Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

Teenagers killed two students by reckless driving: Shall we expect justice?

March 19, 2012

Saturday evening, around 5 p.m.  ITI (Industrial Training Institute) Nagpur’s Students were going home in groups after college.  A high-speed car came from behind and hit two.  So reckless was the car that it dragged those students for about 50 meter before stopping.  In an attempt to escape, the driver took it reverse and hit another two students before hitting the car on the road divider.  The crash was so intense that one of the tyres of the car burst up at the scene.

Hitvada News: Click to Enlarge

As it turned out, there were four boys in the car, all minors, around 17 years of age.  There was no question of having a driving license.  All these four boys are from super-rich families:  son of a businessman , of a builder, of an education industrialist, and of a renown surgeon.

ITI students are mostly from poor families, coming from outskirts of the city, with a dream to quick-earn a vocational diploma to help their families.  The parents of the two injured students can’t even afford the bills of Intensive Care Units of the private hospital where they were admitted by bystanders.

There is already a lot of meddling going on in the case.  Firstly, they tried to maintain that those boys were not driving the car, but a paid driver.  There also seems to be an ongoing effort to create confusion about the main culprit’s name, apparently to keep his original name off record.  This boy, who was driving the car, was named Sahil in yesterday’s newspaper; today there was a confusion whether he is Sahil or Salil.  One boy from that gang, son of the surgeon, was absconding till the last news came, and his father had switched off his mobile phone.  A simple Google search yesterday showed a twitter account of one of boys; now it shows the account does not exist.  Etc. etc.

Two lives lost.  Two are struggling with life and death in the intensive care units.  There must be the strongest possible punishment, both to the kids and their parents, more to send out a strong signal than to punish this individual act.  But, we already have too much lenient laws for road accidents, and money and take out a way of anything.  We don’t know if there will be any justice ever!

UPDATE (March 21, 2012):  We trust the police and it seems honest in its investigation.  The main accused was denied a bail and was sent to a juvenile observation home yesterday.  The court maintained that justice seen is as important as justice done.

Shivaji: Saffronization of a secular king

February 20, 2012

Yesterday was the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (1627-1680).  It was celebrated with great joy all over the Maharashtra and by all Marathi-speaking people wherever they are in some form or other.  Shivaji was one national hero of who is still revered by millions above cast and creed.  Indeed Shivaji is a towering name above all, and if you ask anyone to give just one name that binds all Marathi people together, it would be that of Shivaji without a second thought.

Let him remain as he was.  Don't color him saffron.

The popularity and greatness of Shivaji’s character have given rise to a typical phenomenon in the modern India.  Each and every ideological group want him colored in their own color, and unfortunately the far-right saffron Hindutva folks succeeded in it.  They distorted his image so much that he is almost deified as an incarnation of God who took birth “to save the Hindu people from the tyranny of Muslim rulers”; and this is far from truth.

This needs to be checked against historical facts and people should be made aware about this.  This has become more important in the post-1992 and post-Godhra India where Shivaji is again and again projected as a destroyer and enemy of Muslims.

(more…)

Mahatma Phule and Savitribai Phule

January 2, 2012

If you live in India, you must recognize this couple at a glance (and if you don’t, you should take a brick and split it on your head!  You deserve it).

(more…)

Of potatoes, eggs, Ahmadiyyas, and Pakistan

October 26, 2011

I was casually going through BBC News website last evening and found a news about a YouTube video “Aaloo Anday” (potatoes and eggs) getting viral popular in Pakistan. What so special about a video, first one by the unknown-until-now band, to be so popular that BBC making a news out of it. I watched the video on YouTube. It’s a satire on the current sociopolitical situation of Pakistan. It’s in Punjabi, I couldn’t get it’s meaning by mere listening to it. I further googled to get some insight. The video itself and the situation surrounding it have obsessed me so much that I had been thinking of it almost every moment since I watched it.

The video starts with three school-going-looking boys opening their lunch box finding the same “Aaloo Anday” in them as usual. They put off the lunch boxes and start with the song: “my mother has cooked aaloo and anday. I don’t like them. I want to each pieces of chicken.” The video further takes a hard stand on some tough issues in Pakistan. They talk of a country where Mumtaz Qadir (one who assassinated a liberal minister) is treated like a royal nawab, where Ajmal Kasab has become a national hero, and of a country where no one talks about Abdus Salam, the first Noble laureate from Pakistan who won Noble Prize for Physics in 1979.

