Thursday, 9 January 2014

j&k -the true story

J&K- THE TRUE STORY:
For the benefit of our young friends, here is a brief account of the J&K problem between India & Pakistan. It would be seen from the facts that  Pakistan, have been, by presenting distorted historical account, formenting insurgency and terrorism and forcefully occupying area called POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir),tried to change the demography of the valley. While in POK, it has brought in people from Punjab & permanently settled them, it has been trying to get rid of the Hindu population. With the result a large number of Kashmiri Pundits have been forced to vacate the valley & live like refugees in other parts of India.
Since the present demography has become in its favour in the valley, it keeps on harping on having plaebisite.

From the brief description, it is also emply clear why no referendom on any issue can take place in the Valley









Wednesday, 12 June 2013


                                                      NEGLECT OF OUR REVERED RIVERS                                                            
(A thought ignited on the eve of World Water Day, we talk & celebrate every year, But is that enough?)
 

Recently, while cleaning my book shelves, I came across an old cassette containing songs of the Bollywood film “JIS DESH MAIN GANGA BEHATI HAI”.   As it was a film I had seen during my college days, I sat down to listen to the cassette. The old memories immediately returned, and with them came a flashback of the golden days of hostel life.

The time was 1955 to 1961 and the place was Allahabad. My college was located on the banks of Yamuna river. The confluence of the three great rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and the mythological hidden Sarswati, known as sangam, was  just half a nautical mile from our location.  The college had a dozen of its own cutter boats which were a big hit with all the hostellers, particularly those with an interest in rowing and swimming.  Spending few hours of the day at or in the river was the usual routine of most of the students living in the hostels then.  

Could we drink the river water directly without any hesitation?  That was a question that never even occurred to anyone in those days.  Both the rivers were not only revered as sacred but their water was unquestionably clean, hygienic and perfectly fit for human consumption.

But that was then! In 2012, I happened to pay a short visit to Allahabad, after a period of over 50 years. The beautiful memories of the past were so strong that on reaching Allahabad, I could not resist an urge to go and visit my college and its beautiful river front with the hope of seeing the boats lined up along the banks, carrying the college insignia and furling colorful flags.  But where were the river and the boats?

Sadly they were all gone. The river which had almost touched the parapet of the college premises had now drifted two or three hundred meters away. It was no more the magnificent, over a mile wide, river that I had left in the 1950s, but rather looked like an ordinary stream.  The college boats, I was told, were sold off too as few students were interested in water sports due to the polluted waters. The worst thing one noticed was the heaps of garbage littered all over the river banks.


I had left Allahabad in early 1961, and after completion of the initial training, was commissioned   in the Indian Army in mid June 1963. As luck would have it, my first posting was in an elite Mountain Artillery regiment which at that time was stationed at one of the cantonments in Uttar Pradesh. The regiment had just returned after taking part in the Indo-China war of 1962 and was in the process of recouping & re-organizing.  This period of calm did not last long and its batteries were ordered to urgently move to forward areas on the Indo-Tibet border.  The battery, in which I was posted, was assigned to move to a forward location in the Garhwal region.  (An artillery regiment consists of four batteries, each equipped with four mountain guns). Since this was for the first time that the army was being inducted in the area, every operational and logistic detail had to be worked out from scratch. We prepared ourselves accordingly, and a special train was requisitioned to bring the battery comprising of over 200 men, 100 or so horses and mules, guns, and other arms and equipment to the railhead at the foothill of the Himalayas. That railhead was Rishikesh, at the time a small religious town full of big and small temples that were lined up along the mighty river Ganga.  Thus my association with Ganga was again revived.

 We moved from Rishikesh to our destination on foot, following the track which ran along the river and reached our post in twelve days, covering a distance of about 150 kilometers.  The movement of the battery was difficult and strenuous, as at many places the track had either been washed away due to landslides or was too narrow to negotiate with the horses and mules carrying full loads. During the journey we also had to take into account many other factors such suitable camping sites en route, transport of food & fodder for the men and animals, security considerations, communication and so on. Yet at no stage was the requirement of water ever considered. The reason was simple. The fast flowing rivers, streams and waterfalls along the route provided ample guarantee of clean and potable water.  Unfortunately, can anyone afford to neglect the requirement for water to day if undertaking a similar military move? The answer simply is no! 

Incidentally, that trip was also when I learned that the river Ganga is only  named as such from Dev Prayag about 40 kilometers upstream from Rishikesh where the rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda meet.  My long stay in the region also gave me the opportunity to explore almost the entire Indo-Tibet border and its numerous passes leading into Tibet.  The most interesting aspect of these explorations was the realization of the love and respect the local people have for the river Ganga.  This is one reason why so many tributaries are named after the Ganga, including Dhauli ganga, Dharma ganga, Gauri ganga, Hanuman ganga, Rishiganga, Akash ganga, Patal ganga, Garud ganga, Birahi ganga and Ramganga.

