Thursday, September 27, 2012

Infrastructure in India : Talking Much and Doing Nothing !

Perhaps Atal Bihari Bajpayee was one such Prime Minister of India who openly admitted to the poor state of infrastructure in India and launched the visionary 'Golden Triangle Highway Project of India' with much fanfare.

Prior to that the young PM Rajiv Gandhi initiated the dream project named the 'Ganga Action Plan' to clean the River Ganga from pollution.

Unfortunately and most regrettably, it appears that the country has failed miserably in fulfilling even the dream projects announced by the top most political authority. 

It appears to the common man that the political authorities are only interested in gaining some cheap popularity by announcing mega projects and not at all interested in seeing that what they announce gets materialized ever !

On the other hand, starting from a similar back ground a quarter century ago, the neighbouring country China has progressed enviously as far as infrastructural development is concerned. It has become the number one in the world in many things during this period and is progressing forward surpassing even the glorious developed nations of the past.

Just a couple of days ago, I wanted to visit Bhilai, the steel city very near to Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh state, which is just a bit over 600 kilometers away from my present city of residence, Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand.

The need was an urgent one and I had to spend hours together to formulate my plans to make the trip.

Both these cities, incidentally come under the steel corridor of India with the largest movement materials, both finished and unfinished. Both have airports and major railways stations. They are located on the so called trunk routes of India.

Yet there are no direct flights nor daily running trains with comfortable class of accommodation. The train journey takes hardly 8 hours provided there is a train with the accommodation and the reservation. Unfortunately there is none even after this country becoming an independent nation more than half a century ago. Incidentally the major railway infrastructure as existing are all developed by the British raj whom the Indians curse perpetually for their misrule !

So there was no choice for me except to make the travel to and fro by road which are prominently marked on the maps as national high ways.

If you search the google options you may find these two cities 'beautifully' connected by a number of roads most of them marked NH (the short name for National Highways !). Google may even suggest that you can perhaps make the trip by car within about 9 to 10 hours by travelling through a combination of NHs.

Believing google, I ventured to make the travel by an SUV and finished the up journey in about 16 hours. Trying a better combination of NH for the return journey using the prestigious NH-6, my luck was more miserable. It took me 22 hours ! Remember, the total time spend for taking some rest for each of the journey was not more than 2 hours ! Had the roads be of any reasonable standard, I could have accomplished my travel easily as suggested by Google ! But then Google doesnot maintain the Indian roads !

[Incidentally, this site Map my India is more practical. They had assessed the road conditions much more practically and predicted the time of travel at about 17 hours!]

These National Highways of India are only in the maps and physically they are just some barren spaces with some signs of paving by asphalt or concrete some time earlier for most of the stretches. These NHs of India pass through some regions which are geographically endowed with good natural beauty and not overcrowded. Perhaps these green regions actually showcase the natural abundance of India ! Had I been responsible for the administration of these highways, I would have seen that these highways are maintained properly always to make my fellow citizen take pride in the country. But thats' only a dream !

But I keep wondering. How can those fellows, who are entrusted with the upkeep of these National Highways which ought to be the symbols of pride for all Indians, can ever disregard their responsibilities to such an extent that they keep these highways a national disgrace ?

There are some more things I observed about these so-called national infrastructure roads called national highways which are obviously maintained so shabbily as national disgraces.

In most places, there are no sign boards. Even if they are there, they do not follow any standards. Especially of importance is the sign boards at the junctions of two or more roads. Sign boards to give proper direction to the motorists are practically absent. If you think that the GPRS navigation will help you, perhaps it could, provided the signals reach you properly. Again do not expect, the local people would be in a position to guide you always. If you take the wrong route, it could turn out to be hundreds of kilometers of extra travel. There are chances of you getting even totally lost for hours.

I noticed some sign boards that declare the same road differently with different NH numbering. Enough for a motorist who travel using the maps to get confused and lost !

If your car develops a snag, it could be the worst situation. There are no known help in the near vicinity. Neither are there any highway patrols who are entrusted to help the motorists. That is again the Indian way of managing things in this context.

I was feeling empathetic to those hundreds of drivers who drive their heavily loaded trucks through these routes, day in and day out, helping the rest of India with the supplies. Their vehicles are always at the risk of going out of balance in these poorly maintained national highways of India. They are also at the risk of untimely breakdowns due to the uneven road surfaces for such long stretches in hundreds of kilometers. Imagine the truck owners spending such huge sums for their vehicles whose life span gets shortened by a few years just because of these roads! Imagine the more fuel they spend on the roads for transporting the goods as the roads are not energy efficient !

The roads are no private property in India. The state and central governments are the sole custodians and managers of the roads. I need not to stress then who is to be blamed for this national shame.

A few decades ago, I remember the Indian roads in a much better condition than now. There were not toll tax collectors at every 15-20 kilometers as the road managers of India has made it to happen in some of the trunk routes now.

The road maintenance was entrusted to the Public Works Department (PWD) of either the state or the central governments. The roads prominently displayed the concerned PWD officer who was in charge of the particular section of the road concerned. At least the people could have known the fellow actually responsible for maintaining that part of the road. If you travel by road, you could see hundreds of workers keep working to maintain the roads. The PWD authorities kept surveying the road conditions regularly and kept doing things on a war footing that no part of the road is in such a shamefully shabby situation.

I do not know what has happened to the Indian PWD now. I do not have any idea about the authority or authorities who are responsible for maintaining the roads and NHs of India now.

The governments keep taxing the new vehicles substantially in the name of road tax. Then some short segments of  roads with heavy traffic are auctioned for maintenance by private players who are allowed to tax the vehicles for decades making much more money than they had spend in making and maintaining those roads. It is a disgrace that the authorities have allowed such privatisation of roads in some of the roads, that too in small patches that pass through the cities, just as the portion of NH-6 which passes through the city of Bhilai forcing even the local populace to pay on a daily basis to use these roads for routine commuting.

Regrettably, Indians have long forgotten to protest. Because they know that their protests no longer carry any weights. They also do not know with whom they should make their complaints or register their protests. The ruling political parties and the opposition political parties are all at par in understanding or not understanding the woes of the people. Neither they, nor those at important positions seem to be ignorant on fixing the responsibility for such sad state of affairs.

Then comes the so-called fourth estate of democracy, the media. In India, the major part of media space and time is devoted to reports of mudslinging and other mundane things not of any value to the people or the country. They prefer to do little research and provide any concrete suggestions. Media also fail miserably in highlighting the actual cause of failure of the governmental systems. They do not feel it comfortable to get to the root cause of the problems by actual pondering about an issue of national importance.

