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July 3, 2009

Freedom Team of India – press coverage of our first talk.

Filed under: Freedom Team of India, India, indian elections — Tags: , — neosurya @ 11:30

Shanthanu Bhagwat who runs a very well-read blog is in India to talk about the Freedom team of India. The first talk by him was at the Indore Management Association on Wednesday. FTI’s first first press coverage was this talk event by Shanthanu. The article is scanned:

Article on Shanthanu's talk at Indore

Article on Shanthanu's talk at Indore

Excerpts from the article (Transliteration followed by the Hindi words):

madhyamavarga isa desh kii riiD ke samaan hai lekin maujuudaa daur me.n vah nirNaayak bhuumikaa nahi.n nibhaa paa rahaa hai.n| aaj sTUDe.nT voT dene se pahale puuchhate hai.n ki sabhii bhraShTa hai.n aakhir kise cune.n | ham kyo.n jaati dekhakar vot dete hai.n |

मध्यमवर्ग इस देश की रीड के समान है लेकिन मौजूदा दौरमें वह निर्णायक भूमिका नहिं निभा पा रहा हैं| आज स्टूडेंट वोट देने से पहले पूछते हैं कि सभी भ्रष्ट हैं आखिर किसे चुनें| हम क्यों जाति देखकर वोत देते हैं |
hame.n sochanaa hogaa ki swatantra hokar bhii ham swatantrataa se vyavahaar kyo.n nahI.n kar sakate| kyaa is desh me.n sabhii naagarik pulisa yaa netao.n se swatantrataapuurNa sawaal kar sakataa hai.n|

हमें सोचना होगा कि स्वतन्त्र होकर भी हम स्वतन्त्रता से व्यवहार क्यों नहीं कर सकते| क्या इस देश में सभी नागरिक पुलिस या नेतओं से स्वतन्त्रतापूर्ण सवाल कर सकता हैं|
abhii tak hamaare 70 sadasya ho chuke hai.n aur hame.n puurii ummiid hai ki me.nbaraship baDhatii jaaegii| hame.n chune hue 1500 sadasyo.n kii jaruurata hai.n kyo.nki ham una bhaaratiiyo.n ko khoj rahe hai.n jinakii netrutva kshamataa kaa laabha desh ko mil paae|

अभी तक हमारे ७० सदस्य हो चुके हैं और हमें पूरी उम्मीद है कि मेंबरशिप बढती जाएगी| हमें चुने हुए १५०० सदस्यों की जरूरत हैं क्योंकि हम उन भारतीयों को खोज रहे हैं जिनकी नेत्रुत्व क्षमता का लाभ देश को मिल पाए|


May 20, 2009

News summary May 19 2009

Filed under: India, indian elections, politics — neosurya @ 00:23

PG-hopper busted for serial thefts
TOI Bangalore Edition, page 1

Ms Devi Mahalakshmi, apparently a “God-fearing girl” stole about half a KG of gold and other assorted stuff from her roomies. She is also a software engineer. “God fearing” and “software engineer”, and to top it all off, a “girl”. She sure has managed to break a lot of stereotypes. What I wonder is, how nicely these stereotypes are broken everywhere else.

Big loss of face for 353 candidates
TOI Bangalore Edition, page 4

The whole of page 4 is an analysis of the current elections. Apparently, some members from major parties also lost their deposits.
Of the 428 candidates who contested for the 28 Lok Sabha seats of Karnataka, 353 lost their deposits.

The BJP has done very well in the Karnataka area.

Money on English
TOI Bangalore Edition, editorial

It is all about English; it is related to the Mulayam Singh manifesto that was anti-English and anti-computers [1]. Apparently, the politician who claims that computers take away employment sends his kids to English schools. I am positive they also do computers and own a few playstations, nintendos and the like at their official residence. Mulayam also has an online profile on UP Govts website.

Sometime back, there was the story of Raj Thackeray going against English, Hindi, and basically everything and anything that they could lay their hands on. Incidentally, his people vandalized Bombay Scottish, for having Bombay instead of Mumbai in its’ name [1, 2]. Raj Thackeray sent his kids to, where else, Bombay Scottish.

