Thursday, August 4, 2016

Poor Women in Uttarakhand cannot afford expensive Mehendi Art ... Really!

Written by ABisht
Sometimes commenting on some inconsequential events amounts to nothing but nit-picking (unnecessary fault finding). But when major newspapers report these events in such a manner which tries to make them look important, then one has no option but to comment.

From the last 20 days, a particular political party is grand organizing 'Teej Events' in various parts of Uttarakhand. The women cadre of this party are contacting women in their locality to attend such Events. These events are being marketed as open to all women, where the basic idea is to celebrate the festival in its full fervor. That's eat, dance and enjoy.

No one asking the simple question: Who's funding these women-only open to all Teej Events.

The uneasiness with such Teej events in Uttarakhand doesn't relate to who and why someone is funding such events. Although, funding may be an important question. But for the time being lets not go into it.

The basic uneasiness is with the reporting of such events in newspaper. It's alright for a reporter to report about a bhagvat Katha or Teej Event. But it's not alright when the reportage says -- "the organizers said that since many poor women would not afford expensive Mehendi Art, the arrangement for the same had been made free of cost."

Such kind of reporting is in bad taste, as the direct impact of price rise is on food plate. Whether or not a poor woman will afford decorative mehendi pattern on her palms is bad analogy.

If in the past two years, pulses (or Dal) have gone out of reach for sizable population in India; then we should be ready for crores of children who will have stunted growth. That's they as adults will not reach their full body and mental capacity.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Focus on Those people who Lost everything | Chamoli and Pithoragarh Cloud Bursts

Written by ABisht
It's not always that the rescue efforts in the incidents of Cloud bursts in hilly areas require massive and open hearted monetary help. If the cloud burst results in loss of human lives and property of the residents of Uttarakhand, that too in some remote villages, then timely small rescue efforts with distinct priority can be of exceptional help.

Take for instance, the latest cloud bursts in the villages of Chamoli and Pithoragarh districts of Uttarakhand. The death toll is about 30. The majority of which are from a couple of villages.  The chief Minister has announced the compensation of Rs 2 Lakhs to the family of the person dead.

Now the point is, if you're familiar with the Hills, then you would be aware that in the case of such cloud bursts, it's a rarity that an entire village gets gutted down. Only a couple of houses which fall in the path of rubble, are destroyed. The majority of the dead belong to these houses.

Hence the families of the dead are the ones who suffer the double blow. They not only lose their loved ones, but also lose their shelter along with all the necessities & things within.

Hence the announcement of compensation, which doesn't at all look adequate, can be provided in a month or so. These families have to re-build their lives right from nothing. Right now, the Government must ensure that these victims are provided with food, clothing, shelter.

The act of air-dropping food to all people, without targeting the real victims will not help.

As far as the road connectivity and stalled tourists are concerned then the best way to help them is to collect them where they are, in temporary shelters and provide them food. They can be sent to their homes, the moment the whether improves and connectivity is restored. After all they have a home to go back to.

A clear strategy is necessary here, as air-dropping food and clothes without any plan will be a waste of valuable time and energy. And both are valuable right now.

The air-lifting without any distinction (health) will be wastage of money.

Hope we understand the point here. Tourists would still have a house to return to. If they are provided shelter and food at temporarily created relief centers today, then they will be rescued back to their homes in a week.

At the same time, those villagers in calamity hit villages who are fortunate enough to not get hit by the calamity, can get food once the inclement whether and linkages are restored. Till then, they can survive with the stored rations in their homes.

The biggest losers are the Uttarakhand residents who unfortunately had fallen with their houses in line of the Cloud Burst rubble.

If we have learned something from the 2014 Uttarakhand floods then it's not essential to search for the dead or anyone alive even after a week of the incident. The Hills are not plains. The terrain is not that you can take earth movers and un-turn the rubble. And irrespective of the religiosity of the person or the motive of the journey, pilgrimage, it's totally Unnecessary to search for the dead beyond a certain time limit. Miracles, do happen, but putting all the force and system for one single miracle is  not necessary.

In the political environment of 2014, much time, manpower and money; was spent on searching for alive people, weeks after the calamity. As a result, the lives of Uttarakhand people who lost everything in Uttarakhand floods, were never brought back to normal.

The coming months will test the honesty and integrity of Village pradhans and other revenue officials. Only when they are honest and have integrity, the lives of the villagers massively hit by these cloud bursts will be re-built.

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Allow a Tree grow on your House or Over-shadow your Field?... Doiwala, Dehradun

Written by ABisht
Coming straight to the point, Who among us will allow a Peepal tree or for that matter any tree germinate into a full grown tree on our houses? ... Who among us will allow a tree over-shadow (cast a shadow) our fields?

The answer is easy.

Majority of us Will NOT.

