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Yesterday ,there was a n unfortunate accident at a refinery in Jaipur.

What would one expect from the media?

Perhaps give details of the accident, relief measures and lessons learnt from the accident.

I was shocked at the following breaking news.

One TV channel late at night had breaking news.......Murl i Deora, petroleum minister to go to Jaipur

Another Channel early morning...........Breaking News...............Deora on way to Jaipur.

After a while,.................Breaking News..................................Deora reaches Jaipur.

Is this what is expected from the media?

I would have expected better reporting from screaming headline anchors.

After 759 years, Boston boy returns as Rimpoche Lorepa Galwa

After 759 years, Jigme Wangchuk, an 11-year-old boy based in Boston, has been enthroned near Darjeeling as the first reincarnation of His Holiness Gyalwa Lorepa.

According to Dichen, Jigme's mother, "He used to always talk of his past life but we did not take it seriously”. Two years back when they were visiting the Kagyu Nalanda Monastery in Mysore, Jigme suddenly started narrating his past life as if in a trance...a monastery somewhere in the Himalayas, surrounded by huge rocks and a dragon. That turned out to be the exact desription of the monastry in Bumthang, Bhutan. Two hours after the incident, Gyalwang Rinpoche identified Jigme as the reincarnation of HH Galwa Lorepa.

For the followers of the Drukpa Kagyu Sect of Tantrayana Buddhism, it is a time for joy. But for his family, the transition has been trying.

Achieving the American Dream in India

Hundreds of expats have found that the severe economic crisis in rich nations can be turned into an opportunity in India.

Master chef James Sullivan who lost his job in Chicago, has set up a restaurant, 'Bread of Life' in Varanasi to cater to foreign tourists. He is now planning to expand to Lucknow and Delhi.

For Californian John Howard, language was no hindrance as he started selling solar powered LED lights in UP villages. Filipino Emma Trinidad launched a spa, S2, in Bangalore a year ago and is planning to expand to other cities.

Despite red tape, expats are finding their place under the Indian sun.

Sociologist KK Mishra says this is a dream that only the US once promised. “You can achieve the American Dream here, give your kids a decent education and live a good life.”

Want an exotic, wild pet?

Want an exotic, even wild, pet? Ask your local government to replicate what the government of Punjab is doing.

Residents of Punjab are being allowed to adopt wild animals and birds in major zoos of the state. For a fee, of course, ranging from Rs 400 to Rs 200,000, for a period ranging from a few months to a year. This step has been taken to overcome a financial crunch.

Those who adopt a pet will have a right to check their pets and their living conditions. They will be invited as special guests during various celebrations and appointed as ex-officio members of the zoo's development society. They will also be issued free passes for their families and five additional persons to visit the zoo four times a year.

Environmentalists and residents are quite enthusiastic about the move.

Picture: The Telegraph

Buffalo catwalks now!

Lissome models on the catwalk are soon going to have 'weighty' competition.

A buffalo catwalk show, the first ever, was organised in Madhepura, Bihar recently. Over a dozen well dressed buffaloes took part to display their beauty and style. Scores of people gathered to watch the show in open fields. A buffalo named Radha was declared winner and an award of Rs 500 was given to her owner.

According to Prabhat Kumar, the man behind the show, the show was organised to draw the attention of the people to the plight of the animals and to make them care for and respect them.

Buoyed by the success of the show, Kumar plans to organise buffalo catwalks at national and international levels! We may soon have dress designers for buffaloes too.

This happens only in India!

Weekend Shows With A Difference

Hundreds of workers from cities in Uttar Pradesh go back every weekend to their villages- Purey Gosainpur, Choubeypur, Hadideeha and others. There they perform folk art forms, in an effort to keep these arts alive. They perform rare traditional dances like the Godau, and songs like the Dhunmuniya Kajri.

Dr Luvkush Dwivedi, regional cultural officer of Uttar Pradesh’s culture department says they have mapped 15 folk forms and 700 performers in two districts alone.

These weekend performances are infusing life into some rare folk arts,” says Dwivedi, who has provided the performers with microphones and speakers, and ensured that they have the means to travel to neighbouring villages in teams.

Thanks to these enthusiastic performers, these traditional arts will continue to enthrall audiences for some time more.

Even when people reject, they can only elect: democracy?

In India, a candidate can lose his security deposit but still be declared a winner in an election. How can a person rejected by voters be deemed to be their popular choice?

