Thursday, 14 September, 2006

My experience in villages of nizamabad

I had a pleasure of touring nizamabad and surrounding areas on two days trip with Joseph Curiale(Joe) and also along with Asha for education volunteers from asha-honors chapter, Chennai, Raj Jebadurai(Jeba) and Dhana Lakshmi. People who doesn't know about Joe can read more about him at his website and also know about his passion to save and rebuild lives of families of the farmers, who had committed suicide because of their debts. There are some people who does help others due to their abrupt emotional spur for that moment or for ones own gratification and never bother to do follow up on the conditions of the people who they have helped or sustaining their efforts with the initial zeal for long, Unlike them, Joe wanted to meet the families who he had helped in the previous visit and know their condition. This is his 3rd visit, including this trip he is able to help 18 widows in form of either paying their debts completely or making fixed deposits in their names, so they get some form of relief from quarterly interest being paid or in some special cases he cleared both debts and also made fixed deposits. Other than this he gave Rs 5000 each to 25 widows and Rs 1000 to person who got paralyzed. With such visible monetary support and being Hollywood music composer many assume that he is rich but the fact is, he sold his belongings for supporting his passion to build other's lives and endured lot of hardship to raise funds. Moreover what makes important to note is, even being himself immersed in huge debt, he has worked 16 hrs each day for others, than helping himself.

Initially when Joe came to know about the farmers suicides through anjamma's video on CNN website, even though he decided to help, he didn't had any local contacts and at that moment CNN India's correspondent satish bindra introduced Madhu Yaskhi, who is the Member of Parliament from nizamabad constituency. Madhu's office is instrumental in providing Joe with local information, arranging meetings with widows, helping with opening of bank accounts and with fixed deposits but all Joe's good work is facilitated through madhu yaskhi's foundation. Therefore whenever there is occasion of meeting with widows or payment of debts or handing over of bank passbooks, these are mostly held in pompous ceremonies under madhu yaskhi's foundation in the MP's office or in local elected representative's offices or in other places in the presence of politicians and their associates. Sometimes it does give impression that these activities have to do more with the MP's foundation or with MP's party than with Joe. Sadly, event which Joe comprehends as a private event between himself and the family members is made into public event and robbing him of the joy of being with the families of the farmers, who he considers as his own and all to be part of one big family. More than this, In many cases Joe couldn't spend time or interact freely with the widows or their family members due to prevailing official atmosphere with the presence of party leaders and lots of people eager to get close to Joe and in circumstances like these which hinders widows to speak free of their mind. Despite all this, Joe has managed to spend some time in sharadha's house on her invitation and also in anjamma's house without any politicians or their associates presence.

When we arrived at Madhu's office in Nizamabad, Joe was very keen to know about the condition of widows who he helped previously, also wanted to know if anyone is bothered by money lenders and to make sure that everyone got their bank passbooks but after numerous conflicting explanations from madhu's PA in this regard, we were finally informed that none got their passbooks and to know the reason and status they scheduled our meeting with the bank manager. We were shocked to know that the interest on the principal will be released only at the time of maturity, that is after 5 years, instead of quarterly (as Joe intended in his previous visit) therefore they did not issue passbooks. On our request, manager had immediately changed necessary information in the documents and issued passbooks within 10 mins, perhaps one of the advantage of having MP on our side and charm of foreigner is to get the work done even after the bank hours(in the late night) i suppose :). We planned to handover these passbooks to widows personally by going to their villages next day. Local elected representatives of Madhu's party members doesn't want to miss this opportunity to put forth their political agenda ahead than this noble cause. Elected representatives of respective mandals were there in villages along with the madhu yaskhi foundation, when Joe was handing over passbooks. While i was explaining to family members in native tongue about fixed deposit and how and where they can get the interest for every three months, these leaders interrupted me and said same thing and in the end added that they should contact them, if they have any problem but the fact is, they didn't come to poor widows rescue in last 2 months, when they needed it most for getting their passbooks from the bank. Instead, person in madhu's office shouted on a widow and thrown her out of office for asking about the passbook in the past. All this political opportunism confuses people to understand Joe and his passion for the cause, for instance, at one such ceremony which was organized by brother of Andhra Pradesh State Minister, shabir ali (who was infact was very humble and down to earth. He also hosted lunch for us at the minister's residence) and MP's associates, there was this confused lady in parishad office with fixed deposit certificate issued by government and came to complain to Joe that she did not receive any amount.

Politician's attitude towards poor farmer's families clearly shows that we as a society haven't learned to respect people irrespective of their wealth or stature in the society, at times it is pathetic to see these leaders to order these poor people to touch Joe's feet and say namastay, as if they don't have their own brain to think regarding how they should express their gratitude, nevertheless these people would have expressed their appreciation in similar way but at their desire, than specifically for the photo op of MP's foundation. In Isaipeta village, people with different problems assumed that he is rich and pounced on him for assistance and employed all means to show that they are in more pitiful state than rest. I think people need to be explained that he is just one person with limited resources and he is just like them in debts but difference is, that he is enduring all hardships to assist others and see them happy. We need to show this compassion for the people who are in much more difficulties than themselves and help each other in time of need, Otherwise people will take it for granted about the help they are receiving and take it as their privilege. Anyway, Joe has big plans for Isaipeta and he wants to transform this village into model village and to begin with he is in consultations with Center for Sustainable Agriculture(CSA).

