Monday, April 19, 2010

"Goliath kills David"

Thousands of years before the birth of Christ(BC),in the Jewish kingdom, there was a giant called Goliath. He was a man of might and was unchallenged.All were scared including the King. One fine day, a small boy named David took up the challenge to fight with Goliath. It was similar to a battle between a Giant and a Lilliputian. David,using a catapult killed Goliath and later became the famous 'King David'. There ends the story.Few days before, Goliath took up a fight with David.Tharoor never realized that he was just a Lilliputian in front of mighty Goliath( Lalit Modi).Instead of going for a truce by surrendering 'Kochi IPL franchisee' to the whims and wishes of Goliath,he thought after all he is Minister of State, and accepted Goliath's offer to fight. Entire nation witnessed. History DID NOT repeat this time.Goliath killed David. A month before, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu made a remark in Rajya Sabha which created laughter in the Upper House.He remarked that Tharoor's Twitting(he meant tweeting)will lead to his Quitting.Venkaiah Naidu was alomost right. Tweeting led to quitting but it was Modi's tweeting.Shashi Tharoor has been forced to resign because prima facie he appears to be guilty.Lalit Modi is Goliath not because he is IPL chairman, he is Goliath because he is ‘Lalit Modi’. Forget Tharoor, even the Cabinet Minister for External Affairs cannot take a decision when it affects the relation with foreign country like Pakistan without the consent of Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister.But our Goliath took a decision with his cabinet colleagues Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta to ban Pakistani players from attending IPL 3 which severely affected relations with Pakistan at that point of time.But our Goliath got away unharmed. When most of the middle class population run after LIC agents during March to save few thousands of rupees to save from tax, our Goliath tried to evade around two hundred crores of rupees as entertainment tax from Maharashtra Government(which could have been used for infrastructure projects) citing the reason that IPL is promoting a sport. Is cricket an endangered sport in India and whether our IPL missionaries are promoting an endangered sport to get tax exemption? Our Goliath who never played cricket could also threaten to remove from Cricket academy, the cricket icon in India, Kapil Dev, when the latter was supporting Indian Cricket League(not IPL).

In my view, Shashi Tharoor became a casualty in this episode. Mamata tried to make Indian Railway Budget a Bengal Railway Budget, Lalu did the same for Bihar and Maran did the same in Telecom for Tamil Nadu.This is a standard practice because,after all they are elected by the people of their home state and they have to go back to their electorate after 5 years. This practice may be wrong but still it is not illegal. Tharoor did the same. If he had the intention of getting stakes through his friend, he could have done it silently. He openly acknowledged to the media that he is a patron of Kochi franchisee because Kerala is his home state. He supported openly. If he had intentions of misusing his office for getting stakes for his friend Sunanda, then he could have silently done it. Even the Congress feels that Tharoor has done a SILLY BLUNDER which means that Tharoor has become a casualty because he did act silly.One can argue that Tharoor did not promote Railways or Telecom for his State, but it can also be genuine that he could have decided to promote IPL seeing the craziness for this sport. Anyhow since Tharoor was holding a responsible post and there are prima facie doubts about his involvement in alleged transfer of stakes to his friend Sunanda, it’s good that he was removed from the post of Minister. On the other hand Modi who took the moral stand of exposing Tharoor, was a failure in all his business ventures till 3 years before, but has bought a private jet, a luxury yacht , a fleet of Mercedes and BMW cars after he became IPL chairman. Times of India report alleges that Modi’s brother in law Chellaram has stakes in Rajasthan Royals and Modi also has Benami stakes in Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders Teams. Times of India report also claims that IT raids have found Modi’s involvement in IPL betting and money laundering.

Its good that Goliath-David battle took place, not because Goliath may also be killed soon, not because Goliath’s betting scandal has got exposed, but good because some section of MPs in Parliament have started demanding the ban of IPL. Modi who claims that IPL’s aim is to promote cricket across the world, should have not opposed ICL if that was his true intention because ICL was also a league which could have promoted cricket.BCCI actually started IPL to counter ICL and it used all arm twisting activities and removed ICL from the arena and has become the sole proprietor of the Gold mines. Even though cricket is a lazy sport and has spoilt the sponsorships of other games, one thing good about cricket is, it unites the nation. If Rahul Dravid played well, Tamils, Biharis, Bengalis and the entire nation praised the iron man of Karnataka. Similarly if Harbhajan Singh bowled well, the Haryanvis, Kannadigas, Bengalis , Assamese and the entire nation praised the Punjab Tiger. IPL on the other hand has removed the only positive factor in Cricket. It has led to balkanization of Indian Cricket. and India The other day one of my friend was about to cry because 'Chennai Super Kings' lost. I asked him whether Dhoni was from Chennai. He told Dhoni likes Chennai and that’s why he opted for being a player in 'Chennai Super Kings'. He also told that Dhoni out of his love for Chennai, has recently bought a house in Chennai. Nowadays my friend staunchly opposes Sachin, Ganguly etc because they play against Chennai. Some may argue that IPL is equivalent to Foot Ball league and County Cricket of European countries and it has not led balkanization in those countries. Its true for Europe, but India is not Europe where there is single religion and single language.In next few years, the youngsters will start really believing that Dhoni is playing for Chennai out of his love for Chennai and will start fighting with Kannadigas if 'Royal Challengers' win 'Chennai Super Kings', like the way people react when Indo-Pak cricket match takes place.I conclude with the remarks of Geeth Sethi,the Billiard player, who won the first individual Olympic Gold medal for India, “The fanatical obsession called cricket has just joined hands with the film world to create a new pastime (I consciously refrain from calling it a sport) where it will gain even further visibility and media hype fuelled by both cricket and Bollywood,this in turn will almost certainly divert sponsorship which could have gone to disciplines with a genuine chance of winning India that Olympic gold.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"We the people"

In 2008 May, there was Panchayat Election in West Bengal.I was Additional District Magistrate of West Midnapore District at that time. On the day of elections, I was busy moving to different polling booths since early morning and things were normal. Around 1 30 PM, I got a message from Election Control Room stating that there was a panic call from one of the Presiding officers of Jamboni area. Jamboni is a very disturbed place known for its criminal and anti social activities. It took around an hour for me to reach the polling booth from where the panic call was logged. The presiding officer was sweating and his face was pale. I asked him whether there was booth capturing. To my surprise, he told that everything was normal and peaceful. I got irritated and asked him why he gave a call to control room if everything was normal. He told that due to intense heat, he became abnormal and so he made a call, which was a very foolish answer. I could make out that he had been threatened not to talk. I checked the voting register and found that voting percentage was normal till 1 pm, but suddenly there was drastic increase of approximately 30% of votes between 1 and 2 pm, which was a clear indication of booth capturing. I searched for polling agents of different political parties but none were found. If I recommend for repoll without Presiding Officer’s report, State Election Commission may not accept. So I thought of trying my last option. I took the presiding officer to a nearby room and told that he would be suspended (He was a teacher in Govt School) for raising false alarm when polling was peaceful. His face became blank and the he started weeping for next 5 minutes.Then he told that one of the election candidate came with armed personnel around 1 PM and drove away the polling agents and cast bogus votes.When he saw the presiding officer calling for help to control room, he threatened to kill if presiding officer gives any report.After much of persuasion, the presiding officer agreed to give a report on booth capturing, on the condition that I would stay in the booth till the polling is over and I would accompany him up to DCRC where he would deposit the ballot boxes. State Election Commission on receipt of Presiding Officer’s report along with my recommendation, ordered for repoll.

