Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mumabi is not just about Taj

After the 26-11 seize of Mumbai ended, the post mortem going into the conduct of the electronic media during the whole sixty hours of operation began to surface.

There are two thought process which have gained wind as we move more into analyzing the way media reported the whole incident. The first one says that the media did its duty in a commendable way and the second one which also has equal followers, says that they were inherently biased. And even in that time of ‘War on India’ as they described it, they were not able to move away from the magnetic force of TRPs.

The first notion is out there in the open for anyone to judge. We all were glued to the TV, we watched every second of the operation. And we can all make out what was happening.

The second one though needs to be elaborated. The terrorist before being surrounded in The Taj and Trident caused mayhem at the CST railway station. But none of the media personnel were present at the CST to bring out the details of those who died. Some people will attribute this to the great socio-economic difference that separates someone walking in the Taj and someone at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

The other reason which comes into mind is that perhaps at CST the action was already over, those who had to die, were dead. The marauders had moved to the Taj. And I can well imagine that an editor instructing his reporters, for obvious reasons, would have told his crew to focus on Taj where the action was still unfolding.

As we watched in disbelief, reporters and cameraperson waited for hours, ducked for cover whenever a blast occurred as they brought out the real picture to us. Even if nothing was happening, the news-anchor, would move to the reporter on-site and ask him to update on the current situation. While people were searching for their dead ones at the CST, the media continued its focus on Taj. According to those who were entrusted with the job of bringing out the news, Taj was a more visible face of Mumbai, known to the world, visited by the ‘elites’. Is not CST a part of Mumbai? I am sure that the ordinary Mumbaikars have spent more hours in and around CST then they have in Taj.

In the midst of all this, the idea of unbiased reporting was forgotten. And also lost was the sense of empathy and compassion. Perhaps overtaken by other materialistic consideration.

Questions about how long will the Taj be shut, who will renovate it, will MF Hussain’s painting don the walls again, will the guest be able to forget 26-11 once they enter Taj , every such questions were asked. But not even a question about who died in CST was ever heard.

The who’s and who’ of the electronic media, seasoned journalist, and veteran editors found themselves moving with the more vibrant side of the whole incident.

It was not an operation that got over in matter of minutes or a couple of hour, but as we all know, it lasted sixty hours. Taking every practical consideration, the networking with the authorities, the sound bytes, the updates, Sixty hours was more than enough for one to focus on CST and VT Hospital. Only if they wanted to.

In one of the articles that appeared in the Washington post after the Mumbai attacks, the writer has emphasized on this very disparity, which even in such testing times, failed to corrode. The article talks about the serial blast in the Mumbai trains that took place more than 2 years ago and says that since if affected the common people, the media sensitiveness was subdued. Even we as common citizens were subdued, no candle light protest, no ‘awaken India’.

Have we started perceiving things as perceived by the media? Does the media’s response decide our response?

Was 26-11 more deadly than 11-07 just because electronic media thought it that way?

India as we all know has more number of the poor and the voiceless. And it is always unfortunate that it is the rich and the vociferous, however less in number, get the attention. 26-11 was no different.

In an open letter to all those who are concerned, one of the journalist who has been on the line of fire, says that “Surely, India has bigger lessons to learn and larger points to mull over, than to expend energy over which television journalist tops the charts or falls to the bottom.”

I sincerely hope that the media too has learnt its part of the chapter and hopefully they will practice what they preach and see the bigger picture.

But then it has never been about the common Indian. Or is it?

Monday, December 08, 2008

The siege

It all started when Delhi, as the media had put it, was under siege. A young writer who was also into freelancing, Abhimanyu could not stop himself from rushing to India gate where a fierce gun battle between the terrorist and the security forces was still raging on.

India gate, like the country itself, had been a witness to many a different vibrant colors. It was a place which saw everything and had seen everything. The peace march, the solemn martyr remembrance, the glory of Republic day, the display of awareness for many a human rights spirit. And now a mindless gun battle. The end of which will be culminated by bodies and blood.

In spite it being a Monday morning, the black and yellow autos synonymous with the streets of Delhi were missing. He decided to walk. The presence of the khaki clad police personnel in the sprawling greens had increased, but the morning joggers with shapes of various contours were missing. The vibrant Delhi was now transformed into a vulnerable child. The silence was strange yet peaceful.

The tranquility was suddenly shattered by the hoarse sound of a security man who was vainly trying to stop a girl from jumping over the barricades that were erected to stop people like her from going too close to the actual spot where the firing was still going on.

The girl was in a white colored suit, with a red duppata that draped her head. An identity card swinging from her neck proclaimed her as a journalism student and read “Meghna”. Nothing was too striking about her, except, perhaps her voice, which was too intense, completely in contrast to her fragile appearance. Abhimanyu had no intention of meddling into what was happening and he deliberately changed his direction so as to avoid the ‘argumentative Indians’.

Soon he was where he wanted, behind a police Gypsy, from where he could get the perfect view to observe and to write, a spot, which could justify the use of word ‘on-the-spot- reporting’ which he would use in his blog. The sound of gun fire had decreased, a sign that the final stand was being taken up by the terrorist who were holed up inside the secured perimeter.

A flock of pigeon flew over the large monument as a loud blast echoed through the area. The earsplitting sound made him loose his ground and he fell. The fall was interrupted by another body; that of a girl whose head was covered by a red duppata. As both flirted with the last few moments of their life their eyes met for the first and the last time. And then without any protest their eyes closed.

The siege had ended.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A party of, for and by Madam

The home minister was finally persuaded to have an honorable exit. Its not that Shivraj Patil knew when or where was the next strike going to take place, I am sure that if he was aware of any such details, like all of us, he would have tried his best to see to it that the bomb blasts, the Mumbai attack are not executed. But where he failed was in doing his best and leaving the rest to the god.

We have the concerned head of ministries so that an accountability and responsibility is visible. A horse chariot even with the finest pair of horses needs a good charioteer so as to make sure that the horses do not run aimlessly. Our former Home minister in this context behaved as if he was trudging on a bullock cart.

A stricter law was being demanded by everyone. Maybe he opposed it personally or maybe his party members were against him. Whatever the case he should have made it clear. But then maybe he would have lost his chair, but ultimately that happened and he was asked to leave, an exit which he would not have hoped for when he sat on that position four and a half years back.

He had the political wisdom to equate Sarabjeet and Afzal Guru, he had the personal wisdom to change clothes when Delhi was still reeling under the after shocks of the blast, but the only thing that he did not have was the courage to come out with why he was opposed to a stricter law.