May 15, 2009

Newspaper summary May 15 2009

Filed under: bangalore, India, indian elections, news, Uncategorized — neosurya @ 06:56

I do not think I would be consistent with the summaries; they take way too much time. But anyhow, it is an honest revival.

SC awards techie Rs 1 cr damages for medical negligence

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 1

A story about one Prashant S Dhananka, 39, in whose case the supreme court ruled in favor of a compensation of Rs 1 Cr. for gross negligence during chest tumor removal. He was paralyzed waist down after a surgeon damaged his spinal chord during an operation. He was initially ruled to get Rs 15 lakh amount awarded by the Andhra Pradesh high court.

II PU students can change college: HC

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 2

A Pre-University Education department circular prohibits a student who joined PUC in 2009-2010 academic year from shifting from one college to another when they move into second year in 2010-2011. The Karnataka high court stayed the application of this circular for students who have joined I PUC in 2008-09.

This could be closely related to the dismal PUC-2 results recently seen. Apparently, many NRIs are also moving back to India due to recession and other factors, especially from the middle east.

Traffic curbs on Saturday

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 3

Interesting to note that traffic would be diverted in view of “Lok Sabha election counting”. Wow. Rule for the people really wants people to make sacrifices.

BDA’s Arkavathy Layout is in no man’s land. While landless farmers will soon lose health cover under the Yeshasvini scheme as they do not have documents, it is an endless wait for those allotted plots

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 4

Once lush fields and farms were bulldozed and so was the livelihood of nearly 15,000 farmers. This month-end, their Yeshasvini health insurance cover will end. This means they cannot get free medical facilities anymore. Reason: they’ll no longer be farmers as their ‘paani’ (land document) will cease to exist.

The once-rich landlords’ wives who would look after the labourers and the cattle, are now forced to do menial jobs. “One blessing in disguise is that there are many apartments around the villages. Our women do household chores, eat leftovers. It’s very painful,’’ says Patalappa.
The plight of Appaiahanna is pathetic. He owned 12 guntas where he grew jasmine and reared a cow. His family, wife and two children, led a contented life by selling flowers and milk. Today, he has no land and goes for construction work at an apartment site. He pulled out his children from school unable to support their education and they are doing barbending work at the site.

Wednesday, I was having a discussion with folks from office who insisted that urbanization was solving the caste problem. I wanted to say that Urbanization is likely to create other problems; caste has to be solved organically within a rural setting. Could not express the thoughts then, this article explains a few problems that urbanization could cause.

They own plots but cannot build a house on it

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 4

The other end of the story:

H G Prakash, 76, an ex-serviceman and son of a freedom fighter from Subramanyanagar, made at least four attempts for a 30 ft x 40 ft plot there. His first attempt under the ex-serviceman quota was not even considered. He finally succeeded in getting a plot allotted and it took him another two years to register it, after countless visits to the BDA office. His struggle still continues, and as time goes by, his hopes of building a house are slowly fading. He paid Rs 2.3 lakh for it and Rs 2,000 more for the little piece of additional land around it. Little did he realize the long struggle ahead until he submitted his building plan for approval on October 10, 2008. He still can’t do anything with the land because of the reserved Supreme Court judgment.

There are nearly 8,800 such people who own land but can’t build houses on it. Some are paying a steep interest on money borrowed from banks and other financial institutions. The BDA scaled down the allotment from the initial 20,000 sites to 8,800, but the disturbing wait continues for allottees. “Our money is locked. My father availed of a loan for the plot and with no progress on the layout, what are we to tell the bank?,’’ says Sanjay.

HC: police need common sense, if not intelligence

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 4

SC frees Varun of NSA charges

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 4

They say that the BSP Govt. was vindictive. Going by earlier comments that Varun had gained sympathy, this whole NSA thing would have been a “favor”.

Times of India special pages on LOk Sabha Elections May 16 2009.

Times of India special pages on LOk Sabha Elections May 16 2009.

