Monday, December 19, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-18th.Dec.2011-"THE 24x7 ENTERTAINMENT"


It is amusing to watch the news these days. Ministers have fisty fights, throw chairs and hurl abuses.

Just the other day a young boy told me that for amusement he watches the news channels. The politicians keep fighting whether inside Parliament or outside. Since most fights are shown on the news it is too good to be missed he said. The fact that different channels have their own version of the same story is always amusing to watch. The funniest is how during Parliament sessions the MPs shout and scream at each other and then proceed towards their various lunch engagements. Each day of Parliament costs Rs 2 crore of the tax-payers money. One wonders why the representatives need to waste this money by fighting with each other?

The aam admi is wondering what is wrong with UPA-II. It was because they had performed well that they were voted back to power. But this time round there is confusion, Ministers don’t see eye to eye and there is no well-thought out strategy to tackle a crisis. What is the reason behind this? Is it because there are so many different power houses within the Government and the Congress? Though, in my opinion, this is not possible. There is obviously only one boss — Sonia Gandhi. The Prime Minister is honest, respected and a good human being. He is trying his best to run the Government smoothly with the coalition partners but there are tantrums being thrown at every step.

Scams, the fighting within the party and Chief Ministers having a verbal dual with the Central Ministers all make good amusement stories for the public. The latest, of course, being who is the next biggie getting bail and coming out of Tihar. How they spent their days behind bars makes for another story.

In the last few years the media has become powerful and bold. This is a good sign. We have to thank them for unearthing all the sting operations and scams. It is impressive how they go out of their way and take risks to bring news. In the process, the mediahouse owners face problems for breaking stories which may embarrass those in power. The politicians need to understand that the media in our country still gives them a wide berth. It leaves personal lives of the politicians out of the pages. The Government blames the media for making Anna Hazare a star. But it forgets that it was the message that he spread which caught the imagination of the common man. The public is tired of corruption, inflation and the behaviour of the Ministers. They can’t imagine these are the people they voted for.

I still remember the fights in the Vidhan Sabha across many States — verbal fights and fist fights and even breaking and throwing chairs into the Well of the House. One got to see them because of the coverage by the news channels.

With so much happening — even a murder mystery (Bhawari Devi case that involves a Rajasthan Minister) — on the news channels why would anybody want to watch a film?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-11th.Dec.2011-"GIVE VALUES TO YOUR CHILD"

It is unfortunate that parents today are not inculcating values, culture and tradition in their children.

Last week, proved to be tragic. My daughter’s friend lost her mother. We all rushed to her house — her brother and father were travelling and she was all alone. The family had shifted to Delhi from Pune several years back. We had visions of her sitting all alone not knowing what to do. It is very unfortunate that the younger generation today is not aware of the Indian customs and religious beliefs.

It is not as if my daughter’s friend is a teenager. She is nearly 38 and one would have expected her to know a bit of how things are to be done in such situations. The tragedy proved to be an eye-opener for me. I could see the difference of how we were brought up as children and how the children are brought up today. During our time the bedtime stories were around Gods and Goddesses, stories from Ramayan, Mahabharat and the teaching from the The Gita.

Well, of course, there are many people who still narrate stories from The Panchtantra, Ramayan and The Mahabharat. As children, it was a ritual in our family to bow at the small temple at the backyard of our house every morning and recite Gayatri mantra. As we grew older, we were taught shlokas and their meaning. Havan and pujas was commonplace. Riti-rivaaz was handed down from the saas to bahus. It is rare to expect this behaviour today.

When I surf the TV channels I am shocked to see how some parents force their young children to become bread-earners for the entire family. They are forced to participate in dance and song reality shows at a tender ages. One can only imagine the amount of hardwork that these children put it to remain in the running?

I believe that at the age at which they are working, they should be enjoying their childhood and be showered with love and affection from the elders in the house. It is sad that they miss out the luxury of being pampered and instead spend their time performing on the stage whatever the time of the day — morning or night. They mature before age. I wonder how these children fare in school? It would be an interesting survey to do.

The other day, I was watching a programme on TV on how parents of a 10-year-old, along with the producer and director, were forcing her to run with a fierce looking dog chasing her. The girl was so frightened when she looked at the dog that she fainted. Is this not criminal?

I wonder at the value system of this generation is getting from the teachers, school and family. According to me the sanskar that you give your child is the biggest gift you can give him. No amount of wealth can compensate for the values handed down. With the children growing grow fast, the elders need to take time out and inculcate spiritual values in their children. But, as of now, parents are busy making money. It is unfortunate that they don’t have time to instill values, tradition, culture and moral duties.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-4th.Dec.2011-"NEED TO CURB PRICES"


In times of such high inflation, the Govt should step in to stop display of wealth at weddings & parties.

The inflation is on the rise and it is becoming difficult for the aam admi to make ends meet. Is it not time for the Government to take stern measures and cut-down some of the luxuries that the rich enjoy? Take for instance the weddings that one attends. People really go over the top when it comes to celebrating — whether it is a holiday, or a birthday party. Being transported to an exotic location is private jets, yachts and expensive return presents for the invitees has become common.

Some of the weddings one witnesses, especially in North, are not only eye-openers but leaves one amazed at the vulgar display of wealth. Crores are spent on chartering a private plane for Bollywood stars to perform on stage to Hindi film numbers. The guests on their part are busy drinking, eating or catching up with all the gossip.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that people should not entertain or spend money at their children’s weddings but I am sure the same can be done without the ostentatious display of money. One needs to just look at the array of food on display — every possible cuisine is laid out for the guests. Flying in wedding planners, flowers, exotic food products and chefs from abroad appears to be an unnecessary wastage. I am sure that most of the food goes into the dustbin. It is better if the host would have a few Indian dishes, they are tasty, will keep the recipes alive and the local chefs will also get the necessary encourage. After all, our Indian cuisine has a variety of mouth-watering dishes.

And there are the wedding cards. Thousands are spent on just one card — a card that goes into the bin once the wedding is over. There is so much effort that goes into making a perfect card. Some look like a hard bound book others look like a suitcase which are filled with goodies. Though it manages to impress many, it doesn’t last for long. In fact, many end up criticising it. The wedding lehanga costs lakhs. I am sure the bride never gets to wear it ever again.

Why can’t the Government take stern steps and stop this display of wealth at this time of bad economy. Why not take a leaf out of what our former Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi did in 1974? There was a limit on the number of dishes one could serve and the number of people was limited too. If this is not possible, how about levying a heavy tax when such exorbitant money is being spent?

The lifestyle of the rich and famous is highlighted through the media. The poor jump to the conclusion that the Government is protecting the rich. Their question is why is there so much discrimination and favouritism. The rich are getting richer when the poor cannot afford a decent meal. I do hope the Government does take some stern step towards this.

The day is not far when the poor, frustrated, will raid and invade the houses of the rich and the politicians. As it is we witness road rage, thefts and murders every day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-27th.Nov.2011-"CONGRESS IN A NO-WIN SPOT"


It will be the local Congress leaders in UP that will let the party down in the upcoming Assembly elections.

As elections in various States approach, political parties are gearing up with their election campaigns. It is amusing to see the fights that take place. One does not understand how enemies can become bedfellows and bedfellows become enemies overnight. It is fun to see new alliances being made and the new lease of life that partymen get when they move from one party to another for better opportunities. It appears as if their survival depended on party hopping.

The fact that 83-year-old, senior BJP leader, LK Advani took out a rath yatra and successfully completed it before the Winter Session of the Parliament goes to prove that he is hale and hearty. Riding high on the anti-corruption campaigns, it’s a new lease of life for him as well. However, the Mayawatis and Jayalalithaas are not far behind. They all have their own agenda and new alliances are being made that suits them.

In the Congress, Rahul Gandhi is taking his time to take over as the Prime Minister of India. For the present, he has other things on his mind — the priority being the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh next year. There are many senior leaders at the Centre and State level who worked their way up from the grassroot level and know the pulse of the common man. The party High Command should pick 20 such experienced people and give them a district each in UP with an independent charge with one instruction — to win. They will perform once their reputation and career is at stake and the result will be worth watching.

But at present, the young leaders in the Congress are still in the learning stage. The party can’t take a risk by handing over the UP campaign to them especially when Rahul Gandhi’s reputation and future is at stake. Also the youngsters, though they come from affluent Congress background, are not capable of feeling the real pulse of the aam admi. Added to the fact is that they are not as hard working as Rahul Gandhi. They have their own agenda and survival at stake.

Senior leaders need to be made in-charge of certain regions in UP. Local State leaders are not interested in winning. They know they will never be Chief Ministers. They are quite content with the present position they have in UP. In any case, Mayawati is too clever for them and most of the local leaders are hand-in-glove with the ruling Government.

It is very unfortunate that the largest party in the country can’t win in any of the big and populace States like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and UP which are the backbones in making any Government strong at the Centre. Rahul Gandhi is working very hard in the State and hopefully he will make a dent in the State where the likes of Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav rule. One just wishes that, for once, the local leaders would forget their personal gain and ambition and work for the party.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-20th.Nov.2011-"THE BIG FIGHT IN U.P"


With the Assembly elections round the corner in Uttar Pradesh, political parties of all hues are raring to go.

With the Vidhan Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP) round the corner, all political parties are gearing up for the big fight. Alliances are being made with parties/people to come up with a perfect combination. The entire exercise is geared towards one thing — to make sure that Mayawati, the queen of UP and Dalit leader, is defeated. The fight in the State is going to be tough and interesting.