Last month, I was returning from Delhi after attending a meeting. The person who was sitting beside me in flight was in White Shirt and White Dhoti, and from his attire I could make out that he was a politician. After initial exchange of pleasantries, I came to know that he was a political functionary of a prominent political party of Tamil Nadu.He told that he came from a poor fisherman’s family and he still owns fishing boats which goes for fishing. To get respect within his community he joined politics and after few years his work got recognized by the party high command and he was made the candidate for an election. I found him to be very down to earth person and very friendly. We started serious discussions about the current political scenario. I shared my Jamboni experience with him. On hearing it, he asked me whether I voted in last election. I was surprised by his question. I told him that I voted, but not in Tamil Nadu but in West Bengal, as I was registered voter of West Bengal. He again asked whether my friends and relatives voted in last election. I could not make out on why he was asking such question. I told that I did not know whether my friends and relatives voted. He told, “ Mr.Israel you go and ask them whether they voted. If they are honest to you, then the answer would be ‘no’. Of course they would say that they have lost hopes in politicians of India. Middle class and upper class people always are critical of politicians. They argue that military rule is the only solution for India. They talk very big but on the day of elections, around 50% stay at their home without coming to polling booth and watch TV because all TV channels would be broadcasting new movies on the day of election. Don’t think that the remaining 50% would have come to polling booth. Rather they would have left the previous day itself to the nearest tourist location along with their friends or families because Election day is a paid holiday in India. So when we go back to electorate asking to vote on our constructive work, our middle class and upper class voters are missing. It is the poor people who come to vote and as they are vulnerable due to poverty, we start bribing for votes. We are left with the option of booth capturing or vote buying. As Election Commission is very strict these days, booth capturing is ruled out. So currency plays a crucial role. Today the rate of one vote is approximately Rs 1000 in Tamil Nadu.” As he was getting emotional I changed the topic of discussion. Even though he was not 100% correct, still I found his argument was very logical to a great extent. Once we landed at Chennai, we exchanged our visiting cards. The following Sunday, he sent to my house, large quantity of fishes and prawns.

Yesterday I was reading the blog of Shri L.K.Advani in which he had written a post on compulsory voting (March 7th, 2010 post). Shri L.K.Advani is of the view that graduates, post graduates etc, try to shy away from voting and hence he argues for compulsory voting. He says, “I read about a remarkable incident that occurred in eighteenth century Britain.A member of the House of Commons received a letter from his constituents in which he was asked to vote against certain excise proposals in the Budget. According to the BBC feature, the M.P. sent a stinging reply to his voters as follows :
“Gentlemen, I have received your letter about the excise, and I am surprised at your insolence in writing to me at all.
“You know, and I know, that I bought this constituency.
“You know, and I know, that I am now determined to sell it.
“And you know what you think I don’t know that you are looking for another buyer.
“And I know what you certainly don’t know, that I have found another constituency to buy.”
So during next election, either we people should vote or if we are busy with tourist places or TV, we should stop talking like intellectuals on the status of democracy and politicians in India. I know most of the middle class and upper class would prefer to stop talking rather than voting. So in my view, compulsory voting is the only solution for India.Some people who may argue that none of the candidates are worth voting, may exercise Rule 49-O after reaching the polling booth.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"Our Father in Heaven..."

On 31st March, suddenly I had to visit National Institute of Rural Development(NIRD), Hyderabad.Since it was financial year ending, my visit was crucial for my organisation.On 30th evening only I decided due to a sudden development.When I told one of my colleagues about my plan to visit Hyderabad,he asked me to postpone because of the curfew imposed due to communal disturbances.I explained him the importance of my visit but still he insisted not to proceed.When he found me adamant,he asked how I would move from Hyderabad Airport to NIRD.I replied that there is no curfew in that area and so I would take a taxi from the Airport.He then gave me the phone number of a driver who took him to NIRD few months before when he visited Hyderabad.I called the driver and asked him to be at the airport around 7 30 AM of next day.Next day when I landed at Hyderabad, I found the driver waiting for me with my name written in a placard..I asked him his name and he told Rahim. Once I reached NIRD,I became too busy with my work.An employee of NIRD called Srinivasan was attached with me by NIRD to sort out the problem. Around 2 PM Srinivasan took me to the NIRD guest house for lunch.I started having lunch but suddenly Srinivasan vanished.After few minutes I found him bringing Rahim Bhai for lunch.Then only i remembered about Rahim bhai and felt ashamed that I forgot about his lunch because there was curfew and he cannot have lunch outside.Srinivasan and Rahim bhai were sitting in a nearby table and had lunch happily chatting about some telugu movie.I asked them whether they know each other earlier, I was told no.

Around 5PM my work got over I started to airport.I was thirsty and asked Rahim Bhai whether drinking water was there in the car but he was not able to find.As my trip to Hyderabad was suddenly planned,i forgot to take sufficient cash and since I had debit card and credit card I was not worried.Around 200 rupees was there in my wallet.I asked Rahim Bhai to stop near a ATM.Most of the ATMs were closed and finally when when i found an ATM , it was closed due to insufficient cash.Seeing my worried look Rahim bhai asked me the reason.I told that I did not have sufficient cash to pay his taxi bill.He asked me not to worry and pay him next time when I visit Hyderabad.I told that I didn't have plans to visit Hyderabad in near future and asked him his bank account number so that I could transfer fund to his account.He laughed and told why should a poor person like him have bank account and told me to pay the taxi bill whenever I return next time to Hyderabad and asked me not to worry even if my future visit is after one year.Suddenly he stopped the car and asked me to wait for few minutes and went to a nearby shop.I thought he went for smoking or to get pan.After few minutes he came back with a mineral water bottle and a frooti packet.As i earlier told him that i was thirsty he bought these thinking that I was not even having a single penny.I was moved by his attitude and paid him the money for water bottle and frooti.Luckily there was a ATM near the airport and so I could pay him the taxi bill.I bid farewell to my new friend Rahim Bhai and boarded the aircraft.

