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The Evolving Backward Castes of India!


The demand by the Patels of Gujarat, by the Jats of Haryana, Kapus of Andhra, Gujjars of Rajasthan, Ahoms of Assam, the Vanniars of Tamil Nadu, is not merely a demand to enjoy the benefits of the society, but a self-recognition by the youth of each of those communities, that they had lost out in the growth game of India, because of the paradigm shift in the society from the land based to the super-skill based labour.
Kudos! The previous generations which were rigidly of the belief that landownership was better than formal academic credentials, had deprived the members of the present generation  of the valuable formal academic credentials, which has become vital for social upward mobility. Free electricity for the tube wells are drying up; minimum support price for food grains etc. are not lucrative, in this scenario, depending on agri holdings or even conversion of the same into one time commercial or residential windfall, isn’t the right source of the wealth to be wangled from the society and therefore the dependence on land does not appear bright.
In the sine curve of existence, certain decisions taken by the previous generations might not have worked out well in the lives of the succeeding generation. So this generation which quickly acknowledges that should be positively discriminated for! Otherwise, these communities would lag behind creating a negative load in the progress of the community.

But how to keep the list of beneficiaries of such Positive Discrimination within the 50% limit – a limit laid down and added to the basic structure of the constitution and thus sanctified into an ineluctable structure?
Those previous generation which had taken decisions and by hind sight have found that their choices had gone right, should be encouraged to review their continued inclusion in the list of those POSITIVELY DISCRIMINATED FOR . Their children should VOLUNTARILY give up those benefits and their caste names ought to be removed . I strongly recommend that those communities should be encourage people to get their caste out of the beneficiary list,  so as to accommodate their less fortunate brethren.
Let CHANGE be the norm. Let’s give opportunity to all, on some ground or the other!
Those youngsters who have been deprived of the skills which are useful in today’s dispensation, ought to be granted that status – evolving backward castes!
We’ve gotta go for the underlying structure of an Idea. That would hold good in the future also!

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Independence Day


Thankfulness is an integral part of Worship of any Christian. This thankfulness is not for anything in particular received by any Christian, but a GENERAL GRATITUDE firstly for being ALIVE, secondly for being CONSCIOUS enough to recognize our own existence and thirdly for the GOOD THINGS that God had given us. A sense of GRATITUDE, because despite the vicissitudes much of the good status quo had been maintained, not because of one’s efforts or efficiency, but because of God’s GRACE.

Likewise, INDEPENDENCE DAY in India being celebrated all over the country is a day to CHERISH that we, the people of India, exist an an INDEPENDENT NATION. We also recall those days when we were under the rule of foreigners, who could not have had our weal their overwhelming priority, and were liberated through the efforts of our forefathers and foremothers(!) and stabilized a nation which would make the governing process its own, without any interference or directions from outside forces. To put it succinctly, WE FORMULATED OUR OWN CENTRE, the centre was not outside of India and the people who determined our LAWS were all to be INDIANS. This is the IDEA which makes me joyful and thankful.

And we did not achieve it overnight through the efforts of a few leaders, but because the GENERAL RESENTMENT of being ruled by ALIENS, was politically organized by our well known freedom fighters and presented a fait-accompli to the British that to rule India with a Home Secretary for India sitting in London, would not only be viable anymore, but if still persisted with, the consequences could be unproductive for the British!

It is that snowballing of the resentment to a  political organization which led, i believe, to the great Gandhian force. Further, the destructive power of the masses were tactfully controlled through the NON-VIOLENCE advocated by the Mahatma. It is the MEANS which were used in obtaining the Independence, which is even more laudable than anything else. It showed to the world that that as a NATION we could abjure violence against even atrocities of a well entrenched political system.

