Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bihar Congress- now the only way is forward

Until now the Congress party in Bihar had failed to make any ‘visible’ impact on the streets of Bihar. As you roamed the city you will find smiling, bearded, tired, jovial, all kinds of faces of different leaders of all parties except Congress.

But now that has changed as Rahul Gandhi has finally found a place in the political space of Patna. Hoardings depicting him as the future leader of the country have come up at various points in the city.

Though Rahul Gandhi has still not taken up any ‘Bihar specific’ discovery of India tour yet his ‘supposed’ charismatic affect is being used by the party organization to motivate the party cadre and to galvanize supporters.

I find it very strange that India’s biggest political party, Congress, has a very negligible stake, share and presence in a politically active state like Bihar, which historically has been the birth place and play ground of national leaders. I can assure you that this is one place were politics comes before cricket.

Knock on the doors of any house and you are sure to find a political connection that goes either directly to the CM house or in most cases to the political corridors of Delhi. Poke anyone, be it a retired professor, a bank employee, an executive engineer or a street fruit vendor, and they will come out with political stories and development that are hard to imagine. Maybe once can doubt their truthfulness, but then they will say “it may be false now but who knows by the time you finish your dinner it will turn true”. Agreed.

A Delhi based Congress party functionary who was recently in Patna said that the ‘AC culture’ has made the senior leaders of Patna sensitive to sun and insensitive to political requirements. Now they find it hard to come out on street, stage protest, voice demands of the mass which ultimately has led to the downfall of the party presence in the eastern state.

Political vultures have not failed to take notice of this poor state of Congress in the state. Till recently leaders from other regional parties like RJD and LJP decided on which seat should be Congress granted concession so that its nominee may contest.

Also, the Congress been not able to find any local leader who can act as the face of the party. Every state has a leader who represents the party in his region. In Madhya Pradesh there are Digvijay singh, Kamal Nath, in Delhi it is Sheila Dixit, in Chhattisgarh it is Ajit Jogi and so on. Most of them were popular even before they became CM or MPs. But unfortunately the party has no such luxury in Bihar.

Party old timers understandably find this painful and blame the national leaders who in order to run their horses in Delhi mortgaged the party interest in the state. This demotivated the party workers, forcing them to switch loyalties. As a result Bihar Congress has been reduced to a political widow.

Some months back when the MNS goons were beating Bihari and UP migrant workers and making news all over the Country none of the Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi thought it was required to come out and say some words denouncing the act. I have never been able to comprehend the reason behind this insensitivity.

So much for a comprehensive Indian political dream.

The party cannot sink further anymore in Bihar. With nothing to lose but everything to gain, state leaders should begin its revival through small slow steps. First sit, then stand and then fight.

What the Congress needs in Bihar is to focus on long term gains, ignoring the short term losses. Giving itself 5 years and in the meantime strengthening the party cadre and increasing its reach among the mass and will turn true the seemingly impossible possibility of forming the government by its own.

Rahul Gandhi may be short of time but as he embarks on mission to make Congress a pan India party he should not forget that Bihar too figures on his political map.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Why do I walk the path that takes me to the destination I won’t go
Why I start with not so faltering steps only to stop and look back

why do I trample the flowers that I sowed with years of trust and love
and why do the flowers refuse to come to life again

why do I close my eyes choosing not to see the obvious
and why do I wish to dream the not so obvious

why does my heart plays truant with me
and why I ignore the brain which tries hard to stay with me

why have I to decide who and what is right
why have I to wonder and fear
and why have I to be fearless again

why can’t everything remain the same
the same moon, the same night
the same you the same me

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I miss...