The Congress has found a partner in Ajit Singh. The farmers’ leader who may play a small role will benefit more in the partnership than the Congress. It is unfortunate that the Congress leaders in the State are at loggerheads with each other. If the party High Command was serious, it would make ensure that every partyman is heard in order to avoid controversial statements which confuse and divide the partyworkers. Those who have been denied the ticket are angry and hurt. They are busy working against their own party but it is all under wraps.

The in-fighting in the Congress is a cause of worry for its leaders. Everybody, from the senior to the grassroot worker, has a bone to pick with the other. The soar point is the non-availability and non-accessibility of the party’s top leaders. There have been instances when the partyworkers from the State who can give valuable input about the ground reality are threatened with dire consequences by those who don’t want the correct report to reach the top leaders in Delhi.

It appears that the entire game of politics has undergone a dramatic change. There was a time when there were just two parties — the Congress and the BJP. There were no Mayawatis, no Mulayam Singh Yadavs and no Ajit Singhs. It was the time when the Dalits voted for the Congress. Of course, there were a few individuals who would make an appearance but the Congress dealt with such people with an iron hand. That was the time when the Congress had an upper hand — they had the Nehru-Gandhi family to fall back on.

Things are different now. It is sad to note that the senior and junior leaders make statements which are not befitting them especially when it comes to a State like like Uttar Pradesh where Mayawati is the Chief Minister. She is shrewd, hardworking and has the formula on how to connect with the common man. One hopes that the Congress learns a lesson from the Bihar elections. Bollywood stars, rallies, road shows and yatras are not going to win elections. A huge turnout at a rally doesn’t necessarily turn into votes. Giving tickets to relatives and friends is not an option either.

What will help is finding a leader who has no criminal record and who can communicate with the locals. Rahul Gandhi means well but his message needs to reach the aam admi. Unfortunately, many Congress workers are corrupt. It is time that the strategy makers in the party come up with a plan that will make sure that the Congress wins in UP this time round.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-13th.Nov.2011-"LEARN MOBILE ETIQUETTE"


People need to realise that talking on the mobile in the presence of others is rude, bad manners and insensitive.

It is very unfortunate that all those who are using a mobile phone lack the etiquette when it comes to mobile usage. It is sad that educated people who profess to know-all are lacking in this area. Be it a market place, a restaurant or a get together at a friend’s place, the habit of texting, or talking on the phone is extremely rude. It makes the others in the gathering feel as if they are intruding into a private moment.

And if one mobile was not enough, people now carry two. There was a time when all of us survived without a mobile for hours together. But times have changed now. Well, there is no harm in carrying a phone but to use it is bad manners and shows insensitivity. It is an absolutely a ‘no’ to be on the mobile whether it is a formal or an informal gathering.

Just the other day, I was at a restaurant with a few friends. My eyes went to a couple that was sitting a couple of tables away from ours. What I found amusing was the fact that the two not talking with each other but busy texting on their respective phones. One thing has been noticed — it is the wannabes who want to show their fancy gadgets who flash their phones in public places. They want to show that they have the latest mobile and that too an expensive one. One will never see the real moneyed people talk on the phone at a gathering.

There have been instances where the situation has become so unbearable that other people in the party have had to tick-off the person busy with the mobile. It is a shame when people keep a salesperson waiting because he/she is busy talking over the phone. There have been instances where a person has had to wait for a good five minutes before she could say ‘hello’. The reason — the person was talking over the phone. If this is not enough, it is impossible to walk into a Government office today and not find the clerk talking on the mobile. What is even more strange is that people talk the loudest when there is a ‘no phones’ board.

Even while travelling by airplane do people not give up their habit of talking on the phone till the last minute. The airhostess needs to announce that passengers need to switch-off their phones. Travelling by train is no better. People talk so loudly that they disturb the others who are in the compartment. When will we understand that talking on the phone or texting or using the iPad is something that one needs to avoid while in a public gathering. There is nothing ruder and insulting than a person talking on the mobile in the presence of others. I wonder if the aam admi is more sensitive?

Considering that there are so many apps that are now available on smart phones, it is almost scary to be in the presence of a person who is talking over the phone. One never knows what he/she is recording to be used as a tool to blackmail in the future. After all there are many people who would do anything to malign others.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-6th.Nov.2011-"EDUCATION IS KEY TO SUCCESS"


It is time that the Govt took steps to ensure that children across the country get the right kind of knowledge.

This Diwali one saw a change. Our generation grew up thinking that crackers played a major role in celebrating the Festival of Lights. We all know the reason for celebrating this festival — Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of vanvaas, the day was joyous and Ayodhya vaasis’ lit diyas and burst crackers. Over the centuries the ritual stayed on and, of course, became a part of the celebrations and fun.

The question of pollution or even saving the environment was never an issue. Things have changed now. The younger generation is aware that bursting crackers is not only harmful for the environment, it also leads to many diseases. In the last 10 years, various environmentalists have been targeting the schools. They teach the children the ill-effects of bursting crackers. At the same time they educate them how to celebrate it better. Now, parents, on the behest of the children, send potted plants to friends and relatives instead of the usual mithai and dry fruits. Though the practice is not common, it is fast catching the imagination of many. The Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, took up the issue of reducing the pollution in the Capital some 10 years back and its effect is there for all to see.

It is amazing what education can do. Looking at the success of this initiative, it is time that the Government spread the message of family planning on the same lines. It is a sensitive issue and needs to be approached in a proper manner. Those who advocate family planning need to be educated first — how they need to approach the villagers cautiously, explain to them the health benefits and how it will be financially viable as well.

Unfortunately, the teachers in the villages lack the knowledge and don’t take their work seriously. If we can change the mindset of the people, half the battle is won. Knowledge is wealth. It is therefore, important for the Government to give the right kind of incentive to the teachers to go to remote parts of the country and impart the right kind of educations to the children.

One has to realise that it is not easy for a person who has lived all his life in the city to live in a village. There have been instances where the teachers only come to the school for 15 days and go missing for the rest of the month. Since there is nobody to check, invariably no action is taken against them.

One can see the difference education has made in the lives of students who are living in metros. The Government must encourage the right kind of education and take turn firm action for non-performance. Everyone should be encouraged to contribute towards educating every citizen of this country.

Organisations which are doing good work should be given more funds so that they can continue to keep up the good work. Education can bring about awareness and that can only be possible if there are good teachers.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-30th.Oct.2011-"STOP TEAM ANNA BASHING"


Instead of targeting Hazare & his team, the Government needs to find a solution to corruption quickly.

The UPA-II Government and the Congress had not estimated or taken into account the embarrassment it would face due to Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement. The ruling Government, it appears, has deliberately shut it’s eyes and ears to the message the public wants to convey. Our leaders live in the world of their own. It could be because of arrogance or ignorance or a combination of both. Nobody is listening to what the Congress workers in villages have to say — that the aam admi is revolting against the corruption.

Leaders who are TV news channels giving statements have missed the implications of the Hazare’ movement. In fact, they are misleading the High Command in order to come closer to her. This is not only annoying Team Anna but also the public. There is an undercurrent —the public wants to know if their leaders can feel the pulse of the common man or whether they are just not concerned what happens to those who vote them to power.

Hazare is only expressing the sentiments of the billion-plus population. It is not Team Anna who is the enemy of the ruling Government, it is corruption and bribery. Hazare’s team is a tool which addressed the movement against corruption. It is absurd that the Government is unable to see the gravity of the situation. Even an illiterate person, today, has the sense to know that Hazare’s movement is gaining momentum. And targeting it will send out one message — the Government is hounding them unnecessarily.

Ignorance about the sensitivity of situation may cost a party to loose an election. The arrogance shown by the Government has frustrated the public. The youth today will not tolerate the high-handed manner in which the Government is handling sensitive issues. Today, the youth is angry, impatient and is looking for quick solutions. The results of the Hisar election was a slap to the Congress for the arrogance it showed. The party lost its touch with the grassroot worker and paid a heavy price. The Congress blames Anna for its loss. If this were the case why did it not take corrective steps? While the loss in all five by elections may not affect the High Command, it has affected the morale of the grassroot worker. Six months back if someone had asked the party in Punjab if they would win the answer would have been a confident ‘yes’. Things have changed now. Inflation, price rise of essential commodities, non-performance of UPA-II and corruption is taking its toll.

Added to the party’s woes is the fact that Congress leaders are making irresponsible remarks against Team Anna. The aam admi is angry. They want the person who has taken up their cause to be treated with respect. Gunning after the members of Team Anna is not going to help. It’ like — the pot calling the kettle black. One can’t escape from the truth that corruption is a part of our lives. The Government needs to address the issue and find a solution.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-23rd.Oct.2011-"CHANGE THE SYSTEM"


The fact that RK Sharma walked free last week in the Shivani murder case proves that our system is lopsided

It is not unheard of people being picked up by the police from anywhere and put behind bars for no fault of theirs. The practice is becoming common. The sad part is that the person is not given an opportunity to prove his innocence. Added to the woes is that if there is no one to help, the onus to defend falls on the person and that, too, from behind the bars!

