Sunday, April 29, 2012

Who sabotaged the Bofors enquiry?

Cong govt and its supporters 'killed' Bofors case: Arun Jaitley Published: Sunday, Apr 29, 2012, 18:09 IST | Updated: Sunday, Apr 29, 2012, 18:16 IST Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

BJP leader Arun Jaitley has said that the erstwhile NDA government made all efforts to bring the guilty to book in the Bofors scam and alleged that successive Congress-led governments or those supported by that party tried to 'kill' the case.

'I have no sense of guilt (on Bofors investigations) but have one regret that (though) the NDA did what it could, it is the Congress which tried to kill the case,' Jaitley said in an interview to Karan Thapar's 'Devil's Advocate' programme.

'You had long tenures of Congress or Congress-led governments which tried to kill the case,' he said.

He said that during the NDA regime from 1998 to 2004, the Bofors case was taken to its 'logical conclusion' and the CBI, which was probing it, acted independently of the government.

'The CBI made substantial progress in establishing the truth,' Jaitley said, adding that it was during the NDA rule that charge sheets were filed, Letters Rogatory were sent and the names of the account holders and the documents related to the pay-offs were procured.

Jaitley alleged that it was the Congress government which came to power in 2004 that asked the CBI not to file an appeal in the Bofors case though all documents in this regard had been prepared by the NDA government before it was ousted in the polls.

Earlier in an interview, former Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom, who owned up being the whistleblower in the illegal payoffs case, had said there was no evidence to suggest that then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had taken a bribe in the Bofors deal but that he did nothing to prevent the cover-up that followed in both India and Sweden to protect Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi.

Describing the Bofors case as a 'terrible chapter' in history, Jaitley said pursuit of truth in the matter is important and it should be disclosed.

He conceded that the suggestion of his party colleague Jaswant Singh that a judicial probe be ordered may have difficulties but a probe is needed.

'Jaswant Singh is a very senior man and when he says something, it is with full authority and the party agrees with him,' he said.

Jaitley said whether it is a judicial commission or a parliamentary committee or an administrative committee of the government, it should make a 'fair assessment' of what went wrong.

The intention should be that after 25 years of 'disclosure', the Indian society should know 'notwithstanding the fact that the entire truth came out, we were not able to prosecute the concerned people,' he said.

Asked why Congress President Sonia Gandhi was never questioned even during the NDA rule despite the fact that Quattrocchi was close to the Gandhi family, Jaitley said, 'Though she has a lot of explaining to do, it is for the CBI to decide whether to question her.

'The crucial question is--in swinging the contract where did Mr Quattrocchi draw his influence from? Facts established on record available with the CBI show that he was successful in swinging the contract. He was not an official middleman of the company. He got paid. Why did he get paid? Somebody has to answer that question,' Jaitley said.

The CBI is better suited to answer whether Sonia Gandhi should be questioned, he said.

He termed as 'complete rubbish' allegations that there was an understanding between the Congress and the BJP that Sonia Gandhi would not be questioned on the Bofors issue.

'This is a figment of your imagination. It has no truth and no connection with reality,' he said.

Jaitley alleged that the Congress government had advised India's mission in Argentina not to pursue the extradition of Quattrocchi as the 'process was too costly'.

'The CBI tried to give a burial to the case (during the Congress rule),' he alleged.

Mr Arun Jaitley thinks public memory is short and they have forgotten as to who sabotaged the Bofors enquiry.

It was a joint effort of both the BJP and the Congress.

It was a tacit understanding between these two political parties that you overlook my sins and we will overlook your sins.

The BJP found Bofors a good cow to milk during elections and raised the issue when there were elections and for the rest of the time they forgot about it.

Of course, we couldn't expect the Congress to take the initiative as Rajiv Gandhi and the whole Italian connection was involved.

This has always been the result of all enquiries before the Supreme Court started monitoring them by forcing the CBI to act.

If the Supreme Court/High Courts had not forced the CBI, all the scams which were unearthed in the last 3 years would never have been brought to light.

How True are Miracles

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

In a country where most people are religious and believe in superstitions and miracles, the toughest profession to take up is that of a rationalist. Be it the miracles proclaimed by the church or holy men and their remedies, even though many of them have been proven wrong, people continue to flock to these people and places.

Recently, a huge controversy had erupted over the claim that the water flowing from the statue at the Velankanni Church in Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam district was caused by a leak in the sewage system and not a miracle as claimed by the church.

The revelation was made by Sanal Edamaraku, president, Indian Rationalist Association. What followed was a series of threats from the church and also a case under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code -- outraging religious feelings by insulting religion or religious beliefs.

Edamuruku, the author of 25 books, has spoken out against miracles and god men in the country. In this interview with's Vicky Nanjappa, Edamuraku says he has sought to exercise his constitutional right to develop scientific thinking, while lashing out at the churches, Sathya Sai Baba and Baba Ramdev for the miracles and so-called magic theories that they promote.

How does it feel to be a rationalist in India -- a country that thrives on magic, miracles and beliefs? It is a question of choice, and the more difficult the choice is, the more important it is. No doubt it is a difficult task when one is a rationalist in a country where superstition is rampant.

Which religion according to you has the highest element of superstitions?

I would say every religion. However, there are a many that have a modern thought and others who have fanatics You claimed that there was no miracle in Velankanni, but sewage water. How has the reaction been?

They were shocked and outraged. They were trying to make a miracle out of that thing. The priest himself was leading the prayers and trying to show that it was a miracle.

They were collecting that water in a bucket and giving it to devotees. I had asked for a sample of the water, but they refused to give it to me. I found that there were hardly one or two drops which had come from the statue and the Church had mixed it with extra water and were distributing it to the people.

Later, I went ahead and touched the nail on the crucifix and found that there were drops of water on it. On further examination, I found that there was a sewer pipe behind the statue which had a leak. The church obviously did not like my findings and what followed was outrage.

People have a right to follow a religion of their choice. Is it right on your part to come in the way of that? I am not abusing any religion. I just feel that no one has the right to fool people in the name of miracles. I do believe in the right to belief.

You have written and spoken about Sathya Sai Baba as well.

Yes I have. Sathya Sai Baba used miracles to dupe people. He gave the impression that he was God. As a result, many bigwigs flocked to his ashram, and liberally donated large sums of money. I have been speaking on and also demonstrating how he did magic to rope in disciples, and trust me, it is very easy to do that magic.

But the other aspect to Sathya Sai Baba is his philanthropy.

Yes, that is there. However, the amount spent on philanthropy was only four per cent of the donations. The rest of the money was spent on extravagance, which is not needed for a human being.

So why do you think miracles are being promoted?

In the churches miracles are promoted so that it becomes a pilgrimage centre. There is a lot of money in such things. Once it becomes a pilgrimage centre then it automatically brings in the people who pump in a lot of money.

This is why churches artificially create miracles. What can one say about churches creating miracles when the Vatican itself has a policy of creating miracles? We have around 10,000 saints and a miracle has been attributed to each one of them.

Take the case of Sister Alphonsa from Kottayam. It is said that a boy with upturned feet was cured after he started to pray to her. Her tomb, in Bharanagaram in Kottayam, has now become a place of pilgrimage.

They are trying the same thing at Velankanni. There was also a failed attempt at the church in Mahim (in Mumbai) where they tried to say that blood was oozing out of Mother Mary's picture.

What about Baba Ramdev?

Baba Ramdev does not speak about miracles, but about magical remedies. He has been trying to say that yoga can work like magic. He says that he has the results, but his claims are not substantiated. I feel sad when I see people in parks rubbing their fingers to prevent themselves from growing old faster.

Ramdev has also said that tulsi (basil) leaves give protection from the H1N1 virus and also claimed that yoga can also protect one from HIV. These are baseless, and more importantly very irresponsible statements.

These people continue to have a very big following. Are people then basically stupid?

Yes, they do have a following. However, take the population of the country as a whole and compare the following these people have. The number of followers is not all that great.

Yes, Sai Baba was an exception. That is because it was systematic. They had identified loopholes in religions and exploited that. For instance, not everyone can enter a mosque or some other place of worship. That was never the case in a Sai Baba ashram.

How has the response been to your campaign against miracles been?

I have had a very good response. There are people who are interested in what I am trying to say. Many others agree with me, but have been either too oppressed or scared to speak.

Are there are threats to your life?

When I embarked on this mission, I was aware of the threats that would follow, especially in the case of the church which has been intolerant right from the time of Galileo.

On Tuesday, one Catholic organisation had even said that I need to put into a mental asylum and not sent to jail because I am talking rubbish. However, I will continue with my work, since I do not care about the consequences

The above is from All religions have their share of miracles.

I believe the following.

God, the Omnipotent, Omnipresent Power has made creation for no reason. He does not need any reason. Those who say He did it for His pleasure would be wrong. He does not need any pleasure. Pleasure, sorrow and other senses are for us creation who are bound by Maya.They are all beyond Him.

He has laid certain laws through which His Creation operates. He has also created the exceptions.

He has made a calendar of events for each of His creation for their whole living life.

We pray to God to make events go in our favour and we sometimes bribe Him by offering various items which we would offer Him if our wishes are fulfilled.

Our prays have no effect on Him. He has bound Himself by His own laws. We pray as it give us the strength to do what we are supposed to do.

The best prayer is Purushvatha, i.e your own effort, work.

If you you do your work and you get your desired result, you thank God. But that was already ordained for you, because of your effort.

If you do not get the desired result, in spite of your effort, it was not ordained for you.

