Saturday, November 30, 2013

Judge Applied His Mind

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Mind is the most powerful instrument humans have. We are what we are depends on how we train our mind and what our minds tells we are. Mind aids us in setting right from wrong, yet same mind can push us into abyss. No where is this more apparent, in the behavior of parents of victim in the Aarushi Talwar – Hemraj dual murder case and the judgement that followed thereafter.

Aarushi Talwar, a fourteen year old girl, was found murdered in her bedroom. Hemraj, the family helping hand, was also found murdered and his body concealed on terrace. The apartment where Aarushi lived with her parents had three rooms. Aarushi had one room to herself. Parents of Arushi occupied the room adjacent to Arushi’s. There was a servants quarter in the apartment where Hemraj lived. 

The case was difficult because first it is believed that during initial investigation, crime scene was not secured. As a result a lot of evidence was destroyed. DIG of NOIDA police, further complicated the matter by making public pronunciation about character of Arushi and her parents. Aarushi’s  father was arrested, however, he was released. The case was handed over to CBI. First team of CBI had one line of thinking. However, they did not make much headway. The second team of CBI was constituted and they pursued a different line of investigation. Finally, CBI submitted to court that they cannot solve the case because they do not have enough evidence. CBI wanted to close the case. However, Talwar family wanted CBI to continue investigation and find the killers. Talwar’s all along believed someone from outside the house had killed Aarushi and Hemraj.  Judge also did not accept CBI’s closure report and wanted CBI to continue. So CBI filed a report where they implicated Aarushi’s parents as the potential killer. 

The verdict of the case came out in the week of 25th Nov, 2013. The CBI court pronounced Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Dr. Nupur Talwar guilty of murdering their daughter Aarushi and servant Hemraj. There were a lot of criticism of the judgement. Many thought it was a travesty of justice. Higher courts, many experts proclaimed, will tear the judgement apart and acquit Talwars. Talwar family vowed to appeal to higher court. 

As I read all the stories that came out in public domain, a few questions come to my mind. 

1.If there were four people in the apartment, why only two people were killed. 

2. Dr. Talwar had claimed he had scolded on of the house helps a few days before the incident. This person may have motive to commit the crime. Even if we accept this theory, why would this person kill Aarushi and spare Dr. Talwar? His enmity was with Dr. Talwar and not his daughter!

3. Two people got brutally killed, yet two others were not only stayed unharmed but they slept blissfully! This is either plain concoction or there was no motherly instinct. Any normal person wakes up, if they subconsciously suspect someone entered their property.

4. If an outsider actually killed Aarushi and Hemraj, why would they drag Hemraj’s body to terrace? If we accept Hemraj was killed on the terrace, why would the killers care to lock the door?

5. One fully grown adult was killed, there was no noise and no one knew in a 3 bedroom apartment!

6. Dr Talwar repeatedly mentioned about a glass where there may be finger prints of killers. This glass, according to Dr. Talwar, was used by killers to drink whisky in Talwar’s dining room. Why would a killer/s first kill two people, then decide to drink in the place where they have a high possibility of getting caught? All the while the alleged killers enjoyed their drink, Talwars happily slept through! Is this possible?

7. There was no evidence of forced entry. Even it was, Talwar’s never knew as discussed above. In the morning after, when the maid came in the door outside was locked from inside. 

The above are some of the mysteries that I, a novice. could not understand. I do not think any one else other than Talwar’s could have killed the girl and servant. If they did not do it, and if point number 6 we accept, then someone known to Talwar’s had done it. That is why Talwar’s kept repeating killer was out there somewhere. Could it be then paid assassin/s? No one knows. May be Talwars have trained their mind to forget the incidence and they continue to believe that someone else other than them had killer their daughter. Judge saw through the charade, applied his mind and gave a verdict. We must respect it now.

Tags: Aarushi Talwar, Hemarj, Nupur Talwar, Rajesh Talwar, CBI, CBI court, Murder, Investigation

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Let Actions Speak, Not Mouth

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Sri Rama Krishna once said “In this age of kali, truth should be our highest dharma. All of us must have our mind and our mouth in sync.” How we experience day in and day out, that truth remains the biggest casualty in our lives. We say one thing in public, while we act and believe something that is exactly the opposite of what we speak.

Mr. Tarun Tejpal is an experienced journalist, an accomplished writer, a brilliant publisher and a successful business man. He has published a Booker Prize winning abook, he has organized sting operations that had unsettled government/s and forced ministers to resign. In a decade, Tejpal has been named twice among the fifty most powerful people in Asia and in India.

Tarun Tejpal, by his own admission, gets bored of routine activities. Like a maverick, he wants to do new and exciting things. In the process, he never cares about blurring the line between legal and illegal. Tejpal had created Tehelka. He has seen it brought to ground following his sting against NDA government. With Shoma Choudhury, his loyal deputy and managing editor, Tejpal had resurrected Tehelka, as a news magazine that takes up position for the marginalized and underdogs of our society including issues related to women. Professionally, both Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury have positioned themselves as left of centre, they have targeted through their publication political right and big business with a zeal. Shoma is scathing in her criticism of media, of big business and of politics. Some of her notable quotes and writings:

1.       “contrary to some of the optimism on this panel, I think journalism in India is in a pathetic state” and that “journalism has become “a corporate rather than a political act;
2.      ”India’s political, corporate and media establishment sounds like a mobile cocktail party, gliding, champagne glasses in hand, in and out of each others’ drawing rooms, television studios, boardrooms and award ceremonies like actors in an elaborate charade.’’

