive lane was ironically triggered by the ancestor visiting our household as we were on the roof top of our abode. Amidst the fragrance of the jasmine on the one end and the tempting greenery of the gooseberries we suddenly noticed a quick movement which was too large for the owner of the gooseberry tree - the squirrel. Even as we trained our eyes on the approaching movement felt by our sixth senses, the spectacle of the simian ancestor became clear. A couple of quick movements later it was noticed that the simian was a true parent who had come in search of its protege which was escaping from the prying eyes of a parent. The two played the game of hide and seek with elan across the neighbourhood as we collected the flowers for the day and descended the flight of stairs with relief to realise that the gooseberry tree being frequently torn down was not the work of an errant human but that of a simian.

Strangely, a couple of days earlier, I had the occasion to sight one of the simians at office. This one was trying its hands at Bill Gates' Windows. On my entry he just sat on the ledge of the window with the mouse in hand. As I sauntered in, he gnawed at the mouse and growled at me. Softwares can make anyone go crazy and this young hi tech monkey was no exception. Realizing the need for assistance as I called out for the office boy, the naughty young one case an eye on my lunch box. Luckily, the boy walked in and picked a stick. Faced with the prospect of a thrashing, the young one just dropped the mouse and cast an eye at the outside world. We stopped for the next move of this young one. Quietly he picked up his tail in a claw much as a woman would pick her saree pallu and swung out in a trice.

A few days later as we were closing the office down at the end of the working hours we had two very harried customers scampering in. They achieved what no human could have done to the office goers. In a race across the office corridor they froze everyone to their respective spots. Wish one could trace their blog to enlighten ourselves on the glee these simians derived from this exhilarating experience.

May be the time has come for us to outsource the work to these simians or would it be the case of Animal Farm?

Saturday, April 9, 2011


The last few weeks have seen the assertion of people's voices for a rightful cause emerging as the sole force to guide destinies of different nations. Cynicism, skepticism, living room discussions and other such passive venting of emotions have not led us anywhere in the past. Closer home we find that the Gandhian mode of satyagraha has resulted in the bill pending for over four decades being given life. A new institution would come into being if the momentum were to be kept up. The first round has been won by the people and the persons in power have acceded to the demands.

It is time for everyone of the active and passive persons who participated in the movement to guard against premature celebrations and return to the laid back approach. The persona vested with the responsibilities are respected figures who are likely to discharge the onerous burden cast on them diligently. However, the new institution is also to be manned by another human being who would be vested with the powers to check corruption and punish the corrupt. Agencies such as CBI, CVC etc have also fallen by the wayside though their cherished goals are not met. The culprits of the prevailing scenario is each one of us.

Institutions are created to establish order but the corrupt find the ways to dismantle them. The famed fable of King Solomon punishing a corrupt person with the task of counting the waves is known to many. The punished culprit used this postion to extract his pound of flesh from boatmen by pointing out that they had come in the way of his performing the royal duties assigned to him. The story makes it clear that mere institutions would not help fighting the corrupt since the danger of it falling prey to the same persons is omniscient and omnipresent. Evidently, this would lead many to get back to cynical ways. There should be no need for that as a glimmer of hope has been restored. It is for us now to build on this hope to shape the minds of the people.

The attitude of offering anything in cash or kind for any work to be done either by a Govenmental babu or any other person is to be converted into a demeaning one. The giver should resist the temptation and the receiver should recognise that he was merely performing his duty. This attitudinal change can be brought about by creating tales of fictional heroes who desisted from taking or giving such alms. Such tales played out in the form of television soap operas, movies, comic books etc would go a long way in instilling in the minds of the young the need to flinch from this evil of corruption breeding and bleeding the nation.

The next phase would be to ensure that the heat that has been generated is not allowed to fizzle away. The people's representatives on the drafting panel would be emboldened when there is a push from the people. We should emulate the example set by our freedom fighters who participated in the Government and Legislatures giving voice to the people's voice while the movement leaders exerted people's pressure from the outside. This would clearly send a message to the political parties that the people are here for the final push.

The civilian members of the panel should ensure that the draft bill is put up on the websites for eliciting public views. These views should be made as a guide for the action to ensure that the people's representatives do not allow their respective self interests to rule over the voice of the people. To keep the momentum on the peoples' movement alongwith the electronic media should announce a list of names of persons who have given or accepted such practices on a daily basis making it clear that the watchdogs are watching. Every such movement should also identify a new crop of leaders to be bred. Such leaders should be identified from within and without the system. The Bangaloreans had once polled for clean public servants. In the period upto June one should ensure that an incentive is placed for the integrity of the persons who have rendered clean service. To this effect people shall identify such persons and place their names on the website to ensure that no vindictive action is taken against such honest personnel. Persons who refused to cow down under pressure shall be assisted by the forum in obtaining their rights. The movement should not fizzle out. The battle may be won but this is not an isolated battle but a longdrawn out war.