As the Gita says, doing Karma (work) is in your realm, the fruits depend upon God only. This He has already fixed in the calendar of events.

God does not need your pray. He is above all these. Pray just helps us to gain strength during adverse times.

We thank God if anything has gone in our favour as we believe that is the right thing to do, showing our obligation.

When we go to any Guru to ask for anything, there are three possibilities.




If YES occurs, we thank the Guru and say it is because of him and claim it is a miracle.

If it becomes outright NO, we blame our stars, karma, previous life etc.

MAYBE is a dicey situation. One keeps hoping that we will get the desired result and continue praying to the Guru.

All miracles can be explained rationally if the religious

We have seen cases where the medical profession have given up all hopes and then the family goes to pray to the family deity and then the person comes back to life. You will see many such cases in the Hindi serials on our TV.

I can only explain, that we have still not understood the human body and science. We are still grappling to find out how things work. Well, it could because of some of these things which we still don't understand.

As science develops and explains things, they move away from superstition and religious rituals to ordinary day events.An example is the lunar and solar eclipses.Hindus used to think these as calamitous events where two demons Rahu and Ketu were swallowing up the sun and the moon and people used to pray and give away alms to propitiate these two demons.

Now people understand the event but still our Gurus and the TV media go all out to convince the people to follow those same rites.It surprises me on how the electronic media goes ga-ga on these eclipses to woo the people and yet they are the people who talk of rationalism.

How do the majority of Indians live?


Can anyone really live on Rs. 26 ($ 0.5) a day, the income of the officially poor in rural India? Two youngsters try it out.

Late last year, two young men decided to live a month of their lives on the income of an average poor Indian. One of them, Tushar, the son of a police officer in Haryana, studied at the University of Pennsylvania and worked for three years as an investment banker in the US and Singapore. The other, Matt, migrated as a teenager to the States with his parents, and studied in MIT. Both decided at different points to return to India, joined the UID Project in Bengaluru, came to share a flat, and became close friends.

The idea suddenly struck them one day. Both had returned to India in the vague hope that they could be of use to their country. But they knew the people of this land so little. Tushar suggested one evening — “Let us try to understand an ‘average Indian', by living on an ‘average income'.” His friend Matt was immediately captured by the idea. They began a journey which would change them forever.

To begin with, what was the average income of an Indian? They calculated that India's Mean National Income was Rs. 4,500 ($90) a month, or Rs. 150 ($3) a day. Globally people spend about a third of their incomes on rent. Excluding rent, they decided to spend Rs. 100 ($2) each a day. They realised that this did not make them poor, only average. Seventy-five per cent Indians live on less than this average.

The young men moved into the tiny apartment of their domestic help, much to her bemusement. What changed for them was that they spent a large part of their day planning and organising their food. Eating out was out of the question; even dhabas were too expensive. Milk and yoghurt were expensive and therefore used sparingly, meat was out of bounds, as were processed food like bread. No ghee or butter, only a little refined oil. Both are passionate cooks with healthy appetites. They found soy nuggets a wonder food — affordable and high on proteins, and worked on many recipes. Parle G biscuits again were cheap: Rs 0.25 ( $0.005) for 27 calories! They innovated a dessert of fried banana on biscuits. It was their treat each day.

Restricted life

Living on Rs.100 ($2) made the circle of their life much smaller. They found that they could not afford to travel by bus more than five km in a day. If they needed to go further, they could only walk. They could afford electricity only five or six hours a day, therefore sparingly used lights and fans. They needed also to charge their mobiles and computers. One Lifebuoy soap cut into two. They passed by shops, gazing at things they could not buy. They could not afford the movies, and hoped they would not fall ill.

However, the bigger challenge remained. Could they live on Rs. 32 ($0.61), the official poverty line, which had become controversial after India's Planning Commission informed the Supreme Court that this was the poverty line for cities (for villages it was even lower, at Rs. 26 ($0.5) per person per day)? Harrowing experience

For this, they decided to go to Matt's ancestral village Karucachal in Kerala, and live on Rs. 26 ($0.5). They ate parboiled rice, a tuber and banana and drank black tea: a balanced diet was impossible on the Rs. 18 ($0.27) a day which their briefly adopted ‘poverty' permitted. They found themselves thinking of food the whole day. They walked long distances, and saved money even on soap to wash their clothes. They could not afford communication, by mobile and internet. It would have been a disaster if they fell ill. For the two 26-year-olds, the experience of ‘official poverty' was harrowing.

Yet, when their experiment ended with Deepavali, they wrote to their friends: “Wish we could tell you that we are happy to have our ‘normal' lives back. Wish we could say that our sumptuous celebratory feast two nights ago was as satisfying as we had been hoping for throughout our experiment. It probably was one of the best meals we've ever had, packed with massive amounts of love from our hosts. However, each bite was a sad reminder of the harsh reality that there are 400 million people in our country for whom such a meal will remain a dream for quite some time. That we can move on to our comfortable life, but they remain in the battlefield of survival — a life of tough choices and tall constraints. A life where freedom means little and hunger is plenty...

Plenty of questions It disturbs us to spend money on most of the things that we now consider excesses. Do we really need that hair product or that branded cologne? Is dining out at expensive restaurants necessary for a happy weekend? At a larger level, do we deserve all the riches we have around us? Is it just plain luck that we were born into circumstances that allowed us to build a life of comfort? What makes the other half any less deserving of many of these material possessions, (which many of us consider essential) or, more importantly, tools for self-development (education) or self-preservation (healthcare)?

We don't know the answers to these questions. But we do know the feeling of guilt that iswith us now. Guilt that is compounded by the love and generosity we got from people who live on the other side, despite their tough lives. We may have treated them as strangers all our lives, but they surely didn't treat us as that way...”

Think about it, maybe some of us will start doing things differently. I found it interesting, hope you all do too.

The above was posted by Suvrajyoti Sengupta on FB.

I found it interesting, reminding me of a drunkard declaring after spending one month on an island. "I spent one month drinking nothing but water"

I found it interesting because it made news as two educated boys who were well off decided to find out for themselves, how the other 65% of the population of India lived.

If you just look at the hungry faces who sleep on the streets, you could have got the idea.

Mind you, not everybody who live on the streets are BPL.

Many of them have TV sets and other luxuries.

By the way, the government has drawn up new figures demarcating BPL population.

In urban areas it is Rs 66.10 and in rural areas it is Rs35.10.

I wonder why they have added the 10 paisa.

Even beggars nowadays do not accept any coins below 50 paisa and the Reserve Bank of India has declared the 25 paisa coin as withdrawn from July 1, 2011

This Jharkhand farmer spent 14 years digging a 'pond'

Dumka, Apr 29 (ANI): Need is the mother of all inventions, says the old proverb. Today's transformed world has evolved new experiences that modify the old adages too: Denial is the new mother of all inventions. And sixty five-year old Shayamal Chaudhary of Jharkhand proved it right by single-handedly digging a pond in his village with fourteen years of dedicated effort.

A farmer from Vishnu Pur of Kurua village, Sukhjora Panchayat, Shyamal Chaudhary, requested the Block Development Officer to have a pond dug that would fulfil the irrigation requirements of the fields. After filing several applications and visiting the officer many a times, a determined Shayamal lost neither courage nor his farming skills. Instead, he took this denial as a challenge and started digging a pond on his own land.fter fourteen years of continuous hard work, he not only created a pond but gifted it to the community that was going through hard times in the absence of irrigation related facilities.

Here is a person who is an inspiration in an agricultural country like India. He also reminds us of Late Dashrath Manjhi, the mountain man who independently brought down a 360-ft long, 25-ft high hill and created a 16-ft wide pass in place of an almost impenetrable space.

His twenty two years of hard work was inspired by his love, his wife, and got him international acclaim. The Government of Bihar not only awarded his efforts but also gave him a state burial out of respect. Dashrath Manjhi has made a place for himself in history. However, with Shyamal Chaudhary, destiny has played the game of irony as he has not been able to even garner the attention of his neighbouring villages, leave alone the state and the country.

Fourteen years of his life were committed to bringing a change in the lives of the farmers for which he demanded nothing. When Shyamal, a Class Eight dropout, started out, many people taunted him. He simply ignored them and remained focussed on his objective. "I never asked for help," says the farmer who started digging the pond in 1997 and completed it in 2011. The pond, 100x100 metres long and 22 feet deep, now benefits numerous villages in the vicinity: Kuruvaa, Petsar, Margadi,Beltikari, Vishnupur and Baiganthara to name a few.

On his nine bigha of land, Chaudhary produces a variety of vegetables and fruits like potatoes, onions, bananas and mangoes. He then started fish farming in the pond. The increased income is enough for the survival of his four daughters and a son. Quite happy with outcome of his efforts, Chaudhary feels that his life is blessed as the farmers now have a year-long solution to their irrigation woes.

Chaudhary asked the government department to help with a retaining wall and a pump set and pipes for irrigation, but all of his demands have fallen on deaf ears. The Officers did not pay heed, despite being aware of his remarkable achievement. Undeterred, he tried to access the Agriculture Minister Satyanand Jha, which has not produced any positive outcome so far.

When, on the one hand, India's farmers are committing suicides, a few like Chaudhary are willing to find a solution. The Charkha Development Communication network feels that such successful farmers should be encouraged by the government, which at the moment is woefully not the case in Jharkhand. Chaudhary is nevertheless moving ahead, ready to help his fellow farmers, irrespective of the attitude of the state government towards him.

