Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Life as a Pedestrian (or living with urban development)

There was a tragic traffic accident yesterday between the State Bank of India ATM and entrance to CPWD quarters on Sarjapura Road [Koramangala II block]. A pedestrian who was trying to cross the road succumbed to injuries at the scene of the accident.

  • There is a traffic constable posted at the entrance to Kudremukh colony, but I am not too sure how much that person can handle things during peak hours. The constable was posted after a neighbour visited senior officials of the traffic police a few weeks ago.
  • Another tragedy waiting to happen are the median blocks that keep getting moved onto the road by two wheeler drivers who want a short cut into/out-of III block Koramangala.
  • Ambulances keep getting stuck in the jam thanks to the diversion for the underpass. It takes an eterinty for the traffic to be moved for the ambulance. 

    Crossing Sarjapura Road on foot or on vehicle between II and III block Koramangala is life threatening. It's not a hypothesis any more.


    Wednesday, 9 June 2010

    The Bhopal Verdict Presents an Opportunity for Reform

    For over twenty years now, most of us have been outraged by the lack of justice for the victims for the Bhopal Gas tragedy. The judgement, which was on expected lines if you were watching the story closely, was a bitter disappointment. Other cases that are being dragged at a snails place like the 1984 riots or Bofors case also come to mind. 

    The Bhopal judgement has triggered a groundswell of outrage cutting across party and political lines. The condemnation is almost universal. This decision, if used intelligently, could turn out to be the straw that will break the camel’s back.

    Judicial reform has been on the back-burner. Nobody has had found the right opportunity to take on the system, clean it, and give it the infrastructure and support it needs to dispense justice and uphold the constitution. Any sweeping change, targeted at such a key institution,  needs to have a massive groundswell of public support. There is no time like now to build that support!

    The Bhopal case presents us with an opportunity to clean out the stables and strengthen the system. We can use it as an opportunity to reduce political interference in the dispensation of justice, reduce the misuse of law, reduce the backlog burden, and address the large number of under-trials waiting for a day in court.

    The moment has presented itself. It will be difficult to oppose reform that will make justice more accessible to victims. Can parliament unite, cut across party-lines and drop hidden agendas? Will the law ministry seize the moment? I hope so.

    Call to action:
    Let us use our anger and outrage constructively. Let us force the Indian media to start asking about Judicial reform. Let's dig up reports made at the behest of Parliament and the Law Ministry on Judicial Reform. Let's start getting our elected representative to demand a reform in the judicial system. Anything that can add momentum to the call for sweeping reform should be don and done before the issue fades from public memory. 

    Hopefully folks on the left, right and centre of the political spectrum will see eye-to-eye on this one.

    Tuesday, 1 June 2010

    Final Solution

    One of my Favorite Blogs – The Idea of India, had a documentary embedded in this post. I am embedding the documentary "Final Solution" at the end of this post. It is a well known documentary about Godhra and it's aftermath. This was the first chance that I had to see it and it lived up to it's reputation. I am not surprised that the censor board (at the time) wanted it canned.

    The last 30 minutes had me scared. I am sure that it will scare you too (unless of course you are a religious fundamentalist, in which case you will be salivating at the prospect of more death and violence)

    Allow me to leave you with a poem that appears at the end of the documentary
    Mandir bhi le lo
    Masjid bhi le lo
    Magar tum hamare
    Lahoo se na khelo
    mandir se gar jo
    khuda hai nadardad
    aur masjidion mein
    nahin hai jo ishwar
    to phir aadmi ke liye dharm kya hai
    jahan aadmi ke liye uthne hain khanjar
    khuda ko bhi le lo
    ishwar ko bhi le lo
    tum ram le lo
    babar bhi le lo

    Build your temple, have your mosque
    But don’t play with our blood for it

    If a muslim god has no space in your temple
    If the Hindu God doesn’t reside in your mosque
    Then why have a religion that preaches murder

    You can have all our Gods
    But don’t play with our blood for it

    You can have Ram and Babar
    But don’t play with our blood for it

    Final Solution - the complete documentary


    There have been some subtle changes on some right wing sites recently. Probably an attempt to whitewash their Hindu Rashtra leanings. This leaves me stumped. Have they been stumped? Has the "liberal dharma tag" been buried? Have they realized that they are far from liberal and extremely conservative? The circus tent still seems to be around. That said, I have not seen any new circus tricks lately. The only exception was support for Israel in the name of 'real politics' or some such thing. Journo sena folks seem to be less engaged with them as well.