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Monday, October 22, 2007

Misinterpretation of Self Respect

I feel people conveniently disguise their ego through extravagant definitions of self respect... Self respect is always within and no need to show it off.... When you respect yourself, you can tackle any situation without listening to your ego... When you undergo humiliation from others, normally your ego wakes up and you interpret that as your self respect...!!! Humiliations are a test of your modesty and passing in such tests will actually boost your respect towards your own eyes..!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sethusamudram Project: A reality check

I would like to quote an article I have read for forming an analytical view of the projects proposed in our country in the disguise of development..... For whose benefits? For whose advantage? With what agenda? People of this country should realize and respond....constructively.....

"The Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP), which envisages dredging a deep water canal across Adam’s Bridge at India’s southern tip, has been in news for all the wrong reasons.

Yet, without negating the divine implications and without questioning people’s beliefs, there is a need to objectively analyse the project and assess whether it in our national interest.

The project, which would cost the exchequer around Rs 3,500 crores, entails building a 300 metre wide and 12 metre deep channel from Gulf of Mannar across the Adam’s bridge all the way to Bay of Bengal beyond Palk Strait off Point Calimere, a distance of about 44 nautical miles, so that the ships from the West Coast of India can transit to the East Coast through the Palk Bay, rather than going round Sri Lanka.

The protagonists of the project feel that the canal will save precious fuel and save transit time for the ships, and also develop the Tamil Nadu coast. Many feel that the entire traffic from the Persian Gulf and Red Sea to Malacca Strait will eventually take this route.

But the facts are somewhat different. The channel is being dredged so that the ships with up to 10 metres draught can transit through it. But almost all the tankers and bulk carriers from Persian Gulf or the Red Sea and bound for East or South East Asia are much bigger in size, and will not be able to use the channel due to constraints of draught.

Even for those ships that can transit through the canal, except for traffic from Tuticorin to Chennai, the time gained by most of the merchant ships on account of shorter distance will be more than neutralised due to delays that are inherent in transiting through a narrow channel, where pilotage in all probability will be compulsory. The ships will have to anchor and wait for a pilot (a local expert who navigates the ship through confined waters). Time will be wasted in waiting for pilot, embarking him, disembarking him and also due to speed restrictions mandated in a narrow and shallow channel.

If the traffic increases, then the ships will have to queue up as big ships will find it difficult to cross each other in a narrow channel like this. Any fuel saved will be neutralised by Pilotage charges and other charges likely to be levied on ships transiting through this artificially made canal. It is therefore unlikely that any significant shipping is likely to be diverted through this canal, even after it is ready. This poses serious doubts about the financial viability of the project.

From the security point of view, it must be noted that all big ships during their transit from Adam's Bridge to Point Calimere will be extremely vulnerable to attacks by LTTE, as the ships on account of surrounding shallow waters will be constrained to move at a slow speed and follow a fixed path, which will pass very close to the waters dominated by the LTTE. This will provide LTTE a strong leverage against India and the flow of traffic through the canal will depend on India's relations with this terrorist outfit.

Strategically, India must aim to bring the countries of South Asia closer and strive for a South Asian Economic Union. But the Sethusamudram Project creates an unnecessary Gulf between India and Sri Lanka, which is uncomfortable with the project as it perceives it to be against Sri Lankan interests. Although it has been circumspect as it does not want to ruffle feathers in India, but Colombo’s displeasure is well known.

Sethu project — A strategic blunder

It would make much more sense to go in for a land bridge between Dhanushkoti and Talai Mannar (over the Adam’s Bridge or the proverbial Ram Sethu) so as to achieve better integration of Sri Lankan Economy with Indian economy. This coupled with a reasonable devolution package by the Sri Lankan government could resolve the long festering ethnic turmoil in the island nation. Several studies indicate that a land bridge between India and Sri Lanka would make enormous economic sense and the cost could be recovered in less than a decade.

