Family of Indrani and Peter Mukherjea, A Theatre of Absurd

Theatre of absurd that is family of Peter and Indrani Mukherjea. A 23 year old girl , Sheena Bora, vanished in thin air, in this day and age of e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, cell phone, and SMS. Yet no one was seriously concerned. It turned out that girl was murdered three years before in 2012 and her body was burnt in a forest some 80 km away from Mumbai. As it is emerging, the killer was her biological mother. Mother, who had abandoned her daughter when she was 2 year old. 20 years later, mother introduces her daughter as her sister.  Mother, Indrani Mukherjea is married three times, some report suggests five times.                                         

 It is emerging that her second husband was with Indrani when Sheena was being murdered. The main claimed he was asleep. Can anyone believe that a person was being strangulated in the cosy comfort of a car, while a person fell asleep. Is it not diabolical?               

Now come to Indrani’s current husband – Peter Mukherjea. The man was informed that Sheena was not Indrani’s sister, but actually her daughter. Peter ignored it. Sheena vanished in thin air. Indrani told everyone that Sheena was in the US. Peter Mukherjea and ex head of a media empire did not ask question and kept quiet. Unbelievable!
                                                                                                                                            Peter Mukherjea’s son Rahul was going to marry Sheena. He was sleeping with Sheena. Rahul claimed that Sheena’s passport was in Rahul’s apartment. Yet, he did not press his father and stepfather about disappearance of his finance. He claimed he got a breakup note in SMS or e-mail. Someones finance breaks up over e-mail, the man did not ask a second question and moved on.
                                                 
The same goes to Sheena’s brother Mikhael and grand parents of Sheena, who were registered as Sheena’s parents in her birth certificate, did not question disappearance of their daughter / grand daughter / sister. Absurd!

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Mulayam Singh Yadav and Ved Mitra Chaudhary : Two People, One State, So Different

UP is the largest state and the most populous state of India. It is also the most partriarchal and most primitive state where rule of law is overruled by power of muscle  Shri Mulayam Singh Yada is the supreme leader of the ruling party of UP – The Samajwadi Party. Mulayam Singh’s son Shri Akhilesh Yadav is handpicked for chief minister’s position in the state by Shri Mulayam Singh. After all, UP state is Shri Mulayam Singh’s pocket borough. So naturally, the honor of ruling the state should stay within his family, in this case who better than his own son. 

Mulayam Singh himself is a member of parliament. He oversees functioning of the state surrounded by his brothers, cousins, members of his extended Yadav family and his friends. A wrestler by training, Mulayam Singh ji, has been enamored by his own male gender. Netaji, as Shri Mulayam Singh ji is called respectfully, asserts boys make mistake when they rape a hapless girl or a woman. In netaji’s world view the term  gang rape  does not exist. Vile women implicate more than one man out of malice. Given the view point of ruling party supremo of a state, one can understand predicament of women in the state. 

In this context, let us talk about another man from the same state of UP. An army jawan named Lance Naik Ved Mitra Chaudhary.  Chaudhary sahab was murdered in Meerut by a group of louts and goons, who resented Chaudhry sahib standing up for a girl these goons were harassing.  Goons and their friends beat up the soldier with iron rods. Soldier died in hospital. Ved Mitra Chaudhry is survived by his wife, a 10 year old daughter and a seven year old son. 

In a state where supremo legitimises rape and harassment of girls, in a state where goons think they can get away raping girls, Ved Mitra Chaudhry is an exception. He fought for people he did not know. He gave up his life for people he was not related to. Such a loss of a promising life, such a loss of a good citizen, a loss to armed forces and to nation. India lost a good citizen and a model soldier who did not run away in the face of adversity. 

I hope goons are punished in an exemplary fashion. One for harassing a girl, and second for killing a soldier from armed forces. Nation must come down like a tonne of bricks on this goons, so that next time anyone dares to attack a soldier and harass a woman, think million times. Please support family of the deceased soldier. I read today in news paper attempt is being made to accuse the soldier as an eve teaser. A case is being made out that goons killed the soldier because he was teasing women of locality. I am sure pressure is being mounted on the family of girl, whose honour Ved Mitra tried to save, to change their charge. God knows how long the girls family will resist, if at all. After all, money can be a powerful inducer. In this sordid drama, only saving grace being armed forces of India. Brigadier Raghu Srinivasan of Ved Mitra’s unit  has resolved to follow the case and try to get justice for Ved Mitra. May be there is a sense of justice still there. 

