Category Archives: Cause

Anna Hazare, Janlok Pal bill and the criticism

A lot has happened over the past few weeks and government has actually issued a notification and formed a lokpal drafting committee with 50% representation from the civil society.  But this has led to a lot of other events too.  This entire crusade started to be called as another freedom struggle; struggle to free the country from corruption.  However, in the midst of all this many raised several doubts and some even questioned Anna’s credibility by calling him a fake or someone with hidden agendas or someone who might be just a token face of an organisation which is behind all this. Wow!!! Sounds like the script of the Hindi political drama Rajneeti Part 2.

But let’s take the concerns one by one.  I have tried to list down all the possible questions and concerns that people raised and have tried to analyse them to the best of my sensibility. If you have any point to make please do feel free to leave a comment.

  • Many people especially media claimed that in the wake of Egypt’s Tahrir square, aam junta started to feel that we can also do an Egypt and that is why this event picked up so much momentum. I want to agree to this to some extent but I will mostly disagree. There could be many people in the crowd who were too agitated and adrenalin driven that they almost thought they would create an Egypt like situation. But when Anna started the crusade he made it very clear that the crusade is not against the government not does he intend to create any instability in the government. In fact politicians were not even entertained to come and express their solidarity.  

This movement gained so much momentum because it touched upon an open sore which effected poor and rich alike; corruption.  It was the first time that middle class and the youth who are generally considered apathetic towards the functioning of the country, participated in large numbers. The reason was, in the wake of so many scams where public money was being looted and no one being punished, there was a latent anger inside everyone and Anna could tap that. For the first time the middle class, who no politician cares for, felt important.

In a state where almost every investigation agency was almost powerless, where every politician became synonym with corruption, there came a man with impeccable integrity. Anna was the man behind forcing Maharashtra government to pass the RTI ordinance. Later, when the government wanted to amend the RTI act, Anna again started fasting to stop it from being amended. People believed in him and put their faith in him.  Agreed, that most of them did not even know or care what exactly was there or going to be there in the lokpal bill. But they were mostly expressing their solidarity. The public just wanted the goal (corruption free India) to be achieved and I don’t think really cared or thought about the means to achieve the goal. Anna looked like the man who could do this for them.

  • The crusade being anti-democratic and a blackmail: – Well, any protest is a blackmail of sorts. You want something in return to stop your protest. That is blackmail. It might be termed anti-democratic because the draft of the lokpal bill has given the lokpal  a lot of powers. It says that every public servant will be under its realm including the Supreme Court judge.  Many people are thinking that lokpal will become so powerful that it will be able to prosecute and punish anyone and thereby shake the very foundation of how India works.  What is the final bill which gets introduced is still needs to be seen.

 I however, do think that we need a powerful lokpal.  Simply because, though we do have anti-corruption bodies like the CVC, which is powerless and the CBI which is not independent, a lokpal will merge all these bodies into its realm making investigation fair and effective.  Whistle-blower and witness protection rights is also something that lokpal will deal with. The cases will move fast and if found guilty, the verdict will be quick. In a country like India, where justice is always delayed, we need a very strong lokpal and the participation of people in the lokpal is very important because, in a democracy the government is for the people, by the people. So if the public servant or the elected member is not doing his duties properly, the master meaning the public who voted them to power will have a role in the form of lokpal to question them. I think in any healthy democracy people’s participation should not be limited to just voting. Their participation should be more active.

 I don’t think lokpal is anti-democracy. I feel it could become one the pillars of democracy. However, the government version of lokpal and the public version of lokpal are very different. The main obstacle now is to reach a consensus to create a powerful lokpal and not a toothless tiger. What is presented in the monsoon session of the parliament is to be seen.  Let’s wait till then.