Like Dashrath Manjhi, Chaudhary is living up to his ideals. He not only interacts with the farmers but encourages them to understand their real strength. Shyamal is delighted to see farmers around him respond to his effort. This is his real award. By Shailendra Sinha (ANI)

The above is from my Yahoomail through ANI

I am normally posting so many despondent articles, I feel this one will increase our faith on human effort is spite of non-cooperation from the government agencies who are supposed to do the work done individually by ShyamalChaudhary.

I suppose he did not have the money to grease their palms.

You will note I have put this post in the category of great men.

He has done a great thing - slapped the government.

This slap is more resounding than the one given to Sharad Pawar

Now, Mamata government targets woman professor?

Kolkata, April 29 (IANS) A woman professor who dared to take on a Trinamool Congress leader for allegedly throwing a jug at her inside the teachers' staff room now finds her dispute with a tenant being made public by the West Bengal government - in what is being seen as a bid to show her in poor light.

Holding a media conference alongside the tenant at the Writers' Buildings - the seat of power in the state - senior minister Subrata Mukherjee said Friday it was being done to show to the world outside "what kind of a woman" professor Debjani Dey is.

Mukherjee alleged that Dey had been mentally torturing and issuing threats to evict tenant Debasish Ghosh for one year. Dey teaches geography at Bhangar College in South 24 Parganas district. "This woman has made allegations against (Trinamool leader) Arabul Islam, the Trinamool and even (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee. The issue is on everybody's lips. The woman is making these allegations, lifting fingers... Everyone should know what kind of a woman she is," said Mukherjee.

The Mamata Banerjee government's strong retaliation - which left people surprised - came three days after Dey made a complaint to the West Bengal College and University Teachers' Association (WBCUTA) that college governing body president and former Trinamool lawmaker Arabul had flung a water-filled jug at her following an altercation over teachers' association elections.

Alleging that Arabul had barged into the staff room with some outsiders, abused her and then thrown the jug, Dey claimed she sustained a chin injury.

Arabul, however, denied the allegations and called Dey a hardcore Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activist. "This lady spoke to me at a high decibel level by pointing her finger at me. I only told her that she had no right to behave like this with the college governing body head. I also told her to lower her voice. That's all. But she has now made these false allegations," Arabul said raising a finger at the television camera. Accusing a section of the CPI-M of framing the incident to harm the college, he said a section of professors was hand-in-glove with the opposition party.

The matter became a national issue as both the print and electronic media picked it up, while educationists and other eminent people sided with the teacher describing the incident as an attack on education.

Dey initially did not dare to file a police complaint, but limited herself to lodging a complaint with the WBCUTA. Trinamool Congress workers laid seige on the college, trying to prevent teachers from entering the campus, shouting slogans allegedly threatening them with dire consequences, and then taking out a procession led by the party's student wing chief Shanku Deb Panda.

But days later, as more and more people empathised with her, she and a few of her colleagues met the Calcutta University vice chancellor Suranjan Das and Governor M.K. Narayanan. Finally, on Friday she mustered the courage to file a police complaint against Arabul.

The scene, however, shifted to the secretariat the same day, as Mukherjee introduced Ghosh and narrated his version of how he was harassed by the professor.

"He has complained to police eight times and also filed court cases. But police have not done anything. The reasons are political," he said, hinting at Dey's CPI-M connection.

When a reporter pointed out that it was the Trinamool which has been in power for nearly a year, Mukherjee said: "The chief minister will surely look into it."

Ghosh said he had visited the chief minister's office and later had an audience with her. "I was asked to narrate my plight before the press. I think Arabul is right. She often points fingers at me." Mukherjee, the state panchayat minister, said he was prepared to bow before professors, but "my body language will change if he/she is a CPI-M person".

Supporting Arabul's claim that he had not flung a jug at her, the minister said, "Why didn't she go to police or get a medical report? And if a professor does politics in college, there will be protest."

Mukherjee also gave a subtle warning to the woman's husband, who is a West Bengal Civil Service officer. When journalists wanted to know which department he was attached to, the minister replied: "Ask where he will be."

All this left Dey aghast. "Why are they dragging a private matter into this episode? How is it related? Just because I protested, my personal life and my husband's professional life is being dragged into it."

I will not say much.

This is the policy followed by the Congress for attacking any person who dares oppose it.

We saw it when old cases were dug up against Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi to harass them and keep them embroiled in legal web so that they would not help Anna Hazare.

This is the policy of Subrata Mukherjee, to rake up a tenant's case to discredit Dey.

Another method adapted by the Congress is also being followed here.

In the 60s and 70s decade when Indira Gandhi took the help of Chandrasekhar and Mohan Dharia to dislodge Morarji Desai and "the syndicate", anybody opposing Indira Gandhi was dubbed a CIA agent.

Once, Piloo Modi an MP, who was famous for his wit came into Parliament carrying a placard stating "I am a CIA agent"

The same is happening today.

Anyone criticizing Mamta Banerjee's high-handedness is being dubbed "a CPM agent"

I am sure the people of the state in the twin constituencies of Daspur and Bankura Sadar will give their verdict on June 12 of Mamta's one year in office.

Not that I support the CPM but now in hind-sight, it seems they were better than Mamata's arrogance.

They took ten years to become arrogant.

She has done it one year.

Jharkhand following Bihar's steps

Ordinance to check graft By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Ranchi, April 28: The state government proposes to set up special courts with powers to confiscate properties of public servants being investigated for corruption, a move similar to that of Bihar where chief minister Nitish Kumar has used several such seized buildings to set up schools.

Chief minister Arjun Munda gave his consent today to a draft of the Jharkhand Special Courts Ordinance 2012, which would ensure confiscation of properties (beyond known sources of income) of ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats against who cases of corruption were being pursued by agencies like the state vigilance bureau.

The draft has been sent to Raj Bhavan for the Governor's approval in anticipation of a state cabinet nod. Chief minister's principal secretary D.K. Tiwary said the ordinance would help usher in a corruption-free era in the state.

Munda, who had on previous occasions hinted to The Telegraph of such a move, seems to have fast tracked the measure in an effort to revive ' albeit to an extent ' the image of the state that has always scored low in terms of a clean public life, but has now taken another severe beating after the countermanding of the March 30 Rajya Sabha polls. After the promulgation of the ordinance, the state government would need to file an application informing special courts about its intent to confiscate properties, allegedly amassed by using ill-gotten wealth, of public servants till the final disposal of corruption cases against them.

A special court would, in turn, send a notice to the concerned public servant, and after completing some more formalities, the state would be able to seize such properties.

With this move, the Arjun Munda government is initiating baby steps to undo years of damage suffered by Jharkhand that now has a former chief minister (Madhu Koda), some of his former cabinet colleagues (Anosh Ekka and Harinarayan Rai) and a couple of senior IAS officers fighting corruption cases from Birsa Munda Central Jail.

According to a government source, the need for setting up special courts was felt because of the inordinately long time usual courts took to dispose of cases under Anti Corruption Act, 1988. Also, there have been several occasions when public servants, who have been facing trial, were able to sell their property even before the final disposal of cases against them.

"The number of corruption cases in Jharkhand is huge, so special courts would assist the main courts by way of ordering confiscation of ill-gotten property of public servants," another senior official said.

It is better late than never. Following Koda's arrest and Shibu Soren's sacking from the union cabinet because of murder charges, Jharkhand was branded as one of the more corrupt states of India. Arjun Munda in his earlier stint as the second chief minister of the newly created Jharkhand state could not do much as he resigned rather than be blackmailed by independent legislators. Successive governments in Jharkhand have gone from bad to worse and it touched the nadir with the reign of Congress supported Madhu Koda. Let us hope now it starts a new chapter with this step of Arjun Munda. Let us also hope, other states also follow the same example and pass such laws / ordinances.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Bangaru Laxman convicted

Fake arms deal case: Delhi Court to pronounce sentence on Laxman

New Delhi, Apr 28 (ANI): A Delhi Court will on Saturday pronounce quantum of sentence for former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Bangaru Laxman in connection with a fake bribery case in 2000.

In a huge embarrassment for the BJP, Laxman was earlier on Friday convicted for accepting Rs one lakh as bribe from a fake arms dealer in a fictitious deal eleven years ago.

Additional Sessions Judge Kanwal Jeet Arora convicted Laxman for accepting a bribe from fake arms dealers with the promise that he would 'influence' the Defence Ministry to award them a contract for the Army.

72-year-old Laxman, a former Union minister, was caught on camera in a sting operation in his chamber in the party headquarters.

He had to quit as president shortly after the sting expose, which created a huge political storm. (ANI)

This is a day for celebration for the whole of India.

At last a politician has been convicted within 12 years of the commitment of the crime.

Earlier, one Jaffer Shariff,a member of the cabinet, as Railway Minister, led by then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao was prosecuted after much dilly dallying in giving sanction for his prosecution. However, nothing came out of it as is the case with powerful, especially class politicians.

Nothing came out of the Bofors case as again Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress was involved.

Sukh Ram is a former union communications minister in Indian National Congress Government. He was a member of Lok Sabha from Mandi constituency of Himachal Pradesh. He won the Vidhan Sabha election five times and the Lok sabha election three times.

He was convicted only in 2011 for a crime he had committed in 1996, i.e after 15 years.

This conviction of Bangaru Laxman has occurred in 12 years, so it is an improvement.

Why can't these trial take place by a fast track court to complete the conviction in six months?

Justice delayed is justice denied to the people of India.

