Day of the Jackal

In Pench National Park, a Jackal is busy extricating last bit of meal out of a dear limb. It was so engrossed that it did not care presence of people nearby, clicking away.


They Are Not Like Us

“They are not like us”, claimed honorable law minister of Delhi as he lead his supporters to stop, search, and raid vehicle and flat of women from Uganda on charges of being a prostitute and drug peddler. Mob that consisted of aggrieved locals and supporters of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) forced these women to give blood and urine samples, detained and searched their car, some even allegedly manhandled them, all in the presence of honorable law minister. It was also heard on television people refering African nationals as “Negro” a highly offensive reference.

African national being interview on TV

Minister wanted police to raid, search and if necessary arrest apartments  of Ugandan people. When police refused on the ground of legality of the act, minister charged him with dereliction of duty and being in league with drug peddlers and prostitutes. Chief minister of Delhi instead to sacking his minister, decided to petition Left Government of Delhi and Home Minister of India, and threated to sit on dharna if his demands of suspending police officers and bringing Delhi police under Delhi government are not met.

Spat between Delhi’s law minister and officer of Delhi Police
A few questions that come to mind, let us examine them one by one. First if we treat citizens of Africa in our country in the manner we treated women from Uganda, do we have any moral right to complain about Devyani Khobragade’s treatment in the US? I think what minister did smacks of racism. May be  minister did not realise, what he was doing in his zeal to bring his supporters instant justice, was actually illegal.
Can a minister lead a vigilante mob and demand instant justice? Can a minister order police to do his bidding? If this becomes a reality in Delhi, national capital, what can we expect in smaller cities, towns and villages? Fortunately, police officer in Delhi did not comply with ministers order. I think, it was mainly because officer knew that Delhi police was not under control of Delhi government. I shudder to think, if Delhi police was actually reporting to Delhi government what would be the fate of the Ugandan women. I think this is one more reason why there is urgent need of police reform and freeing police of political control.
Broader question also becomes can a few disgruntled local AAP sympathisers and supporters invite ministers, police and search any body’s home and arrest people? This was prevalent in communist Russia, China, Hitler’s Germany. Are we leading towards such situation under leadership of AAP in Delhi? I hope and pray not. Prashant Bhushan, one of the founding member of AAP, is a champion of human rights. Prashant Bhushan advocates for rights of naxalites and terrorists, who are fighting to secede from India.  It is surprising that Mr. Bharti and mob of AAP volunteers, from Prashant Bhushan’s party, will infringe on rights of foreign women by demanding body fluid and forced cavity search. People of Delhi must also appreciate that once their property is rented out, landlords have to accept and accommodate lifestyles of their tenants. If wrong doing is suspected, our leaders must work with police to resolve the issue instead of attacking ordinary people, even if they are perceived to be guilty.

AAP came to power in Delhi, promising clean and corruption free governance. AAP also claimed that its members do not aspire for posts. AAP only wants to serve the nation and change the existing political culture. I think AAP is a honorable party with honest intention.  However, it is one thing to win election and other to govern a state. Good intent has to be complemented by good administrative skills. Lack of experience on the part of AAP in governing Delhi is becoming very clear. It appears that AAP is in a great hurry to deliver and they do not really care much for due process. According to AAP, processes are undue impediment in providing quick results to their constituency. There are so many issues staring at our faces, starting from traffic congestion to sanitation. I hope and pray AAP does not lose its sheen and shine and live upto expectation of people.

Tags: AAP, Africa, Uganda, Foreign National, Somnath Bharti, Law Minister, Delhi Police, Prostitution, Drug Trafficking, Raid, Arrest, Blood Sample, Urine Sample

Tiger at Pench

At Pench National Park, moving in a jeep on Jungle Safari enjoying chirping of bird, fooling around of langoors, spotted deers chewing on grass. All of a sudden, everything stopped. One spotted deer barked, langoors went up on tree top and started making strange noise. Then we saw the king trying to cross the road. Seeing our vehicle and many other vehicles that have gathered in the area, tiger decided to sit out the situation. The picture below is taken from a distance.

Tags: Pench, Tiger Reserve, Safary, Tiger, Langoor, Spotted Deer

Times We Live In : Duty vs. Desire

I once saw a movie. An idealistic hero was failing to cope with modern day realities. In one scene he hears from his brother, that during a test match at Eden Gardens Calcutta, a stand collapsed and six people lost their lives. On the same day one of the players scored a brilliant century. Incredulous, hero asks “the match went on, inspite of six people losing their lives!! People sat through and watched the match, when six people died!”
These are the conflicts and confusions in our daily lives. The balance between duty and desire is getting skewed in society. Take for instance, a communal violence breaks out in a state. There is widespread belief that one ruling party member had deliberately orchestrated the events, to gain electoral dividend.  Government did precious little to punish perpetrators of violence and rehabilitate victims. Faced with scrutiny, the politicians and administrators evicted riot victims of their shelter, in biting cold of December.  To add insult to inury, party that failed to give solace to its constituents and citizens, celebrated its annual festivity like Saifai Mahotsav with great paegentry and pomp. 

