Uttrakhand witnesses PM vs. CM

The small hill state of Uttrakhand may not reverberate much politically in the national sphere. However, the coming assembly elections in the state are a high stake battle for the Congress and the BJP. Among the five states that are going to polls, only reflects direct fight between both the parties for 70 seat assembly. The poll is slated for 15 February.

In 2013, Bahuguna’s inept handling of rehabilitation work during Kedarnath calamity faced fierce criticism that had to make way for Rawat to take over in February 2014. But this step also led party reeling under factional feuds. On March 18th last year the internal clashes within the party led nine Congress MLA’s including Bahuguna to revolt aginst Rawat. They all demanded a trust vote in the assembly. It was after a brief period of President’s rule that the nine rebels were disqualified from participating in the vote of confidence and Rawat was again re-appointed as Chief Minister of the state. The most marvel thing is that all nine rebels are now in BJP. Many have been denied Congress party tickets for the upcoming Assembly polls and now Rawat is trying to console them by saying “there are only 70 seats in the state and not everyone would get a party ticket, but if you stay with me, support me, I will take care of you.’’

He makes request to all his members, “this is the last chance for Congress to be in power here if the BJP wins, we will never be able to retain power back.” Whereas, when Modi landed in Dehradun recently to address the BJP’s Parivartan rally, both the parties the BJP and the Congress were watching the turnout closely. Happily for the BJP, parade ground was filed to the brim. Modi remarked in his speech that while his rally during the Loksabha campaign had seen a sizeable turn out, it was far better this time. Many BJP Leaders after this rally claimed that “the people of Uttrakhand have seen the performance of the Modi government and they are bound to compare that with the corrupted Congress government.”

Modi is the BJP’s poll mascot in the state, with the party having decided not to project a chief minister candidate. In the recent opinion polls BJP sets to claim power in the state. The BJP has four former chief ministers in its fold- B.C Khanduri, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Ramesh Pokhriyal and Bahuguna but it is not in position to field any of them as chief minister. On the other hand, the Congress has now got election strategist Prashant Kishor  to fine-tune the campaign. Rawat called him “chawan prash.” However, Rawat is increasingly being seen as dictatorial, also saddled with anti-incumbency, and is being attacked by the BJP for allegedly promoting corruption. In public meetings, senior BJP leaders have played the alleged sting operation against Rawat. He is purportedly shown trying to buy MLA’s when his government faced a crisis of members.

Demonetization and surgical strikes are recurrent themes in the BJP’s Parivartan yatras. Both are being projected as Modi’s bold moves. It is felt that demonetization has the people’s support, despite the inconvenience that they have faced. And, the surgical strikes have already resonated the state, which has a substantial representation in the armed forces. Also, through the Parivartan Yatras , senior leaders have been emphasizing that a BJP government in Dehradun could coordinate better in New Delhi, resulting in more development. “Uttrakhand will now be nurtured and developed under the leadership of PM Modi, if our party is voted to power,” BJP President Amit Shah said in Dehradun recently.

Rawat, on the other hand, projects himself as a victim. He tells people that his elected government was removed by a ‘power hungry’ centre. He has also talked about development work being stalled by the Modi government. In public meetings he tells people that all the mighty leaders of BJP are together trying to defeat a poor chief minister. A prominent theme in his Vikas Sankalp Yatra has been the pending list of demands to the Centre. While, the BJP has countered him by asking him to show his own report card rather than to blame the Centre.

It would be exciting to see on 11 March who comes to power by what number, for now surely the temperature is dropping in the hills, but the electoral fight in Uttrakahand is undeniably hotting up.


Maintaining husband parents is dharma, not just duty

These days it is common to see every other marriage breaking apart in Indian society, just a few years after the grand wedding day. The saddest part is where married life is ruined by the interference from the man’s parents. This happens typically in a joint family system, where the son and his wife are expected to stay with the parents.

The recent judgment of the supreme court of India states that “a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage”. A Hindu son can divorce his wife for the cruelty of crying to pry him away from his “pious obligation” to live with his aged parents and provide shelter to them. A women becomes a part of the husband’s family and cannot seek to separate him from his parents for the sole reason that she wants to entirely enjoy his income, a Bench of justices Anil R. Dave and L. Nageshwara Rao observed in a judgment “insisting her husband to live separately from his parents is a western thought alien to our culture and ethos. It is not a common practice or desirable culture for a Hindu son in India to get separated from his parents. A son is brought up and given education by his parents, has a moral and legal obligation to take care and maintain the parents, when they become old and when they have either no income or have a meager income,” Justice Dave wrote.