There have been instances where people have been picked up on grounds of allegations, suspicion or enmity. I know of many people where the cops because of their own lack of knowledge or because they were towing some powerful man’s line have randomly picked up people for questioning. Last week, former police officer RK Sharma walked free after the Delhi High Court acquitted him and two other co-accused because the evidence against them was not convincing enough. I am neither accusing him nor defending him. Nor am I talking about whether he is innocent or guilty. My point is that if he is innocent then who is responsible for the 12 years he spent behind bars away from his family. It is said that the CBI’s conviction rate is only 25 per cent.

Many would blame the lopsided system that exists in our country. Well, it is high time that the Government change it because no system in the world has the right to put an innocent man behind bars for a crime that he has not committed. To add to the problem, the media today has donned the role of pronouncing the person ‘guilty’ even before the trial begins. And if the person happens to be well-known, the media has more food for fodder. They will not only hound him, his family, friend’s and even servant’s will not be spared. It is therefore, very important that the cops and the investigating agency need to be extremely sensitive while handling cases, especially when a murder is involved.

Coming back to the High Court’s verdict of freeing Sharma. The fact that he has walked free created quite a stir. The people are confused. Who is to be blamed for not having produced enough evidence against the person who was directly linked to Shivani Bhatnagar’s murder? And if Sharma was guilty why did he walk free? At one level, one feels sorry for his family. The humiliation that it faced almost 10 years ago continues with his release. My heart goes out for his wife and children. How they must have spent these years — to be looked upon as the wife of a murderer, to be labeled as children of a murderer. Sharma belongs to an educated family. If he had continued to serve, he may have reached a top rank. If a person with his connections can be punished for over a decade for a crime that he did not commit, what about the plight of the aam admi?

What kind of a system do we live in today? If a person is guilty, he walks free and a person who is innocent continues to be behind bars. Thousands of innocent people are behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit. A popular saying — justice delayed is justice denied — is apt.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-16th.Oct.2011-"MACAU,ISLAND PARADISE"


With magic shows, shopping, golf & casinos, the city has much more to offer than just gambling.

I had heard that Macau, the small island along Hong Kong, was just a gambling paradise. Hence, for a girl from the mountains, the temptation of travelling to a destination surrounded by the sea was irresistible. I had not been to Hong Kong for many years. With the Chinese having taken over, I wanted to see the changes. I jumped at the opportunity when it presented itself. So, Macau became one of the places to visit. With bag full of medicines and some eatables for 80-plus ladies (my mother and mother-in-law were travelling with me), we set off.

Arrival at the new Hong Kong airport was smooth. A quick change from one terminal to the ferry terminal took us to Macau. It was smooth sailing into Macau, with a short taxi ride we rode into, perhaps one of the best hotels in the world — The Venetian. The forty storey-plus hotel also has the distinction of being the sixth largest casino. It is the only hotel that I have seen which has a canal with gandolas. The guests can take a ride and shop from the stores lined along the canal. The hotel has 11,000 employees — all extremely courteous and helpful. If this doesn’t impress you, how about the fact that it has 3,000 suites with an artificial sky as its ceiling! What is more amazing is that the clouds appear to be moving. The spa health centre run by Mayo Clinic ensures that you are all set to enjoy the visit to this island paradise.

Being an old Portuguese colony, Macau still has beautiful Churches which have been declared as national heritage sites. It’s a beautiful mix of cultures that has been left by the Portuguese, the British and now, the new Chinese regime. In comparison, Hong Kong comes across as a downtown in New York city. Busy streets, business hub and tall buildings on one end and some of the finest beaches at the other end.

We were also a witness to a typhoon — Nesat. Due to bad weather we had to postpone our sailing from Macau to Hong Kong by one day. Such was the furry of the typhoon that schools and businesses had to be closed all the way down to Philippines. But in a day things were back to normal. Fortunately, we were in the country when it was celebrating its National Day. We saw one of the best fireworks which lasted for 23 minutes and lit up the entire harbour! I was told it cost $ eight million to put up the show.

Hong Kong, in the last two decades, has transformed itself. It has changed with globalisation and kept pace with modernisation. What is surprising is how the tourists view the country and the growth it has undergone. At night, Hong Kong and Macau become a tourists’ paradise. It is no wonder that some people refer to Macau as the Las Vegas of Asia — after all it has entertainment for all age groups. From magic shows to a game of golf to heritage walks to casinos to shows for the adults — all of which is a heady mix of delight.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-9th.Oct.2011-"THE COP-OUT EXPERIENCE"


As it turns out, the police doesn't always help the aam aadmi.
It can be termed as one of the most horrifying, yet interesting, experiences. Recently, I visited a mall on the outskirts of Delhi. After looking around, I entered a small saree shop. It had great designs at reasonable prices. I bought one saree and walked out. Within minutes I realised that my mobile was missing. I immediately went back to the shop and created a fuss.

A young customer, who was still in the shop, had seen me talking over the phone when I was in the shop. Though he intervened, it took over an hour and much fretting, fuming and threats to call the police that the shop manager was able to find my mobile. The phone was switched off when I got it back. But I was elated that I had my phone back. I walked out of the shop once again and switched on the phone.

Much to my surprise it asked me to insert the SIM card. Thinking that the card had loosened, I opened the cover and took out the battery. Much to my horror I found that the SIM was missing. I went back to the shop and demanded that they tell me who had taken out the card. One reads how SIM cards are misused, so I called the mall security who was of no help at all.

I decided to call my daughter who called the cops and gave them the details of the shop. The young customer, who had helped me earlier, stepped in again. He called up my son and dialled 100 again. The incident happened around 5:30 pm and till 7:30 there was no sign of police. My son drove down from Defence Colony, but no cops.

I, of course, refused to leave the shop till I got my SIM back. When the shopkeepers realised that there was no way that I would leave, they pretended to look for the SIM. One of them bent down under a counter and came out with the SIM. “It must have fallen,” was the only explanation they gave.

Even though I was relieved, I was still angry that the cops had not paid any attention to the call made to them. What angered me even more was that the manager of the store was totally oblivious to my dilemma.

I walked out of the shop for the second time and called a top police officer. It was after this call that a police van came and took my statement.

The shop had four CCTV cameras but the footage is yet to be made available. It has been a week now. The much publicised slogan by the Delhi Police — With You, For You, Always — turned out to be such a farce.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-2nd.Oct.2011-"ALL IS FAIR IN POLITICS TODAY"

Even though there are a few politicians who are in Tihar, there are many who still roam free.

The Congress has finally found its feet back now that Sonia Gandhi is back from the US after her surgery. The upheavals that the Government had been facing, in the last three months, appear to be heading to some concrete solution. Despite various disruptions in the Parliament, it managed to conduct business. Even though there have been many scams, the silver lining is that that guilty have been punished and lodged in Tihar.

Many associated with the 2G scam are in Tihar. So is Suresh Kalmadi. And then there is Amar Singh who was sent to Tihar but, at present, is in AIIMS undergoing treatment for renal infection. In Karnataka, the mining scandals forced the resignation of the former BJP Chief Minister, BS Yeddyurappa, Anna Hazare and the Civil Society supporters fought and won. Narendra Modi is overjoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision. A lot is happening in the political circles these days.

Amar Singh and Suresh Kalmadi are two heavyweight politicians and who had many friends across party lines. They are both large hearted and loved to party. Both are, in their way, enamoured with Bollywood and liked to be surrounded by their star friends. They lived life king size and made no apology for that. But unfortunately, Singh and Kalmadi made the wrong kind of friends — none stood by them in their hour of trouble.

In their political career, they left their main party base — Singh left Mulayam Singh and Kalmadi left Sharad Pawar. That was sure to make some enemies and though Singh and Kalmadi have the money, it sure can’t buy them the freedom. Both never cared what people said about them and did what pleased them. The same applies to the former Minister of Karnataka Janardhana Reddy is also in Tihar.

One can’t forget Raja and Kanimozhi who are a part of the elite politicians behind bars. However, if the Government thinks that having put the corrupt politicians behind Tihar will save their image, it is wrong. Sending a few corrupt behind bars doesn’t take away the fact that there are many other corrupt politicians who refuse to mend their ways. The public is smart and is aware of what is happening in the name of being people’s representatives. Putting four-five politicians behind bars is not going to cleanse the system. The entire system — from civil servants to babus to clerks — all must be made accountable and responsible for any misuse of the position and Government funds.

Do the politicians realise that the wealth they have amassed will not help them when they are behind bars? One wonders if they treat politics as a game where those with power and money will not be touched because the ruling party needs them to stay in power?

A joke is being circulated, what if a politician is loosing power within his/her party, they are gaining ground in Tihar.

Well, in politics all is fair. And many politicians are living on this motto.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-26th.Sept.2011-"MODI IS A SMART MAN"


The country today needs an administrator who can deliver what he promised & a system that is not corrupt

Anna Hazare’s anshan has caught the imagination of political parties who are competing with each other to score brownie points. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been smart. When he was being targeted for the post Godhra riots, he was busy wooing his votebank and concentrating on developmental works in his State. He ruled with an iron hand quietly and steadily. He gave the public what they wanted — development in every sector.

The BJP supported Modi in his sadbhavana mission. The NDA leaders were all praise for him. Some are even ready to accept him as the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 General Election. The riots, it appears, are a thing of the past as far as they are concerned. Modi is happy to forget as well. His logic is that if the public has forgotten, even if not forgiven, the 1984 Sikh riots, and he counted three such tragedies, may be the public will forget the Godhra attacks and look at the work he has done in the State.