Critics argue that stricter laws have resulted in violations of human rights. Is not there the Judiciary to take care of it? We have more than belligerent human rights activist and organization in Indian who are forever on street. We have the NHRC and most importantly we have a media that is heavily loaded against any human rights abuse. So we do have the right kind of checks to stop rampant violations.

No one can demand a lax law just because a stricter law will curtail human rights. Is not living under the sound of guns and watching Ak 47 totting terrorist causing mayhem on the streets violation of human rights? And what about those who lose their near ones? I guess their human right of being happy is taken away the moment their dear one fall dead.

Since the present government has come into power it has always been a reactive one. That too would have been acceptable had they reacted on time , but they stopped this ‘reactive’ tendency months back.

After the Mumbai attack, announcements for a federal investigative agency was done and also was announced a stricter law. What is new? Has not the county demanding this for a long? When the MNS goons were rampaging on the street, for days the Congress high command did not react, and when ultimately it did, the vandalism stopped immediately. By the time they reacted the damage was already done. What were they waiting for?

Exactly has been the present case. Too little may be too early to say but too late; definitely.

That brings me to the larger issue. While watching the news of Mr.Patil being removed, the driver at my home said “ Lagat ba Madam khisiyan gayil” ( seems Madam is angry). He was referring to Sonia Gandhi.

I guess 8 out of 10 if not 9 will tell that it is Sonia Gandhi who decides how the present machinery will function. We have a president who has been handpicked by her and who is as good as non-functional. The benchmark that the previous president had set has been thrown into oblivion. We have a PM who wakes up in the morning wondering whether he is still the PM or not. And we had a Home minister who was more interested in having the blessings of the high command rather than figuring out why the terror strikes had gone up.

It is time that Sonia Gandhi is also brought into focus. At least she can dispel the myths if any about her stand. Whether she wants a tough law or not ? or whether the ministers are only accountable to her and not to the people who have elected them? How does she intends to tackle terrorism?

She may be working in the background but is it not true that even the kingmaker should also be held accountable?

Considering everything, what have we to bank on? BJP? It might have some individuals who can deliver, maybe someone like Arun Shourie. But as and when the power arrives people shift their focus on how to retain that power. The promises that are made, the expectations that are nurtured, all are left to wither away.

The past week has left me perplexed and it is because of these very questions that are so hard to answer.

A hung assembly in offering?

The fortunes of many a leaders from the major various parties including 1369 independents who are contesting for the 230 state assembly seats is now decided and, Who will win and who will not will be clear on the 8th of December when the counting of ballot paper begins.The elections were marred by violence as a former minister and sitting BJP legislator,Sunil Nayak,was gunned down outside a polling booth allegedly by brother of his Congress rival.

The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress had different aspirations before going to the poll, but all that seems to have changed now. The BJP which was earlier hoping to win comfortably is now nervous that whether it will be able to reach the magical mark of 116 or not. For the Congress it is the opposite as political pundits who earlier gave it no chance to form the government are now divided and are of the view that Congress may just sneak in.

According to surveys conducted by various bodies post-polling, Congress will perform better than expected and will be able to win in more than 90 constituencies. The Congress leaders drawing heart from the above assessment are working on formulas and alliances which they might have to use in case they fall just short of the majority.

The lesser parties have done too much damage for the BJP. All predictions point out that the gap between the number of seat won by the Congress and the BJP will be too less for any of them to draw comfort.

Candidates of Uma Bharti’s BJS may well emerge in more than 10 seats. Similarly BSP is also expected to win more than 5 seats. If we count the Gondwana Gantantra party the expected loss of seat to non BJP and non Congress may well be in the region of 35- 45 assembly seats.

In some areas the vote share of the BJP candidates in particular has been eaten away by BJS candidates and this may well have a large bearing on the final picture.

With no party gaining majority one cannot rule out a scenario where the state witness a hung assembly or not will be decided by the independents and the lesser parties.

Independents have played crucial role in government formation in Madhya Pradesh once before, in 1969, when the Independent legislators helped Govind Narain Singh to form a government. The outgoing assembly has only two independent legislators, though it should not be forgotten that they still managed to garner 7.7 per cent of the total votes polled.

The BJP might seek the help of the estranged Uma Bharti and Mayawati in case it needs support. For Congress it will be Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP, and the independents if the need arises to look for partners.

The last ditch, whirlwind campaigning taken-up by Pachori is sure to help his party’s and his own cause. For he alongwith Union minister Kamalnath is a front runner for the post of chief minister. Similarly the general perception of the BJP leaders among the voters, specially the working class, is that of being corrupt which political pundits say has dented the party’s image.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Country bleeds

The tragic events that have engulfed Mumbai have sent waves of shock all across the country. It has been more than 40 hours since the first shot were fired and still the fighting between the security personnel and the terrorist is raging on.

As the number of dead continues to rise and the personal loss of the many affected turns into a national tragedy, we as common citizens of this country are facing many a questions that are very tough to answer.

Our mind sways from experiencing pain to anger. From hopelessness to frustration. Should we salute the bravery of those who died while trying to save the innocent or should we cry for them?

This national tragedy has also given a chance for the government at the centre to redeem itself of the guilt that I presume has surrounded them. Maybe it is the last opportunity for the Prime Minister to show himself as a man who can take decisions that for him may look tough, but otherwise are obvious and expected in the national interest.

The death of children, women, tourists, police officers who had no reason to die will perhaps spur him to keep everything aside except the interest of nation and its citizens while doing what has been long desired from him.

He can advance any number of reasons for still maintaining the status quo, beginning from India being a responsible democracy, a regional superpower, diplomatic relations etc. But deep inside us we know that an attack on innocent civilians taken after so much meticulous planning and preparation cannot be seen as just another act of terrorism.

Politically also he has nothing to lose. The general elections are just months away. And Congress will go down is something that even a die-hard supporter will accept. Maybe if he acts proactively, then he might no go down in the history books as the weakest-unresponsive PM this country had.

He has no precedent to bank on. For never have been we subjected to such frequent-daring attacks at the pan-India level. He must do what is in the best interest of the country. He must remember that politics and accountability are not to be mixed. He as a PM is accountable to all of us. Not to a particular individual, religion or a party.