As per election rules, any candidate who get less than one sixth of the total votes polled in a constituency loses his security deposit of Rs 5,000. That is the token penalty that he has to pay for being so roundly rejected by the people.

But what happens if all candidates lose their security deposits? The one who gets the maximum votes is declared winner!

This is what has happened in the recent elections in Karnal, Haryana where Zile Ram Sharma has emerged victorious – and much richer, considering the post-poll machinations in progress.

This is a mockery of democracy. Even when people reject, they can only elect.

Gold sales at an all-time high

In 1991, a bankrupt India pawned 47 tons of gold for $ 400 million to prevent default in payment of a short-term loan.

18 years later, Indians have bought a record 56 tons of the yellow metal in just eight days leading up to Diwali for Rs 9,000 crores or almost $ 2 billion! This despite the price of gold being at an all-time high of Rs 16,000 per 10 grams. With marriage season kicking off, analysts see no signs of the yellow fever fading even though, thanks to a weakening dollar, prices are likely to touch Rs 18,000.

Gold is also being seen as a safer investment than shares and property. That is why the Multi Commodity Exchange recorded the highest delivery of five tons of gold during October. The demand is only increasing.

Did any one say 'recession'?

Living 'dead' and dead 'living'

Land grabbers in UP are going to the extent of declaring living people dead and then forging documents to complete the remaining formalities.

This came to light when Lal Bihari, a man who had been declared dead, sought the records through the RTI Act, after making numerous efforts to prove himself alive. He was provided details of 20 'living' dead people in 10 districts even though he had asked for details for the whole state.

Lal Bihari believes there are thousands of such cases in the state and the department has just completed formalities by giving him limited details. Ashok Chandra, Deputy Director Chakbandi department, admits that that there may be more such cases and says he is looking into the matter.

If the living can 'die', surely the dead can keep 'living' if someone benefits and has enough clout.

The East-West twain are beginning to meet

According to a 2008 report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Buddhism has become the third most popular religion in the US after Christianity and Judaism. In fact, the most complex Buddhist city in the world is now Los Angeles, where there are more than 300 Buddhist temples and centers, representing nearly all of Buddhist practices around the world.

As per CNN, “programs and workshops educating inmates about meditation and yoga are sprouting up across the country.” In December this year, Thomas Dyer, a former Marine and one-time Southern Baptist pastor, will head to Afghanistan as the first Buddhist chaplain in the history of the U.S. Army.

It is not Buddhism alone. According to a report in Newsweek, Americans are “becoming more like Hindus”.

The East-West twain are finally beginning to meet, it seems.

TROUBLED VISA............b k chowla

Our ex-Minister and MP Shahnawaz Husaain has been denied visa by the US embassy.

Media seems to be taking pride in criticising and making this as an issue of the American policy.

America has a policy on security and don’t have the VIP culture that we are diseased with.

America has not had a single terror attack since 9/11 because of their being serious about country’s security.

In India, we have lost count of the terror attacks we have faced one after the other.

Instead of criticising the US for being strict on issuance of Visas and security checks, let us learn from them. Let us also become self respecting and security conscious nation. America is a proud and a secure, safe nation.

One minister had suggested tit for tat to the Americans. Ms Minister, please act on your statement.

Ghost employees and millionaires

This is not happening in remote areas where the Indian state has failed and Maoists hold sway. This is right under its seat in Delhi.

A routine regularisation process of 87 beldars working for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has revealed that while they have been drawing salary for the past 15 years, they have got no work records. Some senior officials have, however, been signing their daily work book.

There have been reports that as many as 46,000 of the 100,000 employees on the rolls of the MCD could be non-existent.

If this can happen in India's capital in broad daylight, one can imagine what has been happening elsewhere for decades, and where bulk of the funds allotted for NREGA must be going.

Ghost employees create 'ghost' millionaires. India must have the maximum number of both in the world.

Greedy parents selling virgins for sex

In India, we often hear about parents who are forced to either abandon their daughters or sell them due to extreme poverty. Many also illegally abort female foetuses primarily because of ills of the dowry system. Rarely have we heard of normal parents selling their virgin daughters, not because they have little choice, but because they are driven by greed.

In UK, some parents are forcing young girls into prostitution and selling virgins under 12 to Arab millionaire paedophiles for sex for upto $ 81,000. Normally, kids from Eastern Europe, the Far East and Africa serve as sex slaves. But now home-grown prostitution rings are also on the rise.There is likely to be an explosion in sex trafficking in the run up to the Olympic Games.