The country today needs a good administrator who will deliver what he promises. If the Congress can’t project a leader who can ensure that the system works, then the people will vote for Modi. It is said that in the last few years, Modi has established a good relationship with many NDA leaders. He has the support of Arun Jaitley. Jayalalithaa supports him completely. He has lured all the top industrialists into investing in his State.

The sadbhavana mission, many say, was a three-day detox fast. We all know that such fasts are good for health. Whatever may have been the reason, the fact remains that the common man viewed the mission as his olive branch to them. When the public votes out of desperation and frustration, they are voting against the establishment, against non-performance, against inflation and against non-deliverance. So, for the moment, Modi appears to be the new face of a prime ministerial candidate.

But the Congress still has an upper hand and whatever the failures the party may have, the Gandhi name has a magical pull. And one can’t refute the fact that it has many supporters. The party is known to get a shot in the arm as soon as the elections are announced. Its leaders can’t be written-off. The General Elections are two years away. One never knows what the situation will be like in the NDA in 2014 and what stand its leaders will take then.

For the Congress, the road is clear, it will be Rahul Gandhi. And for the party that is half the battle won for the UPA.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-18th.Sept.2011-"GOVT.APATHY HAS NO END"


The blast at Delhi High Court has left all angry. It is time that strong steps are taken to prevent a repeat

The bomb blast at Delhi High Court shocked everyone. I was sitting at home when I got a call. When I switched on the TV to see the news, the sight of people crying, some running to help the injured and some lying unattended were being shown. I was saddened by these images. Of course, the police were doing everything in its power to bring some semblance but chaos reigned.

Unfortunately, a friend of mine lost her cousin, in this tragedy. He had gone there to drop a friend at High Court. We consoled ourselves — that it was God’s will. But how does one explain that to a three-month-old daughter that she will never know her father? How will the 26-year-old widow make ends meet and survive? How does one tell the infant that her father had done nothing wrong to deserve such a horrific death?

I am not qualified enough to understand or go into the psyche of the people who are behind these terrorist attacks. But one thing is clear — people are angry and this time they are not willing to let the matter go on the ground that they have been misguided into killing innocent people. The Home Ministry is not doing enough to protect the lives of the citizens of this country. Although, it is not an easy task given the huge population of our country.

But that doesn’t mean that the Government will not do everything in its power to stop such occurrence. In fact, it is their duty. They are not doing a favour. We, as citizens, also have a duty. We must be vigilant and inform the police in case of any suspicious activity. Over the years we have become insensitivity and the tolerance levels have gone up, especially for the middle-class which is not concerned with doing its duty towards the State. The politicians are also not doing their work. Shouting and screaming at each other will not help fight terrorism. Nor will visits to the hospital help.

The public has no patience for such antics today. This was apparent when Rahul Gandhi went to visit the injured at the hospital after the blast. He was booed by angry relatives of the victims, as he made his way into the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and within minutes he had to leave. If politicians really want to help, they need to provide free medical aid without riders. There have been cases where the relatives of the dead were not given the body unless dues were paid first. One widow had to run from pillar to post to finish all the formalities so that she could her husband’s body.

It is strange this apathy is seen after every tragedy. Why can’t there be an order issued from the Prime Minister’s Office that whenever such terror attacks happen unconditional help will be extended to the victims and their families. There should be a 24x7 helpline. Acts of terrorism and natural calamities can’t be stopped but the least our Government can do is to be there for the victims and help them in whatever way possible.

The Tribune-Chatterati-19th.Sept.2011

"Sonia salve for Congress sores"

With the UPA president back, the Congress party is feeling better. The Congressmen are a bit upset that they are not allowed to meet her and inquire about her health. It is a sad situation to see that the Congress felt crippled without the UPA chief's guidance. Not even Rahul Gandhi could step into her shoes.

After many wrong decisions by many senior Congress ministers, the Congress High Command is in a hurry to undo the blunders. The Prime Minister is feeling more relaxed and the Union ministers and general secretaries of the Congress have heaved a sigh of relief. Sonia attended the CEC meeting on UP, ending all the speculations of her being weak. The state elections are approaching and all the UP leaders are silently trying to get their own candidates. Many Congresswalas are planning to do special pujas during the Navratris for Sonia's health and prosperity of all Congresswalas. Never have the party members felt so orphaned than now when Sonia was away. Must say even the opposition was missing her presence. Sonia's health is being monitored here by the doctor who also flew with her for surgery abroad. The Congresswalas are a bit more charged now than in the last month which was clearly a month of disasters for them. Some even claim how the health of the Congress party is linked to Mrs Gandhi's health!
"A VIP show!"

After the bomb blast at the High Court, the VIPs as usual visited the government hospitals to see the injured. The insensitive VIPs who made a show of their visit were booed and sent back home.

The mature politician P. Chidambaram went to the site of the blast and made sure there was no security with him. There were MPs like Varun Gandhi who came, donated blood quietly and went back home. No fanfare or media attention. Delhites are feeling insecure and worried. What has saddened them is how in hospitals after every tragedy, they have to run from pillar to post for the treatment of their injured loved ones. Bodies are also difficult to get after postmortem unless they make a hue and cry.

But the Aam Admi rushed to donate blood to hospitals which was an amazing response. It was heartening to see that there is sensitivity and care left, especially the youngsters of India make no show of it.

"Aiyar’s cheeky remarks"

Mani Shankar Aiyar is a sharp-witted member of Parliament. He is someone you would like to be always on the right side. You never know when he may say what. Aiyar and Natwar Singh are both from St. Stephens. On an annual day, Natwar Singh wrote in the College Alumni Book that "Whatever I am today is thanks to this college."

Aiyar, who had to sign right after Natwar, wrote, "Why blame the college." Aiyar's sense of humour can lighten up any evening. His sharp tongue has made him many enemies over the years and his friends have learnt to live with it. His latest response to Lalit Maken about Hans Raj College has not won Aiyar many friends Stephanians, according to the other college boys of north campus, are a bit arrogant. Some Stephanians are Kapil Sibal, Virbhadra Singh and Sandeep Dikshit.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Tribune-Chatterati-12th.Sept.2011

"WikiLeaks story gets Maya’s goat"

Delhiites are obsessed with WikiLeaks. In the cables leaked, governments globally are embarrassed at the information pouring out. Mayawati must be the only leader globally who decided to hit back at the owner of the site. Mayawati is well known for her love of designer bags and why not? The WikiLeaks story which got her angry was about her government plane being misused to fetch a pair of shoes worth Rs 1,000 from Mumbai. They said she has an army of cooks at her service and also food tasters. The UP Chief Minister offered mental help to the owner of WikiLeaks after calling him a lunatic.
Another cable of WikiLeaks has commented on the Baba Brigade of Rahul Gandhi as they have been described as lightweights and mere scions of the powerful political families. Also that our former respected President Kalam's checking at America security was at the instruction of Hillary Clinton. Shame! Wonder, why the Indian government does not do the same to the US visiting dignitaries.Also there is a cable which has shown that the Karnataka Chief Minister widower Yedyurappa has a woman minister Shobha Karandlaje as his girlfriend. The outrage over the leaking of cables has put numerous sources and lives to risk and also many scandals have come out. As in the secret files of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah who was claimed to be 82, but actually is 92 according to his medical reports. And the husband of four wives, the King regularly received hormone injections. But our own Behenji wants to know if Assange was a cleaning boy in her kitchen as he knew so many of her eating habits.
"Prize acquisition"

Wur members of Parliament are thrilled with their new toys. They have all been given Rs 50,000 to buy themselves a computer or an iPad. So, nowadays we can see a lot of iPads proudly tucked under their arms. The savvy ones like Kamal Nath and Chidambaram use it regularly for information, speeches and creating their own files. There are some who are still learning in the classes given in the Parliament annexe. It is a good start as old hands like Pranab Mukherjee and Janardan Dwivedi use it regularly. Some have Skype so that they can talk to their children studying abroad, some of them got their children to teach them while some are still wondering which one to buy. With the social media so powerful, now they have realized how important it is to be glued to the Internet etc.
"A sober affair"

The Lyngdoh Committee recommendations in 2006 on spending only Rs 5,000 for posters made the Delhi University elections much sober.

Girls dressed in salwaar kameezes and boys left their T-shirts and funky jeans for white shirts and sober jeans. Hopping to one college to another with chamchas, loud slogans and standing on tables in canteens to announce the nominations was a familiar scene. But the most hectic were the social network sites.

Pioneer-DilliBilli-11th.Sept.2011-"MONETARY GAIN LURES POLITICOS"

Many people want to join politics because it means making money with little investment

The declaration of assets by the Union Cabinet is now a hot topic of discussion in the Capital. Recently a group of youngsters who were discussing a list on a website were angry, amazed and embarrassed to read that the politicians whom they thought owned huge landholdings were actually the poorest!

Believe it or not, Sharad Pawar has declared that he has only Rs12 crore and owes no land. One wonders how many others there are like him who have declared their assets and claim to be poorer than the average man in the country. One just needs to look at their lifestyle to know the true picture of whether what they have declared is correct or not.

Almost all the children of these politicians study abroad and lead a luxurious lifestyle. But what the common man does not realise is that everything for these politicians is paid for by the Government. However, the picture put in front of the public is just the opposite — that the facilities given to them by the Government is paid by the politicians.