Had they been responsible, their space and time would have been filled with the stories of success, failures and other related matters concerning various developmental aspects of the country including such major issues such as about the roads and highways. There would have been regular media follow ups on such issues. Unfortunately the noted journalists of the country are paid for being in the company of noted politicians always to report and make commentaries on what they want to utter publicly, even when their private opinions could be just the opposite. I found people no more are interested in reading or listening to these stereotyped media reports. Unless the media takes up things responsibly, their days in the future might be numbered !

Are we a nation of wide mouth talkers with absolutely no regard to what we talk?

Are we a nation not interested in actions any more ?

Is it possible to create roads, bridges and other major infrastructure only by issuing plans and policies and doing nothing for their implementation?

Will it be possible to implement any project in time when experienced people are in short supply to do such activities?

Would it be possible to develop people of the right experience and expertise when there are long spells of non-activity ?

Would it be possible to do all these things just by wishful thinking without actual planning and plan implementation ?

Incidentally, I read in the news papers that the Bihar government has realized that their projects are not getting shape because they do not have experienced engineers to make the project proposals properly, including the basic engineering.

Similarly the Jharkhand government has an acute shortage of experienced clerical staff to make the reports typed in order and maintain the files properly.

If that is so, the situation in other states would be no different.

What has happened to all our responsible departments like the PWD and their experienced engineers?

Who butchered those departments ? Who butchered the expertize of India that the independent India kept acquiring all those initial years ?

Any answers ?

Any suggestions ?

Friday, September 21, 2012

What Makes You Consider (You, Me or They) As the Most Fortunate ?

Long ago, a friend of mine took me to one of his uncles living in a palatial house in the midst of the largest metro city of India.

The man was in his Seventies and was living with his old wife and a host of servants.

His house was a three storeyed one having many rooms and facilities like a star hotel. Guessing by the size of this modern house, I guessed that there would be some swimming pool too some where behind !

He was very courteous and welcomed his not so wealthy nephew and his friend warmly and took us to one of his posh guest entertaining rooms which had a mini bar at one side displaying exotic brands of liquors in various designs of  glass bottles in varying shapes and colours.

While entering the house through the security gate, I had observed a few imported cars in the compound, kept shining by regular care !

He made us sat on the luxurious sofas comfortably and sat by our side. He was making extra efforts to make me feel at ease with his magnanimous gestures.

Yet there was that unmistakable guise of artificiality in all his gestures, which had become part of his personality as a successful business man over the last few decades.

Within minutes an young lady, brought in to a few sparkling glasses in a tray. Obviously tea or coffee were for those lesser mortals. And he was not one of that kind !

I commented and appreciated him for his fortunes and worldly achievements of wealth !

But he seemed not content with his achievements.

He told me that he was a very unlucky man and a dejected father.

Unlucky because another business man of his city of his age, who had nothing a couple of years ago when he had millions, was now marching forward to become one of the richest in the world !

Dejected father because his only daughter who had become a doctor of eminence had rejected to accept the wealth he had amassed in his life and refused to look after his business empire in India. She had migrated to a foreign country !

For nearly two hours he kept telling us many things. Obviously he wanted some one to share his mind which was nearly absent in his palatial mansion like home !

In between he told me that the chair I was sitting was occasionally occupied by the first citizen of the state who was a close soul mate of him.

When I said he was a very fortunate bureaucrat he denied that and told us some real stories to prove the misfortunes of his soul mate.

Obviously this enormous wealth this old man and the enormous political power of his old friend were not making them fortunate in their own assessments during those years when they got the time to do the self assessments !

I was in doubt now. Should I benchmark my self with these so-called fortunate individuals who evaluated themselves as not fortunate !

If I do not, then how can I work out a standard for measuring my 'fortunes' or any one else 'fortunes' ?

I want to ask those who read this, about their views on this.

What makes you feel fortunate in life ?

[I no longer consider benchmarking wealth or power with any one. Nor do I consider possession of these by any one to be regarded as some thing fortunate in life. Instead, wealth and power, in the hands of any one as a great responsibility. A great responsibility to do greater service to others. If this responsibility cannot be taken up, wealth and power is a burden. If wealth and power are used for personal enhancement of pleasures, they would eventually become agents of destruction causing much distress and pains some time later. 

At this point I am compelled to quote a few things from my favorite book- the Urantia Book- which narrates the incident when a rich Roman citizen approached Jesus for his counselling regarding the use of his wealth. For brevity, I am reproducing only some select portions from the original narration:

After many intimate conferences this wealthy citizen asked Jesus what he would do with wealth if he had it, and Jesus answered him:

“I would bestow material wealth for the enhancement of material life, even as I would minister knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual service for the enrichment of the intellectual life, the ennoblement of the social life, and the advancement of the spiritual life. I would administer material wealth as a wise and effective trustee of the resources of one generation for the benefit and ennoblement of the next and succeeding generations.” 

But the rich man was not fully satisfied with Jesus’ answer.

He made bold to ask again:

“But what do you think a man in my position should do with his wealth? Should I keep it, or should I give it away?”

Jesus then decided to advise him some more as the rich man was willing to listen to his advice.

"As steward of inherited wealth you should consider its sources. You are under moral obligation to represent the past generation in the honest transmittal of legitimate wealth to succeeding generations after subtracting a fair toll for the benefit of the present generation. But you are not obligated to perpetuate any dishonesty or injustice involved in the unfair accumulation of wealth by your ancestors. Any portion of your inherited wealth which turns out to have been derived through fraud or unfairness, you may disburse in accordance with your convictions of justice, generosity, and restitution. The remainder of your legitimate inherited wealth you may use in equity and transmit in security as the trustee of one generation for another. Wise discrimination and sound judgment should dictate your decisions regarding the bequest of riches to your successors.

Everyone who enjoys wealth as a result of discovery should remember that one individual can live on earth but a short season and should, therefore, make adequate provision for the sharing of these discoveries in helpful ways by the largest possible number of his fellow men. While the discoverer should not be denied all reward for efforts of discovery, neither should he selfishly presume to lay claim to all of the advantages and blessings to be derived from the uncovering of nature’s hoarded resources.

As long as men choose to conduct the world’s business by trade and barter, they are entitled to a fair and legitimate profit. Every tradesman deserves wages for his services; the merchant is entitled to his hire. The fairness of trade and the honest treatment accorded one’s fellows in the organized business of the world create many different sorts of profit wealth, and all these sources of wealth must be judged by the highest principles of justice, honesty, and fairness. The honest trader should not hesitate to take the same profit which he would gladly accord his fellow trader in a similar transaction. While this sort of wealth is not identical with individually earned income when business dealings are conducted on a large scale, at the same time, such honestly accumulated wealth endows its possessor with a considerable equity as regards a voice in its subsequent distribution.

