Friday, June 30, 2017

From Renuka Shahane Post


Junaid was lynched by a mob of cruel human beings. I don't care what religion those lynchers belonged to. Nor do I care what religion Junaid belonged to. I only care about one thing. A group of mean, cruel human beings killed a teenager and assaulted three other young men brutally! 
Junaid was 16.
My elder son will turn 16 next year.
My heart breaks for Junaid's mother.
Not only did a group of cruel human beings kill Junaid, another group of cruel human beings egged them on. Junaid was also killed by those cruel people who witnessed the insanity & chose to remain silent. 
There are some cruel people who justify this lynching.
Yes! Hate allows for all sorts of justification. There has been a long list of these lynchings. It has become so common that no one talks about it. Nobody asks questions about what happened to the perpetrators. Whether they were caught & given the strictest punishment or whether they were released to unleash more violence!
I cannot fathom how anyone can kill unarmed, innocent human beings!
I cannot fathom how people can justify this horrific violence! 
Instead of taking law into their own hands why are police complaints not made?
Is it because the lynch mob knows that there is no reason behind what they have done?
All they want to do is to kill in the name of hate.
Whichever religion, ideology, language, ethnicity you belong to, lynching done in any name cannot be condoned!
We've suffered so many riots, terrorist attacks, pogroms, lynchings but we haven't learnt anything.
The bottom line is that innocent human beings become the target of that hate. They are usually poor. They are usually those who are incapable of fighting back. It is really too, too disheartening.
Innocence dies when hate rules!

I cannot be a part of those who encourage hate. 
I was with the Ekta Manch marching from Parel to Azad Maidan singing " Hum hongey kaamyaab...." to promote brotherhood between fellow citizens of all faiths in 1993 after the horrendous riots followed by the heinous bomb blasts in Mumbai.
I marched to the Gateway of India to protest the utter failure & crass mishandling of 26/11 by the then Congress Govt in the State and the Centre in 2008.
I supported the Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement when he waged the civil battle against the UPA 2 Govt at the Centre.
I was vocal about women's safety after the horrendous rape & murder of Jyoti Singh as well as Pallavi Purkayastha as well as the sickening hacking of Swathi.
Today I stand firmly against the lynch mentality that has an active political patronage in our country.
I do not belong to any political party. I am a citizen of one of the finest democracies in the World. That is why it is so important for all of us to respect & protect the tenets of our Constitution. 
I, as a proud citizen of India, do not conform to the views of anyone who actively or passively supports this lynching. 
My allegiance lies with the Constitution of India.
If the Govt or any other body does anything to undermine the basic tenets of democracy in our country, I will vocally oppose it.
I so wanted to be a part of the peaceful civil protest at Carter Road today but I can't. But I will not be a part of this hate!
I do not want my children to inherit this hate.
I will not have the blood of innocents on my hands.


Thursday, June 29, 2017


PBT will launch a new branch in Mumbai to offer help and guidance to the hapless patients in the Mumbai and surrounding area. 
For this purpose, an open public seminar will be held at Mumbai Press Club at 5 PM on 1st July, 2017 where PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha and many other honest doctors and social activists will also be present. 
All conscientious doctors, ordinary citizens and victims of “medical negligence” are invited to attend this historic occasion. 
Admission if free. 
More information may be obtained from Ms. Nalini Suchde (Tel: 9867287911) who will be PBT’s coordinator for the Mumbai area. 
Dr. Saha may also be reached directly at his local (Delhi) cell phone at 9958744305 or via email at ANKU@AOL.COM.



In a rare move by the Medical Council of India (MCI), 7 Kolkata-based doctors were found guilty by the highest medical authority in India. MCI has directed the state medical council (WBMC)to take appropriate steps to suspend the negligent doctors’ medical registration for a period of 1 year. Both these victims came to PBT after their loved ones died from alleged medical negligence. PBT helped and guided these victims to lodge an appeal under Section 8.7 of MCI Code of Ethics & Regulations, 2002 after WBMC remained silent and refused to investigate complaints against the doctors for more than six months. It may be noted that Section 8.7 (right to appeal to MCI if a state medical council does not investigation within a period of 6 months) was enacted into law in 2004 as a result of a historic PIL filed by PBT in the Supreme Court (W.P. Civil No. 316/2000).
Drs. Ravi Bhardwaj, Prasenjit Sarkar, Debraj Roy, Prasun Halder, Atul Bajpayee and Arindam Sarkar of ILS Hospital in Dumdum, Kolkata were found negligent for causing death of 35-year old Indrajit Roy, a recent PhD graduate and son of Ranjit Roy, a retired bank executive and now an active PBT government body member, died from gross negligence after he suffered a simple fall from the stairs and ruptured a vessel in abdomen. Doctors in this premier hospital simply ignored the serious bleeding internally which eventually led to unfortunate death.
In the other case, an elderly mother of Somenath Chakrobarty, worker in a local factory, was taken to the ESI Hospital in Maniktola, Kolkata after she complained of chest pain but she was returned home with any real treatment and eventually died. Dr. Darpanarayan Datta was found guilty by MCI and his license was also ordered by MCI to be suspended for a period of 1 year (see news below).

