Recently villagers comprising of women and young girls from
Friday, March 28, 2008
Recently villagers comprising of women and young girls from
Thursday, March 27, 2008
And soon enough, the petals were showered, the seven steps were taken and the couple left for their honeymoon, leaving us, the revered guests behind. With nothing to do, we, me and two of my school mates, decided to go where every Bhopalis goes to as the last resort: Badi Jheel.
In midst of the rising steam from the Coffee Mocha, at the aptly named Lake view CCD, we started recalling the past and the discussion soon veered towards the ‘where-and-how-abouts’ of the various ‘Bhais’ of Bhopal who were an integral part of our college and school days.
I was a bit disappointed when I was told that most of these ‘big brothers’ were now either into living a normal life or had left Bhopal for obvious reasons.
Those who have lived in Bhopal will agree that the city has a very close-knit culture and you can be assured that between every pair of strangers, walking in the streets of Bhopal, there is always a person who is known to both of them; a common acquaintance. Names and deeds travel quickly in Bhopal.
If you want to make your name in the ‘Bhai-circles’ of Bhopal you have two option by which you can gain recognition.
Either you confront a veteran, and by using your leverage, force him to ask for a compromise. The second one is to get beaten up by a veteran and his associates and stand up against a larger group of boys and refuse to budge. In the second option you need to have lots of luck so as to emerge with just minor injuries.
In my times, every area had a guy who was known to exercise influence of every kind in his area of domination. And every area had a meeting point, which by evening would turn into a ‘Panchayat’ of sort, with tea and fags being consumed at a pace that would always leave the cigarette selling hawker gasping for breath.
In the 90s and the early 2000 when Bhopal had still not witnessed the education boom which resulted in the mushrooming of dozens of engineering and medical colleges, the 'Gang culture' was a rage among the school and college goers.
In our times we had Narendra Tripathy who represented the Barkatullah University and against him was Sanjeev Saxena also called Sanju boss who was the undisputed leader of MACT. They had a long standing rivalry which once resulted in a shout-out at a petrol pump in New-market. Tripathy, who enjoys patronage of Congress political bosses, is a now a successful civil contractor.
As for Sanjeev Saxena he passed out from MACT years ago but his presence still lingers in the vast campus of MACT. Till recently the Training and Placement Officer in MACT was Aruna Saxena who is the wife of Sanjeev Saxena. The Librarian is Archana saxena, sister of Sanjeev Saxena, Deputy Director, Dean Administration is Ashutosh Sharma, mentor of Sanjeev Saxena and the president of the Post graduate students union is brother of Sanjeev Saxena,.
Sanjeev Saxena has even managed to set up an engineering college which is functioning and flourishing
We also had people like Chugan@ Anurag Mishra, Mohit Tripathy@Lovely who frequented the area around the 6 no. stop.
But the charm of this Bhaigiri was definitely more visible in the old city of Bhopal . It was a short of power hub: a place where legendary tales were made to be passed on to the next generation.
Anyone who had connections that went through the narrow lanes of the old City was the undisputed leader of his area in New Bhopal. The city boasted of names like Mukhtar Malik,Muney painter, Danny Irani, etc, who later graduated to killings and extortion.
The BHEL area also boasted of its own foot soldiers that were frequently seen in the campus of BHEL and Career College . Names like Hubby, Munna-Baisakhi were the flag bearer of the BHEL area.
Another not so well known name was Farhan, the son of the former Congress MP Gufran-e-azam, who about 4-5 years ago launched a student outfit with lots of fanfare. Posters and advertisements were all posted all-over the town asking students to join Farhan. The media called this new organization as a potential threat to the other student bodies like the NSUI and ABVP. Sadly the younger Azam was not able to increase the base of his party outside his college BSSS and he along with his outfit faded into the by lanes of Bhopal . He now adds to the once famous but now diminishing “Gang culture’ of Bhopal .
Most of the ‘gangwars’ that happened during my time seldom had fatal outcome. Matters were mostly solved over a cup of tea and many a packets of “choti gold’’. The arbitrator and the party would part their way with a promise to meet over a bottle of beer again. In cases where talks proved futile, a show of strength coupled with a flurry of slaps and maybe a broken arm would seal the matter once and for all. But the use of force was the last resort and was generally exercised by the naive and young.