 

The two incidents narrated above were to elucidate the condition of our most revered rivers, the way they were fifty years ago, and their terrible condition today. No doubt that India has made tremendous progress in various fields in the past four or five decades. But it has also maintained a blind eye towards the preservation of the most vital element that is required for the very survival of all living being on this earth: water! 

All along the Ganga and its tributaries, where earlier stainless steel, brass or copper containers to carry holy water were sold to pilgrims, one only finds rows and rows of plastic water bottles of various brands. After all, most of the river water is now not safe to drink.  According to some experts, over 19,659 tons of garbage and other harmful chemical wastes are dumped every year in the Ganga alone.  Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for 55.4% for this dumping, while West Bengal shares 18.8%, thus achieving the first & second positions in this contest for self-destruction.

Worse still, our blind religious faith also contributes significantly to polluting the Ganga. For instance, in Varanasi alone, over 32,000 bodies are cremated at the Ganga’s two cremation ghats every year and use 16,000 tons of wood.  If we take into consideration the number of such cremations in other cities and towns along the river, the amount of wood used and pollution of air and water is astounding.  Why can’t the government and the society work towards banning such damage to the environment and instead ask people to perform such rituals at electric crematoria instead?
 

The scenario looks even bleaker when we view this issue in terms of international relations and its complications, particularly viz-a viz our neighboring countries. For instance, it is a well know fact that most of the rivers in northern India originate from the Tibetan plateau.  Can there be any guarantee that China will not divert the course of some or all of these rivers to quench the thirst of its own parched northern areas? This should be of particularly serious concern as China has already built a number of dams on rivers flowing into India, including the Brahmputra, the Sutlej and the main Indus streams. Can we imagine the consequences if some of the Ganga’s tributaries that originate in Tibet and pass through Nepal to eventually join the main river are diverted by China to meet its own need?

We know that the holy river Ganga desperately needs fresh water from its tributaries, and rivers from Nepal alone account for 46 per cent of its flow. Their contribution grows to 71 per cent during the lean season. This is an issue that our foreign policy must address urgently and forcefully, particularly when our past experiences on treaties with China have not been encouraging.

Moreover, Asia is a comparatively dry continent, with less than one-tenth of the fresh waters of South America, less than one fourth of North America, one third of Europe and even a little less than Africa. Despite this, Asia is also the world’s largest and most populous continent, with India and China holding the bulk of the human populations.

In many ways, both countries are already drawing on tomorrow’s water to meet today’s needs and at this rate, that day is not far when India at least will be forced to import water from abroad.  This has major consequences for our dreams of becoming a strong, developed nation, as we cannot move forward while we lack the most vital of resources. Not surprisingly, and as many experts predict, there is a good chance that the next war will be fought over the issue of water!

In conclusion, one must emphasize that India’s prime concern today should be to conserve its water resources instead of planning manned missions to the moon.

                                                                                                                                                      By MG Singh

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Tempering with Freedom of Expression


                                     Tempering with Freedom of Expression

I am sure by now, people  all over India and also abroad,  must have come to know  about a young man named Aseem Trivedi who has recently been arrested by the Mumbai police on the charge of SEDITION.
Aseem  is  a young man of 24 and an activist  of  “India Against Corruption”  a voluntary organisation  which is fighting peacefully  under the able leadership of Anna Hazare to get Ombudsman bill introduced in the country. The bill , is pending with the Government since last over 40 years and no political party in the country seems to be interested in bring it. The result is obvious – a rampant corruption at every level in the country.

Coming back to Aseem, as a cartoonist, he had  drawn a cartoon in which he had shown Indian Parliament building as a toilet and the three lions head as those of jackals. This was primarily the frustration of the cartoonist against the  corrupt  Ministers, Members of Parliament and  other politicians who had been systematically looting the country’s wealth since its independence 65 years ago.

There is no doubt that the cartoon drawn was in bad taste but it can not  construed sedition. Because the intension of the cartoonist was not to insult the Parliament or the  national emblem, but his disgust towards those occupying the Parliament & degrading it by their acts.

 There have been and even today,  instances where national flags &emblem have been carelessly handled by many of the Govt. functionaries. On many occasions national flags have been hoisted up side down- with green colour on top instead of the saffron.  But those senior functionaries were never punished. Because   there was no intention as such to disrespect the flag .

A case of disrespect to the national flag was   recently reported by a leading news paper. The case is of 9th September 2012 at a place known as Kashipur in Uttarakhand on the eve of  Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant Jayanti . The Chief Minister of the Uttarakhand was the chief guest. The function was over but no one bothered to take the flag down. It remained hoisted till late evening.

In another incident, a torn national flag was noticed furling at the Collectorate  building at Rudrapur  (Uttarakhand) on 14 Sept. 12 by a journalist. The flag was torn and discoloured as it was there, day & night since long.  Again, no Govt. functionary ever bothered to see that as per norms laid down, the flag was supposed to be hoisted in the morning & removed respectfully before the last light every day. Should the  people responsible for these lapses, be charged with SEDITION ?

