ECI

Respected Election Commission,

It has been a week since the assembly elections were declared in 5 states and today also marks the last day of holding virtual rallies.

In this past week new COVID-19 cases in these election going states have at least doubled:

StateNew cases on 8th Jan 2022New cases on 8th Jan 2022% Increase
Uttar Pradesh6401147352.31 Times
Punjab177359393.35 Times
Goa178937282.08 Times
Manipur761552.08 Times
Uttrakhand61030055 Times

In view of the stark rise in the Covid numbers will you continue to ban physical rallies??

If yes, then how will you punish the guilty?

With an abysmal rural net penetration of 37.74% how will the candidates reach the voters?

Wouldn’t this hamper the holding of free and fair election?

Some experts have said that the elections were to be blamed for Pandemic’s second wave last year. In Tamil Nadu state your office was publicly rebuked by a court for not taking action earlier to stop big public rallies there.

“Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid-19,” the Madras high court had said.

You have the powers under Section 153 THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT, 1951:-

“Extention of time for completion of election.—It shall be competent for the Election Commission for reasons which it considers sufficient, to extend the time for the completion of any election by making necessary amendments in the notification issued by it under section 30 or sub-section (1) of section 39.] to eof  can be exercised only after an election schedule has been notified.”

Under Article 324 of our Constitution you can inform the government of inability to hold polls looking at the rising Covid numbers.

Sir, these are extraordinary times – times that no one living has ever seen or imagined in their lifetimes.

As a citizen of this country, I urge and plead you to reconsider your decision to hold these elections atleast for the time being till this third wave ebbs. I would rather see people queuing up to vote for candidates of their choice than standing in the lines to have their loved ones cremated. I would rather see voters selecting their representative than having to select whether to bury their loves on banks of Ganga or to let them float away in her water.

Regards,

Deepak Sukhadia

Save our Children

Just when we all were heaving a sigh of relief from the Covid Pandemic, the world is hit by another new variant of Corona Virus – OMICRON. According to reports this is more infectious and rapidly transmitted but the jury is still out on whether it is more fatal than the previous variant.

Luckily for the adult population of India most of us are vaccinated barring some morons who are still showing vaccine hesitancy through their warped logics. What is really worrying is the unvaccinated under 18 population of India which is approximately 75 million.

The only reason we were able to bring down corona cases, was the rapid vaccinations of 18+ after the second wave. If not been for the deadly and tragic second wave the Central Government would have gladly exported our share of the vaccines leaving us unprotected and dillydallied on the vaccination drive.

Look at the slow and absolute abysmal vaccination timeline in India:

  • 16th January 2021 – Frontline and health workers
  • 1st March 2021 – For all above 60 and for 45+ with co-morbidities.
  • 1st April 2021 –  45 +
  • 1st May 2021 – 18+

It has been 10 months since vaccination started in India but the government is still undecided for our children i.e. population below 18. They have lost out two precious years of their childhood away from schools and friends.  While some have returned to school there is always a danger to fall prey to this virus. As a paranoid over-protected parent of 12 year olds I am done with seeing my kids sitting at home and living a life in a bubble. There is no end in sight with this new variant.

World over countries have started vaccinating their children against Covid. How different are our children physiologically from them so as not to be vaccinated?

Why the over dependence on just two vaccines?

If countries can use other vaccines safely for over a year now, why and what is stopping us?

I urge and plead the government to fast track the approval of vaccines for the children and ताकि वोह अपना बचपन फिर से जी सकें !!

FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT

Anna Sorokin

Ruja Ignatova

What does these two women have in common?

The former claimed to be a millionaire heiress and the latter started a multi-level marketing crypto currency. The thing that puts both of them at the same platform was their exceptional ability for exaggerated claims and fooling people out of their wealth.

They both believed in the policy “FAKE IT TILL U MAKE IT” unfortunately for them law caught with them before they could set free from their dubious past.

We all know of at least one such person with dubious and hyperbolic claims which has no bearing to their past and current situation. Being part of some organizations I see this all the time. The imagined closeness to persons in high positions and the overestimation of one’s influence is the life’s motto for some.