He has more than enough evidence to prove to the international audience that region of Pakistan occupied Kashmir were used to train the terrorist. The dismantling of the terrorist camps in PoK by the Indian troops may look a too far fetched thought right now, but then who could imagine the 26-11 attack at the heart of Mumbai.

Suddenly the thought of India becoming a police state does not appear too absurd now. We had such a scenario in Kashmir, Punjab and Assam. We might also gradually settle in to live under the shadow of guns and blast but then that would be amounting to disrespecting those who lost their lives while trying to stop this exact scenario.

In midst of this national loss we have been given an opportunity to put things in order. Political will is something that we have craved for long. Mr. PM show us that you have some.

Whenever this whole things end, the memories that it will left behind will make us shudder from the pain, the helplessness and the fact that many of the dead were killed for no reason.

Those who have lost the touch, the voice and the warmth of their closed ones will never be able to come out of the shock and the pain. All we can hope is that no further such incident takes place, incidents where daughters lose their father, mother their sons, wives their husbands and friends their soul.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Their loved one rest in peace

I don’t feel terrorized

neither I feel scared

The heart rending cry, the moist eyes

The fallen bodies, The broken hope

the blood on the streets

tell many a untold tales

the crying eyes of a girl

reveals the identity of one of the dead

a lady who was someone’s wife moments ago

wails for her now dead husband alone

the man who saw his family die

seeks the solace of the god up high

those who died will perhaps now go to sky

asking the almighty how many more before humanity dies

The memories of those who died

Will forever be in our mind

Monday, November 03, 2008

Poll bugle sounded in Madhya Pradesh

Wheels and fortunes leading to Shaymla hills, which house the coveted residence of Madhya Pradesh CM, have started to roll in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

With the election commission announcing notification for holding polling in 230 constituencies in a single phase on November 27 the political atmosphere in the state has acquired the traditional vibrancy.

Shivraj Singh Chauhan is counting on good governance and development across the state, coupled with the global financial crisis, price rise and spurt in terrorist activities to help him keep Congress out of the state.

It has been secretly acknowledged even by the Congress leaders that Madhya Pradesh will be a difficult nut to crack. In case this happens, the one who would suffer the most will be former union minister and current PCC chief Suresh Pachori, as this might well spell doom for his political career.

The Congress could have reaped political mileage if only it would have properly highlighted the numerous corruption cases that have cropped up against many BJP leaders in the state.

At present Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and five other ministers of his cabinet are facing corruption charges. The CM is facing a case under Section 420 of the IPC for favoring a business house.

The former Health minister Ajay Bishnoi had to quit after Income Tax raids were conducted at his brothers’ residence and following his involvement in health scam.

The CAG report has pressed several corruption charges against the PWD and IT minister Kailash Vijayvargiya. Similarly, Revenue minister Kamal Patel has been charged with disproportionate wealth. A PIL raising these issues are pending in the Jabalpur High Court.

Irrigation minister Anup Mishra - he is the nephew of former PM Atal Vihari Vajpayee - used his powers to rent helicopter for personal use while the rent was paid from the state exchequer. The PHE minister Chaudhary Chandrabhan Singh is also under scanner for misusing his position and acquiring properties in his constituency. Chhindwara. Senior leader and Agriculture and Cooperatives minister Gopal Bhargava shot into limelight when he equated them with 'beggars'.

Similarly the Congress has still not been able to decide whether to politicize the arrest of Pragya Singh Thakur alias Sadhvi Purna Chetnanand Giri who was arrested for allegedly being a part of the Malegaon bomb blast.

A section of leaders feel that already the stigma of being soft on terror is making it difficult for leaders to answer their voters and they feel that raising Pragya’s issues may back fire and alienate the already discontent majority voters.

BJP has more or less taken care of countering the anti-incumbency wave by following the Gujarat model and neutralizing the damage by denying tickets to candidates whose report cards as sitting MLAs in the past five years were not found upto the mark.

As many as 78 sitting MLAs have been given tickets, while 28 have been denied keeping in view the anti-incumbency factor. Sources said that few more sitting MLAs might be dropped in the second list.

The experiment has worked well for the BJP in Gujarat, where as many as 49 of the 127 sitting MLAs were denied ticket.

The only issue on which both the Congress and BJP seem to agree is that this time the BJP will not be able win as substantially as it had in 2003, when it bagged 173 of the total 230 seats. The 170 plus seat in 2003 had more to do with two waves which were working simultaneously- the ‘Uma Bharti wave’ and the huge discontent against Digvijay Singh for his 10 years of not so good governance.

The ‘lesser’ parties like Uma Bharti’s BJS, the BSP , the GGP and the SP will also make sure that BJPs tally decreases. Though BJS doesn’t have a very past good record , but this time Uma Bharti has given her everything and this may result in her getting a pie from the cake. Similarly GGP may well increase its tally in the state with the party allotting tickets to Brahmin candidates in region of Rewa.

In case of a hung assembly, which for some doesn’t appear to be a too distinct possibility,these parties may well decide who sits in the opposition.

All in all it’s an election that holds better opportunity for speculators and expert commentators with room for many ‘ifs’ and more ‘buts’.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Terrorism all the way

The lull before the storm has never been so apt before. It was just few month back that Delhi witnessed serial bombings. Before every possible words and thoughts condemning the blast could see the light of day, another serial bomb blast rocked the nation. This time it was Assam.

The familiar words expressing sympathy for the victims from the PM and the habitual statements from the intelligence department was handed out to the media.

Nothing was different. Same words, same people, same response. The intelligence agency though came out with a ‘revelation’ that they had the prior knowledge of a possibility of such destructive activity being undertaken in Assam.

The only saving grace was that the intelligence guys did not blame the terrorist for not informing them about the exact spot where the bombs were planted.

I can well imagine their helplessness as the alleged perpetrators had already crossed over to Bangladesh well before news of the dead and injured poured in.

It’s time to be honestly blunt here. It fails my mind that why India which prides itself being called as a regional ‘super-nuclear-economic’ power fails to reign in the lesser-insignificant neighbors like Bangladesh and Nepal.

Nepal and Bangladesh have now established themselves as a safe heaven and a launching pad for carrying out anti-Indian activities. Illegal immigrants continue to enter India and in due time they are converted into ‘Indians’ for obvious vote bank.

Diplomats and seasoned foreign experts say that acting tough against these two countries would alienate them and pave a way for China to come closer to these ‘traditional friends’ of India. This argument defies every logic. How can one to continue to overlook something such blatant nefarious designs of our well-wishing neighbors?

