Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Sunday Pioneer – Dilli Billi – 23rd December 2012 – “Daily buzz of entertainment”

Daily buzz of entertainment

Watching shows on small screen gives a break from mundane activities. Unfortunately, it is also making people forget traditions and values.

Last week, I called my aunt. I was shocked when she took the call but disconnected it immediately. I was a little put off but let it go. I then called my mother and mother-in-law. Both told me that they would call me later. This is the standard answer that I get whenever I call them in the afternoon or evening. It was then that I realised that it is prime time for soap on satellite channels.

Ever since the introduction of saas-bahu serials and reality crime shows like Crime Patrol, Sansani and Savdhaan India, housewives in India can never get bored now. The serials have entertainment quotient and the reality shows are diverting. They help to bust the stress of everyday life.

I understand that the shows on the telly help people forget their hassles for the number of hours spent in front of it. Watching women in their fancy saris, bindis and perfect make-up go about their daily chores with a lot of drama thrown in for good measure gives the woman at home necessary break from household work. Television shows are definitely a source of entertainment for the middle class families.

I remember when we were young and only had options like Krishi Darshan, Chitrahaar and a movie on Sunday on Doordarashan. Today, things are different. There is entertainment for all ages 24X7.

The news channels, that on most occasions sensationalise the news, are also entertaining in their own way. Then there are shows for children. It is sad that they are more interested in watching TV than reading books.

Gone are the days when there was emphasis on good handwriting, vocabulary and reading. Texting or keeping in touch with friends on social network sites, it appears, is the favourite pastime of teenagers. Today, every child over the age of eight has a mobile.

Though soaps and reality shows are doing their bit, one wonders whether they are doing more good than harm. Crime shows are a way to educate the people to be on guard at all times. One only hopes they are not making people taking to crime in real life.

There was a time when girls where taught needle work, knitting and how to cook. I don’t know a single girl of this generation who knows any of this craft. In their free time they are busy watching shows on the small screen. It’s alarming to see mothers switch on the cartoon channel whenever it is time to feed their child or putting them to sleep. The days of telling a story are gone.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi-16th Dec 2012- “Media needs to put checks on itself”

Media needs to put checks on itself

Journalists should stop sensationalizing news. It needs to rethink its strategy and apply the unwritten code of ethics

The whole nation watched with interest the war between two big industry giants. One is Member of Parliament and chairperson of the Jindal industrial empire Naveen jindal. He has money, influence and power. The other is Subhash Chandra, a media king. He belongs to the industry that is powerful and feared. Therefore, it is natural that the extortion case against the two reporters of Zee TV is being talked about in Hushed tones. No one can dare to publicly take sides as both are extremely powerful.

The aam aadmi has praised the role of media in bringing to public knowledge issues of corruption, violence and crime by the people in power and positions of influence. The media has played a major role in educating the ordinary man, the value of his vote and showing the real face of the leaders. The media has made many heroes, who it picked up from the streets and many heroes lost their place. The law and order situation has improved because of media intervention. Many criminal cases have reached the right end only because the media took the cause.

Journalists became kings and the public looked at them as their heroes. Many big names lost their seat of power due to the media. But this meant that the media was becoming aggressive and arrogant. The news started to be sensationalized. The channels created news where there was none to increase their TRPs. Many a reputations were ruined due to wrong reporting or because not much effort was put in while chasing a story.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. A few people in the media felt that since they were lords, nobody would dare to point a finger at them. Unlike the modern-day journalists, the old-timers still have ethics in place. They know the parameters and work within that with respect. People, who toyed with the media, didn’t realise that they were playing with fire. Today, the media with its newbie reporters are in taken by the glamour and power. They have lost their ethical code of journalism.

It is sad to see fresh-out of college graduates make a fool of themselves on new channels. I have seen a young anchor insensitively ask a mother who had just lost her child, as to how she was feeling. Is that a question to ask? There is no depth in there journalists and the questions they ask appear to be meaningless.

Journalism today has lost its sheen. No one knows the true picture anymore. Media houses have become centers of making money. The reputation media had is lost forever. Media houses don’t have many friends. Wherever they go, they are looked at with suspicion. People are always on their guard while talking to a media person. They fear that their statement may be used in some context and be distorted. The fight between a business house and a media house has brought to the light a whole new game that is being played out.

We all know that media carriers paid news and planted new which is bad enough. Now, the public has to contend with news being aired on the amount of money that has been paid.

But there is always a silver lining to everything. This whole episode has united the politicians and businessmen alike. The media really needs to rethink on its strategy and apply the unwritten ethical code. Otherwise, the common man would soon start treating them with contempt.

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi-9th Dec 2012- " Cong in a state of disarray”

Cong in a state of disarray

It is sad that the oldest and largest national party in the country doesn’t have its house in order. The conflicting signals given by its leaders are not in national interest

The countdown for the 2014 General Election has begun. It is more or less clear that the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate would be none other than Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. As for the Congress, it is still not decided who its prime ministerial candidate would be. Though there is speculation that Rahul Gandhi may don the role, it is said that he has still not decided whether he wants to head the oldest and largest political party in the country. There are rumors that he would prefer to rule from behind the curtains like his mother. Why be the king when one can be king-maker and there is someone else to take the rap for every wrong.

It’s a shame that one of the biggest national parties in the country doesn’t have its house in order. It is the party worker who suffers. He can’t decide who the real head is – is it the person who is ruling or is it the person who controls from behind the real power centre.

In the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, after crossing many hurdles and giving into pressure at the last minute, the congress had fielded Himachal Congress chief Virbhadra Singh. Though it was the right thing to do, it came a little late in the day. In Gujarat, Modi wants to know who will lead the Congress, but as usual the party is in disarray. Its partymen are becoming masters of goof-ups.

One doesn’t understand how the people in the advertising campaign could make such major blunder? Nothing could have hit the party more than the fact that the picture they used for the poster was picked up from Sri Lanka and UNICEF. Why did the company not take fresh photographs would probably remain a mystery. Every news channel splashed the pictures of the advertisement. If this was not enough, the news that the BJP had amassed wealth meant for the poor Gujarat took centre stage.

It is unfortunate that the money meant for the upliftment of the poor has been diverted into useless schemes and projects by Modi. One hopes that the locals in Gujarat watched the news and are aware of the ground reality. It is time the people saw the true picture of their leaders.

Meanwhile, the Congress would be in a dilemma if Rahul Gandhi says no to be the Prime Minister and lead UPA-3. The question is – who would become the Prime Minister? One hopes that whoever sits on the chair has people’s interest at heart. In fact, I wish the person would have certain traits of a dictator. The country needs a head who can rule with an iron hand, who can take spot decisions, who can lead the nation by setting an example himself and take the youth in confidence and move forward. We need a person who can take a leaf out from the experience of the senior leaders and combine it with energy of the young Ministers at the Centre.