On my return journey I was reading a news item which stated that many poor labourers had lost their daily wages due to curfew and curfew may be imposed to new areas of the city the following day . I was worried that my friend Rahim Bhai would loose his daily earning.Why such communal fights happen in a country where around 40 crore people depend on their daily wages. Anyone who has read The Holy Bible or The Holy Quran would agree with me that thousands of years before the birth of Christ(BC), a patriarch named Abraham lived and he had two sons named Isaac and Ismail.Descendants of Isaac are Jews and descendants of Ismail are Muslims.Both religions agree on this.Jews worship God of Abraham and Muslims also worship God of Abraham.This is an undisputed fact accepted by both the religions. Jews were waiting for God to send Messiah.Whoever believed Jesus Christ as the Messiah became Christians.Jews who did not accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah are waiting for his arrival.According to Christianity,Jesus is the Messiah and he is the son of God.All Christians worship God of Abraham and his son Jesus Christ.So it is a crystal clear fact that Muslims,Jews and Christians worship only God of Abraham.Barring few most of the Historians are of the view that Aryans migrated from central Asia and share common ancestors with Jews.The sacraments of Jews and Hindus are very much similar.So when every religion is worshipping the same God why there are Crusades, Jihads and Hindu militia in which thousands of innocents are killed.Our Father in Heaven will definitely disallow in Heaven, the clerics and politicians of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism who use religion to unleash violence.On the other hand there are people like Srinivasan who take care of the Hunger of a Muslim and people like Rahim Bhai who is very generous towards a Christian, ironically when their relatives are fighting with the people of other religion just few kilo metres away in Hyderabad.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stages are made in Hell

I was 6 years old at that time. It was Children's Sunday in my Church and the entire focus of that day's sermons would be on children. As part of Children's Sunday, children should go to the altar of the church and sing songs and recite biblical verses which they had learnt in Sunday School. My Sunday School Teacher in the previous week asked me to learn just 2 verses in 23 rd Chapter of Psalms in Bible and recite in front of everyone. Each of the Sunday School Children had different tasks and as I was just 6 years old, my assignment was just to recite 2 verses.I memorized those 2 verses the entire week and was very confident. My brother's assignment was to recite around 10 verses from a different chapter.As he was 5 years older than me, he was given a bigger assignment. On Children's Sunday,I was sitting beside my mom.The service began and the Church was full because the entire congregation of around 200 people were present . My mom asked me whether I remembered those 2 verses.If anyone had asked Abdul Kalam whether he knew basics of missile technology how he would have reacted, the same way I reacted.The proceedings started and children started performing their tasks with lot of applause from the church. After few minutes, Sunday School teacher called my name in the microphone and told Israel would recite verses from Psalms. I got up confidently. I saw entire crowd seeing me. As I moved forward to the altar of the Church, I could see all eyes watching me. I had an unusual sensation which I later realised as 'fear'. Once I reached the altar, microphone was adjusted to my height.Once I faced the entire crowd looking at me, that unusual sensation became acute.I could feel the lub dub of my heart. I started reciting "The Lord is my Shepherd". Next line was "I shall not want". But seeing around 200 faces in front of me,I forgot the verses. I started repeating "The Lord is my Shepherd". My head became blank. I could not move forward to the next line.I could see my brother who was sitting in first row, laughing at me.Again I tried, but nothing came out of my mouth.My Sunday School Teacher realised that Lord had let down Israel.She came forward, adjusted the microphone,completed the verses and called the next name. I did not walk back to my mom.I could hear giggling here and there. I went to the back door of the Church and sat.I felt that whole Sky had fallen on me.It was terrible feeling.I was sitting not knowing what to do next. Then I could hear my Brother's name called.My prayer to Lord was that he should also forget otherwise he would make fun of me throughout my life.As he confidently continued his verses, my confidence declined. Once my brother successfully completed, I got up and went back to my house which was nearby before the service got over. In my house I was waiting under the cot with so much of tension for my brother to come back.After an hour, I could hear my brother shouting "Where is the Shepherd" and was searching me.Once he found me, he was so happy.I told that I deliberately forgot to tell the verses because I wanted to check whether Sunday School Teacher knew it, knowing very well he wont believe it.Naturally he made my life hell for next few months by teasing me on "The Lord is my Shepherd".

18 years later, I got appointed as Lecturer in Sri Ram Engineering college.I was assigned to handle one subject for final year students, 2 subjects for 2nd year students and one subject for 1st year students.That was my first day in College and unfortunately I had to give lecture to Final Year Students on my very first day. I had to handle the 3rd period.During first 2 periods I was sitting in the library and was taking notes for my lecture.Once tea break was given I could hear students rushing out and my lub dub suddenly started.The same uneasy sensation in my heart which I felt 18 years before again started.It was 10 minutes 'tea break' and after that I had to go and give lecture that too to final year students.After 10 minutes, bell rang and I started moving to the final year class.Students were rushing in and my lub dub increased.Instead of entering the class, I went back to my chamber.My HOD Prof Radhakrishnan saw me and asked me why I had not gone to class.I told I came back for chalk piece.He then took me to class(may be he would have thought seeing my pale face that i would run away)and introduced me to students as the new lecturer and left the class.I did not know what to start because I was blank. I saw the attendance register.There were around 40 students and in the pretext of introducing to each other,I took attendance and asked each of the student,his schooling, place of birth etc to kill the time.As I was nearing the last 10 students I was scared what I would do next after 'Attendance'.So I started asking more details for last 10 students like their hobbies, parents occupation etc.I heard the bell ringing when 2 more students were left. It was a great relief as the period got over.I told 'thank you' to students and rushed out.I went straight to my HOD's Chamber and told that I was going to resign.He smiled and asked me to sit and asked whether students teased.I told no and and explained how I managed taking attendance.He laughed for next 10 minutes. Then he gave me cup of tea and started giving me lecture. Like Lord Krishna tutored Arjuna, for next few hours he tutored me on how to manage "stage fear". The focus of his advice was, everyone including PM of India would have fear in their maiden speech but they manage the fear positively.He canceled my classes for next 2 days and tutored me whenever he found time.He gave me very practical tips on how to capture the attention of audience.I gained lot of confidence and when I went for next class I had the lub dub but I managed it effectively.I started using the tips he gave.Within few days the lub dub stopped totally and I became a very popular lecturer among students, thanks to Prof Radhakrishnan.

