My BEST New Year

“How strange it is, we have 31 million seconds in a year and all this passes like a dream, just like you close your eyes, make a wish, open it and it’s a new year” I wondered, laying on the sofa in the living room, sipping a cup of coffee.

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The clock struck half past 11. “Only half an hour and it’s a new year,” I said to myself, turning another page of the book. “How strange it is, we have 31 million seconds in a year and all this passes like a dream, just like you close your eyes, make a wish, open it and it’s a new year” I wondered, laying on the sofa in the living room, sipping a cup of coffee.

I dwelled in a 3 BHK apartment, of which one room was occupied by my parents, one by my younger sister (which was actually mine before I left home) and one was the living room for guests. My parents were busy in their dreams and my sister with her friend. I, for the sake of giving her a sort of privacy decided to spend time in the living room (having no other option for myself).

I again looked at the clock impatiently, though; I had not planned anything special for myself on New Year eve except my book and coffee. It seemed like time was more impatient than me because it was 11:45 this time. I could hear the sounds of the bursting of crackers. The celebration had begun and of course, we had all successfully completed another long and tiring 365 days journey and were ready for a new one. In fact, it was not just a celebration but a medium to express the happiness of stepping into another new phase of life by manifesting positive vibes, fighting against all odds and challenges, learning from the past and moving on. It was a way to tell the universe that we have won one more battle and is ready for a more challenging one.

I kept my book on the table and picked up my phone. Having expected pre-new year updates on Facebook, I started scrolling my wall. I was, in fact, right. People had actually started cutting cakes, partying in the disc. I was also trying to make myself happy by hitting the like button on their blissful moments. “I wish I could go back to Shimla,” I thought in my mind, keeping my phone aside for a while. I had just completed my studies and shifted to Delhi for a job. But, I was deeply missing my friends who were still in Shimla. “Nah, home is the best option” I tried to fix my mood, making myself more comfortable on the sofa.
I started glancing at the family picture on the living room wall and asked myself why I was sad despite the fact that on my very first day of the New Year, I was with the best people in my life, my family. Going out and chilling with friends is not the only way to celebrate. A person’s happiness lies within him. For him, every moment, every day and every year are new and cheerful if his inner being is content. Thus, I gave my mixed thoughts a break and smiled.

In reality, my new year had already started from the morning when I caught a smile on my grandmother’s face after arriving home, with the delicious food that my mother had prepared specially for me, with my sister’s happiness when I gave her the new year gift and with the lustre in my father’s eyes when he saw his daughter for the first time after she had joined her new job. Nothing could be better than this.
All of a sudden, a hissing sound hit my ears. “Sandy” I wondered and then realized that I had left my pet sleeping in the cozy bed in my parent’s room. “She must be sleeping,” I said to myself. Who would like to get out of a warm bed in such a cold weather? Even a human being wouldn’t like to do so and she was just a 4  -year-old adorable pug. “She can’t be here,” I said to myself and ignored.

But, the hissing sound continued. I turned my head around to clear the confusion. I was right. Sandy was standing right in front of my eyes. Her eyes gleamed at me. “Sanduu” I called her with a motherly heart and she came to me excitedly. She kept her little paws on the sofa smoothly signaling her intent to come up. I pulled her up tenderly. She licked me all over my face as if she had found someone long lost and I too hugged her tightly in return. Afterward, she sat on my lap, put her head down and slept peacefully.

It was 12 PM and 2017 had finally arrived. Everyone around the globe was celebrating it in their way, posting wonderful pictures on Facebook. I took my phone, clicked a picture with sleeping sandy and posted it on Facebook. After I did that, I realized that my new year was indeed very special with the one who was my true, genuine and a lifetime friend, who left a warm, cozy bed in such a chilling weather just because one of her family members was missing. She got up and hunted down her missing companion. She wanted to sleep where I was sitting, no matter how cold the weather was. This is what we call selfless love. All I knew was that it was my best New Year eve because I was with the one who was true to me, who loves me the most and for whom my existence was the most exciting thing in this world. I kissed my sleeping beauty on her forehead overwhelmingly and welcomed the New Year with my three best friends- book, coffee, and Sandy.