When one talks to the aam aadmi on the streets of Gujarat there is a startling revelation – the people may have forgiven but not forgotten Modi’s role ion Godhra riots even though his name has been cleared. They have forgiven him because of the developmental work that has been undertaken in the State. His authority over administration and the confidence has impress many. The business houses who have invested in his State are happy with how smoothly things move in the State. Unlike other States where there are many leaders and hence there are conflicting signals, in Gujarat Modi’s word is final. This makes it easy for things to move. The projects undertaken are passed with a single nod from Modi.

Many say that Modi is like a lion who has smelt the power of success even though there is a hint of arrogance in his stance. This is because, for now, he is the undisputed king in Gujarat. One will have to wait and watch how much time it takes him to reach the power corridors of Delhi and who are the people who would act as roadblocks I his journey. Let’s see how many hurdles he would have to cross since he is man who is in a hurry to reach the top.

Would Rahul Gandhi challenge him or will the regional parties, who have their own agenda, be able to stop him? This is an era of collision politics; the real heroes are the regional parties who will have the last laugh.
Sadly the Congress appears to have become more of a regional party than a national one. Count the number of States it is in power. In Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh the party is in a mess. No Congress Chief Minister today has confidence in the High Command that even if he is elected he would be Chief Minister again. The High Command is capable of doing another Bhajan Lal or repeat what they did in Uttrakhand.

Punjab Kesari Jalandhar Article 13th December, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi-2nd Dec 2012- " Politics is about vested interest”

Politics is about vested interest

The nexus between politics and corporate always existed but, today, it has become a norm. So much so that politicians can’t see anything beyond their selfish needs.

The preparations for the Lok Sabha elections are underway. The UPA-2 Government has also started gearing up for the elections. And those who had expected a lot of excitement around the Cabinet reshuffle are disappointed. Many had thought that the elections would be held in 2013 and not in 2014. It is said that the Budget session of March 2013 would be a people-friendly budget. The message from the Finance Ministry would be clear for all to read – it would be the aam aadmi who would benefit the most.

One waits for the day when the prices of essential commodities would be slashed and the benefits of various schemes started by the Centre manage to reach the common man easily. As is common, many wannabes join the political bandwagon just before elections. This is because today, there is no better business than being a politician. Joining politics is rather tempting; it is an easy route to making money and having a lot of power. We know that politics today is dirty but it has its advantageous.

It is impossible to stand for an election without a strong financial backing whether it is national parties, regional parties or even Independents who are backed by business houses who have their own agenda. Many demand and push for policy changes to suit their purpose. Recently, many businessmen have started to openly associate themselves with politicians and political parties so that they can be nominated to the Upper house. Rajya Sabha, at one point of time, was reserved for the elderly statesmen today, unfortunately has many businessmen as its members. A lot of their time is spent dining and wining with policy-makers. As a member, they can easily meet the people who matter. This is one of the reasons that the kind of people entering into politics has gone down leaving a bad taste in the mouth of the ordinary man. It is difficult for the common man to be able to identify with the leader who travels in a private jet without a care for the public who voted him to power. Such leaders can’t see beyond their own selfish needs.

The media and some activists have exposed the nexus that exists between politicians and businessmen. In this era of coalition Governments, it is known fact that the Capital has its share of people who liaisons with different Ministries get the maximum benefit for their business house. Lobbying is a reality today. In fact, in countries like the US, it is legal and is political parties openly made use of it. I believe that as long as the Government protects the interest of the aam aadmi and works for the betterment of the nation, it is okay to lobby. The public is not so innocent to believe that the Congress is the only party which can deliver. It is no doubt the oldest party in the country but regional parties, which work only in a selective area, are gaining ground.

The Congress really needs to get its act together. It is a difficult task but with hard work and commitment it can change its image.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi-25th Nov 2012- "Cong, BJP losing ground"

Cong, BJP losing ground

Regional parties are gaining ground because the two national parties – the Congress and the BSP – are losing touch with grassroots workers & the common man

Most political leaders wonder what annoys the aam aadmi. The sad part is that even though these leaders claim to have caught the pulse of the public, they are yet to fathom the reason for anger. While regional party leaders who have grassroots connection appear to have some sort of understanding, the two national parties – the Congress and the BSP – are at sea.

Probably, the fault lies with the fact that leaders at the centre have never been in touch with ground reality. They prefer to stay in New Delhi and become advisors to their High Command. When State leaders who are the main workers, come to New Delhi to meet senior leaders, they have to wait for days on end to get an audience. And, often, they return disappointed. It is then that one gets to see the difference in thinking.

The Grassroots leader talks with conviction and authority and the problems he faces when he goes asking for votes. It’s easy to sit in Delhi and give out orders. There is no understanding on any side. People who come from the States don’t understand the reason for the arrogance that central leaders have. It leaves the worker disillusioned.

It is unfortunate that the top leaders in the BJP and the Congress are unable to put a stop to the infighting. One has to remember that strong leadership is able to do way with any negativity as soon as it starts. Time and again we have seen that problems are created for a strong State leader by leaders in New Delhi. Whether it is created by a few men who vested interests, on doesn’t know.

For such people it is always self before the party welfare. The wrong information given by such people only irritates the real leader because he has a strong base and doesn’t need to ask for any favours from anyone. This is because he brings substance to the table which no baseless person can ever bring. Begging for a meeting with the top brass is humiliating and demeaning for a strong State leader. They get tired of the decisions that are forced upon him and then snubbed in full public view. Under such a situation, many self respecting leaders break away from the party and float their own.

If the Congress and the BJP wants to survive they need to start respecting their State leader.  It is because of these grassroots level people that others are able to rule at the Centre. It is sad when senior leaders like Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Vir Bahadur who can deliver are put to test time and again.

It is here that regional parties gain. They don’t have to report to anyone. They are responsible for their actions. It is their decision that means a win or loss for them. They are their own bosses. Hence, it is not surprising that many congress and BJP leaders would love to change places with them.

Many leaders are of the opinion that time is fast approaching when Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi would win the Gujarat Assembly elections and change the number game for the 2014 General Election.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi-18th Nov 2012- "Festivals have lost meaning"