Will we be able to sustain the momentum or would it be a case of the corrupt cleverly stooping to conquer? The answer is with us and the ball is always in our court. Our true tribute to the nation and leaders such as Gandhi or Hazare would be in ensuring that the ideals cherished by them remain steadfast. Let us join hands to convert the silver lining to an amar jyothi.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


A souvenir of a college had impressive snaps of the outgoing batches with a line under each of them. The captions were captivating. The one that caught my attention was
" Common sense is intuition and greater common sense is genius". A fine caption for the class of youngsters which had opted for logic as an optional subject.

Captions go a long way in holding the attention of an audience. There were photo contests which were accompanied by caption contests. These contests and the impressive word play inevitably takes one back to those "Tinkle " days when we had a full fledged magazine to ourselves.  Chandamama was in existence but was more a belonging of the children and adults alike. It contained stories which were more an addendum to the famed Vikramaditya and the Betaal story. The story related by the ghost would end with the inevitable question and we could literally chime from memory " Vikram tell me the answer. If you know it and keep quiet then your head will shatter into a thousand pieces" There would be only one picture and the story would be related in a flow. As against this the comic books of Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle provided frame by frame movement of the characters. Visual treats left little for imagination. We were moved into a realm of relishing the art of relating a story which competed with the pictures for attention of the reader. The simple logic was that a child loves to read a book which has a picture as an added attraction.

These books took us to one more era wherein the tales across the world such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Snow white and the seven dwarfs, Rapunzel, etc charmed their way into our hearts. These books came under the Ladybird series which were small concise books with a picture on one side and a simple story line related on the other. The most read book by me at least would remain the Goldilocks and the Three Bears which had such cute little cots for each of the bears. These series slowly took us to the level of the Enid Blyton series which started with small story books and then led to the Famous Five, Five Findouters, Malory Towers, St Clares, etc. Thereafter, the age of mystery caught up with the Nancy Drew, Hardy boys, Alfred Hitchcock and the inimitable Agatha Christie.

It was after the above books that we finally reached the Haileys and the Archers. It is a story akin to Hansel and Gretel. The prized possession of a library card was motivated by a maternal uncle which soon led to having four of them . These cards have gone past the silver jubilee and the same are now more souvenirs since the library has liitle or no books of value to be read. It is more a newspaper room. The days of the mobile library and the holder being eligible to borrow any book from any of these libraries are matter of history. However, the cherished memories remain and the library tickets shall continue to be a top souvenir that I shall continue to hold for a long time to come.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


In the weeks that have gone by and the weeks ahead, the sub-continent's craze for the game of cricket will reach its crescendo. The desire to replicate the least expected win at the Prudential Cup of 1983 with a much anticipated victory as a gift to the God of cricket Sachin Tendulkar has only made things as much difficult. The days when Ranji Trophy matches were treasured have been replaced with manouvres for tickets at the stadia across the countries which host these gladiators. The cricketers have been reduced to auctionable lots in the name of glory while ownership in the name of sponsorship has taken over the mantle.

The gentleman's game was put to shame by the display of greed by the organisers and the elite. The cornering of the chunk of the tickets which rightfully belonged to the true cricketing fans is regrettable and has shown the whole nation in bad light. The last thing India required was a scam of this magnitude following the CWG, the 2G and S Band among a host of others. The organisers would have done themselves proud by hosting the underprivileged rather than issue passes to the unworthy elite who would anyway be able to afford the tickets. The Government officials, bureaucrats, technocrats and others who have benefited by attending the game on special passes have not done themselves proud.

A word for Kumble and Srinath who have shown rare gestures even to wild animals as well as opponents on the field by emulating greats such as Vishy. Could you ensure that not a single pass is issued to any official of the Government machinery from the next game? This would be setting the bar high for all other hosts. A firm but polite no would ensure that you hold your heads high as in the days you played the game. In the event the stadium is not filled up due to want of persons to purchase tickets- rope in the children from orphanages who are denied these pleasures anyway. These may sound idealistic but the time has come for us to set a new agenda and the expectations on both of you is quite high.