I know of a person, who changed their dead father’s profession of that of a contractor to a completely new one decade after his death to suit their then current political position. For some change in profession has been rolled on by the imaginary grandness of their forefathers. Sometimes the past is too uncomfortable or sometimes is doesn’t fit into the current scheme of things.

We live an age where social media is where images are created for the world to marvel at. The likes and the followers are bought and sold with aplomb. So if you have the resources at disposal, you hype up your profile or else you hype up an imaginary life. In either case the intention is to fake it till you place yourself in a space that you desire. Some make it and some don’t after all the art of faking is not for everyone to excel in.

Like someone said you can fake everything except money and you do not have to go broke faking it!!

HOW DO YOU REMEMBER ME

I heard this pretty interesting quotes some time back which says ”There is a truth that is mine and one is yours and then there is a third one which is nobody’s truth!!” and taking this further “we are never villains in our own story.”

I write this because just a few days back I heard about ‘The reason which a friend of mine had told some mutual friends about us drifting apart. It made me wonder how different can two people see things: things that may be inconsequential to one may be the raison d’etre for another. Maybe he had reasons to believe what he believes and I had mine to disbelieve them.

We drifted apart but have been friends though, for I strongly believe in that in life one should never burn their bridges because one’s path will eventually lead you to that bridge that you destroyed. We seldom realize life isn’t too short but rather its toooo long and there are no escaping people , even the ones you abhor, hate and loved and lost especially living in a small town.

We save numbers, add people on FB and follow them on Instagram and the whole rigmarole of reversing this process is difficult. Un-following / Un-friending and blocking serves their purpose but to a point only. They pop-up on mutual friends timelines and then there is stalking which some of us are experts at. The need to stay updated is a strong motivating factor, isn’t ??

Letting go doesn’t happen and why should it?? What if we become friends again?? Do we ignore and look thru each other or do we acknowledge each other. I am the latter variety. The grudge, the hurt will remain forever but so shall my ability to be friendly and civil. Like I said  – NEVER BURN YOUR BRIDGES !!

Till the time I return to the path leading to that illusive bridge, all I want to remember are the good memories and the interesting time we shared and yes there will be exceptions: People and memories that I wish to completely obliterate from my memory and that is a special place reserved for few ultra villains/vamps in my life.

So till them we all become evil in each other’s versions of the truth, let’s remember us in those happy times and let that be our forever memory.

PICHHOLA KA DARD

प्रिय उदयपुरवासियों,

सदियों से मैं आपके इस फलते – फूलते शहर की साक्षी रहीं हूँ

मैं यहाँ तब भी थी जब मेवाड़ की राजधानी चित्तौड़गढ़ हुआ करती थी. पिछोली गांव के निकट मेरा निर्माण 14वीं शताब्दी में पीछू चिड़िमार बंजारे ने करवाया था और तत्पश्चात महाराणा उदयसिंह द्वितीय ने इस शहर की खोज के बाद मेरा विस्तार किया.

मेरे ही एक द्वीप में बने जगमंदिर में शहज़ादा खुर्रम ने अपने वालिद जहाँगीर से बगावत कर यहाँ 1623-1624 में  पनाह पायी थी, जो आगे चल कर मुग़ल सलतनत के बादशाह शाहजहाँ बने. 1769 में जब माधव राव सिंधिया ने शहर पर आक्रमण किया तब एकलिंग गढ़ की खाइयों में भरे मेरे ही पानी ने आप के पूर्वजों को मराठाओं से सुरक्षित रखा था.

मेरे चारों ओर शहर वासी बसते गए और अपने सुविधा अनुसार मेरा उपयोग और उपभोग करते रहे. मेरी अनेक घाट आपकी कई पीढ़ियों के काम आई इनमें से कुछ अब आपकी पहुँच से बहुत दूर जा चुकी हैं.

कालांतर में समय बदला, राज बदला और साथ आये नए कानून. परिवारों को अपने पुश्तैनी मकान में बढ़ते कुनबे को समाने की जदोजहद करनी पड़ी. एक कमरा या छोटा बदलाव न कर सके. कानून ने उनके हाथ बाँध दिए.