I worked as Lecturer for next 4 years.Later I joined Indian Railways and then IAS.In Railway Academy(RSC,Baroda) and IAS Academy(LBSNAA,Mussorie) the trainee had to do presentation invariably once in every 10 days on some topic.So I became seasoned and I totally forgot this 'stage fear'.But once I started working in West Bengal as Sub Divisional Officer(SDO),a new problem arose.It was 'language fear'.I could read,write and speak in 'Bengali' language but I had a fear to address public gatherings in bengali language. Speaking with common man in bengali is different but once we address in 'stage' we should follow certain grammar and I was not good in it.So whenever I was invited to any public function, my first condition was that I wont address the gathering and I used to take a deputy magistrate(State service officer) who used to address on behalf of me.I managed this way for more than a year in Bengal.,Almost after a year, things changed. I was to launch a new tribal health programme called 'Jeevan Jyothi' in one of my naxal affected blocks called Belpahari block.Few days before the launch,I invited my 'District Magistrate' to inaugurate this scheme.DM was Mr.Narayan Swaroop Nigam, who is an young, honest and efficient officer.He was a mentor to me.Happily he agreed to be the chief guest for the occasion.On the day before the programme he asked me to send the programme schedule by email. I did not include my name in the programme because the tribals would not understand speech in English and I cannot make speech in Bengali.Once DM saw the programme schedule he called me and asked why I was not addressing the gathering. As if I was too generous I told,"Sir I want to complete the programme within a short time so that tribal people can return to their villages before dusk".He told that my speech of 10 minutes wont make a big difference and he told that he would reduce his speech by 10 minutes so that I could address the gathering. I was taken aback. I tried to give few more lame reasons but he told that I had to address.I did not know what to do.I decided to tell the truth and told him about my problem in addressing the crowd in Bengali. He told," Israel, I knew it even before you telling me.I don't want my SDO to avoid giving speech in Bengali.You are like my younger brother.You have to start learning instead of avoiding.So tomorrow you have to give speech in Bengali.Its an order".My first reaction was to fall sick and avoid next day's function but I knew it wont work with my DM who was a very good person by heart but was also a very strict officer. I did not have any option.I called my deputy magistrate and asked him to prepare a speech. I then started memorising till 3 am. Next day when my turn came, lub dub and unusual sensation in heart started.I don't remember what I talked.Somehow I managed and completed my speech.The entire gathering including DM clapped for next 5 minutes.Once I got seated after my maiden address,my deputy magistrate came and told in my ears,"Don't worry sir.Only you and me know that you have forgotten 75% of speech.Anyhow,speech was not bad".

P.S-I gradually picked up public speaking in Bengali language within few months because I did not have any option.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The other side of "Indian Hockey"

Tamil Nadu Express was about to start.Passengers were busy in keeping luggages and bidding farewell to their dear ones.It was 2003.I was in Indian Railways and I was going to Delhi for official work.It was 2 tier AC coach and normally in 2 tier AC coaches you can find many Railway officials who use their free railway passes.In the opposite Berth , a Tall Dark Handsome person who may be around 50 years old was seated.His face was familiar .I was observing him and he found me observing and gave me a smile.I smiled back but my brain was busy in recalling who this person was.Suddenly it flashed in my memory.I asked him," Are you Baskaran?". He was so happy that atleast someone recognised him. He was Vasudevan Baskaran, the captain of Indian Hockey Team which won Olympics Gold Medal in 1980. That was the last Gold Medal India won in Hockey. Baskaran's achievment was part of Tamil Nadu School Curriculum and I told him that I had read about him in my school days.He was more than happy. He was Senior Sports Officer in Southern Railways at that time and he was going to Delhi for a meeting. He started asking about me.Tamil Nadu Express takes around 32 hours to reach Delhi. Except the sleeping time, we were discussing during the entire train journey.Even though we discussed on many topics, our discussions were centred mostly on Indian Hockey. We became very close friends after this train journey and I used to visit his office whenever I was in Chennai.

After the failure of our Indian Hockey Team in World Cup that too when it was home ground, I was remembering my discussions with Baskaran.He told that changes in international playing conditions, infrastructural constraints,internal politics etc have eroded India's supremacy in Hockey. In my view,yes these factors are important for India's declining performance in Hockey, but the most important villain which has destroyed Hockey in India is 'Cricket' .Whole country is crazy about cricket.Even if last Indian Batsman is batting, and if 18 runs are required in last ball, every Indian watches with a hope that there will be two 'NO' balls and our last batsman will go for hatrick sixers and will win the game.India has won world cup in cricket only once but UNFORTUNATELY it coincided with advent of TVs in middle class homes. Industrial sponsors preferred 'Cricket' because it gave them 'whole day' for advertising whereas Hockey gets over within 70 minutes.TV channels also preferred cricket because of the same reason.Some may argue that Hockey's failure should not be related to cricket. If sponsorships are there only for cricket, where will the fund come from for making international standard hockey grounds in India.Our hockey players practice in 'low quality' grounds and get defeated when they play in 'international quality grounds'.

Some may say that only 'Cricket' has got recognition for India. They forget to remember that India has not won a world cup after 1983.The only recognition cricket has got for India is,world recognises that there are crores of Indians who sit at home in office hours and watch cricket even if their office is Indian Parliament and compare their players (who stay in studios and are busy before cameras in giving advertisements) with their jawans (who stay in bunkers with snowfall and enemy's shell fall around).On the contrary, hockey gave a recognition to India even before India got freedom.In 1936, Berlin Olympics, Indian contingent headed by a Major named Dhyan Chand sang Vande Mataram and hoisted tri colour national flag in its dressing room. During opening ceremony march past, teams from all over the world saluted Nazi salute to Adolf Hitler, except USA.The only other team which did not salute Hitler was the Indian team(called British India those days) and the flag bearer was Major Dhyan Chand. The finals of Hockey match was between the home team Germany and India. Adolf Hitler was seated in the stadium and was supporting his team to prove the world that Germany is invincible in every field. In the "first half", India was '1' and Germany was '0'. In "first half", Germans played a rough game and Major Dhyan Chand had lost his tooth.The Indian hockey contingent knew that if the lead was just one goal, things would change in a moment in Germany's favour in the "second half "of the game.Major Dhyan Chand, the captain of Indian Team got first aid for his tooth,then removed his shoes because he thought he was not getting grip to run in wet ground(when all the Germans were in attacking mode and were wearing shoes with spikes). He played with bare foot and scored 6 goals against the Germans in second half.India not only won gold medal but also got recognition for India that Indian nation is a nation with fighting spirit.

Berlin Olymics was not the only occasion in which Indian Hockey made us proud.India is the only country in the world to win 6 consecutive Olympic gold medals. Our grand parents and parents used to listen to the live commentary of Indian Hockey's onslaught in field. It was 1948 and England was the host for Olympic games. Indians participated first time as an independent country. Our tri colour national flag was officially hoisted.As usual our Hockey team was slaughtering its opponents and moved to the finals.Interestingly the other team which moved to finals was England. The finals was between the conqueror(England) and the conquered(India).Whole world watched with eagerness about the outcome. Kishan Lal who was the captain of Indian team and his boys massacred England by scoring '4' goals and not allowing England to score even a single goal. Probably this was a retaliation for Jallianwalla bagh massacre but in a Gandhian way. Whole world applauded when India won Gold medal against England. This winning episode continued(with occasional setbacks) till our Baskaran's team won gold in 1980 Moscow Olympics. Things changed after 1983 Cricket world cup win.People forgot the national game. If India wins a cricket match against Holland or Bangladesh, it became a first page news item whereas if India wins Asia Cup in Hockey, its a last page two line news item.The lazy game of cricket has been found very lucrative for sponsors, media etc.Under these changed circumstances, where hockey players are like orphans, even if they don't win medals, we should feel proud of them because when all their friends in schools and colleges took cricket bat, these brave boys took hockey stick and are trying to win. Even if they don't win, they are the real winners.