The same government, that could not rehabilitate her citizens, is sending its elected members for a 18 day study tour of five nations at tax payers expense. Important to note one of members of this study trip, also happens to be a key architect of communal violence. I know we cannot equate two events in a mutually exclusive manner. Our leaders must learn from other societies and systems. Question remains are they learning anything? Is there a way to evaluate how taxpayers money is being used and what is coming out of such study tours? Finally,  is it not possible to temper our needs, desires and entitlements,  when people of your own state are suffering? I think our sense of morality must force us to take the right decision. Such kind of greed gives rise to rise of Aam Aadmi Party.
In another example, a girl is raped, and then burnt alive. Society debates, was she raped once or twice? As if, number of times a girls body is violated makes any difference, as if violating her once was not enough! This too after Nirbhaya was brutally assaulted and thrown on the street of Delhi to die! This after major law was enacted to punish people that assault women with physical violence! It is important to take note of the fact that in Delhi when Nirbhaya was assaulted, we had a lady president, speaker of parliament was a woman, leader of opposition was a woman, chief minister of Delhi was a woman, head of ruling congress party was a woman. Despite so many women in positions of power, fate of women in Delhi and India are one of the worst in comparison to rest of the world. Similarly, when a girl was burnt to death chief minister of the state was a lady. Certainly, burning of the girl was not an isolated incident, several other incidents have come to light under the same leadership. Why, may I ask, women in power do not bring about systemic change in the way women are treated in India. Is it because their loyalty and interest in their own party supercedes their interest for welfare of women? Again, the line between what I should do and what I actually want gets blurred.

Tags: Duty, Desire, Communal Violence, Rehabilitation, Saifai Mahotsav, Member of Assembly, Government, Nirbhaya, Rape, Violence against women, Women in power

AAP, the Emerging Alternative in Indian Politics

India witnessed a revolution today – silent revolution, bloodless revolution, people’s revolution. Our party, people’s party, AAM AADMI Party won the vote of confidence today in Delhi assembly. Let us hope and pray, AAP succeed. AAP is new hope, new alternative people are looking for.

For last five years India was almost leaderless and rudderless. UPA II government, lead by Dr. Man Mohan Singh as prime minister of India, failed to show any leadership. India faced a series of major scams one after another. Politicians remained quiet and allowed national and natural resource of country, public resource were allowed to be looted for personal gain. India wanted a strong leader. India needed a leader that is all encompassing and inclusive. A party that takes everyone along – Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Dalits, Tribals, Rich, Poor, Tamilian and Kashmiris, Nagas and Gujratis.

Who can be such leader. Many had projected Narendra Modi of BJP as such leader. Modi has an impressive track record for leading Gujarat state from the front. He has been chief minister for three consecutive terms. During his leadership, Gujarat has shown growth that is higher than national average. Yet Modi has many critics. During his leadership, Gujarat has seen one of the worst communal violence. Many claim, Modi has the baggage of an ideology that is ultra right and anti-minority. Due to this reason, many political parties are wary of forming a political alliance with Modi lead BJP. For Modi to lead NDA as prime ministerial candidate and come to power in Delhi, Hindu majority of India has to vote en mass in favor of BJP. Unless BJP gets close to 220 – 250 votes and NDA gets close to 300 votes, Modi will have less and less acceptable to potential alliance partners. However, such a scenario may appear a long shot. More likely scenario, is a rag tag coalition supported by Congress party may come to power. The formation will have weak leadership by choice and will be at the mercy of congress party till next election.

In this scenario, emerged Arvind Kejriwal lead Aam Aadmi Party. Arvind Kejriwal is the inclusive leader that India is looking for. Arvind Kejriwal has demonstrated his will power during his agitation for Lok Pal agitation, during fighting Delhi election against all odds without muscle and limited money. Arvind Kejriwal has shown his asset and strength in the form of honesty and integrity.

AAP is emerging as a movement not as a party. It is a bottom up organic movement. AAP welcomes all Indians, irrespective of caste, creed, religious or economic status. AAP stands for movement of change. Change from dishonesty, from nepotism, from self perpetuation, all pervasive hankering for position and status.   Arvind Kejriwal and his team of ministers have so far lived by AAP philosopy. They have refused security, bungalows and red beaconed vehicles all such all pervasive symbols of arrival of a successful politician.

Many people have claimed removing corruption alone may not be enough. There are other governance issue. I agree. But I also believe, that there is a vicious cycle between corruption – misgovernance – inefficiency – nepotism etc. One needs to break the cycle. If that point is honesty, so be it. If we have honesty at the top, rest of the problems will fall in place. In the end, for India to be strong, India to be clean, for India to be healthy, we need basic honesty. AAP is addressing that problem from the very begining.

Whether AAP will succeed or not that only time will tell. For the time being, AAP is setting new trend in Indian politics. First win election with limited money and no muscle. Field candidates with honest background. Join politics to serve nation and join politics with an intent to serve.A new dawn is coming on India, we must welcome with open arms.

Tags : Arvind Kejriwal, Narendra Modi, Aam Aadmi Party, BJP, Congress, NDA, UPA, Corruption, Leader, Communal Violence