वैसे आज कल मेरे प्रति आप सब का प्रेम देख कर मन प्रफुल्लित हो जाता है. लेकिन फिर सोचती हूँ यह प्रेम तब क्यूँ न जागा जब पर्यटन के नाम पर मेरा दोहन किया गया. आलिशान होटलों का निर्माण कराया गया और व्यवासियों ने कमाई के लिए रोड से ना ले जाकर अपने अतिथियों को मेरे सीने को चीरते हुए अनेक नावें उतार दी. शांत रातों को विलासिता भरे अनेक जलसों की साक्षी आप और मैं भी रहीं हूँ. लेकिन आपका दर्द शायद तब इतना न झलक पाया.

मेरे नाम पर कईयों ने रोटी सेकी : किसी ने हाई कोर्ट में अपनों को बचने के लिए नवीन निर्माण को पुराना बता दिया तो किसी ने शुतुरमुर्ग की तरह अपना मुंह मेरी रेत में छिपा लिया. रसूख और रुतबे के आगे सब जायज़ हो गया जो न हो सका तो बस आम शहर वासी का झील किनारे अपने आशियाने का अपने ज़रूरत के हिसाब से विस्तार.

शिकायत तो मुझे आप से भी है !! मैंने न जाने आपकी कितनी गन्दगी अपने में समा ली है. पहले तो ठीक था लेकिन अब इस बढती आबादी की गन्दगी मेरे लिए साफ़ करना मेरे बस में नहीं.

आशा है की आप मेरे चारों और बसे मंदिरों में शाम की आरती की घंटियाँ सुन मेरे लिए भी एक छोटी सी प्रार्थना ज़रूर करेंगे.

आपकी,

पिछोला झील

Lost Generation

Just the other day I was inquiring about the well being of the family of our office help. Luckily for him and his family they remained unscathed by this recent Corona Wave. However as a father of 2 young boys aged three and five, he was worried in respect to their education. Online classes were something his kids were too young to attend on their own considering he and his wife were working parents and they lacked resources to buy smart phones for them.

What we are looking at is a Lost Generation!! Generations getting lost at both at the starting point as well at the end of the Indian School System.

This pandemic with it has not only bought death and illness but also unparalleled economic misery. Millions have lost their jobs, earnings and have been pushed to poverty. As per a World Bank study the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021.This has a direct bearing on the education of our children.

We are looking at a delay in admission in primary section by at least a year or two as not many parents can afford smart phones for their children for online classes. Even if they do, how many have the inclination and wherewithal to monitor their child’s progress? At such a weak base we are looking at children with issues in future.

Moreover for students who are aiming for a good college- these online classes and economic hardships for some will putting a spanner in their future plans. Getting admitted in college below a student’s potential for lack of affordability of coaching classes / Fees is going to reflect on their Job opportunities and economic status their entire life.

Then there is an entire section of children who have been stopped going to school for lack of funds, to supplement family income or even become breadwinners. Will it be ever possible to get them back to the education system??

There are no easy solutions and not a comfortable path forward. With an imminent third wave in future, this academic year too will be sacrificed at the altar of the pandemic. I just hope I am proved wrong in the future and the future of our children remained unscarred by COVID-19.

नानीजी

दो दिन पूर्व नानीजी अपने भगवान् महावीर के पास हमेशा के लिए चले गए और साथ ही गुज़र गया मेरे बचपन का कुछ हिस्सा और छोड़ गया तो सिर्फ धुंधली ओझल यादें.

मेरे को उनकी पीढ़ी से जोड़ती वह आखरी कढ़ी थी जो हमेशा के लिए खुल गयी.

अब कौन देखेगा हम सब को मोटे से चश्मे के पीछे से घूरते हुए?

कौन प्यार से शब्दों के बाण और ताने मारेगा?

कौन अब कहावतों और लोकोक्तियों की बरसात करेगा. किस से उनका मतलब पूछेंगे ?

कड़क आवाज़ और उतने ही कड़क तेवर. नियम के पक्के और अपने धर्म के प्रति कट्टर. अगर मेरे दादेरे में हर कुछ करने की छुट थी तो गर्मी की छुट्टियों में नानेरे में थोडा अनुशासन सिखाया. अगर दादी ने थाली में झूठा छोड़ने में कुछ नहीं कहा तो नानी ने इस पर सीख दी.