If you are a Union Minister or a Minister for State — housing, electricity, water, petrol and phone is all free. The bills are settled by the tax-payer’s money. All travelling expenses (including travelling expense of a companion, if needed, is also free), salaries of the staff and medical insurance is paid for by the Government. Even the politicians’ family’s health is covered under the Government expense. There was a time when the public servants used to get pension (the rules have changed and now public servants need to contribute towards their pension). And then there are those who have worked with the Indian Railways who get free tickets for First Class for the rest of their lives.

So is it any wonder that more and more people what to get into politics. After all it is good business — it gives good returns with very little investment. And it is not just one person who reaps the benefits. His entire family — friends and relatives also benefit. If it is not becoming a politician, then definitely a Government job.

And the reason why politicians go out of their way to help others? They believe that these very people will come to their rescue if and when the time arises. What they forget is that politics is all about kissa kursi ka. When out of power, the politician is automatically out from the other person’s phone list.

Therefore, in the end, it really doesn’t matter whether the Ministers declare their wealth and assets for the common man.

But it’s a good start and hopefully it will ensure that the politicians would think twice before amassing huge wealth that happens to be tax-payers money. This, of course, in no way means that politicians can’t have a lavish lifestyle.

What the public wants are politicians who are honest and corruption that has crept in be rooted out.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Tribune-Chatterati-5th.Sept.2011

"A mecca for show of secular credentials"

The number of Iftars and festivities around Id has grown bigger in recent years. Delhi has always been a happy hunting-ground for those seeking display of symbolism. And these opportunities are being treated as occasions to display either secular credentials or powerful network. The noticeable increase in the intensity of Iftars sadly does not seem to denote anything more than just a convenient platform for the display of pulling power.

While the Prime Minister's Iftar is an extension of the government's sequential mishaps on Anna Hazare, feeding politicos and journalists at the time of agitation was a subject of discussion. The President's Iftar, on the other hand, was more of a formality. But must say never have the Congressmen missed Sonia Gandhi's presence more at these Iftar parties.

Shahnawaz Hussain and his wife played perfect hosts for a mixed bag of their political friends in one such party on their spacious home lawns. Of course, the BJP ensured that its leadership from Advani to Joshi and others from Lalu to Meira Kumar were all trotted out. But as always it was Bollywood in the form of Shatrughan Sinha and cricketer in the form of Azharuddin who got the hoi polloi excited.

The Chief Election Commissioner S.Y.Qureshi's home usually focuses its social gatherings around the music that is the man's private passion. But Id is the one occasion when music is replaced with meat.

Deliciously cooked authentic Id fare was the focus of his evening and bureaucrats rubbed shoulders with media professionals and just friends! As always in such events, there were those who stayed to enjoy the moment and those who had to scurry through to meet and greet others elsewhere. Symbolic or otherwise, the rise of cross-cultural celebrations across religions is a sign of a growing social integration.
"Cong cronyism"

With the UP elections approaching, the first list of Congress candidates is out. It holds no surprises as the first round goes to mostly all the relatives of the leaders of the Congress party. It has the names of the wives of Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Sanjay Singh.

A fair representation has been given to the sons and nephews of Congress leaders who will obviously become the young Gandhi's brigade. Owing to the mishandling of Anna Hazare's issue by some of the senior leaders in the Congress, the Rahul Baba brigade has got a new lease of life.

The Young Turks have been assigned to deal with the anti-party propaganda. It is learnt that Sachin Pilot, Scindia and Jitin Prasada have temporarily been given the role to look into the handling of the Press. Subsequently, the Young Turks may be shifted to UP and the other states which will be going for elections soon.

With Anna back in his village, Maharashtra's heavyweight politician Vilasrao Deshmukh's image has gone up. He played a decisive role in getting the Anna team and the UPA closer. So his supporters feel he should get a heavyweight portfolio. But it was Chief Minister Prithviraj Chauhan who made sure that Anna should not be sent to Maharashtra from Tihar.

At the right time, he saved the UPA government from committing another blunder. But Delhiites were amused by the fact that some cabinet members were missing during the Janmashtami celebrations in their constituencies lest they should face the angry public for mishandling the Anna Hazare agitation.

Pioneer-DilliBilli-4th.Sept.2011-"EMPOWERED YOUTH RISES"

"Empowered Youth Rises"

The youth today, is not swayed by empty promises made by politicians, nor will they tolerate a corrupt Govt

Even as Anna Hazare checked into Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon, Haryana his supporters could not contain their excitement and partied through the night. Of course, the celebrations were in tune with what Hazare had said — celebrate in a civilized manner. And it was a celebration that one would remember. The National Flag was seen flying everywhere and slogans like Bharat mahan reverberated the air. It was after all history in the making.

The aam admi feels that the Congress has lost it’s focus. The only work the party is busy with, is making money. The common man is frustrated that to even get a small work done, a bribe has to be paid. Even the NREGA beneficiaries have to give a part of their benefits to the middlemen. The Anna Hazare movement has not only won the trust and respect of the people in the country but also those who are living abroad. It was truly amazing to see the Indian public to come out in thousands and support a cause and that too peacefully.

The only group of people who were not happy about what had transpired between August 15 till August 28 were the politicians. While the UPA did everything in its power to discredit the movement by calling it an RSS dominated strategy, the public does not believe a word of it. The billion-plus population of the country had only one thing to say — kudos for those who were behind this movement.

And even if the movement had the backing of the RSS, as the Government claims, they have done a great service to the people of this country and the coming generations. Silent marches, candlelight walks and the patience that Anna supporters showed was a miracle.

The only losers in this entire episode has been the Government. The leaders must realise is that the aam admi is not concerned about the working of the Parliament. After all it was created more than six decades ago and nobody expected that the people who are a part of it will become corrupt. Today, the Government needs to understand that the people’s voice has to be heard and what they want needs to be taken care of. It has to realise that arrogance will not work and that it will only lead the Government on a path of doom.

The fact that the senior politicians in the Congress were at sea with UPA chairperson away was evident. This was not the time of smooth talkers but the time of political maneuvering. The youth is not ready to listen to empty promises. They are ready to fight those who are corrupt. The UPA’s credibility is zero today. It is their arrogance that is not letting them see the true picture of how much ground they have lost. The fact that there is no opposition and the NDA is divided gives the UPA false sense of hope. They do not realise that public votes to ouster the corrupt, not to see who will replace them. It’s about vote against the establishment. Corruption, non delivery, inflation and arrogance with a brash behaviour will be the down fall of the UPA.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Tribune-Chatterati-29th-August-2011

"Grand couple, grander celebrations"

The Second Sin', the posh new avatar of the barely laminated 'Manre', was the venue for the first wedding anniversary celebrations of Sunanda and Shashi Tharoor. One of the city's most social couples had put together a very varied guest list that ranged from Sunanda's army childhood classmates to Tharoor's companions.

Guests were entertained in style presided over by 'Second Sin' owner and Rajya Sabha member K.D.Singh. But the highlights of the evening were the two presentation ceremonies--a painter who had done a large portrait of the much-in-love middle-aged couple and a printer who had dedicated a calendar with pictures of the couple adorning its pages.

The Anna Hazare tumult and the relatively faraway Saket location meant that many of Delhi's spoilt citizens who rarely travel outside their comfort zone of Central Delhi were missing in action.

But cheerful friends made up for the absence of the politicians and Shashi's colleagues, the members of Parliament. Giving an Anna touch to the evening were Kabir Bedi and his effervescent daughter Pooja Bedi flushed with stories of their speech from Anna's podium earlier in the day. Then there was a crooner who sang old film numbers praising the lovebirds Sunanda and Shashi. Though the crowd was thin, the spirits were high and the food was good.

"Cong misses Sonia"

In and out of Parliament chaos is supreme. The public is angry and so sorry that the taxpayer's money is going waste. As two spokespersons Jayanti Natrajan and Ashwani Kumar are now cabinet members, the Congress has two new spokespersons Renuka Choudhary and Rashid Alva. But sadly no Congress spokespersons are a match to the Anna team. Public temper is at the highest at the arrogance of the Congress troubleshooters. The Congress has constituted a team which is called G-7, informally of which seven ministers are members. They make the strategy to tackle media regularly.

This was constituted after the Anna Hazare fiasco in May where the government fumbled and appeared confused and weak to handle the issue. This committee has experienced and smooth talkers like Ghulam Nabi Azad and this is the first time an Indian government has institutionalized media management in this manner, where a group of ministers discuss and then in a united way handle media.

Chidambaram and Ambika Soni, members of G-7, are always prepared to take on the hungry media even though team Anna's anger towards the home minister is at its highest peak. But the minister's presence adds credibility and substance to the tackling of questions on all issues, including political.

The media-management structure was put together at the core committee of the Congress where the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi were present. Articulate lawyers but not politically savvy are the ones who are being blamed for the mess even though savvy politicians hardly talk.

Pawan Bansal brings to the table the views of other parties while the seasoned Ambika Soni sends out important headlines to the team in the morning. Then these ministers are given an update when they meet. This is how now the troubled government gets its views across. Of course now every hour there is something new that erupts and has to be tackled. As the media now plays the role of the opposition, they have to be careful all the time. But none of their assurances can get the emotionally charged public to be quiet now. There is a joke doing the rounds that when the lady of the house is away, the house is in disarray. With Sonia away, the Congress is in a state of complete confusion. The Congress is surely missing Sonia Gandhi and how?