Although PBT welcome this new development from MCI, it is unlikely that any of these negligent doctors are likely to stop their practice anytime soon. We have at least 17 doctors whose medical registrations have been suspended by MCI over the last several years as a result of our relentless fight and the new provisions in Section 8.7/8.8, the respective state medical councils have refused to accept MCI’s order in all these cases. The WBMC never even suspended the registration of the most notorious of these cases, i.e. Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee whose license was directed to be canceled by MCI for wrongful death of Anuradha Saha, wife of PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha. A legal battle is still going on in this matter.

Lynchistan or Lynch Raj - which name do you prefer.

Letter to PM

"Lynchistan" and "Lynch Raj" are the words being used as hashtags on social media. But on Wednesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi was directly asked whether the frequency with which lynchings were taking place this as a reality under your rule and accept.

Listing the instances of targeted violence against certain marginalised communities and underscoring the adverse impact of the action against slaughter houses on these very people, the AIMMM letter says they are being squeezed on multiple fronts.

The letter also underscores the need to ensure rule of law in the country to keep restless youngsters from getting attracted to groups like the ISIS. "The continuous and unchecked atmosphere of distrust, discrimination and violence against them would be dangerous for peace in the country," the AIMMM - an umbrella organisation of Muslim groups - has cautioned.

United show of humanity - Delhi to Patna, spontaneous turnout of people to protest against lynching

Nishant Sinha and PTI
A demonstrator holds up a "Lynch Map of India" poster in New Delhi on Wednesday at the Not in My Name protest against lynchings. Picture by Prem Singh

June 28: Thousands of ordinary people across the country came out on the streets today in a citizens' protest with the clarion call of "Not in My Name" against the recent incidents of mob lynchings from Kashmir to Jharkhand to Haryana.
What was extraordinary about the protests was not their widespread nature or the number of people who attended them, but that it was a spontaneous outpouring of anger and frustration. There were homemakers, activists, celebrities, office-going folk, students and even little children - but there were no political leaders or political party banners.

A few Left party activists could be spotted among the hundreds of people who gathered at Kargil Chowk in Patna, but they did not wear their party affiliations on their sleeves.

Filmmaker Saba Dewan had started the Not in My Name campaign on Facebook after Junaid Khan, 15, was stabbed to death on the Delhi-Mathura Passenger on Thursday evening while the mob beat and knifed two of his brothers, a cousin and a friend. The boy hailed from Ballabhgarh, a Haryana town 60km south of Delhi, and was returning from the capital after Id shopping.

"In recent times a tendency has been growing in the country of identifying people from a particular religion who are then subjected to some form of violence or other," said Rupesh of the NGO Nagrik Forum, who was there at the protest in Patna. "This has been seen in Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, particularly in states ruled by the BJP. Today we have gathered to protest these organised killings."

Another social activist, Alok Dhalwa, said the government at the Centre does not believe in parliamentary democracy. "These are the people who killed Mahatma Gandhi. They do not believe in secularism. They are autocrats and in this scenario nobody is secure today," Alok said.

Mona Jha, who was also there at Kargil Chowk, said: "Every person of this country has the right to live with his/her identity but what we are seeing today is people are being denied the right to live."

Walking beside her, Nivedita was more blunt: "Muslims of this country have as much right to live here as the Hindus."

The sentiment in Patna echoed at every place where the protests were held, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Allahabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kochi, Lucknow and Thiruvananthapuram. The protesters waved placards with slogans such as "Break the Silence", "No Place for Islamophobia" and "Shed Hate not Blood"; one man in Delhi was seen holding a placard with a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi embracing US President Donald Trump. The caption read: "Follow the PM, hug a beef-eater."

Junaid's family joined the protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital. At suburban Bandra in Mumbai, those who braved the rains to join the protest included actors Shabana Azmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rajat Kapoor and Ranvir Shorey. In Calcutta, filmmaker Aparna Sen said she was protesting against "something which we do not support, and that is attacking any religious community".

Veil rips mindset mask - Haryana govt proclaims pride in ghoonghat

1997: Kalpana Chawla, born in Haryana's Karnal, becomes the first woman of Indian origin in space

2010: Geeta Phogat, born in Haryana's Bhiwani, wins the first Commonwealth Gold in wrestling

2015: Saina Nehwal, born in Haryana's Hisar, is crowned world Number One in badminton

2016: Sakshi Malik, born in Haryana's Rohtak, bags the bronze in the Rio Olympics, the first Indian woman wrestler to do so

2017: The Haryana government describes ghoonghat (veil) as the state's identity

Chandigarh, June 28: The photo of a veiled woman carrying fodder on her head with a slogan celebrating the veil as Haryana's "pride" and "identity" has landed the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government in a controversy.