Festivals have lost meaning
Gone are the days when festivals like Diwali were celebrated with simplicity. Spending time with the family has been replaced with getting drunk and gambling away lakhs of rupees.
Diwali is one festival that I look forward to. And for one reason – the entire family comes together and for the next three days, it is celebrations all around. The festival is so simple yet there is much to rejoice. Days are spent eating alu puris and lots of mithai. In our family, it is a tradition to play teen patti. Of course, since every family member plays, the stakes are not too high – it is limited to 10 board.  It’s bonding time for my family and my husband’s too.
Strangely, these kind of celebrations are seen as old fashioned and boring now. Today, for most, Diwali means getting drunk and playing cards where stakes are in lakhs. I am told, sometimes, it goes as high as a crore. I have some friends who chartered a plane and took their card playing friends to a resort so that they would not be disturbed. The question of spending time with family was zero.
Their life is so different. I feel sorry for these parents and their children. For me, festivals like these are family time. Those who don’t bond on these occasions usually find themselves at a loose end. If parents are busy elsewhere, who will teach the children importance of bonding with each other? Who will teach them the meaning of giving, patience and tolerance towards each other?
For me, the biggest gift an elder can give to the younger generation is values. Unfortunately, over the years, the meaning of Diwali has undergone a change. For many, especially in the Government, it has become a means to bribe officials and politicians by giving them expensive gifts. Love is weighed not by affection and hugs and cares but how much the Diwali present cost.
Therefore, our generation is confused. Studying in foreign universities and exposure to the western culture means that these children have not been able to fully adopt a single culture. Being modern, to them, means freedom which in turn means that all their demands must be met – a Mercedes or a BMW and pocket money to spend at pubs with no questions asked. And if a parent does ask for an explanation, the usual retort is ‘stay out of my personal life’.
Till date, I have not understood what is personal between a parent and a child, especially if the child is financially dependent on the parents for everything. I wonder why a parent allows a child to bully or emotionally blackmail them. Parents who give in to their child’s demands every time usually end up ruining their ward’s future.
When I was a child, I was never given a choice of missing prayer times, meal times, and any festival or birthdays. Today, some parents ask their teenage kids if it would suit them to attend a particular family function.
Most of the children today, don’t’ know why some of the festivals are celebrated. Our rich heritage and traditions has been lost to them. The west wants to learn our culture, values and traditions. Our own children are running away from it.
I felt ashamed when my friend’s son said that he didn’t know why Diwali is celebrated. What is sadder still is that he knew why Christmas is celebrated but ignorant about festivals in India. Faulty upbringing and giving wrong values is the cause of many problems in the society today.
It is time we took pride in celebrating our festivals.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi-11th Nov 2012- "Make Accusations if they can be proved"

Make Accusations if they can be proved

Today, politics has become a game where leaders make personal attacks without thinking of the repercussions. It is time that elections are fought on more concrete grounds

One watched the campaigning for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh with a lot of interest. What was shocking was, of course, the bad and foul language used at Press conferences where the leaders had nothing to say but make personal attacks. This kind of behavior is shameful. The politicians need to understand that the youth are major voters. They are educated and are aware of ground realities.

Meanwhile, the news channels have become channels of entertainment especially when they discuss politics and politicians. One can see which side a particular channel is inclined towards. Candidates always complaint that news channels play favourites. The personal equation that many channels have with a particular media house, obviously with gains forming a major part of it, affects the coverage of the news. It is sad that the media has sunk to such low levels that people are doing sting operations on the media heads. Nothing can be more shameful than this. With so much bias shown on news channels, many prefer to watch a serial than watch the news. These people rely on Doordarshan for the news of substance.

The other day at a dinner party, I attended, people were discussing that there was a time when a whistleblower would address the media, people would want to know what he had to say. Today, People are tired of self-proclaimed heroes who have taken it upon themselves to be conscious keepers. There is no doubt that they are doing the nation a service, but people are not interested in accusations. The public is not concerned with whether the person involved is good or bad in personal life. As long as he is working for the betterment, what he does in his private life doesn’t concern the common man.

It takes years to make a name for oneself. We are humans and make mistakes. This doesn’t mean that a wrong should not be highlighted. But to tarnish somebody’s image with frivolous charges is not in good taste. Ours is a democratic set up which the whole world respects. So unless there is concrete proof, one must resist the temptation to speak ill of the person. And if the charges are proved the Government must take strong action against them. As for the people who blow the cover, they too have a duty towards the society- to put portray the correct and true picture if the corrupt politicians, businessman and or the official involved.

At the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat election campaign, personal attacks were made. A Senior State leader was insulted by a young MP. The young leader said that the senior leader was mentally unstable and resembled a monkey. Who appreciates this kind of talk? It just shows bad upbringing and the voter is completely put off by the party which gave the young MP courage to say something like. After all, a person who has been in politics for 50 years demands more respect than shown by the first-timer MP.

It is sad that allegations are carelessly made and it is left to the accused to prove his innocence, in my opinion, if the accuser is proved wrong he should be punished and the media that was instrumental in carrying such fallacious news needs to apologise to the person concerned on the TV.

I is high time that elections are fought on issue based grounds rather than hurling insults and making personal attacks just to score points on a new channel.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Pioneer-Dilli Billi-4th.Nov.2012- "WORK,NOT PERSONAL ATTACKS,GETS VOTES"


The common man is not concerned with what politicians do in personal life. They just want the leaders to deliver what they had promised during the campaign.

The much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle of the UPA Government didn’t make everyone happy. Many had been anxiously waiting for the reshuffle. It had to be postponed many times over due to various complications and compulsions of running a Government on crutches.

But in the end, the hype about the reshuffle was whether the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was given a free hand for this exercise or it was the Congress’ general secretary Rahul Gandhi who had taken charge of the re-vamp before the 2014 Lok Sabha election. One thing was clear, the reshuffle showed the party allies where their stood.

To be honest, the end result of the reshuffle was a mix of both what the Prime Minister wanted with leaders like Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Bansal given responsibilities with promotions and Rahuil’s young brigade when the High Command placed faith in Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot. They have been given new responsibilities which they are very capable of handling. MM Pallam Raju, the new Human Resource Development Minister was supported by his godfather, Defence Minister AK Antony. And then there is Manish Tiwari. Nobody in the Cabinet knows better than him on how to deal with the media. Hence giving him the I&B Ministry was a master stroke.

Meanwhile, the preparation for the 2014 General Elections are underway. The BJP and the Congress along with their allies have already started to point fingers at each other. With charges of corruption being levied, the leaders have lost control over their language. It is impossible for somebody with integrity and honesty to try and make a place for themselves in today’s politics. It is remarkable that politicians have not realised yet that the public is not interested in listening to derogative remarks made about opponents. They don’t cast their vote because a leader is targeting another on the personal front. The public may have got used to corrupt politicians but not the ones who do not deliver on what has been promised. The common man wants results. It doesn’t matter to him what the leader does in his personal life.

Coming back to the reshuffle. The new list of Ministers in the Manmohan Singh Government are young, educated, bright and honest. None of them are likely to use abusive language, unlike the senior leaders whom we see on TV fighting, rushing into the well of the House and sometimes even throwing chappals at each other.

What the public wants today is development. Development in the name of progress. He wants that the Government should have a fullproof system which makes it possible for him to be able to provide his family basic needs.

Any leader who is able to deliver what he promised would win hands down. For the aam aadmi nothing else matters. Even the uneducated youth who forms a major votebank today, are aware of what is happening around them.

In Himachal Pradesh, the statement made by Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi have not gone down well with the locals. The people in State respect their womenfolk and live with dignity. The politicians would have to change their way of thinking and think twice before they open their mouth.

The leaders today need to live by example for the youth of tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Pioneer-Dilli Billi-28th.Oct.2012-"PARENTS TO BLAME FOR AGGRESSION IN KIDS"

Siblings fighting on petty issues has become common place. The language used and the physical fights shows that being offensive has become a way of life for them.