Pioneer-DilliBilli-28th.Aug.2011-"HAZARE MAKES GOVT BITE DUST"

"Hazare makes Govt bite dust"

There has not been a single instance where the UPA has been able to break Hazare or his team or find a solution

It is an absolute disaster how the Congress has gone about handling the Anna Hazare situation. It has left almost everybody shocked and bewildered. Every step that the party has taken has been outwitted by Hazare’s team. His team has used Hazare’s image to the hilt and proved that they are much smarter than the Government. Attacking Hazare, his team and his people only helped his case and showed how the Government has been misinformed about the public sentiments and emotions.

Why was Hazare arrested, sent to Tihar jail and then released at 7:30 pm? Why could he have not been put under house arrest? Who were the people behind this Government’s strategy? Why did the Prime Minister not come out in the open and speak on the issue? The seasoned Congress politicians who had isolated themselves from the Hazare issue were asked to step in and settle things amicably. The strategists have not tried to shield the Prime Minister, instead they have been successful in destroying the Prime Minister’s image. In the beginning, at least one thought, that whatever corruption was surfacing in the UPA Government, the Prime Minister was above it all and he did want to punish the guilty. But now he has virtually turned a blind eye towards the demand of the people. If a dialogue had been initiated, the Congress’ image would not have taken the beaten it has received.

Corruption is not new in our country but the scale at which it has risen is shocking. One has to bribe everyone for everything. The Prime Minister has legal minds assisting him on political decisions. Hazare on the other hand has people who are obviously a lot smarter. There is no doubt that the Government is without a direction or focus. They tried everything in their power to break Hazare and his team and failed. Hazare’s strength lies in the huge support he got globally. There are some members of the Union Cabinet who may not ever win an election because of the negative image they have got from this mess. If Sonia Gandhi was in the country the situation would have been handled in a more dignified manner.

And what is stranger is how the Government is blaming the Press for the situation? Can the Government not see the frustration of the people? The Government may be entering the phase of policy paralysis and it has to do damage control if Rahul Gandhi has to head the party in the near future. But one thing is clear — Hazare and the aam admi has crippled the UPA Government. The public is sure that the Nehru-Gandhi parivaar is against personal attacks and is waiting for them to find a solution. The Prime Minister must realise that by keeping quiet he has not only destroyed his image but also the image of the Congress. He and his advisors should at least protect that.

There is a joke doing the rounds these days. When the lady of the house is away, the house is in a disarray. The Congress is in a state of confusion with Sonia Gandhi away.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Tribune-Chatterati-28th-August-2011

"Grand couple, grander celebrations"

The Second Sin', the posh new avatar of the barely laminated 'Manre', was the venue for the first wedding anniversary celebrations of Sunanda and Shashi Tharoor. One of the city's most social couples had put together a very varied guest list that ranged from Sunanda's army childhood classmates to Tharoor's companions.

Guests were entertained in style presided over by 'Second Sin' owner and Rajya Sabha member K.D.Singh. But the highlights of the evening were the two presentation ceremonies--a painter who had done a large portrait of the much-in-love middle-aged couple and a printer who had dedicated a calendar with pictures of the couple adorning its pages.

The Anna Hazare tumult and the relatively faraway Saket location meant that many of Delhi's spoilt citizens who rarely travel outside their comfort zone of Central Delhi were missing in action.

But cheerful friends made up for the absence of the politicians and Shashi's colleagues, the members of Parliament. Giving an Anna touch to the evening were Kabir Bedi and his effervescent daughter Pooja Bedi flushed with stories of their speech from Anna's podium earlier in the day. Then there was a crooner who sang old film numbers praising the lovebirds Sunanda and Shashi. Though the crowd was thin, the spirits were high and the food was good.
"Cong misses Sonia"

In and out of Parliament chaos is supreme. The public is angry and so sorry that the taxpayer's money is going waste. As two spokespersons Jayanti Natrajan and Ashwani Kumar are now cabinet members, the Congress has two new spokespersons Renuka Choudhary and Rashid Alva. But sadly no Congress spokespersons are a match to the Anna team. Public temper is at the highest at the arrogance of the Congress troubleshooters. The Congress has constituted a team which is called G-7, informally of which seven ministers are members. They make the strategy to tackle media regularly.

This was constituted after the Anna Hazare fiasco in May where the government fumbled and appeared confused and weak to handle the issue. This committee has experienced and smooth talkers like Ghulam Nabi Azad and this is the first time an Indian government has institutionalized media management in this manner, where a group of ministers discuss and then in a united way handle media.

Chidambaram and Ambika Soni, members of G-7, are always prepared to take on the hungry media even though team Anna's anger towards the home minister is at its highest peak. But the minister's presence adds credibility and substance to the tackling of questions on all issues, including political.

The media-management structure was put together at the core committee of the Congress where the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi were present. Articulate lawyers but not politically savvy are the ones who are being blamed for the mess even though savvy politicians hardly talk.

Pawan Bansal brings to the table the views of other parties while the seasoned Ambika Soni sends out important headlines to the team in the morning. Then these ministers are given an update when they meet. This is how now the troubled government gets its views across. Of course now every hour there is something new that erupts and has to be tackled. As the media now plays the role of the opposition, they have to be careful all the time. But none of their assurances can get the emotionally charged public to be quiet now. There is a joke doing the rounds that when the lady of the house is away, the house is in disarray. With Sonia away, the Congress is in a state of complete confusion. The Congress is surely missing Sonia Gandhi and how?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pioneer-DilliBilli-23rd.Aug.2011-"INDIA MAKES A MARK FOR ITSELF"

"India makes a mark for itself"

Today, our country has the best to offer to the world — whether it is in the form of goods, talent or creativity

It is a well-known fact that Indian fashion and designers are now in-tune with international market because of the exposure from the west. This has ensured that we are very much at home with our dress sense even when we are travelling abroad. Today, wherever we go, we are looked upon with great respect.

There was a time when we used to return from a foreign trip with bags full of soaps, shampoos, chocolates, biscuits and other knick-knacks. We used to pay for extra baggage and ladies used to stuff their handbags with cosmetics and creams. There was a limit on how much foreign exchange one could carry. So most people ended up borrowing from friends and relatives abroad.

Making several trips to Gaffar market to buy things like coke and imported sweets with friends was common. Things have changes and for the better. As our economy has opened up, everything is now easily available in the market. One need not go abroad for shopping now. People travel to a foreign country for a holiday, to know about different cultures, to understand how their Government works and study their policies. We have realised one important thing — if we are not a step better, we are as good as they are. The Internet and other social network sites have ensured that we are aware of what is happening all over the world. With more and more people getting education, the level of awareness is also on the rise.

Travelling from France to Italy to Scotland to the UK, one thing stands out — foreigners are curious about our heritage, culture and how a nation of over a billion-plus population with different ideologies and beliefs live together in harmony. They do want to come to our country and learn from our rich heritage. Homeopathy, Aryurveda and Yoga are very popular with the average westerner.

On a recent trip abroad, I met a 23-year-old Argentinian who practices yoga with her 80-year old-grandmother. They do asanas and meditation. Her family had never travelled out of Argentina. She was the first to travel to London so that she could learn English. I felt proud when I saw her taking Homeopathy medicine for her acne. Our tandoori chicken and idlis are available as health food in up-market stores. Kurtas modified as shirts worn over jeans with Kolhapuri chappals is a fashion statement in many places in the west. Even our nose pin is popular.

One feels proud as one walks into stores like Harrods or a designer store in Paris and see India designs and clothes on display. The quality is brilliant and as good if not better than the brands that are available there. The creativity, talent and material that is now there in the market, I can proudly say that we are at par with the finest in the world.

When you spot Indians on the streets, they are confident, well-dressed and are brilliant at whatever they undertake — job or business. A new India is making it’s mark across the globe.

The Tribune-Chatterati-22nd-August-2011

"Annacalypse: It’s less of politics, more of raw people power"

It’s not so much about members as it is about sensing the public mood. It's not so much about details and clauses as it is about democracy and free speech. The Ramlila Maidan, carefully prepared for Anna's fast, is only the staging ground for a movement that has travelled well beyond Delhi. And that is what has made Raisina Hill feel nervous as hell. Every capitulation by the government, indeed even every conversation is magnified into a retreat.

Twenty-four by seven media coverage has extracted and magnified every fault line of this new battlefield that is the redone, repaved Ramlila grounds. While team Anna has skillfully expanded its narrow Lok Pal platform to the wider anti-corruption one, the government's silly actions have unwittingly allowed it go this further.

Today the septuagenarian on fast has also become a symbol of democracy--not something that he had marched out of his village in rural Maharashtra to achieve. Indeed bringing a government to its knees in this manner has made him a folk hero. It's less about politics and more about raw people power.

Comparisons with the Mahatma may be unfair, but Anna has ensured that the simple old man now has a brand image much bigger than anything seen in the recent times. Even as the doctors monitor his health, it's Anna's confidence, clarity and courage that inspire people like the dabbawalas in Mumbai to go on their first strike in 120 years. Being a seasoned activist and agitator, Anna moves in a methodical manner. His pre-fast check up at 'Medanta', a hospital in Gurgaon, ensured that he would have a baseline record of not just vital functions but also bodily marks to preempt possible roughing up by the police.

A free fully equipped ambulance is also parked by 'Medanta' for any emergency. After all Anna has an IRS officer Kejriwal, a police officer Kiran Bedi, a law minister and a lawyer in the Bhushans', all retired but today devoted full-time to managing the Anna movement. Crowds at the Ramlila Maidan are not the only things that the government will be watching nervously. It's the spread and depth of the people's movement and the feeling elsewhere, that they worry about today. Rattled Congress spokesperson and ranting ministers haven't helped Manmohan's image.