No mortal who knows God and seeks to do the divine will can stoop to engage in the oppressions of wealth. No noble man will strive to accumulate riches and amass wealth-power by the enslavement or unfair exploitation of his brothers in the flesh. Riches are a moral curse and a spiritual stigma when they are derived from the sweat of oppressed mortal man. All such wealth should be restored to those who have thus been robbed or to their children and their children’s children. An enduring civilization cannot be built upon the practice of defrauding the laborer of his hire.

Honest wealth is entitled to interest. As long as men borrow and lend, that which is fair interest may be collected provided the capital lent was legitimate wealth. First cleanse your capital before you lay claim to the interest. Do not become so small and grasping that you would stoop to the practice of usury. Never permit yourself to be so selfish as to employ money-power to gain unfair advantage over your struggling fellows. Yield not to the temptation to take usury from your brother in financial distress.

If you chance to secure wealth by flights of genius, if your riches are derived from the rewards of inventive endowment, do not lay claim to an unfair portion of such rewards. The genius owes something to both his ancestors and his progeny; likewise is he under obligation to the race, nation, and circumstances of his inventive discoveries; he should also remember that it was as man among men that he labored and wrought out his inventions. It would be equally unjust to deprive the genius of all his increment of wealth. And it will ever be impossible for men to establish rules and regulations applicable equally to all these problems of the equitable distribution of wealth. You must first recognize man as your brother, and if you honestly desire to do by him as you would have him do by you, the commonplace dictates of justice, honesty, and fairness will guide you in the just and impartial settlement of every recurring problem of economic rewards and social justice.

Except for the just and legitimate fees earned in administration, no man should lay personal claim to that wealth which time and chance may cause to fall into his hands. Accidental riches should be regarded somewhat in the light of a trust to be expended for the benefit of one’s social or economic group. The possessors of such wealth should be accorded the major voice in the determination of the wise and effective distribution of such unearned resources. Civilized man will not always look upon all that he controls as his personal and private possession.

 If any portion of your fortune has been knowingly derived from fraud; if aught of your wealth has been accumulated by dishonest practices or unfair methods; if your riches are the product of unjust dealings with your fellows, make haste to restore all these ill-gotten gains to the rightful owners. Make full amends and thus cleanse your fortune of all dishonest riches.

The trusteeship of the wealth of one person for the benefit of others is a solemn and sacred responsibility. Do not hazard or jeopardize such a trust. Take for yourself of any trust only that which all honest men would allow.

That part of your fortune which represents the earnings of your own mental and physical efforts — if your work has been done in fairness and equity — is truly your own. No man can gainsay your right to hold and use such wealth as you may see fit provided your exercise of this right does not work harm upon your fellows.”

If you have read this much, you possibly have understood what I concluded earlier!

Would you consider writing your own feelings here using the comments tool?

By any means did it occur to you to consider knowing more about the Urantia Book and reading it ?

If so click this Urantia-India website link.

[View the linked list of all Blogs of the Author Here ]

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ellanora: The Story of the Woman who Valiantly Resisted Lucifer !

Would you like to read and know about a valiant female who lived in a distant planet, not belonging to our solar system. We have been told about her achievement by some one who knew about it precisely. She is introduced to us as the lady named Ellanora who became the leader of the people of this planet called Panoptia.

I can imagine how your mind might have reacted to the above. I know, it is difficult for us, human beings of earth to imagine some one like us living in some distant planet because we do not have the so-called scientific evidence.

Well, if I say that this is just a fairy tale, perhaps you might continue reading. Now that option I leave it to you. You are at full liberty to judge it the way you like.

Ellanora was successful in making the people of her planet not to become followers of a deceitful celestial ruler named Lucifer and his celestial aids.

The name Lucifer is known to us human beings. He is also known in other names here as Satan, Anti-Christ, etc. But in this narration, I would like to treat them as separate personalities as per the latest information available to us.

Lucifer has been a brilliant celestial personality. He belongs to the order of celestials called the Lanonandek Sons of God. His order was created by the Creators of the Universe, perhaps millions of years ago, to function as efficient celestial administrators and rulers of the numerous groups of material worlds inhabited by intelligent lower order life forms called mortals similar to the human beings of earth.

Even though he is a super intelligent son of God with higher qualities and abilities than mortals and many other orders of spirit beings , he was  required to undergo various levels of experience and training before he could be entrusted with higher responsibilities of ruler ship.

Being very brilliant and dynamic, he was getting more and more impatient to assume higher responsibilities commensurate with his abilities. So finally that was accomplished. Some thousands  of years ago, he took charge as the sovereign ruler of a system of planets which included earth too.

His system of worlds had about 600 odd spheres, all in various levels and stages of material life development and homes to various kinds of mortal life similar to the men and women of earth. In the future course of time more and more planets elsewhere in this part of the universe are  also destined to be attached to his system of planets to make his system to its maximum designated strength of 1000. All these planets are physically suited for material life which evolved under the guidance of other orders of celestials in accordance with the universal laws of God.

When Lucifer became the ruler of the system, he had many juniors of his order to assist him. Satan was his trusted assistant, also a brilliant celestial son of God, similar to Lucifer but a little less experienced.

Lucifer ruled from his headquarters named Jerusem. Jerusem in fact was a cluster of specially designed globes much larger than earth and with its own superior life forms and activities.

Individual worlds in his system like earth have been entrusted with administratively efficient juniors of his order. The one in charge of earth is named Caligastia. This lower level son of God, who is invisible to human beings came to earth some 200,000 thousand years ago when primitive humans fairly established their activities on earth, being made to evolve from lower material life forms.

Lucifer had a fair amount of freedom to rule his system. But on certain issues he was subordinate to his superiors who ruled from the head quarters of various constellations, the latter being an administrative unit consisting of 100 systems. The rulers of the constellations are known as the Most Highs. The Most Highs in turn functioned under the Local Universe Sovereigns. The local universe to which earth belonged is named Nebadon. The Creator and Sovereign of Nebadon is a  Son of God originating from the Universal Father God, the First Source and Centre of all and everything in the whole of the universes. Nebadon is a relatively younger universe which contains now only about 3.8 million worlds similar to earth though ultimately, perhaps in another few million years time,  it is destined to hold another 6.2 million worlds.

Lucifer is no more our system sovereign. Neither is Caligastia presently our celestial ruler of earth.

