World closer to swine flu pandemic!

The WHO raised its pandemic alert level for the swine flu virus to phase 4, indicating a significantly increased risk of a pandemic, a global outbreak of a serious disease. The last such outbreak, a "Hong Kong" flu pandemic in 1968, killed about 1 million people.

Lets keep an eye on this developing story in the coming days.


Who will light the candles for Shanno?

I am so tired by working night shifts these days that I hardly get time to write my blog. Forget blog, I have not been able to call up my childhood friends for last 3 weeks. Shame on me. My personal life is in turmoil but I will survive! I was not born to be crushed by these silly little things in life. I will come up for sure.

I came home and started reading the news paper and the first article made me think. "Who will light the candles for Shanno?". Well I got moved by the article and was really happy that there is some section of media which still cares for the society in general and not of affluent people only. I am just putting the same article as it is (courtesy 'TOI'). Read it on to understand what's the difference in going to a mall and going to a mela!

One was a victim of alleged corporal punishment, the other of a common ailment, allegedly compounded by negligence of the school.
One's ailment, possibly epilepsy -- besides a learning handicap -- was never diagnosed. At 11, she was struggling to learn the alphabets, in a municipal school. The other, at 17, would have passed out of one of the Capital's elite schools next year.

Both Shanno Khatun and Aakriti Bhatia died within five days of each other this month. Both families are mourning the death of their daughters
-- one in relative solitude in a stinking jhuggi-jhopri colony of Bawana in outer Delhi, the other surrounded by a band of friends and well-wishers in the house of her businessman father on the upmarket Siri Fort Road in South Delhi.

And this is where Union minister of state for women and child welfare, Renuka Choudhary, headed this evening to spend about one-and-a-half hours with the family which has been in the media glare since Wednesday. She described it as a private visit. Far away in Bawana, Shanno's father -- a waiter who earns less than Rs 5,000 a month and has a family of six to feed -- has no high-profile visits to bother about 10 days after losing his daughter. To give Choudhury credit, she did issue a statement describing the Shanno incident as a "collective failure" -- and that was that.

While the locals protested for two days after Shanno's death, only a couple of local politicians bothered to meet the girl's parents. The parents say they are yet to hear of any compensation package.

In the Aakriti case, on the other hand, there has been a flurry of activity and announcements. The school has been under siege, with strident demands for the principal's resignation. The police are now probing a complaint of negligence, the directorate of education of Delhi government has instituted an inquiry and the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights has issued a notice to the school. The school too has instituted an internal inquiry. Delhi minister for education Arvinder Singh Lovely met the family in the afternoon.

The jury is still out in both cases but in Aakriti's case, her classmates
have taken a vocal stand. It's not yet clear if it was just an error of judgement on the part of the school or real negligence but the sense of loss has easily turned into outrage. Why the school didn't send the girl who had an asthmatic attack `promptly' to hospital and whether it was properly equipped to deal with the case are the questions being asked. There are no straight answers.

In Shanno's case, TOI spoke to her classmates who alleged corporal punishment because of which the girl slipped into coma and finally died. But there is a distinct lack of urgency in finding out the truth and giving the dead girl justice.

She was allegedly made to stand under the sun by her teacher for more than an hour after she failed to recite the English alphabet properly. The teacher then allegedly asked her to squat like a hen and put bricks on her shoulder. The girl finally started vomiting, was rushed to hospital, slipped into a coma and died two days later.

The MCD's education department has given the teacher a clean chit even as it has closed down the school. It did take the token measure of suspending both the teacher and principal of the school. Its vigilance department has been changing its deadlines for conclusion of a probe while the cops are taking their time to conduct their inquiries -- an FIR has been lodged against the teacher under Section 304 (A) of the IPC -- and waiting for forensic evidence to support circumstantial proof before they can make a move. After the post-mortem, they are waiting for the viscera report. Delhi government and Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights are, meanwhile, watching from a distance.

Meanwhile, MCD teachers have proclaimed that Manju Rathee, their colleague, is innocent and blamed the family's complaints on provocation by local leaders. One can sense a gradual return to "business as usual" as the days go by.

Shanta Sinha, chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, told TOI: "We are keeping a close watch on the developments and we will step in if the authorities fail in their duties."

According to Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research, "Unfortunately in India, the bias shows when the rich is affected...Everyday there is a fire in the slums, but if a fire breaks out in a mall, we start finding fault with the system. Moreover, the political class always plays to the gallery. They get their votes from the poor, but the services are delivered to the rich." A relevant observation in the time of elections.

Baba Recalls: When I moved to Nasik city from my village, the first few days in my new school was a good experience ... not for me ... but for my teacher!