The photo, carried in a state publication, has prompted some women achievers from Haryana and the Opposition to accuse the Khattar administration of pushing regressive ideas on a government platform.

"Ghoonghat ki aan-baan, mhare Haryana ki pehchaan (the pride of the veil is our Haryana's identity)," says the slogan with the photo of the veiled woman in the latest edition of Krishi Samvad, a print and web magazine on agriculture-related news.

Geeta Phogat, who won India's first ever gold medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and who along with sister Babita inspired Aamir Khan's Dangal, expressed dismay. "We were born and brought up in a place where girls were kept behind veils, they were not allowed to step out of their homes, go to school. Our father took us out from such an atmosphere and helped us achieve our goals. Haryana is known for the women who have stepped out of the veil, not those who are still bound to it," said Geeta. The blockbuster film based on the siblings has been a big draw abroad too, especially in China.
Anil Vij, a minister in the Khattar government, said he was unaware why the photo had found a place in the magazine. "The practice of ghoonghat is prevalent in some parts but it is not mandatory and we do not force anyone to put on a veil," Vij said.

Women in Haryana have long suffered in the predominantly patriarchal society with honour killings ordered by the khap panchayats and female foeticide common. According to the 2011 census, the state's sex ratio was 834 girls for every 1,000 boys. In March this year, the Khattar government claimed the figure had touched 950 - until an audit revealed misrepresentations and the state ordered a probe.

Leader of the Opposition Abhay Singh Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal said the photo had exposed the Khattar government's double standard. "They tom-tom the achievements under Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (a central scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Haryana) and promote the practice of ghoonghat on the sly. The government should encourage women to step out of their homes and create an atmosphere where they can move freely," said Chautala.

In towns and villages of Haryana, women moving in groups with their faces covered by a veil is a familiar sight. The India Human Development Survey of 2005 revealed that 55 per cent of women in India use the veil, with the face covered fully or partially, mostly in the north.

From early Sanskrit literature to popular cinema, the veil has found a reference in several forms, mostly romanticised in songs - Juhi Chawla, who was born in Haryana, featured in one such song with Aamir from the 1993 film Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke - or to portray strictures imposed by society on women.

"The ghoonghat was not a part of Haryana's culture originally. The practice was started because of fear of foreign invaders. It is undeniably regressive and out of sync with today's times," said Congress leader and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A creeping emergency - The Gujarat brand of established fear no

Jawhar Sircar

As a defining moment, the twenty fifth of June of 1975 has more than secured its position on the timeline of Indian history. While the Congress prays hard to just forget the ignominy of Emergency, the prime beneficiaries of this tragic phase, namely the Yadav-led socialist parties, are burping after feasting on power for several decades. As the most fearless and uncompromising opposition to India's Emergency, the Akali Dal earned lucrative political rewards, but the most interesting contender is the ruling party. It is hell-bent on appropriating all credit for everything remarkable, whether in the past or at present. It uses its proven skills in creative engineering of collective memory to craft an alternative narrative with selective use of historical facts. True, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh did fill jails with its swayamsevaks during the Emergency and also took good care of their families as none else could, but we need to clear the air on the oft-repeated charge that the sangh's supremo, Balasaheb Deoras, had tried desperately to meet Indira for a deal. The records that the Intelligence Bureau chief, T.V. Rajeswar, and others have referred to need to come out.

India is the only third-world nation in that vast swathe from Morocco to the Philippines that has successfully kept its army within barracks. But one really wonders how long we can, with the unprecedented idolizing of the military's heightened role in Kashmir where the crisis gets aggravated with each passing day. And, the undeclared war with Pakistan keeps up the desired jingoism to foment fierce nationalism. The whole of the free world, except die-hard sangh supporters, seriously feels that the genie of authoritarianism may have escaped from the bottle that we sealed in 1977. The mindset is so eerily similar although the strategy is now more 'mature'. On November 8 last year, the prime minister did not require to formally invoke any 'financial emergency' under Article 360 when he declared unilaterally that 86 per cent of our currency was worthless. Crores of Indians lost billions of productive hours in queuing before ATMs and banks and the after-effects are still visible, as cash-strapped farmers are shot dead in Madhya Pradesh. Even after the elections in UP were won on this self-righteous crusade against black money, no one really knows how much of the ill-gotten wealth was really unearthed, to justify the death of a hundred hapless citizens during the demonetization exercise. It established the new rules of the game that desired results can still be obtained without going through formal legal declarations that invite unnecessary furore from a pampered democracy. In fact, the ongoing methodical leash on civil liberties and free thought is less messy than Sanjay Gandhi's tantrums.