BJP & Congress Jokers

Anna's remark on voters' integrity disputed by BJP

New Delhi, Apr 28 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday termed veteran social activist Anna Hazare's remark that voters were not informed enough and could be influenced by money and alcohol to be his personal opinion, and emphasized that it believes people of the country vote with full honesty and integrity.

"This might be his personal opinion. The Bharatiya Janata Party responsibly believes that people of India vote with full honesty and whenever they want to they have the capability to overthrow big governments from power," said BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain.

Hussain, however, said such unpleasing incidents might be taking place in a few parts of the country.

" At some places, people might be doing such types of things with the help of alcohol and money. But 99.99 percent voters vote earnestly. We cannot raise suspicion on their honesty. They vote in loneliness and the decisions that are taken by them at that point of time are their own. The people of the country are honest and their honesty cannot be doubted. The Bharatiya Janata Party believes that democracy is powerful even today because the public has removed several big (political) players," said Hussain.

"People vote with full integrity. Few persons might be falling for money and alcohol, but vast majorities of people vote with full honesty even today. And the BJP salutes the voters of the country," he added. Hazare had earlier on Friday said that he would lose his deposit if he fought elections, because voters were not informed enough and people in the villages could be influenced by money and alcohol.

"I feel I should contest elections, but if I do so, I will lose my deposit. I will not do so. Voters are not alert.

An informed voter is the crux of democracy. In villages, even today if a Rs. 500 note is waved in front of people they will vote for you, and a drunkard will vote for you if he is promised alcohol," he said. (ANI)

Congress takes potshots at Anna's 'vote influenced by money, alcohol' remark

New Delhi, Apr 28 (ANI): Congress Party on Saturday termed veteran social activist Anna Hazare's remark that voters were not informed enough and could be influenced by money and alcohol to be a contradictory statement, saying there is a need to fight against corruption right from the bottom.

"This is a contradictory statement. At one place it's told that around 125 crore people are with us, and then making such comments. I have been saying this from the very beginning that this is a wrong way to fight against corruption.

There is a need to improve the society. We all, right from the bottom to the top, need to fight against corruption," said Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi.

"I am not saying that politics should not be freed from corruption. But we have to fight this battle right from the bottom then only the society will be free from corruption. We respect every voter and it is not right to put a blame like this on any voter," he added.

When asked to comment on some of the members of Team Anna willing to fight the election battle, Alvi said: "As per the Constitution, every individual has the right to contest elections. And if Annaji himself or any of this team members want to contest the elections then the Constitution gives them this right."

Have you noticed how all political parties, irrespective of their political affiliations gang up when it affects them?

Have you noticed how fast bills which benefit the political class financially are passed by both houses of parliament.

The BJP and Congress spokesmen have reacted exactly as per script.

They are liars.

Not only Anna but the whole of India know how politicians use money to purchase voters.

The DMK, by its own admission, lost in the last assembly election because the Election Commission seized the money which they were going to distribute among the voters.

Why only illiterate voters?

Even MLAs and MPs votes for the Rajya Sabha were being purchased in Jharkhand for which the RS elections in Jharkhand were countermanded.

Mess in IIT Kharagpur

IIT spares official under probe By Basant Kumar Mohanty

New Delhi, April 27: The Kharagpur IIT has withdrawn charges of alleged financial irregularities against registrar D. Gunasekaran and granted him voluntary retirement despite a CBI recommendation for departmental action.

The IIT's board of governors, which had earlier allowed framing of charges against the official, allowed him to retire with full pension benefits.

According to the Central Civil Service (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules of 1965, which IIT Kharagpur follows, an employee indicted for alleged irregularities should not be granted voluntary retirement before completion of disciplinary proceedings.

Gunasekaran had allegedly cleared an honorarium of Rs 2.1 lakh for some faculty and other staff towards classes and consultation charges for a self-financing course "in violation of his financial powers".

The CBI, which probed the allegation following a complaint to the Centre by a former employee of the IIT, had recommended regular departmental action against Gunasekaran.

After the CBI submitted its report, the IIT last year set up a committee under Justice (retd) Ronojit Mitra to probe the administrative lapses.

The Mitra committee, too, indicted Gunasekaran. The IIT's board then allowed charges to be framed against the official, who had by then proceeded on leave. The institute also suspended Gunasekaran.

But in a sudden move, the IIT's board last month decided to drop the charges and grant the official voluntary retirement, a source said.

"Gunasekaran was relieved on the 16th of this month. The board of governors granted his request for voluntary retirement. All the issues with him have been settled," officiating registrar T.K. Ghosal said.

According to the service rules, an employee who has been indicted by an investigating agency for any irregularity has to face disciplinary proceedings. He has to reply to the charges and, if required, a separate committee will have to be set up to look into the reply and suggest whether any action should be taken or not.

In this case, Gunasekaran should have replied to the charges and the IIT should have set up a committee to study his reply.

Gunasekaran has been alleging that IIT authorities were not taking any action against director Damodar Acharya, who has been indicted by the CBI in a separate case.

The CBI has recommended regular departmental action against Acharya for allowing increase of seats in a private engineering college when he was chairman of technical education regulator AICTE, although an expert committee had advised against the move.

When reached over phone, Acharya hung up. "I am in a meeting," he said before disconnecting the line.

Gunasekaran could not be reached on his mobile.

When the whole system has become corrupt, why should education be out of it. IIT Kharagpur seems to be specially susceptible to it ad there have been earlier cases. By the IIT governing body deciding to sweep everything under the carpet, it shows that it has got many more skeletons in its cupboard which they are not willing to expose. It is fit case for the Supreme Court to interfere to reach the proper conclusion through a PIL

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crime: 'she wagged her finger'

Calcutta, April 25: A college teacher sought protection from Calcutta University a day after a Trinamul Congress leader allegedly flew into such a rage inside the staff room that his gesticulating arm caught a jug and sent it crashing into her chin.

Debjani Dey of Bhangar Mahavidyalay said she was "terrified" at the thought of returning to the college in South

24-Parganas, about 35km from Calcutta.

"He was hurling abuses at us (teachers) and then he slammed a jug kept on the table. It flew at me and I started bleeding. I don't know how I will return to the college. I feel terrified," geography teacher Dey said today. Arabul Islam, former Trinamul Congress MLA and president of the governing body of Bhangar Mahavidyalay, denied assaulting the teacher but said she had "wagged her finger at me".

"It is my college…. I am the president (of the governing body) and this college teacher was raising her voice and wagging her finger at me. Just imagine," Arabul said standing on the college premises. "Let her remove the plaster and the truth will be out. It is all a sajano (fabricated) story," he added.

Why was he in the college again today? Was there a meeting? "No meeting. I was there because I keep going there," the former MLA said.

The leader whose name had hit the headlines a few years ago during the Vedic Village controversy had been nominated president of the pro-Trinamul governing body of the college three months ago as an "eminent local personality".

"If the people want me to be the college president, I will be the college president," said Arabul, whose affidavit for the 2011 Assembly elections says he is "10th Pass" and has assets worth over Rs 91 lakh. He lost the elections despite the Mamata wave but many feel rivals within had ensured his defeat.

The fresh controversy has broken less than a fortnight after Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra was assaulted and arrested in the name of circulating an Internet joke.

At the root of the college quarrel is a system devised by the Left ' and now pursued with vigour by Trinamul ' to pack governing bodies with sympathisers.

Popularly known as GB, a governing body consists of two university nominees, two nominees of the higher education department, the local civic councillor or the panchayat pradhan, the chief of the college students' union, two (elected) non-teaching employees of the college and four (elected) teachers.

Alimuddin Street used to clear the names. The local Trinamul leadership does it now.

The teachers of the Bhangar college had assembled in the staff room yesterday to select five representatives for the general council of the West Bengal College and University Teachers' Union. Arabul wanted a slot for a teacher of his choice.

Some teachers quoted Arabul as telling them: "You are CPM agents. I will hold you by the neck and throw you out of the college."

On STAR Ananda tonight, Subrata Goswami, a commerce teacher, said: "The president of my college governing body told me I will be stripped and paraded on the road outside for being a CPM agent." Political science teacher Malika Sen quoted Arabul as saying: "Bring that fair one out."

Another teacher said: "He had no business interfering with the election. But he did. We sought some time to decide and he left the room. Several teachers raised objections to his demand and that voice of dissent somehow reached him outside. He stormed into the staff room and started asking for Debjani Dey."

Dey said today the teachers were still deliberating the demand but somehow Arabul must have got an impression that the teachers were resisting his move.

"He was accompanied by several outsiders and all of them were using filthy language. They were banging on the table and saying 'how dare you object to the choice of our leaders…. You are all CPM agents and will be thrown out of the college'," said Goswami. "We don't know how we will continue teaching in the college."

Arabul said he was merely questioning the teachers about their performance in class when they got angry. "As I started questioning the teachers about the fall in the standard of teaching in the college and lack of teachers' attendance, that lady (Dey) started misbehaving with me," he said.

Arabul was the Bhangar MLA during the Vedic Village flare-up in 2009, which brought into focus how some politicians and realtors had got together to grab land.

After an arrest warrant was issued against Arabul's brother Khude, Trinamul removed him from the post of Bhangar II block committee chief. But Arabul contested the 2011 polls on a party ticket.

Arabul may not be the MLA any more but he still calls the shots in an area where the party controls every other body. Bhangar is part of the Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Trinamul's Kabir Suman. The party controls the gram panchayat, panchayat samiti and the zilla parishad.