Finally, it is important to note that not all women in the state of UP are privileged enough to be travelling escorted by armed guards. What should rest of the unfortunate beings do? How do they protect and preserve their honour and self respect from the eyes of prowling goons and louts? More so if state rulers give an impression that it is alright to rape and harass women, after all boys will be boys. It is astonishing that in the land of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Ved Mitra Chaudhry are still take birth.



Mother

The whole world knows how a mother cares for and protects her baby. There are many stories and anecdotes of a mother’s love for her children. Most stories are limited to humans. In the photos below one could see the bond between a langoor mother and her baby. These photos were taken while on a trip to Alwar, Rajasthan.

Nasruddin Khudabaksh Mansuri, Salute That Selfless Indian



This independence day my hero is Nasruddin Khudabaksh Mansuri. A nondescript unassuming common man did such uncommon act. Nasrudding Sahab was checking out a mobile phone one evening in a shop in Chambur area of Mumbai. 

A goon attacked the mobile shop owner with a sword. Nasruddin sahab did not care for his own life and disarmed the attacker. Nasruddin sahib is a very ordinary person by the standard of society. He is a tailor by profession, not a commando or a trained police officer. Yet, Nasruddin sahab did not think of his own safety. He disarmed the goon not using a weapon but by his bare hands. Nasruddin sahab was not related to the shopkeeper.  But he did not look away. Nasrudding sahab did  what he had to do by putting his life at stake. This is such a shining example of human act. This is of the moments when we genuinely feel proud to be human. 

At a time in our lives, when we think humanity, kindness, selfless act are things to be read in books, Nasruddin sahib is an example that selfless courage is still alive in India. Long live Nasruddin Mansuri. May his ilk grow. I salute Nasruddin Mansuri.

Indian Parliament : Minority Dominates Majority

India is a democracy. Everyday we are reminded of it. We are told democracy must have room for opposing view point. What does this opposing view point means. Does it mean that one can register his dissent or does it mean one is also allowed to disturb proceedings even if dissenters are not in a majority? 

In India, we seem to have adopted the second option. One of the opposition parties in parliament, congress party, lost in last parliamentary election. Electoral loss implies, people of the nation have rejected the ideas the party stands for. Yet, congress party members continue to disturb proceedings of Lok Sabha. They would rush to the well of the house, raise placard in front of the speaker and try to stop house from functioning. This, despite other oppositon parties wanting the business of parliament to go on. 

In the face of repeated disruption, when speaker of the house expels rowdy members, congress party plays martyr. Congress claims democracy in India is being systemically destroyed. But who murdered democracy? Those who have been rejected by people are continuously disrupting functioning of parliament, yet the same people are calling murder of democracy!


In Rajya Sabha, a nominated body, where congress has majority it has made up its mind of not allowing anything to go through unless it is approved by them. Congress is not shy of wielding this power. Question is who is superior? Those who are elected and chosen by people or those who have been nominated not by people but by their party?

It has been repeatedly said that congress and opposition had worked very hard in last few sessions. So what is wrong if a session is wiped out? Point is aren’t our members of parliament expected to work always? Attending and transacting business is their job. So members should work all days of all sessions without wasting a single day. As such US congress and UK parliament works at least 3 times more than Indian parliament.

It is said that in the last Lok Sabha, BJP had disrupted and legitimised parliament disruption as a practice. People forget that BJP disrupted parliament mostly in UPAII. Parliament disruption started when government refused to discuss scams that came in public domain. BJP demanded creation of JPC. Government refused and parliament got disrupted. Similarly, law minister Ashwani Kumar resigned when supreme court found out that minister was tampering CBI report. Rail minister Mr. Bansal was asked to resign when it was found out his nephew was running a bribe for posting business from his house.
The same is not the case in the present session. Government wants to discuss and debate. But congress and left parties and JDU want first resignation then discussion. Why such a position? Is it because congress has actually no point to discuss. Congress only wants to set the record set by securing resignations of Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Chauhan? That way congress can claim during UPAII four congress ministers resigned, during NDA rule three ministers resigned.

Question that arises is what kind of democracy that we have in India? Where loser takes to disruption. If action  is taken by adminstrator, then it is considered an undemocractic practice.


Burgeoning Population and Scant Public Facility

I was watching on NDTV a programme on poor state of government hospitals. How poor patients have to knock one hospital door to other for diagnostic tests. How a cancer patient is asked to come back after 7 months for MRI scan. How private hospitals charge 12000 for a scan that is unaffordable. 

This brings to focus, even in capital city of Delhi there is not a decent clean government hospital.  Visit to an unclean and unkempt government hospital is sufficient to make a healthy person sick. Patients have to share a bed many a time. Dogs freely roam around wards. Doctors are underpaid, overworked as a result indifferent to plight of patients. Diagnostic machines like CT, MRI, etc are either not available or in working condition. But poor in Delhi and its neighbourhood have not many choices. People do not have even dirty unclean facility that we call hospital in small towns and villages.

