Monday, December 14, 2009

Unwanted crusades – Sensationalism in journalism, ethics in Tiger Woods case

Sensationalism is a curse in journalism. In the rush for sensationalism people often forget the boundaries and venture into the ethically forbidden territory. They will come up with new stories, some times cooked up, some times real one; but neither are in public interest.

If you look in to the pages of newspapers of last one month, more than anything you can see the big and colorful pictures of Tiger Woods. May be in these days Woods acquired more fame!!! through the recent controversies than his ability in golf court. People who are not even interested in Golf - Its not an easy game for the commoner to play due to the huge cost associated to it - now a days reading about Woods. Papers are publishing volumes on the issue. In online too there is a mountain of content about Wood's sexual life.
Newspapers are more interested in who is living in his house and how many women are associated with him. They are coming up with new numbers, often. Thanks to sensational journalism, Wood's may found new facts about his life everyday by reading newspapers.

What is the necessity for these papers to launch a crusade against Woods? or any other famous celebrities if some thing of this sort happened in their life? Often they are spending more and more pages in discussing about the actors and actress love stories and travel plans than their movies.

Are they deprived of other news? Kashmir issue is over? Israel - Palesthein problems over? Turmoil in Afghanistan is over? US, European Economies revived? NASA stopped all her operations? Food problem is Sudan and other sub- Saharan countries are over by single night? Dubai’s economy becomes stable? All of a sudden people all over the world got enough drinking water? Taliban suddenly turned in to a peace group? Japanese economy revived? Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Google, Wall Mart and other companies stopped all their operations? As far as I know nothing of this sort happened up to now. Or these are not worthy of reporting at all?

Tiger Wood is also a human being made up to flesh and blood, in his personal life there may be a lot of problems. Is there any need for these papers to report all those events? Leave it to him, he can sort it out, or if some one wants to go to court, it will be settled there. If these newspapers want to mediate this issue they are free to do so - if Woods permits, but please we readers are interested in his professional life, how he plays golf. We are giving him and his family the freedom to settle these things among themselves, as we solve our personal matters. News papers doesn’t have to do all these sort of things for making publicity.

Some years back there was an ISRO spy case. News papers run thousands of stories related to the case. They found out real!!! and strong evidences against the two scientists and two ladies, everyday there will be new stories on the print. But even after discovering all these stories, Central Beauro of Investigation (CBI) find out nothing about any spy racket. But thanks to the newspapers the victims got more punishments than they could even get from the court. After all the allegation was that they sold Indian space secrets to enemies!!!

Newspapers don’t have to publish - second by second descriptions about actors and actresses personal life, what is the morning food for US presidents dog? How many women are there in Woods life, why some actor married someone? We are not interested in these things. Instead print good articles on sports, movies, politics, business etc we will read it.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why we need permanent seat in Security Council?

We are hearing the term UN Security council ever since its inception; the so called elite council of United Nations. After World War II only the winners got admission to this council with veto power. In a simple terms a country which represents some millions of people can veto the decision jointly took by countries which represents billions of people.

[UN Security Council chamber]

Truly, one of the most undemocratic system in the world. One of the five countries can stall the any decision which not in her favor. So it is quite natural that other countries start to think about entering into UN SC with veto power. who dont want to enjoy power? 4 countries are the major candidates India, Brazil, Japan, South Africa and Brazil for the position.

For a long time these countries are trying hard to get the position. Whenever some country’s head coming to India or Indian premier went abroad the first thing we read in news papers will be that they are supporting our claim to permanent seat in UN SC. But up to now nothing happened, even after the ‘support’ from so many countries. Some supported permanent membership without veto power – some type of second class citizenship.

I don’t know why Indians are so fond of this seat. Can you remember the contributions of Security Council to the world? How many times the veto power is used to halt certain developments? And can you justify the concept of veto?

There is no doubt that the word of 120mn people should be considered in UN. But at the same time it should also be noted that everyone should have equal power here, otherwise there isn’t any use for UN. If some can took decision for others then what is the need for such an organization?

So instead trying to get veto power and permanent membership in UN SC, we should try to remove the veto power from the current members; there is no need for such a discriminatory law. There is no need for asking each and everyone for support to get us permanent membership in UN SC. Either there should not be a permanent security council or the voice of 120mn people should be echoed there. India, South Africa, Japan, Brazil and Germany should put forward a draft to democratize the UN SC and its other functions.


Telangana : One more state in Indian Union


It was said that Sardar Patel – the first home minister of Independent India – integrated more than 560+ states in to one entity and formed Indian Union – world’s largest democracy, second biggest country by population. The partial assimilation of Kashmir to Indian Union still cost numerous deaths in one of the most dangerous border ever existed in the world.

After the independence of India, Telangana remained a separate state till 1956; it then merged with Andra on linguistic lines and formed Andra Pradesh. Debate is still going on whether creating states on linguistic lines is good or not, many argued for creating states based on the flexibility in administration (Due to language criteria we ended up with many big and small states). But in a country like India which has hundreds of languages, and where people consider language as sacred as religions, I think the former is a good choice.

 The battle for Telangana is not new; numerous movements went on in 60’s and 70’s. Then in 2001 the movement was back with the creation of TRS (Telangana Rashtriya Samithi) by Chandrashekar Rao. But after the General elections he became minister in First Manmohan cabinet and the demand was put in cold storage for next five years. In the recent elections (2009 General Elections) TRS and its alliance only got two seats in Lok Sabha and mere 10 seats in State Assembly. Congress, which doesn’t even include the formation of new state in her manifesto, did exceptionally well.

Everyone may thought that the demand will be on cold storage for the near future. But it didn’t happen. Rao started his fast demanding new state, students of Thelangana region also joined in the protest. The demand for a new state reached in the root levels, it was no more in anyone’s hands. Students even send an ultimatum to the government. In the end Union government approved the demand.

But if centre is decided to create a new state, do it as soon as possible. Don’t put it in beaurocratic red tapes. Here in this case AndraPradesh state assembly have to adopt a resolution, boundaries have to be drawn, administrative networks have to be created, offices have to built, union cabinet have to approve the resolution and then the parliament have to enact the law. If this took long time then it will only result in the stagnation of the development plans in the whole state, and destroy the cordial relation between the people of Talangana other part of AP.

It also opened a Pandora’s Box of problems, the first one is regarding to the capital Hyderabad, will it be the sole capital of Talangane or another Chandigarh? One of the most important issues is the water sharing agreements of Krishna and Godavari. Will it solve quickly or become another Kaveri or Mullaperiyar? What GOI will do with the nine pending demands for new states? Finally from where the money will come for building the new state?

If the creation of new state will result in the improvement of living conditions of people in the region, the cost can be justified. I hope it will not become another treasury for politicians and beaurocracy. I hope that the students who were in the forefront of fighting for the new state will also be in the front end of nation building. The bright students have to join politics, one of the oldest professions, and eradicate the corruption and bring in efficiency to the system.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Will Copenhagen results in any meaningful treaty?

[How Long?]

