Sunday, December 13, 2009

Before I log off…..for a while

I intended to do this post few days earlier, but my computer crashed and I had to wait for few days. This year will come to an end (thankfully) on December 31st, and I am sure many of you like me are relieved that it is finally coming to an end.

Year 2009 had been bad on me, to that extent that it gave few of the rudest jolts that I ever got. I lost my training in recession and still to gather one. I fell to jaundice and am still suffering from weakness. And it is the year in which I truly felt the meaning of being alone, lonely. It had days like when I called eight different people (or friends) in a span of 4 minutes and no one picked up the phone. It had days when an initial sense of optimism ended up being a cruel joke. It had days when I truly felt I am rusting.

But among all these dark clouds of pollution, there were silver linings. There was a marriage of a very good friend of mine, first in our group. And there were many other things (like Farmville and mafia wars) and there was blogging, which truly gave me respite from what I was going through.

Among my old buddies who stick through me during these testing times, and making it possible as far as they can that I am not alone. I must thank my blogger friends who through their comments kept encouraging me to give out some more. Particularly I must thank Mridula and Megha for regularly commenting in my posts, that comments of your made me kept writing. And Mridula your comment on my last post in previous year is what had motivated me to write on because at that time I know I have a reader. THANK YOU ALL.

And now before I log off for a while, as when world will be partying I will be giving my examinations, I seek your blessings and wishes.

Wishing You All a Very Happy New Year and Merry Christmas



PS: I will be back on Jan 3

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

India's contribution to Climate Change

The smoke emitting from the pit

It nearly white out

And still we are getting used to it

How Green was my plain or was it ever

The Sanitation officer

These pictures were taken on November 26,2009 from the balcony of my h
ouse to highlight how seriou
s we actually are, as a country and as a society towards the problem of climate change.
The big black spot here is a pit which was originally dug for creating a lake to conserve rain water. But after protest by the nearby residents the plan was shelved and instead it was created to produce compost. But such is the
education and empowerment levels of Indi
a's Government employees (or Sanitation Workers) that irrespective of a Supreme Court order towards
prohibition of burning dry leaves a twigs, still they are burned out quite openly, without even thinking the
gases it emit are one of the premier causes of lung diseases of which people will eventually die.

I might be sounding sarcastic and virile, but it is fact, and to this major contribution is also from common men like us who would prefer to plead innocence in the guise of ignorance. But the fact is in spite of erratic monsoon and strange weather patterns (it is raining in the deserts and even is December Delhi is facing problem of dengue) we are not learning anything, except demanding more.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mera No. 1

So you all might be savoring the moment where Indian cricket team became No. 1 in the world test ranking. Well, enjoy, I also liked the moment.

But hey!...Relax..

Take a Break

Another news from Down under

Australian Hockey team won Champions Trophy (a premier hockey tournament consisting only top 6 teams of Hockey) for a record 10th time.

And we are still tanning under the sun of winning 8 Olympic golds won 50 years back.

And in Cricket position is still uncertain

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Views on World AIDS Day

At the very onset I must admit I never cared much about this day. Even today I have being made to write this article out of compulsion created by an event I saw today for the first time in the conservative locality of ours. Otherwise this day would have passed just like any other day, or if I were at any Institute or University it would be a day of teasing. Having said that, I must admit, I felt much better today after watching people of my age (or slightly lesser) commemorating the day by bringing out a march.

It was morning and I was walking back to my home from the Bank. I heard the beating of drums, not unusual during this part of year because of marriage season, in the road. But as I walked ahead, what I saw really astounded me; variety of people from various racial stocks, North Indians, Caucasians, Mongoloids, Negroes, Dravidians dancing up to music emanating from the drums and bands. They were not only holding placards and shouting, but also riding on the tractor-trailers and mini-trucks by the help of various art forms informing about the scourge of this epidemic. Many of them were throwing up condoms in the air which were being picked up by the kid (they may be use them as balloons). And those elders on whom these ‘rubbers’ fell were too embarrassed to pick them up, I won’t blame them, even for me it would be rather embarrassing to pick them up. But more importantly it was the message which they wanted to convey is what drove the point.

The ruling of Delhi High Court decision legalizing Homosexuality could have being the motivating factor for such march in our locality. Usually confined to Central Districts of Delhi and ‘Red light’ areas, these demonstrations usually draw the ire of middle-class which views them as unethical. However, this time it was different, it broke that mental barrier and came out in full force. There might be few (or many) homosexuals who where there in the demonstration expressing themselves without being persecuted by law (unless the decision of HC is overruled) trying to spread awareness. I am happy to say that because awareness is all that we require and it is not just for HIV positive.