One of the most important aspects of our Independence Day celebrations which is a cause of concern is that the freedom fighters who came from certain areas have not been highlighted at the national level. If we peruse those history text books prescribed in schools, we could see that the POLITICAL LEADERS have been given enormous space, ignoring the PATH BREAKING ATTEMPTS MADE BY SOME OF THE INDIAN FREEDOM FIGHTERS. The one name about whom the Northern India is still ignorant of is Vallinayagam Olaganthan Chidambaram Pillai, (1872-1936) (Tamil: வ. உ. சிதம்பரம் பிள்ளை) popularly known by his initials, V.O.C. (spelt Vaa. Oo.Ce in Tamil), also known as Kappalottiya Tamilan (கப்பலோட்டிய தமிழன்) “The Tamil Helmsman”, was a Tamil political leader.

VOC might be listed as a political leader, but his reach and scale was not in organizing people into a particular political thought. Even though VOC might have been successful in the limited scope of his Madras Presidency and the state, it was the formation of Swadeshi Steam Navigation Companywhich was an activity, which transformed the thinking of the moneyed class of people in India. There were the TATAs and the BIRLAs, who were providing employment to thousands of Indians and thriving in their businesses, but to PUBLICLY STATE THAT THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT WAS MONOPOLIZING SEA TRANSPORT AND FETCHING BACK FINISHED GOODS AND SELLING THEM AT EXORBITANT RATES TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE FARMERS CULTIVATING COTTON,  make it  COMMON KNOWLEDGE is DIFFERENT!

VOC did not stop with that, he organized a STEAMER COMPANY and competed with the British. VOC was incarcerated on grounds which smacked of nothing but vendetta,and till his Steamer Company was liquidated, the British did not release him from jail. His matter went upto the Privy Coulcil, which gave the British executives enough time to finalize the liquidation process based on the laws, severely skewed in favour of the alien rulers!

Freedom fighters like Vanchinatan, Baghat Singh etc used force against the crushing might of the British, despite knowing their own weaknesses and even though they lost their lives, they did resurrect the COURAGE of the contemporary Indians against the consequences of revolt and violence. But it is the act of VOC, which took the first  economic foray into the very ramparts of the British. The RESOURCES which British so easily gained out of the raw material, labour and land of India was brought to challenge. And, i take this day to pay homage to a man who saw the RESOURCE GARNERING of the BRITISH and DID SOMETHING TO RATTLE THE BRITISH!

I see the Independence day as an opportunity to discover what our forebears did to destabilize the ALIEN  British and make the notion of FREEDOM a step closer than where it was before they did something!

 

NON SMOKERS ARE IMMORTAL!


All the Cigarette packets, sold in India, scream the Governmentally compelled negative advertisement, ” SMOKING KILLS.” How far is this advertisement legally, ethically and medically correct?

Firstly, the seller of the cigarette is compelled to state things against the very product the company/firm is selling.

Secondly, the Central Government levies Excise duty on Tobacco products and thereby benefits REVENUE-WISE from the sale of tobacco products.

Thirdly, the moment one steps into a hospital for any check-up, the first and invariable question asked is, “ARE YOU A SMOKER?” That makes the Physician’s job simpler. He now knows what to look for! He is taught in his medical school how a smoker’s lungs is clogged, how his arteries are blocked and how the tar and nicotine have spoilt his whole system. So he starts with a PFT (Pulmonary Function Test……) , a scan on all his arteries, especially of his limbs and finally a test to see the functioning of his heart! Lo and Behold! the diagnosis is that the PATIENT (the nomenclature changes the moment a minor deviation is noticed from the referral values!) HAS TO QUIT SMOKING OTHERWISE………that silence can frighten even the stout hearted!

I know that for a non-smoker, it could be quite annoying to have a smoker puffing in the vicinity and being forced to inhale those caustic and toxic fumes emanating from the nostrils of a smoker, but merely because it is annoying, should the LAWS be made so as to MALIGN any smoker? I think not. The laws should be made in such a way, so that the smokers could be provided a place, just like the SULABH washrooms, which would facilitate  smokers have a PEACEFUL SMOKE without scowls and having to smoke furtively as if they were thieves!