The early morning days of being woken up by smiling mom,
The small walk to the bus stop accompanied by smiling dad

The bus ride to the imposing gates of the monster school
The clinging of bells, the voice of the teacher in specs

The sharing of foil wrapped maggi with a friend so close
The drinking of hot water from the bottle in blue

The last period and the smile on face so cute
The evening prayer and the bus queue

As I grow up, I miss those days in small shorts
heavy sweaters, caring teachers, and a play time that was always short

In came the 12th and we found the world too small
no more small walk, no more wake up calls

A world of friends and flames
an evening of hangout spots and watching birds

an age of dreams to weave
an age of expressing love that was deep

an age of flying aspirations,
of worldly flavors and neighbour hood inspirations

the demon that was 12th board
the angel that was the subsequent result

as I grow up, I miss those days of attendance and rules
a life with friends, concerned teachers
of merry time that will never come back again

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ah Rail...

Everyone of us have some tale to tell when it comes to the great Indian railways.

Right from the days when we use to uggle and guggle and when a train journey in itself was a holiday, we have had fond memories of the black circle engine that pulled the red boggies.

When we use to travel with out parents to far off destinations we would wonder when we would graduate from staring out of the coveted window seat to the much exciting standing at the pedestals of the door.

The Giant bridges that stood on surging gigantic rivers,the dark long tunnels that appeared to be a gateway to the other world, the urge to stick out the neck so as to witness the breathtaking sight of the train in curve, all have left an indelible mark on our mind.

The long hours of the blissful journey gave ample opportunity to develop relations and friends. It was not very uncommon to share numbers and address of co-passengers and part with promises to keep in touch. Rarely were those promises broken.

The Majumdars,the Pandeys, the Singh, all would become part of one family as right from toothpaste, water, lunch,seats and even towels were shared.

Love stories too flourished in those not so small compartments. Eyes met,glances exchanged and a love story was all yours to talk, experience and write about. In winters of 1991 I was fortunate enough to be a part of one such tale. The fifteen hours journey was too small to even think of talking to her. But as we sat and waited for the inevitable to happen, love did flourish. And the epic love story ended sweetly with the colorful 'James choclate ' acting as the parting gift.

The urge to get down at stations, the craving to have tea from the station vendor, and the expectation of getting window seat, all added to the already jumping excitement. Those days the neighbor hood would know one month in advance that one of the near by family is going off for a hoilday. And 3 days before the actual journey, people would flock at homes, offering advice, giving eatables and clothes that was to be given to someone who would be waiting at one of the the station.

People come and moments go...some of them are remembered some of them are missed.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bihar diary January

Political equations are changing fast in Bihar as the Lok sabha election approaches.

The once bitter enemy , LJP party president Ram Vilas Paswan and the RJD President Lalu Prasad yadav have now come closer. Paswan has said Laluji has run his full course in Bihar and now it his time to lead the UPA to power in Bihar. Paswan described Lalu as his good friend and Yadav called the LJP leader a senior leader of India.

Yavav reciprocated by saying he would support Paswan as the next dalit prime minister and welcomed Paswan's decision to lead the UPA in Bihar. He also said he has no problem in Paswan's demand for 20 out of 40 lok sabha seats in Bihar.

Though both the leaders are a part of the UPA yet the relationship between them has never been too friendly. But with Nitish Kumar emerging stronger and popular with every passing day, the two leaders who call themselves as the messiah of the backward class find themselves sharing common platform and both of them have now accepted the fact that in order to stop a repeat of the previous state assembly election , they will have to compromise their personal agendas.

The biggest gainer in this political game will be Paswan who has nothing to lose when compared to Lalu.

If Lalu is routed in the coming elections, his entire political career would be at stake.Ranjan Prasad Yadav,now vice-president of the LJP and a close associate of Lalu for the last several years commented “Lalu knows, his future is sealed, hence he has come to the shelter of Ramvilas Paswan.”

He alleged that in the 2005 election campaign Lalu yadav used to tell people “ Burn the hurt”(Election symbol of paswan) and “Arrange funeral of Paswan”

Graph of Nitish Kumar has considerably improved in the last four years. He is working on development plank only and this won him the Politician of the Year award sponsored by a premier English daily and a News Channel. Nitish is camping in the villages to oversee the development works. He has also launched a campaign against corruption in the government offices and announced reward upto Rs five lakhs for the informers about corrupt officers.