In almost all cases a well known Bhai would act as a big-brother that would pave for a brotherhood that would last a lifetime. I myself had the ‘privilege’ of being a part of all these fascinating times and personally knowing all the ‘dignified-noble guys’ mentioned above and even now when I meet a former adversary meet we laugh over the old feuds and remember the good old times.
The Bhaigiri culture might have faded into the oblivion now, but the colorful memories it created, will continue to linger on till the time the last Bhopali walks.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Published at: http://desicritics.org/2008/03
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Chhattisgarh will be one of the most affected states due to delimitation of constituencies for Lok Sabha and Assembly seats. Jagdalpur in Bastar, Ambikapur, Surajpur, Premnagar and Paal would be changed into general seats from SC/ST at present. Kanker Lok Sabha seat will become a general seat from ST reserved at present and Janjgir-Korba, presently a general seat will now become a SCC reserved Lok Sabha seat. Ms Karuna Shukla, niece of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and president of All India women's wing of the BJP represents the constituency.
The heavy weights likely to be affected include former minister, Satyanarayan Sharma, whose traditional Mandir Harshoud seat will cease to exist and Ms Renuka Singh, another former minister, whose Prem Nagar seat is being converted into a general seat.
Ms Singh has challenged the recommendations of the Delimitation commission in Supreme Court and opposed the decision of the Cabinet to reduce ST reserved seats for Chhattisgarh Assembly from 34 to 29 and ST reserved seats in Lok Sabha from the state from four to three.
The former chief minister, Ajit Jogi, who represents a general seat-Mahasamund in the Lok Sabha has also pleaded like
The Chief Minister Raman Singh is hoping that his ambitious 'Rs 3 per kg rice and Rs 10 per litre Kerosene for BPL families' scheme will help the BJP government in Chhattisgarh in wooing the rural voters where 42 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.
The state BJP leadership recently had reasons celebrate as the party grabbed victory in the recent assembly by-poll in the Naxal stronghold of Keshkal (Bastar).
The saffron party has now decided to put enhanced efforts on the impoverished regions of the state where corruption and delays stops people from getting food grains and kerosene from the Public Distribution System (PDS) as political pundits are of the view that that if the welfare schemes are sincerely implemented the BJP would be able to enjoys its success in the forthcoming assembly election.
Raman Singh has issued instructions to the government officials asking them to maintain strict surveillance to prevent any malfunctioning and corruption in the rice distribution scheme or face stern actions.
The delimitation of constituencies would affect adversely several leaders, including state RJD president, Abdul Bari Sidiuqqui, health minister, Chandra Mohan Rai (Ram Nagar) and sports minister, Janardan Singh Segriwal (Jalalpur), whose constituencies will cease to exist in the coming assembly elections.
Sadhu Yadav, brother-in-law of the Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav ,who was elected from Gopalganj (general) seat to the Lok Sabha will have to search new constituency as Gopalganj has now become a SC reserved seat ,Ramchandra Paswan, LJP MP and brother of Ram Vilas Paswan and Surajbhan, another MP of LJP will also have to look for new seats as their current seats , Rosera and Balia have been scrapped.
In the 243 state assembly, now, there would be 37 SC and two ST seats and six out of 40 Lok Sabha seats from
Patna Saheb and Pataliputra will have two new Lok sabha constituencies with changes in the areas of
Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) has decided to don the political cap with the party now working to make its presence felt between the OBCs and the Minorities. MJ Akbar, who once successfully contested for the MP seat from Kishanganj (
The recent 60000 crores debt relief relief given to the Kisans by the finance minister, P Chidambaram, will definitely help gain the support of the cotton growers of Khargone-Khanwda and soyabean growers of Malwa region and also in central Madhya Pradesh. Many farmers had committed suicide in these regions due to heavy loans.
The former chief minister, Ms Uma Bharti, who would be fielding her candidates against the BJP, would also help the Congress in a triangular contest.