Color me ‘PINK’

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The newly released movie ‘Pink’ has bagged mixed reviews by the viewers but it has come up with a very powerful concept ‘feudal mindset of the people of India’ and how they judge a woman on different yardsticks. This movie has touched million hearts especially of women not only in India but overseas. It would not be wrong to say that whatever the movie has presented is a painful reality.

Now, you must be thinking that this is a review. Well, no this is not. This piece is all about my recent experience which reminded me that one ‘Pink’ is not enough to change people’s mindset. Regardless of how much people chant ‘we are educationally forward’ but they still need electric shocks to stabilize their brains. Let me narrate what had happened.

My room mate is younger to me and she is new in the PG(paying guest) in which I live. She has never experienced a PG life before. So, her elder brother who works in a multinational company in Gurgaon and is bearing all her expenses(personal and educational) ,which I believe is remarkable, visits frequently to meet her.

He came outside the PG few days back as per routine and my room mate went to meet her bhaiya. I was busy doing my own tasks, all of a sudden, my room mate came inside, panicked and she asked for an ointment. I tried to ask her what happened but she didn’t utter a single word and ran outside again. I followed her in order to find out the issue.

I went outside and asked her brother that Is everything all right with the two. He told me that he was attacked by a group of hooligans on his way to PG and that they tried to snatch his mobile phone. He had a cut on his face on the right side but fortunately it was not deep. He also assured her sister that he is fine and there is nothing to worry about. Afterwards, I came inside leaving the two together.

After few minutes, my room mate too came inside. She was upset. I told her to be calm and that his brother will be fine. But, unfortunately that was not the reason of her anxiety. She told me that she was bidding goodbye to her brother when our landlord(male) came outside and started shouting at them ‘Don’t stand here in front of my house. People will comment me that such type of girls stay here. It is the question of my reputation’. They both didn’t say anything and his brother left quietly. The girl assured our landlord that she will take care of this in future and told him everything about what had happened and that he was her brother.

I suggested her to let go and relax. The next morning my room mate left for her home town due to some reasons. In the evening, when I returned to PG ,tired and hungry, I was about to dine. Abruptly, a girl who stays in the room next to mine in the same PG came to me. She locked the door of my room secretly and asked me about what had happened,’uncle was shouting a lot’ she said, ‘Kya scene hogya uncle bahut bol rahe the’. ‘What?’ I asked her.

‘Ki ye ladkiyan apne boyfriends ko le kar bahar khadi ho jaati hain'(These girls stand outside with their boyfriends). I was completely shocked and couldn’t believe my ears that what actually I was hearing and the very first thought that came into my mind was ‘People are really heartless’. I was furious and wanted to ask my landlord what the hell was that. But then I decided to stay calm.  I left my plate in the room and went downstairs.

Technically, I should have shouted on him but I didn’t. I talked to him casually and told him that there was no need to make such an issue when he is aware of what actually had happened.

‘We girls know our responsibilities very well because we are living alone without our parents. This is the courage of our parents that they have sent us here despite knowing how unsafe the world is and we will not hurt them and break their trust ever’ were my words and I came back.

I’m not sharing this because I wanted to tell you what I said and how I felt. This is not my story, yeah, but this a girl’s story and I’m also a girl. I stood by her in her absence only because It was my moral duty to support the right thing. Moreover, this could have happened with me also.

Eventually, I realized that alone a Pink cannot make a difference, we need more and it is the responsibility of all of us. A change will only begin to happen if it will start from our own homes not only by hitting a like on a Facebook page related to change or merely by changing profile pictures. We are not ‘forward’ rather we are ‘coward’. So, start changing yourself and make your mind and soul forward. This was the only motive of sharing this story.

Present day WARRIORS, a threat to Democracy.