Abdus Salam (1926–1996)

Dr. Abdus Salam

Although the most part of the song made only a little appeal to me (as I am not that aware of the situation there), I must give the guys full credit for talking about Abdus Salam.  Abdus Salam was one of the most important scientists Pakistan has ever produced. He belonged to Ahmadiyya community, which is declared non-muslim in Pakistan by law of the land. Ahmadiyya is a community within Islam that believes Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahamad (19th century) to be the Messiah and hence denies the finality of prophethood of Muhammad. They believe in the oneness of Allah, they believe Muhammad was a prophet of Allah, they believe Quran to be the book sent by Allah, but deny the finality of Muhammad as a Prophet. Pakistan has about 4 million of Ahmadiyya population; and these people are declared non-muslims by law.

And what does it really mean? By law, an Ahamadiyya cannot pose himself to be a muslim in Pakistan, or he can have a jail of up to 3 years. An Ahmadiyya cannot say “Assalam walaykum” to someone else; an Ahmadiyya cannot call their place of worship a “masjid”; an Ahmadiyya cannot keep a copy of Quran in his home; an Ahamadiyya cannot quote the verses of Quran in public; an Ahamadiyya can in no way pose himself to be a Muslim. Anyone who applies for a Pakistani passport has to sign an oath stating that Mirza Ghulam Ahamad was an imposter and not the prophet of Allah and his followers are in no way Muslims.

Ahmadiyya are often a target of social malignity in Pakistan. In 2010, there was a suicide bomb attack on a Ahmadiyya place of worship and about 100 people were killed.  Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called the deceased “our brothers” in his condolence speech.  Eleven political parties together have protested his calling Ahmadiyyas “our brothers.” The prejudice against Ahmadiyyas is so intense that they often try to keep their Ahmadiyya identity hidden in their social life. In short, Ahmadiyyas are the Jews of modern Pakistan and living in almost the same situation as the Jews were living in the early Nazi regime.

Grave of Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam (1926-1996) in ...

The gravestone of Dr. Abdus Salam. The words "Muslim" are removed by a judicial action.

Abdus Salam was a proud Pakistani and a Muslim. He went to receive his Noble award in the national dress of Pakistan. He had quoted a verse from Quran in his Noble speech. He departed from the country in protest when Pakistan declared Ahmadiyyas to be non-Muslims. Afterwards, he lived in United Kingdom. He kept constant contact with his motherland for all his life. He died in UK. His corpse was brought back to Pakistan and buried in his hometown. His gravestone read “He was the first Muslim Noble laureate.” This was unbearable in Pakistan. He was an Ahmadiyya; he cannot call himself a Muslim even after death. They dusted out the words “Muslim” from his gravestone by a judicial order leaving it to nonsensical “the first Noble laureate.” Every attempt was made to clean out his name from the public memory; even his hometown was renamed. And such an important public figure in Pakistan was rubbed out of history, just because he was an Ahmadiyya, a non-Muslim. The prejudice against Ahmadiyya is so intense in Pakistan that a blogger satirically wrote a public sentiment like “we can convert the Hindus and Christians to Islam; we do not want the Ahmadiyyas.”

One can easily make remarks against political leaders; they are soft targets. A little more courageous can talk even against the military, but to talk against the public sentiment–it takes a great deal (think what kind of comments those got here in India who argued against the Anna Hazare movement). The aaloo anday guys must be congratulated for taking up such an important issue. It may not change the situation in a while, but it can set start a debate. The video ends with the lead singer holding a placard “If you want a bullet through my head, like this video.” Unfortunately, it is really such a case in Pakistan. Take care guys, may God give you a long life.

It’s a hectic Diwali!

October 25, 2011

It’s Diwali.  I will be in the office tomorrow from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Hope all work gets done by then.  The next day, Thursday, a full working day, and in the evening I will be leaving for home for Bhau-beej.  I have applied for leave on Friday and Saturday.  Sunday will be an off.  Again, I will have to get back at work on Monday at 6:30 in the morning.

In between,  on Thursday night I will be leaving from here; will reach home on Friday morning.  Friday Bhau beej.  I will have Saturday free; planning to spend some time with Master; may be we’ll go on a little walk by the riverside, or a bike ride.  Again on Sunday, I will be on a way-back journey.  The trains and buses will be fully loaded, it’s a festival season.