Political observers of Bihar admit,Nitish Kumar will have a definite advantage in the Lok Sabha elections over his rivals-Lalu and Paswan.Lalu has become weaker with the Congress general secretary,Rahul Gandhi ,supporting the demands of the Bihar Congress leaders demanding more seats to the party nominees.

In the past, even the Congress candidates were decided by Lalu. Recently Lalu himself admitted “What Can I do if the Congress decides to contest all the seats.”

The Lok Sabha elections have upset the calculations among the BJP leaders.The film star turned politician, Shatrughan Sinha has announced his candidature from Patailputra constitutency.

The party spokesman,Ravishankar Prasad and vice -president of the state unit,R K Sinha,too have also announced their plan to contest from the same seat.

Visible Inner discontents are harbingers of an election mela. Surely the mela is all set to arrive in Bihar

MP Digest January

As with other states, MadhyaPradesh too has started to feel the effects of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections as both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress have started to galvanize their supporters to visit the electorates and woo them.

The results of the recently concluded state assembly elections have come as a booster for the ruling BJP, as a result of which many of the central leaders of the party who were searching for a safe seat have now turned their attention towards Madhya Pradesh.

Prominent leaders including Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani have been vying for a seat from Madhya Pradesh. The party high command in New Delhi is also facing lots of resistance against name of some sitting MPs due to inner discontent. Those leaders who created hurdles for their own party members during the assembly election are now themselves facing the heat now.

MP from Indore Sumitra Mahajan is facing inner revolt from one of her party colleague and Minister Kailash Vijawargiya who commands a strong hold in Indore. During the recent assembly election, Mahajan and Vijaywargiya were engaged in bitter feud over whose supporter will get the tickets.

In between all the political games, Shivraj Singh Chauhan has not lost his focus and is working on selling his image of a “Development” intensive leader. He has roped in management gurus to teach good governance to ministers and bureaucrats.

Chauhan has also decided to train his cabinet colleagues and officers in good governance. He may be taking a leaf out of Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar’s book, who too had invited management experts to teach the ministers and officers.

Chauhan held a three-days training camp for his ministers at the tourist spot, Panchmarhi, where management experts taught them lessons in good governance. He has decided to arrange similar training camps for the Babus next month.

Shivraj Singh Chauhan, has also engaged himself in mobilizing support of the unorganized sector in the state. He is regularly inviting members of these sectors at his CM bungalow on Shyama Hills and telling them about the different welfare schemes for them.

Last week, he called over 2500 rickshaw pullers and vegetable vendors of the streets to his house on lunch and asked them to take advantage of the different schemes of the state government . He announced Rs 800 subsidy for purchasing their own rickshaw and trolleys. Chauhan showed his skill by pulling rickshaws outside the CM house too.

Unlike his predecessors, Babulal Gaur or Ms Uma Bharti,Chauhan is keeping himself projected as good administrator and also a smart politicians, which he proved by getting the BJP re-elected for the second term in the December assembly elections.

He got the vice-chancellor of Bhopal's Barkatullah university, Bhupal Singh, a retired IAS sacked by the chancellor as the VC was facing several charges of corruption. Ravindra Jain,a professor succeeded him.

Chauhan who had earned a bad name during the infancy stage of his chief minister-ship two years back because of murder of a professor of Ujjan by the Vidhyarthi Parishad activists, has repeatedly sent out a message that he wants to keep the campus clean.

Some BJP leaders of the state who were trying to bring back former Union minister Prahlad Patel back into the party fold so as to use his stature in the Mahakaushal region of the state where asked to keep low as after many leaders of the party from the Mahakaushal region revolted. Patel had left BJP when Uma Bharti launched her own party. Later he was removed by Uma Bharti for not following her directions.

Congress on the other hand as is trying to reach out to the minorities by inducting former parliamentarian Aslam Sher Khan in the state Congress body as Vice President. Besides Aslam, several other local Muslim leaders have also been inducted in the state body. Post assembly elections postmortem revealed that the minority class had deserted Congress and this has led to a stronger thrust towards this section.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love requires Love

We all have the habit of taking things for granted. And when things go wrong then we start ruing that why we didn’t realize its importance when it was still with us. This is more true when we talk about Love.