India needs to watch out. Commonwealth Games are due next year,

China border dispute: India is asleep, again

China's assertion that Arunachal Pradesh is a part of that country has hit the headlines again. But this claim is not new at all.

Kiren Rijiju, a former MP from the state, says that well before the debacle of 1962, Mao Zedong had termed Tibet as the palm of a hand and Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan as five fingers which were Chinese Territories and needed to be liberated. Another Himalayan Blunder is in the making, he says, as India is doing little more than verbally rejecting China's claims while the latter is furiously developing Tibet etc.

China, for example, has built a railway line in Tibet despite permafrost conditions, while India has not added a single kilometer to the railway line built in Arunachal by the British.

The full article, available only here, is an eye-opener.

Bumper Diwali brings back the smiles

If zooming auto sales in September, up 25% compared to last year, gave an indication that last year's slowdown was history, the festive rush this month has shown that the gloom is well and truly over.

Future Group founder Kishore Biyani says he has not seen such a "bumper" Diwali for a long time, and is targeting sales of Rs 500 crores in the week Ocrober 15-21. The retail arm of the Tatas has also reported a 30-35% jump in sales while Korean electronics giant LG is expecting a 35-40% growth in revenue.

The languishing real estate sector is also beginning to look up. But the boom is best exemplified by gold. Despite a record-breaking price of Rs 16,000 per tola, sales are sparkling, up 30% in some places.

Goddess Lakshmi has brought smiles back on the faces of many.

Perumalthevanpatti: an armyman in each family

It is well known that some North Indian states have a tradition of sending young men to join the Army. But there is a southern surprise here.

Perumalthevanpatti, a small village of 750 houses near Srivilluputtur in Virudhunagar district, Tamil Nadu, has at least one member of each family in the Army. 375 men are serving at present while there are 522 ex-servicemen, many of them war veterans.

The seeds of patriotism were sown by Perumal who joined the Army in 1952 and rose to become a Major. When he came back home, his stories caught everyone's imagination. Since then, at least four young men have been joining the Army every year. Girls of the village too prefer to marry the men in uniform.

Perumal's own son, Major P Thirumal, is currently serving on the Indo-Pak border.


There are 52 Muslim countries in the world.

No one provides HAJ subsidy, except India.

No Muslim country extends special status to Hindus that we extend to Muslims in India.

No Muslim country has /had a non Muslim President or Prime Minister.

Hindu majority states in India have had Muslim as CMs, can we imagine a Hindu being the CM of J&K.?

In 1947, Hindu population in Pakistan was about 24%...Today it is about 1%.

In 1947, Hindu population in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was 30%, today it is about 7%.

In India, Muslim population has gone up from10.40% in 1951 to about 15% now, whereas, Hindu population has come down from 87.2% to 85% in 1991.

A.R Antulay was made trustee of Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai. Can a Hindu ever become a trustee of Madras or Masjid?

Woman perusades husband to dump daughters

One more shocking incident of discrimination against daughters has come to light

After birth of a son, a woman persuaded her rickshaw puller husband to dump both their daughters, aged one and three, and Tapan Guru left them at Khurda Railway Station while they were asleep.

Fortunately, Mamuni and Chummuni were found crying by Railway Police which handed them to an NGO, Padmashree, after failing to locate their parents.

As per Hochimin Sastry, secretary of the NGO, the parents have been located and the girls will be handed back to them after extensive counseling. This is being done even though they have an orphanage, as “their parents' place is best for them”. Since the couple have little means, the NGO will also try and arrange some money for them.

Happy Ending here; doesn't happen in most cases...

If Mayawati can have six, Congress must have more!

How often have we seen those accusing others of doing something doing the same thing themselves?

Mayawati has for long been under fire from the Congress for putting up statues of dalit leaders, including herself, in UP. But now, the Congress party is all set to to outdo Mayawati who has only six statues of herself in Lucknow.

As per Health Minister Danam Nagender, at least 30 statues of YSR Reddy are going to be installed in Hyderabad alone. Not hard to imagine how many more will come up in the rest of the state. This is on top of a massive 1,412 hectare memorial that is being set up in Nallamalla forest where Reddy died in a helicopter crash.

At this rate, India will soon be filled with statues and memorials of politicians. What a shame.