Still, despite all the appeasing measures adopted by India, it’s no secret that in recent years Nepal and Bangladesh have takes long strides that goes to Beijing and not towards New Delhi.

Some years ago The Times of India carried a front page picture in which a BSF jawan who was killed by personnel of Bangladeshi rifles was shown being carried on a bamboo stick just like the old days when the hunters would proudly carry their kill exhibiting their strength.

The jawans were killed by the BDR personnel after they resisted their attempt to help cattle thieves from stealing cattle and taking it to Bangladesh from the Indian side.

I had expected at least an economic embargo on Bangladesh for a limited period from our government for such a daring misadventure by them. Sadly I was proved wrong. If I remember correctly India could only manage a diplomatic rebuke. That was the price we paid for being a ‘responsible- South Asian- giant’.

Now I have no hesitation in saying that the Indian nationalist freedom movement was perhaps the last magnificent show of India’s political will. Will to stand against anarchy and tyranny.

The one thing that the arrest of Malegaon accused has done is that now the supporter of tougher anti-terrorism law will not be called ‘anti-minority’. Terrorism has no religion. It never had.

Life has never been so cheap and vulnerable before. And the sad fact is that we have been blinded by the bright light of a ‘resurgent economy’ and a nuclear deal that has brought us international acclamation. Unfortunately that same very light has made us falsely believe that everything is vibrant and functioning.

The present government has repeatedly said that it is against taking a knee-jerk action. But for how long? And is it correct to term a legitimate action important for national security as knee jerk action?

Bring in a law which will stop the terrorists from killing children, men and women, suspend talks with the militant groups wherever they are, arrest the separatists be it the Kashmiri or the Assamese. Do something that goes beyond words on mike and on paper.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A not so difficult choice

The issue of Marathi-manus that has been revived by Raj Thackrey has brought back the memories the early Shiv Sena days, when Bal Thackrey successfully used the same sociological-demographic theory to gain a foothold in the political bazaar of Maharashtra.

Although the BJP alongwith the other national parties did criticize the MNS for the recent violence that it carried out against the North Indians yet it chose to keep mum over the involvement of its ally the Shiv Sena.

Bal Thackrey in the party’s mouth piece was in no mood of being modest as he lauded the way his party workers taught the Biharis a lesson that they will never forget.

With the emergence of MNS, the spotlight that Bal Thackeray was once accustomed too has now shifted to his former protégée Raj Thackrey.

This has prompted Shiv Sena to try out new things or more appropriately they have now been forced to narrow down their focus which earlier was ‘anti-Islam’ to a more local issue of empowering the Marathi- manus.The dwindling power of Shiv Sena is not something that can be hidden. It never had a pan India following. The self appointed protector of Hinduism from god knows what, has now seen its ‘best’ days.

BJP is a national party with a set of agenda that it follows which is arrived upon after keeping the whole country in mind. But the same cannot be said about Shiv Sena. It has ambitions and methods that will rarely be appreciated out side Maharashtra. Even in Hindi speaking belt of Central and North India, Shiv Sena does not have any following.

It will be very difficult for the Sena to remould its political objectives now because that would amount to asking the party to shed its core issue. So it will be a long while until the Shiv Sena decides to abandon its policy of keeping Maharathra for Marathi.

An alliance with Shiv Sena may go wrong for the BJP if the opposition ‘politicize’ this issue properly. It will be a million dollar question that how will the BJP justify the protest against MNS on the one hand and the cake-talk with the Shiv sena on the other. Surprisingly none of the political parties have put this seemingly ‘uncomfortable’ question before the BJP.

On the face of it, the coming general elections are tilted in favour of the BJP. Call it anti-incumbency, call it inflation or call it the effects of terrorism. As of now the road for Congress is far steeper than it is for BJP.

The general elections are just round the corner. The recent violence by the MNS and the Shiv Sena has posed serious questions for the BJP to ponder upon. The think tank of BJP will now have to work out the pros and cons of allying with the Shiv Sena.

It will be in for a rude surprise if it thinks that its association with Shiv sena will go un-noticed If it continues to walk with them for reasons varied, it will surely lose out not only in the north-eastern states but in the others parts of India as well.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The death of an Indian

There was nothing extra-ordinary about Pawan Mahto, a resident of Bara- Khurd village in Nalanda district of Bihar.

The son of a poor farmer, Pawan was one of the hundreds of students from Bihar who were appearing for a railway recruitment exam in Maharashtra on Sunday.

He had hoped to pull himself and his family out of the vicious poverty cycle by getting into the railways. But his hopes were shattered and he died a tragic death after being beaten by the MNS activist for appearing in the recruitment exam.

He failed himself and his family. Or Perhaps he did not. May be he did his bit by seeing to it that at least his dead body brings in some financial help. As the news of his death came in , the Bihar Chief Minister announced a compensation of Rs.150,000 to Pawan's family. Maybe the compensation amount will weigh down the emotions of his old father and his wife.

The theory of Marathimanoos being preached by the goon turned politician called Raj Thackrey, just became more stronger. That too, at the expense of death of a youth who was poor,unemployed and someone who did not have big aspirations.

The death of a poor man will hardly make a news for more than a day or two. In this country hundreds die a non-deserving death. Pawan was just one of them.

Maybe thousands of words about Pawans death will appear on blogs, edit pages and newsite but still they will fall short of bringing out the true extent of what has occurred.

Pawans family do not access the internet. And even if they could, they would have surely searched in the vain hope of finding a better reason explaining their son's death.

The truth remains that he died because he was a North-East Indian. Also true is that he was a human being who must have felt pain when he died. Which of the two must have been more painful, the physical pain or the pain of being a north Indian, we will never know.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Congress losing ground

The more I see the double standards and the weak governance that is being practiced by the present Congress led government at the Center the more dismayed I feel at the levels to which the leaders fall for political gains.

After its ally, the DMK issued threat to the Manmohan Singh led UPA of pulling out of the alliance to express its concern with the Tamil issue in Srilanka, the Indian PM interfered in Srilanka’s internal issue and asked his counterpart to adopt a more humane way while dealing with a terrorist organization.

In another words, Manmohan Singh asked Rajapakse to show a bit more compassion while fighting the LTTE.

Political compulsion has forced the Gandhi family to conveniently forget that it was LTTE which was responsible for the death of hundreds of Indian peace keeping force and it was LTTE which made sure that Rajiv Gandhi paid with his life for sending IPKF to Srilanka.

