A Quote for life!

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for Insects

Robert A Heinlein
(American science-fiction writer,1907-1988)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jan Lokpal Bill

What is this Jan Lokpal Bill over which we are seeing this entire movement started by Anna Hazare? To know this, we need to first know what the Lokpal Bill is. Lets start with what Bapu said, decades ago!

“Corruption will be out one day, however much one may try to conceal it: and the public can as its right and duty, in every case of justifiable suspicion, call its servants to strict account, dismiss them, sue them in a law court, or appoint an arbitrator or inspector to scrutinize their conduct, as it likes.”
-Mahatma Gandhi (1928)

Lokpal Bill

The word Lokpal means an ombudsman in Hindi. The word has been derived from the Hindi words "lok" (people) and "pal" (protector/caretaker). So word lokpal means 'Protector of people'. The concept of Lokpal has been drawn up ostensibly to root out corruption at high places the prevailing in Indian polity.

India is a country where honesty and integrity in public and private life have been glorified and upheld in great epics such as the Vedas, Upanishads and in the books and practices of every religion practiced here.

Yet, India today is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Bringing public servants under a scanner which makes them strictly accountable is the start of a movement against corruption in India. And one significant step in attacking the spectra of corruption in India will be the implementation of the Lokpal bill.

The Lokpal Bill drafted by the government has languished in the Rajya Sabha for 42 years. The first Lokpal Bill was passed in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969 but could not get through in Rajya Sabha. Subsequently, Lokpal bills were introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008. Yet none of these bills were ever passed.

Jan Lokpal Bill

Lokpal Bill has been introduced eight times in Parliament since 1968. All the eight versions have been very weak. Even these weak versions have not been passed so far because Lokpal Bill seeks to investigate politicians.

The movement for Jan Lokpal Bill started due to the resentment because of the serious differences between the draft Lokpal Bill 2010 prepared by the government and the Jan Lokpal Bill prepared by the members of this movement, which has received significant public support. The current lack of any laws to curb endemic corruption has made the need for the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Salient features of proposed Jan Lokpal Bill

  1. An institution called LOKPAL at the centre and LOKAYUKTA in each state will be set up.
  2. Like Supreme Court and Election Commission, they will be completely independent of the governments. No minister or bureaucrat will be able to influence their investigations.
  3. Cases against corrupt people thus will not linger on for years. Investigations in any case will have to be completed in one year. Trial should be completed in next one year so that the corrupt politician, officer or judge is sent to jail within two years.
  4. The loss that a corrupt person caused to the government will be recovered at the time of conviction.
  5. Help to common citizen: If any work of any citizen is not done in prescribed time in any government office, Lokpal will impose financial penalty on guilty officers, which will be given as compensation to the complainant.
  6. One could approach Lokpal if your ration card or passport or voter card is not being made or if police is not registering your case or any other work is not being done in prescribed time. Lokpal will have to get it done in a month’s time. You could also report any case of corruption to Lokpal like ration being siphoned off, poor quality roads been constructed or panchayat funds being siphoned off. Lokpal will have to complete its investigations in a year, trial will be over in next one year and the guilty will go to jail within two years.
  7. Government appointing corrupt and weak people as Lokpal members won’t be possible because its members will be selected by judges, citizens and constitutional authorities and not by politicians, through a completely transparent and participatory process.
  8. The entire functioning of Lokpal/Lokayukta will be completely transparent. Any complaint against any officer of Lokpal shall be investigated and the officer dismissed within two months.
  9. The existing anti-corruption agencies CVC, departmental vigilance and anti-corruption branch of CBI will be merged into Lokpal. Lokpal will have complete powers and machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
  10. It will be the duty of the Lokpal to provide protection to those who are being victimized for raising their voice against corruption.

For more information and to support the cause, please visit:
India Against Corruption

(Sources: Lokpal Bill, Jan Lokpal Bill)


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Anna Hazare's Letter to PM

Full Text of the letter sent by
Anna Hazare to Dr. Manmohan Singh

India Against Corruption
A-119, Kaushambi, Ghaziabad . 201010. UP Ph: 09868069953

Date: April 6, 2011


Dr. Manmohan Singh,
Hon'ble Prime Minister of India
New Delhi

Dear Dr. Singh,

I have started my indefinite fast at Jantar mantar. I had invited you also to fast and pray for a corruption free India on 5th April. Though I did not receive any reply from you, I am hopeful that you must have done that.