They were removed from their coveted positions due to their over ambition. They conspired a type of rebellion some thousands of years ago  to become whole sole rulers without any kind of superintendence. Even though they were quite brilliant and super intelligent, over ambition and selfishness caused their superior minds to ignore certain fundamental truths.

They forgot that God is the provider of those essential things without which they cannot sustain their functions forever.

They forgot that they had superiors because of certain higher wisdom of God which is not yet understood by them.

They forgot that there is a superior wisdom of God prevailing in the way the universes are being organized and administered.

Just as there are many orders of life like many orders of celestials and the various types of mortals who are much below them in ability and intelligence, there also existed superior personalities. They failed to recognize this fact.

They devised false notions and tried to propagate it to all under their supervision and jurisdiction.

In the history of the universe this is recorded as the Lucifer Rebellion against the will of God.

Though the head of the system rebelled, just only 37 worlds in his system of 619 worlds became supportive to the rebellion.

Our earth was unfortunately one among this 37.

Ellanora's Panoptia could have been the 38th. But she was a determined mortal to lead her whole planet away from the rebellion sponsored by a high authority.

Through her, Ellanora became dear to the higher celestial authorities who function in the universes to prevail the will of God in all worlds.

Panoptians too got a special status in the universe. They have become eligible to advance their lives beyond the mortal existence. The Panoptians who are dead long ago are all living now in the system headquarters worlds with special duties assigned to them.

One of their duties now is to look after the prison world of the system head quarters where the ex system sovereign, Lucifer and his supportive associates, are detained awaiting final judgement on their fate from the higher authorities.

Incidentally, their supporter and celestial ruler of earth, Caligastia and his supporters, though not in the seat of power, are not yet imprisoned. They are moving freely on earth, invisible to human eyes, planning their nefarious activities and making those willing human beings pawns in their hands to work against God.

Even without much power, they are too egoistic and willing to accept extermination orders rather than repent and accept God's mercy and pardon.

Ellanora and her fellow mortals of planet Panoptia were not brilliant immortal beings like Lucifer, Satan and their celestial supporters. Yet they did not come under the influence of the latter and became known in the history of the entire universes !

They were not known to us earlier.

But their valiant story has been told to us.

Just in case we learn some thing useful from that !

[Adapted from my favorite book of universe history having super mortal origin]

[View the linked list of all Blogs of the Author Here ]

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Some Secrets That I Know Now [Part-1]

Love is the secret of beneficial association between personalities.

You cannot really know a person as the result of a single contact.

You cannot appreciatingly know music through mathematical deduction, even though music is a form of mathematical rhythm.

The number assigned to a telephone subscriber does not in any manner identify the personality of that subscriber or signify anything concerning his character.

Mathematics, material science, is indispensable to the intelligent discussion of the material aspects of the universe, but such knowledge is not necessarily a part of the higher realization of truth.

Not only in the realms of life but even in the world of physical energy, the sum of two or more things is very often something more than, or something different from, the predictable additive consequences of such unions.

The entire science of mathematics, the whole domain of philosophy, the highest physics or chemistry, could not predict or know that the union of two gaseous hydrogen atoms with one gaseous oxygen atom would result in a new and qualitatively superadditive substance — liquid water. [The understanding knowledge of this one physiochemical phenomenon should have prevented the development of materialistic philosophy]

Technical analysis does not reveal what a person or a thing can do. [For example: Water is used effectively to extinguish fire. That water will put out fire is a fact of everyday experience, but no analysis of water could ever be made to disclose such a property. Analysis determines that water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen; a further study of these elements discloses that oxygen is the real supporter of combustion and that hydrogen will itself freely burn.]

Mortal man has a spirit nucleus. The mind is a personal-energy system existing around a divine spirit nucleus and functioning in a material environment.

Real trouble, lasting disappointment, serious defeat, or inescapable death can come only after self-concepts presume fully to displace the governing power of the central spirit nucleus, thereby disrupting the cosmic scheme of personality identity.

[All the above secrets are quoted from Paper 12 of the Urantia Book. To know more about this book Click Here !]

[View the linked list of all Blogs of the Author Here ]

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ആറന്മുള വിമാനത്താവളവും മുന്നേറുന്ന കേരളവും !

ഇന്നുച്ചയ്ക്ക് ഉച്ചഭക്ഷണം കഴിഞ്ഞു അല്‍പ സമയം കേരള വാര്‍ത്തകള്‍ ടി വി യില്‍ നോക്കിയിരുന്നപ്പോള്‍ പ്രധാനമായും ശ്രദ്ധയില്‍ പെട്ടത് കേരള സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ മുന്‍കൈ എടുത്തു നടത്തുന്ന എമേര്‍ജിംഗ് കേരള [Emerging Kerala] എന്ന പരിപാടിയെ പറ്റിയുള്ള വാര്‍ത്തകളും അതിനോടൊപ്പം പത്തനംതിട്ടയില്‍ ആറന്‍മുള വിമാനത്താവളത്തിനു എതിരായി പ്രക്ഷോഭണം[protest against Aranmula Airport proposal]   നടക്കുന്നു എന്ന വാര്‍ത്തയും ആണ്.

പശ്ചിമ ബംഗാളില്‍ ടാറ്റാ ചെറു കാര്‍ പദ്ധതി തുടങ്ങാന്‍ ആരംഭിച്ചപ്പോള്‍ പ്രക്ഷോഭണം തുടങ്ങിയത് അതിന്‍റെ പേരില്‍ തങ്ങളുടെ കൃഷി ഭൂമി സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ ഒത്താശയോടെ ചുളു വിലയ്ക്ക് കാര്‍ കമ്പനി ബലമായി കയ്യടക്കുമെന്നു ചിലരൊക്കെ പറഞ്ഞു ആളെ ഇളക്കിയപ്പോ ആയിരുന്നു.

അവിടിപ്പം ആര്‍ക്കും ഒന്നും സാധിച്ചില്ല എന്ന അവസ്ഥയിലാണ് കാര്യങ്ങള്‍. ആ നിര്‍മാണ ശാല അവിടെ വന്നിരുന്നെങ്കില്‍ ആ ഭൂമി ഉടമകളില്‍ പലരും ഒരു പക്ഷെ ലക്ഷ പ്രഭുക്കള്‍ ആയേനെ.

അവിടങ്ങളില്‍ ആയിരക്കണക്കിന് ആള്‍ക്കാര്‍ക്ക് പ്രത്യക്ഷമായും പരോക്ഷമായും തൊഴില്‍ അവസരങ്ങള്‍ വന്നേനെ.

അതിനു അവിടത്തുകാര്‍ക്ക് തല്‍ക്കാലം ഭാഗ്യം ഇല്ലാതെ പോയി.