  • People don’t participate when there is a tribal movement or when there is a person like Irom Sharmilla fasting for almost 10 years against AFSPA:- What we keep forgetting here is, the reason why so many people came together was because we all have a common enemy i.e. corruption. When there is a tribal atrocities agitation or an agitation against human rights violation in Kashmir or the north east, we empathise with them but we generally do not go out of our way to even find out what is happening there. So many of us do not even know the names of the states and their capitals in the north-east. That’s the bitter truth. The reason is simple. Their plight does not affect us directly.

 Irom’s fasting against AFSPA did attract the Manmohan Singh government’s attention and she was told that the act will be reviewed but nothing has been done so far. It is going through the fate of the lokpal bill which was being brushed under the carpet for the last 42 years.  The government needed a jolt like what Anna could do to have them start acting on it. Irom also needs to give a jolt to the government for her issue to be addressed. In fact, AFSPA is a more complex issue because the government claims the need for it is to maintain peace and internal security of the country. Where internal security is an issue (as the government puts it) in that situation Irom has a tougher role to play to convince the aam junta to play by her side.

 Here is (from Wiki) why according to the Indian government AFSPA is important.

In 2004, in the wake of intense agitation that was launched by several civil society groups following the death of Thangjam Manorama, while in the custody of the Assam Rifles and the indefinite fast undertaken by Irom Sharmila, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil visited Manipur and reviewed the situation with the concerned state authorities. In the same year, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh assured activists that the central government would consider their demand sympathetically.

The central government accordingly set up a five-member committee under the Chairmanship of Justice B P Jeevan Reddy, former judge of the Supreme Court. The panel was given the mandate of “reviewing the provisions of AFSPA and advising the Government of India whether (a) to amend the provisions of the Act to bring them in consonance with the obligations of the government towards protection of human rights; or (b) to replace the Act by a more humane Act.”

The Reddy committee submitted its recommendations on June 6, 2005. However, the government failed to take any concrete action on the recommendations even after almost a year and a half. The then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the withdrawal or significant dilution of the Act on the grounds that “it is not possible for the armed forces to function” in “disturbed areas” without such powers.

The 147-page report recommends, “The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, should be repealed.” During the course of its work, the committee members met several individuals, organisations, parties, institutions and NGOs, which resulted in the report stating that “the Act, for whatever reason, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high handedness.” The report clearly stated that “It is highly desirable and advisable to repeal the Act altogether, without of course, losing sight of the overwhelming desire of an overwhelming majority of the [North East] region that the Army should remain (though the Act should go).”

But activists say the Reddy panel despite its recommendation for the ‘repeal of the Act’ has nothing substantial for the people. The report recommends the incorporation of AFSPA in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, which will be operable all over India.

 

United Nations view

When India presented its second periodic report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 1991, members of the UNHRC asked numerous questions about the validity of the AFSPA. They questioned the constitutionality of the AFSPA under Indian law and asked how it could be justified in light of Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICCPR. On 23 March 2009, UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay asked India to repeal the AFSPA. She termed the law as “dated and colonial-era law that breach contemporary international human rights standards.”

The Attorney General of India responded that the AFSPA is a necessary measure to prevent the secession of the North Eastern states. He said that a response to this agitation for secession in the North East had to be done on a “war footing.” He argued that the Indian Constitution, in Article 355, made it the duty of the Central Government to protect the states from internal disturbance and that there is no duty under international law to allow secession.

 Non-governmental organizations’ analysis

The act has been criticized by Human Rights Watch as a “tool of state abuse, oppression and discrimination”.

The South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre argues that the governments’ call for increased force is part of the problem.

“This reasoning exemplifies the vicious cycle which has been instituted in the North East due to the AFSPA. The use of the AFSPA pushes the demand for more autonomy, giving the people of the North East more reason to want to secede from a state which enacts such powers and the agitation which ensues continues to justify the use of the AFSPA from the point of view of the Indian Government.” – The South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre

A report by the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis points to multiple occurrences of violence by security forces against civilians in Manipur since the passage of the Act. The report states that residents believe that the provision for immunity of security forces urge them to act more brutally the article, however, goes on to say that repeal or withering away of the act will encourage insurgency.