The holy cow was a master-stroke that ignites passions and justifies the systematic and repetitive lynching of members of the minority community, thereby bludgeoning the 67-year-old established practice of plurality. Once this principle of outsourcing violence without retribution made its gash on the body polity, the next logical step of murder-at-will followed, as young Junaid learnt through his tragic death on a Delhi-Mathura train. It is no more safe to look like like a 'typical' member of the minority community or to profess the hated creed of secularism. The narrative of the times screams that since the nation has reposed its faith in the 'great leader' and successive elections have reinforced his mandate, any doubts on the absolute infallibility of his reign are either anti-national or evidence of other grievous inadequacies. Even though no sensible person can condone proven subversion if any, the fact is that JNU's genetic restlessness became a red rag to the storm-troopers of ultra-nationalism. Those who hardly participated in the freedom struggle and are reported to have had severe reservations about our tricolour in 1947-1948 now ensure that every Indian proves his nationalist credentials in public or faces their wrath. The boss of a trusted national media is amazed at the 'debate over freedom of expression' and declared it is the "schizophrenia" of the unseated elite within the national capital city.

Unfortunately, he scored a self-goal when he declared that it is "fed by social media and some media outlets". It is tragic to see how unsuspecting millions are fed with unending streams of anti-minority hate-news and venomous post-truth lies on WhatsApp each day and the alacrity with which internet 'troll' devils have forcefully evicted liberals from Twitter with intolerable abuses. Swati Chaturvedi laid bare the nexus between the ruling party's social-media wing and troll brigades that 'manufacture followers' in lakhs. From a recent shuddering experience on Twitter, one deciphers even traces of linkages with professional intelligence agencies, as items that are not in the public domain are also fed to trolls. Never before has India seen such steamrollering of free opinion through layers of systematic terror.
The next strategy tamed the same free press that tore down the earlier regime through every event, from Anna Hazare to Nirbhaya. So dramatic has been the domestication of Indian journalism that we can count the fearless few on our fingers. Three tactics must have worked: the adroit management of barons, the silent takeover of media houses by friendly capitalists and, of course, crude storm-troopers who symbolize the totally-intolerant right-wing from the dreadful 1930s. Sadly, the so-called 'reasonable rightist' journalists have also become miserly with facts, after they were loaded with favours. There is now no need for the faltering constitutionalism of Rajiv Gandhi, who had sought to control mails and 'defamation' through laws that were then drowned under protests. One can get better results at present without even touching the law-book.

Even Indira Gandhi's paranoid FCRA of 1975 has come home to roost as thousands of non-governmental organizations are debarred from seeking foreign contributions to survive and their domestic supporters are terrorized by bullies. Thus, while the organizations of relentless crusaders like Indira Jaising and Teesta Setalvad are starved, big donations from rich overseas supporters of Hindutva to the obvious party are fully legitimized. Like Indira Gandhi, personal loyalty matters most and Narendra Modi confabulates endlessly with hand-picked, but squirming, bureaucrats, who are terrified of his hire and fire rule, while his ministers shiver in their darkness. The Prime Minister's Office has gained more control than it ever had during the Emergency era, proving thereby that similar mindsets require similar hegemonic structures. The sad victim, however, is the Constitution's cabinet system, and the old demand for a 'presidential system' is voiced periodically: the last being from Modi's trusted bureaucrat-factotum. Indira Gandhi created fear in instalments, while Modi just replicated his successful Gujarat brand of established fear smoothly over the entire nation.
Such fear and the 'one leader' syndrome do not augur well in a democracy. One can tolerate the hogging of all credit for completing projects of the earlier government, like the Kochi Metro or the longest road tunnel in Kashmir, but the mind-boggling populism and orchestrated hero-worship are quite scary. He is certainly not the first prime minister who appears petty, but liberals feel that some of those bear hugs with which he embarrasses every foreign dignitary could do better in India. We need an assurance, for all democracies die without dissent.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Minority ministry junk cry

New Delhi, June 26: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has demanded scrapping of the minority affairs ministry and the National Commission for Minorities, terming them an "atrocity" on Hindus and minority groups like the Buddhists and the Sikhs.

The central governing council of the VHP - a Sangh affiliate - passed a resolution at a two-day meeting that ended yesterday in Vadtal, Gujarat, saying the very idea of such a ministry and commission "leads to a separatist mindset".

"The minority commission builds such an atmosphere as if Christians and Muslims in India are suffering. This is not only an atrocity on the Hindus but also on other minorities like the Buddhists and the Sikhs. This gives rise to a separatist mindset," the resolution said. It added that all citizens should be treated equally and the national human rights commission was enough to address the grievances of all.

The VHP also criticised protests over last week's beef-related lynching of a Muslim teenager on a train near Delhi. Sunil Jain, VHP joint general secretary and a veteran RSS pracharak, lashed out at those offering Id prayers with black bands today and the statement of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind chief Mahmood Madani against the lynching. "Offering namaz with black bands and Madani threatening action by Muslim youths will not be tolerated anymore. These separatists forces should be dealt with strongly," Jain said.
He also slammed a special minority commission helpline for Muslims. "This (helpline) makes one feel the atrocities against Muslims have reached extreme proportions. This is not correct."