"Every roads leads to Copenhagen” may not be a familiar proverb for you. But now from all parts of the world, leaders are flowing to Copenhagen to attend the conference on climate change. After the recent change in raining pattern, greenery in Thar deserts, deforestation of Chirapunchi, ever increasing count of Hurricanes and cyclones, increasing sea level and temperature there is no need to write volumes about the need of reducing green house gas emission. Already lacks of books and articles are available on the subject. Over and above who can ignore nature's articles?

So finally world is assembled in Copenhagen to fight the climate change or fight against themselves? Many developed countries want binding sanctions and some like US, Russia, China etc unilaterally declared emission cuts. Countries from Africa, India, Brazil are still arguing for a fair deal.

Actually climate change is one of the ‘rare’ subjects were everyone knows the importance - there is no question on whether it is needed or not - but still majority is not ready to implement it. Countries from pacific and other island nations like Maldives are the most concerned ones. If sea level raises more than one or two feet many of these island nations will be wiped out from the atlas of earth.

I don’t think any world leader has any doubts about the need for reduction in green house gas emissions. Everyone knows it’s the need of time. But the need for industrialization in developing nations which are emerging after centuries long sleep and internal fighting sees industrialization as their sole way for growth. There argument is also based on the points like historical responsibility. Can you compare the pollution in some sub-Saharan African countries to that of some developed countries? All these developed countries now in Copenhagen passed through the stage of Industrialization in which they emitted gases in huge volumes to the air. But these African, Latin American and many Asian countries are now slowly entering in to the league of industrialization. They are now enjoying more recognition and power which they were unable to get in the past years.They wants to wipe out their poverty and propagate growth through industrialization - of course using their natural reserves.

This is the point were all the problem emerges. If they have to cut the green house gas emissions at this point of time they will have to acquire new technologies, infact they have to pump money for it. But from where this money will come in? It will not be that much easy, the new investment will increase their manufacturing cost, which in turn will result in the decrease in profit. Will the developed countries, already immersed in the worst economic crisis, find enough funds to support these developed countries? If yes, then to what extent?

Another problem is related to the carbon credit policy. Will it turn to another golden jackpot for the companies who have powerful lobbying groups in government? What about the per capita emissions? Will it consider at the time of declaring emission targets?

The countries who already announced cuts proved that they have very good mathematicians. Is there any country which announced emission cuts that will start from the very next day? or in the next year at least? Many calculated the emission reduction in such away that it will allow them enough space to emit the desired amount of gases they want.

This is not a child's game. The world leaders who are assembled in Copenhagen are dealing with millions of people living in the island nations and coastal areas. The mass deforestation, gas emissions, pollutions in air, water, sound, light etc are already taking its cost. Rivers are drying up, thickness of ice shelves are reducing rapidly, irregular rain pattern, floods, draught ... nature is already writing the future in the black board, But humans refuses to read it... How long? When humans are trying to extract oil even from Artic pole will this Copenhagen summit ends in meaningful results?

I hope (In fact I really wish that Copenhagen will result in some thing even if the chances are law), the countries will accept real and meaningful reduction in emission instead playing well in Mathematics, and the developing countries will get enough assistance in terms of technology and capital, to move forward in the way of reducing emissions. I hope climate change summits will not become another 'Six party talks on North Korean Nuclear issue' or Indo – Sino Border talks.

Otherwise you can go and watch movies like 'Water World' and be familiar with situations, or wait until scientists find any other place in this vast universe where humans can live and later destroy the environment.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

The upcoming confusion in Indian Markets

After independence ‘water’ in Indian industry flowed in many different directions. Some times it even took a ‘u’ turn and flowed all the way back and reached the square 1. Then it moved in the opposite direction. With out a chance for doubt anyone can say that Indian economy will be good study material for a bright research student on financial markets. Once a major trading hub; left behind in the industrial revolution; joining hands and heart with socialist philosophies after independence and finally - after the collapse of Soviet Union and crisis of 1991 retraced all the way back and find a new ally in market economics.

                                          [A farmer]
After the acceptance of market economy India witnessed a study growth, mainly due to the things which the western economies can’t offer - cheap labour and the so called high skilled people. Some may say that China is growing at a rate more than us. But we have to remember that China accepted market economy some two decades before us.

Water again flowed. We say the South Asian crisis, dotcom crash, Subprime crisis of 2008, Dubai financial crisis and more. India may be escaped from all these because of the less dependency in export oriented growth. And still the economy is growing.

But is this growth sustainable? Will the emerging economies rule the coming ages? Will they control the world markets? If any one asks me this question my answer will be a straight no. It can’t. If we are ready to change the deep rooted policies which is there in many people's mind, we may remain in the path of growth but will not be in the position of Spanish in the 17th and 18th century, Britain in the 19th century and US and Japan in the 20th century. In fact no one can do that again – even if it not impossible.

                                         [Mumbai - Pune express highway]

I don’t know where I read, but I feel its right. Google and other companies may be able to unseat (or already unseated) Microsoft from the all powerful position in software and IT; but they can't attain the seat of IBM in the 60's and 70’s and that Microsoft afterwards. In fact it will turn to a Boxing ring where all can come - fight - survive/go. The same thing will be applicable for the emerging economies too.

India enjoyed this position mainly due to the cheap labour available here, huge domestic economy and due to some highly motivational people. But what we usually saw in these times is after a continuous growth, cheap labour will no longer remains a cheap. As money is available along with other resources, normally people will turn to/like to become a part of band wagon called Consumer economy. There they will spend the money in imported things and many other things no problem whether it’s needed or not. In many times this will be on credits. But life in credits need more credits to go on. In order to sustain this consumerism they will go for loans. As cash surplus raises normally companies will pay them more. But in this case they are slowly but inevitably losing the tag of cheap labour.

What will happen if this is coupled with the absence of highly creative, visionary leaders/workers? Now the inevitability comes, in an equally valued set new companies will go for quality. And by this time workers from all over the world will more affordable. As Shakespeare once said “All the world’s a stage…”.

This is the point where we have to stop and start thinking; recent surveys estimated that only a low percentage of students passing out of the colleges in India are actually employable. So what happened to the rest? Is it due to some specific phenomenon happens only to the people from Kanyakumari to Kashmir or Gujrat to Assam?

No prize for guessing the answer – it’s a straight-forward no. As one my friend recently described in one of our conversation "We are Jack of all trades but master of none". Here in this educational system every student has to study almost all subjects. Over and above many want to become Engineer and Doctor due to pressure or due to the high attention(read as social status +salary) getting to that job. Did you ever think what a Doctor will do by learning advanced calculus? And what a mathematician will do after leaning the Biology? If a person is interested in management sector and working for some commercial banks how Physics and Geography (in academical sense) will come to his help during a market analysis? You may have many reasons to justify the current system. After all we are living in this system for many years and enjoyed the comfort of it. Suddenly venturing in to a new world will simply unacceptable for many.

                                          [Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust- Mumbai]

You may have many questions to ask like; a) we are progressing now, and have so and so companies who are really the world leaders in their areas. b) Our international trade increases, and many companies are venturing out to other nations to acquire new companies. c) In IT, Defence manufacturing, Generic Parma, oil we have good shares and countless others.