Here's why - I was made to stand outside the class for some reason (I really don't recall why) and that was not acceptable to me. So what I did was, just took some clay in my hand, came towards the classroom and threw it at my teacher. The name of the teacher was Mrs.Chavanake. I still remember seeing her face when I did this brave act! I did what was right in my point of view. After all, how can some one think of making an 8 year old stand outside his classroom for a small mistake!

Baba's lesson for new kids on the block: "Do not hesitate to show case your anger. It's better to die fighting than be killed by a terrorist while you're shopping!


Yougest country in the world run by the oldest parliament!

If am not wrong, we have political parties in India who have PM candidates as young as 81 (you heard that right - "Eighty One") years!

People of India wake up. An old man who has crossed 80 years is only going to build temples and not space crafts! An old man is bound to be driven by his old values and not that of the younger generation! An old man is an old man! He needs his family more than caring for the country that too as big as India which has more than a billion citizens struggling everyday to live! An old man is only going to have supporters who vandalize pubs and discs and molest women of this country cause they think they are the moral police. We are India and not a country like our neighbors which is run by Taliban!

We have to win the world by out Youth and its talent and not by building temples & dividing people by religion. We are a young country but run by a very old parliament. We need fresh blood to run this country which has rich tradition and heritage. We need young people to empower the common man who suffers everyday in India.

There is a danger of total criminalization of politics (I would call it politicization of criminals): about 700 legislators in the States and 40 in Parliament have a criminal background and some of them are facing trial on charges of murder, extortion! Wow!!!! ... and we are accepting it as if it doesn't matter to us.

God bless my country! I hope young India awakes NOW cause its NOW or NEVER for my motherland!


Where are "Thought Leaders"?

Its ON! The fight for supremacy to rule our country is ON!!

Every day I see all these so called leaders of different political parties on TV and every day I say to myself "What the ....? Are these people going to rule my motherland for next five years!!!"

Its ridiculous ... the way they talk on TV or in front of the larger public ... the way they project themselves. We see one candidate talking @#@# about a particular religion and we see another talking about things like building a temple. Goshh!!! What the @#$% are you gonna do with that temple man??? Is it going to feed the 30% of India which is under poverty line! Come on, we need leaders who talk the real things that my country needs. Enough of dividing people based on caste and religion. We are humans and we need leaders who believe in humanity.

I wonder if the people of India are really serious about their life in this country. People have become so self focused that they don't realize the consequences of not being part of the democracy by virtue of not going for voting etc. We are screwing ourselves by doing this. If the people of India don't wake up now, there future generations would be suffering and mind it, it will be worse than our neighbors after all we are a country of more than a billion people!

I still remember my childhood when the village where I grew up was living life to the fullest fearing that 'SkyLab' was going to fall on earth and the poor people of my village thought that it can be our village! I saw people of all religions living so peacefully and enjoying their lives so generously that I feel ashamed that I grew up. I can do anything to go back to that era where humanity was most important thing in India until one day when a well known religious place was destroyed by some communal people who wanted to rule the country by hook or crook. I urge you to look into the figures of people who died cause of blasts/terrorism/riots before that particular incident and after it.

Anyway ... me putting my thoughts here is a ritual for me now. So one fine day when I am at the verge of leaving this earth, I would see some one else witting the same things after so many years cause the way we are used to living like this ... it's not gonna change for years to come!!!


Earth Hour

It began over the remote Chatham Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean and from there—time zone by time zone—Earth Hour 2009 marched around the globe March 28, with hundreds of cities and communities and millions of individuals dimming their lights to call attention to climate change. In all, nearly 1,000 global landmarks went dark for an hour, including New York's Empire State Building, Paris' Eiffel Tower, the dome of St. Peters in the Vatican and the Christ the Redeemer statue on Mount Corcovado overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro.

I did my bit for mother earth by making a few people aware of it and making sure that the lights went off at my home on March 28th. It was fun. I recalled the days when I was growing up in my home town in Maharashtra and where the Electricity Board has been helping mother earth for years! When the power used to go off, me and my friends used to gather together and shout out loudly in out colony. I had this football ground just behind my home and we used to go there and shout from cursing the Electricity Board to Pakistan! It was FUN at its best!!

On second thought, how about we switching off the lights for an hour every weekend? Well this would surely be a good thing and it won't cost you much for sure.

I also got to learn an interesting thing while creating awareness of Earth Hour among people. I had this event created (would not mention where) and one of the gentleman was sarcastic enough to worry about - what will happen to the power grids if all lights went off suddenly! Well people like this gentleman are every where. Instead of doing a small bit for mother earth, some people will question the very motive behind it. Funny ain't it? For a moment I felt like slapping that person. I am not Gandhi after all!

Some people are really very sadistic in nature and I just hate such people around me. I have a lot of these around me and I need to get rid off these earthly creatures very soon!