As an emerging maritime power, India would like to monitor shipping in the Indian Ocean at least in its vicinity, and one of the most significant Sea Line of Communication close to our waters is the one that connects Dondra Head (South of Sri Lanka) to Malacca Strait. Though Indian naval ships would still have the legal right to be in Sri Lankan waters after the construction of Sethusamudram Canal, they would definitely lose the moral right to do so.

The environmental impact of the project has not been studied adequately. It is believed that Adam’s bridge prevented Tsunami from affecting Kerala, but what is more significant is that the region has been prone to massive tidal waves and one such wave in the sixties had washed away an entire train from Dhanushkoti Railway Station.

The Gulf of Mannar has been chosen as a biosphere reserve as its waters and its coast are rich in marine life, which contains over 3600 species of plants and animals including 117 species of corals and 17 species of mangroves. The project will definitely have an adverse impact on the marine life even if the shipping lanes do not exactly pass through these waters; mere proximity will pollute the marine environment and destroy the coral reefs.

The local fishermen feel that this will not only ruin the fish breeding grounds but could also bring in deep sea trawlers, thereby threatening their livelihood.

It is therefore essential to dispassionately review the project and not see it through political or religious prisms. As the channel will not allow transit by bigger ships and small craft have always been transiting through Pamban Pass, it may be much more cost effective to dredge the Pamban Pass to allow ships of up to five to six metres to pass through. This may not even cost one per cent of the cost of SSCP, and besides saving exchequer’s money will definitely avoid the adverse environmental, security and strategic implications of this project. "

Hence, our esteemed Governments have the moral responsibility to bring the facts and figures of this project in front of the tax payers as they are accountable for each penny they intend to spend in the name of this project.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Logic & Politicisation of Myth, Culture & Truth

In this beautiful world of ours, there lived many legendary philosophers and great individuals who thought and contributed for the betterment of the entire human kind – regardless of caste, creed and regions. Their thought process was always influenced by the magnitude of the impact of the effects of their thought and not by the narrow aspects like religions and regions….!!!

India is unquestionably one among the ancient civilizations in this world with rich cultural heritage and strong philosophical base. This makes us proud to be Indians and at the same time warns us about the responsibility on how to carry ourselves in this world. It demands us to practise what we have imbibed from our ancestors and it demands a very high tolerance level towards any discrimination and untoward instances, so that we become an example for this modern world too…..

However, how many of us can claim to be this role model and show the path to our younger generations? Answer is very much known to each of us and it is high time to analyse and assess ourselves about our inherent tolerant levels. There is a dire need of a strong analysis on what we are? And what we should be? and not on what we were ? or what we had been…..?!!

I had travelled across the country and had an opportunity to observe our highly diverse culture, very close and specific…

Be it ‘Durga Puja’ in Guwahati & Kolkatta or ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ in Mumbai & Hyderabad, or ‘Holi’ in New Delhi & Hyderabad or ‘Diwali’ in Coimbatore & Lucknow or ‘Onam or Vishu’ in Thiruvananthapuram & Palakkad….

All are the same…except some small variations, rest everything is same…..Same excitement, same enthusiasm….!! However, in this frenzy of excitement we are ignoring certain value erosions in the process…!! One of my friends from England (He actually hails from Athens, but settled in England), who happened to be well read and has pretty good knowledge about our heritage and culture (May be more than some of our ASI officials) had opened my eyes on the issue.

Across India, during the festivals ( Be it Holi, Ganesh Nimajjan, Durga Puja etc. ), the processions take place and people dance in frenzy and shouts slogans to praise the lord….Understandable….But how would anybody justify people drinking alcohol in public and the organizers supply alcohol in public during these processions….??? In no epics anybody has referred to this kind of celebration and display, rather these celebrations have always been described as an act of sanctity, (i.e.) sanctity of mind, body and thought…!!! When my friend pointed out the mockery of ‘belief’ even by those so called ‘Moral Police’, I felt ashamed of these irresponsible display by our people. When somebody make a film on existed evil of ancient India, there is a huge hue and cry about it. But, these mockeries of belief are done by the same species of people and it is very difficult to digest such actions by the true citizens of India.