In Delhi, AIIMS is a tertiary care hospitals. Doctors here are expected to do state of the art medical research. Only very difficult to treat diseases should be referred to AIIMS. Situation, however, is very different. Patients from Delhi and neighboring states, line up at AIIMS OPD in a serpentine queue. Many patients camp outside neglecting heat, cold and rain. There is not place to hold so many patients and visitors. AIIMS has a dormitory for patients, it is usually full. Many guest houses have cropped up near AIIMS. Some stay there. Many others, who have sold their family holdings to raise money to treat their near and dear ones, cannot afford the luxury of staying in a guest house.

In Delhi there are many private / corporate hospitals and nursing homes. Hospitals like Fortis, Apollo, Max, Medanta are state of the art. But many patients cannot afford them unless they have an insurance. Private hospitals try to fleece poor patients. They charge a lot of money but do not offer facility. I know of an ICU patient, who was being charged at least five times more than the general ward, was not even provided with a functional ECG / Heart Rate monitor. I think, India needs to create many many facilities to cater to a billion plus population. Only few patients should find a need to travel to state capital for treatment, let alone national capital.

The discussion on hospitals brings to mind how unabated population pressure is making our public services meaningless not only for the poor and the needy, but for everyone. Every year we see a mad rush to get into primary schools. Parents would give a hand and a leg to get their kids admitted to a school in Delhi. Admission to a good college is a nightmare. With cut off mark reaching almost 99%. Good housing is either scant and or unaffordable. Many people have to commute more than an hour on way to reach their place of work daily. 

It is worth mentioning that by 2022, India will be the most populous country in the world. India must create more cities. Decongest mega cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore etc. Create better infrastructure for transport within the city as well as between cities. While policy making is stalled in parliament, when will family planning and population control be an important agenda of national interest? Is a poor, uneducated, illiterate, malnourished population an asset? When will we look at population explosion from human angle and not in rupee or dollar term?

Porn Ban : Safety vs Liberty

India has a love hate relationship with matters related to sex. On one side we boast about Kamasutra, worlds original manual for sexual activity, we take pride when erotic sculptures of Khajuraho are recognised as world heritage site, but we do not like to discuss matters related to sex openly at home. May be things are changing now in middle class homes, but things are still very different in small towns and villages in the hinterlands of India. A few years back, during a visit to Gujarat, tour guide asked my wife and daughters to move away because he was not comfortable discussing lovemaking of shiva and parvati. 

Internet boom and availability of smart phones have made pornographic materials at our finger tips. As a result internet may be a source of education for young boys and girls about matters related to sex. A matter they cannot discuss with their family elders still. As a result when government of India decided to ban 857 internet sites from where pornographic materials can be accessed. A hugh protest and ridicule in television and news papers made the government  backtrack. As of today ban exists only on sites offering materials related to child pornography

In this context, I came across an article where Shivam Viz wrote how auto rickshaw drivers, in their spare time, surf the internet for free porn using their mobile phones. Consider the following cases:

1. Nirbhaya was raped, disembowelled and left to die by roadside by four men and a juvenile. These men were drunk when they committed the crime. At least two of them spent time watching pornograpic material once they reached home after committing the crime.

2. Recently, driver of an App based cab company, raped and threatened a female passenger.

3. Another Uber cab driver tried to kiss a female passenger.

4. There is report that driver of another cab company masterbated while ferrying a lady passenger.

5. In another case, two youth had inserted bottle and candle in the private part of a five year old girl in Delhi. The girl was kept hostage for two days without food and water. Youths left for their village, locking the door behind them, leaving the girl to die.

6. In another instance two MLAs in Karnataka assembly were found watching porn in their mobile phones. Incidentally, both the MLAs belong the BJP.

Erudite people will argue that there is no relation between sexual assault and watching porn. Although human psyche is very complex and dynamic in nature. An external visual stimulus can raise the threshold of a human being to certain act. 

It is also put forward that government cannot interfere with adult men and women watching porn in the privacy of their homes. Many have considered the ban on pornographic sites is interference with liberties of citizens. It should be understood that for when we talk of freedom to watch porn we assume that all of us Indians are at same levels of education and value. In a diverse country like India, there is a lot of dissimilarity in education, economic background, and social status between adult professionals in their bed room vis a vis a auto driver  passing time watching porn in his free time. It is also important to understand that unlike law and order machinery in developed democracies with freedom of information, in India our law and order mechanism is creeky at the best of times. Can we really put fifty percent of our citizen to risk that emanate from free pornographic material?