In addition to this, there have been claims of disappearances by the police or the army in Kashmir by several human rights organizations.

Many human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) have condemned human rights abuses in Kashmir by Indians such as “extra-judicial executions”, “disappearances”, and torture; the “Armed Forces Special Powers Act”, which “provides impunity for human rights abuses and fuels cycles of violence. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) grants the military wide powers of arrest, the right to shoot to kill, and to occupy or destroy property in counterinsurgency operations. Indian officials claim that troops need such powers because the army is only deployed when national security is at serious risk from armed combatants. Such circumstances, they say, call for extraordinary measures.” Human rights organizations have also asked Indian government to repeal the Public Safety Act, since “a detainee may be held in administrative detention for a maximum of two years without a court order.”

United States leaked diplomatic cables

The Wikileaks diplomatic cables have recently disclosed that Indian government employees agree to acts of human rights violations on part of the Indian armed forces and various paramilitary forces deployed in the north east parts of India especially Manipur. The violations have been carried out under the cover of this very act. Governor S.S. Sidhu admitted to the American Consul General in Kolkata, Henry Jardine, that the Assam Rifles in particular are perpetrators of violations in Manipur which the very same cables described as a state that appeared more of a colony and less of an Indian state.

Earlier leaks had also stated that International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had reported to the United States diplomats in Delhi about the grave human rights situation in Kashmir which included the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees. Kashmir is currently administered under this very act.

 

 This above case is a very good example as to why such Anna like protest is required for the government to act. People who feel sad about why Irom’s case is not being heard but Anna’s 4 days fast was more effective sound like as if they are sad not because of the issues but because Anna did not have to set a personal fasting record to win a title. Disgusting!!!

Like I mentioned before, what Anna started was something we all could relate to and are victims of it.

  • There are some bloggers who go about saying we all are corrupt so corruption should stop at its root. Duh!!! Tell me something new. We all agree that most of us are corrupt. We grease palms when we jump signals, whenever we want to get our files noticed, when we want our work done. We also agree that to stop corruption we must not practice it too. I mean for God’ sake, Anna was not sitting there to give us moral education classes. He was there to compel the government to have civil society’s participation in the drafting committee. His job is not to start moral education classes. We all can use our judgments. We bribe people not because we love doing it. I mean c’mon, it’s our hard earned money why would I want to give it away to a corrupt person. We do it because, we want to get our work done and quickly. In India red tapism is rampant; files do not move or go missing for years if money is not paid. Letters are not answered, calls are not returned, no one is really interested in helping the aam junta or justify their salaries by coming to work or doing the job  they are getting paid for. In a situation like this, the aam junta prefers to bribe and gets his work done rather than run pillar to post. This is yet another reason why the lokpal bill is important, because it will also take cases against public servants and departments for not doing their job.

 

  • Lastly, there are many people speculating huge funds have been used, there could be some hidden agendas of the organization who are behind it. The people who are behind the lokpal are much respected people of the society and their credibility is more important for them than any hidden agenda. There could be funds which might have been used to get badges made, NGO’s which must have spent their money to get pamphlets printed and advertisements published etc. but what is wrong in that. If the cause is noble then I don’t see anything wrong. If at all there were funds being used. at least these were not public money being misused. Talking about hidden agendas, well, I suppose the writers are speculating activists or that “certain” organisation’s entry into politics. Even if that happens, I still do not see anything wrong. Where we have so many criminals as politicians if we get someone who is not a criminal and is sincere about his job as a politician then I am happy with so called “hidden agenda”

 

Our role does not end with an agitation. We need to be more active in the country’s politics. We need to be seen at the polling station and not just at agitation venues. We need to exercise our right to vote and not just our right to freedom of speech and expression. We must not vote politicians who are not worthy of it. We must rise above petty politics of caste, creed, community and language.