No Clash of Civilisations between India and China

Although Samuel Huttinton's theory of the Clash of Civilisations included all civilisations, his reasoning was straightforward mainly when he spoke about it in the historical context of Islam and Chrisitianity seeking to convert and believing that theirs was the only correct religion.

Huttington also foresaw a shift of power from the West to two 'challenger civilisations', Chinese and Islamic. At that time India's rapid economic growth and rise was not visible.

According to Chinese philospher Hu Shi, India has conquered and dominated China for 20 centuries. But now China is on course to becoming the greatest power on earth. India's rise makes it uncomfortable. There will, however, never be a clash of civilisation between them.

A Competiton of Civilisations, a tussle between ying and yang, is what is likely to ensue between these great nations which can co-exist in harmony.
Read full post: China and India: Competition of Civilisations

Costly NRI membership for Congress at 68/3!

The Congress in Uttar Pradesh has done something unbelievably stupid.

It has opened online membership to NRIs with a fee of Rs 3. Someone surely must believe that NRIs wanting to join the Congress have to be really poor. Worse, rather than getting those three rupees, the party is actually losing Rs 65 per member. Paypal is charging Rs 68 for collecting the paltry membership fee!

Thankfully, only 347 applications have been receive online so far. For a party used to receiving money, this has come as shock. So, it is exploring options with private banks. One bank has quoted Rs 5 per transaction if it gets Rs 25,000 as a one-time payment and Rs 10,000 as annual maintenance fees.

The Congress must offer free membership. New Congressmen need to learn early on that in Indian politics, everything comes free!

Is this democracy?

"Democracy is built on the oft-tarnished ideal that any man or woman can get elected, but in India ... political dynasties, large and small, have proliferated so rapidly that ... nepotism is corroding the political system.” This is what an article in The New York Times says about India's democracy. There is more:

  • There are 1050 registered parties, but most have no inner-party democracy

  • 9/32 Union Cabinet Ministers have political family links

  • 31/58 women Parliamentarians have similar links

  • 30 or more candidates in Maharashtra, including the son of India's President, are from political families.

“It has gotten into the DNA of the Indian political system,” says Jagdeep Chhokar, because politicians “trust family members more than outsiders”. Ordinary party workers are being shut out.

Is this democracy any more?

Picture: The New York Times

Mumbai is bad: How about Rahulbay, Nehrauli, Gandhistan?

Bombay was renamed Mumbai in 1996 by a non-Congres government. Thirteen years later, that decision is still being milked to death politically by some sections of the media with a barely concealed motive.

The same lot is also extremely troubled when Mayawati constructs dalit memorials but inexplicably loses its voice when the Congress proposes a Rs 350 crore Shivaji Memorial and names the Sea Link after Rajiv Gandhi. It also has nothing to say when full and half-page ads are put out in leading dailies on Rajiv Gandhi's birthday. What about the 450 government activities named after Nehru, Indira and Rajiv? Or the naming of numerous prime landmarks in Delhi after them?

If these guys have their way, Delhi will surely be renamed 'Nehrauli' and India 'Gandhistan'. Bombay? How about 'Rahulbay' after a few years?

Do read: Politically milking 'Mumbai'

Thanks to greenery, Ladakh breathes easy

The rest of the world may be suffering due to the effects of global warming, but Ladakh is reaping the benefits of the plantation drive launched by the Defence Institute of High Altitude Research.

Oxygen content in the air has gone up by 50% in this around 12,000 feet high altitude desert due the abundance of poplar and willow trees, wheat cultivation, horticulture and greenhouses. These have also brought in rain for the first time.

Earlier Ladakh used to depend on Chandigarh for its supply of vegetables. Now, 58% of the requirement is met locally. With the help of scientists and local farmers, 13 types of apples have been produced and there are plans to undertake organised plantation of vitamin rich Seabuckthorn, Leh Berry, that grows wildly.

Plan a trip. The days of gasping for breath there are over.

Does niqab have nothing to do with Islam?

The statement by Sheik of al-Azhar University, Egypt, that niqab or face veil has nothing to do with Islam has angered Islamists in that country who say it is part of a larger plan to de-Islamise Egypt. A majority of scholars, however, feel that the niqab is a pre-Islamic custom followed by tribal and nomadic communities living in the Arabian desert. Al-Azhar university has, in fact, gone a step further and banned the niqab in all-women classes.

It may be recalled that a few months back, the Uttar Pradesh Madrassa board had banned co-education in madrassas on the ground that parda (veil) is essential in Islam and co-education encourages 'be-pardagi'.