Yet, neither Tarun Tejpal nor Shoma Chaudhury had shown any compunction in accepting money from corporate houses, that too from not so clean business groups. To start his THiNK Fest in Goa, Tarun Tejpal had sacrificed his own reporter Raman Kirpal’s investigative report on illegal iron ore mining in Goa. According to reports, the mining had cost exchequer nearly 3000 crores in lost revenues. With the political blessing of central command of congress party, Tejpal had traded the report for permission to start THiNK Festival. Grand Hyatt, the conference venue,was funded by mafia money, whom Tehelka journalist target, as well as the venue had come up violating environmental guidelines against construction activity on beachfronts.

However, double standard does not end here. In the same venue  where Shoma chaired a session on rape survivors, Tarun Tejpal assaulted a junior colleague sexually. Shoma can be shrill, scathing and uncompromising when it comes to people who she considers her opponent, yet when it came to complaint against Tarun Tejpal, the first thought that crossed Shoma’s mind was survival of her institution. Who will finance it, if Tarun Tejpal is gone?

It reminds me of a story where a scholar of Bhagwat Gita used to preach everyone about fleeting nature of life. How son, daughter, wife, parents all go away some day or other. He would quote Gita so glibly. One day he was found lamenting the loss of his son, who passed away. When reminded of his own preachings, scholar responded “this is my son”. I smell such hypocrisy in Shoma’s action.

Bigger question remains where does Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury stand on their often publicly professed positions. Definitely, both of them failed the young journalist in their organisation, while vociferously fighting women's cause in ther professional lives. They have no sense of shame in taking money from people, with clean or shady past, whom they tear into shreds in their professional lives, whom they vilify day in an day out, especially if they fall in the other end of political spectrum.

Tags: Tarun Tejpal, Shoma Chaudhury, Tehelka, THiNK Fest, Goa, Writer, Publisher, Journalist, 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Lowland : A Book Review

The Lowland is a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. This is the story of a middle class Bengali family caught in the maelstrom of political turmoil of late 1960s and early 1970s. It is the story of a father who loses his two sons, along with hopes and aspirations, one to police bullet and the second one to the USA. Parents who are not allowed to perform last rites of their son, yet who have to live on reminiscing memory of their departed son.

Two siblings who are temperamentally different, yet have a deep bond of brotherhood. Younger brother, Udayan, is daring, passionate, intelligent and ready to takes up cudgel on behalf of poor and disposessed. Udayan joins naxalite movement during his days in Presidency college. Udayan also marries a girl of his choice, Gouri. Udayan kills an off duty police officer. He suffers from the guilt of his action. Eventually, Udayan was hunted down and killed by central reserve police force in front of his parents and newly wedded wife.

Subhash is the older brother, who is cautious, conventional, responsible, and obedient. Subhash completes his chemical engineering degree from Jadavpur University and moves to Rhode Island for a post doctorate. Subhash is not a rebel but he is not selfish. Subhash marries Udayan’s widow in the face of prophesy of Subhash’s mother “Gouri may never love Subhash, because she loved Udayan. Also, Gouri is too aloof to be a mother.” Udayan’s daughter, Bela, was born in Rhode Island. Bela considers Subhash to be her father and a beautiful bond emerges between them even when Gouri leaves Subhash and Bela.

Gouri is one of the most complex character. She loved Udayan, yet she marries Subhash. Gouri was never grateful to Subhash. She slept with Subhash, yet she never loved Subhash. Gouri was aloof to her daughter Bela. Gouri left Bela with Subhash and moved to west coast of the USA. Other side of Gouri was her desire to study philosophy, her brilliance and her desire to excel. She completed her doctorate. Was Gouri a selfish and opportunistic person? Did Gouri not want to associate with any symbol that reminded her of Udayan? Gouri did not bother to take her daughter, indicating she lacked maternal instinct. Was she being generous to Subhash, knowing how dearly Subhash loved Bela? Gouri did not  face Subhash to inform about his decision to leave for west coast. Does this indicate her guilt or lack of any accountability? Or Gouri was so haunted by Udayan’s memory that she was on the run from Udayan’s family, Udayan’s child and from herself?

Bela is a second generation American kid who had her roots in India. Bela is scarred by her mothers departure. She is afraid to get into a relationship. Also, Bela becomes furious when informed Subhash was not her biological father Yet she acknowledges the sacrifices Subhash has made for her, and fatherly love Subhash has bestowed upon Bela.  Bela grows up like a copy of Udayan. She has rebellious streak of her father, the same sense of independence and strong will. Like her father, Bela distrusts capitalists system. She does not like corporations, supermarkets etc. and grows her own food.