Politically stating Congress is on a revival mode after Suresh Pachori was made the state PCC chief recently. The old PCC had virtually become defunct under Subhash Yadav and inspite of many opportunities presented by the BJP, the PCC was no abe to successfully utilize them. Now the workers are hoping for a change in fortune under Pachori as he is more taller than Yadav and commands more respect among the senior leaders like Digvijay Singh, Jyotiraditya Scinda and that would help him to silent the intra-party fighting that has been brewing for quite a while now.
BJP and Congress both have shifted their spotlight to the sizeable number of tribal votebank in Madhya Pradesh. This was evident after LK Advani chose Jabalpur to launch his 'sankalp yatra' while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a visit to the remote tribal belt of Jhabua.
Tribals dominate both Jhabua and
Tribals would play an even more significant role if the delimitation of constituencies takes place before the polls. Under the new system, the number of tribal seats would go up.
The significant of the tribal vote was demonstrated in the 2003 assembly polls at Nimar, Malwa, Mahakaushal and Vindhya regions. The BJP swung 15 percent of the tribal votes away from the Congress and won three-fourths of the tribal seats.
Though recent trends suggest that the Tribals appear to have distanced themselves from BJP as was evident in Khargone Lok Sabha and Sanver and Lanjhi assembly by-polls which the BJP lost.
Another important part in the whole picture is to be played by Gondwana Ganatantra Party (GGP), which has substantial strength in the tribal areas of the Mahakoshal region.
Both the BJP and the Congress are wary of GGP and if the Gonds in the Mahakoshal region, where 60 percent of the voters are tribals, decide to go with GGP, the electoral prospects of the two mainstream parties will surely suffer.
Similarly Mayawati’s BSP which recently organized a show of strength in
Saturday, March 01, 2008
All major Indian newspapers with few exceptions have now turned into what is popularly known as "Response run" rather than "editorially run" papers. There was a time when management people were given independent responsibilities to generate revenue and the editorial wing was consider sacrosanct. Now the most of the editors of these papers have to cut a sorry figure in face of a Harvard, IIM or any management institute educated manager, and wisely they have now learnt to buckle under the demands and whims of the Response. These days an MBA has more say than an editor in deciding the contents or colour of a newspaper.
As a result of this approach content and quality wise these newspapers are heading southwards and there is nothing astonishing in it as when Ad and revenue generation becomes important the priority than the quality of newspaper goes down. This is a cardinal principle which is always true. The newspapers and magazines have now become any consumer product with perishable value.They have lost their retention capacity by the readers.
The Correspondents are now given the additional responsibility of procuring state sponsored advertisements for their respective newspapers. There are examples of the state and district level or even block level stringers being asked to collect advertisements for special supplements to be brought on Republic Day, Independence Day, State Foundation Day and even foundation Day of the newspaper itself. This is happening even in the villages of
This is true for almost all the publications, and in this context it would be foolish to expect that a newspaper will encourage the correspondent to report against the same government which is providing the publication with advertisements that runs into crores.
The 'old lot of journalists' who started their career in the 60s or 70 now find it increasingly difficult to function in this comparatively new Response oriented market environment which demands from them a lot more than just good writing skills.
Everyone knows that Vinod Dua, Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt recently accepted the state sponsored Padma Shri but not many are aware of the fact that Pranoy Roy declined the same when it was awarded to him just after the UPA came into power.
There was a time when even the fear of state sponsored prosecution was not able to stop media from speaking out against Indira Gandhi and emergency. Sadly the times have changed.
Readers who have been committed readers of the the self proclaimed Leader of newspapers ,particularly those preparing for the Civil Services now do not subscribe the paper as they are getting better contents in other newspapers .They are getting thought and views from non-leader newspapers as the Leader has lost its serious reader value contents. The Leader is growing in the Market, but not among the Minds as its has lost its "Retention Value". The Leader is more concerned about its TRP now giving good bye to quality reading materials and news. The Response oriented editorials are not liked by the serious and committed readers.
Readers loyalty has shifted from the Leader as the paper has now turned into a 'skin-friendly' paper of the establishment of the Day. The Leader's editorial page which perhaps was its best part too has deteriorated and as for the Sunday pull-out page the less said the better. It is neither interesting nor entertaining leave alone educative.