Every smoker contributes to the CONSOLIDATED FUND OF INDIA. Look at the percentage of excise on tobacco products-

If the excise burden is measured as a percentage of the retail price, the burden on handmade bidis is 8.8% while the burden on cigarettes is 33% or higher.

http://www.tobaccofreeunion.org/assets/Technical%20Resources/Economic%20Reports/Bidi%20Industry%20in%20India%20-%20The%20Tax%20Treatment%20-%20EN.pdf

The money paid by a smoker for a cigarette costing in retail at Rs. 5/- would have been excised to the extent of  Rs. 1.70 per cigarette. So smokers are persons who are contributing on a regular basis- assuming that a person smokes 10 cigarettes a day, he contributes Rs. 17/- per day every day as Central Excise. Is there a social obligation on the part of the Government to alleviate the  illnesses of smokers from the consequences of smoking? Surely they do, otherwise, there would be NO JUSTIFICATION for keeping the Excise so high. But, how many hospitals have been built for treatment of smokers? I know of none, instead, whenever a smoker goes to a Physician,  and the Doctor tells him that his problems are all because of smoking!

There was a research conducted by  the University of  North Carolina says as follows;-

As per www.reuters.com, the findings of the study revealed that a change in the chromosome 11 from DNA code is responsible for imbibing the habit of smoking while chromosome 9 hinted at an association with the ability to quit smoking. The study also revealed that genes are also responsible for higher chances of lung cancer.

The research study may help develop better treatment for quitting the habit of smoking. “This lends support to the idea that smoking is not just a question of will power alone, but that genetics plays a role in how much a person smokes and their ability to quit smoking,” explained Dr. Helena Furberg, lead researcher, University of North Carolina.

http://www.celebrities-with-diseases.com/health-news/genes-responsible-for-the-habit-of-smoking-5119.html

So if the proclivity to get stuck with smoke lies with one’s genes, why not do research on the money gained by the Government through Excise and get smokers to adequately bolster their “chromosome 9” instead of bad-mouthing smokers and seeing smoking as willful behaviour of a smoker?

This witch hunt should end and the Government should spend more on research in India on this aspect and create a healthy nation. The Physicians should also realize that SMOKING is a condition which should be rectified through their sane medical advice and not exploit the lack of knowledge by the medical community to set right the maladies which get aggravated through smoking.

MORALITY SHOULD BE ALIENATED FROM MEDICAL CONDITION.

The government should utilize the money gained through sale of tobacco products for the betterment of the health of the smokers. The non-smokers should not be allowed to enjoy the excise collected through sale of Tobacco products- as that would mean, the non-smoker would bad-mouth a smoker and yet be shameless enough to use the excise duties collected through sale of tobacco products for his/her own benefit.

The issue of COMPELLING A CIGARETTE COMPANY TO PLACE AN ADVERTISEMENT ON THE PRODUCT AGAINST THE COMPANY’S OWN INTEREST IS CHEAP! The government should educate the people through its own spending and not COMPEL on moral grounds.

Coming to the smokers, they should also choose spots not frequented by non-smokers and smoke tobacco so that their habits do not deleteriously affect the “supposed” health of non-smokers.

The Government advt, at the cost of the company, SMOKING KILLS, seems as if the non-smokers are exempt from premature death or even death itself. I can give enough examples of persons who had smoked their way to glory well into their late eighties. We make generalizations with the hope that such generalizations would have a salubrious effect on humans, but these bold type SMOKING KILLS looks like a big joke……. with no purpose…and to boot at someone’s cost!

AS RESPONSIBLE INDIANS, LET US TELL THAT THE EXCISE COLLECTED ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS BE EXCLUSIVELY USED FOR THE WEAL OF TOBACCO USERS ONLY- LET US DEVELOP SOME SELF-RESPECT.

 

NATIONAL PERMIT FOR PASSENGER CARS!


In Chennai, on the East Coast Road running from Chennai to Mahabalipuram and thereafter, the Motor Vehicles officials of Tamil Nadu have been on a drive to harass passenger car owners who ply premium cars  which have Pondycherry registration. The grounds for such harassment is the presumption that permanent residents of Tamil Nadu are getting their cars registered in Pndycherry, with a view towards taking advantage of  the lower rate of ROAD TAX payable!