The VHP resolution described gau rakshaks (cow protectors) "worthy of respect", claiming they were stepping in as states could not protect the "sacred" animal, and alleged a "conspiracy" to malign them with false cases.

The resolution "congratulated" the people of Bengal for participating in large numbers in marches brought out by RSS-aligned outfits on Ramnavami this April after "decades of suppression under the jihadis, Leftists and Trinamul". Some state BJP leaders were booked after many marchers were seen brandishing swords and other sharp weapons.
The VHP resolution criticised a move to charge GST on the prasad of Tirupati and other big temples and demanded its rollback.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Modi 'refuses' to come out of his car until cameramen arrives in Portugal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hailed the contributions of the more than 65,000 Indians in Portugal, saying they were India’s “real ambassadors” and have enriched the culture of the country they have made their home.

“Indians have carried their cultural heritage with them and have always been proud of them,” Modi said addressing the diaspora Indians in Lisbon.
After Modi arrived in Lisbon, he also visited The Champalimaud Foundation, which is a leading cancer research and treatment centre in Portugal.
However, in a bizarre twist of event, the Indian prime minister ‘refused’ to alight his car for a prolonged duration until two cameramen, understandably travelling with him, had arrived and taken their positions.
In the video, two officials are seen attempting to open the door of the car Modi is sat in, but they quickly change their minds for mysterious reasons.
Soon one official is seen looking at his left in desperation. Moments later two cameramen appear from the same direction hurriedly seen taking their positions. The official in question again peeps into the car for a conversation with Modi following which the prime minister finally emerges out of his official vehicle.
Modi’s fascination for the camera has often been a butt of social media jokes. One of Modi’s most famous videos displaying his penchant for camera was when he had visited the Facebook headquarter in the US.
In the viral video, he was seen pushing the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg away because he had come in between the camera and himself.
In January last year, the prime minister pushing a member of his staff because he had come in between him and the camera was fervently shared on twitter, Facebook and instant messaging platform WhatsApp.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Your Brain Has a Delete Button - Here is how to use it

There’s an old saying in neuroscience: neurons that fire together wire together. This means the more you run a neuro-circuit in your brain, the stronger that circuit becomes. This is why, to quote another old saw, practice makes perfect. The more you practice piano, or speaking a language, or juggling, the stronger those circuits get.
For years this has been the focus for learning new things. But as it turns out, the ability to learn is about more than building and strengthening neural connections. Even more important is our ability to break down the old ones. It’s called “synaptic pruning.” Here’s how it works.
Your Brain’s Delete Button And How to Use It


Imagine your brain is a garden, except instead of growing flowers, fruits, and vegetables, you grow synaptic connections between neurons. These are the connections that neurotransmitters like dopamine, seratonin, and others travel across.
“Glial cells” are the gardeners of your brain–they act to speed up signals between certain neurons. But other glial cells are the waste removers, pulling up weeds, killing pests, raking up dead leaves. Your brain’s pruning gardeners are called “microglial cells.” They prune your synaptic connections. The question is, how do they know which ones to prune?
Researchers are just starting to unravel this mystery, but what they do know is the synaptic connections that get used less get marked by a protein, C1q (as well as others). When the microglial cells detect that mark, they bond to the protein and destroy–or prune–the synapse.
This is how your brain makes the physical space for you to build new and stronger connections so you can learn more.


Have you ever felt like your brain is full? Maybe when starting a new job, or deep in a project. You’re not sleeping enough, even though you’re constantly taking in new information. Well, in a way, your brain actually is full.
When you learn lots of new things, your brain builds connections, but they’re inefficient, ad hoc connections. Your brain needs to prune a lot of those connections away and build more streamlined, efficient pathways. It does that when we sleep.
Your brain cleans itself out when you sleep–your brain cells shrinking by up to 60% to create space for your glial gardeners to come in take away the waste and prune the synapses.
Have you ever woken up from a good night’s rest and been able to think clearly and quickly? That’s because all the pruning and pathway-efficiency that took place overnight has left you with lots of room to take in and synthesize new information–in other words, to learn.
This is the same reason naps are so beneficial to your cognitive abilities. A 10- or 20-minute nap gives your microglial gardeners the chance to come in, clear away some unused connections, and leave space to grow new ones.
Thinking with a sleep-deprived brain is like hacking your way through a dense jungle with a machete. It’s overgrown, slow-going, exhausting. The paths overlap, and light can’t get through. Thinking on a well-rested brain is like wandering happily through Central Park; the paths are clear and connect to one another at distinct spots, the trees are in place, you can see far ahead of you. It’s invigorating.