 It is important to have freedom. With freedom, however, comes responsibility. As a society we need to decide are we Indians responsible enough to enjoy free porn? When our elected representatives have no qualms about watching porn sitting in the assembly, what can we expect from common citizens?  Is our right to access to free porn more important than safety of women travelling alone? Banning anything is bad and may not offer any solution. We need to decide which one is worse – inability to access porn or safety of women.

Why not make customers pay for watching porn? It is a fact that a lot of revenue for mobile companies is generated when internet porn sites are visited. As a result, accessing porn sites will remain free in all likelihood. Why not make people pay to watch porn rather than banning the sites. That approach may be more effective.

Yakub Memon and Politics of Death Penalty

In recent past, India has seen many horrible violence. These range from terrorist strike, communal riots to attack on women. Question arises how does a society bring justice to victims of violence. Many years often pass between actual act and pronouncement of judgement. Unfavourable judgements are followed up by appeal to higher courts, mercy petition to president of India and the process continues. Meanwhile, victims of terrorist violence carry on with their shattered lives, often forgotten and becoming a part of statistics. 

Every time a death sentence is delivered, two things happen.  Many people ask for mercy for the death row convict on humanitarian ground. They argue that killing a convict does not bring back people that were killed or maimed due to terrorist violence. They even reason that by  executing a person dehumanises a society, alienates segments and breeds violence. Another set of people demand court judgement be executed as per law of the land. Courts, they argue, are independent and judgement pronounced by the highest court should be regarded as supreme. The exact same act was played out when Yakub Memon was awarded death penalty for his role in 1993 serial blast in Mumbai where more than 250 people lost their lives.

Yakub Memon was executed on 29th of July, 2015. Enough has been written about involvement of Yakub Memon on Mumbai blast of 1993. It has emerged how former head of Pakistan desk at the Research and Analysis wing, Mr. B Raman believed that Yakub Memon should not get death penalty. Repeated mercy petitions were filed with supreme court of India and President of India to commute death sentence of Yakub Memon to life sentence. Finally, a three judge bench of supreme court in an unprecedented 3 am session of court on 29th of July, 2015 had rejected final plea of Yakub Memon, leading to execution at 6.30 am.

Death penalty is abhorrent. Death penalty remains very traumatic for family of convict as well as to society in general. Every time when a convicted person’s photo is shown on TV it appears how helpless the person has become. This also evokes an outpouring of sympathy for the convict. Politicians stir up emotions in the name of caste, community and religion. Society gets scarred for a long time.

At the end of the day, death penalty is approved by society. It is the maximum punishment that society can give in response to a heinous crime. May be  society should abolish death penalty altogether. Put heinous convicts behind bars for rest of their natural lives. In my mind such a penalty is more severe than death penalty. But nation remains exposed to further violence by associates of imprisoned terrorists. This was exactly what happened when Indian airliner IC814 was hijacked and dreaded terrorists were released to free innocent passengers. 

 Many people who object to death penalty often quote how civilised Europe has abolished death penalty. It is important to remember that Europe is passing through a time of relative peace. India lives in a difficult neighbourhood. A neighbour believes unless Kashmir is given to them, Indians will be subjected to random acts of terrorism. Once German or French or British people start experiencing such terror related devastation, world shall see what stand Europeans take on death penalty. In a recent TV debate Ms. Madhu Trehan  mentioned that post Charlie Hebdo massacre, French public opinion is veering towards bringing back death penalty. 

Many left of centre political formations, organisations and left parties convey the idea that it is the BJP government at the centre and state that expedited execution of Yakub Memon.  It is often forgotten, given the time elapsed between 1993 to 2015, that Yakub was brought to India when congress party lead government was in power at both centre and state. During long and protracted prosecution of Yakub Memon, congress party had enough opportunity to give evidence, in case it was available, to suggest that Yakub had co-operated with government and he should be spared death penalty. That, however, did not happen. All courts including TADA court, high court, supreme court, Yakub was found guilty and death penalty was pronounced. 

It is unfair to communalise Yakub Memon’s death penalty. Yakub Memon had got all opportunity to make his point of view clear through different levels of courts. It is malicious to take a position that BJP government  had executed Yakub Memon hastily. Court had found Yakub Memon guilty at all levels. BJP government had executed courts order promptly. To suggest that judges were controlled by government and to believe that judges had an agenda ais preposterous. 

It is important that society cares for unsuspecting victims  to terrorist violence who are disabled for life. A caring society must take care of families that lose their sole bread earning  members. Unfortunately, very little relief reached victims of Mumbai bomb blast. The same remains true for many victims of communal violence and other violent activities.