But can you locate a single computer microprocessor manufacturing plant in India? Can you give me the name of a company in the level of Siemens AG, Hitachi, and General Electric? How many Nobel laureates in Science sector are Indian national who are educated in Indian universities? Even after these much revenues from IT how many companies are in the scale of SAP, Microsoft, Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Google etc? How many Indian government sites are down due to virus attacks? Even after having a long coastal belt how many container trans-shipment terminals we have? Why we are still using Colombo (Yes Colombo is indeed a huge port), Salala, Singapore ports for container trans-shipment? Is there any company on the scale of Pfizer, J & J etc?

The next question really disturbing Indian Industry is - how professional we are? Whenever the production time lines didn’t met companies will simply raise the working hours. Will give some more benefits to employees and thus fix a temporary problem. How Indian companies are finding and grading their employees? Conducting internal exams? Based on seniority? They will find the Date of Birth certificate, joining date and after a through analysis they will promote a person who is more senior to the higher position –no matter what they did in between. It is sure that if a person younger than you joined in the company before you, then you will never reach the top – even if your track record is better. So it’s normal that people will start to think - what is the point of doing something great, if you will not be rewarded for that? Anyway you will get the salary!!!

Did you ever thought how a manager is promoted? In the so called professional companies, which don’t consider age as the sole limit (even if it’s a barrier) boasts about their promotional guidelines. He may be the champion of something. But ever they checked the progress he/she made in the career of people working under him? Did they make substantial improvement in (of course positive only) after joining his/her team? How much they gained under his guidance? Does he utilize their abilities effectively? Any of these companies approach third parties to evaluate their managers based on these criterias?

After some years Indian employees too will not be cheap, Mass production of Graduates in Colleges will not help the situation.

In order to attain the professional qualities and greatness and satisfaction in work, our system needs a complete change. Quick Fixes will no longer help. Change is always painful, but for the survival of India economy it’s needed.


In my home state - Kerala, people from neighboring states and from many distant parts of the country comes for work. They will do all sort of hard labour and will complete it in time. For the last many years I didn’t saw a person from Kerala digging a channel for BSNL telephone lines. And now Chinese people are coming to India and doing hard work in many parts of India. Recently I read statement of a CEO “Chinese will complete the work in 15 months, but....” I am leaving the rest for you to complete.

Yes we have to change, not a change but a complete replacement, otherwise other countries will replace us.


[Images are from Wikipedia]

Friday, November 20, 2009

Indian arms procurement policy and snails, who will win the race?

“The internal politics over the years is such that whatever defence requirements are cleared by the government, they are opposed by the opposition parties and the same happens when roles change and the opposition sits in government. That impinges very badly on our defence requirements. As far as defence goes, we don’t even match up with Pakistan,” Barbora, while referring to Defence exports, told an aerospace seminar organized in New Delhi by the CII.

[Malabar 2009]

The Barbora referred here is no other than our Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal P K Barbora. Normally personals from armed services will not come in open space and criticize the policies of government. In such a background if Vice chief of IAF made a public statement on this issue then anyone can imagine how much critical the issue is.

In fact there is no need to argue on whether India need more artillery, fighter aircrafts, submarines or not. The reasons are well known. In fact India's "highly friendly neighbors" will increase their military potential to the maximum extend they can under any circumstances. And we have one of the most bloody borders in the world. In fact we fought war in the eastern(Bangladesh Liberation war), north and north east(Indo - Sino war), west (Indo - Pak wars).

[A picture from Kargil war]

Apart from this there are many insurgent activities with in India like Maoists(who already have presence in approximately one third of the country), illigals militias of north east, Terrorism in J & K, and random terrorist attacks in other part of the country. In many cases these people are fighting with security forces using their advanced weapons, all time favorite AK 47 to the latest guns, LMGs etc visible in Hollywood films.

There is only two ways to get the modern weapons. Either we have to develop it or buy it from other countries. But the main problem to attached to developing arms in India is the long development cycles, some projects in defence sector is taking decades to show result. Some times it will achieve target or we simply buy the necessary weapons from outside in wake of urgency.

The main problem to secure cutting edge defence technology is the high price tag attached to it. Any country will think twice before buying machines like F22 Raptor, B2 Spirit etc. Thanks to our developing economy we have funds. We have funds(even if it may not be enough for a maga shopping always) to buy or develop it. As a usual exercise we are allocating funds for defence purchases.

[IAF Aircraft over Chenab river]

But what happens later? Armed forces will identify requirements, and submit the proposal to the government. So far good. Later we will float the tender, shortlist the defence firms, make the trails accross all the terrains, then negotiate on price and bought the weapon and train the personals to use it.

But after the proposals stage we will take a long time to float the tender, more time to short list. In some cases we will float the tender again short listing again, the long time negotiations on price. At this point of time some politicians will accuse the government about corruption. Some one will file a case in Supreme Court. And our long legal procedure will start. In the mean time the accused company may be blacklisted, and the project stalled. After sometime we may again open the cold storage and show some lights to the old proposals. But by that time requirement may be changed. As long as we have 'n' number of parties at any time to oppose the government, most of the time we will have accusations over defence purchases even if it is right or wrong. And except in rare occasions investigation will took years to complete.

For more read my articles on defence
Modernization of Chinese Navy and other Asian countries
Private Companies will no loger be untouchable in Indian defence sector
Indian Navy required complete modernisation
Suryakiran team should not be disbanded
Continuous saga of delay in defence contracts, Army's struggle with choppers

Due to fear of future accusations, now a days purchase order files are moving with snail's pace or even dead. And after blacklisting many companies there may be 1 or 2 company remains in many sectors. Remember that the worlds of arms market are not run by angles.
I don’t understand the problem with FII and private sector firms in Indian defence sector. What the problem with FII when we are buying the arms itself foreign companies? As long as there will be strict guidelines for FII and the investments are in the companies/places in India I don’t see any problem at all. What about private companies? Why government have problem about the private sector's entry to core defence sectors? After all they are Indian companies working under the guidelines of GOI. Anyone thinks that Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Electric, Dessault etc are pure government companies?

In my opinion we should develop a process model for defence purchase, and stick to it. We should precisely define a framework and guidelines for purchasing arms. From requirement gathering phase on wards, set a time line and completely obey it. The framework should define what we have to do in each and every phase, and paying a premium for cutting edge technology is not bad. Build a specific professional team for arms purchase and make direct contact with top arms manufacturers. At the same time make it sure that if we bought a weapon, spare parts will be available for it in the future.

It’s our duty to give most advanced weapon in the hands of soldiers protecting our borders in time. In a time when our  internal and external security threats are rising; multiplying our capabilities should be a high priority task.

Allow more FDI in defence sector: IAF Vice Chief
IAF vice chief hits out at political class over defence issues
IAF Vice Chief’s latest: Politics stalls defence purchases

Thursday, November 19, 2009

US Policy towards India and China - Changing tables

[Facing the great Wall of Chinese Policy?]

What is the best way for US to get something done by China? The most efficient way may be showing more attachment to NewDelhi, Taiwan or start some military project with Japan etc or create a hint about the possible US criticism on the human right policies of China. US can easily do this, they have all the available means to execute this strategy.

What will happen if they ruled out all these options first (self goal), and went to China? I think the best answer will be “They can saw the great Chinese Wall” both literally and diplomatically.