A Cursed Partnership

TOI, Bangalore Edition, Editorial page 14

Nice article on why Indian and US policies on terrorism are different. The article gives eight reasons, but the last one sums it up nicely:

Eighth, the US has exerted undue pressure on victim India. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton has disclosed the reason why New Delhi did not take the mildest diplomatic action against Pakistan after Mumbai: “We worked very hard, as did the prior administration, to prevent India from reacting”. She indeed wants India to suffer more Mumbais silently, saying America has “a lot of work to do with the Indian government, to make sure they continue to exercise the kind of restraint they showed after Mumbai…” Doing deals with militants and paying growing amounts of ransom money to Pakistan are no way to fight terror.

Mountains need legs

Business Line – Life – Page 3, by Shyam G. Menon

Shyam Menon has written a very humorous article, highlighting an interesting aspect of our society. It is not just about ecology, it also relates to  how human endeavors are concentrating on titillation more than anything else. Excerpts:

Several Englishmen had walked up to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and played a match of cricket on a nearby plateau resembling London’s Oval, 17,045 ft high in altitude. Their reward — potential entry into the record books for the highest altitude at which a field sport has been played.


It is harder still to accept that no field sport was ever played when EBC is said to resemble a small tent city in peak season. Nevertheless a record is a record; this was the first time anyone went specifically to play a proper cricket match and not climb the mountain. The team had a Guinness Book official along to ratify the proceedings, reports said.


If I were Everest and looking down after all this at a full-fledged game of cricket at EBC, I would strain every sinew in my mountainous body to heave my bulk off the ground and flee further into Tibet. Perhaps relocate far beyond, to the middle of the Taklamakan.

In an age when people play chess underwater, all it takes is one businessman to vault what those Englishmen did for publicity and record, into the stuff of a regular media circus. It may not be at EBC but somewhere else, equally picturesque and hospitable to showcasing a saga of athleticism for the cameras. Gnarled landscape, snow-capped peaks, television and plenty to gloat about low oxygen. Imagine the wealth of statistics for commentary!

Richard Kirtley, who organised the T20 match on the Queen’s birthday, said chasing the altitude record was “a quintessentially British thing to do”. There was no mention of owning up the consequence of examples set on a fragile environment rimmed by the most populous and freshly rich countries on the planet.

Doordarshan plans to offer Mobile TV services

Business line, Front page

We will now have motorists not just speaking into their phones, but even looking into their latest gizoms as they speed on our roads…

April 29, 2009

Political movement in India

Filed under: election, India, indian elections, politics, social change — neosurya @ 16:16

The Mumbai edition of the Times of India carried an interesting editorial by Tarun Vijay, the director of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation (“Ideology is a casualty of today’s politics of expediency”). The full article can be accessed here; an excerpt from the article is below:

With the advent of the politics of expediency, a Gandhian ashram of ideas was turned into a mandi trading in votes, relegating ideological diversity to irrelevance and irreverence. Since political parties were no more than a conglomeration of certain interest groups, even ideology was defined in terms of material activity such as construction of roads and supply of energy. Political power became a goal in itself, not a vehicle to achieve greater purposes and execute visionary plans.

Though post-1947, there were stray cases of corruption in high places, like the jeep scandal and the Mundhra case, these were small yet created a furore. The guilty were not honoured in political circles and people would rise in revolt and revulsion against them. Not any more. With the breaking of the Congress and the games played with institutions like the judiciary and bureaucracy, Indira Gandhi institutionalised political corruption. It became accepted, normal behaviour for a politician to treat the issue as a non-issue. Self-interest and winning elections became goals in themselves; even a semblance of virtuous public behaviour became a matter for jokes and mockery.

Hence those who people Parliament, with charges of murder, extortion and corruption against them, become page-one politicians and secular symbols that define ‘grassroots’ politics. Except the Left and the Hindu right, there is hardly any political group that can claim to run on the basis of some ideological assertion and functional democratic inner-party norms. If it is father-and-son in the National Conference, the PDP is run by the Muftis, the BSP by Mayawati, the Samajwadi Party by Mulayam Singh, the DMK by M Karunanidhi and Stalin, the AIADMK by Jayalalithaa, the Congress by Sonia Gandhi and the Biju Janata Dal by Naveen Patnaik. The danger of such a fragmented polity becomes starker in times of crisis.