Under the Motor Vehicles Act, the jurisdiction for collection of ROAD TAX has been vested with the respective states where the vehicles are registered. Consequently, if the vehicles are registered in Tamil Nadu, for allotment of TN number, ROAD TAX would be payable as per the rates fixed by the Tamil Nadu government and notified under the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicle Rules. The rates of ROAD TAX varies from state to state and is the highest in the state of Karnataka, where depending on the cost of the car, the rate of Road Tax is fixed. In Tamil Nadu the rate is 10% of the invoice value of the car, whereas in Pondicherry the Road Tax is around 1% of the Invoice value of the car. The interesting part is that almost uniformly, all the states of India collect LIFE TIME TAX, which is for 15 years, assumed to be the life of the vehicle. ROAD TAX is appropriated as an ADVANCE TAX and used up by the state in that year’s budget itself, leaving no scope for refund, if any vehicle were to  meet its end before its “life” determined under the ROAD TAX.

Why do the Motor Vehicle officials target the ECR? Because, the Information Technology employees who commute using the  OMR or ECR are easy target to the threats of “seizure” of the car by the officials.  Further, no “local” backlash would not be felt if   transferable IT engineers are caught and made to pay the ROAD TAX as per Tamil Nadu rates. Further, the IT officials/ engineers are likely to pay the tax without demur. The PROBLEM WITH SUCH PAYMENT IS THAT IF THAT PERSON WERE TO GET TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER STATE, THEN FOR NOT USING THE TAMIL NADU ROADS FOR THE REMAINDER YEARS OF THE 15 YEARS, TAX WOULD NOT BE REFUNDABLE! ABSOLUTELY ILLOGICAL. The Motor Vehicle officials while registering cases on such persons for plying other state registered cars in Tamil Nadu, insert a line saying that the OWNER OF THE CAR, CAME FORWARD ON HIS OWN VOLITION AND PAID TAMIL NADU ROAD TAX! Further, NO REBATE IS GIVEN for the Road Tax already paid in another state of INDIA.

Our CONSTITUTION, which GUARANTEES free movement of persons in India is comatosed by these RULES made by each State to garner revenue. This garnering of REVENUE becomes worse at the beginning of every year, as the budget estimates of the current year is drawing to a close, much below the projection!

ROAD TAX, thus if paid to each state, a person will end up paying for all the 28 states and 7 Union Territories. That is the only time when he will ACQUIRE A RIGHT TO PLY ON ALL THE ROADS OF OUR COUNTRY WITHOUT BEING HARASSED BY THE MOTOR VEHICLE OFFICIALS! No doubt, that no re-registration is required if the vehicle is in the same state for less than a month, but if a person is likely to commute between 2 or 3 states often, should he pay the ROAD TAX for each of the states?

It is time the PARLIAMENT makes a law and allows NATIONAL PERMITS for Passenger cars too, so that persons in transferable jobs and also persons who suffer from wanderlust could apply for it and escape from the nuisance of the state Motor Vehicle authorities. But who cares? Everyone is busy CHAMPIONING THE CAUSE OF THE “POOR”, LEAVING THE SYSTEM TO THE VAGARIES OF OUR IRRATIONAL TAX COLLECTION SYSTEMS.

The TOLL LOOT!


My father, my grand father have surely paid for the National Highways by paying their taxes. Thus many National Highways were expanded, maintained and some new ones constructed out of their taxes! To LOOT the third generation for maintaining these OLD HIGHWAYS, is usurious.

When one traverses three segments of National Highways connecting Bangalore to Chennai, which are NH 46, NH 84 and NH 7, one feels that these Highways were infrastructure built through generations of activity. Activity of Indians paying their taxes, the Government acquiring land to expand those Highways and maintaining them out of these revenue receipts.