Today in Maharashtra, a group of so called political activist led by a Bombay Scottish studied hoodlum, embarked on their mission to yet again project themselves as protector of ‘Marathimanus’, as a result of which north-eastern unemployed youths were brutally assaulted for appearing in railway recruitment board exams that were held in different part of the state

The same home minister, Shivraj Patil, who was earlier on forefront threatening the BJP government in Orissa and Karnataka with imposition of president rule for their failure to stop violence against the minority Christians has now chose to keep silence on the activity of MNS.

No ‘direct’ or even a ‘veiled’ threat or instructions was issued by the home minister to the Maharashtra CM to stop the repeated mockery of law and order.

Congress spokespersons appear on talk shows and say that the state government always takes necessary action against the MNS goons and its just that their party does not believe in announcing everything before the media.

Fifteen days later, the same violence is repeated, and again the same standard reply is forwarded by the party.

Perhaps they have forgotten the age old aphorism - "Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done."

What MNS in doing is not politics, not even by the farthest stretch of imagination. It can be called vandalism, a show of mob-strength. As of now MNS is not a political entity, but with the encouragement that it is receiving from the obvious political quarters it will soon turn into one, as did Shiv Sena.

This is not the first such incident and yet none of the senior leaders of the Congress have come in fore and called for taking action against Raj Thackery who is right now successfully enjoying the fruits of might is right.

It’s Vilas Rao Deshmukh who heads the Congress government in Maharashtra, and still the 10 Janpath people have not done anything concrete to stop the repeated assaults on the poor weak people apart from the regular titbit formality of arresting petty MNS workers and releasing them later.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this can be attributed to the fact that the Congress is virtually defunct in Bihar and despite its best claims; it is still miles away from making a serious impact in the neighboring Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. This might well be the reason for its decision to go slow on MNS in Maharashtra as taking stricter actions may alienate its Marathi vote bank. But it should not forget that ignoring MNSs antics will harm both the country and the Congress itself in the long run. History has more than enough examples to prove this point

Whatever good work that was achieved by the RTI and the NREGA now stands negated by the politically motivated steps that Congress has been treading these days.

When a strong political will was the need of the hour the country witnessed show of weakness.

Be it the nuclear deal or be it the current Srilankan issue, Congress has always gone for an embarrassing political compromise rather than face the public mandate. And I guess that this fear is not dumb founded. More and more voters are now witnessing everything that happens around them due to the ever penetrating media. Now Media is not merely a news giver but has donned the role of an opinion maker.

General elections are inevitable; it will happen, and someone will lose, others will not. Forecasting has never been my forte, but then you don’t need to be an astrologer to see the obvious.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The myth of a tolerant civilized India

We regularly talk and discuss about how we are moving away from a "tolerant civil society’' that has been termed as the ‘hallmark’ of Indian society.

Are we really moving away? An honest introspection would give us the answer. To move away we should have first achieved it completely. Its been more than 60 years since India achieved independence and during these 60 years there have been numerous incident that if looked into honestly enough would give us the answer that we have never been ‘ a civilized tolerant society’. Albeit the converse is more true.

We were intolerant when Kandhmal happened, we were uncivilized when MNS activist beat poor and weak people in full public view and we were brutal when Gujarat riots occurred.

The above incidents are just three of the many numerous pages of a book that is based on our society. A book whose theme is violence.

Look around you and we will find many such instances which will suggest that how far we are from being civilized. Road rage, mob violence, quarrels over sharing of seats in trains, violent incidents in educational organizations and not to forget the state assemblies paint a very painful picture. Even issues of religion are decided after scores of lives are lost.

The notion that we are a civilized and tolerant society is too sweeping and general in nature too be true, infact it’s an exception.

The country with the most religions and even more practitioners of these religions, we are always on look out for issues to show our inflated ego and might. The truth that religion preaches peace, not violence is conveniently forgotten as and when the situation arises.

A word of insult, sign of dissent and even a slight raise in voice invite violent repercussions. ‘Might is right’ continues to grow day by day- hour by hour.

As we become more independent psychologically and materialistically, the need for friends and allies is steadily disappearing. This has resulted is a thought process that forces us to acquire more of everything; power and wealth to counter the aggressive world. A world that owes its aggressiveness to us, the individuals , its we who constitute it.

What is needed from each individual is a small participation of not more than one minute. Politeness, compassion is words that should not just be written or preached but practiced in spirit. Letting go off ego, once if not twice will make huge difference. Taking initiatives to build new ties and strengthen old will make us more human if not humane.

Perhaps the dream of being a 'just' society is not that difficult to attain. Only if we could be just a little bit more humane...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Media and Politics hand in hand

With every new day our media is increasingly transgressing the boundaries that has been allotted to it for functioning as a ‘liberal media’. Every 9 out of 10 write-ups on terrorism that appear in a daily or a magazine is based on the basic premise that the terrorists that were shot or apprehended are innocent and the investigative agencies had concocted something false, a false story, a false investigation and more importantly a false encounter.

In the recent shoot out almost every national newspaper expressed that they were skeptical about the whole ‘setup’ that surrounded the Jamia Nagar encounter. Soon the electronic media followed suit

They came out with a series of questionnaire which were put before the public and security agencies. Though it’s another thing that the verdict to the questions was a foregone conclusion. “Police is guilty”.

The investigative agencies are always first to be blamed; for not investigating properly- for not following leads that could have stopped a blast and ultimately blamed for indulging in a false shootout.

With this increased pressure from the media political parties specially the Congress, are also feeling the heat. Congress leaders have gone on the records to say that they also feel that something was not right in the Delhi shout out.

The media has conveniently linked Islam and terrorism. In most of the terrorism related stories they say that Islam and terrorism should not be linked. Later in the same article they write that since the police are targeting terrorists the Muslim community is feeling insecure. Why give birth to this notion of fear in the Muslim community? What happened to the earlier stand of keeping Islam separate from the whole story?

Earlier the Congress was going soft on terror and now it’s the medias turn to tow their line. I may sound someone from the "low strata-not-so-educated" but still I take the liberty and ask the ‘Softist’ that how will they react if one of their kin becomes a victim of such blasts?

A terrorist whose participation in the parliament attack has been proved beyond doubt by the highest judiciary of the land is still enjoying the state treatment. Reason? The Congress doesn’t want to alienate the Muslim vote bank. Why this assumption? Has someone made any representation to them on behalf of the Muslims that they will feel alienated if Afzal is hanged?