Some time back, on one of the TV channel, we saw  some Ministers and MPs being interviewed .They were  asked if they knew the country’s National  Anthem ? It was surprising to see many of the so called leaders, not able to recite the National Anthem. Should not such leaders be taken to task & asked to learn the Anthem?

Why Aseem is being put behind the bar, when the Indian national flag has been burnt openly
in Sri Nagar & other parts of the country by the separatists  time and again. The reason is obvious.  Aseem is actively involved with the India Against corruption Movement which the present Government is not able to tolerate .

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Delhi-100years

HindustanTimes
Dated 22 January 2012





 The above advertisement  which appeared in the HT  today, is about a special program on Delhi completing 100 years as Capital, to be shown on LOK SABHA Television on 26th of January on the eve of India's Republic Day. Interestingly the ad carries a picture of a person on its right top corner.This can not be of Manmohan Singh, our present Prime Minister. Or King George-Vth who had visited India 100 years ago and announced shifting of the capital from Calcutta (Now Kolkota) to New Delhi. Obviously this depicts picture of some Mughal King .
Was there no Delhi before Mughals invaded India ? Or this is just another cheap, subtle  election gimmick of the Congress led Govt. to vow the Muslim community  during the coming state elections ?
Any guess? 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

election promises...

Election in Indian states:

Five states in India are heading for an election and one finds almost all the political parties promising nothing less than a moon to the public. Some are promising laptop to students,.Cycle to school going girls. Some claiming to bring fountain of development all over the concerned state etc. etc.
The icing on the cake is the Congress, the oldest political party in the country. Their one leader, who is holding the post of Law Minister, has gone on to announce 9% reservation for the Muslims in the country in jobs etc.
One expect a law minister to know the  country's constitution better. From where he will get that 9% quota?
So please stop showing red apple.
The fact of the matter is that the congress has lost all its credibility when it manipulated to ensure that no law against corruption in the country was introduced. The Jan Lokpal  (Ombudsman) Bill was intentionally shelved to ensure that people who have amassed  black money & looted country's wealth, should not be caught and punished.
 Talking about the quota for Muslims, can the Congress explain what they did for their betterment in the last 60 years? Besides, what have the leaders of the community done so far to ensure Muslim boys and girls get better education and job like others instead of forcing them to attend Madrasas? So please stop this gimmick and 7 don't fool the community any more. Gandhi ji was right when he had suggested disbandment of Congress party immediately  after independence of India.   

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

FDI (Direct Foreign Investment) - another invitation to East India Company?




FDI  -good or bad for India ?

The Indian Parliament is presently facing a unique crisis. The reason is introduction of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in retail sector which Govt. is adamant to enforce while opposition & other political parties are opposing tooth & nail. Both sides have their points of view to justify their arguments. Government says this will allow multi-national companies like Wall-Mart etc. to operate in India which will bring in foreign investment & in turn result in development of infra-structure. Besides this will help Indian farmers since these companies would directly purchase produce from them at better price thus cutting down the middle man etc.

I am not an economist. I can barely plan my personal economics efficiently.  But I do believe the basic fact of life where bigger fish eat away the smaller fish, rich dominate the poor, stronger bully the weaker and so on. This also reminds me of an incident which confirm my view.

The place was Namibia (earlier known as South West Africa), and the year was 1991. The country was newly librated from South Africa and was keen to stand on its feet in every respect. I was posted in the Indian Embassy, Windhoek at the specific request of SWAPO for some project. This is what I witnessed about big fish eating smaller fish.
Prior to achieving independence, the cotton produced in Namibian farmers, was purchased by SA (South Africa) mills. But now Namibia wanted to have its own ginning mill. An Indian industrialist promptly reached Windhoek. Negotiations were held with the local Govt and it was decided that all the cotton produced it Namibia will in future, be sold to this Ginning mill only and no more to SA.

The mill got commissioned soon and the trouble also started along with it. The bigger fish could not tolerate smaller fish getting in to its territory. So the SA mills which earlier used to purchase raw cotton at the rate of Rand 10/- per bail, raised their purchase price to Rand 15/- and subsequently to Rand 20/-. Obviously the farmers were too happy to get such a jump in price which they had never thought of and thus continued selling their cotton to SA only. The local Ginning mill set up by the Indian could not effort to purchase raw cotton at such a high price & compete with the giant SA mills. After 3 years of unsuccessful competition, the mill closed down & poor Indian industrialist quit & returned to India.

After 3-4 years, finding no more competition, the SA mills returned to their original rate of purchase of the raw cotton, leaving no choice with the farmers but to sell their product at what so ever rate SA mills fixed.
Any lesson learnt ? Yes. The multi national companies if allowed to come in India in retail sector, will be here to earn profit and not for welfare of India and its farmers. We should manage our own affairs ourselves. Only thing needed is a clean Govt, strong desire to do & less foreign oriented economists at the helm of the affairs. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Taxila Contd....

This is another picture of Taxila showing remains of the old construction & the general area.