Arabul's son Habibul is the president of the ruling Trinamul students' union in the college.

At the meeting with Calcutta University pro-vice-chancellor (academics) Dhrubajyoti Chatterjee, at least 10 colleagues accompanied Dey. "We will inform governor M.K. Narayanan, the chancellor of the university, of the attack on the teacher. The university will ask the district magistrate and the superintendent of police to take steps to ensure her safety," said Chatterjee.

Dey, who received a stitch on her chin, had not filed a police complaint till this evening. "No doubt, I'm very scared but no one can dislodge me from my workplace," Dey said.

Poet Shankha Ghosh felt people were getting frightened. "There is a tendency to dub any incident a conspiracy to malign the government and, doing so, the government is losing focus of the real issue. People are getting frightened by what is happening all around."

The above is from my Yahoo mail

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Of Mamata and Mati

from Sunanda K Dutta-Ray Like all dyed-in-the-wool democratic Indians, I was shocked and horrified at the arrest of a Jadavpur University professor and the secretary of the housing society where he lives. What was revealing, however, was that it wasn't the long arm of the law (if the police can ever be so described!) that hit them first. It was the mob. The mob beat up the two men and then got the uniformed goons-for-hire to continue their dirty work.

The sequence tells me that no matter how dictatorial didi might be, she didn't send her minions flying to do her ugly will with Henry II's murmured 'Will no one free me of this turbulent priest?' In fact, unfashionable as it has suddenly become to defend her, I must say I think it's most unlikely she had even heard of the obscure victims, Ambikesh Mahapatra and Subrata Sengupta, before the mob took them on. But politics being politics, she wouldn't dream of disowning even disreputable contractors and local toughs if they flaunt Trinamool's colours.

It's clear these people were sending a message to the 65 members of the New Garia Housing Society who will elect nine directors on May 20. Sengupta is the cooperative's secretary; given didi's virulent anti-communism, a self-avowed Leftist like Mahapatra is an easy target. His internet jokes, sent from the not-computer-savvy Sengupta's office computer, came in handy for the purpose.

But the heart of the matter is land, the second of didi's evocative triple commitment -- Ma, Mati, Manush, Mother, Land, People. A leaflet distributed by an organisation with suspected Trinamool links says of the estate, 'This sprawling, leafy housing is decorated with treasures besides houses that can be a cause for the envy of other complexes. It has an art gallery, library, temple, pond, health centre, cultural centre, administrative building and market complex, treasures that few complexes in Bengal can boast of.' It also has several vacant plots.

It was for mati that blood flowed in Nandigram and Ratan Tata was driven from Singur. The Communst Party of India-Marxist, or CPI-M , gave as much mati as they wanted to favoured financial backers to convert into lucrative housing projects. It also allowed a park in the best part of Kolkata to become a dump and then tried to hand it over to a promoter for a car park.

Such stratagems are not confined to West Bengal. The poor frequently provide an excuse for the rich to get richer. It's not unknown for state land, or land acquired for a worthy public purpose, to be handed to real estate developers whose commercial and residential buildings are sold in the open market, naturally with official connivance. Karnataka folk complain of a lake being filled in and government buildings torn down after officials with underworld links illegally transferred the land to a developer.

It's no secret either that black money is sunk heavily in grossly undervalued real estate. I can think of Delhi shopping malls with occupancy of around 10 per cent. The investors aren't worried because they are waiting for property prices to spiral even higher. A solution lies in computerising land records as in Bengaluru , but land mafias and their bureaucratic and political patrons strongly resist this in other cities.

Scams are not confined to Mumbai's Adarsh Housing Society. Many West Bengal housing cooperatives, even small ones, are dens of intrigue, corruption and mismanagement. Many are run by a pernicious combine of promoters, policemen and politicians. Government administrators provide only temporary relief. Sooner or later, the old committee members who sanction inflated repair bills for a cut are back in power.

Promoters rightly have a bad name, but they are also at the mercy of criminal gangs who impose a levy on every construction. A promoter tells me the CPI-M was preferable because it operated through recognised gangs subject to party discipline. "Now, a different group turns up every day demanding money and claiming to represent Trinamool!" It's the chief minister's weakness she can't control freelancers operating in her name. Nor will she repudiate them.

The New Garia Housing Society sprawls over 45 acres, which is huge for Kolkata. It's valued at Rs 100 crore. Three cottahs there (a cottah, Bengal's commonest unit of land measurement, is 720 sq ft) cost Rs 16,000 in 1976. The present price is Rs 30 lakh.

A fortune is up for grabs. The sharks are circling it. In saving the society, Banerjee will also save her own reputation and perhaps revive hope in her promise of paribarton, change.

The above is from my mail from Rediffmail

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mamta tom toms

After facing widespread criticism for banning some newspapers in public libraries, Mamta Banerjee on Thursday asked people not to watch two-three news channels "of the Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M)."

"There are two to three television channels of the CPI(M) that you should not watch. Instead listen to songs on other channels," she said, in the backdrop of the flak that she has drawn over recent developments like the arrest of a professor for circulating a cartoon online which the authorities thought was defamatory for her.

Speaking at an official function in Basirhat of neighbouring North 24 Parganas, Banerjee also advised the people to watch particular entertainment, music and news channels which she named.

A day after, addressing government doctors, the chief minister asked the media not to enter hospitals without permission.

"Don't enter hospital premises. Though I don't need permission, I still take permission of the hospital superintendent before entering hospital premises. I do it since that's a basic courtesy," she said.

With her government close to completing a year, Banerjee is also losing no chance to tom-tom her regime's achievements.

"I will give my government 100 out of 100," "we have completed in less than a year over 90 percent of the work we had set out to do in five years," she has said in various programmes.

On Thursday, the chief minister went a step ahead and said her government had done 10 years' work within this time.

Senior Communist Party of India - Marxist leader and leader of the opposition in the state assembly Surjya Kanta Mishra was bitingly sarcastic.

"She is herself the paper setter, examinee and examiner. She is doing the tabulation also. What more can I say?" "As railway minister, she has sent the railways to the Intensive Care Unit. Now she is putting the state on the road to the Intensive Care Unit," Mishra said.

Mamta Banerjee and Lalu Yadav have two things in common. Lalu destroyed Bihar first and then destroyed the railways. Mamta destroyed the railways first and is now destroying Bihar. Of course, Mamta's able assistant Mukul Roy is continuing Mamta's good work of destroying the Railways

How to eliminate kidnappings

Maoists on Saturday kidnapped the collector of Sukma district in Bastar area of Chhattisgarh after killing two of his bodyguards.

The left-wing ultras intercepted the vehicle of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon, an IAS officer, in Keralapal area of the district while he was returning from a village meeting, top police officials said.

Nearly 15 Maoists on bikes arrived at the spot and shot dead the two guards who were escorting Menon, before taking him with them.

A police team headed by Superintendent of Police Abhishek Shandilya has rushed to the spot, officials said.

Menon is a 2006 batch IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre.

Home Minister P Chdambaram called up Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh to discuss the issue. Singh has appealed to the Maoists to release the collector.

The home ministry has assured that all help will be extended to the Chhattisgarh government to help rescue the collector.

According to media reports, the Intelligence Bureau had inputs that Maoists may attempt to kidnap the collector. Menon had been advised

The seeds of this kidnap was sown long long ago.

No, not on 12th of March 2012 when the Odisa MLA was kidnapped. It was sown on at 3:45 p.m. on December 8, 1989 when one Rubaiya Sayeed, then 23 years old, was the unmarried third daughter of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, then Home Minister of India, was kidnapped by terrorists in Kashmir who demanded the release of terrorists in exchange.It was the NDA government of Atal Behari Vajpaye and he wanted show that he was pro-Muslim, so he released the terrorists.

That release was followed by another when Indian Airlines Airbus A300 en route from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India on Friday, December 24, 1999, when it was hijacked. Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-based group, was accused for the hijacking.

The aircraft was hijacked by gunmen shortly after it entered Indian airspace at about 17:30 IST. After touching down in Amritsar, Lahore and Dubai, the hijackers forced the aircraft to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The hijackers released 27 of 176 passengers in Dubai but fatally stabbed one and wounded several others.

India's lack of recognition of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan complicated negotiations between Indian authorities and the hijackers. Taliban moved its well-armed fighters near the hijacked aircraft in an attempt to prevent Indian special forces from storming the aircraft. The hijacking lasted for seven days and ended after India released three militants — Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar.

This too was under the NDA government and our Foreign Minister, Jaswant Singh himself personally escorted the terrorists to Afghanistan.

If the Indian Government would like to put an end to the kidnapping it should put in place a policy similar to Israel.The Israelis do not negotiate with any hijacker no matter who is hijacked or kidnapped. The go all out to eliminate the criminals who carry out this act. If any of our bonafide countrymen are killed in the process, their families should be suitably rewarded so that at least economically they do not suffer. Their families should be given a monthly income which is equal to what the dead person would have earned for the rest of their lives with the income rising annually with the rate of inflation.


One of the best lines I've heard lately was from a retired shop foreman at the old Republic Steel plant in Cleveland OH ....

When a young black kid was being laid off. The black kid said to the shop foreman: "You're firing me because I'm black!"

The foreman thought a moment and replied "No, we hired you because you're black."... "We're firing you because you are useless!"

I wonder if there is a hidden message in the above on our own reservation policy

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dr. E. Sreedharan

Dr. E. Sreedharan is from Kerala, Oommen Chandy was trying to get him involved in the Cochin Metro project but I am sure no other politician wants him as then there will be no corruption in the implementation.