The Lowland creates characters that are realistic with geunine aspiration and despair, happiness and pain, shades of selflessness and self centeredness,  impulsive and calculating.  The Lowland is a story that deals with human agony. However, the novel is not dark and depressing. There is hope, at each page and each chapter one anticipates something new and different. For me the most beautiful part of the book is when Bela tells a shell shocked Subhash, after Gouri has left them “Baba I will never leave you”. I encourage everyone to read the novel. Jhumpa Lahiri has a very flowing style of writing. At no stage reader is bored. Always there an anticipation of what is coming next.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Strong immunity healthy life

“A healthy mind lives only in a healthy body” goes the saying. For a normal healthy body to function body’s internal system has to occur properly. A pillar of internal system is our immune system. Immune system protects our body from invasion of bacteria and micro-organisms.

 Avinash moved to a FMCG company in Delhi as regional sales director. He had greater responsibility and better pay package. In first month of his job, Avinash realized he was under pressure to deliver. He would get out by 7.30 am each morning, to beat the traffic. He reached home not before 8 pm in the evening tired and depleted of energy. He would bring work home and work weekends. Although Avinash felt guilty for neglecting his family, he had no choice but to work like a man possessed.

 Avilasha, Avinash’s wife was both unhappy and worried. Her husband did not have time for family. He was persistently under pressure and looked tired. Lack of exercise was making him to gain weight. He was irritated and complained of headache. Avilasha also noticed that Avinash was catching cold very often. Avilasha dragged Avinash to a general physician one Sunday morning. Dr. Sarin heard Avinash out, and him to adviced Avinash to try Dabur’s Chyawan Prash coupled with some pxhysical exercise.

 Dr. Sarin explained that working in a pressure cooker like situation at his work place, his own expectation to do excel, coupled with a sense of guilt were playing havoc with Avinash’s immune system. As a result, Avinash felt tired, caught cold more often and generally felt exhausted. If immune system remained weak, then in long run Avinash may fall ill gravely. Regular allopathic medicines will not address they symptom without addressing the actual cause of the disease.

Chyawan Prash is a mixture of multitude of herbal extracts. This knowledge was gathered over thousands of years of experience of many practitioners of Ayurveda. Active ingredients of many herbs act to strengthen immune system of a person from inside and try to ward of attack by external and internal threats.

Avinash went back to Dr. Sarin after a month. He was feeling much better. His tiredness, constant headache and general irritability was not there. Although work pressure was still there. Avinash was able handle his professional responsibilities much better. Avinash decided to send a thank you e-mail to Dabur at the following address:

Tags: Chyawan Prash, Ayurveda, Immune System, Work Pressure, Healthy Lifestyle

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Indian Mars Mission : Outrageous or Outstanding!

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India has launched a mission to land a probe to planet Mars. Worldover, only five countires including USA, USSR, European Union, China and Japan have undertaken similar mission. We shall know only after another 11 months, if Indian spacecraft will  land on Mars. We cannot, however, undermine the hard effort, the ingenuity, innovative thinking and courage to dreame of scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).  Indian mission was cost effective because it was achieved spending 450 crore rupee, a fraction of budget allocated for space programs of developed countries. The mission was launched in a record time of fifteen months and followed an innovative trajectory.

Many have criticized indian dare in space exploration. Should a poor country like india spend money on esoteric scientific ventures, when a bulk of her population still do not have access to clean drinking water, sanitation, education and electricity. Indian poor suffer from hunger, malnutrition, disease among others. There is urgent need to overcome social and gender inequalities, female foeticide, dowry death, and general ill treatment of women. One international news paper went to the extent with headlines that Indian rocket is funded by British taxpayers. So much for paltry 100 Mn pounds British donate in charity for Indian poor!

I realize Indian society is riddled with problems. India has been trying to address them as much as she can. India has attempted to create an inclusive society and tried to feed her population even by stretching her national budget to the maximum possible extent.

We cannot undermine the direct benefits of space exploration in the areas of telecommunication, weather prediction, navigation among other things. When cyclone hit Indian east coast, only 21 people actually lost their lives because people were evacuated based on advanced warning.

Experiments like exploration of space, breaking down of atoms etc, may be useless from utilatirian point of view, but life cannot be lived simply on bread alone. Humans are curious being. Unless intellectual hunger of Indian scientists are quenched, scientists will move to countries or places where they can satisfy intellectual hundger. If man-kind had waited till all his earthly needs had been fulfilled, we would not have electricity, locomotives, motor cars, aeroplanes etc as inventions.

India has been trying to eliminate poverty since past sixty years. Despite subsidies and affirmative action, problems remain. Money government spends somehow does not reach real needy. It is time we move on. There is need to develop other aspects of life. Simply  crying about poverty, one may not be able to eradicate poverty. There has to be fresh approach and fresh vision. India must not desist from attempting space missions. We may not be able to fathom the significance of such exploratory research today because we lack vision, our posterity will never forgive our short sightedness, if we so act.

Tags: ISRO. Mars Mission, Space Exploration, Poverty, Illiteracy, Malnutrition, Gender Inequality, Female Foeticide, Subsidy, Affirmative Action