याद रहेगी जेम पैलेस की रोठ तीज, वह रसोईघर के स्टील के डब्बे में भरे आटे की बिस्किट, वह नियम से रात को दूध पीना और वह नाश्ते में बनायीं गयी ताज़ा गरम मठरियां.

शायद मिलेगा अब भी वह सब वहां भी , लेकिन उनको देने वालीं नानी ना रहेंगी.

बचपन में उनके अनुशासन से थोडा डर लगता था लेकिन उनकी सीख अब याद आती है. कोशिश करता हूँ अपने बच्चों में भी वही सब सिखाने की. इस बात का संतोष है मेरी मां अपनी माँ की कॉपी निकली जिससे वही अनुशासन का पाठ मेरे बच्चों को समय-समय पर मिलता रहता है और नानेरे के जैन धर्म से जोड़े रखता है.

नानीजी आप हमेशा याद रहोगे.

सत्ता के साथी

पूर्व केंद्रीय मंत्री सुश्री गिरिजा जी व्यास अक्सर अपने भाषण में कहती हैं की किसी ज्योतिष या भोपा ने नहीं कहा था कांग्रेस पार्टी से जुड़ने के लिए. हम कांग्रेसी हैं क्यूंकि हम इस की विचारधारा में विश्वास करते हैं.

हम विश्वास करते हैं उसके सिधान्तों और मूल्यों में. सब की अपनी विचारधारा होती है और होनी भी चाहिए क्यूंकि यह हमारे व्यक्तित्व की पहचान होती है. कोई वामपंथी होता है, कोई संघी और कोई कांग्रेसी. पार्टी से आपकी नाराज़गी हो सकती है लेकिन इस का मतलब यह नहीं की कोई अपनी विचारधारा में पूर्ण बदलाव कर दें.

दशकों से जिस विचारधारा के खिलाफ खड़े रहे उस से एक झटके में कैसे गले लगा सकते हैं. चुनाव में हार जीत लगी रहती है. राजनीती में सब की मह्त्वाकान्शायें होती है लेकिन सत्ता सुख के लिए इस में बदलाव कहाँ तक सही है??

भारतीय संसदीय प्रणाली ब्रिटेन के वेस्टमिनिस्टर मोडल पर आधारित है. वहां पर भी एक समय पर कंजरवेटिव पार्टी 18 साल (1979 – 1997) तक सत्ता पर काबिज़ रही और हार गयी. फिर संघर्ष किया और अब वापस पिछले 10 साल से ज्यादा से पार्टी सत्ता में है और शायद ही वहां के अग्रिम पंक्ति के नेताओं ने सत्ता सुख के लिए अपना पाला बदला हो.

भारतीय राजनैतिक परिवेश में देखें तो ऐसे उदहारण देखने को मिलेंगे की किसी के पार्टी के शीर्ष नेतृत्व से टकराव रहा हो तो उन्होनें विचारधरा से समझौता नहीं करा , चाहे वह शरद पवार महाराष्ट्र में हों, ममता बैनर्जी बंगाल में या 1996 में कांग्रेस नेतृत्व से अलगाव के कारण पार्टी छोड़ खुद की पार्टी बनाने वाले माधवराव सिंधिया, जी.के.मूपनार और अन्य.

एक प्रमुख कारण जो हाल ही में विपक्षी पाले में जाने वाले नेताओं ने बतलाया है की वह जनता की सेवा करने के लिए ऐसा मजबूर हो गए थे. यह सरासर झूठ है और सत्तानशीं होने के सिवा कुछ नहीं. अगर जनता की सेवा करने ही है तो आपको सत्ता की कोई ज़रुरत नहीं. इस कोरोना काल में ही देख लें तो यूथ कांग्रेस के अध्यक्ष बी.वि.श्रीनिवास, तहसीन पूनावाला को या सोनू सूद को. कोई सत्ता में नहीं था, पुलिसिया कार्यवाही करी गयी उन पर फिर भी इस दूसरी लहर में जनता की सेवा के लिए झुझते रहे. जैसे की किसी ने सही लिखा है –

कुछ कर गुजरने के लिए, मौसम नहीं मन चाहिए

साधन सभी जुट जायेंगे, संकल्प का धन चाहिए

जिन नेताओं ने पाला बदला है उनके पास सेवा के लिए संसाधन की कमी तो बिलकुल नहीं थी. कमी थी तो केवल अपनी विचारधारा पर तटस्थ रहने की और जो चीज़ भरपूर थी वह थी सत्ता की भूख और खुद की  राजनैतिक मंशा पूरी करने की.

