My space

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A More Reserved Nation

The reservation debate simply refuses to die down.The reason; our politicians seem to be toying with the word so much, I feel Congress/UPA will be best remembered for all the reservation conundrum it has got into during its ongoing stint.

When I wrote the last post on reservation, the issue was reservation in IIT and IIM and other centrally funded institutions.After hue and cry from the 'Upper caste' students, they reached a solution of implementing reservations for OBC seperately without eating into seats for general category.Then came discussions on reservation for minorities.

Day by day, we are adding more and more people to reserved list, I wonder who is left in the general category.A few souls like me who had the misfortune to be born in this country as upper caste. I never thought it would be a crime to be born as an upper caste in India.The Government is making sure they are penalising some people for some crimes some one had done generations earlier.

Now the latest is reservation in private sector.Some ministers like Meira Kumar, Paswan, Antulay and Kamal Nath have donned the role of playing champions for the down trodden cause.They are so convinced that reserving jobs in private sector will solve all problems of the down trodden and backward. They have even threatened that if private sector does not bring reservations, there will be legislation to make it forceful.And please note, this is despite the fact that the private sector industries have promised to take affirmative action for the poor and backward by providing them education and honing up their skills.This is what is called killing the goose which lays the golden egg.Just because the Government has failed in all aspects of administration including upliftment of backward castes, pass the buck to some one else. How easy to do that!!

The private sector gives importance to only talent, a candidate is never asked which caste or religion he belongs to.There is no separate treatment for upper castes and lower castes.The UPA with its divide and rule policy is all set to change this.Dont be surprised 5 years down the lane, if people start asking your caste.The appraisals will be based on caste, promotions and remuneration based on caste.There might be legislations that only SC/ST and OBC should be given top ratings and salaries and upper caste should be left to languish for the crimes their forefathers committed.Well, dont worry, such a situation will never arise as industries will pack from India and move to elsewhere in the world where talent alone is respected.What does the Government think, it can simply increase its stranglehold on the private sector and they will sit and see the drama.Most of the private sector people are business men and they want good talent to take their business forward, they are not working for charity.Imagine the loss of jobs concurred on India if they move out from here.Does not the Government have any sense.Or they lose it when elections come near and vote banks become more important than life.

Please spare private sector from this futile exercise of reservation.It is not a solution for any damn social injustice.Empowering people with education from grass root levels is the only solution.Unless Government is willing to do it, please dont force other people who work for the economic devlopment of this country to make senseless and forceful decisions.Dont kill the proverbial goose which lays the golden egg.

PS: Next time any so called backwards have any problem related to anything, please contact the Government.They have devised a new 'RESERVATION TOOL' to solve any problem of any kind.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Clean-whats that?

Cleanliness is next to Godliness - Whoever said this, the saying does not seem to go well with Indians.May be it is not appropriate to generalise this, but yes a large section of our society is blissfully unaware of words like cleanliness or civic sense or hygiene.I am just attempting to highlight the civic sense or rather the lack of it amongst Indians as I see, day after day.

Sample the following scenarios:

1)RED RAIN: You are riding a bike and suddenly red color thing is sprayed on your crisp white shirt you had saved for board meeting.And before you get all scientific and think it might be acid rain, just look up at the bus near you.In all probability the red spray was the by product of some person eating PAAN and spitting in whichever place they thought it is convenient.Is it their fault that they eat PAAN, they cant carry a mobile SPITBIN you see.Anyways for most of the people, spitting is like a hobby here.Once I was slowly walking from my bus stop to home.There was a lady walking just 5-10 m ahead of me and for every 10 m she walked she was spitting on the road without even seeing if somebody is passing by.

2)FAG TROUBLE: Yeah, these are the next menace. People who cant give up cigarettes even if they are going to a hospital.Some people smoke so much in public places I wonder if some competition is on.And they cant just stay stationary and smoke.They have to walk while smoking( note its not smoke while walking), ride bikes while smoking and I dont know what.No consideration for people walking on roads or other vehicles on road. I even saw one expert who was riding on one of the busiest roads with a mobile transfixed between his ear and shoulder and cigarette in other hand.In all these things we are more than capable of proving our expertise.