Last week, I visited my cousin who has two sons aged five and nine. Looking at them, I realised that children today are so different from the children of yesteryear. My first impression of the two boys — there was no shyness or awkwardness and they knew what they wanted. The two were fighting with each other over a video game. The fight was aggressive and the words they were using were not very kind to anyone’s ears. I was a bit taken a back with this kind of bad behaviour.

At the end of the evening, I realised that this generation is being brought up in an environment where there is terror, violence and aggression. It is possible that they are picking up the vibes from around them. After all terrorism and violence is so much in our face. We switch on the TV and all one hears is news about rapes, murders, thefts and acts of terror. Pick up magazines and newspapers, the headlines scream of killings and violence. One watches movies for entertainment but they, too, are so full of violence.

In such a situation, how can we blame our children for being aggressive? In schools, they have to fight in sports; competition is at its peak when it comes to marks and on top of that they have to compete on who has the best of things. The children today want all the luxuries and comforts. Not that there is any harm but they need to understand that whatever comfort they are getting is because of their parents’ hard work. The children can’t demand things as if the world owes it to them. But they are impatient and in a hurry. They don’t want to work for the comforts they want. They prefer if it was provided to them.

But my generation struggled and we are at this stage because we worked hard for it. Today’s generation wants everything ‘now’. And it is this ‘now’ that is channelised into aggression and sometimes makes them take to crime. It is sad that teenagers today are taking to a life of crime so that they can ‘enjoy life now’. It is not about roti-kapda but motorcycles, latest mobiles and money to spend in night clubs to relax and chill.

Alcohol and drugs are a common phenomenon. They bully their parents into giving them expensive things and make it sound as if they are doing a favour by taking the gifts from the parents.

The abduction and murder of a five-year-old by a 19-year-old in Pune is a case in point. The toddler was kidnapped because the 19-year-old had wanted money to buy a bike.

And a majority of the blame lies with the parents. There is lack of communication and no understanding between the child and the parent. And this different is due to values given, the way a child is brought up and exposure.

It is unfortunate that our surroundings and exposure have made our new generation irresponsible and frustrated. It is impossible to reason with them. Teenagers want to wear designer clothes and drive swanky superfast cars. All this can’t be just due to peer pressure. A lot, in my opinion, has got to do with showing off. It’s a shame how they insult their parents by calling ‘values’ old fashioned and not giving in to their demands as ‘stingy’ and ‘selfish’.

It’s high time we did an introspection and made changes in how we are bringing up our children. We need to be strict and less giving however guilty we may feel that we are not providing for our children.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Pioneer-Dilli Billi-21st.Oct,2012-"CLEAN ELECTIONS & IN-YOUR-FACE-ATTACKS"


It is sad that political parties today are more interested in attacking the personal lives of leaders rather than talking about their political non-performance.

As the election campaign in two States — Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh — gain momentum, the nation watches in silence on how clean or dirty the campaign is going to be. What is astonishing are the vicious remarks made on personal lives of the politicians. It is impossible today to expect a campaign that is free of personal attacks and what a political party would do for the common man once it is in power.

However, for now, the Congress appears to be keeping away from making personal attacks. Instead, it is concentrating on its various achievements in the last two years. The party is busy undoing the negative propaganda spread by the BJP on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In fact, it is the Congress’ top priority.

Even though the Congress is doing its best to explain the economic reforms, including the FDI, which is the easiest to sell, it is finding it difficult to explain to the public why there is price rise in everything. The Opposition is united when it comes to attacking the Government on inflation even though the Government defended its reforms and price rise.

Today, politics has become a mudslinging match. It is sad when leaders like Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh fight on trivial matters like travel expenses and health bills. Using bad language and attacking each other has never benefitted anyone, it always boomerangs. But these issues make no difference to the aam janta.

What makes a difference is the kind of candidate a political party fields, how it tackles corruption and controls price rise. It is unfortunate that even after 65 years of Independence, the Government can’t create enough jobs so that a man on the street can feed his family, provide shelter and educate his children. Why would a political party think that the public is interested in a leader’s personal life when he has too many problems of his own boggles the mind.

But what the common man wants to know how a man who entered politics only a decade back has managed to amass millions in such a short period. Those who enter politics are living in the lap of luxury. And it is not just them who are enjoying the benefits, their children too enjoy all the luxuries. It is interesting to see how power goes to their head. The huge bungalows, swanky cars and a lifestyle these people are leading is unbelievable. The common man is left wide-eyed. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening.

There is no concept of men being equal. It is more like the lord and his slave now. This attitude is pathetic. What is worse is that just before elections, the lord stands with folded hands in front of the slave begging him to vote for him. Of course, the latest and fastest way to lose weight and gain votes is to go on a padyatra. Once back in the drive’s seat, empty promises that were made are easily forgotten because they have a foreign trip to go on.

The elections in the two States are a precursor to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The stakes for Modi and Singh are high. For Modi it may be a step closer to the power corridors in New Delhi. For Singh, it is his last chance to prove himself. But let’s hope that despite personal agenda’s the leaders would also think about the aam aadmi’s survival.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Pioneer-Dilli Billi-14th.Oct.2012-"WHEN WILL THE WOMEN IN INDIA RISE?"

It is unfortunate that women in politics prefer to take a back seat despite the fact that they are more talented and let the men in the family dominate them.

Crime against women is rising by the day. Gangrapes have become a daily affair. Delhi is one of the most unsafe cities in the world for women. Haryana is another story. Politicians getting involved in dubious land deals, affairs with women and rapes are not looked upon as anything unusual. Last month, two educated young women like Fiza and Geetika involved with two Ministers (now former) in the Haryana Government met with a brutal end.

What is sadder still is that the society is not blaming the men. What leaves me even more confused is how the rich and the powerful manage to get away with heinous crime. I have heard many horror stories about what the poor or even the middle class women have to endure even today.

I have a friend who comes from a fairly influential background but her husband beats her up regularly. Her in-laws side with their son who is living off his father’s money. The fact that he gets away with wife bashing is an example of his father’s influence. My friend’s parents don’t want their daughter to return to them. The reason — what will the neighbours and relatives say? The fact that they don’t want to antogonise the influential in-laws is an added woe. Her two children always side with the father. He is the one who provides for their luxuries. She is smart, educated and yet hapless. There is a perpetual look of fear and sadness on her face. I see her wilting in front of my eyes and all I can do is lend her a shoulder to cry on when she visits me.

Many times, she has talked of ending her life. But the love for her children, the heavy responsibility of not maligning her father’s or in-laws’ names stops her from taking the ultimate step. I feel helpless for my friend. But then she is not the only one who finds herself in such a situation. Every third woman in India faces a similar situation.

Of course, one doesn’t get everything in life but this kind of life, where one dies a little bit everyday is not really worth living.

Today, we talk about Women’s Reservation Bill and rights for women. Until we change the mindset of our society, nothing will change. Women are taken for granted and actually treated as doormats. If a woman takes the bold step of leaving her husband, she is labeled as easy prey. It is sad that in a country where we have powerful women like Sonia Gandhi, Kiran Mazumdar, Pratibha Patil and Meira Kumar, we are still unable to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill. Elections have come and gone but women of this country are still waiting for the Bill to be passed as promised by the UPA Government many times.