2014 से जब से एक विचारधारा की पार्टी सत्ता में आई है उनका एक मात्र रास्ता चुना है सत्ता में बने रहने का और उन का बढ़चढ़ का साथ दिया है कुछ एक नेताओं ने.

तो इसलिए अब वक़्त आ गया है की सब राजनैतिक व्यक्ति आत्म-मंथन कर लें की उनके लिए क्या ज़रूरी है विचारधारा या सत्ता क्यूंकि हम सच्चे कांग्रेस जन तैयार हैं लम्बे संघर्ष और लड़ाई के लिए.

Bye Bye 2020

Queen Elizabeth once said, “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.

Annus horribilis is a Latin phrase, meaning “horrible year” and being a major fan of the Series – The Crown, I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity of quoting her majesty – as I feel the same about 2020.

2020 has been one hell of a horrible year for mankind. A virus has taught us how insignificant and ignorant we have been. Irrespective of the advances by the scientific community they have been a step behind the forces of Mother Nature. COVID-19 – A virus that put the world at a standstill: A scenario we never envisioned in our wildest dreams.

But aren’t we all glad this year is finally getting over and with the hope of getting ourselves vaccinated soon enough. YES!! Irrespective what the naysayers may say I am going to get myself vaccinated as soon as I can lay my hands / bum whichever way it’s going to be administered on.

Before this year ends lets pray for the ones we have lost or whose life have been scarred by this deadly disease. Loss of family, friends, jobs and incomes wrecked all of us emotionally.

On the flip side let us thank God for making us sail thru this year alive!! We will heal at our own pace, for that is the human spirit – To Fall, To Stumble and To Rise Again. We will be the living embodiment of the Pandemic tales that we shall regale our future generations with.

Lets us drown the unpleasant memories of 2020 in the festive spirits of our choice and usher in a promising 2021!!

God Bless us all !!

Bollywood

Most of you who know me personally or follow me on social media would know my love for films.

I have thrived on watching films over the 4 decades of my being. This love affair that started with Hindi Films aka Bollywood and has taken me to Hollywood to Regional Cinema and to World Cinema thanks to the advent of sub-titles.

Hindi Films i.e. Bollywood shall forever remain my first love. For they have made me happy and sad, made me question and also made me hate, all with equal measures. Their music is the only one that I can comprehend for they tap into each emotion and occasion.

Besides the movies the people that light up the silver screen and those who enable them have been inspired entire generations. They have been there to serve the nation: the case in point being actors who have gone to the frontiers to boast the morale of our Jawans amongst others.

However my heart pains when some sections of the media goes on to paint the entire industry as the den of all vices. The industry has some issues but isn’t these matters that plague our society irrespective of the industry. The film industry is an easy target and scapegoat, for there is too much money and lives at stake. One bad weekend can be death knell for a film. Targeting films and their actors makes for good politics and that’s what we are seeing these days.

Sensationalising news on Film Industry makes for good TRP’s. Look what has happened to a particular news network that have been garnering substantial eyeballs and thus filling in their coffers. Like in all other matters they are the Prosectutor, Judge and Jury all rolled in to one.

Well sorry for using the “roll” word, for Rhea has been put in jail for rolling things she shouldn’t have and for that matter no middle-class person should have, after all these are things only the rich and famous do and not us.

For the Film Industry I hope this crisis gives you time to put your house in order or what the hell, Wait !!

People have very–very short memories they are going to come back to watch movies of the very people who are now being shamed and disliked. Till that short time work on good scripts and take us back to the magic of a dark Cinema Halls and lit-up Silver Screens !!

रुक जाना नहीं तू कहीं हार के, काँटों पे चलके मिलेंगे साये बहार के…..