For some it’s a kind of cycle. They start neglecting the same person for whom they did whatever they could do to come closer. This neglect is because of this realization that that thing is ours now. Gradually but surely this neglect leads to distances, and by the time any of the two realize, things change. Distances become unfathomable.

And then the same cycle begins. Regret and ruing for not being able to keep the relationship safe.

Is it not better that we give our hundred percent when we are together rather than giving more than hundred percent when we will be apart?

Coming closer, developing mutual love is more difficult than going apart. Something that is with us right now doesn’t asks for anything but attention and more attention.

One must not forget that it is not necessary that since it is with us, it won’t leave us.Complacency in relationship is more harmful than one can imagine.

When we are feeling upset, we seek more love and affection from our partner, but it becomes difficult for they boy/girl to express care and concern if we are snubbing his /her efforts and care. What if someone tells us that one more snub and love dies. Will we rebuke his/her advances again?

A call that is not answered, a sms that is not acknowledged, or a message that was being eagerly awaited but one that did not arrive, are small things. But they go a long way in strengthening love or weakening it. They represent a feeling that was felt for the receiver, only for the receiver.

A feeling that someone is very important to the other’s life is very pleasing and soothing but a feeling that inspite of his/her being there the partner is still not feeling any difference is very much saddening and it hurts deep.

Do not let your one of those moments of bad mood swings destroy your relationship.

Don't expect love to withstand everything. Maybe it will, but why take chance again and again. If love requires hundred collective steps from you and your partner to reach it's home, try to take all those hundred steps by yourself, maybe your partner will also think the same and you will have more love. Why wait for him/her to take the first step or why to assume that since you have covered your part of fifty steps, he/she will cover the rest fifty steps?

Good times are all yours, take it. Don't compare the earlier times with the present time. Who knows, looking back to these very times we will regret for being too busy in ruing and complaining .

Wishing everyone a very happy Valentines day. Love seeks more love, nothing else.

Who is right?

In Mangalore, pub goers are assaulted by an unknown group which calls itself the Ram sene. Their “crime”; spreading indecency and promoting pub culture.

Moral policing in our country, which traditionally has been called a tolerant culture that prides in accepting every thing with open arms, is not a new phenomenon. Every year one or the other group emerges in a part of this country and purports an ideology that violates the rights of the very individual that they seek to protect.

Ram Sena, Shiv Sena, Maharastra Navnirman Sena all these ‘sena’ follow the same ideology; to somehow impose their ideology on the common mass.

One of them is against the pubs, one of them is against the westernization of expressing love and one of them finds the concept of regionalism too hard to resist.

When these conglomeration of chauvinist come out on street to show and pursue their intent the result is trampling of rights; rights that accrue to a human being because he/she is a human being, not because they are prescribed under any law.

Right to enjoy life, right to express feelings, right to interact with members of the opposite sex, right of not to be manhandled, right of not being degraded and humiliated and many such innumerable rights are violated, trampled in the most bizarre way.

The surprising and the sad part is that it’s just not the illiterate section of the society that are associated with such chauvinism but these groups have supporters from the educated class too. Working class, students support this ideology and find nothing offensive in whatever they do. So is the theory that education opens the mind, a myth?

Is this not like the classical scenario of a fight between the ‘right’ and the ‘wrong’. The good and the evil? For followers of the 'Senas' the moral and the regional policing that they are practicing is correct. Their critics will give them hundred reasons to put forward their point but in the same breath the supporters will point out hundred and one reason to prove that they are right.

It is the personal perception that defines what is right and what is not. And then it is personal sensitivity that determines which of the two ‘right’ one will veer towards. But sometimes we ignore the fact that it’s the personal sensitivity that shapes up the sensitivity of the society and the nation as a whole.

Empowerment means the right to decide. Let everything be decided by those who have to take the call. The concept of state and citizens right emerges from this very notion; the right to choose without fear and without favour.


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