Forget the Bill, even the tickets distributed by political parties, including the Congress, are not in accordance to the percentage set for the women.

Whether it is the BJP or the Congress, the Women’s Reservation Bill is not something that the leaders are interested in pushing. Men are insecure about losing their seats and, may be, the women also have a lackadaisical approach. If women do not get rights when a leader like Sonia Gandhi is at the helm, it is unlikely to ever happen.

Even women who are in politics today are wives, sisters and daughters of established political leaders. But they prefer to take a back seat even though they are more talented.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Pioneer-Dilli Billi-Oct.7th.2012-TIME TO TAKE A TOUGH STAND"

It is time for the Congress to make tough decisions. In order to win, the party would have to keep its personal relationships aside and work for the betterment of the common man.

The Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi comes into his own by taking up the Kashmir issue. He contradicted Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s statement on the death of sarpanches and panches much to the everyone’s astonishment. It has been taken for granted over the years that Rahul lets his personal friendship with Omar come in the way of how things run in the Valley. The J&K Congressmen are not happy with the party leadership at the Centre for not ticking off the National Conference over their lapses in running the Government.

It is very difficult for the State party leaders to keep the party floating when one has a Chief Minister who is an ally and to top it all, a good friend. Rahul and Omar are both young, educated and of course, have many common interests other than just politics.

Politics for them is something that the family is involved in. Their fathers, late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Energy Minister and former Chief Minister of J&K Farooq Abdullah both shared a good rapport and as did Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru. But in politics nothing is forever. Hence, political ambitions and welfare of the partymen creates tension in friendship. As of now, the grassroots Congressmen in the Valley are praying that Rahul realises that the elections are fast approaching. If he doesn’t encourage his people and dissuade his ally from taking harsh decisions they will sit in Opposition. The Peoples Democratic Party is watching every move.

As it is if ‘a’ party is not in command in the State for six years their workers at the grassroots level get disappointed and frustrated as their work is never done by any official. If one wants to keep the party alive, it is a must to even stand up to your allies whose agenda may be self-centered. The State is an extremely sensitive and each death is blamed on the militants. It is a terrible signal to send to the outside world when they have just started to visit the Valley thinking it is safe. Tourism has boomed and improved the economic situation. But the Chief Minister can’t take anything for granted. The NC and the Congress are two parties who would fight the elections individually.

According to the Congressmen in the State it was a wrong decision by the Centre to make Omar the Chief Minister for so long. It was very discouraging for the workers. Under such circumstances keeping the flock together for six years is a big achievement. Omar needs seasoned and experienced leaders for better results even when he has full support of the Center.

With the elections approaching fast, if the Congress wants to gain more seats it must forget that they are an ally in the Government and must behave as a responsible party in the State that takes up every issue that is not for the welfare. It must start make a noise it the party’s agenda is not being fulfilled. Give the running of the State to local leaders who understand the problems. The Congress always gives in to its allies. If this continues it would be very difficult for it to win. The fact that the Prime Minister is going ahead with the reforms despite West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s tantrums is a good signal for the Congress and a has sent a tough message to the allies. For elections the Congress has to take more harsh decisions.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -30th.Sept.2012 -"THAT'S HEAVY PRICE FOR SURVIVAL"


The recent price hike has upset the budget of the aam aadmi. But the rich continue to live life king-size at the cost of the hardworking middle class.

The Prime Minister’s address to the nation on September 21, 2012 was welcomed by all. This is because Manmohan Singh rarely speaks and it was a good idea for him to address the country, more so, after the price hike of various essential commodities which has affected not just the poor but also the rich. Manmohan Singh is a master of reforms and the business community has been waiting for economic changes. But whether the message sent by the Prime Minister was well-received by the urban population is not clear but I am told that people living in rural areas listened to him.

But it is sad the people have stopped listening to an address by a head of State. There was a time when citizens would be glued to their TV set or radio to listen to Jawaharlal Nehru or Lal Bahadur Shastri address the nation. We were children at that time and made to sit to listen when these leaders spoke. Today, the public has lost all respect for the politicians. Unfortunately, even an honest man like Manmohan Singh is looked upon with suspicion because of his Cabinet colleagues. The public wonders why Singh bows to non-entities.

Coming back to the price rise. The increase would affect the common man’s budget. Prices of essential commodities have sky-rocketed to an extent that even eating daal-roti has become difficult for the aam aadmi. Poor man’s dream is to give his child good education, clothes and two-square meals a day. But it continues to elude him. On the other hand the scams, corruption charges and the lifestyle of the rich is like slap on the face of the hardworking middle class.

What adds to the woes of the working class is when big industrialists like Vijay Mallya don’t pay salaries to their employees for months but continue to lead life king-size and travel all over the world in their private jets.

The fact that the Government continues to have a non-committal attitude towards the people means that the plight of the common man refuses to improve. One can only imagine how the families manage their household expenses when the bread-earner has not been paid for months.

What is even worse is that the Government protects the corrupt Ministers and doesn’t take action when businessmen don’t pay their employees salaries on time. The fact that they have palatial houses in various countries and yachts docked at different shores means that they have the money for their personal use but not for the man who makes it possible for them to live that kind of life. The nexus between the Government and the businessmen is not good. And as much the Congress President would like to put things back in order, it is going to be an uphill task.

For the common man it is about immediate relief. He wants a better life for his family and, at present, he is unable to provide that. The fact that he sees no improvement in the coming months only adds to his woes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -23rd.Sept.2012 -"INDIA NEEDS AN IRON MAN AT HELM"


The problem with the Congress is that there are too many people who call the shots. This means that no work gets done and it is the common man who suffers.

With Assembly Elections coming up in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in November end or early December, all political parties have gone into prep mode. What would be the end result is obviously the main concern.

In both the States, the BJP has an upper hand and the Congress’ presence is negligible. In Himachal Pradesh, with the late change of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president and Virbhadra Singh taking over, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has reason to feel insecure. The Congress only rules in 10 out of 28 States. Big States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu are out of the its reach in the near future. Hence, it’s crucial for the Congress to win in Himachal and Gujarat.

But the problem is that after the defeat in UP’s Assembly elections, the morale of the Congress worker is at its lowest. Even though Himachal Pradesh is a small State, one win here would go a long way in lifting the party’s spirits. The NSUI win in Delhi proves a point. It is a small win but a win nevertheless. It showcased Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s magic wand at work. A free hand to an experienced leader can have only one result — victory.

It is amazing that the UPA-II continues to remain in power despite so many scams and charges of corruption. The fault lies with Opposition parties who have let down the public with their inability to bring a no-confidence motion against a corrupt and non-performing Government.

No governance, no control over price rise and corruption rampant from top to bottom in the Government machinery has frustrated the public which has become intolerant to everything around it. There is no fear of anything today. The Government has tried to use, or misuse, several investigating agencies to control its opponents or friends. This has made a mockery of these agencies. Even the public can see through the arrangement that the Government makes.