Let us remember that the credentials of this nation rests on its unique emphasis for integrity. In the last few decades we have shamelessly displayed our lack of integrity. Let the gentlemen from Karnataka begin with the gentlemen's game to restore these very ideals.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Childhood memories came flooding back as the eyes caught the headline "Uncle Pai no more". This uncle was one of those whom we had never met in flesh and blood but had charmed his way into our hearts. He contributed immensely to various facets of our personalities which are now appreciated as positive. Through the immortal Amar Chitra Katha series he lured every kid worth its salt into the habit of reading. The pictures of the characters in these comic books inspired us to attempt the art of drawing, painting and sketching. The stories were told in inimitable style maintaining simple sentences with an uncanny sense of introducing us to new words in each comic. This was soon to be followed by the Tinkle series which brought us nearer to humour and ethics besides fulfilling our desire of seeing action.

Treading down the memory lane, I could see myself wait for that golden moment of my quota of comics which were to compensate me for the various trinkets my sister would get on pay day of my father. A princely sum would be forked out to purchase a comic or two from the bookseller. We were undoubtedly spoilt for choices. The desire would be to grab as many but the budgetary ceiling would come in the way. After deliberations which even an international convention would fail to measure upto a couple of titles would be picked up with a shortlist for the next month. Experience did not teach us that by the next month there would be fresh titles on the stands. The books would range from mythology to history. The time taken to shop these books could leave any woman to fume that too much of time was being spent on shopping. It would be easy time for our parents to do some small shopping nearby leaving us under the guardianship of the bookseller as well as the invisible hold of Uncle Pai.

The wait to return home to savour the contents of these books was too much to bear. A novel device was therefore discovered much to the trauma of our parents ( as we realise now!!!).  The comic book in one hand would be opened and the other would clasp the hand of our guardian angels. Confident that there would be no mistake made by them, we could relish the books on the way home. With two books, the choice of which title to be read by whom first was also an engaging conversation. As we now enjoy the conversation of the kids, these memories try to draw out the images of persons who were the beneficiaries of the free entertainment we provided for the folks around. Within the trek of a couple of kilometres the contents of both the books would have been devoured. This would not satiate the desire. Another round of reading had to be done in the name of eating our dinners. This was one of the habits which most elders detested but we continued undeterred. The collection of books were then bound into a volume which helped us befriend a printer near our house. Imagine this man, Babu ( much less my present age) would read the books before binding them. The charm of these books fetched us friends too. As in philately, the attempt to read the other titles which were in the possession of other contemporaries was but natural.

As time passed we came across a colleague of my father who had a bigger collection of this treasure. The manna from heaven for us was that his home was near the market. We still do not know what he would have thought of us. Muthukrishnan Uncle's home was a regular place to visit soon. His kids and we started exchanging volumes of these books. This habit though initially put us through Enid Blyton took us through the familiar growth curve of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Alfred Hitchcock, Arthur Hailey, Jeffrey Archer right upto the Dan Brown of today.

It was only a couple of weeks back a good old friend of ours dropped in home and shared with us his old ambition to own Amar Chitra Katha comics and therefore his penchant today is to only gift them. The moment he said he had started acquiring volumes of them which is the new trend, it was a mutually understood fact that the old friendship was on revival track- the reason of course the love for the books more than for the friendship. Uncle Pai had again waved the magic wand.

The books that have been savoured, relished and cherished may be many but none could come near the sense of belonging given by these treasured ones. Imagine the days when we would actually quiz each other on the facets of these books. The nearest any set of books got to the sense of this belonging were Asterix and Obelix as well as to some extent Tintin. The reach of these books can be fathomed by the fact that a youngster who is new degree holder grew upon a staple diet of the success stories(?) of Shikari Shambhu and the wisecracks of Suppandi. 

The best tribute one could pay to this legendary uncle is to cultivate the habit of reading, imagining, creating with the anchor firmly dropped in the familiar moorings of culture, ethics and morals. The ultimate tribute would be to restore the moral fabric of mankind by reaching out to the familiar and unknown at the same time. Uncle Pai is undoubtedly an eternal (AMAR) and picturesque (CHITRA) story (KATHA) in himself!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


E mails sometimes have an unknown sense of timing. Personally I am not very fond of forwards but some of them have had a telling effect on me. As I checked the inbox today the following forward from my friend found its place there quite prominently.

An Obituary printed in the London Times - Interesting and sadly rather true.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
                          - Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
                          - Why the early bird gets the worm;
                          - Life isn't always fair;
                          - and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion..