Home minister Shivraj Patil says that the existing laws are enough to tackle terrorism. I guess he wants to send a message to us that we should be thankful to him and to the existing law and its ‘effective’ implementation for if it was not for the effective law and Patil himself , we would have been witness to more such incidents. Maybe every alternate day! Thank you sir, we feel honored.

Rajinder Puri in his column in Outlook has rightly and refreshingly lambasted the Political setup of this country. I guess if the ‘well read’ leaders of our country go though that piece they would be forced to introspect on what they said in the past and what they did in the present. But then some one told me that that ‘introspection’ for them is a word that translates into how to rectify their past errors and maximize their votes. Ah!! More hatred- more fiery speeches- more blasts.

In the end he suggests a ‘very very far fetched idea’ that the UPA and the NDA must get together to form a national government. The noblest of suggestion that I have come across but as the saying goes ‘the two shall never meet’. And I will be happier that they never meet for it will be hard to imagine what will emerge when their minds work collectively.

Whether it’s he Congress or the BJP everyone is on the proverbial ‘same plate’, though they look different even act different yet they are the same. Fraternal twins would be the appropriate word to describe them.

There the terrorists strike at will and here we are at our wits end on whom to select in the forthcoming polls. The dilemma is summed up in the following words

“The wave was with the Congress all this years
now they’ll find a solace in the saffron wear;
to again return to the Gandhi cap five here hence
for the path to salvation is still not ‘Left’.”

Kosi enters 'politics'

The Kosi river has changed its course in North Bihar. It appears, the flood caused by the river will change the political course too. A senior Janata Dal(U) leader and four times chief minister of Bihar, Jagannath Mishra may change the post-flood political course of the state too.

Agitated over the mismanagement and inadequate relief works in the flood-hit areas, an anguished Mishra resigned from the office of the chairman of the Kisan Cell of the party alongwith hundreds of his supporters and announced his decision to relinquish politics and devote the entire life for the Kosi sufferers.Mishra repeatedly alleged relief and rescue management was awfully bad.

His son, Nitish Mishra who is disaster management minister is too unhappy with JD (U) as he has been ignored in the flood relief management. Nitish invited the wrath of the chief minister, Nitish Kumar after eh allegedly leaked out a confidential letter of the then DM of Saharsa, Narmadeshwar Lal, warning the state secretariat of an imminent danger to Kosi embankment. The chief ministers suspects junior Mishra’s hand in the leak.

Mishra is trying to get reentry to the Congress through the good offices of Pranab Mukherjee. He is also being wooed by he BSP chief, Mayawati, who wants him to lead BSP in Bihar. With Dalit voters going to Mayawai, she hopes, Jagannath Mishra’s induction into the BSP may help party consolidate Brahmin votes to the Bahujan Samaj Party.

With the general election on anvil, the political picture in Bihar in the month of September, like in the previous month, was centered on the recent flood that has affected more than 25 lakh people.

With both Lalu Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan refusing to let go this opportunity of using the natural calamity to extract political mileage, the CM Nitish Kumar too was forced to jump into the bandwagon. The CM decided to celebrate the holy festival of Id in one of the many relief camps that have come up in the flood affected areas.

Earlier it was Lalu Yadav who was camping in and around the minority dominated camps so as to send out a friendly message to the community that had deserted him in the previous elections.

Similarly Ram Vilas Paswan too was not far behind as he gave every opportunity to the snap seekers to photograph him while he was distributing medicines in the various camps that were organized by SAIL. In case of Lalu it was Railways who was used as a messenger, and in the case of Paswan it was the PSU, SAIL that was deployed as a medium to seek political attention.

In between all this, the brick batting and the allegations and the counter allegations between the spokespersons of various parties continued to hog the limelight.

With Lalu Yadav announcing that flood will be the major issue in the next elections, another union minister, Paswan, too has decided to make poor flood management by the BJP-Janata Dal(U) government the main poll issue. Advertisements are appearing daily in the local television channels and the newspapers from various government departments highlighting the achievements of Nitish Government in flood management. The chief minister spent the entire Eid day among the flood hit Muslims in Araria. Paswan, too joined them in the relief camps .Lalu Prasad Yadav is visiting the relief camps almost every week.

Mulayam Singh Yadav, preferred to donate Rs one crores to a separate relief fund set up by Lalu instead of sending the cheque to the PM or CM relief fund. This development too leads to the belief that the flood in Kosi will definitely change in the political course in Bihar during the elections.

Madhya Pradesh analysis

Except in Madhya Pradesh where the Congress is still to decide on the candidate’s name for CM it can be safely said that in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the two other states that go to poll, a consensus on the names of Ashok Gehlot and Ajit Jogi has been arrived upon.

In Madhya Pradesh, unlike in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, there are too many names that are doing the rounds for the chair of CM and it can be termed a wise decision by the Congress high command to not to declare any name as that may have fuelled the already simmering inner discontent in the state Congress.

Sources within the party say that Union Commerce minister Kamalnath and Jyotiraditya Scindia have emerged as the chief contender for the chair. They also cite the ‘Pratibha Patil’ incident and say they will not be too surprised if someone else emerges from the oblivion in case the Congress wins.

Experts feel that the BJP will be successful in hoisting the saffron flag in the Central state albeit with a lower margin. Shivraj Singh Chauhan has focused more on developing the rural areas as compared to the urban regions and it with be the electorates from these regions that will make sure that Chauhan emerges winner.

This was visible when in one of the biggest political mass gatherings in history of MP thousands of BJP workers and supporters gathered in Bhopal for the launching of the campaigning for assembly polls.

The huge number made both the PM aspirant Lal Krishna Advani and party president Rajnath Singh overjoyed and they will be hoping to get a sizable number of seats from Madhya Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls which are due next year.

Those who follow Madhya Pradesh closely will say that Chauhan has acted very prudently in run-up to the elections. During the previous government most of the development related works, inaugurations, announcement etc were done when the polls were in sight but this time Chauhan has focused on development issues all through out his tenure which will be more politically more effective than the huge poll bonanzas and the mass stone laying functions that the electorate are accustomed to witness in wake of the elections.

The almost written off Uma Bharti sprang a surprise when she successfully hoisted a massive public rally in the heart of the capital which was more than enough to cause lose of sleep for both the BJP and Congress. This has diminished the hopes of Congress forming the next government more because if Uma manages to win a good number of seat she will be more comfortable in forming an alliance with the BJP rather than with the Congress.