The Bharat Ratna no one talks about

Dec 31st 2011

India had just lost the boxing day test match, with a day to spare. Star News was deciding who was the ‘Match Ka Mujrim’. Others were wondering when Sachin will finally score that created in the boardroom, 100th hundred. If an alien visited India around that time and switched on the tele, he/she would have thought our world started and ended with cricket.

Pretty sad, considering an event that slipped completely under our radar.

Dr Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, affectionately called the ‘MetroMan of India’, bid adieu to his 56 year long career of creating 21st century monuments. His exit was a reflection of how he lived; simple, elegant and completely inconspicuous.

Just pause for a moment and think.

56 successive years, in a single job, without a break.

56 Years.

In other words, Dr Sreedharan, worked continuously for a duration, in which an average Indian generally goes from the cradle to his/her grave.

And no one in the media was paying a tribute to this great man. They were not even talking about it. All they had was a silly ticker at the bottom of the screen, that said ‘Dr Sreedharan Retires’. No ten thousand word articles, no special Dr Sreedharan shows, nothing. It was like, it didn’t even happen.

Fundamental question is, Why?

Is it simply because, Dr Sreedharan, is not your quintessential Indian Success Story?

I mean, he is not a IITian, nor is he from an IIM. He is not from a minority community. He did not surmount racial and casteist prejudices imposed by the society. He did not fetch water at 4 in the morning and did not study under street lamps. He did not milk cows to pay for his education. He is neither an actor nor a singer. Neither is he a cricketer nor a cricketer who claims to be an actor.

He was just a simple middle class Indian, who went about his job.

In other words, he does not fall under any bracket that our media terms as ‘an Indian Success Story’.

And according to the media, not an ‘Indian Success Story’ meant ‘No tribute’. And this in a day, when even a guy like Chetan Bhagat will get a glowing biography on his life and times, the day he finally decides to stop writing.

OK, sod the the media. They have TRPs and paying news customers to take care of. But what about the government? They don’t have to answer to anybody. And this guy dedicated his entire life to them. At least they can do something.

But No.

When names were being bandied about for the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor, everyone, from politicians to Dhanush, had only one name, ‘I am stuck on 99′ Tendulkar. Infact lobbying for that guy reached such epic proportions, that the government actually changed the award criteria to accommodate that actor.

And Mr Sreedharan, who triple checks all the existing criteria, was not even being mentioned.

The travesty is all the more acute if you consider what Dr Sreedharan has done for our nation.


Date: 22nd of December in 1964,

Location: Rameshwaram town

For most of the non south-Indians, Madras and South India are interchangeable terms. But what you do not know is, South India also happens a favorite holiday spot for various cyclones brewing in the Bay of Bengal. And this South India is not Madras alone, but the entire states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

This geographical part of India has been hit by so many cyclones that nowadays meteorologists have run out of names

One such cyclone, hit the coastal town of Rameshwaram on 22nd of December, 1964. And it was a deadly one.

Not so long ago, south of Rameshwaram, there used be a bustling town called Dhanushkodi. It had its own post office, customs office and even a Railway Station. My bet is most of you wouldn’t have heard about it. Why?

Because on that fateful night, the Indian Ocean swallowed the entire town. More than 2000 Indians were killed. The ocean even ensured that, a passenger train which was beginning its last journey of the day at 11.15 P.M, made its last journey ever.

So where does Dr Sreedharan come in all of this?

As a sideshow, the cyclone destroyed the Pamban Bridge, the only bridge connecting Rameshwaram to mainland India. And this meant Rameshwaram was completely isolated. Considering the above cyclone something had to be done, and fast. At that time, Dr Sreedharan was a Deputy Engineer in the Southern Railway. And this piece of wreck was in his territory. Indian Railways, gave Dr Sreedharan six months to restore connectivity to Rameshwaram. Which was asking a lot considering

Dr. Sreedharan, had to convert this IN SIX MONTHS

Dr Sreedharan finished the job in ..FORTY SIX DAYS.

He took one month and 15 days to restore, THAT bridge, back to full operation. The bridge which was India’s longest sea bridge for 96 years, till the Bandra Worli Sea Link was inaugurated in the year 2008.

Forty six days to restore this 2.3 Km bridge in a state where another land bridge took sixteen months to restore after being washed away by a flash flood, in 2006.

There are some achievements that look cool, but once you get an award, you completely forget about them. And then there are some you won’t forget, even if you suffer a total memory loss.

This was one of those things.

For all this trouble, Dr Sreedharan got a Railway award consisting of Rs 100 and an awful looking plaque.

The process of short-changing Dr E Sreedharan, began in 1962.

Even If Dr Sreedharan, sat and twiddled his thumbs for the rest of his life, he would have been considered a superhero for his bridge-building awesomeness alone. Fortunately for India though, he did not like twiddling thumbs. Packing his bags for his next assignment, he set off to Calcutta, where he became the chief designer of the Calcutta Metro. And then, getting bored of railways in general, he took charge of India’s largest Ship building company, Cochin Shipyard. There he designed, built and commissioned India’s first indigenously built Merchant vessel, the Rani Padmini, in 1981.After building everything from trains to ships, Dr Sreedharan according to government rules, had to retire in 1990 when he completed 60 years of age.

But, when you are Dr Sreedharan, you don’t have the plebian privilege of retirement.

He was asked to go to Mumbai, to take charge of what was then deemed to be India’s toughest project since independence. It involved burrowing through basalt mountains, spanning kilometer long marshes and rivers and taking railways to a place where even the Britishers thought it was impossible. This region was the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, affectionately called, the Konkan.

The railway babus simply called this herculean venture, Konkan Railway. Naming things is not really their forte.And slapped it with a pathetic logo

This is what Dr E Sreedharan had to do.

Lay 760 Kms of railway track, through a terrain that had rockhard mountains, rivers and infested with snakes. Sreedharan had to

1. Acquire 5000 hectares of land from 42,000 assorted land owners.

2. Build 2000 Bridges, both major and minor, across Marshes, swamps, rivers and backwaters.

3. Blast 92 tunnels, totaling 83 kilometers in length through Basalt, nature’s adamantium and soft soil, nature’s china clay. You need nuclear weapons and Arnold to bore through the former while the latter generally collapsed on itself, if someone as much as released abdominal gases.

And then came the most difficult task in the Indian Index Of Difficult tasks

4. Dealing And Negotiating With The Chief Ministers, Home Ministers, Other Ministers And Their Chelas Of Four Different States.

And to complete all of the above tasks, Dr Sreedharan, was given 8 years.

It would be like Hercules being asked to accomplish his twelve tasks, blinded and with one hand tied to his back, in three days.Needless to say, he would have failed.

Dr Sreedharan, supposedly retired and who qualified for Indian Railway’s senior citizen quota, finished the job in 7 years.

Konkan Railway to me, is the second biggest achievement of Independent India, with the first being India remaining India. New standards will have to be invented, to realistically measure the impact of Konkan Railway on the Indian economy.

For starters

1. For the first time ever, three largest ports on the Indian coast, Mumbai, Karwar and Mangalore have a direct connection.

2. Travel time from the southern states to the north, have been reduced by upto 40 percent. The crummy old Nethravathi Express, used to take 38 hours to travel from Trivandrum to Mumbai.

Now, thanks to Dr E Sreedharan and the KONKAN RAILWAY the same train takes 22 Hours. A 16 hour reduction in travel time. And a 16-18 hour reduction in travel times of all trains going from Kerala,Karnataka, Goa to the North. All the trains.

Try measuring the impact. Don’t bother, you can’t.

And new levels of difficulty need to be established to measure the difficulty of this task. The sheer number of architectural impossibilities overcome by Dr E Sreedharan and his team in making this wild dream a reality, is mind boggling. All I can do is suggest you to go see for yourself.

However, there is one thing that encapsulates what all the above links have to say

THIS IS THE VIADUCT OVER THE PANVEL NADI. You will see this wonder of Modern India immediately after Ratnagiri on the Konkan Railway. In the 15 kilometer stretch between Ratnagiri and Nivasar, there are 3 tunnels and 5 viaducts. The third viaduct is the Panval Nadi viaduct, immediately after the first tunnel. The exact sequence will be —-> Big Tunnel, Massive Gorge, Big tunnel again.

Dr Sreedharan though, never had the chance to taste his success. In December 1997, one year before the Konkan Railway was thrown open to traffic, he was shunted to New Delhi to head a new organization. It was created to find a viable solution to the traffic woes of the aam aadmi in the national capital.

This organization was called the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation.

Of all the railway systems in the world, building a metro is the most difficult in the world. Most difficult, becomes impossible, when you have to build that damn thing under and over a megapolis.

Impossible reaches ‘You must be kidding me’ levels, when that megapolis in question is Delhi and the country in question is India.There are more people in this pic than there are in Canada.

Delhi Metro was not India’s first metro. Calcutta has that honor. But Calcutta’s ‘I built my own metro’ story, was one sorry tale

Sample this

1. It took 22 years to build the Calcutta Metro, A metro whose total length was 16.75 kms. In other words, Calcutta Metro construction dudes managed a grand average of, .76 kms a year.

2. The Calcutta metro suffered from debilitating shortages in almost everything. Shortages of funds, shortages in labour and shortages in everything else. The only they had in plenty was those damn shortages and bundhs. 3. And it was harried by the parent, the Indian Railways, every step of the way.