3)GARBAGE RELOADED:We talk about mosquito menace and fatal diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya.One look around where we stay and we wont have second thoughts on how much susceptible we are to such diseases.We dont have concept of garbage bin as world is our Garbage BIN.We just dump our waste wherever there is free space even if it means some body else's vacant plot.Or we just literally let it down the drain.The road to my house has a small place where all the possible garbage from the area is dumped.The stench is so horrible that scientific community must have to start thinking of inventing nose clips or filters.Who cares but, people from the most posh houses there also indulge in this.Even hotels, road side eateries all have public property as dumpyard.People buy snacks, eat like gluttons with that loud crunching noise and drop the remains and cover on the road. How convenient!!

4)MESSY LOO: Have you ever tried public toilets anywhere in India , especially bus stations or railway stations.If you have tried out of necessity, there is high probability you wont try it once again.They are the most unhygienic places in the entire universe.No regular cleaning, no water nothing.And even taking a long train journey is a pain in the neck.The toilet is just going to be absolute mess and that stench can make anybody pray to lose their smelling sense.Even the pay and use ones are just marginally better.Even if the people who manage it clean it regularly , people make sure they leave their marks behind.aaargghhh.Its no surprise that in the matter of sanitation, India lags behind countries like Bangladesh.When people have public places for sanitation purpose and all other dumping purpose, what to expect.

These are some of the very common problems we encounter in India.Now before we start bashing illeterate people for making country unclean, its a fact that most people indulging in such uncivic behaviour are well educated.How come Indians who behave so irresponsibly here go and obey rules like no spitting, no smoking in a country like Singapore.Then we go and blame Government for not cleaning the place and blah blah.I believe as citizens we all are equally responsible for keeping the country clean and hygienic, whether its road, public toilets or any public place like parks or hotels.Unless Indians have a change in mindset of preserving public property and doing their best to keep places dirt and pollution free, we cant expect anything to change.There is no magic broom to clean out all the mess we have created.Remember charity begins at home.Unless we learn importance of cleanliness and have some civic sense, Dengue and Chikungunya and malaria will continue to haunt us for generations to come.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Narendra Nele - An unusual day

24th september 2006 would have passed like any other Sunday lazing up at home or doing household chores or shopping, but it was not meant to be that way. It was the day when We, a set of around 25 volunteers from ANZ decided to do something for the society.The place we had chosen was a 'Nele' (Narendra Nele) - I think it means Home in Kannada and no name could have been more appropriate for this centre which has been a home to 60 odd destitute and homeless children.In fact it was more than a home for those hapless and innocent kids who had been abandoned by fate, it was their passport to a better life.

We reached the place at around 10.00 and it was one of the most modest places we have seen.Just a godown turned into a really liveable environment.We were greeted by some warm and nice people who offered us a simple, but nice breakfast.We had brought some fruits for the children.The children from other Neles - Nivedita Nele for girls and Namma Nele for boys above 12 years of age were also present. The whole place was very well kept with pictures of all eminent personalities.Should admit we had a lesson or two to be learnt from these small children who had kept the shoe rack so tidy.

Next in line was a really and absolutely wonderful performance by these kids which included dance, music, Yoga and Sanskrit recitals.It really was exhilarating and hurting at the same time to see the children performing.They were real powerhouses of talent , but they needed sponsors to cultivate their talents, to be respected people in the society.The trust which owns the Nele was doing a good job, but their resources are also limited and they needed more sponsors to take these kids's life forward.

After the performances and speeches from the management of the Nele , we headed off for a lunch , again very modest in nature but tasty nevertheless.And after lunch only we got to interact with the kids and swear it was not easy to manage 90 plus bundle of energies.We had drawing,crafts, dodgeball, carrom and magic tricks arranged for these highly enthusiastic children.They were running, fighting, screaming and were all over the place. Quite different from the disciplined children we met in the morning.We interacted with them and entertained them with games and fun for 2-3 hours.The girls, should admit, were a very quiet and obedient lot compared to the hyper active guys.Some of the drawings these kids made were to say the least, amazing, very artistic in nature and usage of colours.

And then it was time for evening tea for us and milk for children.We distributed the prizes for drawing competition for winners amidst the clamouring of other children who did not win.We also distributed all the goodies we got for them like erasers, pencils, sketch pens, crayons, books, CDs, tapes etc.

It was time for us to leave,we just assured them that we will be back again and will spend time with them and left the place with a mixed feeling of content and sadness in our hearts. Content for utilising some time of our lives in doing something meaningful and sadness thinking about scores of such children who are still loitering in the streets for one square meal. May be organistaions like this should come more and we as responsible and priviledged citizens should contribute both in terms of time and money to light up a little world or two.