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The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi launched a ‘Clean Bureaucracy’ Campaign in the country this year. He prepared a list of 125 corrupt bureaucrats and told them to take a voluntary retirement. This move of modi government was in the view to keep a check on the corruption and take measures to make the bureaucrats accountable and responsible. This shows how much is the need to look into the deeper sections of the Indian bureaucracy as a whole.

Bureaucracy in some form or other has existed from the times immemorial. In ancient India when monarchy was the predominant form of government, the various categories of the countries constituted the bureaucracy. In India, Lord Cornwallis is credited with creating the bureaucracy. But today, the country is encompassed by  the intricating web of corrupt bureaucracy or babus and so is loosing ground of its own.

After independence, we got bureaucracy not democracy, said Bhaskar Rao Gorantla, Research Director of National Social Watch(India) while addressing a gathering of civil society representatives at a consultation programmes organised by Karnataka Social Watch on administrative reforms.  Listing various structural problems in the administration he said, although the central and state level administrations have undergone a positive change since independence, the district/local level administrative bodies have not undergone any significant changes. “Wide powers of control over Panchayati Raj Institutions(PRI) have been vested with the state bureaucracy. This takes away the essential characterstics of the PRIs he said.

Presenting the gist of the ‘Administrative Reforms for Good Governance’ a book by NC Saxena , former director of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administartion, Rao said it is very essential to replace the entire system , as we change the entire structure when 70 percent pipes have leakage issues.

Bureaucracy is said to be one of the pillars of the democracy. It is the backbone of the country and it is very unfortunate to say that this backbone is becoming  spineless. The system has handicapped over the time which also raises questions on the country’s independence.

It is very unfortunate for the people of the country like India whose past has been of fighters and combatants who fought for the light of the freedom are constructing dark ages, taking the country way back to 1947.  Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on the first independence day of the country said “At the stroke of midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.” But in reality, by the time as India is stepping into it’s 70th year of Independence, it is losing it’s freedom in real sense.  It is even more tragic that inspite of impeding this malicious fiend they are digging ditches for others.

India is believed to be the largest democracy in the world(because of the sheer number of people who are listed voters). With 1.25 billion people, it is home to 8 major religions, over 4600 castes as well as 22 federally recognised, 122 major and 1599 other languages in use. Besides, being the largest democracy it is also believed to be the most diverse democracy in the world.

It is a pungent reality that India has failed to achieve it’s democracy after so many years of independence. The people raising their voice against the tribulations are shaken and suppressed by the corrupt bureaucrats for their personal benefits. In concise, it can be said that India is undemocratically democratic.

A Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner(CVC) of India, N Vittal,  once said in an interview  “If you ask me who is more corrupt between a politician and a bureaucrat, for statistical reasons, I would say a bureaucrat. A corrupt politician can be thrown out any second. But a bureaucrat stays for 30 years in the government, in terms of the length and the government, bureaucratic corruption is more than political corruption.”

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The other side of this tragic fact is that Bureaucracy is not the only perpetrator , it is the bureaucrats and politicians nexus that is making country void. An article in the Forbes India stated that ‘Bureaucracy is like a well trained horse but if the rider is not appropriate the horse would not do the right job.’

In “Vayapam scam of Madhya Pradesh, which had been going on since the 1990s, over 2000 persons, including the state’s education minister had been arrested. Over 40 persons involved with the investigation, had died in mysterious circumstances. Vayapam scam is a sad reflection on politicians and bureaucrats in India.

The Reservation policy also plays an important role in promoting this nexus all over the country employing reserved bureaucrats in the service by the politicians. The sleaze in the country has become a cult. This has deprived the people of the country from many needs and is responsible for the other factors affecting the independence like poverty, unemployment, hunger, education, and cultural and regional disparities.

There is also a failure of Judiciary which has brought the country on the back foot. If the case of corrupt politicians runs into the courts then the judiciary take years to come to a conclusion. The delay in the decision made lesser the chances of justice to the people and the corrupt nexus takes the very advantage of it as in the DLF scam.