(2) Dhyan chand sang Vande Mataram in 1936 Berlin Olympics

Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Night at Flood Centre

Jhargram is a very old Subdivision in West Bengal.It borders with Jharkhand and is a very beautiful subdivision.Jhargram Subdivision is blessed with 2 rivers,one is called Kangsavathi river which flows in the northern part of subdivision and the second river called Subarnarekha river which flows in the southern part of Jhargram Subdivision. I was working as the Sub Divisional Officer of Jhargram Subdivision, West Midnapore District, in West Bengal.Jhargram Subdivision has 8 blocks (Block is an administrative unit.Many blocks together form a subdivision and many subdivisions together form a district). It was first week of July 2007. It was raining heavily for 3 consecutive days.Only 2 blocks of Jhargram Sub division(Nayagram Block and Binpur 1 Block) were flood prone.I was busy in sending relief material to these 2 affected blocks.Even though the remaining 6 blocks were partially affected,only these 2 blocks were historically and geographically flood prone and were drawing attention all these years.

It was around 9pm and I got a phone call from BDO( Block development Officer) of Sankrail Block.He told me that water level in Sankrail was increasing. Sankrail Block is located in the eastern most part of Jhargram Subdivision and even though River Subarnarekha flows through it, its drainage system is proper and historically no severe flood was reported from this Block.The BDO of Sankrail was an efficient officer but one problem i found with him on several occasions was , he always over reacted even for a small problem.So when he told that water level was raising, I started laughing and told him not to overreact and told that I was busy in sending food material to Nayagram and Binpur 1 Blocks.Boss is always right and so he had to keep the phone. Around 10 pm, District Magistrate called and reviewed the flood situation.Mr.B.P.Bharat was the DM at that time and he was a friend, philosopher and guide to me.He used to protect me, whenever I, as a young officer fought with ruling party.He always used to tell that I was like his son and really took care of me.After reviewing the flood situation of 2 worst affected blocks,he told that he recieved a call from Sankrail BDO. I laughed and told him,"Sir, Sankrail BDO is like a child and reacts for everything.Historically no flood is reported from Sankrail". In bureaucracy precedents decide and I was a bureaucrat.Mr.Bharat laughed with me and he kept the phone.Then around 12 midnight,after planning for next day's relief operations,I went to bed.

I was in deep sleep and I heard heavy knocking of door.I got up and saw the time.It was 2 30AM. I could hear the voice of my Bungalow peon.I opened the door and asked him what happened.He told that BDO Sankrail was on phone line.Generally no one has the guts to disturb his officer at midnight unless the issue is really important.So I went to my Bungalow Office(Bungalow Office is attached to residence but has all communication facilities like phone, Computer,Fax etc and the officer can meet public during holidays). When I lifted the phone I could hear that BDO Sankrail was breathing heavily.He was stammering.He was almost crying.He told that around 10 villages had been marooned(Villages had become island- fully surrounded by flood water) and within next few hours those villages would be submerged totally.First time, I realized that situation was grave and very dangerous. I asked him whether country boats (boats used for fishing by local population) can rescue the marooned villagers.He told that country boats could not go beyond a point because the current was heavy.BDO also told that the youth who went for rescuing in country boats could not go near the villages but could hear villagers crying for help that many were in trees because water level was increasing.It sent a chill in my backbone.If people were in trees, then any person with common sense would understand that within next 3 hours,these people would be submerged if water level increases.I asked him about water level.He told that still it was raising.I asked him not to worry and kept the phone even though I was thoroughly shaken inside.Immediately after keeping the phone I dialed District Magistrate's Bungalow Office.I could hear the beep sound which indicated that BSNL phone was dead due to maintenance in Midnapore town(As I did not have BSNL connection,my phone was alive).I then dialed his mobile but unfortunately his mobile was also BSNL connection.I redialed several times hoping suddenly it may ring.It didn't ring.

I was sitting and smoking continuously without knowing what to do next.I saw my Bungalow Office clock showing 3AM.I thought to wait till 6 am and pass the message to DM through special messenger but again what DM could do.He could requisition army but army cantonment was located in Fort William in Kolkata and it would take at least 5 hours for the Army to reach Sankrail.So even if I sent a special messenger, he could reach DM's Bungalow in Midnapore not before 4 30 am and so army can not reach before 10 am to Sankrail even if all paper formalities to requisition army were completed in 30 minutes time.If rescue was not completed by 8 am, many would die.So option of sending a special messenger to DM was ruled out.I was cursing myself for not taking BDO's warning seriously.

I was smoking continuously and was totally helpless.Suddenly it struck me.IAS probationer who was undergoing training in my Subdivision told me the previous day that she went to purchase some items at subsidised rate in Kalaikunda Airforce Canteen.Kalikunda is an airforce station located in a place called kalaikunda which was in my neighboring Sadr subdivision.But as per protocol, only DM could requisition Army.Another thing which worried me was, even if i broke the protocol whether Airforce would listen to SDO because, later they may have to face serious problems because defence rules are very stringent.Another worry was, who would respond at 3AM.I thought for a minute and decided to take a chance.I took the telephone directory and found Kalaikunda Air force station's number.I dialed and no one lifted.Again I tried.This time after several rings, a person asked who I was.I explained the grave situation.He told that it was 3 AM and he was just a telephone attendant and asked to call at 8AM.I again explained.Finally he transferred the call to next level in hierarchy.I explained to the next person.He was polite and transferred to some Wing Commander.It was a surprise to me when I heard the voice of Wing Commander.I could make out from his voice that I awoke him when he was at deep sleep but he asked me politely what he could do for me.I told him the situation.He told that he will call me back after discussing with his seniors and got my telephone number .I thought Air Force door was closed because according to their rules they can be asked for help only by DM .So I thought he tried to avoid by telling that he wanted to discuss with seniors, which is a common practice in civil service to buy time without hurting the other party.So again I was back to square one without knowing what to do next.I started smoking another cigarette.