Enormous pressure forced the Congress to announce the first list of candidates who will be contesting in the elections. All the 39 sitting MLAs of the Party have been given the tickets. But the BJP is still to announce its list and if reports are to be believed, more than 40 of the sitting MLAs who have been rated as non-performers by the electorate in various surveys will be denied tickets.

But the problem in such case will be more with the BJP rather than with the ‘denied MLAs’, for the Uma Bharti’s BJS and the BSP who have nothing to lose will be more than ready to lure the dissidents.

Also in the previous elections many of the BJP MLAs won with a very slender margin that too because of the dissatisfaction on part of the electorate with Digvijay Singh coupled with the BJP wave which was strengthened by Uma Bharti. The same may not happen this time.

Internal dilemma abounds for the BJP. Through out his tenure Chauhan has done good work but the MLAs who are seen as the visible face of the party do not have an image that they would like to go out with among the voters.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just for a Thought

Recently over 13000 infants in China fell ill after they consumed toxic milk. The repercussions?

  1. The country’s highest ranked Quality controller chief resigned.
  2. The Communist party chief of the region where the main office of the rogue company is located was removed from his post.
  3. The country Premier asked for forgiveness from the affected parents.

Just for a thought can we expect the same thing to happen in India? Not the milk contamination; that happens everyday but the fixing of accountability, both legal and moral?

Judiciary is one of the four pillars of the Indian democracy. Until recently we thought that higher judiciary was free from ills that are somewhat rampant in the lower judiciary. Though people who dwell “in the power of corridor” will say that even the higher judiciary is fallible.

But then came Justice Soumitra Sen. Mr.Sen, who is accused of misappropriating 32 lakhs of rupees when he was still a practicing lawyer decided to ‘defend’ himself in the parliament against the impeachment proceeding that was recommended by Chief Justice of India. He will now become only the second high court judge in post-independence India who will face impeachment.

Accountability… moral-ethical- legal? You decide.

With elections looming large, political parties have decided to come to party. So should then be the news of the Centre asking some of the states to maintain law and order failing which president rule under article 355 would be imposed, seen in the same light?

This was after the activists of Bajrang dal allegedly carried out violent activities against the minority section.

I, by no mean intend to alleviate or justify what was done in Orissa, Karnataka or Madhya Pradesh. Violence of any kind on any ground against any religion, caste or creed should not be tolerated.

But just for a thought was Article 355 not applicable to Maharashtra. What about the region-based-violence that was carried out by the MNS goons? Doesn’t that warranted a firm stricture from the Congress on the same lines as was done in the recent case?

No it didn’t. Reason? The victims in Maharashtra were not from any minority religion. Secondly ,in case of Maharashtra the state was being ruled by Congress, unlike in the recent case where BJP was in picture.

Political opportunism-compulsion- hypocrisy? You decide.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

the road to Kerwa

the now closed Bhadbhada
the ever lightened Shetu
the majestic Nja
and the ancient Sakshi

the red old Block
the sprawling Som
and we reach NLIU home

the affable Mindori
the up and down to Kerwa kothi
the hot tea at 'Senti'
and some tales of old days

the trees of Kerwa
the road to Kerwa
old memories come back to life
I wish I was back to those carefree times again...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who am I to question Raj ?

Who am i to question Raj
when even the Sarkar didn't have the courage to ask

might will prevail
rights will be trampled

why talk about democracy
lets enjoy Manus'cracy

equality,unbiasness are the words of weak
throw them aside for they are 'cheap'

enjoy the 9 percent growth
let the meek and weak rot

India will change is a dream to large
bound to be broken with the ranting of Raj

I beg forgiveness for the words above
coz the courage in me has finally gone

I add one more to those who are already dead
and we sleep till Jawahar's India awakes.

1. Raj- Mr.Raj Thackrey
2. Sarkar- Mr.Amitabh Bachhan
3. Jawahar- Mr.Jawahar Lal Nehru

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A question of dignity

“Bharat Mata-an art of work: SC” screamed today’s The Times of India. A Supreme Court bench yesterday refused to entertain a petition in which the petitioners had pleaded the Supreme Court to initiate proceedings against M F Hussain for depicting a nude woman as Mother India.

Supporters of the artist have time and again evoked the freedom available under the right of freedom of expression as enshrined under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution to justify the works of Hussain. Is this the purpose of right to freedom of expression? To offer immunity to work of art that shows a woman who is in nude as Mother India? If yes, then for me this is nothing but a gross violation of the reasons for which the above said article was added into the constitution.

MF Hussain while commenting on the Supreme Court judgment applauded the decision and said ‘At last they (Supreme Court) have understood the ‘dignity’ of contemporary Indian art. Dignity? Whose dignity? Does the dignity of Indian art is upheld by depicting India in nudes? I don’t know how many of us would like to practice this definition of dignity as stated by the artist in our personal life. Will the artist himself practice what he preaches? I doubt it.

Imagine a scenario where an artist from European country paints a picture in which he depicts Indian without clothes and in tatters. How would we react? More specifically how would the ‘liberal intelligentsia’ which till date have not condemned Hussian’s work of art, react?

Nationalism, love for ones country, is not defined anywhere nor can it be forced on anyone. But I am sure that the definition doesn’t say that not getting offended by paintings that depicts the nation in nude is one of the essences of showing respect towards your motherland. Have I stated something that is too lowly or rural for the ‘intellectuals’ to understand?

Ancient temples that have been for long used to justify any work of offensive art have been reduced to just mere examples. The sculptures of nude king and queens are frequently equated with religious sculptures. How much is this justified is a question that needs to be dwelt on much.

Earlier the same artist had depicted Hindu goddess in forms that are undignified by even the farthest stretch of imagination.

Those who raised their voice against it were called ‘Right wing individuals’. Agreed that the violent way in which they protested was condemnable but what about the work of Hussain that incited the reaction? Is that not condemnable? The price of being the majority population cannot be so much.

If the same artist had painted religious pictures of other religion, he would have been running from one county to another for asylum, but for Hinduism. For Hinduism embraces everyone and ‘everything’ with open arms. Some section of the ‘learned’ feel that it’s imperative for this religion to not be offended and to smilingly embrace the dignity stated by Hussain. Is the Hindu god-goddess and mother India ‘children of the lesser gods’?

The more I force myself for searching reasons to look at Hussian’s work rationally, the more I feel that our Constitution has been taken for a ride. The fact that the Constitution also prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion has been conveniently forgotten.