Now to conclude, it is not just matter of wearing badges and shouting in the street. It’s the matter of speaking out, making oneself being heard loud and clear. Problem is known so is the solution, therefore let’s give our best to solve it, in our own little ways. Little ways, that can make big difference.

© Tarun Mitra

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Never Learning from Mistakes

Sometimes I find myself questioning: why is it so that our country finds itself in a same position in which it had once being earlier? Why in every global negotiation we love to play the second fiddle? Why every time we let others take initiative on our behalf? Why all time in the scope of multilateral and bilateral negotiations we loved to see our asses being kicked and then complaint about ‘discrimination by the developed countries’.

It had had happened earlier. It had happened earlier. It has happened earlier. And it is happening now; in the field of Doha Trade Talks and Copenhagen Climate negotiations. I was not thinking to write something on Multilateral Negotiations until I stumbled upon this article written by Mr. Anil Padmanabhan, Deputy Managing Editor of Mint.

The article argues and I quote:

“The big question is, what is Plan A and what is Plan B for India. If a united stand of emerging economies is India’s Plan A, then it is going to once again fall into a familiar trap; trusting China or any other country in such a crucial negotiation, where self-interest is paramount, would be na├»ve, to say the least. If its voluntary actions are Plan A, then it begs the question as to why India had to wait to make its proclamation well after the US-which till a month ago held the dubious distinction of being the worst polluter and also a non-signatory to the previous deal on climate change- and China made their claims.

….A debate in parliament-it would have also underlined our democratic credentials-could have helped the UPA generate political consensus on an issue which will be critical to current and future generations of Indians. What was the UPA thinking? More importantly, will we ever learn?”

These two paragraphs summarize our position. We always chose to ride on a rudderless ship while pawning our sovereignty to other countries. Last week it was China, after visit of the US President Barack Obama, voluntarily decided (not binding) to cut the emissions. This gave a huge jolt, why, because we weren’t prepared. We thought just like any other time talks will be stalled. But our leaders failed to comprehend what will be India’s position in the global arena if it keeps playing this stalling game, either willingly or unwillingly.

I won’t like to get into the specifics, either of Doha Trade Round or of Copenhagen Climate Summit. But yet focus on the mistakes that we are committing in the myriad field of international negotiation. A Diplomat once has remarked “I love to debate with my Indian counterparts they remind me of my college days. But the Koreans and Chinese bring me a deal”. This clearly indicates what type of negotiations we do, instead of being a proactive voice, raising concern for one-sixth of humanity; we try to become a Trade Unionist for the so called emerging economy. Instead of focusing on our own requirement and our own plus points, we tend to behave like a herd, and at the climax the herd leaves us. Stuff like that happened in WTO talks few years ago when Global Media painted India as a stumbling block.

I was not born at that time, but have read that while writing the Constitution of India views of the common citizen was sought. A similar approach is required while drafting any policy for multilateral negotiations. Self interest is paramount when it concerns the world stage; Hindu philosophy of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbha’ doesn’t exist there. It is each country of itself. It is not the ideology but the practicality of the situation with our own position in this regard that matters. It is all about how much we take in without giving out much. And even if it is giving out much, that should be for ‘our’ own benefit. Our position must be clear and within the country must be backed up by a strong consensus. This is where the role of the Parliament comes in.

Parliament is not only a place where laws are made, it is also a placed where issues regarding national interests are discussed, debated and formulated. However, for the last few years what we have seen is that policies regarding national importance are being drafted at the Prime Minister’s Office, or at Party office of the ruling coalition (days of single party majority are over) or at the offices of the minister concerned. And the when the policy is placed before the parliament, either the opposition walks out for any non-issue or government, with its brutal majority and power of whip, speedily passes the bill. The net result, the input which could have being made to the bill, the discrepancies which could have being bought out, and eligible leader which could be found through the debates are left out of the main policy. We are always termed as an imperfect democracy, and this is one of the reasons.

To conclude, it would be essential for us to fight it out for ourselves. Instead of piggybacking others, our policies should reflect our need and must be clearly enunciated, without waiting what others are offering. If we keep playing second fiddle, then we must forgo the greatness which we use casually to describe our country.

© Tarun Mitra