There is a need to take various reforms by the honest government officials and bureaucrats and moreover by the public to take the country to the another level. A constant check on the bureaucracy should be kept over and again and avenge those guilty and especially there is a need to impart moral values in the aspiring bureaucrats of the country whereas Media needs to act as a game changer. It should not only sensationalize the issues but to give it a new perspective. It should focus on the important issues and raise what should be raised. It should not indulge into senseless talk and try to fight against the evils. Moreover, it should not try to be defensive and shouts unnecessarily for proving their point. They should work with facts and logic and in a civilized manner.

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Bureaucrats will only learn to respect the law when media will play its part in placing pressure on the judiciary. Henceforth, media should act as a backbone not as a horrifying nightmare for the masses. Concentrating on the weaknesses in the system, judiciary needs to fasten it’s process of giving justice to the people for the maintenance of law and order in the country. The corrupt lawyers and legal advisors should be thrown out of the courts.The cleaning drive is the essence of the freedom. The muck and mull of these corrupts monsters needs to be clean.  One needs to teach a lessen about the true meaning of democracy to these corrupt monsters.

Freedom in a real sense can only be achieved if people get freedom from the corrupt bureaucrats, freedom of the media to raise the pained voice and freedom from the delays made in granting justice to the people in the courts.

 

 

Right or Wrong?!

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I’m a human being. I was born on the earth of India. So, my identification is Indian. I respect my National Flag and I have grown up singing ‘Jan Gan Man’ as the National Anthem.
Although, My country has countless problems like corruption, unemployment. At times, I feel awful but I’m not the only one to feel so. There are many more people like me who holds the same nationality and feels the same.
Every now and then, I held the system responsible for all this because I have the ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression’ which is my fundamental right .
But I must not forget that this right has been given to me by my own country for my own convenience. Moreover, When it is about ‘Being National’, I would not give any right to any external force to provide any damage to my country.
In my opinion ‘A nationalist is a person with strong patriotic feelings, especially one who believes in the superiority of their country over others’. I, being a common citizen of my country , like others, love my country, even though, I have differences in my opinion from others at some level but when it is about nationalism , I proudly chant the song ‘Saare jahan se acha Hindustan humara’ (Our India is the best among the rest).
Our country is our habitat. It feeds us, We carry the nationality of our own country, We always want to see our country on peak . Everyone has differences of opinion, but it does not mean that we stand on the road and chant anti-national slogans.
Coming to what happened in JNU. A group of students raised anti-national slogans only because an event named ‘Against the judicial killing of the Afzal Guru’ which was organised by those so-called ‘nationalists’ was cancelled by the authority.
Chanting slogans is not wrong but chanting anti- national slogans is something that is beyond the pale. I’m not saying that people of our country does not have the right to express their views. They have the freedom of speech and expression but this right holds some restrictions also.

Freedom of Speech
Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression. The law states that, “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”.
Under Article 19(2) “reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the exercise of this right for certain purposes. Any limitation on the exercise of the right under Article 19(1) (a) not falling within the four corners of Article 19(2) cannot be valid. Opinions freely by words of mouth, writing, printing, pictures or any other mode.
Free expression cannot be equated or confused with a license to make unfounded and irresponsible allegations against the judiciary. It is important to note that a restriction on the freedom of speech of any citizen may be placed as much by an action of the State as by its inaction. Thus, failure on the part of the State to guarantee to all its citizens irrespective of their circumstances and the class to which they belong, the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression would constitute a violation of Article 19(1)(a).
In a democracy, freedom of speech & expression opens up channels of free discussion of issues. Freedom of speech plays a crucial role in the formation of public opinion on social, economic & political matters. It embraces within its scope the freedom of propagation and interchange of ideas, dissemination of information which would help formation of one’s opinion & view point & debates on matters of public concern. So long as the expression is confined to nationalism, patriotism & love for the motherland, the use of National flag by the way of expression of those sentiments would be a Fundamental Right.
Grounds of Restrictions
1) Security of State: The term “security of state” refers only to serious and aggravated forms of public order e.g. rebellion, waging war against the State, insurrection and not ordinary breaches of public order and public safety, e.g. unlawful assembly, riot, affray. Thus speeches or expression on the part of an individual, which incite to or encourage the commission of violent crimes, such as, murder are matters, which would undermine the security of State.