In India, generally people do not subscribe to the western thought, where, upon getting married or attaining maturity, the son gets separated from the family, the court said. This judgment has created the buzz all over India, many are favoring it and many are criticizing it. It is passed because the court wants a son to understand his moral obligations and to take full responsibility of the parents who have raised him. Now, a wife is expected to be always with the family of the husband after the marriage. The whole story of taking care of parents came into lime light when the court was confirming divorce of a Karnataka based couple in a recent judgment. Married in 1992, the lower court granted the husband divorce after he alleged cruelty on his wife’s part. He quoted instances of her constant suspicions about him having illegal affairs with a maid. It was later found that no such maid describe by the wife ever worked in the couple’s home.


In another instance, the apex court found that the wife had attempted to commit suicide but was rescued in the nick of time. She wanted to separate the men from his parents who were dependent on his income. However the high court had set aside the decree of divorce, saying the wife had a “legitimate expectation” to see her husband’s income used for her and not for his family members.

Males are seen happy with the judgment of Supreme Court as it deals with suffering of men when he is being pestered by his wife to abandon his aging parents. Some women suffer due to patriarchy does not mean that men may also suffer in the hands of women. Injustice anywhere to anyone should be condemned. The old parents are the responsibility of a man and if parents are not earning it is son’s responsibility to attend to their monitory needs and at the same time provides the basic facilities to his wife and kids. It should be a responsibility of a son to take care of his aged parents and the aged parents should also ready to accept a new girl as their daughter.

Now the questions arises here are, what if a son leaves his parents with his consent? What if the poor daughter in law is forced to forceful abortion and acute mental and physical torture both by the son and in laws? What if the in laws keep doing domestic violence or ask for dowry? The judgment does not say that in this case women won’t get justice. Of course, the poor daughter in-law has the right to fight against injustice and she can stay separately or apply for divorce. Yes, parents are important to everyone both for the men and women but how far it is justified when in-laws try to create void between husband and wife and how far it is acceptable when girls leave their parents alone and leave their home after marriage even, if she is a single girl child. Gender bias will not stop in India until this world ends.

It is important to note that this judgment by the Supreme Court is given by only two male judges and no woman judge was involved. So, this judgment sounds totally biased and male chauvinistic. By stating this judgment, the apex court has infact granted a stem of approval to the age old women leaving her house and joining the men’s family which takes us back into the chains of patriarchy. That this is what was considered “normal” and that it would in fact be unreasonable for her to want a separation. What stings the most here, is the fact that they presume that, men would not like to leave their families but that it was completely fine for women to do so, the wording of their statements proves that it has always been, taken for granted that the woman should leave her own home and parents behind but that would never be called ‘cruelty.’ This law again puts the male in supreme position. It will further support the age old mentality of our society which prefers a son over daughter. This is why our society celebrates the birth of a son rather than a daughter.

Where is the equality between a son and a daughter gone? This law will further encourage those people who want a male child. Our society obsession with the male child will only become stronger. “A son brought up and given education by his parents, has moral and legal obligations to take care of his parents.” Aren’t the girls brought up and given education by their parents? Rather it should be a moral duty of both the sons and daughters to take care of their parents in their old age. After marriage they both become one entity, they need to jointly take care of each other’s family. Living separately doesn’t mean leaving them forever there can always be love, affection and fulfillment of duties own daughter.


Break the chains of hunger

The world produces enough to feed the entire global population and yet, one person in eight on the planet goes to bed hungry each night. In developing countries like Africa and India, one child in three is underweight, 98% of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries.

The portion of area, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America seems worth globally. Aiming at the very heart of hunger, the hunger project is currently committed to work in sixteen countries like Bangladesh, Benin, India, Ghana, Mexico, Mozambique and Uganda. The Hunger Project works with communities to develop the water resources, checks clean water and sanitation and to ensure no one dies due to hunger and starvation. 60% of the world’s hungry are women, 50% of pregnant women in developing countries lack  proper maternal care, resulting 30,00,000 maternal deaths annually from child birth. One out of 6 infants born with a low birth weight in developing countries and in every 10 seconds, the child dies from hunger related disease.


