Monday, 29 August 2011

Anti corrption law

People’s Power in Indian Democracy

Today, we had to visit the local family court in connection with hearing of a case. The case in brief, pertains to a woman who, along with her two children, has been abandoned by the husband. The husband is a retired soldier of the 39 Gorkha Regiment (39 GR) of the India army and a victim of alcoholism. He does not support his family financially, beats the wife and does not mind occasionally selling house hold items for his booze. His friends and distant relatives regularly take advantage of it and indulge in daily drinking session with him at his cost. Last year, the lady arranged some money by begging and borrowing and some how, managed to get her daughter married. The soldier not only remained aloof and did not participate in his daughter’s marriage, he even stole and sold the dress which was kept for the bride groom and spent it on his drinks.

I must mention here as to how I got involved with this case? After my retirement from service in 2001, I came back to my favourite place at Dehradun, built a small house opposite a reserve forest and gradually started a charitable trust to help the poor in the area, with promise not to obtain any funding from Government. Fortunately my project also got full backing and support from my wife and three children. I myself being an ex soldier, this case automatically landed at my door.

To start with, we tried to admit the individual in a rehabilitation centre for treatment but could not succeed. All other efforts in form of advice, threats etc. also failed. Finding no other way, we brought this case to the notice of the Records Office of the 39 GR, but their reply was also astonishing and gave another twist to the whole matter. They informed that the soldier has no NOK (Next of Kin) in the records. Obviously the person intentionally or intentionally, had not informed his unit about this marriage which was solemnised 24 years ago and  the  two children born out of this marriage.

At long last, finding no other alternative, we filed a civil suit in the family court at district Dehradun, seeking it's order to sanction some reasonable amount of money out of the monthly pension of the soldier to be paid regularly  to the wife and children. The case is going on without any progress so for. We are, however, enjoying the court visits as we find it educative and amusing in many ways. The most amazing thing one finds is the daring attitude of the court staff who do not hesitate negotiating and demanding bribe from the clients for various kinds of favour they could provide. No judge turns up before 1145-1200 hrs.The rot had probably set in long time ago which we are noticing now. We find it more disgusting as this is the first time that we are actually seeing an Indian court (thank God for it). Up till now our impression of a court was what we have been seeing in the  Bollywood films.

Coming back to the title of this article “People’s power in Indian democracy”, it was literally seen to be believed today in the court. The complete atmosphere had changed. Judges were in their chambers at dot 10:00 AM. Work commenced within few minutes. No negotiations or bribe noticed. Even the court premise was found comparatively clean.  

But how all this happened? The answer is simple. Because a 74 year old soldier of  the Indian army had set down on a hunger strike from 16th to 28th August morning, demanding the government to introduce a strong Ombudsman (Jan Lokpal Bill) to fight and eliminate the rampant corruption in the country. Whole country rose to his call, North to South, East to west and finally even the Government woke up from its slumber, agreeing to his demand. His name is Sepoy (Driver MT), Kishan Babu Rao Hazare, popularly known as Anna (elder brother) Hazare.

Every one in India now hopes that the Government sincerely brings the draft bill on Ombudsman as suggested by the expert team of Anna with out loosing much time. This law no doubt,would bring a sea change in the whole country, help eliminate the cancer of corruption and  accelerate the pace of development . JAI HIND

Friday, 26 August 2011

Anti corruption movement in India

Hi all,
 yesterday evening  we carried out a candle march along with other residents of our colony. This was in support of the Anna Hazare's movement against corruption in India.
The march involved 5 Kms walk on the main road. There were over 300 people- mostly senior citizens over 65 years of age.-all carrying play cards and national flags, shouting slogans similar to what our earlier generation did during India's Independence movement in 1947 & before.

Though we all got tired by the end of the march, but no doubt every one was full of enthusiasm & patriotic spirit.

We wondered, when was the last time we had probably taken a National flag in hand & marched in a procession like this? Most of us did it during school days in 40s-50s.. We all felt, that India is awaken again & this time against corruption & bad politicians. Lets pray we succeed. JAI HIND

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Grand Trunk Road:Kabul to Bengal


These days I am going through history books on Ancient India. I never had a chance to read our history in such details earlier. In collage & university, I was a science student and as such my knowledge of history remained basic - taught up only to the tenth grade. While in service, most of my time was devoted to going through the histories of other countries, hence this effort to catch up.

In my blog dated 13 June 2011, I had mentioned the Grand Trunk Road connecting Kabul to Bengal. In schools we were taught that this road was built by Sher Shah Suri, who had ruled parts of India from 1540 to 1545.  In Pakistan it is claimed to have been built by the Mughal kings. However, as a young boy, I was told numerous stories of a great Hindu king named Chandra Gupta Maurya, his son Bimbisar and his grandson Asoka the Great who ruled the subcontinent from 321-185 BC. The Maurya empire covered not only whole of India but present-day Pakistan including POK, Afghanistan, and Sri-Lanka. It is therefore obvious that this grand road was built by the Hindu Mauryan kings and not by the Suris or Mughals.

In this respect following experts from books of some of the eminent historians like Romila Thapar, are worth mentioning:

1. “Taxila (presently in Pakistan) was in the BCs a place of learning. It was not merely a political capital of strategic importance. It was on the main North–West highway connecting East & West and thus a commercial centre with a cosmopolitan culture”.

2.  “With the spread of the Mauryan empire from Pataliputra outwards communications had naturally to be extended as far as the frontier or even farther. The development of bureaucratic administration contributed to the necessity for such communications, since the officials had constantly to be in touch with the capital cities. Thus, there were not only the main routes traversing the empire or radiating from Pataliputra, but the provinces had also to be served with their own smaller network of routes. Mauryan administration seems to have employed a special group of officials whose concern was with the building and maintenance of roads. These are referred to by Magasthenes as agoranomoi. The literal meaning of the term being “market commissioners”. But their work was related to communications. They were responsible for the construction of roads. At every ten stadia signposts were erected recording distance, by-roads, and other such information. This remark is reminiscent of the 7th Pillar Edict where Asoka states that he has had wells dug at every eight Kos, which is a distance of about nine miles.

The Royal Highway from the North West (in the region of Taxila) to Pataliputra was considered the most important route; it had continued to be so through the centuries, being familiar today to modern Indians as the Grand Trunk Road. It has been described in some detail in a Latin source. ‘There was an extension eastward which was said to have reached as far as Tamluk or even farther to the mouth of the Ganges. It was equally important from both the commercial and the strategic point of view. Before the development of the sea trade it was the chief trade route with the west, Taxila being the point of exchange. Even for inland trade it was frequently used since there was considerable exchange of goods between the Ganges region and the North-West’”.

Having so much of historical facts about this road, one fails to understand why the history is not represented in our country in its true perspective. Is there any deep rooted-agenda or appeasement policy towards some? Why should this Sher Shah Suri road, which is also called the Grand Trunk road, not be named after the Hindu kings who really built it? (Leave aside Pakistan, which survives on lies and continues to make all efforts to eradicate past history in the region not connected with Muslim rule). But we should be proud of our past glory.