What we have achieved is a milestone. We need to wait for the draft to be introduced. We need to see what exactly is there in the final version and if it actually gets passed. Till then this noble cause must be supported by each and every Indian and as responsible citizens we must not believe in any bad press without checking the facts because for whatever petty gains there will be people who would be undermining and maligning the whole cause and the people behind it.

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Who Anna Hazare? What Jan Lokpal Bill?

Coming to my own blog after a very long time. Must admit have been very busy and when not busy, then lazy.  But today I had to leave all work and laziness aside because the cause I wanted to write about and support by writing about, is very close to me.  It’s about this man called Anna Hazare and Jan Lokpal bill. I must also admit that I am writing this post from the comfort of my home with a stomach full of food. I am not fasting nor am I sitting in the April Sun in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. That way I am an armchair activist (like so many others) but I wanted to write about this and contribute in whatever way possible.

Who is Anna Hazare?

Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare or Anna Hazare, is a social activist and a social worker. He used to work as a driver in the Indian Army and has been greatly influenced by Swami Vivekanada, Ghandiji and Acharya Vinobha Bhave.  He is especially recognized for his contribution to the development of Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra.

After voluntary retirement from the army, Hazare came to Ralegan Siddhi village in 1975. Initially, he led a movement to eradicate alcoholism from the village. Next, he motivated the residents of the village intoshramdan (voluntary labour) to build canals, small-scale check-dams and percolation tanks in the nearby hills for watershed development; efforts that solved the problem of scarcity of water in the village that also made irrigation possible. He helped farmers of more than 70 villages in drought-prone region in the state of Maharashtra since 1975. He also motivated the residents of the village to build a secondary school in the village through voluntary labour.

Below is the Wikipedia based information on the entire anti corruption crusade started by Anna.

Lokpal Bill movement

In 2011, Anna Hazare led a movement for passing a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal (ombudsman) bill in the Indian Parliament. As a part of this movement, N. Santosh Hegde, a former justice of the Supreme Court of India and Lokayukta of Karnataka, Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court along with the members of the India Against Corruption movement drafted an alternate bill, named as the Jan Lokpal Bill (People’s Ombudsman Bill) with more stringent provisions and wider power to the Lokpal (Ombudsman). Hazare has started a fast up to death from 5 April 2011 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, to press for the demand to form a joint committee of the representatives of the Government and the civil society to draft a new bill with more stronger penal actions and more independenceto the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Ombudsmen in the states), after his demand was rejected by the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh.

The movement attracted attention very quickly through various media. It has been reported that thousands of people joined to support Hazare’s effort. Almost 150 people are reported to join Hazare in his fast. He said that he   would not allow any politician to sit with him in this movement. Many social activists including Medha Patkar,Arvind Kejriwal and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi have lent their support to Hazare’s hunger strike and anti-corruption campaign. This movement has also been joined by many people providing their support in Internet social media such as twitter and facebook. In addition to spiritual leaders Swami Ramdev,Swami Agnivesh and former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev,  many bollywood celebrities like Shekhar Kapur, Siddharth Narayan, Anupam Kher, Madhur Bhandarkar, Pritish Nandy, Priyanka Chopra, Prakash Raj,Aamir Khan, Chetan Bhagat showed their public support through twitter. As an outcome of this movement, on 6 April, 2011 Sharad Pawar resigned from the group of ministers formed for reviewing the draft Lokpal bill 2010.

Anna Hazare started his “Fast until Death” at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, stating “I will fast until Jan Lokpal Bill is passed”

The movement gathered quite a significant amount of support from India’s youth visible through the local support and on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Background of the movement

The movement 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:

Draft Lokpal Bill 2010

  1. Lokpal will have no power to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public. It can only probe complaints forwarded by LS Speaker or RS Chairman.
  2. Lokpal will only be an Advisory Body. Its part is only limited to forwarding its report to the “Competent Authority”
  3. Lokpal will not have any police powers. It can not register FIRs or proceed with criminal investigations.
  4. CBI and Lokpal will have no connection with each other.
  5. Punishment for corruption will be minimum 6 months and maximum up-to 7 years.
  6. Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.
  7. Lokpal will be much more than an Advisory Body. It should be granted powers to initiate Prosecution against anyone found guilty.
  8. Lokpal will have police powers. To say that it will be able to register FIRs.
  9. Lokpal and anti corruption wing of CBI will be one Independent body.
  10. The punishment should be minimum 5 years and maximum up-to life imprisonment.
  11. Lokpal will not be a monopoly for particular area