And in fact, you actually have some control over what your brain decides to delete while you sleep. It’s the synaptic connections you don’t use that get marked for recycling. The ones you do use are the ones that get watered and oxygenated. So be mindful of what you’re thinking about.
If you spend too much time reading theories about the end of Game of Thrones and very little on your job, guess which synapses are going to get marked for recycling?
If you’re in a fight with someone at work and devote your time to thinking about how to get even with them, and not about that big project, you’re going to wind up a synaptic superstar at revenge plots but a poor innovator.
To take advantage of your brain’s natural gardening system, simply think about the things that are important to you. Your gardeners will strengthen those connections and prune the ones that you care about less. It’s how you help the garden of your brain flower.
Judah Pollack is the co-author of The Chaos Imperative, and Olivia Fox Cabane is the author of The Charisma Myth.
The above has been taken from Fast Company. The original article may be read at

AAP slams govt on clean chit to ex-AIIMS official

New Delhi: AAP on Wednesday accused the BJP-led Centre of “going to any lengths” to cover up its alleged scams. The party was reacting to a recent affidavit filed by CBI in court, declaring former AIIMS deputy director Vineet Chaudhary innocent in a Rs 7,000-crore scam.

“BJP claimed that it is the only government which had no cases of corruption. It has been harassing opposition parties by implicating them in false cases and unleashing CBI against them. But this is the same government which can go to any lengths to hide its own scams,” said party member Ashutosh.

As an example, he quoted the case of Vineet Chaudhary whose name had figured in a Rs 7,000-crore scam in AIIMS. “He was health secretary to now health minister JP Nadda when the former was health minister in Himachal. Nadda and PMO made every effort to discredict the CVO in AIIMS then, Sanjeev Chaturvedi, to ensure that he could not investigate Chaudhary,” Ashutosh alleged.

A senior official in the health minister's office said Nadda had removed himself willingly in 2015 from the issue and he also transferred the case from his ministry to DoPT for an independent probe. AAP claimed that Nadda had sent two letters to the Congress government and one when BJP was in power, to have Chaturvedi removed on fabricated technical grounds.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

New Tales of Superman

The longest road tunnel - in Kashmir, the longest river bridge - in Assam, the model metro of a future India - in Kochi, and one man to declare them open - the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi.
He strides alone, a fashionably greying superman, in photographs of the inauguration of tunnel and bridge, waving to the future between cylindrical walls vanishing into the brightly lit distance or walking the ramp between sky and water, none behind him or before him, the nonpareil in history. 

It does not matter that these were projects begun by the previous government. Superheroes must deny continuity; they are Fate's interventions in history's course. Mr Modi's superpowers were likely to have been the theme of the inauguration of the Kochi metro too. 

E. Sreedharan, the force behind the Delhi metro and the brains behind the cutting-edge Kochi metro, was at first dropped from the list of people who were to sit with the prime minister on the dais. No one who can actually be credited with an achievement should be seen anywhere close to the prime minister in a moment of triumph; the triumph must be his alone. At least that was the feeling behind the outrage that greeted the Prime Minister's Office upon the excision of Mr Sreedharan's name from the VIP list. 
The chief minister of Kerala wrote to the PMO about this, and Mr Sreedharan was put back in.

It is silly, though, not to trust Mr Modi. The flip-flop over Mr Sreedharan's inclusion had nothing to do with the prime minister's insatiable love for the spotlight. Mr Sreedharan is being considered as a presidential candidate, whispered sources in the PMO; it would be improper for him to share the dais with the prime minister just before the announcement of his name. Before this convoluted reasoning had sunk in, Mr Sreedharan's name was back again. Is he no longer being considered as a candidate then? If he is, why was he dropped in the first place? Besides, said the whispers, Mr Modi likes to be distant from the person he has to push up. Obviously, he has never 'pushed up' Amit Shah. His invisible superpowers must have done that.

These powers do achieve the impossible. In 2001, a silent super-force emanating from the then Gujarat chief minister of barely two months must have impelled the president of the time, K.R. Narayanan, to inaugurate the construction at Deekshabhumi, where B.R. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism in 1956. That would be the only explanation of the claim made by the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, that Mr Modi built the memorial at Deekshabhumi. Whether it is Mr Sreedharan's exclusion from a VIP list or Ambedkar's rejection of Hinduism - his conversion, that is - all must be to the greater glory of the leader. The omnipotent, omnipresent leader is an all-too-familiar, all-too-ominous figure in the history of the world. India may boast one yet.