2) Public Order: Here it is pertinent to look into meaning of the word “Public order. ‘Public order’ is synonymous with public peace, safety and tranquility. Anything that disturbs public tranquility or public peace disturbs public order. Thus communal disturbances and strikes promoted with the sole object of accusing unrest among workmen are offences against public order. Public order thus implies absence of violence and an orderly state of affairs in which citizens can peacefully pursue their normal avocation of life. Public order also includes public safety. Thus creating internal disorder or rebellion would affect public order and public safety. But mere criticism of government does not necessarily disturb public order.

3) The words ‘In the interest of public order’ includes not only such utterances as are directly intended to lead to disorder but also those that have the tendency to lead to disorder. Thus a law punishing utterances made with the deliberate intention to hurt the religious feelings of any class of persons is valid because it imposes a restriction on the right of free speech in the interest of public order.

4) Sovereignty and integrity of India- To maintain sovereignty and integrity of a state is prime duty of government. Taking into it into account, freedom of speech and expression can be restricted so as not to permit any one to challenge sovereignty or to permit any one to preach something which will result in threat to integrity of the country.

From above analysis, it is evident that Grounds contained in Article 19(2) show that they are all concerned with the national interest or in the interest of the society.

Now, coming back to what had happened in the JNU.
An event was organised whose title was ‘Judicial killing of the Afzal Guru’ , the permission of which was taken by giving false information to the JNU authority. When the authority came to know about the truth they cancelled the permission immediately.
To simplify the issue that what was wrong in organising the event, I gathered some facts about Afzal Guru which I have taken from Wikipedia.
Who was Afzal Guru?
Guru was born in Du Aabgah village near Sopore town in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir in 1969 to the family of Habibullah. His native place is Sopore and he was doing a commission agency business.
It was during this business venture that he came into contact with Tariq of Anantnag, who motivated him to join Jihad for the liberation of Kashmir. He crossed the Line of Control and proceeded to Muzaffarabad, Pak occupied Kashmir. He became a member of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and then returned to Sopore shortly afterward to lead 300 rebels.
On a visit to Kashmir in 1998, he married a Baramulla native Tabasum. He did odd jobs and completed his graduation from Delhi University in the year 1993–94. Shaukat who was friend of Gilani, made Guru visit Geelani and they used to discuss Jihad and the “liberation” of Kashmir.
The 13 December 2001 attack was conducted into the Parliament. On 15 December 2001, the special cell of Delhi Police, with the help of leads relating to the car used and cellphone records, arrested Guru from Srinagar, his cousin Shaukat Husain Guru, Shaukat’s wife Afsan Guru (Navjot Sandhu before marriage) and S A R Gilani, a lecturer of Arabic at Delhi University were also arrested by the police. On 4 August 2005, the Supreme Court, upheld the death sentence for Afzal Guru while it commuted Shaukat Hussain Guru’s sentence from death to 10 years imprisonment.
In its judgement, the Supreme Court observed:
“As criminal acts took place pursuant to the conspiracy, the appellant, as a party to the conspiracy, shall be deemed to have abetted the offence. In fact, he took active part in a series of steps taken to pursue the objective of conspiracy.”
Supreme Court of India, Judgement on Appeal by Guru on August 5, 2005.