And the distance–it’s about 328 km from here–to and fro 656 km; return journey may be by bus (yaack!! buses make me sick), just to reach office Monday on time.

It’s Diwali.  It wished there were no Diwali this year; I haven’t even done my shopping and I have literally nothing to wear tomorrow and I’ll have to reach office at 6:30 a.m.

Happy Diwali 😐

Codeine cough syrup abuse in Nagpur

October 23, 2011

I was quite disturbed when I had found an empty codeine cough syrup bottle lying in Reshimbag ground[1] a few months ago.  It was apparent from its overall appearance that it was gulped as a single dose, clearly for recreational use.  As a medical graduate, I know what codeine is, how dangerous are it’s side effects, and how addictive it can be!  Over the last few months, the number of such empty bottles lying there have significantly increased and you can find several bottles thrown there on any given day.

Opioid-containing cough syrup bottles found at Reshimbag Ground

Opioid cough syrup bottles at Reshimbag Ground

Codeine is an opioid drug, which is used for symptomatic treatment of pain, dry cough, or severe diarrhea.  It’s primarily an analgesic that also suppresses cough and causes constipation as a side effect.  It is used as a symptomatic treatment of a nonproductive dry cough where the cough is so harsh that it causes pain with continuous coughing, even vomiting with cough, or sometimes even a rib fracture with severe bout of cough.  It is never used with mild cough or the cough productive of sputum.

Codeine is a weak opioid as compared to morphine, but quite harmful on it own account.  Drug abusers use it for the temporary euphoria it gives, but it is addictive and can cause severe physical and mental side effects.  Codeine causes drowsiness, even confusion, and hampers the ability of an individual to perform complex actions needing coordination such as driving or operating heavy machinery.  The effects of codeine get even more severe if it is combined with alcohol or other benzodiazepine drugs; and the user–if driving or operating heavy machinery–can be a great harm to himself and others.  At higher doses, codeine can cause respiratory distress, which can be life-threatening.

Codeine is addictive.  It does not leave the abuser easily.  It causes severe withdrawal symptoms if attempted to quit suddenly, with severe physical symptoms–even greater than mental symptoms–acute appetite loss, constipation, shivering, and most importantly drowsiness.[2]

Codeine is a prescription drug and should be used only if really needed.  There are a lot many safe cough syrups available and codeine-containing stuffs should be reserved for only when they are really indicated.  The bottles found at Reshimbag Ground must apparently be bought from some nearby medical shop.  Such higher-than-average sale of an opioid agent must not go unnoticed by the authorities.  It is quite concerning that your youth can get such addictive opioid at just 68.20 rupees a bottle.

Easy availability of codeine can attract new users to experiment with it, and newbies can soon be habitual users.  It is too easy to get addicted; detox is too difficult.  We don’t have good detox facilities, and a complete detox would need at least a month’s inpatient stay in the hospital.  Hope the authorities would notice it soon and curb any unindicated/over-the-counter use of opioid drugs.

Notes:
1.  A well-known ground in Reshimbag, Nagpur, near Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha headquarters.
2.  See this personal experience by an addict on Yahoo Answers

Once I used to be a poet! (Another junk from my Outlook draft folder!)

August 31, 2011

They say once I used to be a poet. I have a diary full of poems I had written in my hostel days. Some of my poems were published in local newspapers, and one of them had gotten a wide critical acclaim. I still occasionally get messages, are you the same Ganesh Dhamodkar, the poet of that ghazal? I hesitantly say, yes, I am the same one, but it was a thing of past; I don’t write anymore! And practically, it was one of the very last poems of mine. My short poetic career ended just in less than a couple of years.

Why did I stop writing, in particular writing poems?

Mumbai Blasts: Some Obervations

July 14, 2011

Mumbai, the economic capital of India, shook with terror last evening with a series of near-simultaneous bomb attacks. I got this news on my twitter as a retweet by Omar Abdullah (@Abdullah_Omar) immediately after the second blast, when even the news media websites did not have any report. Till now, the death toll has reached to 20+ and my heart goes with the family who have lost some near and dear ones in those blasts.