But somewhere along the line, we INDIANS are taken for a ride. The three NHs of 7, 46 and 84 consisting of around 280 Kilometres are divided between toll operators who are located at Krishnagiri, outskirts of Vaniyambadi, outskirts of Vellore, near Wallajahpet and finally at Sriperumbudur. These are the TOLL joints as one travels from Bangalore to Chennai. From Hosur to Krishnagiri is NH 7, then from Krishnagiri to outskirts of Ranipettai (near the Wallajapet toll) is NH46 and the last stretch from Wallajahpet to Chennai (Vanagaram) is NH 84.

These 280kms have been split up between these 5 toll operators. These Highways were built, rather renovated, on a BOT basis. They were to collect the toll upon completion of renovation and recover their cost.

From the 6th or 7th of June 2011, the rates of two tolls have been revised from Rs. 25 to Rs 60 and the other from Rs 35 to Rs 60. Each of these tolls collect tolls for usage of around 50 Kms. Which means per KM cost of using these tolls are Rs 1.20 per KM. Motorbikes, autorickshaws and ambulances are exempted. Which means only passenger cars, trucks, LCVs and other Heavy vehicles are tolled!

These roads were NOT acquired recently, they were existing roads which were through a bidding process allotted for laying and collection of tolls. These collections are not necessarily done by the companies which LAID THE ROADS. These companies which laid the roads have probably exited after selling their stake to another company, working out the REVENUE generatable from toll operations in the remainder of the years. This sudden revision of the toll rates took me by surprise. When asked, who were the toll operators one of the persons manning the Krishnagiri Toll said that RELIANCE Industries were operating the toll.

I see that these NATIONAL HIGHWAYS for which lands were acquired way back in the 50’s and 60’s are being handed over to these cash rich, well connected companies and allowed to LOOT from the helpless travelers. On the one hand it is the avowed policy of all the parties in power, therefore the Government of India, to create infrastructure facilities for free interaction and exchange of goods. Yet this LOOTING of passengers, who travel by cars is PREPOSTEROUS.

My fore fathers paid for the roads and now I pay for these fat cat companies, in the guise of maintenance! And these are limited to the NH in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat and Maharashtra where the traffic is enormous because of manufacturing and other trading activities. Whereas even though there are similar roads in other parts of the country they do not generate this level of income.

By usage of my car if the roads are eroded to the extent of Rs1.20 per KM, then the justification should be transparantly explained by mentioning the toll collections for the year, maintenance charges, salaries and other expenses and the profits made from these operations. Further, as these companies are prone to inflating their expenses on BOOKS and thereby showing REDUCED profits, their books should be audited by the CAG, as these are toll collectors who are stepping in to do the functions of the Government.

Sure PPP is an instrument of growth, but using that as a means to EXPLOIT succeeding generations is DESPICABLE to say the least! I hope the government would be rational in their toll collection in high activity states like Tamil Nadu and not use these for netting off the losses incurred in toll operations in sluggish, uneducated and feudal states of India.

It has been recently reported in the papers that in NH47 between Aroor and Edappally near Cochin-Ernakulam, there was a toll collection of Rs5, which was revised to Rs 15/-. The locals went to the toll plaza and got it vandalized.

Another instance is the Bangalore International Airport Ltd., who have taken objection to NH7 collecting toll from the taxi operators.

There is a Private Limited company called MEPL, who collect @ 45% of all toll collected in this country. Any effort to find out the persons behind this Private Limited Company from the Indian websites is in vain. One has to rely on REUTERS for dope on their activities. One can access this from the following link:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/20/markets-ratings-meptollraods-idUSWNA907320110520

Such is our transparency. The article is posted by me as a comment to this blog! As it is not uncommon for such articles to disappear, when found inconvenient by the Pvt. Ltd Company!

Finally, toll collected is a FEE and not a TAX. Only to the extent that the users have enjoyed “COLLECTIVELY” that the FEE is to be charged. But there seems to be an UNDUE HASTE by the Government to PULL OUT MONEY from the road users more like a TAX than as a FEE!

GOD HELP INDIA!

Alberuni & HISTORY


There is an interesting anecdote, maybe apocryphal, which goes as follows:-

There was a boy who told another boy, from another city, that his father dug and dug and dug the soil and they discovered cables running which belonged to times anterior to Graham Bell and that upon verification they found out that the telephone system was in use in their town prior to the claim by Graham Bell.