If the Calcutta metro was any indicator, the 168 Kms long Delhi Metro would have been beset with shortages, harassed by the Railways and would have been completed in A.D 2083.

If ever there was a movie made about Dr Sreedharan’s job, it would have looked something like this

Next time, any Dilli boy/girl tries to mock you or anyone with the moniker Madrasi, just mention the words, Metro-Sreedharan-Madrasi in the same sentence. The other side will shut up.

The successful execution of the Delhi Metro, made Dr Sreedharan the Tom Cruise of the Metro Rail universe. Every Indian city worth its salt, now wanted its own metro and Dr Sreedharan as its consultant.

One such city was Hyderabad. And the company executing that metro was a company called, MAYTAS INFRASTRUCTURE.

You know where this is going.

In September 2008, Dr Sreedharan, after observing as a consultant, sent the following report to the Planning Commission, Government of India

Making available 296 acres of prime land to the BOT [build, operate and transfer] developer for commercial exploitation was like selling the family silver. I fear a big political scandal some time later, as it is apparent the BOT operator has a hidden agenda which appears to be to extend the metro network to a large tract of his private land holdings so as to reap a windfall profit of four to five times the land price.

Planning commission, that plans little and develops less, as usual did not pay heed to this report. In fact they chastised Dr Sreedharan, for not backing up his allegation with necessary proof.

This is what happened, three months later

Remember how the scandal started? It started by Satyam Computers, arbitrarily taking over Maytas infrastructure, a company that was neither in IT, nor was a competitor. In fact the only link between Satyam and Matras was that it owned by Ramalinga Raju’s sons.

And sensing that Maytas was in big trouble, he ‘bought’ the company to save it.

And Dr Sreedharan, predicted that the company was in trouble, three months before the world knew it.

So let me just encapsulate, if that can be done, on what Dr Sreedharan has done for the country

1. He restored India’s longest sea bridge which was completely destroyed, in 46 days.

2. He designed India’s first Metro.

3. Supervised the building of India’s first indigenous Merchant vessel.

4. Executed India’s most difficult project since Independence.

5. Gave Delhi wallahs, something called the Metro.

6. Predicted India’s biggest corporate fraud, three months before it happened.

I don’t know how the Bharat Ratna nomination thing works. But I believe you stand a chance if you have done something good for the country. Now tell me, what has Dr Sreedharan not done for the country?

I mean when you can consider a guy who sells a computer anti-virus on prime-time television for India’s highest civilian award, Why is there not a whisper about a guy who has ensured 400,000 people on the western coast of India saw a train for the first time?

Or, was responsible for a sharp drop in road-rage killings in Delhi? Come to think of it though, I really don’t want Dr Sreedharan to get the Bharat Ratna. Because the Bharat Ratna does not deserve a man like Dr Sreedharan.


With best regards ,

Arun Nathan

Sent by Arun Shroff.

It is easy to recognize great people after their death but difficult to accept greatness in a living legend unless he happens to be a politicians then you will have thousands of sycophants showering greatness. Remember Devkanta Barooah and Indira is India. We see the same sychos now in Bengal eulogizing Mamta.

Some Wive's Jokes

Why are wives more dangerous than the Mafia? The mafia wants either ur money or life... The wives want both! ====

Marriage is like a public toilet Those waiting outside are desperate to get in & Those inside are desperate to come out.


No Man Can Ever Be Satisfied with 4 things in life.

(1) Mobile

(2) Automobile

(3) TV

(4) Wife

Because there is always a better model in neighborhood.


Searching these keywords on Google `How to tackle wife?` Google search result, `Good day sir, Even we are searching`.


Compromising does not mean you are wrong and your wife is right. It only means that the safety of your head is much more important than your ego!


Imagine living with 3 wives in one compound and never leaving the house for 5 years.Osama Bin Laden must have called the US Navy Seals himself!!!


Whisky is a brilliant invention. One double and you start feeling single again.


A friend recently explained why he refuses to get to married. He says the wedding rings look like miniature handcuffs.


It is said that when a woman closes her eyes, she sees the person she love the most; and when a man does that... the slide show begins.


It takes thousand workers 2 build a castle, Million soldiers to protect a country, but just One woman 2 make a Happy Home --------- A Good Maid!


Funny quote on a husband`s T-Shirt: All girls are devils, but my wife is the queen . . . . .of them!!!


A poor old lady's three successful sons sent each a reward gift to the mom.

(1) The oldest gave mom a big well furnished place house to live.

(2) The middle one gave Mom a big Mercedes Benz to drive and enjoy.

(3) The third one bought an expensive Parrot from church trained for twelve years to describe an entire bible or any portion of bible per owner's choice and gave to mom.

Mom sent a thank you note to all three.

(1) Johny, my oldest son the house you gave me is too big to walk and clean around and so is not much useful.

(2) Greggy, my middle son, I never drove or rode a car and I am uncomfortable. So your Mercedes is no good.

(3) My baby son, you have always understood Mom. The chicken you sent, I killed and cooked. It was so delicious, I never had this taste before.


No English dictionary has been able to explain the difference between the words 'COMPLETE' Vs 'FINISHED' in a way that's so easy to understand:

When you marry the right one, you are COMPLETE.

When you marry the wrong one,you are FINISHED.

And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED. it is call vicious circal of Wedding Ring...... your wife is ring master......

Sent by Prakash Bhartia

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Turnout contrast at protests

Two thousand teachers and students took part in a rally on Wednesday to protest the arrest of Jadavpur University teacher Ambikesh Mahapatra while a Trinamul Congress attempt to counter it with one of its own drew barely 150 people.

The participants at the rally organised by Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (Juta) marched from the university’s central library to Triangular Park, the entire 4km stretch dotted with onlookers.

Mahapatra, who had been beaten up and arrested for circulating an Internet joke on chief minister Mamata Banerjee, joined the rally that started around 4pm. Several former vice-chancellors, such as Ashok Nath Basu of JU and Swapan Pramanik of Vidyasagar University, were also part of the protest march.

“I cannot recollect a rally like this, where teachers of so many institutions have taken part spontaneously,” said Keshab Bhattacharya, a teacher at JU.

The procession by pro-Trinamul teachers started at College Square around 4.30pm. About 150 people walked about half a kilometre to Subodh Mullick Square to condemn the lampooning of the chief minister on the Internet.

“We want to know who instigated Mahapatra to post derogatory content on a social network,” said Debashish Chattapadhya, principal of South Calcutta Law College.

Though the rally by the CPM-backed Juta saw the participation of CPM leaders Sujan Chakrabarty and Anjan Bera and pro-Left teachers’ bodies, the organisers said it was an apolitical protest.

Only posters and banners, and not slogans, were used to take a dig at the government. The participants sang We shall overcome through the one-hour walk.

“We don’t find any qualitative difference between the Left Front and the Mamata government. The issue here is assault on a teacher and his arrest on flimsy grounds. If this government is not restrained, similar harassment might befall us any day,” said Jishnu Dasgupta, a member of West Bengal College and University Teachers Association.

A group of teachers went to Raj Bhavan and submitted a letter to governor M.K. Narayanan’s office, urging him to stop attacks on teachers.

Teacher released: Partha Sarathi Roy, an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research held on April 8 for his alleged role during the Nonadanga protest, was released on bail on Wednesday. “I was at my institute in Kalyani during the Nonadanga eviction,” he said.

The above is from The Telegraph.

We have tried the CPM and its allies for 34 years and know they made a mess of everything from education, finance, industries, business and family relations.

We have had Mamta didi for almost a year now and are looking at the prospects of having her for another four years, truly appalling.

As it looks at present, we in Bengal will have no choice but to go back to the CPM after four years. Form the frying pan to the fire again.

But do we need to do that.

Can't the intellectuals who were in the above procession lead the people of Bengal out of this mess?

I am sure there will be lakhs of people who will support them to get a new government free of CPM & Trinamul hoodlums.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our Honest Madam President?

Government employees are entitled to various fringe benefits. And if you happen to be the President of India the extravagance could be imagined.

But should that be at the cost of public money?

As per news reports, President Pratibha Patil is building a lavish 4,500 sq ft bungalow near Pune.

It should cost Rs 80 m.

But for that two defence bungalows meant for soldiers and officers have been brought down. Approximately 261,000 sq ft of land has also been taken over to build this paradise.

Now, as per law the president is entitled to 2,000 sq ft bungalow in any part of the country. So, there is a clear violation of space.

The irony is that once the entire episode came into picture the government is coming out with lame excuses to defend its move.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan says that the defence bungalows are being pulled down for renovation and the space guidelines for presidential residence are indicative in nature.

Now, no matter what the truth/guideline is. The said act displays that Right to Information (RTI) act should be made stringent.

Our Honourable Madam President was steeped in corruption charges before she assumed office. Now when she is leaving office the same charges of using her office to gain unfair advantage has again risen. Gone are the days when prime ministers like Lal Bahadur Shastri and Gulzarilal Nanda died with hardly any money in their bank balance.

Nowadays, our leaders would like to eat their cake and also keep it not only for themselves but for another 10 generations.

Just compare our leaders to one of the former Presidents, Harry Truman, of the USA which I had posted a few days back and which I am again adding below.

Of course, its another matter that the present day American presidents may beat ours in the money they try to squeeze out from their own country to support their extravagance.

Harry Truman was a different kind of President.

He probably made as many, or more important decisions regarding our nation's history as any of the other 42 Presidents preceding him. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.

The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence Missouri . His wife had inherited the house from her mother and father and other than their years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.