This is what happened to the present US administration this time. They approached their biggest creditor without anything in hand, and saw the Great Chinese wall. As usually happens in deplomacy here too they discussed a lot on various issues. But as you know its not necessary that discussions always produce results. For example India and China are continuously discussing the border issues, making it one of the longest running border issues in the world. But even after numerous joint sessions it not solved.

Likewise the discussion went on many issues, and certainly produced results but all went in favour of China. Certainly a big victor for Chinese diplomats.

What about the problems concerning US? Is there any progress on

1. Iran nuclear issue?
2. Chinese Currency Policy?
3. Human rights issue?
4. Tibet?

[Changing Equations?]

As far as India is concerned the relation with US is becoming more and more strained day after day and the US - China joint statement give it more push downwards. The statement about the involvement of China in South Asian matters - Mainly Indo- Pak relations- was more than enough.

Already there are rumours that many of the policies agreed by former US administration and Indian government may be reworked by the new US government. There may not be any more joint exercises between the navies of India, US and Japan(After all its concern for China and Pakistan). The searching operation by US Air force to find the missing personal during the Second World War in Arunachal Pradesh may be abandoned or kept in cold storage.

It is certain that any policies to involve China in Indo – Pak issues won't be welcomed by India. Its said that the Semin -Clinton statement almost broked Jaswant Singh- Strobe Talbott talks. Now the statements came at a time when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is preparing to visit US. Certainly another great victory for Chinese diplomats.

Now every eyes will be in the coming US visit of Manmohan Singh. Will there be any improvement in relations? or will US allow to loose the tie slowly so that the impact will not be that much but make an end to the strong Indo - US ties built by former president George Bush and Dr Manmohan Singh?

If they are chosing the second way, then India too should opt for alternatives. The best thing to start with is to make strong ties with Russia and Iran. After all we dont have any problem with Iran and Russia is our one of the best friend for a long time.

The coming days may show more activities in diplomatic stage. But if the US policies goes in this way, the Indo - US relations will no longer be that much good.


Kadam kadam badaye ja . . .

          I don’t know when I first heared these lines but it becomes one of my favorite lyrics. "Kadam kadam badaye ja..." composed by Capt Ram Singh Thakur and now the Regimental quick march of Indian Army. He also composed the tune for “Subh Sukh Chain ke..” the national anthem adopted by Azad Hind. The music of the current version of national anthem “Jana gana mana…” was also composed by Capt Ram Singh Thakur.

Devnagari script Romanised Hindi Translation (Approximate)

कदम कदम बढ़ाये जा
खुशी के गीत गाये जा
ये जिंदगी है क़ौम की
तू क़ौम पे लुटाये जा

तू शेर-ए-हिन्द आगे बढ़
मरने से तू कभी न डर
उड़ा के दुश्मनों का सर
जोश-ए-वतन बढ़ाये जा

कदम कदम बढ़ाये जा
खुशी के गीत गाये जा
ये जिंदगी है क़ौम की
तू क़ौम पे लुटाये जा

हिम्मत तेरी बढ़ती रहे
खुदा तेरी सुनता रहे
जो सामने तेरे खड़े
तू खाक में मिलाये जा

कदम कदम बढ़ाये जा
खुशी के गीत गाये जा
ये जिंदगी है क़ौम की
तू क़ौम पे लुटाये जा

चलो दिल्ली पुकार के
ग़म-ए-निशाँ संभाल के
लाल क़िले पे गाड़ के
लहराये जा लहराये जा

कदम कदम बढ़ाये जा
खुशी के गीत गाये जा
ये जिंदगी है क़ौम की
तू क़ौम पे लुटाये जा

Kadam kadam baṛāē jā
khushi kē geet gāē jā
yē zīndagi haiñ kâum kī
tū kâum pē lūtāē jā

tū shēr-ē-hind āgē baṛ
marnē sē tū kabhī nā daṛ
Ūṛākē dushmanō kā saṛ
jōsh-ē-vatan baṛāē jā

Kadam kadam baṛāē jā
khushi kē geet gāē jā
yē zīndagi haiñ kâum kī
tū kâum pē lūtāē jā

himmat tēr baṛtī rahē
khuda tērī suntā rahē
jō sāmnē tērē khaṛē
tū khāñk mē milāē jā

Kadam kadam baṛāē jā
khushi kē geet gāē jā
yē zndagi haiñ kâum kī
tū kâum pē lūtāē jā

Chalō Dillī pūkār kē
gam-ē-nishāñ samhāl kē
Lāl qilē pē gāṛ kē
lahrāēñ jā lahrāēñ jā

Kadam kadam baṛāē jā
khushi kē geet gāē jā
yē zndagi haiñ kâum kī
tū kâum pē lūtāē jā

Approx English Translation[I am very thankful to the person who provided this translation]

Take all your steps forward
Sing songs of happiness as you go
This life belongs to motherland
Lay it down for her a hundredfold

You are the Tiger of India
Do not ever fear death
Blow away the enemy's head
Raise the spirits of your comrades

Take all your steps forward
Sing songs of happiness as you go
Your life belongs to the motherland
Lay it down for her a hundredfold

Your courage is your strength
The Lord listens to you
As for he who stands in your way
Turn him into dust and stamp him into the ground

Take all your steps forward
Sing songs of happiness as you go
This life belongs to motherland
Lay it down for her a hundredfold

"For Delhi" you scream
Hold your banner high
Plant it on the Red Fort
And let it fly eternally

Take all your steps forward
Sing songs of happiness as you go
This life belongs to motherland
Lay it down for her a hundredfold.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicken neck(Siliguri Corridor), North-East India and Bangladesh

[Chittagong Port]

Siliguri corridor or chicken neck of north east India is a small stretch of land which connects the north- eastern states to the mainland India. This 21-40km land mass is the only land access to northeastern states from the rest of India. The railway line passing though this corridor and NH 31 are highly critical to India.

Talks are always on air about the land access to North eastern states through the rivers of Myanmar and Bangladesh. Both these proposals have a major degree of success. Recently Bangladesh agreed to allow Ashuganj as new port of call for transporting heavy consignments to Tripura for the proposed Palatana power project as well as the use of Chittagong port by India. Both countries are agreed to sign a deal for the Indian access to the port by May 2010.

According to the proposed agreement cargo vehicles could carry containerized cargo for intercountry or for a third country transfer. Vehicles used for cargo transportation will get 7 days permission to stay with in the territory of other country, while private vehicles will be allowed to stay from 5 days to 1 month. Vehicle's crew will get multiple entry visa for 1 year.

According to the reports proposals are also on the air to facilitate the trade between Bangladesh and landlocked nations like Bhutan, Nepal etc. The success of this initiative will lead other transit proposals between Bangladesh and India to materialize.

Considering overall picture, the new agreements will lead to more regional interaction between India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. If we opened the Siliguri corridor for free trade between 3 countries it will be helpful for the regional development.

The Indian investments in the Bangladesh trasport sector will help Dhaka to solve the infrastructure problems much more faster, and will lead to the development of the country. According to the ADB report Bangladesh needed $2.4 bn to effectively join the proposed Asain Highway Network. At the same time India will get much more connectivity to the north-east. This will ease the strain on the Siliguri corridor. The proposals for powergrid intrconnectivity and the agreement for the transfer of terrorists will open a new era of friendship.