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

                             He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
                                          I Know My Rights
                                         I Want It Now
                                        Someone Else Is To Blame
                                        I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

I found the best way of putting on notice would be to share it on the blog. The rare case of a coincidence on the very same issue rankled my brains. Yesterday, a colleague of mine was run over by a speeding car followed by a couple of vehicles who found their time more precious than another's life or limb. The irony was there was no pedestrian crossing on the busy thorough fare nearby and the closest one was also infested by the two wheelers. The obituary was there and so was the utter lack of common sense as well as the sense of humanity. The basic courtesy of pausing for a moment in honour of the departed soul was also found to be unwarranted. My friend who was unaware of these incidents had sent the above forward - a fitting one for the moment and a thought provoking one too.

May I add another line to this forward
None even bothered to spare a thought for the glorious past of the departed nor
did they contemplate the resurrection of this much wanted value - COMMON SENSE

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Shopping at malls is an experience.Live life to its full. If you have not visited a mall then well you do not deserve to live were many of the comments which nudged me to visit a supermarket in a mall. The purpose was to purchase some essentials as well as to be baptised into the mall culture lest yours truly is left in a low strata of the society. After a customary security check and wading through a sea of humans, I managed to enter the supermarket which was on par with any of the retail chains with more floor space. Chaos reigned supreme in my mind as I ventured to find the goods of my choice. Temptations to purchase was brushed aside by the price tags and the 'princely sum' I held in my pockets. Luckily, the credit card honchos could not tempt me into one lest my home would have been cluttered with all unwanted things probably!

Slowly, as I created space for myself to reach the counters of my choice, I heard the wail of a child and on looking around found a boy clad in blue jeans, a yellow t shirt and a green jacket clutching the hands of a young lad. I bent down to reach the young fellow who was well below my knee and softly told him not to cry. As I searched for a response, the young lad questioned me on my credentials. It was then that I noticed the young lad was one of the helpers at the supermarket. A small chat later I realised the boy had been lost for more than half an hour and despite he being taken around, he could not identify his guardians. Lord, blessed are the guardians of this lad. Shopping could make them forget that a kid had accompanied them. I ventured to suggest that an announcement be made to identify the guardians which the lad said had already been done. Then I told him that may be an effort should be made to announce in more than one language. He smiled and said he was trying to get the name of the lad who would do nothing but clutch the hands of the samaritan and wail.

Soon, we heard a trilingual announcement and after a good fifteen minutes later, the guardians appeared unperturbed pushing their shopping cart. The kid sprung to establish the genuineness of the claim of the strangers. While my heart walked away with the child, I could not help saluting the young responsible samaritan.

Is the attitude of the guardians of the ward the actual meaning of "cool" ? The air conditioner of course cannot be faulted for the "cool" attitude. Should the mall be blamed for such attitudes? Obviously, No. The need for the bonding over in flesh and blood than over the net or the phone is the need of the hour. Again, it is the empathy, concern and understanding that is required and not the display of emotions. Boy, am I growing too old? Maybe a poll could give the answer to the query. The other inevitable query would be whether am I growing any wiser. But this is again for the people who deal with me to decide.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


The hibernaton from blogging has done little to alter the pace of thinking. A lot of events occurred in this period but the one that really caught my attention was the India Positive campaign launched by DNA - the English daily. At a time when all insitutions in the country were denigrated and a sense of despair had crept in, the message was clear that the layman mattered the most. The media did its bit to convey the frustrating scenario in the darkest shades possible while the people who indulged in such activity only gloated over the apparent success of their endeavour to derail the ethical values. Values really matter was one of the tough things that I realised in the interim period. The neo literacy has robbed the society of basic values in life. Persons occupying seats of executive, bureaucracy and judiciary now prefer to flaunt their clout rather than seek anonymity and discharge the onerous responsibility of maintaining the pillars of democracy.
However, as DNA points not all is lost. I had the opportunity to visit the International Airport on official duty and as we were on a tour of the terminal accompanied by the protocol officer of the airport, we were politely stopped at the arrival area by a CISF jawan. Neither the badge nor the designation mattered to him. The duty entrusted was paramount and he declined permission for entry. Soon the commandant appeared. Contrary to the normal tendency of overruling a diligent subordinate and flouting the rules, he firmly stated that the area was out of bounds as per directions received. We saluted their diligence, shook hands to congratulate them for being dedicated. Our congratulations was accepted with grace.
Could we have more of the breed who have it in their DNA to know, express, explain and discharge their duties without fear or favour?