Upon hearing this, the other replied, ” How interesting! U know, that my father told me just a few days back, that his town’s-folk dug and dug and dug the ground and after many months of digging they found nothing and upon verification came to the conclusion, that their town was using the WIRELESS system prior to the time of the claim of invention of wireless by Marconi!”

Jokes apart, the anecdote reveals that our claims on science, history, statistics and such subjects shud have cold facts to sustain our premises, especially so when claims are being made. Otherwise it becomes just a claim to temporarily outwit other claims. We shud submit ourselves to the scrutiny of others, instead of telling others to have BELIEF or Faith in our presentations.

In INDIA, according to ALBERUNI (a historian who came with Mohd. of Ghazini), there were no historians in INDIA and consequently there were only Philosophies and MYTHS and no HISTORY.

There have been Fahien, Hieun Tsang, Kautilya and others of their ilk, who had left copious writings on the facts as seen by them, which in my view was sufficient to constitute history. Further, we as Indians (unlike the pompous Jews who had an exalted notion of their own importance in the world history!) have been modest in perception of our own importance and consequently led our day to day lives, without embarking on presentation of perceptions and calling them as HISTORY. So Alberuni’s statement may not be all that right.

WHAT is History?- is in itself a polemic. If i were to be asked, if the books written under the patronage of a Ruler were to constitute History (however impartial it may seem), i’d say an emphatic NO. In this 21st century, when information and knowledge have exploded beyond the imagination of man, there are many untold reasons for which people write. In those olden days why a Fahien or Hieun Tsang had to write and to what extent they benefited from such writings cannot be fathomed now. Consequently, where all they adjusted the facts to suit their paymasters, cannot be known.

THE WINNER WRITES HISTORY.

History also conceals the most disturbing areas. For example, the BOOK OF ESTHER in THE BIBLE, is the story about a woman called ESTHER saving the JEWS from utter destruction from the mischief planned by Haman, who was the chief minister to the emperor Xerxes (Ahaseurus(?sp.) in the KJV). The more important issue that shud be of concern is that how a Jewish woman cud be encouraged by another Jewish guy, called Mordecai, to become a co-wife of an INFIDEL called Xerxes? The Mosaic commandment proscribes the Jewry from wiving or giving in marriage to persons outside their community. Here she is “BEAUTY TREATED” by Heggai, and is sent to be the fodder for the lust of Xerxes and comes out triumphant as the Queen.

NOW how do we include this book in the holy BIBLE? After all the book of JUDITH was excluded on similar grounds(in the protestant Bible), but for the fact that the man, Holofernes, therein was merely a general and not an Emperor!! So, we romanticize the hole issue, oops- whole issue, and skim over the commandments and present a great history for the festival of PURIM.

Therefore HISTORY is not an impartial account of facts, but presentation of FACTS to ultimately lead the reader to an OBJECTIVE. AKBAR NAMA and BABUR NAMA are not meant to be impartial accounts of facts for the reader to arrive at his own conclusions, it is an effort to display the greatness of their subjects.

Even Boswell, was blinded by his admiration for Dr. Johnson. How else could we explain the taunts heaped on  the Scottish by Dr.Johnson? If in a Biography, a person can’t be impartial, how much worse wud it get, in the so called historical writings.

Alberuni, if i get my facts right, was in the entourage of Mohd. of Ghazini. The Mohd. we are talking of, had to have someone to narrate the exploits and obviously Alberuni was living off the munificence of the RAIDER. To pass off his writings as HISTORY, wud be a misnomer. Paens or Panegyric wud be a better classification of his works.

IT IS WORSE STILL, WHEN SUCH A PANEGYRIST as ALBERUNI , LOOKS AROUND FOR PAENS AND PANEGYRICS AND WHEN HE FINDS NONE, MAKES A BLATANT STATEMENT THAT INDIANS HAVE NO HISTORIANS OR SENSE OF HISTORY!!


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