Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fighting corruption

I am reading and following the debates around the Anna Hazare's initiative for the Lokpal bill. I liked reading the post by Aativas about her visit to Ram Leela grounds where Anna Hazare is fasting.

It reminded me of my visit to those same grounds more than 30 years ago, perhaps it was in 1976, when I had gone there to listen to Jai Prakash Narayan. J.P. was talking of Sampoorna Kranti (total revolution) for changing India through grassroots democracy.

Those were such heady days and for some time, I had dreamed that a different India was possible. India did change but not in the way JP had been saying. Looking back at the history shows that things hardly ever go any where in a straight line according to the plans, but they often go off on a tangent. So I wonder where the Anna Hazare movement will take us.

I have also liked reading the report by Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) that points out a key facts:

(1) After liberalization, the number and scale of corruption has increased but the number of CBI investigations into cases of corruption have decreased. In 1991, CBI had 1,181 cases of corruption investigations, in 2010, there 731 cases.

(2) Central vigilance Commission (CVC) is India's main body for investigating cases of corruption among Government workers.However whenever, it receives information about corruption, it needs a sanction from Government to proceed with investigations. However, Government denies sanction for investigation to more than 98% of all cases reported to CVC. Out of the 77,925 cases of corruption among government persons, the government gave permission to proceed in only 1,348 cases (1.7% of all cases).

I hope that Anna Hazare and his team will read the ACHR report and include appropriate suggestions in the Lokpal Bill.

Yesterday there was a tweet from Shashi Tharoor that corruption is not only 2G or CWG, but every time a woman has to pay bribe to get her pension, India's democracy is diminished. I agree completely. As we fight the big corruption by those in power, we must ask for a change so that the all pervasive daily corruption also goes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Coincidences

When suddenly you start noticing coincidences, does it mean something?

Let me give you three examples of recent coincidences linked to my photoblog called Chayachitrakar and the TV over the past 3-4 days.

The first example of coincidences is about my blog. A few days ago, while searching for a picture in my image archive, I saw a picture of red tulips, that reminded me of other pictures of tulips of other colours that I had taken during my travels. So I spent some time searching for them and the next morning, chose three of those images of tulips for my photoblog.

For me, chosing images for the photoblog, is closely linked to small but significant thoughts that can be provoked by those images. Sometimes, I am struck by specific things in the images that I had not noticed before. Some times, the images provoke thoughts that are not related directly but touch something deeper inside me.

The images of the tulips made me think about the well known Amitabh Bacchan and Rekha from the Yash Chopra film "Silsila". Thus, after uploading my blogpost about tulips, I spent some time on internet to search for the Silsila song and watch it

The next day, a professor friend from India, who is visiting Bologna university for a few months, came to our home for dinner. While talking to him, suddenly he started talking about "Silsila".

Initially I thought that he had been to my photoblog and had seen my post about tulips where I had also mentioned "Silsila". However, after talking with him I realized that it was only a coincidence and he had not seen my blog.

The second example is again related to my photoblog. Yesterday morning, looking at the pictures I had clicked last month in the northern city of Trieste, I selected three images of James Joyce for my blog.

I hardly knew anything about James Joyce except that he was considered an important figure in the world of English literature. So I checked about James Joyce on Wikipedia and read about his life and how he was forced to live in Trieste.

Yesterday afternoon, while waiting to go out, I had switched on the TV and tried different channels. While channel hopping, I suddenly found a journalist talking about James Joyce in Trieste. For a second I was surprised and said to myself, "Wow, what a coincidence. I read about it today and wrote about it, and now this guy is talking about the same thing." Any way I soon forgot about it.

Now the third example - Yesterday afternoon while channel hopping, I also saw a brief scene from a TV film on "Importance of being earnest" by Oscar Wilde, on a channel, and then I changed the channel.

Today morning, at the website of Caravan, I opened an article with the review of Amitav Ghosh's new book, it started with the three lines that I had seen in the scene yesterday on the TV:
MISS PRISM: Do not speak slightingly of the three-volume novel, Cecily. I wrote one myself in earlier days.
CECILY: Did you really, Miss Prism? How wonderfully clever you are! I hope it did not end happily?…
MISS PRISM: The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means. (The Importance of Being Earnest)
Reading the dialogue between Miss Prism and Cecily seemed to me so strange, after having seen it by chance only yesterday.

By itself, each of these coincidences is something small and insignificant. However, this third coincidence made me think of this strange feeling over the past 3-4 days. So, I am starting to wonder - is there something more to these coincidences? is somebody trying to give me some message? if yes, what kind of message?

What do you think is happening? Am I making a mountain out of an ant hill?

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