It is shameful that politicians who are party to thousands of crore worth of scams go scotfree while a small-time thief languishes in jail for months. The fault lies with not just the ruling Government but all those who are a part of the bureaucracy.

The sorry state of our country is a direct result of poor governance. One can say whatever one wants to about Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi but fact is that his iron rule in the State has done wonders for Gujarat. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik have also worked towards the betterment of their States.

Unfortunately in the Congress, there are too many people calling the shots. Therefore, confusion and complications prevail and the Congress candidate loses. To improve the image of the country, to get the economy going again and to build the confidence of the common man, we need a leader who can rule with an iron hand.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -16th.Sept.2012 -"A Broad problem that needs solution"

"A Broad problem that needs solution"

Travelling abroad has become increasingly embarrassing with Indians being asked by foreigners why India is becoming a ‘scams State’. High time we end this global derision.

I was abroad last week. Most people wanted to know what was happening in our country. Unfortunately I, for once, had to leave many questions unanswered and face embarrassing moments. I feel sad for the Indians who live outside. With scams after scams coming out of the closet, with politicians screaming and yelling in Parliament and with crime against women on the rise, I can now understand how helpless they feel when someone quizzes them about the state of affairs in India. And this, despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh having a clean image and being respected all over the world.

Two years back, while travelling abroad, one got respect because India was shining in every sphere — our economy was booming and there were no scams. We were considered to be the fastest growing nation. Today, we are labeled at a ‘scam nation’. More the scams, the poorer the image of our country. Murders, rapes, thefts, dowry deaths and female foeticide are issues making international news. One doesn’t know how to answer or explain to foreigners, and to Indians abroad, why the Government is seemingly so helpless and unable to solve the problems facing India?

Everything is in a disarray. The aam aadmi is disillusioned. His dream that the Government would solve his problems and that corruption would be wiped out is in shatters. He had seen a glimmer of hope with the burgeoning of anti-corruption movements but that too lie shattered. The public has lost faith in the leadership. It is frightening.

The sad part is that in the second stint of UPA-II, every scam is bigger than the last one. The common man is tired of parties like the Congress and the BJP. He feels that the two largest national parties are hand-in-glove with each other. As for what happens in Parliament — the aam aadmi doesn’t even want to talk about it. He is ashamed to see how a political party with just two or three MPs is able to hold the Government to ransom.

The public feels let down and cheated by every member sitting in Parliament. The fact that scams are being unearthed during Manmohan Singh’s tenure shows how he has failed. The public wants to know why a person with such a clean image allows corrupt Ministers into his Cabinet?

Congress workers claim that they would not get seats in three digits in the 2014 General Election. It appears that the Congress would be happy to sit in Opposition and relax for the next five years. With the amount of salary hike and perks that leaders have given themselves, they would be able to lead a comfortable life. Not to forget the fact that some of them have ensured that nobody in their family needs to work for many generations to come.

Even the industrialists are busy making money and transferring it to foreign banks. They take all the benefits from the Government and when it is time to return the favour, they simply move their place of business. They are insecure with the situation at home so they invest in companies abroad.

Meanwhile, MNCs who were wanting to set shop in India have put all their projects on hold. If the present situation continues, the day is not far when nothing would be in Government’s control. A lot is expected from the young politicians but, for now, they are in pause mode.

One hopes that when the time comes for them to hold the reins, they would come out as honest, hardworking and sincere leaders with respect for the country and its citizens.

One wonders how our leaders feel when they are asked to comment on the situation in India? Do they get embarrassed? Or, do they just ignore the question and move forward?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -9th.Sept.2012 -"UNRULY POLITICIANS RULE THE ROOST"

The screaming & sloganeering one sees on TV when Parliament is in session makes the public wonder whether we should vote for such kind of leaders.

Last week, when I was watching the Lok Sabha channel, my nephew asked me why people in Parliament were so badly behaved. Now, how does one explain the reason of this misbehaviour to a small child? He was, of course, shocked when I told him that these people are our leaders, make policies and run the country. It is unfortunate that the people we see screaming and shouting at each other are the ones who make the laws, rules and regulations and determine the future of the country.

Even before Parliament starts, the public knows that some sort of hooliganism is bound to happen in Parliament. Politicians have forgotten that today, 60 per cent of the voters are below the age of 35 who watch TV; who are aware of their rights as a voter and would vote when the time comes. Gone are the days when one voted for a political party out of loyalty.

Today, the youth wants a man on the chair who can deliver. I am of the opinion that the aam aadmi today is more comfortable with regional parties. They feel that only a regional party would be able to understand his plight and not a leader who sits in Delhi and only comes to visit the constituency just months before the elections. Many of these Central leaders are unaware of the ground realities and the problems the common man and the partyworkers face. So, while the parties play games the public is tired of being shunted from one party to another like a football. He is not bothered about the hierarchy that may exist in a party. He just wants to live peacefully and hopes that his basic needs are met without having to bribe his way at each level.

It is in the interest of a grassroots worker to know his responsibility and works for the people’s welfare. The commitment and loyalty would reap benefits. He would not be at the mercy of the leaders who sit in Delhi.

I believe that leaders like Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik are popular and win because they have worked for the betterment of the common man. They are under no pressure or suffer humiliation from leaders at the Centre. Each decision they make is independent. They are the ones who hold themselves accountable for any mishap. Meanwhile, the unparliamentary behaviour of our MPs has reached an all time low. Running to the well of the House and raising slogans is shameful. Sycophancy is the top most priority for leaders at this moment. A word of praise from the top authority will determine the rest of the day. Do we want these kind of leaders? Do we want to vote for these kind of people who will frame the policies for our children?

Looking at the young Ministers and parliamentarians one would have expected much more from them. But unfortunately not many are taking their post or work seriously. They are more concerned with wining, dining and building personal relationships with senior leaders. Work is not on their agenda. Many would term this meeting as PR activity but it is the public who suffers in the end.

The lack of commitment one sees in MPs today, gives a glimpse of what the future holds for this country if corrective steps are not taken right now. The growing nexus between industrialists and politicians has only added to the problems. Corruption has taken a front seat. People with Gandhian thinking find themselves at sea. That is the main reason why Akhilesh Yadav swept Uttar Pradesh by simply riding a cycle. He found a connect with the common man. A survey said that people in some Congress constituencies have never seen their MP.

The Congress has not learnt its lesson. And therefore, national parties are losing their workers to regional parties.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -2nd.Sept.2012 - "NOTHING AT ALL TO RAVE ABOUT"

Rave parties have become a norm for the youth today. The fact that our young ones are nonchalant about them, only goes to show how widespread drug abuse has become.

The Mumbai Police recently cracked down on some so-called rave parties. Ask a common man what he things of such parties and the answer would be — ‘it means the younger generation is taking drugs, drinking, and dancing the night away.’ The ordinary man perceives these dos as pastime of the rich and famous (read TV and Bollywood actors). So, I was shocked to know that such parties happen in Delhi too. What was more amazing for me was the fact that from the rich to the poor, all are a part of this party scene.