Majority, like the minority, too value their religion. Just being numerically strong doesn’t mean that a particular religion cannot get offended by offensive things. We cannot have a double standard for deciding the dignity of the majority and the minority.

Where are the classes of the intellectuals that throng the street on the slightest pretext? Do they only represent those who are less in number? What about those who are humiliated because they are more? Who will speak for them? Artist like Hussain or the activists like Babu Bajrangis? Both of them are the extremes and sadly the middle path has been hijacked by the ‘Liberal –intelligent-class’, who not only believe but also practice double standards.

The time has come to follow secularism not just in the minority spirit but also in a spirit that was the force behind drafting the word 'secular' in our constitution.

A nation of hypocrites we are speaking only when the situation is favorable, let’s stop our tread for a minute and question ourselves. Questions which are not that hard to answer.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bihar's sorrow

Northern part of Bihar is swarming with reporters and media personnel. With the who’s and who’s of print media and the electronic media converging on the swollen banks of Kosi, the might of the sorrow of Bihar and the plight of those affected by it is now being witnessed by everyone.

Before 18th of August no one including me cared about what was happening in Supaol or Saharsha. It is nothing more than perhaps the law of our society that only in times of extreme sorrow that the poor hogs the limelight. And then also the affected victims have to share their 10-15 days of ‘fame’ with the politicians who are one among the first to reach such places.

In the past too, old women were swept away, children died of snake bites and man drowned, but who cares for a few numbers. In the end it is all about the eye catching numbers; huge number. In the present case the 29 lakh people that were affected was too big a number to give a miss.

As soon as Manmohan singh after a ‘quick response’ that took 10 days to come, declared the flood a national calamity, all hell broke loose. The flood affected regions of Bihar which till then were ‘immune’ from the presence of even a reporter from a local news-channel suddenly found itself facing familiar faces of our vibrant media. You name them and they were there.

No one can take away the fact that the media did and is still doing a commendable job of covering the calamity ,but the point is that is presence of ‘huge numbers’ the only criteria for making a news a national news?

Reporters after reporters are taking great pains and efforts to visit the areas that are still out of reach for the state officials. Heart rendering footage has become the order of the day. Some have taken great pain to cross over to the other side of Nepal and dig out stories on how the breach occurred due to the negligence on the part of the irrigation department. They also declared that the breach was a result of long period of negligence and the breach didn’t take place overnight. Agreed that the breach developed over a period of time. But why wasn’t the breach brought in the public when it was still in its initial stage?

Its not that the dam was kept out of bounds for the journalist, it’s just that at that point of time it was not worthy of being shown on the national television. Who would have watched a ‘eroding dam’.

Post the ‘national calamity’ declaration things have changed. Now even a glitch in a minor embankment is making news. I guess the top management of the media that moves and shakes in Delhi have their own idea of a news-worthiness.

Calamity or no calamity, politician are flowers that bloom throughout the season. The Below the belt remarks that have been coming from the political leaders of Bihar has highlighted the sad plight of the level to which the leaders can fall even in the worst of time. Not even the catastrophic effects of a swollen Kosi, could stop these leaders from indulging in political war at a time when they should have been attending to the rescue of the millions that have been affected by the raging Kosi.

The political game that ensued saw Nitish Kumar calling himself an unsung hero and terming Lalu, a dramatist, who was moving around the flood affected areas with a train of TV reporters. Lalu replied back and declaring that Nitish has lost his mind.

After Kosi river broke all barriers and flooded 15 districts of the state, affecting more than 29 lakh people, it took 10 long days for the union government to decide that this time it was not ‘just another regular flood’ that affects Bihar every year but a national calamity.

Then came the initial statements of no politics in time of sorrow. But later the whole nation stood witness to the troika of Lalu Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan and Nitish Kumar engaging in political statements and counterstatements over fixing the responsibility for the floods.

Initially it was Lalu who started the fistfight when he announced in a press conference that the state government had failed to pay heeds to the instructions from the Centre and had not repaired the Kosi barrage. Pointing out to the callous attitude of the state officials he came out with documents that pointed out that the walls of the barrage was breached a day after the State chief engineer (Irrigation) had reported that all barrages were in good condition.

In reply, Nitish came out with a set of his own documents in which it was said that the state government had been regularly corresponding with the centre and asking them to take the issue of repairing the barrage with Nepal.

Paswan too joined in and rapped Nitish for failing to take timely actions to plug the breach. In between all this, the plight of the victims was forgotten and they were left to themselves. Even now many are still stranded and marooned and fighting a loosing battle.

Old timers point out that in a way the 15 years that preceded this government is also to be blamed for this failure of government machinery. During the earlier rule, the whole of the state machinery was left to stagnant and officers found themselves being molded in a way that required them not to venture out in the fields but to stay in the comforts of their offices. The same disease continues to plague some of the current lot.

Till last year the engineers of the water resources department were punished by the DMs in the flood hit areas. Whenever any breach occurred in the embankments the concerned executive, superintending or chief engineer was instantly arrested on the orders of the DMs and sent to jail. But now it seems that, Nitish who is an engineering graduate, has realized the bureaucrats too are at fault.

The CM suspended district magistrates of Supaul and Saharsa districts for Negligence in flood relief work. He was so infuriated with the officers that he ordered on the spot transfer of the two DMs when he visited the flood affected areas.

He also sent three of his cabinet colleagues in the worst affected areas with direction to stay there for a fortnight and not come to Patna. Three senior IAS officers from State Secretariat were also sent as special DMs in the three worst hit districts to monitor and supervise the relief and rescue operations.

Nothing can absolve Nitish because as a CM he was responsible for the state machinery but the bureaucrats too have let down the chief minister.After the flooding the Bihar chief minister was told by his officers that Nepal was responsible for the floods in Bihar as the embankment was breached from their side. Later the foreign minister of Nepal Upendra Yadav denied the charge and claimed that dam in Nepal was still intact.

Such was the mismanagement that rescue boats and rescuers had to wait for six hours for supply of diesel as the BDO of the concerned district was busy with the PMs Program. Then came a statement from a senior official of the state disaster management asking the flood victims not to come to Patna, and return back to their submerged homes through the same special train that had brought them to the capital.

The fury of Kosi continues unabated but for these representatives of people it has boiled down to who gets the maximum accolades in this time of sorrow. And not surprising it’s Lalu, accompanied by the ever swelling entourage of reporters who is winning hands down.


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