ഗുജറാത്തുകാര്‍ക്ക് അത് ഗുണമായി.

എന്നാല്‍ ആറന്‍മുളയിലെ സംഗതി ഇങ്ങനൊന്നുമല്ല.

ഒരു കടമ്മനിട്ട അച്ചായന്‍ ദശാബ്ദങ്ങള്‍ക്കു മുമ്പ് അമേരിക്കയിലേക്ക് ഭാഗ്യ പരീക്ഷണത്തിനായി വിമാനം കയറുന്നു.

അവിടെ ഭാഗ്യ ദേവത അദ്ദേഹത്തെ അനുഗ്രഹിച്ചു ഡോളര്‍ എന്ന അമൂല്യ സമ്പത്ത് കണക്കില്ലാതെ നല്‍കി കൊണ്ട്. അത് എങ്ങനെയൊക്കെ എന്ന് ഓര്‍ത്ത്‌ നമുക്ക് വ്യാകുലപ്പെടേണ്ട കാര്യമൊന്നുമില്ലല്ലോ.

അമേരിക്കയില്‍ ഡോളര്‍ സമ്പത്ത് കൈവശം വന്നപ്പോ അദ്ദേഹം പക്ഷെ മറ്റുള്ള മലയാളി അമേരിക്കക്കാരെ പോലെ ചിന്തിച്ചില്ല. തനിക്കു കിട്ടിയ അമേരിക്കന്‍ സമ്പത്ത്‌ ഉപയോഗിച്ചു അമേരിക്കയില്‍ പഞ്ച നക്ഷത്ര കടല്‍ത്തീര വസതി പണിഞ്ഞു ചേക്കേറാന്‍ അദ്ദേഹം തുനിഞ്ഞില്ല എന്ന് വേണം കരുതാന്‍.

അമേരിക്കന്‍ ഡോളര്‍ തന്‍റെ കൊച്ചു കേരളത്തിനു എങ്ങനെ പ്രയോജനമാക്കാം എന്ന് ചിന്തിച്ച അപൂര്‍വം മലയാളികളില്‍ ഒരാളായിരുന്നു ഈ കടമ്മനിട്ട അച്ചായന്‍.

അമേരിക്കയില്‍ കുടിയേറാന്‍ അവസരം ലഭിച്ച എല്ലാ മലയാളികളും കേരളത്തില്‍ നിന്ന് എല്ലാ കുറ്റികളും പറിച്ചെറിയാന്‍ പരക്കം പായുന്ന ഒരു കാല ഘട്ടത്തിലാണ് ഇത് എന്ന് ഓര്‍ക്കണം. 

ആദ്യമായി തന്‍റെ ഡോളര്‍ ഉപയോഗിച്ചു കേരളത്തില്‍ ഒരു സ്വകാര്യ പോളി ടെക്നിക്ക് കോളേജു ആരംഭിക്കാം എന്ന് അദ്ദേഹം കരുതി.

ആയിരത്തി തൊള്ളായിരത്തി എഴുപതുകളിലെയോ എമ്പതുകളിലെയോ കാര്യം ആണ്. 

അദ്ദേഹത്തിനു സര്‍ക്കാരില്‍ നിന്നും ഒന്നും വേണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ഭൂമിയോ പണമോ ഒന്നും തന്നെ. അനുവാദം മാത്രം മതിയായിരുന്നു.

ഒരു കേരള പ്രാദേശിക പാര്‍ട്ടിയുടെ താങ്ങ് നേടിയെടുക്കാന്‍ അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ ഡോളറിനു കഴിഞ്ഞു എന്നത് ഇപ്പൊ മറന്നു പോയ ഒരു വസ്തുത.

ആരെയും പിണക്കാതെ ഒരു നാലഞ്ചു സ്വകാര്യ പോളികള്‍ ആരംഭിക്കാന്‍ അന്നത്തെ സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ അനുവാദം കൊടുത്തു.

അതായിരുന്നു കേരളത്തെ ആകമാനം എടുത്തുലച്ച പോളിടെക്നിക്‌ സമരത്തിന്‍റെ തുടക്കം.

കുഴിയില്‍ നിന്നും ചാടാന്‍ വെമ്പുന്ന തവളയുടെ കാലു കടിച്ചു താഴ്ത്തുന്ന തവള സംസ്ക്കാരമെന്ന മലയാളി സംസ്കാരം. 

തല്‍ക്കാലം കടമ്മനിട്ട അച്ചായന്‍ പിന്‍വാങ്ങി എന്ന് പറഞ്ഞാല്‍ മതിയല്ലോ.

എന്നാല്‍ പിന്നീട് ഭാരത വര്ഷം മുഴുവനും എഞ്ചിനീയറിംഗ് കോളേജുകള്‍ കൊണ്ട് നിറക്കാന്‍ എല്ലാ പാര്‍ട്ടികളും മത്സരിച്ചപ്പോള്‍ അദ്ദേഹത്തിനും കിട്ടി ഒരു അവസരം.

ഡിപ്ലോമക്കാര്‍ക്ക് പകരം ഡിഗ്രി ക്കാരെ തന്‍റെ ഗ്രാമത്തില്‍ നിന്നും തയ്യാറാക്കി വിടാന്‍.

അവര്‍ക്ക് പക്ഷെ പഴയ ഡിപ്ലോമക്കാരുടെ വില പോലും ഇല്ലാത്തത് പക്ഷെ അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്‍റെ കുഴപ്പം ആണോ?

തന്‍റെ ഡോളര്‍ സമ്പത്ത് കേരളജനതയ്ക്ക് ഗുണം ചെയ്യുന്ന പല കാര്യങ്ങള്‍ക്കും വിനിയോഗിക്കാന്‍ അദ്ദേഹം പിന്നെയും പദ്ധതികള്‍ പലതും ആലോചിച്ചു എന്നു നമുക്ക് കരുതേണ്ടിയിരിക്കുന്നു.

അതിലൊന്നായിരുന്നു ആറന്‍മുള വിമാനത്താവള പദ്ധതി.

ആളും പേരും ഇല്ലാതെ, ആര്‍ക്കും ഒരു ഗുണവും ഇല്ലാതെ കിടന്നിരുന്ന ഇരുനൂറ്റി അമ്പതിനടുത്തു ഏക്കര്‍ പാട ശേഖരം അദ്ദേഹം സ്വന്തം കാശു മുടക്കി വാങ്ങി കൂട്ടി.