A government beleaguered by rampant corruption, inflation, policy paralysis and terrorism has turned an ego battle into a very public headache.

"Unfair male attention"

To get male attention in India has never been a problem. Lecherous looks and being teased on the roads of Delhi or anywhere is the done thing. It is usually said by cops also that if you do not want to be teased or glared at, you should not be dressed as 'sluts'. Sexual crimes they say are usually provoked by women who dress inappropriately. It was a Canadian police officer who started to use the word 'slut'. This is what outraged the women who marched in London and Latin America dressed in tiny clothes. This was a message that however women may dress in bikini or sari, they do not or should not get lecherous looks.

Delhi being the "rape" capital and also in a recent survey was the world's fourth most dangerous place for women. This was perhaps the right place for this walk. It was nicknamed as 'Besharmi Morcha' and even in this humid weather last week, women in full force protested against undue attention bestowed upon them by men. The message that was loud and clear behind this 'slut walk' was whether it is simple dressing or provocative dressing, women deserve security and no harassment.

The modern women of Delhi who marched though were dressed in everyday decent clothes. It was a good turnout as women in this country are moving out of their homes and working at BPOs, clubs and doing night shifts. They do have to fight the shameful behaviour of the hungry frustrated men.

It is a good start or maybe a message for men to be more careful next time and control their wandering hands, lecherous looks and degrading comments on women.

Monday, August 15, 2011



Corruption is a major issue for the youth today. Any leader who is not true to the voter will be rejected

With the Assembly elections approaching in some States — Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh — the political parties are gearing up for it. The election in Uttar Pradesh, to be held next year, is the main focus for the Congress. The election has become a prestige issue for the party as Rahul Gandhi has been working and campaigning hard in the State. Numerous surveys have been done by his team. Party workers and office bearers have been called in from different States and given instructions.

But it is not just the Congress that is busy. The Chief Minister of UP, Mayawati, has already got her candidates in place. In fact, she is the only one who is totally prepared. The Samajwadi Party and and other small parties have their agenda in place — they will side with the party that hands them a better deal. The BJP, too, is trying to get its act in order.

In Himachal Pradesh, the general secretary in-charge has risen above factional fighting and has set up a team of experienced and capable members who will deliver.

In Punjab, the president of the State Congress party, Amarinder Singh has started campaigning in the State. Amarinder Singh and Virbhadra Singh are sure to be main players in their respective States.

Hopefully their experience and knowledge will be used effectively by the Congress High Command.

Elections in any State can only be won if it is headed by a popular leader. Therefore, it is very important that there is a strong team. Personal relationships have no role to play under such situations. It is a well-known fact that inefficiency and non-deliverance will be punished by the public. With 65 per cent voters as youth, they expect the politicians to deliver what has been promised. For them corruption is a big issue and a candidate who doesn’t have a clean image will be rejected outright.

Coming back to the Congress and the attention and the amount of work the party is doing in Uttar Pradesh, is justified. The State has hardly seen any infrastructural development. It is time that the Congress puts its act together and win. It is time that the party starts paying attention to grassroot workers instead of people who are sitting in Delhi who visit the State once in a while. With a good team and co-ordination the task for the party will become easier. If the general secretary in-charge of Himachal Pradesh can do it, the party can apply the same formula in UP.

However, one thing has to be kept in mind, whether it is the Congress or the BJP, winning an election today means that all the people in the party should keep their egos at home and personal likes and dislikes away while choosing the candidates and constituting various committees. They need to understand that they need to be true to their voters. Winning the people’s approval should be the focus.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Tribune-Chatterati-8TH-August-2011

"Rendezvous with fashionmongers"

Fashion and glamour go hand in hand and if it is Delhi where the fashion shows are held, then trying to rope in the powerful political clan is the real show of strength. But unfortunately the politicians kept to themselves this time. Of course, the usual suspects of the Delhi fashion scene who are now more or less the "has beens" were present in full force. Surprisingly from Bollywood except for Sanjay Khan's parivaar, there were no big names present.
There were Raveena Tandon, Fardeen Khan and the proud parents of Sonakshi Sinha, actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha and his wife. Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor was present at most fashion shows minus husband, stating that these designers are good friends. It's amazing but how this couple Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda are present everywhere.
A real sore sight was spotting the former cricketer Atul Wassan with a black eye. Unfortunately, Atul was a victim of some unruly road rage where some security people of a Haryana minister had bashed him up for overtaking their cars. It was an ugly sight and uglier story that Atul had to narrate to us of his firsthand experience with arrogance of some of the politicians of the Jat land. It's uncalled-for.
But on the whole our designers are now top quality in every sense of it.
"Where women rule the roost"

The states where women rule are always very interesting to observe. In Amma's state, one observed that it is only former film star Jayalalithaa who is allowed to wear coloured clothes as a politician. This is very noticeable when at any time you watch Jayalalithaa and her ministers standing together. It is a total contrast and a bit like the cricket team when you see the referee in one colour of clothes and the rest of the team in uniform. Jayalalithaa's ministers too, whether it is a formal or informal occasion, are always dressed in a dress code of white or is it surrender? Jayalalithaa is in a position today to have her way and is safe as most of the opposition former ministers and legislatures are being arrested either for grabbing land when their party was in power or for all different corruption charges.
The biggest state in the country Uttar Pradesh meanwhile is gearing up for the elections soon. While political parties are up in arms against one another, it is oddly the women Teen Deviya who are the face of their parties in Uttar Pradesh. The fifty-five-year-old Chief Minister Mayawati, who is ruthless and full of aggression and is not known to have many friends in public or personal life, is the boss. The new entry into Uttar Pradesh politics is Uma Bharti. This fifty-one-year-old has been hijacked from Madhya Pradesh by the BJP to lead the next Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. She is known for her temper and is aggressive. Even though she is a 'sanyasin', she enjoys her food and good music. On the other hand, Mayawati is not into food and hates spicy stuff.
The Congress has chosen the daughter of their former Chief Minister H.N.Bahuguna to revive the party fortunes in the state. The sixty-one-year-old Rita Bahuguna Joshi is a good fighter and fulfills her duties side by side to being a good housewife too. Loves her classy silk and cotton saris and enjoys her non-vegetarian meal too.
These three women, I don't think, have ever even enjoyed a cup of coffee together or interacted with each other, but now they have been put by their parties to fight the coming UPelections.



Was there need for Pak’s new Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to look like a design studio herself?

With geo-politics changes taking place at a fast pace, India was not very sure about how to handle Pakistan’s new, 34-year-old, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. The youth today is caught up in their work and life and may not appear to be patriotic as the older generation. Therefore, at times, the younger generation’s attitude is not always taken in the right spirit. I would not call myself orthodox and have had enough exposure to the outside world but even I am at a loss on how to sum up Khar.

But if I were a conservative person, I would have preferred to see a young bright US educated woman alight from Pakistani plane dressed in a more diplomatic manner. It is may seem a bit hypocritical, but Khar represents her country. She is a leader. To be dressed in a chic and smart way is an entirely different matter than looking like a person who is a walking talking designer mouthpiece.

India has played host to a number of international leaders and personalities. From John F Kennedy to President Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton to Sarah Palin — all of them have had admirers in India. With an impeccable sense of dressing, they didn’t have to carry handbags that shouted that it was a designer nor did they have to wear shades that were too large and loud for their faces.

We, in India, also have young MPs. Most of them come from old, elite and wealthy political families. But the ingrained diplomacy in our leaders ensures that we dress right. Who could be more charming and pretty than Priyanka Gandhi. Yet one sees her dressed in simple cotton salwar-kurtas. Once in a while one does see her in a sari — also cotton. Our women leaders like, Late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, young Ministers like Preneet Kaur and Selja Kumari don’t need to carry a Birkin bag (rumored to be worth rs17 lakh). These are women of substance who are confident and are very careful not to flaunt their wealth in full public view — their votebank barely manages to eat two meals a day. To carry a bag worth rs17 lakh would not be in good taste.

As a leader, that too in the sub-continent, one doesn’t have to carry a designer bag in order to get attention. The media can’t be blamed for labeling a leader as a ‘fashion icon’ rather than be called an intelligent mantri. This, of course, doesn’t mean that Khar is not intelligent. But she should not have huffed so much when Indian media talked of nothing but her choice of accessories. Our media is not used to dignitaries visiting from neighbouring countries talk of friendship where most people live below the poverty line supporting an expensive bag. Maybe next time she visits we would have got used to the designer clad dignitary and the focus will be on real issues.

I am not an ageist. In fact, I am in awe of the younger generation and the exposure they have. It’s not about hypocrisy or hiding who you are, it is about knowing what works where.

Monday, August 1, 2011


"Upwardly mobile India"

Indians are strutting the streets of London, exploding from restaurants and shopping as never before

Holidays are over and schoolchildren are back in class. But, just a month or two back, some of them (those who could afford it) headed for Europe, especially the UK. In fact, there are more Indians roaming the Oxford Street than the British. From the rich, to the who is who, to politicians with their sidekicks, to bureaucrats who manage an official trip, including a daily allowance — all can be spotted walking the streets of London.

Despite the fact that the country is going through a plethora of crises, no one seems to be bothered. It is as if the charges of corruption, the CBI inquiries and the Government machinery coming to a halt has become routine. So, why spoil a foreign trip with the family?