What we have to keep in mind is the illigal migration, drugs and narcotics traffic in these routes. May be the talks between Indian foreign minister Mr SM Krishna and his Bangladesh counterpart Dipu Moni will lead much more partnerships between the two nations.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Continuous saga of delay in defence contracts, Army's struggle with choppers

[Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama - Known as Cheetah in India]

How many defense contracts are signed on time in India? And how many executed on time? Anyone submitted a request according to RTI act on this issue? It is a naked truth that a vast country like India which have not so friendly neighbors and constant floods on different parts of the nation requires a powerful and dynamic support from air. Many parts of India are inaccessible through land and many border posts of the army are heavily depended on air for survival.

The story is not different for people caught in floods and forces ho lead the campaign against Maoists in the deep forests.

Choppers are widely used for transportation of materials and humans to the remote parts and inaccessible terrains. Everyone knows that every machine have successful working time. Did you heared about any machine continuously working for ever?

Army uses Cheetah(Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama) helicopters for material transportation and causality evacuation at an astonishing heights of 20,000 feet or more. The sad fact is that these choppers are of 1970 vintage, already completed approximately 40 years in service.

The 3,000 crore tender for the procurement of 197 choppers(133 for army rest for Air force) canceled after finding discrepancies. Then new tenders are issued. According to the procedures after floating tenders government will invite companies for field trails - summer trials, winter trials, validation trails etc.

But government is yet to invite any company for trails moreover Bell pulled out of the contract citing the offset clauses. Even if trails started in next year the new helicopters will not arrive before 2013-14. 5 critical years after the scheduled time.

Remember that these choppers are the lifeline of thousands of troops deployed across high altitudes. What is the problem with us? Now a days deals after deals are delayed, postponed or re tendered. Aircraft carriers, Trainer aircraft and many other programs suffered the same fate.

What will happen if suddenly a war started? Who will support the troops in high altitudes? 40 year old Cheetahs? Who will provide the food and ammunition to the troops in border?

Government have to make swift decisions on these issues. These are high priority tasks which cant be postponed.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Expecting a significant surge of US troop level in Afganistan - Will it deliver?

[US Army in Afghanistan]

In the end the Game of choice and confusion is almost over. Washington is going to increase the number of troops serving in Afghanistan by 45,000 or close to this value. The new plan is expecting to be announced publicly in the next week. The decision was taken after the request from General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan some weeks ago.

In line with the new strategy British government is already announced the deployment of 1000 more troops in Helmand province[It is to be remembered that British premier earlier blocked the request for an additional 2000 troops]. In this 1000 new troops 500 will be new troops from Britain and the rest will be redeployed from British battle group currently under international command in Khandahar province. The new deployments will rise the British troop level in Afghanistan to 9,500.

The proposal for the new surge from General McChystal was on hold for some time. The question of new troop surge created heated debate in US. May people opposing the war and want to pullout from the region.

There was three option before Mr Obama. One was to send no new troops at all. But this will lead to a status quo much in favour of Afghan militants and will not show any quick results. Already the number of attacks is increasing exponentially. If Obama continue th war with the current troop level it will not add any substential value to operations and he will be criticized for the continuing turmoil in Af-Pak region.

[British troops on patrol in Helmand province]

The second option was to send a small contingent of additional troops, again this one will not increase the situation substantially. This will lead to severe criticism as a flawed military strategy, both by military strategists and people opposing the surge. The third option was to give enough troops to the General to fight.

Talks are also on air about making an agreement with the moderate group of Taliban, and people who are not fighting for ideology. That may be in correct direction after all Afghanistan suffered severely due to the decades long continuous civil war, and people who are living on the extreme conditions will be happy if they have some guarentee about their life. But any deals with hardcore Taliban and a premature exit will only lead to turmoil. Analysis suggests that their is a considerable possibility in the rise of insurgency level in India, Afghanistan and western provinces of China after a premature withdrawal.

Indeed Afghanistan required a substantial increase in troops, and a different war strategy. Afghan people are suffering the causalities of war from the time immemorial. This is not a conventional warfare, its a guerrilla one. In order to counter this insurgency there should be enough support from the people and and ground forces. More focus on aerial warfare will lead to massive collateral damage, and the war will become more and more unpopular in Afghanistan.

In order to form a substantial stability in Afghanistan, Obama should be able sell the war in Afghanistan successfully to the common people. This will not be an impossible problem for the already proven highly efficient PR machine of Obama. Considerable ground support and the destruction of the safe heavens in Pakistan will put US in an advantageous position.

In all countries there is a strange thing called patriotism. However bad the civil administration and army is, under invasion people will normally support their own army and government -This is true in majority of cases. Whatever US government i saying and doing, in the end of the day they are outsiders.

So in order to gain support of the locals, authorities should be able to generate belief in common people. Make them think that its their war, US and NATO is fighting for them. Another thing they have to do is to find a solution to the reported corruption and other illegal activities. Some reports suggest that Taliban is already receiving a cut in development aid as ransom for the protection of the new developmental projects.

If people doesn't have the faith in administration, then it will be a never ending war for US.


Report of General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

India - Argentina bilateral trade agreements

[Argentine National Congress]

If you come to mid of Kerala in the tim of Soccer world cup you will be conused whether any meeting of United Nations is going on here. Flags of Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, France etc will be there on both sides of the road. Fans associations will be formed, they will enjoy each and every victoy of their favorite country. And nedless to say Argentina and Brazil will always attract a good number of people.

The recent Bilateral trade agreements signed between India and Argentina holds another critical importance to the Indian economic interests. Argentina is one of the rare south American countries famous in many parts of India especially for her brilliant football game. Still in my home state - Kerala - there are a lot of admirers for Argentinian football.

Yet we are making delays in formulating trade agreements with South American countries many of them are rich in mineral resources especially in oil. Consider the fact that its first time in the last 15 years a president of South American nation visits India. South America and Africa offers vast opportunities for Indian companies. The trade with these countries will not only help us in attaining more markets abroad but also adds much more leverage to India's position globally.

At the same time this will give new opportunities for Argentina to tap the growing demands from Indian energy sector. I think if they reach a deal with Indian medical sector, the cost of medical care will be more cheap in Argentina. Boh countries can cooperate much more in space, IT sector etc.

Ten bilateral agreements are signed at Argentinian president's(Cristina Fernandez) visit to India. These includes peaceful use of nuclear energy and elimination of visas; other areas are cooperation in sports, Science and Technology, geology, space , industry etc. A MoU is also signed between ONGC Videsh and Vidarsa companies.

There are many countries in Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and Central and South East Asian region which are sill outiside of a trade agreement with India. We have to work hard to reach trade agreements with these countries. Once it established and give proper fertilizers in time then it will not be good for India and peace.

Will the agreements about the cooperation in sports will help India's football sector?


Suryakiran team should not be disbanded

[Suryakiran Team]

Talks are on the air about the disbanding of one of the prestigious assets of Indian AirForce -Suryakiran Aerobatic team. After the formation of team in 1996 this 'Bidar air force station' based team have performed from Dal Lake in the north to Thiruvananthapuram in the south. Abroad 'suryakiran' also performed in Srilanka, China etc.

