Insight Mahiprasad

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Noble Award for a Noble Cause

The month January is the time for rhapsodizing by the nation on who would be the recipient for the highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. It is announced by the Prime Minister, on the Republic Day, the 26th every year, except that few years when the award was not given.

This year, the discussion came into being when BJP leader L.K.Advani proposed the name of Atal Behari Vajpayee. Though the country at large venerates the larger than life persona of Vajpayee, the CPM, currently holding the lever of the Government, could not digest the name proposed by Advani. They had their name ready, the nonagenarian leader of their party, the die - hard communist Jyoti Basu. Mayavati is one leader whom you can find in all the rings, ready to poke her nose in all major activities, creator of a good conundrum. She also could not hold back in proposing the name of Late Kashi Ram.

Thus, the selection of Bharat Ratna becomes an akhara, and the eminent nominees look like langhot – clad Indian wrestlers. It’s a shame for the nation which our leaders never comprehend. Over the years, this great award has been given a la the same way as we elect our highest civilian and military head, the President. Though we had so many distinguished personalities in sight, we have elected Pratibha Patil as our President only a few months back. On the other day, I listened to few eminent people describing their nominees for the highest award. M.S. Sathyu said, a recipient should be from different fields having distinguished careers, but politicians should be considered only posthumously. MAK Pataudi opined that a distinguished personality may be considered, only when the person elevates himself to one above his career. A decent point he has made. Many laureates said that the politicians should be debarred from this award; for they are the ones who have degraded the honour of this award over the years. Then Manu Sanghvi, an eminent lawyer and congress spokesman pleaded that in a democracy it would not be prudent to discard any one section of the society. He said, politicians are blamed for every wrong, but won't be eulogized for their good work. My favourite columnist Nalini Singh does not want the award be given to anyone for the sake of giving every year. She would rather wait for a few years and locate a person of a stature of Buddha or Gandhi and honour him with the award. To her, it's a rarest honour, and should be given to the rarest of rare.

Though a small man I am, I have my opinion in this regard. If we consider this award as the rarest one, it should be available to all the 1.2 billion Indians, and not amongst the few distinguished and eminent people. I believe there are many people in our country who are one above others, sacrificing, contributing, caring and visionaries, but have never been eulogized, or awarded. Mother Teresa was one like that. No one in India recognized her before she gets the Nobel Prize. We have so many ratnas lying in the dust. If we really wish to honour Bharat Ratna and our nation Bharat in particular, we need to grope incessantly through the villages and towns and am sure could find out the Real Ratna. Otherwise let the Bharrat Ratnas be given to one another in the form of requital, and in the course of time people will regard this award as hooey.

Putrefactive BCCI

India won the Third Test at Perth, beating Australia in all the departments of the game. The country is overwhelmed with joy and the euphoria is conspicuous. The pundits, on the eve of celebration, have declared that the revenge was taken against them, and this is just. It's true. Our players have indeed thrashed them in front of their own crowd, and made the cricket lovers comprehend, who the better team is, unless bias umpiring comes in between to conspire against.

All seem fine, but don't we feel still cheated by the BCCI? What have they done? No concrete measures have been taken as yet. Who will ask them for this inaction? The players are subjugated by the BCCI and we know that they cannot question them. The BCCI could have registered their grievances for the impoliteness of the Aussie players to the ACB, in addition to make pleas before the ICC. When a child misbehaves, the matter is first taken to its parent, and that sometimes gives good results. In the same fashion, the BCCI should have brought the matter in writing to ACB with contempt. But that never happened. They are there to make money and live a glamorous life only. One now feels, that the matter be taken to court by some apt person and plea for seeking the removal of the current putrid BCCI members for the dereliction of duty. No one is above the law and the nation in particular.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Out of Nowhere

Recently a rumour is floating around the air in Raisina Road and its surroundings. This goes as the Government of India plans to increase the age of superannuation of its employees to 62 years.

1996 onwards, the Govt. takes up the policy of austerity, in which the job in the Govt. and in public sectors were pruned. The services were reviewed incessantly, and many posts were curtailed, in accordance with the policy of the Govt. The then Finance Minister and the present incumbent Mr. P. Chidambaram was one of the architects of this new theory. The Media whole-heartedly supported him for reducing the job in the Govt. sector. In reality, the job of the poor peons, clerks, assistants were trimmed. New recruitments in these posts became negligible. Over the years, the lower-middle-class people of the urban society suddenly lost their hereditary occupation and silent tears welled up from their eyes. No one was there to console them, because they were not vote banks in the eyes of any political parties. As of now, senior officials are not touched. In few years time, the number of IAS officers would be more than clerks and peons added together. The money spent on IAS officers are manifolds and thoroughly extravagant in relation to the output they contribute. Is the Finance Minister or the Govt of India really thinks about austerity? Or are they all eyewash, only to cash in on the huge fund and apportion it generously amongst the higher echelon of the society, at the cost of lower middle class people of the urban society? Or they are interested in bullying petty clerks and peons, and made secretive plans to throw them away from the Ministerial corridors, as the slogan went before the Emergency in 1975, "Garibi Hatao", only to bury the garibs.

If the rumour has authenticity, what is the moot purpose of the Govt. in increasing the age of retirement? Earlier, when the Govt. had increased the age of retirement to 60 years, it was presumed that by virtue of delaying retirement, the then Govt. had manoeuvred to save a good amount of money by delaying pensionary benefits to the immediate retirees. But why now? The Govt. coffer is full to the brim and there is no way the Govt. cannot pay their dues on time. Then, can we cook up that the Govt. plans to appease the whole babudom, who had indeed voted them in the last election, in order to pacify their irate feelings towards the policy of the current Govt. just before the imminent general election?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cricket Fiasco

There is a lot of hue and cry over the drama that enacted out of the Sydney Test. India lost the match. People in India at large were aghast and felt cheated by the way Ausie players and the Umpires had behaved on the field. BCCI chief Sharad Pawar and his coterie, though late, but could feel the pulse of the masses and were buoyed up. Rajiv Shukla, the portly omnipotent spokesperson of BCCI, immediately surfaced on the screen, time and again, to rant and chant all false promises, viz. "we would appeal in favour of Harbhajan to ICC", "umpire Bucknoor must be dropped from the remaining series of India-Australia Tests", "Brad Hogg has intimated Kumble and Dhoni on the ground and so a case would be registered against Hogg before ICC", "Indian Team would not move out of Sydney until suitable decisions come in favour of India", so much, so forth.

A week passed by. On the eve of Ponting-Kumble meeting before the Perth Test, Indian captain Anil Kumble withdrew the cases against Hogg. On the same day, BCCI green signaled Team India to forge ahead. However, in the same evening, Aussie captain Ponting ruefully condescended by reminding that India would now have to face the ferocity of their speedstar Lee and Taut to save their skin and bones, as the pitch favours the pace attack.

Peace was laid down. Though it hurts, but the truth is, even outside the field, India lost to Australia. What is the outcome then? In nutshell, India cowed down meekly, when the whole nation stood defiantly to challenge the rough behaviour of Australian players and the biased umpiring. The Nation looked upon its leader, the BCCI, to take the lead, which in turn dumped them. The Test Match in Perth has resumed. So, has the real face of our leadership in the BCCI unveiled once again? What a shame!

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