So what is the big deal in a farmer cutting those branches of a peepal tree which cast shadow over his field?

It's easy to make everything a question of faith, but making anything and everything a question of faith is wrong.

Even where Law stops us from cutting trees, trees are already being cut to widen roads and make space for concrete. Many of these trees were majestic peepal groves, which were being worshiped for decades. But still no one stopped the mighty axe there... Why? For the sake of development.

The harmony between human beings is much more important than widened roads and sky-scrapers. Lets not risk that harmony. Religions are just the outer clothing. Beyond religion, we all are the same... mortals made up of same flesh and blood.

Lets forget, whether a tree is worshiped or not.

The simple question to ask is: Who among us will allow a Tree grow on his/her House; or a tree on his/her neighbour's field, courtyard or public road Over-shadow his/her Field or courtyard?

The answer is obvious.

Thus, before fighting on the name of faith, try to be in that person's position...

Yes, I'm referring to what took place in Doiwala, Dehradun, day before yesterday.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Death of Horse Shaktimaan and a moment of Introspection

Written by ABisht
Finally, the horse Shaktimaan in Uttarakhand police Service met its end yesterday.

It is being reported that while undergoing a minor surgical procedure, the horse died because of anesthesia over-dose.

Whatever be the reason, it may not the most suitable end to an animal meant to ride on the winds, but still an end is an end. A horse not able to pace up with the World can't survive either. So whether Shaktimaan is deliberately put to eternal peace, or was it the case as reported, doesn't matter now.

So lets leave the horse there.

But it's surely a time of introspection for anyone, who keeps swearing by the tenet of non-violence. Especially swears by non-violence during peaceful protests.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Posters showing Amit Shah buying MLAs in Uttarakhand reminds one of Aseem Trivedi

Written by ABisht
At the peak of India Against Corruption campaign(I will not call it a movement) the cartoons of Aseem Trivedi became the talk of India. Suddenly the Nation catapulted him to the status of a cartoonist. To I, Aseem Trivedi was just a poster maker, who managed to create something which went in line with a certain political ideology(anti-Congress and pro-BJP wave). They were eager to hail and spread anything which Aseem Trevedi was creating at that time. Only condition being : The creation would had been in-line with that certain political ideology.

Hence, there's wrong to read much into these posters. They are simply a quick mash-up of some prevailing political situation, with the aim of supporting one political ideology and provoking the other. They may be able to cause some unrest among the rival political ideology; but beyond that they don't mean anything. In short, such creations are simply posters and not cartoons; as cartooning is a fine art.

That said, all through Yesterday, the TV News Channels in Uttarakhand remained bustling with the reports of certain posters surfacing in Dehradun early Saturday morning that showed BJP chief Amit Shah in search of "three MLAs who could be purchased,".

The poster shows a caricaturised Shah carrying a bag full of currency notes and holding nine ropes to which nine goats are tied. The nine Congress MLAs - Vijay Bahuguna, Harak Singh Rawat, Pradeep Batra, Shailendra Mohan Singhal, Subodh Uniyal, Shaila Rani Rawat, Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion, Amrita Rawat and Umesh Sharma Kau - are represented as the goats whose ropes Shah is shown as holding. The tag line of the poster says, "BJP ko zarurat hai 3 bikau vidhayakon ki" (BJP needs 3 MLAs who can be purchased).

The posters were pasted on walls in major areas of the city like the Parade ground, Suvery chowk, Tehsil chowk and Kanvali road ares of Dehradun city. The moment the information reached the Police, teams of policemen were seen removing the posters from the walls.

While the BJP termed it as the "cheap tactics" of Congress to target the party, the Congress categorically denied any association with the poster. Nevertheless, the party did not refrain from saying that "the sentiments expressed in the poster indeed reflected the feelings of the common man of Uttarakhand."

As expected, while the BJP blaimed the Congress for the posters; the latter denied any association with them, although quickly added that the posters do depict the true feelings of people of Uttarakhand. If the spokespersons of both the parties, Munna Singh Chauhan of BJP and Kishore Upadhyay of Congress, were allowed to speak all day on the issue, they would easily do so.

But the point is, such posters seldom portray the feelings of the common people of Uttarakhand. If that would have been the reality, then the Friday posters surfacing in Varanasi that showed the BJP's new UP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya as Krishna and Rahul, Akhilesh and Mayawati as Kauravas disrobing 'Draupadi' (UP), would surely be portraying the true feelings of common man of Uttar Pradesh. In that case 90 percent vote share would go to BJP. Which we know can never happen.

The posters in Dehradun can't be termed as "an undercover exercise of the Congress"; as if that be so, then the posters in Varanasi, might be the undercover exercise of BJP.

So lets not get swayed by such posters. They are instruments of short term political propaganda.

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