The reason for disbanding is the shortage of trainer aircraft in the air force arsenal. The currently employed trainer aircraft for pilots - HPT-32 is grounded following crashes and other technical failures. So in order to continue the pilot training program IAF don't have enough aircraft. So they are forced to disband the team and move all the HJT 16 kiran aircrafts to pilot training section.

It is said that usually 140-150 pilots are on training in HPT-32 aircraft at any given time. Then they will move on to other aircraft for further training. Now HPT-32 is down, next in line to be grounded may be the other aircraft series which are infamous for mechanical failures.

In the '90s, according to its own submissions in Parliament, it lost 80 pilots and 185 aircraft. Which makes it almost a squadron a year or a fourth of its entire fleet in the past decade alone. And the estimated loss: Rs 6,800 crore.

According to an old estimate "The IAF loses one MiG fighter every 2,500 flight hours, making it one of the most vulnerable machines in service with any force in the world"

They may find a temperory solution by disbanding the Suryakiran team. But what will they do next? Recently Air Force celebrates 77 years of service, after these much years are we reached in such a situation where we don't even have enough aircraft to train our pilots?

When this 42,000 crore MRCA deal will be finalized and start delivering? Even if it is finalized the shortlisted aircrafts Rafale, Typhoon, F16 C/D, F/A-18E/F, JAS 39 Gipen, MiG35 all are combat aircrafts, not the trainer one. The deal for 66 Advanced Jet Trainers(AJT) is one of the most procrastinated deals in aviation history. IAF projected requirement in 1984 but deal signed only in 2004, 20 years of delay. The deliveries of BAE Hawk Mk 132 finally started in 2007 , within that time may be the fighter aircraft gone one generation further.

The sanctioned strength of IAF is 39.5 squadrons, with an healthy level at 44 squadrons, but currently India doesn't have that much squadrons. For power projection over South Asia and Indian ocean region IAF requires much more squadrons. MRCA deal is good one but not enough, moreover further delays will be disastrous.

Suryakiran aerobatic team performed very good in skies, if Suryakiran will able to participate in foreign airshows it will be better for both IAF and India. What administration have to do is not disbanding the team but allow it more opportunities and bring in new trainer aircrafts for IAF. I don't want to see news like "IAF aircraft crashed; pilot killed" in the front pages. We already lost many promising pilots and trainers not any more. Replace the fleet...

The Indian Air Force Today
India ready for war? Forces grapple with delays, red tape

Friday, October 9, 2009

The otherside of Suicide bomb

According to the latest reports atleast 46people have been killed in a crowded area of Peshawar, a north western Pakistani city, and over a hundred injured. Many of the injured people are in critical situation. According to the list in BBC the major blasts that devastated north-western Pakistan are

5 October: Five killed in suicide blast in UN's Islamabad office
26 September: 16 killed in two car bombs in Peshawar and Bannu
18 September: 33 killed in market blast near Kohat
30 August: Suicide bomber kills 14 police recruits in Swat valley
27 August: 22 police guards killed at checkpoint on Afghan border
14 August: Seven killed in market blast in Dera Ismail Khan
5 June: Mosque blast kills at least 38 in Upper Dir district

Analysis says that now a days attacks are targetted towards common people. As these blasts are happening in the market places a lot of common people became victim of these bombs. After the recent blast one of the witness told AP that "I saw a blood-soaked leg landing close to me," he said. "I understood for the first time in my life what a doomsday would look like."

Now a days these blasts are common in Pakistan, and a good number of people are died in these blasts. It is rightly said that once an arrow shat it cant be taken back. Some of the people who died in the blast may be came to the market to buy some sweets to celebrate his son's/ Daughter's birthday, another may came to buy some medicine for his mother. But as bomb cant cant identify people, it neither leave a child or pregnant woman. In military jargon it may be called as collateral damage.

But this collatral damage brought darkness to many homes, in many cases families may lost their bread winner. To whom they will depend hereafter? Some may lost his/her father or mother or both, and became alone in this world. Who will give food to the small innocent child in each and every day?
Even if anyone helped these people, most of the time it will b short term monetery help. After all the smoke surrounded the incident is over there will not be anyone to help these victims.

Militant groups want Pakistan governemt to stop support NATO groups, NATO and US want the elimination of terrorist groups. But the clash of ideology and civilisations are not for common people. The values of ideology is zero before an empty stomach -it only hear and tell the voice of hungry.
Whether it is in India, Pakistan, China or wherever it is - in general common people have one voice in the end, allow us to live. They may support various ideologies in the begning. But in the end of the day life matters.
In this time of violence and bloodshed Pakistan government have to take action to protect all civilians of the country 'gracefully'. They should stop criticising India for each and every matter and work for the uplift of the nation.


List of Violent incidents in Pakistan
2.2 million IDPS in Pakistan: United Nations

KG Blocks and India's Dilemma - Indian saga of Oil and Gas

Lacks of Indians are working in Gulf countries; Middle East Asian countries are very wealthy; Russian economy is still working; Venezuela is powerful; Malacca strait is a vital for China and East Asian countries; Exxonmobil, Shell etc are numbered among the biggest companies in the world. These all statements have one thing in common, all are related to Oil and Natural gas. In the economic jargon it can called as petrodollar phenomenon.

In India too there are some big blocks of crude oil and gas like the Bombay High run by ONGC, KG Basin etc. It may be the ambition of every finance minister of India to reduce the oil bills.

It is in this background government gave exploration licenses to private companies like Relience Industries and public sector behemoth ONGC etc(Earlier only ONGC was allowd to explore fo the oil and gas). It was expectd that if we discovered some major oil field, then we can save some billions of dollors flowing out in every year.

Expectation full filled and many new oil blocks(commercially viable) were discovered. Oil and Gas blocks in Krishna-Godavari basin discovered by Relience Industries was the biggest in the chain. They developed it in record time and Production started. Upto this time everything went fine. But after the discovery disputs arised between RIL, RNRL and Oil ministry. Everyone have their on arguments and counter arguments and the washing machine went on publically in full swing(after all its the matter of billions of dollors).

Cases are filed in the courts, verdict came again appeal came and the chain moved on. For a number of days public saw a new serious of 'Tom and Jerrey' fight free of cost. People of great Indian democracy starts to read n number of stories relating to KG basin contracts in news papers. Dispute is still on and no one expects it will end soon, but public may lose the interest.

What is the stake of common man here? You can say that billions of dollors will be saved and this money can be routed for the building of infrastructure, social empowerment blah blah blah. Common man will have more job oppertunities and more income.

If you believe in all these things, i want to introduce you to an old syndrome, popularly called Dutch Syndrome -
"The theory is that an increase in revenues from natural resources will deindustrialise a nation’s economy by raising the exchange rate, which makes the manufacturing sector less competitive and public services entangled with business interests"
In otherwords it can be interpretted as - its not necessary that the exploitation or discovery of major natural reserves will lead to prosperity of citizens. lf it is happening in that way, then Nigrieans will be one of the most whealthy people in the world, people of Venezula may start to visit all the tourist places in the world. Many African countries will be in the list of most devloped nations. But it didnt happen.