Ask a young person what he thinks of rave parties and he will shrug his shoulders and say nonchalantly: “To each his own.” Others want to know the reason for all the hullabaloo that surrounds such parties. Some try and protect their friends and justify people attending them. An unhappy life at home (parents are divorced) and peer pressure makes them want to escape from the reality of life even if it is for a few hours. It is remarkable that these teens take the entire thing so casually. When we were young our parents would ask us to grow up if we went to them with problems. For the youth today, rave parties are the answer, it seems.

I belong to Himachal Pradesh where the hippy culture was prevalent back then. Over the years, many foreigners have settled in this idyllic hill State legally or illegally. Marijuana, grass or cultivated cannabis are locally grown and easily available at cheap rates. The locals never objected to this because it is a boon for their economy and now a part of their livelihood. I know many hotels and guest houses in Himachal where this is a part of their service.

You hear stories of how the biggies in Mumbai and Delhi party hard as an essential part of business. It is called ‘client entertainment’. For many, it is a status symbol to be a part of the “hip crowd”. I remember how a model once told me that “smoking before a show gives me the much needed confidence while walking the ramp”. It makes her oblivious to everything around her, she said.

As for the lower strata, a cop told me that for the baniyan-clad thin bodies one spots under the many flyovers in the Capital, doing drugs is a way to escape from the harsh realities of life. Lying doped for a major part of the day keeps them out of trouble. They forget that they don’t have roti, kapda or makaan. It also means that they don’t have to worry about their children who roam the streets begging or taking to petty crime to feed themselves and their parents.

It is sad that India has become a transit route for drug trafficking. A huge population in the age group of 12 to 25 years has taken to drugs. The number of raids conducted by the police all over the country proves how widespread drug use has become.

A family friend lost her only son to addiction. The supply and demand needs to be rooted out. Every peddler, big or small, should be punished. The police needs to come down heavily on all those who are a part of the chain, including those who attend these rave parties.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -26th.August.2012 - "ANNA-RAMDEV ANTI-CORRUPTION REMIX"


The conflicting messages given by Team Anna and Baba Ramdev have confused the public which now only wants a system that’s corruption-free.

The feeling of deja vu was overwhelming when one saw Team Anna at Jantar Mantar. The clippings on news channel reminded one of the days when Anna had started his anti-corruption movement last year from Ramlila Maidan. But this time, things were different.

While Anna was still following the Gandhian ethos, his team members were talking about how they could amalgamate themselves in the 21st century. Political aspirations came out in the open much to the surprise of the common man. Most wondered the reason behind announcing disbanding of the team and forming of a political party. Was the inaction on the Lokpal Bill that forced the team to take such a drastic step? Well, only time would tell.

And if the anshan at Jantar Mantar was not enough, Baba Ramdev announced his andolan on fight against corruption and black money. There was a huge gathering for the Baba’s movement. The difference in the number of people who had come out in support for Ramdev was for all to see. And while Team Anna had said that there was a gathering of more than 10,000 at Jantar Mantar, most people put the figure at not more than 2,000 — a stark contrast in show of strength at Ramlila Maidan last year.

While all the drama unfolded at Jantar Mantar and at Ambedkar Stadium, the politicians though wary of the proceeding were caught up in their own problems. The multiple scams kept the UPA Government busy even though they are used to a new scam coming to light every now and then.

nterestingly, much drama follows Baba Ramdev. A day before Independence Day he was asked to vacate Ambedkar Stadium. The supporters had made the stadium their personal property. There were discarded paper plates, empty water bottles, cigarette stubs and carelessly dug holes in the lush green grass turf. But nobody was concerned about the mess at the stadium.

The aam aadmi who is talking about Ramdev’s andolan is confused by the conflicting signals being sent by Team Anna and Baba Ramdev. But they do understand Ramdev’s simple yet aggressive approach. And though his rally had to be stopped, it had many netas worried.

And though Team Anna and Ramdev are fighting for the same thing — remove corruption and tackle black money issue — the public is is tired of all the rallies. Many have realised that the politicians are not concerned with finding a solution to either of the problems. In India fighting elections to make a point is not new. But for Team Anna big stakes are involved. Winning an election is a different ball game altogether. The fact that all the members of Team Anna not talking the same language is making them lose credibility.

The UPA Government’s arrogance is irking the public. But all that the common man can do is bear the insensitivity of the Government. The country has been independent for 65 years and the mother of all scams — the coalgate scam — has already had the UPA UPA Government on the run. For now only one slogan is apt — Garv se bolo mera scam mahan, jai Hind.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -19th.August.2012 - "KNOWLEDGE,NOT DEGREE IMPORTANT"


Despite the fact that the youth today have a plethora of degrees, the truth is that they don’t have the necessary skills to be employable.

The intelligence of small children always leaves me amazed. Their imagination, their sense of humour and wonderment is truly fascinating. Therefore, whenever I visit my friend, I love watching the antics of her children. What is more endearing is that they are not afraid to ask ‘why’. All, too often, the elders in the family wished that they wouldn’t but this question appears to be very important to them. But as they grown up, things change.

What happens to these wonderful abilities when they start going to school? Why is it that most employers want to hit their head against a brick wall when they interview potential candidates. There is only one question in their mind — how on earth can the candidate think that he can do the job that they are applying for despite three years of university education and an MBA degree when they don’t have a view point on anything?

Talking to friends in the UK and the US, the story is the same. After years of education many young people continue to be unemployed. There are several opportunities for those who can afford higher education but has this made a difference to the quality of the education? Students have become customers; education has become a commodity to be sold and the process of learning has become devalued. Therefore, even after getting half-a-dozen degrees many find themselves with no jobs.

There are reports that more private universities are being set up. In fact, in one State, 20 new universities have come up in the last two years. Unfortunately, many seats are vacant in engineering and management department. Maybe people have realised that just getting an MBA degree is not the ticket to getting a job. A friend who had interviewed and MBA told me that he had fewer skills than his driver!

Many times my friends are not free to go out for a lunch or a cup of coffee because their children or grandchildren have tuition classes or an extra curricular activity like dancing, singing or even painting. Going for extra classes after school has become a status symbol just like carrying a Channel handbag! All this, when they are still in nursery school. It is sad what we are doing to small children. This is the age where they should be playing. The learning can follow later when they are much older.

Unfortunately, because the rat-race to get mark starts at an early age by the time they reach Class XII they are completely burnt out. Most of the university going students tell you that they are more concerned with passing than learning. Is it any wonder that most fail to cross the first hurdle where they need to take responsibility and to demonstrate their creativity and talent. Learning should be fun. General knowledge and exposure is a must. Appearing for an exam to pass should not be the end result.

During our time securing 60 per cent was considered excellent. Today, a student with 90 per cent doesn’t get admission in a good college in Delhi. The entire education system needs to be changed. Education needs to be made more practical. The aim should be to acquire knowledge and not just a degree.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -12th.August.2012 - "ANNA CHARTERS A NEW PATH"


Now, that Anna Hazare has decided to disband his team and form a political party the nation can expect a corrupt-free system.