സ്ഥലം ചുളു വിലക്ക് വാങ്ങി തന്നാല്‍ അത് ചെയ്യാം ഇത് ചെയ്യാം എന്നു പറയുന്ന സാധാരണ ഇന്ത്യന്‍ വ്യവസായികളുടെ രീതിയില്‍ അദ്ദേഹം പോയില്ല എന്നു കരുതണം.

ഒരു വിമാനത്താവളത്തിന്റെ ഗുണം കിട്ടുന്ന തന്‍റെ ദേശത്തെ ആള്‍ക്കാരെ അദ്ദേഹം ഭാവനയില്‍ കണ്ടു.

മദ്ധ്യ തിരുവിതാംകൂറിന്‍റെ ഹൃദയ ഭാഗത്ത് ഒരു അന്തര്‍ദേശീയ സ്വകാര്യ വിമാനത്താവളം അമേരിക്കയിലെ  പോലെ ഒക്കെ വന്നാല്‍ അങ്ങനൊരു നല്ല കാര്യം ചെയ്ത തന്നെ രാജ്യം പൂവിട്ടു പൂജിക്കുമെന്നു അദ്ദേഹം ഒരു പക്ഷെ കരുതിയിരിക്കയില്ല.

എന്നാല്‍ അതിനെ എതിര്‍ക്കാന്‍ രാഷ്ട്രീയ കളികള്‍ വര്‍ഷങ്ങളോളം നടക്കുമെന്ന് അദ്ദേഹം പക്ഷെ സ്വപ്നം കൂടി കാണാന്‍ ഇടയില്ല. 

തന്‍റെ ജീവിത കാലത്ത് ഈ പദ്ധതി നടക്കില്ലെന്ന് മനസ്സിലാക്കിയ അദ്ദേഹം മുടക്കിയ കാശു തിരികെ കിട്ടാനുള്ള ശ്രമത്തിലായി.

തന്നെക്കാള്‍ ഈ വക കാര്യങ്ങളില്‍ പിടിപാടുള്ള ഒരു മലയാളി സംരംഭകര്‍ക്ക് അദ്ദേഹം ഭൂമി വില്‍ക്കാന്‍ ശ്രമിച്ചു അതിലും വലിയ പുലി വാല് പിടിച്ച സ്ഥിതിയില്‍ ആയെന്നു പറഞ്ഞാല്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞല്ലോ. [ രസകരമായ ആ കാര്യങ്ങളുടെ ഒരു വശം ഇവിടെ വായിക്കാം !]

മുന്നേറുക, മുന്നേറുക കേരളമേ !

കടമ്മനിട്ട അച്ചായന്‍റെ സ്ഥിതി വരാതെ സൂക്ഷിച്ചു മുന്നേറുക !

[This story in Malayalam language depicts satirically the saga of a Keralite entrepreneur who was fortunate enough to amass considerable US dollars by spending his youthful days in the land of great opportunities- the United States of America. Using the financial strength that he could make in the foreign country, he thought of doing some infrastructural development near his own native village back in Kerala. Some two decades ago, he thought of setting up some polytechnic institutions and an airport, (the Aranmula Airport Proposal) near his native village, privately using his own funds. But the peculiar political situation of his state and his country was such that he could not make his dreams come true even by spending his money, time and health. While one party in power gets somehow convinced and gives the administrative green signal, the government changes and the next government reverses all decisions of the earlier government and it goes endlessly ! The man now in his sixties should now be a dejected person running from pillar to post in fighting various legal battles just for doing the mistake of investing his money for some good of his state ! The irony is that the state government with the current political leadership is planning another investment show called 'Emerging Kerala' to attract potential investors with ideas and money which have been done at many occassions earlier too without any projects actually coming into shape ever. The mixed genes of Indians are so complex that they are yet to learn the art of supporting another Indian instead of pulling his legs. Unless this is learnt, they can never ever make their country at par with the developed nations ! To emerge out winning and shining, they need to learn the basics of winning a situation collectively ! ]

[View the linked list of all Blogs of the Author Here ]    

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Would it be Ever Possible for Ranchi to be in the Tourist Map of India ?

It is almost going to be two years that I made Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand my temporary home after having spend just over three decades in the steel city of Bhilai near Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh.

The major part of my life so far has been outside my home state, Kerala, the small south Indian state on the Malabar Coast of the Indian sub continent.

All these states have immense potential for developing tourism, the only mechanism by which human beings can be trained to reduce suspicion and animosity against each other.

My home state Kerala has done it in the last couple of decades. Keralites should be thankful to all those administrators, businessmen and individuals who contributed to make it possible. Kudos to the one who invented the phrase ' God's own country ' for Kerala as a tourism promotion caption for official Kerala Tourism.

Seeing the success of Kerala in Tourism, I remember the first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh trying to do some thing serious for his state and his enthusiasm in getting the IAS officer responsible for managing Kerala Tourism in the formative years on deputation to his state.

Though Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have much potential for tourism, unlike Kerala they have got much constraints for making tourism a significant thing. The major  constraint is  their wider land area making the travel distances much greater between places as compared to Kerala and the lack of security on the roads due to the recent resurgence of various militant political groups at war with the government machinery. The other constraint would be perhaps the shortage of leadership both in the government and the private sector to make any significant momentum so that the activities could be raised above the threshold of initial inertia. 

However, Ranchi has a potential for rapid growth in tourism sector, provided the government is a bit more pro-active. The state government of Jharkhand of late has started acting, as can be seen from the official website of the Jharkhand tourism department,  but what they need to do initially should be more to attract people to the state. Both domestic and foreign tourists should feel comfortable to visit the state without hassles or fear.

Jharkhand's capital, Ranchi has the reputation of being known as a ' hill station' though there are no high hills or mountains in the near vicinity. This designation perhaps came from the fact that it is an elevated region with a mean elevation at 650 M from sea level as compared to the level of 300 M for the adjoining regions. Due to this there are a number of water falls within comfortable driving distances from Ranchi, making it to be known as the city of waterfalls.

I could visit  Hundroo Falls, Johnah Falls, Sita Falls, Dasham Falls, etc which are within a radius of about 30 km from Ranchi so far. Of these, Dasham Falls, Hundroo and Johnah are really impressive. The facilities that are created by the Jharkhand tourism department are very good. The authorities, of late has taken special attention to make good roads to these sites.

 A View of Hundru Falls Ranchi

A Distant View of Sita Falls Ranchi

A few months ago I got introduced to one Mr P K Choudhury, an enterprising business man from Ranchi, who has a vision to transform this city to tap its tourism potential to the fullest in the coming years. He has been successful to get some support from the state government. Mr Choudhury is an engineer by profession and he has now made his Wheels Travels of Ranchi  with the Jharkhand State Tourism Development Corporation in providing tourism packages to tourists who wish to enjoy exotic nature in and around Ranchi. [A small account of my first attempt to explore a few attractive tourism spots around Ranchi with the help of Mr Choudhury can be read online here. I have also provided some photographs taken during this trip and also the mobile phone number of Mr Choudhury here.]