How to check unsolicited advice on stocks

If you own a smartphone, it would be a big surprise if you don’t receive free share tips from unknown advisors.
“Multi-bagger Buy 2,000 shares of NSE-BSE Hubtown (Code 532799) buy above 150; SL 140; short-term target ₹180-190 expected ₹280 in one month,” says one message followed by “Buy 10,000 SFLINER (BSE Code 530867) at ₹41.10, intraday target 45.5, BTST 55, SL 45.70. 75+ in week.”
Another one reads “Buy 20,000 shares of Panafic (Code 538860) buy @6.47 SL 5.85, short-term target 10-14, expected ₹20 in one month.” “Upper Circuit call buy CTL BSE: 538476 at 15 short-term 10 days target 15”; Company declared 7.5 per cent dividend, FIIs and MFs buying,” touts another message.
These kinds of messages find their way frequently into the mobile phone inbox, whether or not the number is registered under the DND (Do Not Disturb) registry with the telecom operator. Rogue brokers/tipsters somehow manage to bypass those filters.
From fake identities
What is even more disturbing is that some of these messages are from fake identities that have similar-sounding names to big-name broking houses such as Kotak Securities, Emkay, Angel Broking, HDFC Securities and Motilal Oswal. Clearly, there are pump-and-dump operators at play, who would like to bid up obscure companies with poor fundamentals and allow current holders in the stock to exit at an inflated price.
So, how should one address these unwarranted messages? At the face value, one should simply ignore such messages.
SEBI, in December 2016, had issued an advisory on the subject saying that it had come to know that many entities have been luring investors through unsolicited calls/SMSs and assuring guaranteed profits on the trading tips provided by them and that “It is observed that this activity is carried out mostly by entities based in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.”
SEBI had cautioned investors to: “Deal with only SEBI-registered intermediaries and check their registration status on the SEBI website before availing the services; be wary of any misleading advertisements which solicit investments in securities market assuring guaranteed profits.”
SEBI’s advice is: “Take informed investment decision without being influenced by trading tips.”
Hard to identify
But without their complete identity at hand, it is not easy for investors to go to the SEBI site and check the registration of these brokers.
Instead, SEBI or the exchanges should have a provision on their websites in the form of a platform for investors to enter the phone numbers and IDs of such unscrupulous elements so that the regulator can initiate a probe against these intermediaries/brokers and, if found guilty, punish them.
The market regulator and intermediaries could also have a WhatsApp ID or exclusive mobile number where these messages and numbers could be forwarded in order to tighten the screws on such players.
(This article was published on June 16, 2017)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fortis Hospital, Mohali introduces MOCA Technique to treat varicose veins

Chandigarh: Fortis Hospital, Mohali has introduced a new technique Mechanico Chemical Ablation of the Varicose Veins (MOCA) to treat Varicose Veins for the first time in India. This modern technique doesn’t require application of tumescent anesthesia. A special catheter is introduced in the vein of the patient and vein is ablated along with foam sclerotherapy. Dr Ravul Jindal, Director, Vascular Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Mohali spoke about this unique technique.

Varicose Veins can occur in any part of the body but it is especially seen in legs. Beyond being a cosmetic concern, this painful condition results in enlarged and gnarled veins and it should be treated at the earliest to avoid any further complexity. Some of the most common symptoms include veins that are purple or blue in color along with twisted veins. The new MOCA treatment uses a patented Flebogrif catheter which is a relatively new endovascular technique to cure venous reflux disease. 

Speaking about the technique, Dr Ravul Jindal said, “This is a technique that wax eloquence in the treatment of varicose veins as against traditional method that require anesthesia and hospitalization. It is designed in a way to plug any chance of its recurrence or a trail of multiple cuts. The new treatment is not only less painful but can treat a leg in 20 minutes and within two hours before the patient can go home. It is important that an expert like vascular surgeon perform this surgery.”

The ailment is usually characterized by aching and heavy legs, ankle swelling, dilated bluish bulge under the skin, redness, dryness and itchiness of skin. In some people, the skin above ankle may shrink because fat underneath it becomes hard. The symptoms also include whitened, irregular scar-like patches that can appear at the ankles or patient can have chronic non-healing ulcers. Dr Jindal said the disease marks an indication of a malfunction of venous system and should be evaluated by a vascular surgery specialist.

Dr Jindal further said, “Even after the procedure, the patient is on fewer medications and post-procedure care. There are no cuts or stitches. As it causes minimal damage to tissues, it’s especially useful in patients who are on blood thinners, are obese, have a groin infection, and are old or patients who are scared of surgery. Patients can return to normal life within 24 hours, except for undertaking vigorous exercise.”

Friday, June 16, 2017

'Metro Man' on PM dais after row

New Delhi, June 15: The Prime Minister's Office today stepped in to stave off a major political controversy by agreeing to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan's request to allow "Metro Man" E. Sreedharan to share the dais with Narendra Modi at the inauguration of the much-awaited Kochi Metro on Saturday.

Amid protests at the government level and across media platforms over the exclusion of the man who delivered Kochi Metro on schedule - and a native of Kerala at that - the PMO met the CMO (chief minister's office) halfway by agreeing to Sreedharan and state leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on stage while rejecting the request for inclusion of local MLA P.T. Thomas.