I am pained to read and hear about government's reaction to my fast. I consider it my duty to clarify the points raised on behalf of Congress party and the government by their spokespersons, as they appear in media:

1. It is being alleged that I am being instigated by some people to sit on this fast. Dear Manmohan Singh ji, this is an insult to my sense of wisdom and intelligence. I am not a kid that I could be "instigated" into going on an indefinite fast. I am a fiercely independent person. I take advice from many friends and critics, but do what my conscience directs me to do. It is my experience that when cornered, governments resort to such malicious slandering. I am pained that the government, rather than addressing the issue of corruption, is trying to allege conspiracies, when there are none.

2. It is being said that I have shown impatience. Dear Prime Minister, so far, every government has shown complete insensitivity and lack of political commitment to tackling corruption. 62 years after independence, we still do not have independent and effective anti-corruption systems. Very weak versions of Lokpal Bill were presented in Parliament eight times in last 42 years. Even these weak versions were not passed by Parliament. This means, left to themselves, the politicians and bureaucrats will never pass any law which subjects them to any kind of objective scrutiny. At a time, when the country has witnessed scams of unprecedented scale, the impatience of the entire country is justified. And we call upon you, not to look for precedents, but show courage to take unprecedented steps.

3. It is being said that I have shown impatience when the government has "initiated" the process. I would urge you to tell me - exactly what processes are underway?

a. You say that your Group of Ministers are drafting the anti-corruption law. Many of the members of this Group of Ministers have such a shady past that if effective anticorruption systems had been in place, some of them would have been behind bars. Do you want us to have faith in a process in which some of the most corrupt people of this country should draft the anti-corruption law?

b. NAC sub-committee has discussed Jan Lokpal Bill. But what does that actually mean? Will the government accept the recommendations of NAC sub-committee? So far, UPA II has shown complete contempt for even the most innocuous issues raised by NAC.

c. I and many other friends from India Against Corruption movement wrote several letters to you after 1st December. I also sent you a copy of Jan Lokpal Bill on 1st December. We did not get any response. It is only when I wrote to you that I will sit on an indefinite fast, we were promptly invited for discussions on 7th March. I wonder whether the government responds only to threats of indefinite fast. Before that, representatives of India Against Corruption had been meeting various Ministers seeking their support for the Jan Lokpal Bill. They met Mr Moily also and personally handed over copy of Jan Lokpal to him. A few hours before our meeting with you, we received a phone call from Mr Moily's office that the copy of Jan Lokpal Bill had been misplaced by his office and they wanted another copy. This is the seriousness with which the government has dealt with Jan Lokpal Bill.

d. Dear Dr Manmohan Singh ji, if you were in my place, would you have any faith in the aforesaid processes? Kindly let me know if there are any other processes underway. If you still feel that I am impatient, I am happy that I am because the whole nation is feeling impatient at the lack of credible efforts from your government against corruption.

4. What are we asking for? We are not saying that you should accept the Bill drafted by us. But kindly create a credible platform for discussions . a joint committee with at least half members from civil society suggested by us. Your spokespersons are misleading the nation when they say that there is no precedent for setting up a joint committee. At least seven laws in Maharashtra were drafted by similar joint committees and presented in Maharashtra Assembly. Maharashtra RTI Act, one of the best laws of those times, was drafted by a joint committee. Even at the centre, when 25,000 tribals came to Delhi two years ago, your government set up a joint committee on land issues within 48 hours. You yourself are the Chairperson of that committee. This means that the government is willing to set up joint committees on all other issues, but not on corruption. Why?

5. It is being said that the government wants to talk to us and we are not talking to them. This is utterly false. Tell me a single meeting when you called us and we did not come. We strongly believe in dialogue and engagement. Kindly do not mislead the country by saying that we are shunning dialogue. We request you to take some credible steps at stemming corruption. Kindly stop finding faults and suspecting conspiracies in our movement. There are none. Even if there were, it does not absolve you of your responsibilities to stop corruption.

With warm regards,

(K B Hazare)



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Inspiring interviews of fellow bloggers

Well, many of us get inspired by many things around us. However, it is a known fact that success has always inspired people the most. Hence, reading about success is always helpful to lift our mood. It gets no bigger when you read about success from the horse’s mouth; from them who have achieved it.

We bloggers always look for people who have been successful in blogging and try to imitate them too. It will be very good if we can speak to those people who have been successful, blogging and can tell us a tip or two to do better in ours.

Blogadda has put together an interview series with 21 successful bloggers. Now, you can read what they say about their own success. There have been 4 episodes out already and I came to know now! Poorly so, but I am happy that I can read them now.