We are a nation surrounded by a failed state like Talibanised Pakistan (Hillary Clinton’s statement about Pakistan abdicating to the Taliban is unprecedented and also an alarm bell for New Delhi), Bangladesh where jihad churns, Nepal where the Maoists are messing around with the system, Sri Lanka which is mishandling the Tamil issue and, above all, China which looks over our shoulders. Add these factors to internal terror wars. If, despite these problems, we have not only survived but a small section has marched ahead, the credit must solely go to the resilience of the Indian people.

This is more reason why political parties like the freedom team of India (FTI) are needed. FTI aims to first create a set of policies that its members will agree upon. And then, and only then will FTI launch a political entity with a clear set of policies to be implemented. I urge interested readers to take a look at the site, and participate.

At the very least, participation in the democratic process by Indian citizen is urgent at this hour. Unfortunately, this is not happening, as seen by poor voter turnout.

April 24, 2009

Voter turnout in Bangalore – about 50%

Filed under: indian elections — neosurya @ 18:21

Bengaluru has shown the door to participation by its’ pathetic turnout in elections (About 50%, Blr south: 44.73%, Blr Central: 45.25% as reported here). This, despite the media glare and the calls by who-is-who to “young voters”. The reaction is reflected in some of the articles and blogs here [1, 2, 3]. Previous year’s voter turnout in Bangalore was 49.36%, as reported here. Twelve villages in Karnataka have decided to boycott elections [1], [2], [3] (A village in WB did the same). Now, this protest is very different from not coming out for elections. Voters in Bangalore have clearly chickened out.

The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC)N Gopalaswami is also concerned that urban voters are the ones with the least turnout.

March 26, 2009

The cooking has started…

Today’s headline in the TOI, Mumbai edition:

Under pressure, BJP too cooks up rice recipe

There will be a lot more cooking happening in the next few weeks… Will you come for the tasting? Do come, it is the biggest party on earth, the Indian General elections, and there is biriyani and arrack to be had.

I saw the Congress party’s ad on maaa TV today (I am sure Bhajpaa also has ads).

Lok Satta is also running ads. A few are here:

The difference between ads by the two parties are striking; Lok Satta has a modest budget and this is reflected in their ads. There is a serious, witty message on screen with only a guys voice being the human connection. The former has hajaar money to spend, apparent by the length of the ad and the song and dance sequence (literally!!!). A different congress ad has a bunch of kids and this travelling movie guy breaking into a song. The guy further shows all congress faces right from Indira to Sonia/Manmohan…. At least the ad people get to show their skills !!!

March 24, 2009

How to get onto the voters list in India

Filed under: election, form 6, India, indian elections, jaago rey, voters ID card, voters roll — neosurya @ 10:13

I checked from election commission’s website that Koramangala falls under 172-BTM Layout. Relevant documents:
Electoral Registration Officers in Bangalore and
Electoral Registration Officer’s (EROs) of 21 New (Delimited) Legislative Assembly Constituencies of BBMP.
Folks from office also verified that my house falls under BTM constituency.

Next, filled out form 6, attached photocopy of passport and ration card and submitted at the ERO office at the BBMP office in Madiwala, next to ayyappa temple (wikimapia link) . The office timing was from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:00 to 8:00 PM; I was there at about 9:30 and it took around half-hour to submit the form. They gave me an acknowledgement and said that the name should show up in about one week. The BBMP office in Madiwala is not indicated as an ERO office on the pdf files. You can call the ERO office before you go and verify if there is another center closer to you.

Many are checking out jaago re to get their names onto the voters list. Jaago rey lets you fill out the information on form 6 directly as pdf. You have to hand over the form yourself. I did not use jaao rey, preferred to download the form from Govt site.

The Govt. websites themselves are not too bad. Karnataka has a website that shows wether your name is on the voters list or not.

Once your name gets onto the electoral rolls, you should be able to go to the local ERO office and get your voters ID card. Today, there was a huge crowd outside the BBMP office for getting the ID card; hopefully it would not be necessary to go to the BBMP office to get ID card. During election time, like right now, one can also get a voters ID card at local offices like at the Chinmaya school in Koramangala. The latter serves local communities and would be less crowded.

PS: This is the first time I am in India during General Elections as an adult, and I +vely want to be on the voters list.

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