Where the Prime Minister is involved, the dais plan requires the PMO nod and the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) had sent a list of invitees under protocol for clearance. That Sreedharan had been dropped from the list by the PMO became public knowledge on Wednesday after many began receiving invitation cards and Pinarayi revealed on social media that he had written to Modi's office seeking inclusion of the "Metro Man", Chennithala and local MLA on the dais.
"Govt. requested @PMOIndia for the inclusion of E. Sreedharan, Oppn. leader & local MLA as invitees for the #KochiMetro inauguration," the chief minister tweeted yesterday. He confirmed this afternoon that a positive response had been received. "Following GoK's request, @PMOIndia has informed that E. Sreedharan & Oppn. leader will be included in the #KochiMetro inauguration."

Sreedharan, 85, himself downplayed the controversy, telling reporters in Kochi not to make a row as Prime Minister's security is important and such restrictions are par for the course. "I have no issues. Since I am a worker here, there is no need for an invitation.''

But in the 24 hours that the issue remained alive, the Prime Minister and his party received a lot of flak from a state where the BJP is working overtime to make electoral inroads. In fact, the BJP has earmarked an office for its "chief minister" in the new party office that it is building in Thiruvananthapuram.

While the chief minister insisted on inclusion of the leader of Opposition and local legislator, much of the uproar was around the slight to 85-year-old Sreedharan, a native of Palakkad. In the slight to Sreedharan - who is widely perceived to have transformed public transport with the construction of the Konkan Railway and Delhi's Metro -#Malayalis also saw a pattern in the troubled relationship Modi as Gujarat chief minister had with another agent of change from Kerala - "Milk Man" V. Kurien of Amul fame.

Is the media under siege?

Krishna Prasad

Late last year, an editor whose employment was ended under the ‘tatkal’ quota met a media owner whose exit had been similarly fast-tracked a few months earlier.

“Who was making the [phone] calls?” the latter asked. When he heard the names of a couple of Union Ministers, the ‘malik’ snarled: “Oh, wasn’t that glib RSS chap in the BJP amongst them?”

The anecdote might well be apocryphal. What is not is that mainstream media is in deep coma, gasping under pressure not felt even during Emergency’s darkest nights. That was an advertised, in-your-face, executive intervention — the censor sat openly amid journalists in newspaper offices and blacked out stuff they thought Indira Gandhi wouldn’t like.

Co-option and coercion
What is on today is a sly, insidious operation without anybody’s Aadhaar-linked fingerprints. It is aimed not merely at “managing the headlines” in the newsroom but at paving the way for a lethal ideology that has long craved legitimacy, through the boardroom.

In that sense, it is not just the media that is under siege, but the very “Idea of India”.

Influential owners, anchors, editors across the nation resemble the hapless Kashmiri tied to the Army jeep. They are the advance party to quell dissent, manufacture consent, set the agenda, drum up support, and spread fear, venom, hatred and bigotry — sometimes through sheer silence.

The saffronisation of the air waves is staggering.
It would be useful, therefore, to stop deluding ourselves that the siege began with the raid on NDTV’s promoters. Far from it, it is the culmination of a devious, top-down attempt at co-option and cooperation that failed. Hence, the coercion.

So, in the “New India”, it is perfectly normal to hear that the government has a list of journalists who attended a protest meeting in NDTV’s support; perfectly normal for the Foreign Correspondents’ Club to publicly assert it was not involved in it; perfectly normal for a CEO to privately predict no one in the TV industry will stand up because “most will be too scared”.

When Big Brother tracks every channel, watches every tweet, and reads every word, why would anybody want to take a risk when the “caged bird” is a homing pigeon, striking targets with precision?

Putting the same man in charge of the Finance and I&B Ministries in 2014, therefore, was a masterstroke. After all, the government is the biggest advertiser.

“The country is going through an existential crisis. Fear, anger, anxiety and paranoia have become normal. Nobody trusts anyone anymore. Nobody feels secure. People, including journalists, try to prove their loyalty to the government by snitching on colleagues and neighbours.” Turkey’s most famous woman novelist Elif Safak could well be speaking about India.

Who’s to blame?
Much of what is now happening here is happening in countries where nativist nationalists are running riot: the United States, Japan, Turkey, even France.

Defamatory name-calling (using terms such as ‘presstitutes’, ‘journalopes’ and ‘giraegi’); weaponised trolling; arrests, killings, raids, lockdowns. Little wonder, India now stands at 136 on the World Press Freedom index, down from 133.

However, it would be foolish to lay all the blame for Indian media’s current plight at the politician’s door. The siege began long ago with dodgy ownership; mercenary business practices; advertising and circulation revenue meltdowns; emerging technologies. But at least there was “independent journalism” shining the light, showing the way.

Today, as non-state actors throttle India’s foundational values in broad daylight, and much of a besieged media happily plays cheerleader, future historians might wonder if it did not suffer from the Stockholm syndrome.

Krishna Prasad is former Editor-in-Chief of ‘Outlook’ magazine, and a member of the Press Council of India