My telephone rang in another 5 minutes and wing commander told that "Station Commandant" of Kalaikunda Airforce Base would call me and kept the phone.Station Commandent is a very very senior person in defence hierarchy and was the senior most officer of airbase and I was very very junior in civil hierarchy.So I was surprised because hierachy was inbuilt in my system.In another 2 minutes my telephone rang and I heard the friendly voice of Station Commandent.He asked me why I disturbed his sleep at 3 AM in a laughing tone.I explained him the situation.He told me not to worry.From his voice I first time felt in that night that people would be rescued.In a friendly but firm voice he told that he would start the rescue operation with motor boats immediately and with helicopters from 6 AM onwards.When I thanked him he said," Young man, who are you to thank me.Its my duty for my country".It happened at 3 15 AM when in normal days I would have been in deep sleep and if any person would have asked for help at 3 AM, I would have kicked the telephone if not the person away.After few minutes of explaining the details of rescue operation he kept the phone. Around 4 15 AM, again my phone rang and Sankrail BDO was on the line.He told that IAF personnel had reached the spot with trucks loaded with speed boats.Around 6 AM I could see an helicopter flying.I saluted the helicopter and Indian Air Force and it was a salute from my heart.
(P.S.As usual my DM protected me for breaking the protocol.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My experiments with toothache

It was December 2003.I was working as an IRTS officer in Indian Railways.I was posted as Assistant Operations Manager in Lumding Division . Lumding is a small town of Assam and it borders with Nagaland.I was in deep sleep in my luxurious railway quarter.Suddenly in dreams I could feel the pain and was forced to open my eyes.I realised that I was having intense toothache.I switched on the light and found it was just 3 am.I did not have any pain killer.I remembered my mom who used to tell me that cloves could control toothache.I walked into the Kitchen and with great difficulty located the box in which my maid servant kept cloves.I kept two cloves in my left side back teeth(It is called as 1st molar and 2nd molar which I learnt once I became an expert in toothache).I was chewing,biting and did everything but pain was not subsiding.At 3 am you cant expect a pharmacy to be open in a small town like Lumding.Pain was increasing and agony,intense pain are small words to explain the intensity of pain I was undergoing.I started walking up and down inside the quarter almost for 2 hours. Around 5 am, suddenly I heard the siren blowing from Railway Office.In Indian Railways there is a practice that whenever there is an accident, immediately siren will be blown and its a rule that all engineering staff should report within 30 minutes to the ART(Accident Relief Train) which will be stationed at nearest Railway Station and Operations Staff should move within 30 minutes to Railway Control Room for managing the movement of ART to the accident site. The number of blows of siren will indicate whether its a goods train accident or passenger train accident.On hearing siren I could make out that it was a goods train accident.Whenever the siren blows, a railway man's heart would miss few heart beats because for next 2 to 3 days he would lose his food, sleep etc.But on that day, even though I was a true railway officer, deep inside my heart there was slight happiness due to goods train accident because Railway Doctors would also come to Office hearing the siren.I rushed to Control room and my Boss(Senior Divisional Operations Manager) reached in another 5 minutes.We could realise that there was derailment of Goods Train in between Lumding and Badarpur( Lumding to Badarpur is a very scenic train route which runs in between mountains and one can come across in numerable tunnels.Steep gradients and curves mark the route all through.In my view this railway route is more beautiful than Konkan Railways).After giving instructions to my staff, I could realise that toothache's intensity had doubled. My Boss who was continuously observing me asked whether I was tensed due to Railway Accident.I told about my toothache.He started laughing and told that 'tooth derailment' was more important and painful than 'goods derailment' and he immediately called the dentist of railways.Around 6 30 am, after dentist gave me some medicines, my pain started subsiding.

It was February 2005.By this time I got into IAS and was undergoing training.As part of training, IAS officers meet various dignitaries including President of India, Prime Minister of India etc. On this fateful day, I was in 7 Race Course Road,New Delhi, which is the official residence of Prime Minister. Meeting dignitaries is one of the cherished moments for young IAS officers because we could keep boasting to our family members and friends.After security check, all IAS officers of my batch were taken inside the conference room and were waiting for PM to come and address. I was so happy because I would be meeting PM and would also get photographed with him which is a life time moment.Suddenly, my worst enemy 'toothache' started.After few minutes Honorable Prime Minister of India ,Mr.Manmohan Singh, entered the conference hall and started his address but I was shivering out of pain.Like a race car accelerates from 0 mph to 200 mph within seconds, my pain intensified within seconds.I was pinching my hands to create pain so that my tooth ache would get diverted.I was pulling my moustache.I was pulling my eyebrows.Nothing worked.It was really really painful.I could not listen to a single word he uttered.When each of my batch mate wanted that stay in 7 Race course to extend as much as possible, I was praying to God that PM completes his address at the earliest so that I could get out and rush to a dentist.Seconds were moving like hours.Once he completed his address, photography session started, then Buffet break fast. When my batch mates were cherishing the royal breakfast hosted by PM of India,I was cursing my batch mates in my heart.I was just walking up and down in the Dining hall without even drinking water.I wanted to run out of PM's residence and go to the nearest dentist in Delhi but Prime Minister's residence was fortified with number of rings of Z+ securities and one cannot move in or out without proper documents.My Course Coordinator(Course coordinator is a senior IAS officer who is in charge for training in Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration,Mussoorie) noticed me and asked whether I was alright.I was shivering out of pain and told her that I had toothache.She told to wait for few more minutes for formalities to be completed.I asked her whether I could be taken to any of the doctor who treats PM in his house because I knew that many super specialist doctors would be there.She gave me an odd look and told that toothache was not a serious disease and moved away from me.Again I started walking up and down cursing God for not giving toothache to my Course Coordinator.At last, visit got over with 'sweet' memories for everyone and literally 'painful' memory for me.

The last episode was in December 2005.I was in PSC (Public Service Commission) Exam Hall in Kolkata.IAS officers have to clear exams on different subjects like Law,Hindi,Bengali as part of training.If an officer does not qualify he/she would not get annual increment and promotion.It was Law exam and I was seriously writing the answers.My foe 'toothache' suddenly started.As usual within few minutes I was about to collapse.This time I did not take any chance.Few questions were left to answer but I closed the paper and gave it to the Hall Superintendent.My Bengal Cadre Batch mates were surprised to see me moving out of examination hall so early.I came out and went to the nearby pharmacy and took 'Combiflam'(pain killer) and came back to PSC and waited for my friends(Batch Mates).Pain did not subside.As usual I started walking up and down due to pain.I started cursing my batch mates for writing the exam seriously when I was crying out of pain.I don't know when they came out, but when they came out I was sitting in the chair of 'security' who guarded the gate of PSC holding my head.Immediately they took me in a taxi and were searching for a Dental Clinic.They tried to enquire the Taxi Driver in Bengali Language which at that point of time was like Greek and Latin to us because we were new to Bengal.Taxi Driver was laughing at our language and I felt like thrashing him because I was in intense pain .At last he took us to a Government Dental Clinic at Tollygunge in Kolkata.I ran inside the hospital to get my ailing tooth plucked away but was shocked to see the long queue.Seeing my miserable condition, one of my batch mate told the nurse who was outside the Doctor's chamber to let us in immediately and told that patient was an IAS officer.That 'Communist' Nurse questioned rudely whether IAS officers had special tooth and special toothache.She was right when I think objectively now but at that point of time due to intense pain I shouted at her.She did not bother and told me to follow the queue.I obediently followed the queue as I did not have any other option.I felt like plucking my tooth myself because pain was acute.After hours, my turn came.I requested the Doctor to remove my tooth immediately.He asked whether he was the Doctor or I was the Doctor to decide what treatment to be given.I told that he can be a Doctor only if he can reduce my pain immediately.He replied,"Hello , Shut up your Mouth" and when I shut up he told,"Don't you have brain, open your mouth so that I can see your bloody tooth".