It is amazing to see that most shoppers in London are either Indians, Chinese or Japanese. They are the ones who now boost the economy of Europe and the US.

Though the quality of service in England has gone down a few notches — blame it on the migrants who have recently come in from new EU member States with language problems — it is definitely not affecting middle class India visiting the country.

Restaurants are buzzing with Indian families trying out new cuisines. With elderly women dressed in Marks & Spencer jeans and tops, it looks that it is not just the food that they are experimenting with. Of course, the children are head to foot in designer labels and carry the latest cellphones.

What is even more surprising is what I saw during my visit to Edinburgh Castle which is built on a volcanic hill. There were busloads of Indians visiting the spot. Every restaurant in Edinburgh had more Asians than the Europeans. This shows how much our economy has impacted the middle class which can now take family holidays abroad, an experience that was, a decade back, limited to only privileged people.

And it is not just Indians who are reaping the benefits of the position India has recently acquired. Indians settled abroad have also found a new confidence due to the rise of India’s global positioning. It is very encouraging when you hear foreigners approving of the fact that at least the country has started to take action against high-profile people involved in scams.

Our Judiciary has made sure that all the corrupt are dealt with sternly. It is another matter that, with time, the cases might become weak and most people would have forgotten about it, like Suresh Kalmadi who now insists he does not have dementia.

We may have our problems but one thing is certain — today, every Indian can hold his head high while travelling abroad. Our economy boost has given us a sense of supreme confidence. We know that we belong to a nation which has a bright future, even though there are many hurdles we are yet to cross.

The Tribune-Chatterati-1st-August-2011

"Visiting first ladies make their mark"

We are getting used to the visiting attractive first ladies Michelle Obama, Sarah Brown and then the Carla Bruni of France who all came looking chic and are sharp too. Michelle was a big hit here. More than their husbands, they were the ones who stole the limelight and got great reviews. But last week, it was the Pakistan's first-ever woman Foreign Minister who stole the limelight in Delhi.
The 34-year-old Hina Rabbani Khar made a fashion statement as soon as she alighted from the plane. Fashionable, expensive, perfect to the point she was dressed in blue colour of the season with Jackie Kennedy-type oversized sunglasses, oversized Hermes Birkin bag costing Rs 7 lakh and to lend the glamour, she added the tasteful pearl jewellery. Young, smiling yet a little conscious dressed in straight pants and not the traditional salwar with a long kurta. Obviously, a lover of international brands. Everything was in place. But as someone commented, "A nation which is going through such troubled times politically and economically should their representative be attired so expensively? Or should they be dressed like our lady politicians Sonia Gandhi or our young lady MPs, tastefully yet simple and affordable to all."
Hina may not have made her first right move politically as she had met with the separatists before she met with the Indian Foreign Minister. What she delivers is yet to be seen but what we saw was a pleasant figure whose every move the world would be watching. This is a fresh new face of today's generation, belonging to an elite family of Pakistan with traces of political blood. A business woman who is comfortable in jeans as in a kurta and is as confident in the polo ground as is head of the foreign ministry. Is this the new generation in Pakistan? Educated, exposed to the western world and a new mindset. Zardari's son Bilawal Zardari Bhutto is set to run for elections next time. Is this his new team in the making?
Hina visited the Nizamuddin Dargah and then the Ajmer Dargah. She met old family friends at the Dargah as she had no time to go to their house. She would have loved to go shopping but as she said 'next time'. Our External Affairs Minister will surely look forward to that.
"The world of haute couture"

The fashion week known as "Delhi Couture Week" was much more successful this year. Of course, there were some catfights and some blame game of copycats. Otherwise it was fine. Delhiites witnessed a whole lot of Mumbai celebrities walking on the ramp and in the front rows. It seems to be some kind of a new motive to add the touch of 'has been' celebrities just for the extra media attention. The designer whose show they attend seems special. Wonder why?
Must say that our desi designers have learnt the skills of top class embroidery. The touch of modern and tradition really made this fashion show a success. And our Indian models walked the ramp with confidence and such elegance.
The last and the best show as usual was of the designer with the dramatic touch and his each garment was an objet d'art.
Rohit Bal's collection was called 'Shanti'. There were volumes of fabric upon fabric in its purest form. The fragrance of 300 kgs of jasmine flowers which the designer used right from the branches which were set around the ramp and also around the seats of the spectators. It was an amazing sheet of white flowers. An old friend, the dapper Arjun Rampal was the show-stopper at Rohit Bal's show. For the first time this show gave us a feeling that couture was alive in India. It may be a French word but as Indians love fine things, customizing still exists at all the economic levels. It has been India's longstanding tradition.
JJ Valaya's workmanship is something one cannot find fault with. The cultured saris with experimental twists of Gaurav Gupta and with his technical skills to draping and pleating of his materials. One is proud of all these talented designers. The glamorous Sonam Kapoor who really knows 'fashion' opened the show for Bollywood's Manish Malhotra and outshone all other Bollywood stars who walked the ramp for their designers.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Tribune-Chatterati-25th-July-2011

"The no-nonsense Mayawati"

Mayawati is fun to watch during her press conferences. She has a text in hand, reads it, takes no questions and does not mingle with any presswala, no small talk is allowed. She is punctual and precise and there is no commotion. She makes her point, conveys her message and swiftly walks away.

Her choice of grooming is a pinkish or pale yellow shiny suit, neatly combed short hair and small gold or diamond studs along with a designer handbag on her arm.

This iron lady of Uttar Pradesh does things in her own time and in the way she wants. She is not fazed or overawed by anything or anybody. She knows her clout and is confident of her workers and voters. Sacking ministers or secretaries is so easy for her.

This is a politician who has worked day and night and gives no leverage to sycophants or sycophancy. It could be the Congress, Samajwadi or BJP, she is not insecure of any of them. They may sit on dharna or fast, she will strike them down, with a decision or a new policy which will make her more popular. There is no way that she lets her vote bank slip. No leader is taller than her in her own state. She minds her own business and has no concern outside the state.

"Matronly figures of politics"

Madam, behenji, didi, amma or even auntyji are figures that work in politics.

Mamata didi swept the polls as she became the first woman CM of West Bengal. Down south, people came in hordes in Tamil Nadu and voted

Jayalalithaa, their amma, back in power.

DMK MP Kanimozi is daddy's girl but the beti image is not very popular in politics, it seems. Karunanidhi's fatherly instincts for his children do not seem to have done him any good.

Sheila Dikshit, the good old grandmother, soft and gentle, yet tough, became Delhi's CM for the third consecutive time.

Titles such as behenji for Mayawati, didi for Mamata Banerjee and amma for Jayalalithaa are all important for our voters. They are symbolic and spell goodwill and trust that these leaders share with the aam admi. Ammas and didis are names which spell affection and also respect for the immense amount of work that these women leaders have done.

Words such as bhai, bhaiya and brother for the male politicians are expressions used as a sign of popularity. Mamata Banerjee is today our favorite didi and so what if amma had lost a few elections and many times behenji (Mayawati) has faced immense public criticism. These titles do send a message that it's the ammas, didis, aunties and behenjis who are success stories. And the one who continues to be the most powerful of all politicians even in a male-dominated country like ours is "Madam".

So, it's the Indian traditional family names which can go a long way if you happen to be in politics. It has probably trust and 'apnapan'.



Crime is on the rise. While the blame game continues, it is the common man who is at the receiving end

Rape of minors, babies being kidnapped and violent crime against random strangers are on the increase. This is a frightening aspect of life in the Capital. As citizens get wary and weary of the statistics, the chilling anxiety is that it is tightening its grip each day. No citizen is safe today. And the natural reaction is for the pubic to blame the cops for the collapse in the law and order situation in the city.

Yet Delhi is unique. It’s police force is not controlled by the State Government. So, blaming the local MLA is of little use, even though angry neighbours very often vent their anger at their representatives. Despite efforts by the Government to involve citizens in keeping a check over crime in their area is not having the desired effect. In fact, today, the neighbours hardly interact with each other. Everybody is busy with his life. So the onus of safeguarding the citizens falls on the police.

With the growing crime, the question is whether the police is equipped to handle the increasing crime graph? We are well aware that there is shortage of trained personnel, equipment and training resources. Take the example of verification of domestic help in the city. Though everybody knows that is is extremely important and necessary to get the help’s background verified, the delay means that those who are desperately looking for domestic help say goodbye to the system. But that doesn’t mean that even after verification, people are safe in their homes.

Despite the citizen’s demand for better policing, the answers are slow to come by. Politicians blame the cops and the police blames lack of infrastructure. The result — it is the common man who is at the receiving end.

Everyday the newspapers are full of heinous crimes being committed. But what does one do? Nothing — the cops say they are investigating, the victim’s families do not trust the police. The rich pull strings, use their influence and get their way. And the aam admi continues to suffer in the hope that some day the Government will wake up and understand their plight. And ensure that the police has the proper manpower and equipment to check the crime.

And then there is the big divided between the rich and the poor. People with no money want to get rich quickly. Purse and chain snatching, theft in homes, murdering people for money have become commonplace. Vulgar display of the wealth leads to frustration and under such circumstances he is willing to do anything.

It is very unfortunate that while the rich spend crores of weddings and other luxury items, the poor can’t even afford one decent meal a day. It is even sadder to see small children begging at the red lights selling flowers or books or offering to clean the car with their dirty rags. This is definitely not a good sign and if the Government can curb this, then half the problems would be over.