The fight against corruption by Anna Hazare reached a predictable conclusion this month. The newspaper reports that Anna has decided to disband his team should not be misconstrued as his weakness. Anna’s fan following is genuine. People swarming to where he sat on fast — be it Ramlila Maidan or Jantar Mantar — was there for all to see on news channels.

The masses, in their own way, support Anna’s crusade against corruption. We have all somewhere down the line paid our way through to get the work done. Whether it is a `10 bribe to a MCD sweeper to clean the street in front of our house or `1,000 to get a driving license without any hassle or paying the tout to get a confirmed train ticket. Anna’s message touched the hearts of each Indian. The reason he has become so popular is because he gave hope of a corrupt-free nation.

I, too, have paid bribes many times to get the work done. It is referred to as jugaad. To be jugaadu is good. It would be difficult to survive if one was not jugaadu. Though many people despise themselves, get angry and frustrated that they had to stoop to such levels, the truth is that nothing moves in this country unless one shows the Government babus the colour of money. It doesn’t matter whether one is a businessman or a man on the streets, all need a jugaad.

But why do we need it? Of course, to reach the top and then to maintain that position. In my opinion a survivor is (read jugaadu) is a person who knows where and how to pull his contacts to his advantage.

Now, when Anna has announced his intent to enter politics he will realise how difficult it is to survive in a system which is corrupt from top to bottom. One needs to be thick skinned to not let reality affect you. It is said that politics is the best business today. It is not a State secret that almost all political parties have a backing from business houses. Anna may find it difficult to head a political party on just fight against corruption tag.

Anna’s call for a non-corrupt nation is what every Indian wants. But to run a system that is clean will take decades to achieve. Anna may lay the foundation but where is the guarantee that the people who succeed him would be just as committed to the cause as he is?

Even for Anna it would be an uphill task. One would need to educate each voter. The media can play an important role here. But it is the youth which needs to be educated properly. If Anna can even get eight MPs in the Lok Sabha he can make a big difference. After all, if Sharad Pawar with nine MPs can hold the UPA to ransom, why can’t Anna become a king-maker. At least, he would work for the betterment of the common man.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -5th.August.2012 - "DISCIPLINE A CHILD WITHOUT SPANKING"


Times have changed. Beating a child is no longer the solution to teach him a lesson. Explaining to him what is correct is the key to proper upbringing .

Horror stories about children being mistreated in schools have become common. A few weeks back, all news channels ran a story on how a warden, as a punishment, forced a 10-year-old girl to lick her urine after bed-wetting. The warden had put salt on the spot and forced the girl’s face into the urine while her roommates looked on.

Over the years, we have heard of reports of children being slapped so hard, by the teacher, that they bled from the ear or became deaf. Locking a child in a bathroom and forgetting is common as well. Some children have even fainted in the bathroom. Recently, there was a case where a child after being scolded jumped off a building and died. And these reports are not from metros alone. Small towns and villages have their share of stories.

The media, with its 24X7 on your face reporting screams for justice for the family and demands harshest the punishment for the culprit. But punishing a child is nothing new. There is an adage: Spare the rod and spoil the child. Almost everyone, as a child, has been punished. Fights with brothers and sisters are common. There is nothing wrong in trying to discipline a child by slapping him once in a while. But to force a child to lick her urine as a form of punishment is crossing the line.

And then there is another form of punishment, this time in hostels. There are numerous instances where boys have committed suicide due to the humiliation they have faced during ragging. Despite the fact that ragging has been banned it continues to take victims.

One can only imagine the shock and sadness that descends on the family when such an incident takes place. Some of us have studying in boarding schools. My children also went to a boarding school. Whenever they would be ragged, I would get angry and want to take up the matter with the school authorities. But they would stop me. So, they stopped telling me the whole truth. They were scared that I would complain that the ragging had not stopped. They grew up to be independent and capable of looking after themselves.

Today, it is anger, frustration and impatience that make teachers cruel. But it is a little odd that a rap on the knuckles is termed as being cruel. As for locking the student in the bathroom, there are many parents today who resort to such punishment when their child misbehaves. The problem lies when both parents and teachers cross the thin line that demarcates cruelty and an act that is unforgivable.

Times have changed and beating a child to discipline him is no longer the best way to mend his ways. Spanking a child can lead to low self esteem and his studies may get affected. It is very important for a child to be able trust his parents. And that trust will come when the child feels assured that he will not be let down in front of others.

Explaining the child what is right and wrong and how he should behave is the key to teach him the right kind of values. The children have more exposure today. They have a scientific bent of mind.

Logic is the only way to make them see sense.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Pioneer- Dilli Billi -29th.July.2012 - "NEED TO CHANGE MINDSET OF MEN"


Not much has changed for the girl-child since Independence. Crimes like rape, molestation and dowry deaths are on the rise. Steps need to be taken to prevent such acts .

Crime against women has become a big problem in the country today. Unfortunately, the more the media reports about such crime, the more cases come to light. The way things are going, at present, it appears the situation is totally out of control and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. But due to the awareness, women have started taking precautions. They carry pepper sprays in their bags and are very careful with whom they befriend.

I don’t think that much has changed for the girl-child since Independence — whether it is big cities or villages, educated or uneducated class. Even though the Government has introduced many schemes and given facilities to stop female foeticide, prevent child marriage and spread awareness that daughters, too, need to be educated, not much has changed for the women. Education plays a huge role in changing the mindset of the people. Superstition, old beliefs and poverty continues to take its toll on the girls. Getting rid of one more mouth to feed has become a norm when it comes to women. We all know that a daughter cares more for the parents as compared to the son. She is more concerned about their well-being and is emotionally more attached to the parents.

Rape, molestation and wife beating, I believe, is a man’s way of taking out his frustration. Only an insecure man will take to a heinous crime against a woman just to his manhood and superiority. A secure and confident man will never stoop to such levels. A man who can’t give respect to a woman deserves the worst kind of punishment. I believe that the mental harassment either by husband or by parents for any reason is worse than the physical abuse that a woman is subjected to. And that too because she is financially dependent on her husband. The fault lies in the up-bringing of the daughter. It is time that daughters are brought up in the same manner as sons.

During my time, daughters were taught to be submissive, giving and patient. To blame the Government for all the problems that ail our society is not correct. After all the Government can’t force its choice on the girls that she needs to study and not marry. After all we are a democratic country. The only option available for the Government is to introduce the harshest punishment for even the smallest crime against a woman. If strict actions are taken and courts expedient the trial, half the problems would be taken care of.

But in a nation where criminals like Kasab are still Government’s guest how can one expect that rapists and people charged with dowry death will be be punished overnight? It is impossible for a rape victim not to be ashamed in the court while being cross-examined. Women are harassed and made fun of by the very people who are supposed to protect them. It is sad that the mindset of the men can’t be changed. They have seen their mothers and sisters being harassed. For them, it is a way of life. Women are supposed to be like sponges who soak up everything without reacting.

It is time that we changed the way we treat our women. A society that can’t respect its women can’t progress.