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lord Shiva visits Mumbai to meet Balasaheb Thackeray

(This is purely my imagination.I dont intend to hurt anyone.Its just an outburst of my hurt whenever I see Shiva Sena on rampage)

Lord Shiva is disturbed by the attack of his children who hail from North India but working in Mumbai.So he decides to go to Mumbai and set right things because he knows Mr.Bal Thackeray will only listen to him.So he started his journey from Mount Kailash and reaches Mumbai Railway station.
Shiva Sena worker:Are you Maharashtrian?Where are you coming from?
Lord Shiva:I am Shiva.I have come from Mount Kailash.
(Shiva sena worker does not realise that Lord Shiva has come)
Shiva Sena worker:Go back to your place.Mumbai is only for marathis.Get back in next train or else you will be attacked.
Lord Shiva:My son,please dont lose patience.I have come to meet your leader Balasaheb Thackeray.
Shiva Sena worker:What? you want to meet Bala saheb. Dont joke. Even we shiva sainiks never saw him for past 5 years.Please dont joke. Go back to Mount Kailash.
Lord Shiva:Ok you stop attacking innocent people.
Shiva Sena worker:You are talking too much.Where is Mount Kailash.Is it in North India.Immediately leave this place.
(Mr.Manohar Joshi, a Shiva Sena leader who is on visit to Mumbai railway station for protests appproaches Lord Shiva).
Manohar Joshi:Hey whats happening?
Shiva Sena Worker: Namasthae sir. its good that you have come. This person is talking bad about our party.
Manohar Joshi:What?Is he talking bad about our party?Even Amitabh Bhachan, Sachin Tendulkar, Amir Khan, Shahrukh Khan etc are scared about our leader.Hello, Who are you? Are you Marathi.If you are not Marathi, dont waste time.Go back to your place.
Lord Shiva: My son, I am Shiva and I have come from Mount Kailash.
(Mr.Manohar Joshi is taken aback. He immediately folds his hands and worships Lord Shiva)
Manohar Joshi:My Lord, what a gift for me. Thanks for appearing before me. I am your bhakta.Even our party is named after you.Please bless me.
(Mr.Manohar Joshi falls on feet of Lord Shiva)
Lord Shiva:Get up my son. My blessings are there with you.
Manohar Joshi:My Lord, what I can do for you?
Lord Shiva:My son, I want to meet Bal Thackeray.
Manohar Joshi:My Lord,i am a senior leader in Shiva Sena but I have not met him for past 3 years. What for do you want to meet Balsaheb?
Lord Shiva:My son, I am very much disturbed because you people are attacking my innocent children who have come from Bihar, UP.This is also their country.
(Manohar Joshi becomes agitated)
Manohar Joshi:My Lord, you are wrong.These North Indians have taken our jobs.Mumbai is only for Marathis.Because of these people, Marathis are not getting job. You please dont interfere in our affairs.
Lord Shiva:My son, Mumbai is a big city and its growing everyday. Everyone can get a job opportunity here. There are enough jobs in Mumbai for not only Marathis and Biharis, but for entire Indians.Moreover, these Biharis are poor people and are sweating day and night and earning their bread.Why Shiva Sainiks are attacking them. Please stop attacking.
Manohar Joshi:No my Lord,No. Its impossible.I wont listen to you.balasaheb will expel me from party if he knows that I am listening to these things.My Lord, please go back.
Lord Shiva:My son, I didnt expect this from you. You are a learned man. You even held the post of Speaker of Lok Sabha. When you were staying in Delhi as Speaker, if Delhi people would have told that Delhi is only for Delhiites and if they would have attacked you, how you would have felt.
Manohar Joshi:What are you saying? How can they say that Delhi is only for Delhiites?Delhi is the capital of our country.So only Parliament is in Delhi.Whether Delhiites built Parliament?Because Delhi is capital, and because I was speaker I stayed there.
Lord Shiva:My son, similarly Mumbai is the commercial capital of India and every Industry,every bank, every institution has set up its office in Mumbai and has added value to this city.So only poor people from all over the country are coming here in search of job. My children in Maharashtra who have learned IT, go and work in Bangalore and Chennai.If Kannadigas say, Bangalore is only for Kannadigas, and Tamilians say,Chennai is only for tamils,will you be happy? All are my children.Please understand.
Manohar Joshi:My Lord , please dont confuse me.I dont worry whether Bihari taxi drivers earn their bread in Mumbai or not.I will lose my bread if I think like you.My leader will remove me from party.My Lord,then how can i eat. Please Lord, dont confuse me.Please go back.
(Lord Shiva realises that there is no use in talking with Manohar Joshi.So he decides that meeting Balsaheb Thackeray is the only way to solve the crisis.)
Lord Shiva:Ok you take me to Bal Thackeray.I will make him understand.
Manohar Joshi:My Lord, I cant take you.No one is allowed.Let me do one thing.I will call him from my mobile and make him to talk to you.
(Mr.Manohar Joshi calls Balsaheb's landline.)
Mr.Bal Thackeray:Hello(In a rough tone)
Manohar Joshi:Namasthae saab. Your desciple Manohar talking.Sorry sorry for calling you.But its important and so only I called you.I am sorry.
Mr.Bal Thackeray: What happened?
Manohar Joshi: Lord Shiva has come to Mumbai all the way from Mount Kailash just to talk to you.
Mr.Bal Thackeray:Lord Shiva? Please please give him the phone immediately.
(Mr.Manohar Joshi hands over his mobile to Lord Shiva)
Lord Shiva:Hello. How are you my son?
Bal Thackeray: My Lord, My Lord, I am fine by the grace of you. I am so happy.Its a blessing of my life to talk to you.I am so happy.What can I do for you Lord.You just order and I will do it immediately.
(Lord Shiva is pleased)
Lord Shiva: I know that you will listen to me my son,for that reason I came from Mount Kailash. Please stop attacking my children from North India who are working in Mumbai.
(Balsaheb is taken aback)
Lord Shiva: My son, are you listening?
Bal Thackeray:Yes my Lord. I am listening.Please understand my can I stop telling Mumbai is only for Marathis. You know, already Shiva sena party is in very bad shape.We lost municipality, assembly and parliament elections.Mumbai for Marathis is the only hope for Shiva Sena now.Please understand my Lord.
Lord Shiva:My son, when Indians were attacked in Australia you told Australian cricket players if they come to India and play in IPL then they will be attacked.But you are also doing like Australians. You are attacking North Indians in Mumbai.
Bal Thackeray:I know my Lord.But its politics and we have to survive.
Lord Shiva:My son, why cant you do some CONSTRUCTIVE things for the people.
Bal Thackeray:My lord, even in CONSTRUCTION industry, all these north indians are working and so no jobs are there for Marathis.
Lord Shiva:My son, i told work CONSTRUCTIVELY and win elections.
Bal Thackeray:My Lord, we Shiva Sainiks dont know anything constructive or else we would have done it without you telling us. We can dig roads, pour tar in cricket pitch, break taxis, attack taxi drivers,attack cinema halls etc. Even if I stop,my nephew Raj Thackeray who has floated MNS party will do these destructive things and will take away my party workers who know only destructive things.Please understand Lord.
(Lord Shiva gets irritated.)
Lord Shiva: Bal Thackeray, stop these things.Because of your nuisance activities marathis are not supporting you these days.
(Bal Thackeray becomes agitated)
Bal Thackeray:Yes we lost elections. So what? Let Marathis not support me.I dont mind.Atleast my party workers who do not know any work other than destructive activities will be with me.If i stop, then my party workers will defect to Raj Thackeray's MNS party.You stop advising me.Please go back to Mount Kailash.
Lord Shiva:You forgot that your party is named after me. I will call press conference and tell that Shiva Sena is not listening to Shiva.
(Bal Thackeray is taken aback and agitated)
Bal Thackeray:What?Will you tell press. Go and tell.Media houses are scared about me and they cant write against me. Anyhow I will call them and tell a lie that 'Shiva' Sena was named after Shivaji and not Lord Shiva. I will also lie to them that we removed 'ji' in 'Shivaji' because 'ji' is a north indian hindi word.You are forgetting that I am a Politician.Ha ha ha.
Lord Shiva:You are agonising me.
Bal Thackeray: Go back to Mount Kailash.You are Chinese not even Indian. So dont advise me about not attacking North Indians. You go and advise Beijing Government of not attacking Dalai Lama.You dont interfere in India.
Lord Shiva: What?Am I Chinese?Have you forgotten that I am God of your vedas.
Bal Thackeray:My Lord, Mount Kailash is in Tibet which is part of China and not India.If you interfere in my affair then Shiva Sena will go to any extent.I will call you Chinese.I will even order my shiva sainik workers to pour tar in all your temples.Please dont interfere.Go back to Mount Kailash.
( Lord Shiva goes back to Mount Kailash with heavy heart).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Doctors who were Gods are now Satans(Few are still Gods)