I had also seen exception to these common trends and understand that there is hope, still prevailing in the end of this cave of ignorance & hypocrisy.

The first instance was when a group of ‘Rajasthani’ dancers were displaying the traditional dance during ‘HOLI’ at Hyderabad. They were traveling in a van going from one Rajasthani house hold to another one and performing the dance. It was mind boggling and inspiring…..No forcing of colours, no mixing of chemicals with water & eggs, no shouts and above all no drinks…!!! They came in group, performed the dance with a backlore of folk music, applied ‘Tilak’ on the foreheads of the surrounding people and parted sweets and ‘Prasad’ and very calmly left the place to the next destination.

The second instance is during ‘Ganesh Puja’ in Hyderabad, where they used to keep the idol and conduct ‘Bhajans’ every day and do the ‘visarjan ‘ in the end without making a big noise about the entire phenomenon. This bold display to follow truly traditional and holy festivals should be appreciated and encouraged…These acts are extinct species and if not recognized by the society, it will vanish very fast. Each one of us as a responsible Indian who owes lot to our culture, tradition and the knowledge passed on to us by this great land, should do something to appreciate such initiatives to keep up the dignity and sanctity of our culture and tradition ever alive….!!! Through your comments, you can suggest me the logical steps and plans from your end in this regard.

I would like to conclude with a related aspect about the development….It is neither wise nor scientific nor an act of intellect (Unlike the social perception or myth in India) to just discard the past and do some project, which would have borne in the brains of some individual beaurocrats, who don’t have any social obligation as the species rarely feel they are accountable and they overlook at the ecological and emotional imbalances and impact to the society by and large…!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Tribute to my Friends across this Planet


What do you mean by that? There are many movies, theories and larger than life definitions by many great people about this relationship……and nobody is wrong in their own context….I’m trying to analyse what is friendship from my perception and experience…..

Before getting into the depth of it, let’s ask some preliminary questions to ourselves…..

Does Friendship start with love & affection you feel for each other?
Is friendship only an acquaintance in the beginning and then evolves into a strong bond of love & affection, which prevails there forever?
Is friendship based on the needs & usefulness of the individuals to each other?

Now, there could be many more (Millions of them) questions in this format, for which it might be difficult to find answers ever…..!!!!

More than 85-90% of the friendships start as mere acquaintances and then gradually evolves as a strong bondage and impression upon each other, which leads you to continue the relationship and maintain it further…..

Gradually you come across the various character patches of your friend and the impacts of the same. It is a test for your tolerance levels and you will tolerate his behaviours, depending on the willingness and character of your own self….!! You may decide to quit and still you may be half minded to offend him, purely depending on your own nature and the way your character is moulded….

According to me, after initial intimacy and getting closer, so that a bondage had happened, I do not expect my friends across this globe to contact me every time , just to say ‘hello’ and regardless of all these expressions and displays, which primarily lie in the froth level of a relation, I would like to serve my friends when they actually need me and when they come up with a request…and I expect the same from them too….Not the typical friendship day cards and those sweet chocolate words and no action of bondage….!!!

I had lost many of my friends because of this philosophy, since they all belong to the class where they had seen lot of ‘Public Display’ and they are in that trap, where you do not go beyond that level….If you do not call or meet them for 2 days, then there are lot of complaints and repercussions…!!!

I feel the friendship needs to be valued on the basis of the sacrifice one makes for his/ her friend when you are required to do it….!! Not by calling or meeting somebody regularly and when need arises, you do nothing…!

Based on my principle, I have lot many true friends and a strong networking channel of like minded friends who really care for their friends…!!

Oh…My friends …. I’m proud to be your friend.

I have other friends also who belong to the other category of glory and show off and I certainly know from my experience that they may fade away over a period of time.

Another aspect I had seen is that many of the friendships and network are with a specific agenda and goal….To me its absolutely absurd…and totally unacceptable…!!! Like mothers’ love, the friendship should be unconditional and without expectations….and should not be maintained for emotional bargains….!!!!