The disputes between the parties RIL, RNRL, Oil Ministry and NTPC seems like a never ending seriel. But these disputes will be very costly for India, it will affect India's image globally. If companies have to face this much difficulty even after finding a major resource then how many foreign companies will come to India for exploration of Oil? The companies like Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron etc which also have deep water exploration expertise will think twice before coming to India.

Its not for the first time oil and Gas are discovered in the world, this happened in many countries and successful contracts and profit sharing agreements were signed leading well developed long time mechanism.

Oil and Gas is a long term business, were you have to spend millions of dollors for exploration in places where you are not sure about the result. In order to transform a deep water discovery in to production it requires huge amount of investment and technical expertise. The profit will come only after a decade or two.

If government cant resolve the questions regading to profit sharing, production sharing agreement then how they will solve other problems? It not about the absence of oil reserves, neiter about the technical expertise but about pen and paper, about how to write sentences in a contract!!!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

UNICEF Report 'Progress for Children' - Never ending cruelty towards children

"Children worldwide experience violence, exploitation and abuse. They are forced to fight in wars or labour in intolerable conditions; they are sexually abused or subjected to violence as a punishment; they are forced into child marriage or trafficked into exploitative conditions of work; they are needlessly placed in prisons, detention facilities and institutions.

Children in circumstances such as these are seeing their human rights infringed in the most fundamental ways – and suffering both physical and psychological harm that has wide-reaching and sometimes irreparable effects. The elements of a healthy childhood as specified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are being denied because the world is failing to provide children the protection to which they are entitled."
These lines are from the recent UNICEF report "Progress for children: A report on child protection".

Well, you can say that "whats the new thing about it I already know that - the people living next to my door are married before 15, even I attended the marriage"; "We regularly saw children doing dangerous works which are legally prohibited, and I am keeping 'mum' about it, do the same all your problem will be solved", "Its not at all matter for me, I am protecting my children from problems, others i don't know, it their problem","its government's job not mine" etc.

For us there may not be anything new in it. We always know it, experience it, even then will not do anything to stop it. And the same people who will not care a damn for these things will be in the forefront of the protest if something gone against their interest, suddenly they will ask the public to cooperate with them for their cause.

The attitude of this passive society is the root cause of all major problems. When it comes to religious issues, reservation etc they will act like a 'do or die' situation, destroying all the things they can- Burning trains, throwing stones to public properties etc.

I still remember one of he incidents narrated by my friend, some months back he was working in Thiruvananthapuram- Capital of Kerala. There is a college and opposite that stands a 3 star hotel covered with beautiful glass. But the problem is that whenever students go on strike, one of things they will do as a ritual is to throw stones to this glasses ; needless to say the strikes are no so rare.

Society is like that, when it comes to the case of real social issues like child marriage, the same society will do the conspiracy against the innocent child. Simply they didn't saw anything wrong in it and the saga of honour killings, sexual exploitation etc going on.

Child marriages cuts their chances of education, playing and freedom. It is obvious that these innocent child are not deciding their fate neither they are hungry for sexual pleasures. but they have to suffer the result of this marriages like premature pregnancy and (according to the report) have physical, psychological, emotional and intellectual consequences). But who cares this???

According to the recent UNICEF report,
"Nearly two out of three children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are not registered"

"Children from the poorest households are twice as likely as children from the richest households to be unregistered; boys and girls are equally likely to be unregistered"
Registration is indeed a vital step regarding to child protection, because it is the foundation for all official purposes whether it is the issue of illegal recruitment by armed groups, child marriage or child labour. Proper registration will help in dealing severely against sexual exploitation.
data on physical violence compiled by the Innocenti Research Centre for the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children (2006), led to an estimate of between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experiencing violence annually.
This is against the childs, who are supposed to be the future of humanity.
"More than one third of young women 20–24 years old in developing countries have reported that they were married or in union by age 18. The proportions are highest in South Asia (46 per cent) and sub-Saharan Africa (39 per cent). In the six countries where child marriage is most prevalent, more than 60 per cent of women 20–24 years old married as children. Girls from poorer households are more likely to be married as children than girls from richer households."
Early marriages may result in severe intellectual, emotional, psychological consequences. Lifetime domestic violence; sexual subservience, harassment and exploitation, sexually transmitted diseases(Thee is a myth that if a man with HIV/AIDS slept with a virgin his AIDS will be cured and you know what will be the result) etc are the other results.
"Female genital mutilation/cutting is a form of violence against girls and women. It violates their physical and psychological integrity and thus their human rights.UNICEF estimates that more than 70 million girls and women 15–49 years old have undergone FGM/C in 28 countries in Africa, plus Yemen"
Another cruelty against girls.
"UNICEF estimates that 150 million children 5–14 years old worldwide are engaged in child labour. This estimate is based on data from 102 countries. Child labour is most common in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a third of children work."
Labor or Playground? What is the face of Justice in child labour?
"The United States Government estimates that 600,000– 800,000 people are trafficked each year across international borders. Drawing on its own analysis and other three.Evidence from UNODC indicates that more than 20 per cent of victims of all trafficking, both within countries and across borders, are children."
Mind blowing numbers. In many cases these child will live one of the most miserable life humanity ever seen, deprived of childhood pleasures, education etc.
"High proportions of children experience both physical punishment and psychological aggression
UNICEF estimates that more than 1million children are detained through justice systems worldwide at any one time, this is likely to be a significant underestimate given the difficulties in obtaining data about unreported cases .Among the 44 countries for which data were available, around 59% of children in detention had not been sentenced. Only a minority of these children receive a custodial sentence, in violation of the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty according to law, as affirmed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child"
If 59% doesn't receive any sentence in the end then on what ground government will justify the detention?
"UNICEF estimates that just over 1 billion children live in countries or territories affected by armed conflict, and of these, around 300 million are under 5 years old In 2007, 72 countries recorded new victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war, and children accounted for nearly a third of these casualties."
These children are suffering the consequences of actions, for which they are not responsible in any way.
"The estimated number of children under 18 years old who have lost one or both parents due to all causes increased in Eastern and Southern Africa from 21.1 million in 2001 to 24.9 million in 2007, and 8.7 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS in this region.42 In four Southern African countries – Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe – more than a quarter of children under 15 years old are living without a parent, and in Namibia the proportion has reached more than one third."
What will be the future of these innocent ones?
"More than half of all the world’s women 20–24 years old who were married or in union by age 18 live in South Asia and more than one in three women in the world who were married as children are from India"
Obviously these girls are not married due to their extreme eagerness to experience sexual life. But marriage is forced upon thus. There will always be reasons, do we have any problems for finding reasons? Society doesn't have time to deal with these issues, they are engaged in strikes for getting more reservations, burning trains etc.
"Some 13% of all children in South Asia are engaged in child labour – around 44mn. Of these children, 29mn live in India, where the child labour rate is 12%. Within India itself there are vast divergences between states in the incidence of child labour, ranging from 32 per cent in Gujarat to 3 per cent in Goa and Kerala, indicating that the regional targeting of policies aimed at eliminating child labour is essential."
Remember these children too have a soul with ambitions, But in many cases we are using the products made up of their tears.
"The 2006 UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children estimated that, every year, between 41 million and 88 million children in the region witness violence at home –the highest regional total in the world.