Jan Lokpal Bill

  1. Lokpal will have powers to initiate suo moto action or receive complaints of corruption from the general public.
  2. Lokpal will be much more than an Advisory Body. It should be granted powers to initiate Prosecution against anyone found guilty.
  3. Lokpal will have police powers. To say that it will be able to register FIRs.
  4. Lokpal and anti corruption wing of CBI will be one Independent body.
  5. The punishment should be minimum 5 years and maximum up-to life imprisonment.
  6. Lokpal will not be a monopoly for particular area

Now the question arises, why Jan Lokpal bill is so important.

Source: http://indiaagainstcorruption.org/

Jan Lokpal, an independent body  that would investigate corruption cases, complete the investigation within a year and envisages trial in the case getting over in the next one year.

Drafted by Justice Santosh Hegde (former Supreme Court Judge and present Lokayukta of Karnataka), Prashant Bhushan (Supreme Court Lawyer) and Arvind Kejriwal (RTI activist), the draft Bill envisages a system where a corrupt person found guilty would go to jail within two years of the complaint being made and his ill-gotten wealth being confiscated. It also seeks power to the Jan Lokpal to prosecute politicians and bureaucrats without government permission.

Retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi and other known people like Swami Agnivesh, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Anna Hazare and Mallika Sarabhai are also part of the movement, called India Against Corruption. Its website describes the movement as “an expression of collective anger of people of India against corruption. We have all come together to force/request/persuade/pressurize the Government to enact the Jan Lokpal Bill. We feel that if this Bill were enacted it would create an effective deterrence against corruption.
A look at the salient features of 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 will not linger on for years anymore: 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. How will it help a 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. So, you 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. But won’t the government appoint corrupt and weak people as Lokpal members? That 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. What if some officer in Lokpal becomes corrupt? 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. What will happen to 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.

To summarise, we can say, it will give more power to RTI act, corruption will be tackled and dealt with quickly, whistle blowers will (most likely) also get some protection for raising their voice against corruption.

________________________________________________________________________________________

There are many sections in the society who belive that Anna’s crusade is politically motivated or BJP might be behind all this. To set the record straight, let me add that Anna’s crusade is India’s crusade and is not politically motivated. In fact, Uma Bharti and Chautala were turned away when they wanted to join Anna.  According to Anna, the politicians can come, sit amidst the public, listen to Anna’s speech and go away. Politicians will not be allowed to share the stage as he does not want any political colour to be given to his crusade and thereby maligning this noble cause.  He also went ahead and said that his crusade is completely non-violent like Gandhiji who protested by going on hunger strike against every wrong in the society. Anna being a staunch Gandhian, is following the same path of hunger strike because all other avenues are closed.  His crusade is not against the government nor does he want to create any political instability.  He trusts no political party and wants to have a dialogue with either Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh. It clearly shows that Anna believes no one other than these two people in the entire government or the political setup of the country. Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh should not waste time in addressing this issue which has mobilised the entire nation.

According to Anna, this a 2nd freedom struggle for our country. Struggle to free our country from petty gains and  greed.

My support to Anna.

For more information you can read

indiaagainstcorruption.org

For list of scams you can read this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_political_scandals

For corruption Index of various countries for 2010 you can read this

http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results

By the way, India ranks very high on corruption.  And like they said in the film, Rang De Basanti, “Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, usse perfect banana padta hai.” Anna’s step is a step towards that. Lets support him.