However, Some people believed that Afzal Guru didn’t receive a fair trial. Here are few details about these people.
I. Communist Party Of India (Marxist) leads the Left Front coalition of leftist parties.
II. Praful Bidwa (a well known face of left intellectual tradition in Indian media. He himself had taken part in various left-leaning regional movements in the past and was in long term association with them even after).
III. Arundhati Roy (An Indian author, In an August 2008 interview with the Times of India, Arundhati Roy expressed her support for the independence of Kashmir from India. According to her, Kashmiris desire secession from India, and not union with India.
Roy’s description of the Maoists as “Gandhians” raised a controversy. In other statements, she has described Naxalites as “patriot of a kind” who are “fighting to implement the Constitution, (while) the government is vandalising it”.
In November 2010, Roy, was brought up on charges of sedition by the Delhi Police. The filing of the First Information Report came following a directive from a local court on a petition filed by Sushil Pandit who alleged that Roy made anti-India speeches at a conference on “Azadi-the Only Way” on 21 October 2010. In the words of Arundhati Roy “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India”.
On 21 August 2011, at the height of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign, Arundhati Roy criticised Hazare and his movement in an opinion piece published in The Hindu.
In 2013, Roy described Narendra Modi’s nomination for the prime ministerial candidate as a “tragedy”.

At last, here is the case of the Afzal Guru in detail.
The Case
I. On 15 December 2001, the special cell of Delhi Police, with the help of leads relating to the car used and cellphone records, arrested Guru from Srinagar.
II. Police filed a charge-sheet in the case on 15 May 2002. The trial started after charges were framed against the four accused on 4 June 2002.
III. After his arrest, Guru made a confessional statement which bore his signature, recorded by the DCP, special cell. It was recorded in the preamble of the confession that DCP had asked policemen present there to leave the room. The Supreme Court was angered by the act of police officials, who, in their over-zealousness, had arranged for a media interview.However, after seven months, Guru disowned this confession and the Supreme Court did not accept the earlier confession as evidence against him.
IV. On 22 December 2001, the case was brought before an special POTA Court under sessions judge S N Dhingra and the trial started on 8 July 2002, and was conducted on a day-to-day basis.
V. On 18 December 2002, relying on the circumstantial evidence, the special court awarded capital punishment to Guru.
VI. An appeal was made to the Delhi High Court, but after going through the case and taking into consideration various authorities and precedents, the Court found that the conviction of Guru was correct and hence his appeal was dismissed.
VII. On 4 August 2005, the Supreme Court, upheld the death sentence for Afzal Guru.
VIII. Guru filed a review petition before the Supreme Court seeking review of its judgement. However, on 22 September 2005, the review petition too came to be dismissed by the Supreme Court.
In its judgement, the Supreme Court observed:
“As criminal acts took place pursuant to the conspiracy, the appellant, as a party to the conspiracy, shall be deemed to have abetted the offence. In fact, he took active part in a series of steps taken to pursue the objective of conspiracy.
The Supreme Court observed that mostly, the conspiracies are proved by the circumstantial evidence.It held that the circumstances detailed in the judgment clearly established that Guru was associated with the deceased militants in almost every act done by them in order to achieve the objective of attacking the Parliament House.
In October 2006, Guru’s wife Tabasum Guru filed a mercy petition with then President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. In June 2007, Supreme Court dismissed Guru’s plea.
On 7 September 2011, a high intensity bomb blast outside Delhi high court killed 11 people and left 76 others injured. In an e-mail sent to a media house Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, an Islamic fundamentalist organisation, owned responsibility for the attack and claimed the blast was carried out in retaliation to Parliament attack convict Guru’s death sentence.
“We own the responsibility for today’s blasts at Delhi high court. Our demand is that Mohammed Afzal Guru’s death sentence should be repealed immediately else we would target major high courts and the Supreme Court of India.”
On 3 February 2013, Guru’s mercy petition was rejected by the President of India. Afzal Guru was hanged six days later on 9 February 2013.
It is to be noted:
The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front Chairman Maninderjeet Singh Bitta urged the President of India not to accept any clemency pleas on Afzal’s behalf.
An India Today poll in late October showed that 78% of Indians supported the death penalty for Afzal.
At the end, I only want to say that raising your voice is not bad but raising your voice after analysing the facts is very important. Incomplete knowledge of anything can take you to the wrong way.
This article is purely based on the facts taken from the Wikipedia.