Monday, October 14, 2013

Uncovering the past

I finished reading India After Gandhi some time back and had came across criticisms of Mr. Guha that he was pro-Congress - which in present day scenario is quite scandalous.

But in due course of time I have realized that this argument against the eminent historian is misplaced. In his book, Patriots and Partisans, he has been very harsh on Congress for corruption. More over, in IAG he has remarked at one place that the decline of Indian politics - nepotism, favoritism and all the maladies that plague national politics today took roots during the prime-ministership of Indira Gandhi. (I am not discrediting Mrs. Gandhi of whatever good decisions she took.)

Today I got a chance to watch a documentary about Bhindranwale and was shocked to know that he was patronized by the Congress to gain back influence in Punjab. Maybe I have been less-informed but this fact was a revelation to me. Bhindranwale grew like a cancer and had to be eliminated via a surgical military operation, marking one of the darkest episodes in Indian history.

P.S - If interested, read Mark Tully's book on Operation BlueStar.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Should juvenile age be reduced to 16 from 18?

You must hate the sin, not the sinner.

Many people have recommended lowering of age for all crimes/keeping different juvenile age for different crimes.
We cannot simply suggest to lower the age if 

·         India has less no. of juvenile homes and less staff for it.
·         Juveniles form gangs inside the reform homes. Boys are severely beaten inside and several have claimed to have been sodomized by other inmates

      (If we are so concerned about juveniles, why send them in the company of hardened criminals? Do they not have same or even graver danger in their company?)
·         On many occasions, the minors bribe the security guards to obtain drugs

      (Are adults or security guards in adult prisons averse to taking bribes? )

The police are supposed to destroy the records of the juvenile after the completion of his/her sentence, and so juveniles can easily get away without a criminal record (This is the idea behind juvenile homes. To give a chance to the juvenile to reform and be able to start afresh as he has a long life ahead of him.)

The whole practice of juvenile homes started to give offenders of a lower age to have a chance to reform as most of them are naive and supposedly not mature enough to distinguish good from bad. Also, many are from unprivileged backgrounds. Juvenile homes are supposed to act as a rehab center for these juveniles and help them understand their duty towards the society. Just because ideal scenario does not exist, we should not be doing away this "golden chance" for the minor offenders.

Also, India is a signatory to the UN conventions and we have before us the juvenile age followed by different countries world over. Lets give some weight to the convention. Afterall, it was arrived at after enough deliberations by the experts having a much broader vision than us. Anyday, I will trust their wisdom more than the media-whipped frenzy.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why live like a Pauper

Encouraged by reading so many posts on Quora pointing out how important it is to read books, I have been trying to keep that habit of mine going! J

These days am reading Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography by Walter Issacson.

And I stumbled across this wonderful passage which I feel can be used as a litmus test when forced to be corrupt/adopt some kind of malpractices.

Here I reproduce the passage -

“To determine whether I should publish it or not, I went home in the evening, purchased a two penny loaf at the baker’s, and with the water from the pump made my supper; I then wrapped myself up in my great-coat, and laid down on the floor and slept till morning, when, on another loaf and a mug of water, I made my breakfast. From this regimen I feel no inconvenience whatsoever. Finding I can live in this manner, I have formed a determination never to prostitute my press to the purposes of corruption and abuse of this kind for the sake of gaining a more comfortable subsistence.”

The context is that Franklin was working as a printer and a customer asked him to publish a piece in his paper which was both scandalous and defamatory. Also, the customer was offering huge sums of money. To decide whether to take the money or not – Franklin took the above mentioned test on him.

Oh boy, what a way to decide whether to indulge in unfair means. Wouldn't it be great if each one of us can administer ourselves to such a test to determine if it was really necessary for us to be corrupt? Surely it would go a long way in reducing it!

Peace out!
(Until I find something else worth posting about)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tour-de-farce (Italian Job)

Indo-Italy ties seem to have reached a boiling point. Now that the Indian govt. has been publicly snubbed and the issues hogging the headlines, the country has lost face in the International community. There are various opinions and theories floating around ranging from questioning the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s wisdom in allowing the two Italian marines to go to Italy to an allegedly bartered deal for Augusta Westland details.

Keeping aside these theories what it has brought to the fore is the shoddy homework done by the govt. and the prosecution when the issue came up for hearing in Supreme Court. The govt. first of all didn’t oppose the marines request to go to Italy to cast vote in the general elections. The bigger blunder was that the information about the option of “Postal Ballot” as per the Italian law came to govt’s knowledge only after all the hara-kiri had happened. Why this public piece of information was not in the prosecution’s knowledge is perhaps known to them for reasons best known to them only.

It can be recalled that Rome was never convinced that its two marines were under the purview of Indian jurisdiction and it was only after submitting a “heavy” surety that the two accused marines were allowed to go home on Christmas. Now, whether such a treatment would have been meted out to Indian marines in a foreign country in entirely debatable.
It was the largesse of the Supreme Court to allow the marines to go and vote. The fact that the Italian ambassador to India himself gave a personal surety and the marines had returned after Christmas allowed the Supreme Court to be more liberal having certain degree of trust over the marines.

Now to save face the govt. needs to take tough action – quite uncharacteristic of it. Although, the popular opinion being to expel the Italian envoy the Supreme Court has directed him not to leave the country which is all the more right as he is culpable for contempt of the court. Infact, no such incident comes to one’s knowledge where a sovereign nation reneged on its promise in a court of law. The Indian govt. seems to be in a very tight spot and it will take nothing less than delicate but shrewd political maneuvering to resolve this diplomatic standoff.

P.S: Subramanian Swamy’s rant that the govt. won’t do anything as Sonia Gandhi is Italian is utter rubbish! He is just trying to score political points at an opportune moment

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tussle in my Mind

There has been inadvertently a long gap between my blog posts. And I do know the reason for it. I usually tend to use Microsoft Word for writing down anything that comes to my mind. But my father suggests writing anything with pen and paper first. He is of the opinion that writing on pen and paper is an entirely different skill than typing on a computer. I really do not know if he is right but yes, this thought lingers in the back of my mind. And it comes to the fore whenever I feel like writing something.

Considering the lazy fellow I am, I get dissuaded with the thought of writing it on paper and then digitizing it. So I give it a pass and so many opportunities gone by when I could have written my 2 cents on them.  Although, I would really like to know if the writing skill traditionally on pen and paper is different than writing on a computer.