Dr. Praveen Bopaiah R , Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore-Review

After having a baby, it is very important that you have a good pediatrician ready. Someone known to us recommended Dr. Praveen Bopaiah and now after visiting her I also highly recommend her.  Her clinic, like any other good and well-known doctor’s clinic, is always full of patients so it is advisable that you make an appointment with her whenever possible. In emergency cases you can call her and visit her at her house.

As a doctor, she understands parent’s concern and also knows what will a baby like and not like. I am sure her job must be difficult because her patients can hardly talk and explain their problems. But she  knows the right treatment, diagnosis and medicines for the little babies. She is not very expensive also.  Though my baby has suffered from minor ailments only but she always springs back into action after getting treated by Dr. Bopaiah.

Highly recommended.

Dr. Anuradha Sadashivmurthy, The Cradle, Jayanagar, Bangalore

When we discovered that we were expecting a baby, finding a good obstetrician was the 1st thing on our mind. We went to Apollo clinic at Fraser Town but were not very happy with the doctor. So we started shopping online and came to know of  “The Cradle”, a hospital which specialises in delivering  babies. In fact their tag line is, “Delivering joy” and I completely agree  with the tag line because our delivery was indeed a joyful experience thanks to our doctor at The Cradle.

Dr. Anuradha Sadashivmurthy is an excellent doctor because as a first time parents, all our fears, concerns were handled by her very empathically.  She always answered her cell phone and in cases where she could not,  she would always call back.  She was so helpful that she even told us things that we never knew were important. Like the exercises I could do and avoid, the food I should eat and should not eat. Her behaviour was also very warm and welcoming.  Sometimes it felt as if she was genuinely happy for us even though we only shared a patient and doctor relationship.  All through the pregnancy she never recommended useless medicines and kept saying that I have a very high chance of having a normal baby. From my friends I had heard that generally private hospitals insist on caesarean because that way they can earn a lot more money however in my case, my doctor said I will have a normal delivery and I had a very safe and quick normal delivery.

The pediatrics although is not something that I would recommend at The Cradle but in case you are looking for a very good hospital for delivery and general pregnancy related checkups then please consult Dr. Anuradha Sadashivmurthy because she is really very good at her work. The Cradle is expensive however compared with other private hospitals in Bangalore like Wockhardt, Apollo and Mallya it is relatively cheaper and definitely far better.

Dental & Orthodontist Clinic, Kammanahalli Main Road, St. Thomas Town, Bangalore-Review

I recently had to get a root canal treatment done and was trying to avoid the procedure fearing all the horror stories people had told me before about root canal treatment. However, I could not escape going to the dentist as I generally get a scaling done every 6 months & this one was due for over a year now. Also, I started seeing a tiny lump on my gum where I had done a filling 2 years ago. I was on the lookout for a decent dentist who would not charge me a bomb. My niece suggested that I go to Dr. Ganesh Shetty’s clinic at Kammanahalli as he is their family dentist.

As Dr. Ganesh Shetty’s clinic was very close to home I fixed an appointment to get a scaling done and thought I will get root canal done by him only if I feel that he is a good doctor. Now my definition of a good doctor is one who I can share my silly fears with, can ask any question related to my ailment, someone who can empathise with me and make me comfortable, win my trust and most importantly help me deal with my fear and Dr. Ganesh Shetty could do all of this proving to be an excellent dentist.

My root canal was painless, absolutely painless.  I was not charged a bomb.  The entire process cost Rs.5000 including a porcelain crown. Whenever I had any problems I could call on his cell and he would pick up his phone. The staff at his clinic is also very courteous and helpful. The only problem is that his clinic is always crowded. I think that is a proof enough of him being a very popular and a good dentist.

Highly recommended.

Coffee World-Near Kammanahalli, Bangalore-Review

There is a new Coffee World which has opened near Kammanahalli. We had gone there one evening for some salads.  The one at Eva Mall has some nice salads and waffles, so we thought now that it has opened near our home let’s go there and enjoy their salads however the experience was awe full and here is why:-

1. There were no salads available to begin with though they had displayed a diet menu on all tables.

2. We were served no water until one of our friends asked for it 30 minutes later.  Water was finally served but the waiter served only 1 glass of water when we were 3 in number.