But I intend to write about some of my observations on the social behavior of people during such time of crisis. People tweeted, and twitter was far ahead of any other social networking, and Facebook for that matter. People tweeted spreading the news, asking help, offering help, and retweeting the helpline numbers. Twitter was flooded with the hashtags, #MumbaiBlasts, #Happy2help, #EmergencyNumbers, etc. For example, some Tejas Tamhane tweeted just minutes after the blast, from Opera House, the venue of one of the blasts, “Anyone going towards Andhrei? Can you pick me from Opera House? #mumbaiblasts.” There were a lot of tweets offering help, as this one by some Dina, “Anyone stranded in Dadar west – contact me” with her phone number. Celebrities like Priyanka Chopra who has a large following base tweeted the police control room numbers etc.

Another kind of behavior I noted was of people who were out there just to create chaos. As Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) tweeted “The death toll has reached 21. What kind of animals commit such heinous acts?”, these stupid were prompt to suggest him that they were from his own fraternity, Islam. These people with apparently fundamentalist mentality were cheap enough to use bad words and **** for the whole Muslim community, and much more for the secular Indians, the prime minister, home minister, UPA chairperson, and Rahul Gandhi (e.g. using the terms naagin and sapola for Sonia and Rahul Gandhi respectively and using **** words for the Prime Minister of India). I too get one such reply on twitter all filled with F*** and Madar*** kind of words for just suggesting Javed Akhtar to ignore such comments.

Lastly, there was a rumor on all the social networks about it being the birthday of Ajmal Kasab (the only terrorist caught alive from the 26/11 Mumbai attacks) suggesting the link to the choice of date for the blasts (though this date is disputed, BBC and IBN Live suggesting it to be September 13. The Wikipedia article on Kasab underwent several edits just after the blasts and Kasab’s DOB was changed from September 13 to July 13). Many were expressing concerns over why he is still alive and why he was not shoot at the same time of the blasts. This is really a naïve question. Nine of his companions were killed in the police action. It was necessary to catch at least one of them alive and put him through the actual judicial process to let the world know who were the actual perpetrators of those attacks. Kasab’s case in the court has made many things clear. It was necessary to put those facts in front of the international community beyond doubt. Had Kasab been died in direct action, we would have only circumstantial evidences to prove he was a Pakistani. In court, he himself claimed this.

Finally, let’s pray for the families suffered. Their losses are immense, but may God bless them with courage to deal with it, and hope the government bring the culprits to justice soon.

Because you Love!

July 3, 2011

You… A Giant Tree at Hanuman Mandir, Laxminagar, Nagpur

You – grew such huge in a random giant – and she – tries to keep you tied – with a feeble thread!

 

Temple at Reshimbag NIT Garden

You – on a homeless Sunday afternoon – slept here – on a municipality bench!

 A Tree at NIT Garden Reshimbag

You – and this friend made your life a bit comfortable – shielding you from the Nagpur heat!

You – oh dear friend – how can you cover me all from in this heat!  And how can I just say thank you and get away?

 The Way to Grotto of the Lady of Lourdes, Nagpur.

You – made me dream – this road – leads to God!

A scene at Grotto, Nagpur

You – Oh dear – reflect me in your heart – to make me more beautiful.

Greenary at Grotto, Nagpur

You – made me realize – this is called life!

Jesus on Cross at Grotto, Nagpur.

You – Oh my love – you must suffer on the cross – and must be crowned – because you love!

Just another Sunday!

June 12, 2011

It is not mandatory to write something on a daily basis.  I have quite been in a down mood today.  The day was all boring one (excluding exceptions).  Working on Sundays really feels like hell, and I had stomach pain all the day (thanks to the samosa I had had instead of lunch).

So the great news is Ramdev Baba has ended his fast at the request of Sri Sri Ravishankar, just like we had talked a couple days ago.  It was almost final at the very moment when Ravishankar proposed to placate Baba Ramdev.  It was like “I will sit on a fast, you come and ask me to end it, and we both will get hype.”

So the Ramdev Baba drama has finished now and we don’t need to talk about it anymore.  So what shall we talk about?  Just took a paracetamol/dicyclomine tablet a while ago, hope it would make me feel better, and I need to sleep to.  As usual, Sunday has gotten spoiled with whatever reason, this or that, and I have a full week ahead to work.

Okays 🙂 I will try and make my mood better, will try to solve some interesting math problems.  It really works, makes me to feel better, and I am sleepy too.  Really want a fresh morning tomorrow 🙂

P.S.  I am eating a mango like a monkey 🙂