Is it a coincidence that in every religion there are discriminatory social customs that have been given a religious cloak? Surely God has better things to do!

People of Karnataka donate generously to help flood victims

The recent rains and floods in Karnataka have killed over 200 people, damaged around 300,000 houses, destroyed crops in 25 lakh hectares, washed away bridges and damaged over 10,000 km length of roads. The government has estimated the loss at around Rs. 20,000 crore and sought immediate central assistance of Rs. 10,000 crore.

The people of the state are responding generously to help those affected by this calamity. Within two days of the state government opening a special bank account for donations, a whopping Rs 500 crores have been deposited by the people.

Chief Minister BS Yediurappa too was overwhelmed by the response of people who jostled to hand over foodgrains, blankets sarees and cash when he went through Bangalore's commercial hub to seek their help. He has appealed to corporates to adopt villages to rebuild them, apart from contributing funds.

Saving the River Dolphin

The Government of India has declared the river dolphin as the National Aquatic Animal.

Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh said that "by doing this the government was not only ensuring the survival of the species, which are endemic to the Ganga, but also sought to cleanse the river".

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who moved this proposal, has instructed the state authorities to halt dolphin hunting in the Ganga.

He has said that the presence of river dolphin signified a healthy aquatic life in rivers. There are less than 2000 dolphins left in Indian rivers- mainly in the Ganga- and the river dolphin is categorised as an endangered species.

Only time will tell, whether the Ganga can be successfully cleansed, and the river dolphin saved from extinction.

4.9 kg uterus removed

A team of five Indian doctors from the Sunrise Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, lead by Dr Hafeez Rehman, have removed a 4.9 kg uterus from an unnamed 46-year old woman.

As per the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest uterus ever removed weighs 3.2 kgs. The doctors have already sent details of their September 29 feat for inclusion in the book.

What makes this surgery even more significant is that this fibroid non-cancerous tumor that resembled a full-term pregnancy of 36 weeks, was removed in just 28 minutes with minimum blood loss using laproscopic hysterectomy. The lady was discharged for the hospital in 24 hours and has resumed work.

The uterus is being preserved in the pathological lab of the hospital for professional reference.

2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry

STOCKHOLM - Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitz and Israeli Ada Yonath won the 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for mapping ribosomes, the protein-producing factories within cells, at the atomic level.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said their work has been fundamental to the scientific understanding of life and has helped researchers develop antibiotic cures for various diseases.


As the name suggests...Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is an Indian but it needed America to make him shine....and also to claim his success...

Indians have the brains, the will and determination but yet the factor for success is missing..

Delhi Metro makes a difference

The Delhi Metro is making a big difference and the city proud, thanks to Mr E Sreedharan.

The cost of construction of Phase-1 was Rs 10,571 crores. The value of social and economic benefits like passenger time saved, fuel cost saved, reduction in capital/operating cost of vehicles, will be Rs 10,801.64 crores by March 2012, helping recover the cost two years ahead of schedule.

Here are some impressive statistics according to a CRRI study:
  • Daily ridership up to 8.5 lakhs/day

  • 57, 953 vehicles off the roads daily

  • 255 accidents, including 51 fatalities to be avoided in 2009

  • Commuters saving Rs 947.07 crores annually due to reduced time of travel and Rs 180.89 crores due to fuel

  • Emission of harmful greenhouse gases reduced by 1,31,614 tonnes/year

Similar Metros are needed in other cities too.

Abiogenesis: 'Rustic Relish' for Grammy

Ever heard of Abiogenesis? It is a rock/fusion band from Nagaland. Its experimentation with music has resulted in a new form of world music named 'Howey' which is a fusion of Naga folk tunes with various forms of modern music. Another unique feature of Abiogenesis is that they play a new wind musical instrument made of bamboo called Bamhum as a leading instrument invented by Moa Subong, a band member.

Their second album 'Rustic Relish' has been listed in the 51st Grammy Awards in the Best Vocal Pop Album category. Their first album 'Aeon Spell' was also listed in two categories in the 50th Grammy Awards. Abiogenesis are:Arenla on Vocals and Lead Bamhum, Moa on Bamhum/Guitar/Harmonica, Longden on Lead Guitar, Imli on Drums/Percussions and Kongdir on Bass.

Here are You Tube videos of two of their great songs:

Rise in sea levels due to groundwater use?

North India is contributing 5% to the total rise in sea levels due to excessive pumping out of ground water, according to a study.