3. We ordered for sandwiches and coffee. It took them another 30 minutes to make the sandwiches which the waiter brought 1 by 1 at an interval of 15 minutes. So My friend had to wait for our sandwiches to arrive so that we could all start together.  As a result of which his grilled sandwich became cold.

4. Another 15 minutes for the 2nd sandwich to come and we decided to start eating rather than wait for another 15 minutes for the 3rd sandwich.  Both the sandwiches were finished but the 3rd one was yet to arrive.

5. When the 3rd sandwich came it was a white bread sandwich instead of a brown bread one.  So the waiter had to take it back to get us the right one. 15 more minutes and the 3rd sandwich (which now was our 4th sandwich technically) arrived but I guess this time they ran out of vegetables because the only vegetables the sandwich had was onions and capsicum. There were no tomatoes, no lettuce.

6. Coffee never came, so we had to remind them and were told that we never ordered coffee.

All in all very bad customer service and equally bad eating experience. Not recommended at all. Rather go to CCD or a Barista.

Fusion Unisex Salon, Kammanahalli, Bangalore-Review

Fusion Unisex Salon

Kammanahalli Main Road, Near Health & Glow, Opposite Jalvayu Vihar, Bangalore

In May I had gone to Fusion Unisex salon which is at Kammanahalli main road. I had got an Aroma facial done which cost  Rs.950. I was very happy thinking that  finally there is a decent parlour near my house where I can go for my regular beauty treatments. But when I went there the 2nd time  in June I  was so disappointed and  felt cheated. Here is why:-

1. The facial room looked used. The sheet on the table was crumpled and looked dirty as it had some grey smudges.

2. The changing  gown felt wet and again I had my doubts on it being unused.
3. The massage lasted for just 20 minutes only whereas last time it lasted for 45 minutes.

4. This time I was not given a back & shoulder rub which was given to me last time.
5. I have a pimple prone skin and told the beautician not prick my pimples but she went ahead and pricked the pimples and I could feel blood coming out of them.
6. The face pack  was also different this time which I did not like. Last time it was a sandalwood based mask which scented nice and felt good.
7.. Within a month’s time their rates have sky rocketed. The same facial now costs Rs.1350/- instead of Rs.950 which I paid in May and it’s clearly not worth that money especially when there are better parlours like Lakme and Kaya available in the same vicinity.

I am not going there again nor will I ever recommend them to anyone.

New Media & Democracy

The other day I was watching a reality show on TV where the participants were begging for votes to save themselves from being eliminated.  The same episode also showed  the mind boggling number of votes one of the contestants had won and that led me to thinking…in a country where the government is chosen by us, a country which is the largest democracy in the world, why only less than half of its voting population go out of their homes to cast their vote?  We don’t practice our political right  to choose a leader for our country. We leave the most important decision of finding the country’s leader in the hands of a selected few who are most of the time coaxed into voting a certain party because the so called leader belongs to their village, caste, community or has promised something big for them and I was wondering, when it comes to voting for reality shows then people sms their votes as if they are going to win a prize for voting. Why is that?

I feel the way we choose our leader and our electoral system really need to change because we, as people of this country especially the youth,  have changed dramatically. Our lives have changed and lifestyles have changed too.  Finding few hours to reach a polling booth, stand in a que and cast our votes is something we find difficult to adjust in our lifestyle. We live a very fast world where information travels at a speed of light, where we dream of fast internet,  fast cars and short cuts because at the end of the day,  24 hours also seem very short with all the things that we have to manage, be it at home, at work, in personal or in social life. So much so that we do not even get time to see a friend on his birthday party but  rather prefer wishing him on Facebook. We socialize on social networking sites, we read online rather than sitting in a library and we vote using our cell phones for the reality shows. So why not use the same media for election campaigning and voting? Why can’t the political parties start discussing their manifesto, their goals on social networking sites like  Twitter, Facebook and start blogging.  There are off course  many political parties who are waking up to this revolution which only proves one point that new media is a very powerful tool especially to reach the youth of urban India and the political parties realize that to really create an impression on us they need to be one of us who we can also relate to.