This nexus between media-politicians, media-industrialists has always been there but earlier it was healthy interface and the media always knew that being the fourth estate it is under the obligation to keep a check on the other institutions of democracy. And I don't deny that the checks and the controls are still there but now it is more of a "manipulated checks''.
The Freedom of Press is meant only for the Leader and its subsequent followers and not for Readers is now confirmed.http://desicritics.org/2008/03/06/023744.php
Mr.Chidambaram take a bow. He has shown how to practice the art inclusive politics. The FM has somehow successfully managed to bring a feel good atmosphere both economically as well as politically.
Budget 2008 will be remembered as a master stroke which left both the opposition and the supporters in awe. The Harvard educated Chidambaram was not only able to present a populist-election oriented budget but he was also successful in providing the impetus that the economy was searching for in view of the recent slow down that the market as a whole is witnessing.
The Rs. 60,000 crores waiver to the farmers that has been termed as the mother of all waiver is a bold step which can be termed as an action that owes its birth to compassion and to the impeding general elections.
Critics are already out with some of them suggesting that financial institutions will get a rude shock as they will have to write off the loan-waiver but then when you consider the plight of the crores of farmers that are in debts, debt that has already resulted in suicidal-deaths of so many farmers then it doesn’t look that bad decision.
Banks will surely and gradually recover, but if the waiver was not given then it would have resulted in more deaths in a country where 65% of the population is still engaged in agriculture as a source of livelihood.
The burgeoning Middle class has been given more than expected tax-relief and that will come as good news for crores of the common Indian. The Budget 2008 has been successful in attaining the fusion of growth, social justice and providing middle class more cash thereby increasing the purchasing power which will ultimately lead to growth in the economy.
Tiger conservation which doesn’t have enough power to influence the voting bank politics was also given its due attention as a one time grant of Rs 50 crores was made to National Tiger conservation authority. The fund will primarily be used to raise an armed tribal protection force to guard tigers. This is above the 600 crores plan which the cabinet had cleared earlier to help relocate displaced people from protected zones.
The protection force will have staff that will be made up of the local tribal population that inhabit the forest. This way the twin-objective of upliftment of the tribals and protection of wildlife both will be achieved.
Increase of allocation has also been announced in safe drinking water programs, national highway development program and minorities upliftment which saw a whooping allocation of 1000 crores.
34,440 crores has been kept aside for developing the all important Education sector.
The FM should also be applauded for increasing the allocated sum on internal security from 17674 crores to 21715 crores. This was necessary in view of the increased naxal activities in the country.
In my earlier articles I have suggested that Rahul Gandhi's pet program, the NREGA should have been more carefully handled and a policy of selective implementation should have been followed. Budget 2008 has proposed a hike of 4000 crores for NREGA and the program is now expected to be extended to all the districts of the country. This is a good step as now every district will be given its due share, though I still would have been more happy if preferential treatment was accorded to those part of the states that are more poor.
The medical and health sector also saw a boost with the excise duty being reduced to 8% on all drugs. This will result in prices of essential life saving drugs coming down. Tourism sector too had something to cheer about as 5 years tax-holidays was announced to upcoming future hotels in selected areas. Tourism and allied sectors are sure to witness a huge boom especially considering the Commonwealth game which is scheduled for 2010 .
Planned expenditure on sports was also increased to 781 crores. Although it will not be wrong to say that more allocation would have been welcomed considering the stagnation that sports in
Small cars, hybrid vehicles, scooters became cheaper which will further augment well for the Aam-admi.
The Aam-admi which is regarded as UPAs punch-line will sure gain more acceptability among the common-man simply because now more people are aware of how will the budget 2008 affects them and the growing media in local languages sees to it that even a rural Indian knows how the government plans to use his money. And these things do play in the minds of voters when the time comes.
Also, while Chidambaram was announcing the sops, not very far from the parliament Congress was requesting Supreme courts permission to resume dredging of the Ram Setu. It seems even Ram was forgotten in the hullabaloo that the budget generated and now it remains to be seen when will the opposition smell the rat.
History suggests that populist budget have rarely proved a sure shot method of being reelected to power. It may happen that Congress will be routed out in the next general elections but still the budget 2008 will go down in history as a budget which was almost perfect if not fully perfect in the utopian sense.