I thought of writing this blog today due to a call made by Mr Choudhury yesterday. He wanted some suggestions for celebrating World Tourism Day 2012 in Ranchi on the 27th September together with the inaugural ceremony at the global level to be held at Maspalomas, Spain under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The theme for this year's WTO deliberations incidentally is : Tourism & Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development. To be frank, I do not understand much about the link between tourism and sustainable energy, but I do feel that energy plays a key role in developing tourism. Because, the major cost in tourism is cost of travel and travel requires energy, that too petroleum based energy, for the time being.

Mr Choudhury should think of organizing a seminar in Ranchi Hotel where people could talk on this theme for half a day and spend the rest of the time on a monsoon trip to one or two waterfalls near ranchi when the streams are at their  full majesty . The bureaucrats from the government and other top officials from the corporates could be called in as delegates to the seminar as well as the short monsoon trip to the nearby falls. Alternatively he should think of organizing drawing and debate competitions for the school children taking the help from some of the reputed schools of Ranchi on this year's theme as mooted by UNWTO.

Though Ranchi has a reasonably good airport , good railway stations and bus stations, the connectivity of Ranchi with the rest of India is not so good. Flights do operate between Kolkatta, Delhi and Mumbai, but the fares are exhorbitantly high for domestic tourists to take advantage. Besides, there are no same day connecting flights from Kolkatta or Delhi for the Ranchi travellers to cities like Trivandrum or Chennai or even the adjoining state capital, Raipur or to the central India's hub city , Nagpur.

Now take the example of the rail connectivity. To the south there is a daily train to Kerala running via Chennai. This train is practically useless for those who wish to use it for travel between Ranchi and Kerala. Firstly, all tickets on this train gets booked by those from East India to travel to reputed hospitals in Tamil Nadu, like the Christian Medical College, Vellore, near Chennai. This train runs practically empty between Chennai and Kerala as the Kerala travellers seldom get their reservations. The railway authorities should think of running daily trains from Jharkhand to Katpadi and make the Kerala train extend upto Trivandrum with enhanced quota of reservations to those travelling beyond Tamil Nadu. 

The roads are improving in Jharkhand. However, the interstate travel on road is still not a good proposition due to security concerns. The state government should encourage bus operators to operate more and more buses connecting Ranchi with cities like Raipur, Kolkatta, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Rourkela, Bilaspur, Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, etc. This should be done with the co-operation of the neighbouring states and it should be ensured that the police and other authorities unnecessarily create problems to the bus operators or the passengers. If needed, the state government should consider substantial road tax concessions to the operators till the traffic gains momentum. 

The state can think of setting up a police wing exclusively for security of passengers on road and helping travellers who might get entrapped on road due to vehicle breakdowns, etc. This is very much needed to enhance the confidence of tourists in the state considering the scenario as of now.

Somebody connected to the hotel industry in Ranchi told me recently that the occupancy rate in hotels in Ranchi are too low that they are not getting even the breakeven returns. This is mainly because of the number of rooms increasing many fold in recent years and the demands not rising accordingly. For tourism to flourish, the increase in good hotel rooms is a positive thing. However, getting use of those facilities is another thing. The tourism department needs to be more proactive. It is most unfortunate that a Google search on Ranchi tourism returns with little useful information. Besides, there are no good website which provides all the important information, guidance and tour package that a tourist, both domestic and foreign, looks for. 

There could be thousands of people from Ranchi and Jharkhand who are working either abroad or in other Indian cities. They should come forward and discuss about this issue of making their beautiful state a desirable destination not only for them but also for all others from the rest of India and the world.

May I request them to offer their valuable suggestions, so that people like Mr Choudhury and those in the state government could get proper directions to plan the policies and the actions ?

Those who have cherished memories of Ranchi or Jharkhand tour or travel may think of sharing those with their tips, guidance and information on important tourist spots for helping others.

Kerala tourism people may think of diverting some of their tourists to this part through properly designed packages.

Join hands to promote tourism- the only preferrable mechanism to propagate universal love and appreciation of nature and our accomplishments !

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Do They Cause Bloodshed in Democratic Protest Marches ? An Eye Witness Account From India !

Though Mahatma Gandhi is considered as the father of modern India who won her independence by adopting non-violent peoples' protests against the rulers, his so called Indian followers who inherited the chance to rule the country apparently do not allow their fellow citizens to adopt to such foolish methods of protest any more.

The second or third generation Indian rulers and administrators of independent India might be laughing in their heart of hearts at the foolishness of their predecessors for succumbing to the peaceful and harmless protests of Gandhiji and leaving their controls on the subcontinent.

Had they been in the place of those British rulers and administrators, Gandhiji would have miserably failed in his mission or would have transformed himself from an Ahimsawadi [ believer of non-violence] to a Himsawadi [proponent of violence].

The modern day Indian rulers and their all Indian administrative machinery seem restless and impatient in handling non-violent democratic protests that they seem to be using all efforts that they can to make a peaceful protest into something where blood is shed and transforming the peace loving poor Indians' hearts and brains to burn with hatred to them- their own lucky brothers and sisters whom they have elected to serve as ministers or governors or administrators of their beloved land for a certain period.

Otherwise what is the logic in those police actions against the peaceful protestors following Anna Hazare and his team in Delhi in the recent past ? Did the protestors resort to violence to call for such actions ?

I do not know. I have so far never been to any such sites of protests by fellow Indians for various demands or issues. What I knew was from the news media. But that was till yesterday. Yesterday, I became an eye witness to a peaceful protest march in one part of this nation and the manner in which the law enforcers handled it causing bloodshed on either sides.

My office is in this state capital city and my residence is just a kilometer away in a secured small township owned by our company, which is a 'Maharatna PSU' . All officers like me who stay in this township normally go home during the one hour lunch break.

To save on petrol and to reduce the traffic on road, we have recently adopted a car-pool for our  lunch errand.

Between the office and the residence, there is a stretch of about 300 metres of road that comes under the city corporation where the road has also to cross a busy trunk rail route. To enter our township we have to cross the National Highway 75. Our township has a guarded gate which is common to a famous public school too through which thousands of school children also enter and exit every day. [see the map of the area here !]