Study on the impact of small arms shows that Latin America and the Caribbean has the highest rates of armed violence in the world and accounts for 42 per cent of all homicides globally. Study found that children are more frequently the victims than the perpetrators of these crimes. In Jamaica, for example, boys under 18 years old accounted for 60 per cent of victims of violence-related injury."
Children is always an easy target. Whether it is sexual or other type of violence.
"In industrialized countries It is estimated that throughout the course of their childhood,5–10 per cent of girls and up to 5 per cent of boys suffer penetrative sexual abuse, and up to three times this percentage experience some type of sexual abuse.82 Evidence suggests, however, that physical and sexual abuse may be decreasing in some settings."
Developed nations too are not completely free form this miseries.

Reports will come and go. Do we have any shortages for reports? In many cases excuses are louder than actions. Today we are reached in such a stage where goto moon is a reality. Tomarrow may be we will reach Mars but cant solve the problem of a child in street!!! Think from the angle of an innocent child they want playground, education etc not wedlock, arms, drugs and sex in early ages.


You can access the full report from - 'Progress for Children: A Report Card on Child Protection'
Child Marriage and the Law
"Early Marriage: Child Spouses" UNICEF 2001 Report
UNICEF: Child marriages must stop
Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse
Child Sexual abuse : The cruel face of society

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hogenakkal Roundup

[Hogenakkal Falls]

Hogenakkal falls is a beautiful waterfall on Cauvery river located on the Dharmapuri district of Tamilnadu - a state in South India. The falls of Hogenakkal is very famous and many people are coming here to see the falls. The spot is 180km from Bangalore and 46 km from Dharmapuri town.

It is believed that the word Hogenakkal is formed from the combination of Hoge(Smoke in Kannada) and Kal(Rock in Kannada). It is also called Marikottayam.

To visit Hoganekkal falls in this Dasara holidays was one of my friends idea. To say honestly its was proved to be a good destination.

We (6 people in total) started from Madivala(Bangalore), I joined from Electronic City(Bangalore) around 6.45 in the morning. As usual NH7 was another river of vehicles, problem with this river is that, its not flowing smoothly(thanks to ongoing construction works).
'n' number of blocks. In each and every block people are anxiously waiting to move to their private world. Couples are desperately waiting for some gaps to move on. Who want to waste a holiday on roads?

In one car an innocent child -with total disregard for the circumstances - is looking around. May be to laugh at the humans who doesn't have the patience to wait for some time. Many people in other vehicles are doing many things to get the attention of this innocent one. In their day to day life they may do many things to get the attention of the boss but here in the middle of this traffic jam this small child is the center of attraction.

After the blocks were over we gain speed and moved towards Hosur. As we already know taking right from Hosur and took another road instead of NH7 will save many kms. Again who want to increase the cost of journy? So we turn right and started towards our destination.

After some time i saw the entrance of Hosur Railway station. How can I forget this station? In the last time when i was coming back from home in Yeswantpur Express, i was supposed to get down at this station.
That story goes like this. According to the railway touch screen in Palakkad station. Train will reach Hosur sation at 5.10am or around. In addition to that there is not even a single stop between Salem and Hosur and above all train is on time.
Some minutes before the 'right time' it reached a station and stopped there. As Salem is already over (time too is correct), i though this may be the Hosur station. I asked to some people who are standing on the door. They dont have any idea. So i get down at that station and in order to check the name i started running towards the board on one end.
It was the first time I am using this route - usually i use bus or Island express- moreover I never saw Hosur station before. Before I can read the board train starts moving, leaving me alone in that deserted place. Board reads 'Marandahalli' not Hosur!!! Train already gained speed and moved away. After that i sat their for an entire 45 minutes to get the next train which came around 5.50am.
Atlast I reached Hosur station in the middle of rain and from there boarded a tightly packed bus to reach Bangalore(In bus i was on the second last step with all the luggages!!! Motion was sevrly restricted).

From here onwards, a good number of trees are visible on both sides of the road forming a curve accross the road. Occassionaly some small hills too. Sometimes buses came in the opposit side, all are tightly packed, looks like they trying to create new equations for atomic packing dimensions. In one bus there are some 20 pople above the bus. How the conductor will reach them?

Occassionally we saw many small towns, where people are sitting in both sides to sell their agri products. If we saw these calm and barely populated places none will be able to say that Bangalore is only some 50-70 kms away.

With an empty stomach nothing will look good except food!!! So we start looking for a resurant, but it took considerable time to find out one. In h opposite side of the hotel there is pony standing on the road. I asked one of my friend to took a photo of me and pony. I approched him he started looking me through a corner of his eyes - may be thinking that what he wants now? Thinking about about the power of his back legs and his easiness to move his legs in any way he wants I finally we dropped the plan. After all I have to reach Hogenekkal not hospital.

The breakfast was good and cheap. The 'parippuvada' we bought from the nearby stall was very good indeed.

Journey continued and after paying entrance and parking fees, we reached the banks of Cauvery river. From the entrance and before reaching the river the view from the road is veru good one. If you are lucky you can saw many monkeis too.

After much bargaining we reached a common accepable charge for a 'Coracle'. These coracles are made from Bamboo, covered with plastic seet and later a layer of tar to make it waterproof. These coracles can be used for a maximum of 7 people. To our surprise there were many Malayali groups on the spot. Most of them are from colleges in Kerala.

We went to some 300 meters above the falls in our taxi and started our journey from there. This part of river is very wide surrounded with forest and we are going in the downstream. This is the third time i am seing Cauvery. First in Srirangapattam then in Talacavery, Cauuvery Nisargadhama and now in Hoganekkal. I want to see Cauvery delta too, where cauvery joins with 'Bay of Bengal'.

We went out from Coracle to the rocks near to falls started moving to the nearest possible point to saw the falls.

It was a magnificent sight. There is an open channel some 20-30 metres deep in the river, water from cauvery is moving towards and finally fall in to this channel from three sides. This creates the Hoganekkal falls. The sight is wonderful, in the middle of the falls. we can see the white fog moving up, frequently small water drops came towards me just like a rain. The sensation is an enchanting one. Some 1 hour we spend there, I sat in a rock close to the falls and looked towards the falls.

Nothing will come to mind, it will go blank. Just water, her music, rocks and beauty of surrounding forests. The beautiful concert will give you some everlasting memories.

After that we moved again in our coracle and reach the other bank, this is the place for bathing, swimming etc. Except me and another one al others went for bath. We simplly sat in the banks, students from different colleges came there and njoying their tour. We simply talked to our driver- the person who drives the corcale. He told us that the next tourist place is Erkkad and it is some 140kms away. As we have to reach Bangalore today itself we were unable to reach there.

After paying him we went to the near by hotel for the late lunch. After that we retraced our path and reach Bangalore around 18.00 hours.


The one thing i didnt like is the selling of goods above the MRP or at the MRP level. For mineral water it is 1-2 Rs above the MRP. After coming to Bangalore in the last year i paid the cooling charge for the first time. Cooling charge 1 Rs/bottle for keeping mineral water bottle/juice bottle in refrigerator.