Upon graduation, our medical students take this Hippocratic oath.

"I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of over treatment and therapeutic nihilism...
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick...
I if I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter..."

Next time whenever your Doctor prescribes you a medicine, please do not have the misconception that it is for curing your disease.That medicine may be for pleasure trip for your Doctor and his family OR/AND sponsorship for your Doctor's Master's course in some foreign Medical Institute OR/AND Doctor's conference bill arranged at some 5 Star Hotel etc etc etc.Pharmaceutical companies have a separate budget for promotion of their products(Promotion means they have to influence your Doctor to prescribe medicines of their company to you and your family members).You may ask whats wrong as long as you are not paying anything extra and your Doctor also enjoys some privileges.The reality is the entire cost is borne by you and patients like you. Your doctor can prescribe a paracetamol which will cost Rs 20 instead of Rs 1.This cost variation is applicable not only to Paracetamol, but to each and every medicine prescribed for each and every disease. Some doctors and Pharma companies may argue that branded (costly) medicines are more effective. But several studies have found that generic drugs are as effective as branded drugs.A study was conducted by Annals of Internal Medicine in the year 2000 which suggests that whether you buy a tablet for Rs 20 or Rs 1, the effect on patient is same.Visit the report of this study. Studies suggest that large percentage of Indian population fall into BPL category because of huge medical expenditure. When near and dear ones fall sick, whether poor or rich try their level best to save the lives and at that point we do not apply their mind. Since we do not apply our mind, our family doctor can go to Mauritius along with his family whereas our maid has stopped sending her children to school because she has spent the children's school fees money on getting costly medicines for her ailing husband.
I met one of my friend who owned a Pharmacy shop recently and asked him how is his business going. He told that he has closed the shop and has started cycle repair shop. I was surprised and asked him the reason for closing the shop. He told, " Nowadays Doctors have become too greedy.These Doctors have opened Pharmacies in their clinics or hospitals, so that they get the Full Share of Profit which earlier was shared between Pharmacists and Doctors".
If pharmaceutical company is one source of money for Doctors, Diagnostic labs are another big source of money. I know a renowned Physician in Chennai who makes it a point that his patients do periodic scans only from Bharat Scans.He does not accept report of any other Labs.MRI, CT Scan, Doppler Scan, 64 Slice CT Angio,3D Multi Slice CT etc etc etc are often prescribed by your Doctor to be done by a particular Scan Centre even if you go with fever.The reason is, he gets on an average 50% as commission. Next time when you visit a scan centre, you kindly note that the receptionist will with utmost sincerity note down the name and address of the Doctor who referred you.
Still there are Doctors whose one and only concern is the health of their patients and who are guided by ethics of Hippocrates and consider their profession as a noble one.Unfortunately they are very few in number and are far outnumbered by Satans who call themselves as professionals.Who will take action against these unethical Doctors.They are backed by powerful pharmaceutical lobby. Whether Indian Judiciary which was the final savior in many issues will step in and do a surgery of this unethical medical system...If Hippocrates would have been alive , he would have used his surgical knife not to operate his patients but to ...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The IPL drama-failure of diplomacy

"No Pakistani cricketers in IPL 3" hit the headlines both in Pakistan and India. Indian Minister for External Affairs,Mr.S.M.Krishna, clearly washed off his hands stating that Indian Government does not have any role in IPL selection process despite his counterpart in Pakistan saying that this will damage Indo-Pak relations and Pakistan will give a befitting reply.

The man behind the entire drama, Mr.Lalit Modi,IPL Chairman, has not come out till date with clear cut explanation on why Pakistani players were left out. As cricket is more than religion in the sub continent, IPL management should have acted more responsibly. Mr.Modi, has aggravated the mess by stating that IPL does not owe any explanation and its the IPL owner's discretion on selecting who will play. The so called IPL owners have also acted irresponsibly. Shilpa Shetty and Preiti Zinta, who generally are good in making publicity stunts failed miserably this time. Its also very hard to believe that not even a single Pakistani player was worth bidding.

Indian Government instead of washing its hands, should step in and order for a new bidding process or else it may hit diplomatic ties with Pakistan. If it was a conscious decision by India to isolate Pakistan due to recent Mumbai Attacks, then it can tell openly so that it will send a strong message to Pakistan.Instead of that, India's silent approach will affect India's diplomatic image. People like Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta will have money as the only motive. We cant expect them to behave diplomatically. But its pathetic that even seasoned administators like Mr.Modi did not have the diplomatic sense. Its high time for Indian Government to step in.