This national high way is the main link to all people who want to reach the city's airport and one of the main railway stations. Unfortunately for the law abiding citizens, this part of the road also connects the state's secretariate complex housing the legislative assembly building and the residences of many VIPs including the Chief Minister and the Governor. So this part of the NH is also called the VIP road.

In India, if you are an ordinary citizen living accidentally near to the movement zone of the so-called VIPs, even God may not be in a position to save you from your misfortune ! Because, it is now a routine for the brilliant police administrators to ignore the sentiments of the public for the sake of what they now passionately call 'security'. They routinely stop all vehicular movements in the wide roads for such time as they please for the VIP [ Very Important Person which now means a person in India who holds a position in the government or administration who uses a beacon light on his vehicle as a mark of his status!]   and his/her motorcade to pass. Unfortunately, Gandhiji's successors in modern India who started tasting the glories of democratic power want to become like the British Queen in pomp and show ! Why should we spend our money and time if there is no glamour of the power ? They seem to be asking ! The well decorated kings and queens of the past appeal to them much more than the simple fakir figure of Gandhiji !

So the roads in India are stopped at the sweet will of the administrators small or big at any time for any reason. So please do not consider Google's estimated time of travel if you are on Indian roads !

The modern day administrators of India seem to be pretty arrogant when they deal with the rest of the public citizenry in such situations. They do not bother about the incoveniences caused to the public when all roads are closed for their so called security reasons ! They do not even bother for other kind of responsible citizens for whom time is as important as their own VIP masters !

Me and my colleagues too are public servants, but we are not beacon light VIPs. We used to be like them a few decades ago when no one ever used the beacon lights on their official vehicles. Our vehichles perhaps had a small identification on the number plates showing the organization to which the vehicle belonged. The majority PSU officers now drive their own vehicles for going to office, a transformation that had taken place. On the other hand, those public servants who are directly connected with the central, state or local government departments use a beacon light vehicle. The type of the vehicle and the color of the beacon light are the mark of their position and status. Unlike the past, these kind of government vehicles displaying their authority to the public are a normal sight in modern India. Somehow this rampant display of authority by all Dick and Harry from the government service causes an immediate repulsion in the minds of the rest of the citizens against the ruling party. Often the VIP motorcade consists of all kinds of beacon lighted vehicles of this kind belonging to the lower rung government officers. Though some wise men in the government understand the damage that they create to them by this display of power on the roads, they have some how utterly failed to stop this status mania that has affected the government servants of this era.

Though the PSU officers by definition are public servants, they are no longer government officers who  enjoy any status better than the normal public. Our company may be called a Maharatna, but the meaning of that is not of any worth to the officers and staff of the company. We too are stopped and herded out by ordinary policemen when the beacon light vehicles of the government staff cris-cross the the roads. So we are in a position to understand the heartbeats of the public much better than the beacon lighted government servants who have opted to get themselves isolated from all public who do not have any thing to gain from them.

Now coming back to yesterday's story.

While leaving the office for lunch, we find the road leading to our township packed with vehichles due to a big traffic jam. We knew another route and tried that instead only to be entangled there too in a big traffic jam just on the four lane NH 75. We had initially no idea about the cause, but soon we found that a small procession of people shouting slowly moving ahead. Obviously they are peaceful protestors from the villages, amply led by some party leadership now in the opposition.

The administration knowing fully well about this peace march in advance had decided to stop the protesters from reaching the state assembly building where they perhaps wanted to show off their protest. So, they had constructed road blocks on the high way that is the only way for us to reach our homes and for many others to reach the airport and the railway station.

The police could have easily allowed the traffic of non protestors to move ahead to their destinations. But for reasons known only to them, they did not allow that to happen. They prevented the public movement on the road. At least when our car reached the place it was not the protesters who were blocking the road. It were the police pickets and the police vehicles of all kinds.

There were scores of vehicles of my colleagues who just wanted to reach our homes a few meters away for lunch. But we were stopped and forced to move into an open field by the side of the road between the rail way line.

We took the vehicles as far as we could from the possible melee that could happen on the high way.

The protestors wanted to move ahead to their destination which was some 2 km ahead, but the police would not allow. They would not allow not only the protesters but also all others like us who wanted to elsewhere.

Time was running out and we were on the hot sun on this muddy ground with our cars, hungry and thirsty. The police have started to use their riot control vehichles' water canons though there was no riots by the protesters. Then there was a huge exodus of the villagers towards the place we were standing with our vehicles with no way to go anywhere.

Apparently there was a lathicharge [caning] by the police that the peaceful village folk comprising of men and women made a retreat to our side, the only way they could also move. Then they stood there among us behind our stranded vehicles as they too had no way to move out.

For a moment I remembered Jalianwala Bagh Massacre about which I had studied in my schools. What if the police tried the  other weaponry that they had in their possession now ? They could very well do that if their commanding officer so commanded.

Here we are trapped between the armed police whose numbers matched the number of the poor villagers, armless ofcourse. We saw their political leaders calling them to come back to the road instead of running away to the field where they stood now. But they were reluctant. Life was dear to them just as it was to us !

With me there was my colleague who personally knew the second in command of the state police who thought it fit to call this officer for helping us to get out of this possible one way battle field. Though he could talk to him over phone he communicated his inability to help as he was out of the state. Then there was my boss who held the position of an executive director of our Navaratna PSU who thought of talking to the police officers on the road to help us out. He was not allowed to meet them.

Then all of a sudden we saw a vehicle fitted with loud speakers moving slowly towards the police picket on the highway calling out the people to gather. A few of the villagers began to move towards their leaders from the field. Then all of a sudden the police began to fire tear gas shells towards the place we were standing with our vehicles parked on the raw field, about 150 meters away from the high way. The shells began to explode over our heads, one just a few meters away from me. And there was no place for us to run from there at this age of ours when we are just a couple of years from retirement!

The police fired 16 shells on us and it is only God's grace that none of us got injured or dead so ungracefully ! We just did not understand what prompted the police to act in this manner and do such a thing ! We had to be on this battle field created by the police for nearly 3 hours before we were finally allowed to move out.

Fortunately for us, nothing happened to us and escaped unhurt. But that was not so for a poor villager. He lost his life. He was apparently run over by the riot control vehicle of the police !

The political and the administrative leadership in this country is slowly losing their wisdom and patience. It appears that those qualities are getting replaced  with arrogancy, pride and contempt to fellow citizens.

Forgetting what Gandhiji had taught and demonstrated may not be good for modern India in the long run !

People who do not believe in democratic processes and those helping failure of democracy directly or indirectly by causing alienation of people from the administrative machinery should be doing a good thing if they spend some time to think about the power of non-violence in achieving the best in a society and for their nation !

May God give them the wisdom for that !

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