Democracy and the way we choose our leaders need to adapt to the changing times if the parties need urban votes also along with the rural votes.  We may not find time to venture out to vote but that does not mean that we are unwilling, we only need a platform which is more accessible to us for voting. I think just like they have in the reality shows, we should also be give an option where we can Twitter, sms, call in to cast our votes and be equally responsible and committed in choosing the face of new India via new media.

The Missing Humane

Today I twittered, “Humans are the worst parasite on earth. Our track record proves it and all our wars are to prove who the bigger parasite is.”

My mom always says, “It takes a lot of good deed to be born as a human. To be born as a human is the best a wandering soul could get.” And she is not the only one. All Hindu preachers and believers, who believe in the cycle of birth, believe in this statement. But I sometimes wonder what is so great about being a human. We kill, we torture, we are sadists, and we are nothing but parasite. We are feeding on our planet and killing her but we don’t care. We not only kill animals but skin them alive for their skin and fur. We slit their throats and wait for them to bleed to death so that their meat is no longer forbidden by some religious doctrine and is fit for consumption. If you think you should abide by the religious doctrine then let me tell you this, religion is manmade and your conscience is god given. So who should you rather abide by? Will the earth come to an end if the animal is killed in a less torturous way which may be forbidden by some religious doctrine? Will I die of cancer if I don’t get to eat fresh, live fish which is still gasping for air on my plate? Will the human race die of severe cold if I don’t get to wear fur? Do I really need that snake skin boots or that alligator skin bag which has a hefty price tag but is the price enough for that animal’s life? I understand turning a vegetarian won’t help because to make room for agriculture we will have to cut down all the jungles. I feel the approach lies in striking a balance somewhere. We don’t need any leather or fur for our existence; we also don’t need a bull fight or animas in circus. And in situations where the animal must die why can’t we kill it by giving the least painful death.

Who ever made “zero” was a very intelligent person because he or she knew that everything is a vicious circle. We need industrialization so we need land to build industries, we show carrots to people whose land we grab for making those industries, in return the big corporate houses hold the government to ransom because they know how much the money and a global image means to the government, we keep the people unaware, ignorant and poor and also fearful of caste, community and religion so that they never get to see the true picture, so that they never can think outside their own petty issues, so that we can show carrots in the name of reservation and quota and come to power. We wage wars to fight terrorism when we are the proud parents of the monster, we use our army and motivate them in the name of love for country so that they blindly lay their lives to save their nations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and so on when their own orphaned son or daughter has no place to go to have a life of their dreams. We have babies after babies, then we need more houses more land to grow food, so we cut the jungles, we mine the forests, the dry up the lakes, then we feel the heat of global warming, we see animals dyeing and attacking humans, we see water shortage and impact of it on agriculture, we see bad crops, natural disasters due to deforestation, over industrialization and greed, we see farmers in loans and farmer’s body hanging from a tree. We see scarcity of food and price rise. We also see food imports and country plunging in to debts followed by civil wars and the government toppling over. Then comes the rich man with his aid masquerading as a generous country only to rule and loot, terrorism follows, war is declared, country in military coup, weapons are brought, banks become richer, more people are killed, even more babies are born, more land is required, more jobs to be created, more demands to be met…and thus goes the cycle…

I am not religious but I believe in God. I don’t believe that humans are the greatest creation of God rather the biggest mistake by God which is why He lost interest in the world after creating humans. His biggest mistake was to power us with more of intellect and very less of conscience. Had it been the other the round things would have been lot better. Or maybe we are meant to destroy the world the only thing is that we don’t know it and if that is true then we are doing a pretty decent job at it why else then would so many animals and indigenous tribes go extinct.