When he retired from office in 1952 his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an 'allowance' and, later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no Secret Service following them.When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, =You don't want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale."

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, "I don't consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, congressional or otherwise."

As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food.

Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices.

Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, "My choices in life =here either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference!


When southern Florida resident Nathan Radlich's house was burglarized
recently, thieves ignored his wide screen plasma TV, his VCR, and even
lefthis Rolex watch. What they did take, however, was a "generic white
cardboard box filled with a grayish-white powder." (That's the way the police
report described it.)

A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale police said, that "it looked similar to
high grade cocaine and they'd probably thought they'd hit the big time."
Later, Nathan stood in front of numerous TV cameras and pleaded with the
burglars: "Please return the cremated remains of my sister, Gertrude. She
died three years ago"

The next morning, the bullet-riddled corpse of a local drug dealer known
as Hoochie Pevens was found on Nathan's doorstep. The cardboard box was there
too; about half of Gertrude's ashes remained. Taped to the box was this note which said:
"Hoochie sold us the bogus blow, so we wasted Hoochie.

Sorry we snorted your sister.

No hard feelings. Have a nice day."

And you thought California was the land of fruits and nuts!

Sent by Prakash Bhartia

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The MNS menace

MNS chief Raj Thackeray, after daring Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to celebrate Bihar Divas on April 15 in Mumbai, has abruptly changed his mind. This time, Thackeray appears to have set aside his larger political calculus — one that involves mobilising the Maratha manoos by picking on Mumbai’s most vulnerable migrants, many from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, who provide many of the city’s essential services and prop up its informal economy. Though it was first crafted and practised by the Shiv Sena, the recent municipal polls confirmed that the MNS now owns that brand of politics. It has worked hard to achieve this, harassing cab-drivers and milkmen, threatening scholars, movie producers and even other politicians.

The tragedy of Maharashtra is that this agenda seems to dominate everything, with no other party daring to present a confident, liberal alternative. Almost every time, the MNS has set a line and all the others have lined up behind it — for fear of alienating the angry urban voter. The Congress and the BJP think they can continue this hypocrisy, saying one thing in Maharashtra and another in north India. In the process, they have all colluded in turning Mumbai, once the hub of Indian modernity, open and inviting to hopeful outsiders, into an intolerant hick town. Mumbai’s politics has remained merely an arena for venting grievance, instead of working on its desperate crises in employment, housing and infrastructure, its power deficit, its inability to convert investment promises into projects. And so, the MNS goes from strength to strength, working on the fears and lack of self-worth in its core constituency, those who think that migrants come and “steal jobs”, rather than recognising that the labour market stretches, in a flexible economy.

Compare Raj Thackeray’s worldview with that of the man he almost confronted, Nitish Kumar. Nitish also appeals to group pride — Bihar’s administrative successes and the upswing in its fortunes have created a new self-image for its people. Nitish’s visit to Mumbai is also a political strategy, but it is about celebrating being Bihari, of working around the country as well as preserving loyalty to Bihar while Thackeray’s political strategy is about confining Maharashtrians to the least they can be.

The above is from the Indian Express

Just compare them.
on the one hand we have have the Marathi Manoos in Maharashtra and on the other hand we have Maa Mati Manoos in Bengal.
Do you find any difference?
Both have fascist tendencies.


- Thirty-four years in thirty-four weeks
The Thin Edge: Ruchir Joshi

Madam Chief Minister Banerjee,

I am writing this letter to you on my own computer and sending it out for publication via my own email. I am not, and have never been, a member of any political party, of any communist party anywhere including the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M).

I am a citizen of India, of West Bengal, of Calcutta, and I live in the constituency you formerly represented as an MP — South Calcutta.

I have also never been a supporter of yours or of your party, though I was certainly among the millions who celebrated after the election results last year. All of us were celebrating the end of the long, incompetent, corrupt, oppressive rule by the Left Front, even though I’m certain some millions of us were anxious as to what your tenure in power would bring.

But we had believed in the hope of paribartan. I think we, the sceptical West Bengali millions, were hoping that you would lead a better, cleaner, fairer government than the disgraced, departing Left Front. In the euphoria of the election results it was impossible to imagine that you could do worse than Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government.

I myself made a resolution that I would not write anything critical of you or your administration for at least one year. It was only fair, given the huge mess you were inheriting, a mess that was not only administrative and financial but also, centrally, moral. The Left had so completely dismantled and thrown away all decency and humanity in matters of State that you could trace the roots of all their other failures to this institutionalized immorality; surely you had to be given a fair chance to begin to clean up this overflowing sewer?

Sadly, despite my best efforts, I’m going to fall short of my promise by exactly one month. I am now forced to write to you openly in this column. Madam, in only eleven months you have proved yourself to be a grotesquely disastrous chief minister.

Before taking on any of the other challenges, your primary challenge was the moral one: to stem the corrosion of morality and honesty in public service. The Left had subverted the state police into becoming their armed peons, you were supposed to counter that by bringing back genuine independence of the police and security forces. The Left had overseen the gang-rape and assaults on women from Bantola and Birati to Nandigram, you were supposed to do the opposite, especially as you yourself were one of the women their goondas had grievously assaulted. The Left had ruthlessly attacked anyone who criticized them, using State machinery to silence and sideline dissent, you were supposed to ensure that democracy and freedom of speech were once again protected, and yes, precisely, even at a cost to yourself and your party.

Instead, we can now see that you yourself were already deeply corroded by those years of Left rule. Instead of being the chief surgeon who could excise and help cure the corruptions of absolute power, you yourself were terminally infected by the Baam Front rot, by their poisonous paranoia, by their vengeful megalomania.

You and your administration have achieved what we thought was impossible in such a short time: you have actually increased misery and sadness inside the state, even as you’ve turned Bengal into the laughing stock of the rest of India. If, under the Left Front, the rest of India used to pity us and snigger at us, now the country is just laughing at us, belly-laughter mixed with open contempt.

If the communists spent the last fourteen years of their rule doing nothing other than clinging on to power by whatever means, fair or foul, it was after they had tried to actually do something for the people for the first twenty years, even if they were wrong-headed, even if they were incompetent and without any genuine vision, even as their too-long reign began to inject acid into their souls and spines. What we did not foresee, what is truly terrifying, is that you seem to have scrunched that trajectory of thirty-four years into thirty-four weeks.

Madam, perhaps it might be time for you to resign and go.

Had someone in your administration, whoever was in charge of fire safety, taken responsibility and resigned after the AMRI fire, it may not have come to this. Had you fought your own rising paranoia and kept from commenting after the Park Street rape, it may not have come to this. Had you realized that you had not only offended the modesty of a rape victim but the collective conscience of Bengal and unreservedly apologized to the woman, it may not have come to this. Had you not transferred the police officer who proved that rape, you could have perhaps escaped this situation. Had you kept from compounding your mistake by similar irresponsible and callous comments about other assaults on women, or on the murders in Burdwan, it may have been different now. Had you not treated every bit of tragic news as only a lens through which to gaze lovingly and protectively at yourself, you may still have kept some credibility. Had you avoided attacking newspapers and TV channels that were critical of you, you would have been left with some democratic honour. Had you not pushed out your own minister from the door of the runaway train of your rule, there would have been no mild photo-cartoon sent to 25 of the 90 million people you rule and no criminal over-reaction from your party goondas and your paaltu police. As it is, you now oblige us to remember that adage about history repeating itself, first as tragedy and then as a farce: if the Left Front was the tragedy, you — and since there is no one but you in your Trinamul, you, solely — are the macabre farce.

Madam, one of the most bizarrely funny things you’ve kept repeating during your election campaign and afterwards is how you want to turn Calcutta into London. Well, perhaps it’s high time we imported some aspects of London culture. For instance, let me tell you how the last four British prime ministers have been portrayed in cartoons in London newspapers: John Major, always wearing his underpants outside his trousers; Tony Blair, as a one-eyed monster, sometimes as a one-eyed poodle trotting after George W. Bush; Gordon Brown, as a square, financial thug and bouncer; David Cameron, repeatedly, as an empty, blown-up condom. Along with these, they have also repeatedly had George Bush as a rampant, psychopathic chimpanzee, (once actually wiping his bottom with the UN logo), they’ve had Nicolas Sarkozy as all sorts of ferret-like animals, Berlusconi as a lecherous octopus and, recently, Angela Merkel as a dominatrix in skimpy black leather costume and fishnet stockings, wielding a financial whip over the exposed backsides of other European leaders. Besides this, one of the most widely read British satirical magazines, Private Eye, almost always has actual photographs of leaders and royalty with fictional speech bubbles coming out of their mouths, saying the most outrageous things. Let me tell you, no one has ever sued about these portrayals, no one is beaten up, no one is arrested, no one even lodges a written protest.

Madam, as one who had set such high hopes in you, I might be speaking for millions like myself: you need to resign and go, leaving us at the beginning of this Bangla new year to recover the best we can. May I suggest that after you resign, you plan a short or long visit to London? You will find they actually do dynamic new things to the city, like the huge Crossrail construction that’s now in progress, but that no one, neither premier nor mayor, can unilaterally decide to paint the city a bilious blue. You will also find they take rape and assault very seriously over there, and cartoons very lightly indeed. As you take in the reality of this culture and the courage of this freedom of speech, may I hope that you will begin to realize why you never deserved — forget being a world or national leader — but why you never actually deserved to be in charge of a state such as Bengal for even thirty-four days?

I think the above letter sent by Ruchi Joshi, expresses the feeliings of ALL Bengal