There are many causes for the presence of hunger in the world and they all are often interconnected. Poverty is the principal cause for hunger. People living in poverty cannot afford nutritious food for themselves and their families. The condition of poverty makes them weaker and less able to earn the money that would help them to escape poverty and hunger. Not only poverty but conflicts across the globe disrupt farming and food production. War and terrorism also force millions of people to flee their homes which lead to hunger emergencies as the displaced find no means to feed themselves. In 2014 to 2016, more than fifty lakh people had to leave their home countries, the majority of them fled from armed conflict in Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia, says UN report. Fight and displacement mean that farmers can no longer tend their entire possession. Roads and agricultural infrastructures are destroyed and seeds fertilizers and fuels are only available on a limited basis, at very high prices. Food becomes expensive, people eat less and mostly, an unbalanced diet with insufficient nutrient supply. Weak government structures, stagnating economic growth, high youth unemployment and unequal access to income, land and natural resources create the foundation of whole population groups and create a climate of making people more receptive to strategies of violence which we have seen in Ghana Crises and Arab Spring.

In India government survey shows 3,000 children are dying daily due to illness related to poor diets which is National shame for us. India’s efforts to reduce the number of undernourished kids have been largely hampered by blighting poverty where many cannot afford the amount for the type of food they need. Poor hygiene, low public health spending and little education and awareness have not been held so far. Shoddy management of food stocks, subsidized carbohydrates-rich food fuel the poor rather than truly nourishing them.

While the urban middle classes dine in swanky shopping malls where eateries offer everything from samosa to sushi, millions of children are dying due to lack of food. India’s spending on health estimated as lowest in the world. In States like Odisha, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh the women of backward and tribal areas are forced into early marriages and when they reach puberty, give birth to underweight babies with weak immune system. These families are living on less than $1 a day and they can hardly afford anything beyond wheat chappatis.


On the other hand, our country on the world’s stage, boosting its claims for a bigger note on forums such as the UN Security Council. It moved closer to US and signing billion dollars agreements but failed to uplift the poor. In comparison to India, China has already achieved its target on malnutrition as its economic growth has been focusing more on health sanitation and small holder production while India has several schemes already running to battle malnutrition.

The Indian government is now vaunting a multi-billion dollar food subsidy program as possible solution. The food security bill which guarantees cut price rice and reaches to 63.5 percent of the population is found more as “political gimmick”. The food security bill is very good development but it is a food security bill not a nutrition security Bill. The government really needs to focus at the situation as the world’s hunger is getting ridiculous. There is more fruit in rich man’s shampoo than in a poor man’s plate.

The gift of blood is the gift of life

Blood donation is a major concern to the society as donated blood is life saving for individuals who need it. Every year our Nation requires about 5 Crore units of blood, out of which only a meager 2.5 Crore units of blood are available. There is a shortage to active blood donors to meet the need of increase blood demand. Globally, approximately 80 million units of blood are donated each year.

In 1901, Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian physician, discovers the first three human blood groups. On his birthday, 14th June is celebrated as “World Blood Donors Day”. October 1st is celebrated as ‘National Blood Day’ in India.  One of the biggest challenges to blood safety is to access safe and adequate quantities of blood and blood products. Safe supply of blood and blood components is essential. Interactive awareness on blood donation should be organized to create awareness and opportunities for blood donation. More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.



Today in the developed world, most blood donors are unpaid volunteers who donate blood for community supply. In poorer countries like Africa, supplies are limited and people usually give blood when family and friend need direct donation. Many donors donate blood as an act of charity but in some countries donors are paid for donating their blood. In 1997, the World Health Organization (WHO) set a target for all blood donors to be unpaid volunteers. But statistics, in 2015, revealed that 55 out of 126 countries had successfully achieved this target. People who are potential donors are physically examined by a physician and their medical history is also checked. They will also have their blood screened for diseases that are easily transmitted through blood donations, such as viral hepatitis and AIDS.

Blood donation is easy and safe process but there are people who may feel pain or get faint when the blood is being drawn. A sterile needle is used once for each donor and then discarded. Blood donation is a simple four step process: registration, medical history, mini physical, donation and refreshments. Every blood donor is given a mini physical, checking the donor’s temperature, bloodpressure, pulse and hemoglobin to ensure that it is safe for the donor to give blood. The blood donation usually takes 10 minutes. The entire process, from the time you arrive to the time you leave, takes about an hour and 15 minute. All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C and other infectious disease before it can be transfused to patients. Blood cannot be manufactured it can only come from generous donors. There are four main blood types: A, B, AB and O. O-negative blood type donors are universal donors as their blood can be given to people of all blood types. This type of blood is needed in case of emergencies before the patient’s blood type is known and for the newborns need blood. Blood makes up about 7 percent of your body’s weight. If a person began donating blood at age of 18 and donated in every 90 days until he or she reaches 60 means that person has donated 30 gallons of blood and potentially helping to save more than 500 lives.