Better be late than never!

Go ahead and read what these well-known Indian bloggers have to say about their success story while blogging. The following links give you direct access to the interview series at Blogadda.

Interview with 21 popular Indian bloggers
  1. PART I
  2. PART II
  4. PART IV

I have read a few and I am reading them all now. Do you know any of these? Check out...

Happy reading; hope this helps!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

I am World # 1

On the second of April, 2011 in Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, India, the Indian cricket team recreated history when they defeated a vibrant Sri Lankan cricket team, in the finals of the One Day International World Cup 2011 championship. India is now the number one cricket team in the world. We are the champions! We are the # 1, and so am I!

The world cup this time, started on 19th of February and the opening game was between India and Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I remember me and my wife in front of the TV watching the players come together for the national anthems. Probably this was the first time that two nations who were competing with each other, were singing their respective national anthems, both of which were written by the same person, Rabindranath Tagore. Probably we felt it more because we are Bengalis too, and it was a proud moment for Bengalis, either side of the border.

The first ball of the tournament was hit for a four, by Sehwag and India won, as expected. Since then, there were lots of happenings in the world cup. India won after 28 years of long wait. Sachin Tendulkar, at the end of his grand career would have expected nothing more than this. He successfully achieved his greatest dream and he said, “This is the proudest moment of my life!” The small personal medal he got yesterday, for being the world champions along with the other team members, probably is the most prized possession of the little champion in his entire cricketing life. This made his career a perfect one, with almost all the batting records under his belt, Sachin is the number one, and so is Team India and with them, all of us – the proud citizens of India! We are all numero uno today. The last ball of the tournament was hit by Dhoni, for a Six!

India beat Sri Lankans in the final. Sri Lankans played awesome throughout the championship and were unbeaten only to lose to India in the finals. Mahela Jayawardane scored an unbeaten century in the finals and put up a great total on board, which did not prove to be enough for the mighty Indians! Tillakaratne Dilshan scored 500 runs in the tournament and was the leading run scorer. Sachin scored 482, second highest and highest by the Indian team.

In the semifinal, India beat Pakistan and what a match it was. All the fans of the two countries wanted their team to win that game; even wining the final was immaterial to the fans. Sahid Afridi, the captain took the highest number of wickets in the tournament, along with Zaheer Khan of India, with 21 wickets each. There was whole lot of politics involved in the match, which saw delegates from both the countries sitting together in Mohali and watching the match. India kept the record of winning all their world cup matches against Pakistan. The festivities across the country were much more than the celebrations after yesterday’s win. Pakistan played well and gave a good fight.

In the quarterfinal, India beat the awful Aussies and there is not much to talk about that team. Ponting should retire and the entire team should learn a lesson which tells that mere sledging cannot keep you at the top for long, if you do not know how to play good cricket.

In the group stage, India lost to South Africa. That match was a winner for India right from the start of the match, but some impressive batting by the Africans took it out of the reach of India. India tied with England and that is another record! Every time, India won major tournaments in the last decade, they have tied one match in the qualifiers!

Bangladesh and Ireland beat England in the group matches, but none of them could qualify for the knock-out round. England did well in the other matches and qualified, only to lose to Sri Lanka in the quarters. New Zealand beat South Africa to get to the semis and Sri Lanka beat them there too.

Overall, it was an excellent world cup this time and I am very happy to have watched most of the matches even in this busy schedule. There were giant screens installed in our office, like many other places, where we could see the quarter final and semifinal. The final was yesterday, a Saturday and I could watch it from home, along with my wife. It was an awesome experience. Last time when India won the World Cup, I was 2 and she was 1 year old. Now, we know how it feels!

Thank you guys, for the gift! It’s my father’s birthday in a couple of days from today and he will be much happy to be world champion at this age!

There were so many things that people circulated through SMS all the while the tournament was on going, telling India would win and all that has become a reality now. The best of all those was that the year 1983, when India won the world cup last time, is exactly same as this year, 2011. Both started on a Saturday and every other date fits in exactly the same.

Whatever said and done, it is one of the best feelings to be the World Champions! India deserves this. In the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India has done tremendously well. They have won the T-20 World cup and the ODI world cup. India is now the # 1 team in both ODI and Test Cricket. Awesome!

We are the Best!

Awesome India! Wonderful Team India! Incredible India!

Enjoy and keep the spirit up. We need to keep the world cup with us and get ready for World Cup 2015 to be held in Australia and New Zealand. Till then, be proud and just enjoy!


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