In this 2000 km long stretch, 54 trillion litres of ground water are extracted every year. This is the largest rate of groundwater loss in a comparable-sized region on earth, and is likely to cause serious concern over future water availability in the region.

This water eventually reaches the sea through rainfall or runoff from the land, leading to 0.16mm rise in sea level. This is roughly equivalent to the rise due to melting Alaskan glaciers.

A study should also be done on the amount of water that is being prevented from reaching the sea due to diversion of river waters for irrigation, drinking etc. There may well be no net rise in sea level!

Five-rupee coin saves man

Remember how Amitabh Bachchan's life was saved by his coolie's badge, bearing the holy number 786, in that all time classic film 'Deewar'?

Something equally, if not more dramatic, has happened in real life. Krishna Shetty, a video parlour owner in Mumbai, was saved from certain death by a much smaller five-rupee coin.

Shetty used to be taunted by his friends and relatives for his queer habit of putting his wallet in his shirt pocket.

On Thursday, as he was sitting outside the parlour with a friend, three motorcycle-borne people shot at them. One bullet hit Shetty in the stomach. The other that was headed straight for the heart, hit the five-rupee coin in his wallet, which was mangled by the impact, and fell harmlessly on the ground.

Credit cards or a 'pain-in-the-arse' wallet would not have saved Shetty!

What's in a Name?

There was an interesting news report in DNA yesterday, according to which, "The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking plans to have bus-stops in Mumbai named after you, at a stiff price, of course."

The right to name a particular bus stop will go to the highest bidder at an auction which will be held for the purpose.

This proposal, if passed, promises to open up some very interesting possibilities.

Local leaders in political parties will be eager to grab the rights to bus stops in their area- either to name them after themselves, or after their political bosses.

If a political party worker buys the rights to a particular bus stop, names it after a leader and then switches parties- then of course he will have to rename it!

'Austerity' Emperor Style!

President Pratibha Patil is making the most of her position.

Getting the Congress party to field her son for elections was nothing. By the time she demits office, she would have set many dubious records that will almost erase the concept of probity in public life.

In these times when the government is faking austerity, the President is living life 'emperor size'. She is currently on a five-day visit – holiday – to Gujarat. And enjoying the fruits of her position are 117 relatives who have joined her as she visits Somnath, Porbandar, Gir and Dwarka.

Don't be surprised if Rashtrapati Bhavan responds by saying that the President reduced the number of relatives by over 200 due to the drought conditions preveailing in the country.

Will she pay from her pocket like Tharoor and Krishna? You know the answer.

Rare speech of Mahatma Gandhi

Today is Gandhi Jayanti. Last year, a rare recording of a speech made by Mahatma Gandhi in English had surfaced. It is rare mainly because, believe it or not, he was recorded speaking in English on only two occasions. These days, on the other hand, some Indians born and bred in India's capital find it hard to speak in any other language except English.

This speech was made a day after Gandhi offered the post of Prime Minister to Jinnah and only a few months before his assassination.

Read more about the speech and find the link to listen to it here

The danger of having 'condom' as an election symbol!

Anand Prakash Sharma, an independent candidate contesting elections from Karnal in Haryana has put the Election Comission in a spot. He wants to be allotted 'condom' as his election symbol. Sharma has been working for the cause of sex workers and AIDS awareness and finds it odd that the EC does not realise the importance of including 'condom' in the list of symbols.

Considering that advertisements on prime time have been showing men and women saying 'condom' loudly in public to an applause, the hesitation of the EC in allowing it to be pictorially depicted is not understood.

May be the EC is worried about where things could quickly lead to: animated discussions in TV studios with 'experts' illuminating a backward nation and EC about the graphic art on temple walls and the fact that we even worship the phallus!

Zooming auto sales: Pay Commission effect?

Auto sales are zooming. As a result, the top eight financiers disbursed loans worth a record Rs 3,400 crores in September, 25% more than the average disbursements during the previous four months.

A combination of low interest rates, easier availability of finance and a spate of new launches by car companies seems to have turned the tide after consumer sentiment was badly effected following the financial crisis in the US and the resultant slowdown in India's economy.

While these figures do suggest, along with other indicators, that the economy is poised to accelerate, perhaps one factor that has contributed to this unusual spurt in auto sales is the Pay Commission effect. How much of it is one time, thanks to hefty arrears, and recurring, due to the sharp rise in salaries, will be only known in the next few months.

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