More than 1 million people every year are diagnosed with cancer. Many of them need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment. A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.  The limited shortage of blood means it is difficult to have a stockpile of blood to prepare for a disaster. After 9/11 tragedy in the United States, the need to store blood was discussed with great fervor. The efforts were made on maintaining an adequate supply of blood at all times. In India, Delhi NCR alone faces a shortage of 100,000 units per year. The issue of blood shortage is also due to lack of voluntary donors, though the figure has been rising, particularly in state such as West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. Blood banks are empanelled by the government. All authorized centers should follow blood safety guidelines as listed by the National Aids Control Organization (NACO).

Donating blood is definitely an altruistic noble gesture filling the donor with happiness and contentment. It is an intensely humanitarian act which tides over man made barriers and one of the best ways to express our love and care for our fellow beings.

The new patriot game

Is Boycotting films, circulating hatred messages on whatsApp, ban Chinese goods, taunting Fawad’s departure bring any solution to terror activities?

The recent Uri attacks claimed the lives of 19 Indian soldiers and injured many civilians in Jammu and Kashmir. This led to the constant conflict and unrest all over India. This incident was followed by momentary euphoria of surgical strikes that were conducted along the LoC, in response to the brutal attack. After this all social media platforms were bombarded with messages of hate as well as those of love and peace in equal amount, and from people from both countries.

The relationships between both the countries, India and Pakistan have been on tenterhooks. In India, MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) has called for a ban on Pakistani actors. Many have supported the party decision, while many others in the industry and outside the industry have supported the Pakistani artists and questioned the MNS boycott. Celebrities likes Karan Johar, Salman khan, Mahesh Bhatt and Om Puri have spoken in support of Pakistani actors.

Confronting the ban on Pakistani talent in India, Mahesh Bhatt said that few militant elements shouldn’t be allowed to decide the future of peace loving nations of both the countries. He urged that Pakistan and India should end terrorist and not the dialogue. The Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) has banned Pakistani actors, singers and technicians from working on Indian films. Ashok Pundit, a producer and IMPPA member said, “IMPPA paid homage to the martyrs who were killed in Uri. It therefore felt its responsibility towards the nation and passed a resolution many Pakistani actors and technicians in India killed normalcy returns. For IIMPPA, nation calms fast.” Raj Thackeray, issued a 48th hour ultimatum to Pakistani actors to leave India by 25th September or warned them with the risk being “pushed out”.


It is true that Banning Pakistani actors send out a strong message, to Pakistan government that if Pakistan backstabbed India then we won’t tolerate it. It also ensures that India is not turning a blind eye to the struggles of the Indian Army in regions bordering the supposedly rouge-nation. It is seen that 19 families have been shattered like glass but not a single word came from our Bollywood royalty. But the pain of Fawad khan’s departure is too much to bear for many. At the same point, many believe that families of soldiers are suffering the pain that couldn’t be justified by any ban. We are talking about artist and by banning them we are trying to justify the Uri incidents and terror activities, which our Indian government is failed to prevent.

The imposition of ban seems to divert the mind of Indian citizen from a political failure and in this situation we should talk about India and Pakistan. To give a visa to any Pakistani is a sole decision of the government as actors and producers are not terrorists and art and culture should never come in between. On the other side, it is also found that this “banning” agenda is the work of the Shiv Sena, MNS and forces of Hindutva.  Their policy is to ban anything they don’t like, followed by threats of burning theatres, attacking research libraries, destroying art, burning books. Now, they have added another dimension to the ban that Pakistani actors should compulsorily condemn their own country’s policies and actions. This is Hindutva Egoism and not a war effort.

Whether Pakistani actors should come out in the open against the Uri attacks or they should be allowed to work in India can be talking points but should this question and its answer be allowed to become a litmus test for patriotism? Is this the only defining quality of patriotism? Is Boycotting films, circulating hatred messages on whatsApp, ban Chinese goods, taunting Fawad’s departure bring any solution to terror activities? The answer has been reduced to an artist-soldier binary and there are no prices for guessing who comes out looking like the loser but it seems the artist is still the villain.Banning anyone or anything just because they happen to be born or manufactured on the other side of the Radcliffe Line is like going back to 60 years and validating the partition, which the Indian freedom fighters never wanted.

 For India, banning actors and constant conflicts with neighbour countries like Pakistan and China may become a distraction on its march towards regional supremacy. Letting the Pakistani artist to perform in India or cricketers to play cricket is only going to increase the ties between the Regions. It benefits India immensely to be on good terms with its neighbours. Whether it’s India, Pakistan or China, we all know that one man doesn’t make an island alone.