Joe had very good time in the orphanage and distributed gifts which he brought for them and also those gifts which were sent by the individuals from USA. Initially, i kept myself busy in taking pictures and talking to reporters but later when i observed the children they all are such well behaved and always smiling. They are so wonderful that everyone of us wanted to spend more time with them but sadly we had to go. In future, I wish to visit this orphanage with my kid sister and take something for those adorable kids.

Joe is very much aware of implications of being associated with politicians for such a cause and even though he considers Madhu and his wife suchi his good friends, he wants to do these activities not in the glare of politicians and at the same time he does want to maintain good relationship with his friends. When i spoke to sharadha & renuka and explained about things about Joe and what he likes most, they expressed their desire to interact with him and also invited him to their homes. Hopefully next time, Joe will get what he is looking from this extended family!

I have taken tons of pictures in this trip but i posted only few in my photo blog and i will post all of them once i update my service at flickr. Mean time when jeba uploads his pictures to website, i will provide that url here.

Sunday, 18 June, 2006

How did i start blogging? and the future!!!

Once upon a time, there was a serious debate in IC group over caste system. Initially i did not take any interest in it, but when a person, from whom i learned many valuable things had expressed his views, which according to me were not appropriate & were outdated, i felt the need to record my views somewhere and analyze this entire debate. At the same time, i came across a blog, where i needed a user id to comment on a post. Therefore i created a blog profile for myself and simultaneously i wrote to the moderators of IC to get their permission in using messages from IC group for my analysis. Due to lack of enough time to describe this complex debate, i couldn't write my analysis but in this process of understanding different perspectives, there was a need to change my perspective on the caste system in awake of abundant information provided in this debate, which included various historic aspects of this age old and currently distorted system. This encouraged me to maintain a journal to keep track of my perspective on various issues and this became impetus for my blogging.

As time progressed, there was this urge to blog about my personal issues, most of the time i resisted this urge (if we ignore my occasional outbursts). I was hesitant because i was not sure the kind of impression this will be having on people who i know, when they read this or for that matter any of my virtual friends might think but finally i decided, good or bad its part of me and i should be honest in presenting myself. I'm not a blogger, who cares about ones image & i blog for my pleasure, therefore i decided to blog about negative aspects of myself when ever possible, only to improve myself. I always wondered why most of the bloggers who blog about their life, blog rosy things about themselves than being balanced by blogging about not so positive things , it is not that they don't have their conscious to remind them or that everyone of them is righteous or perfect. I think it depends on confidence level of that person and most of them may be afraid of ones image they would be presenting but again i don't want to generalize & there might be different reasons which i may not comprehend now.

What Character From The Matrix Are You?

Matrix being one of my favorite film, i couldn't resist taking this quiz. Result signify nothing and certainly not a gratification but can't ignore it! :-). Happy Birthday to myself on June 5th!, i wonder why one should be happy when he/she grows old?.

What Character From The Matrix Are You?

You are Neo, the chosen one, the slayer of agents everywhere. A former nerd, you have evolved into quite a stubborn hero.Although Trinity is not that hot, at least you're one of the few that can get some in the real world. You can stop bullets and you're immmortal; so what the hell are you going to do in Matrix: Reloaded?!"Yeah. Wow, that sounds like a really good deal. But I think I got a better one. How about I give you the finger... and you give me my phone call."
Take this quiz!

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Monday, 13 March, 2006

Winning is all that eventually matters!

Last year, Sania Mirza and Shahar Peer of Israel had teamed-up for the doubles tournament in Bangkok and reached up to quarter-finals. They wished to continue their pair in Bangalore's doubles tournament in February 2006 but subsequent protests from Indian Muslims had forced Sania to announced that she would not play with Israeli:

"Mirza initially agreed to play with Pe’er in Bangalore, but later retracted, telling Pe’er “It’s best that we don’t play together this time to prevent protests against my cooperation with an Israeli. There is no reason to arouse their ire (Muslims)."

I was saddened and disappointed for the manner in which she was intimidated to change her doubles partner and also for imposing muslim's essential hatred towards Israel on a sport. For a moment, i forgot the fact that Sania's display of arrogance is due to her vanity and not for being self-respecting and courageous.

This year, Sania had performed pathetically in various tournaments and her ranking plunged from being 31st at the end of 2005 to current 45th position. In doubles too she did not had worth mentioning success and in view of this, again she wants to partner with Shahar in doubles tournament, despite the criticism and ignoring the apprehension which she had expressed just last month and also it made her to realize that:

"You shouldn't mix up sports with anything else," the 19-year-old told Reuters at the March 8-19 tournament in Indian Wells.

and she goes further to add:

"If I had to follow the stereotype of what a woman athlete should be in India, then I wouldn't be playing tennis because there aren't many girls who pick up rackets when they are six. If you believe it's right, if your loved ones believe it's right, then it's right."

Then just a month ago, where did this reasoning & resolve gone?. By the way, When talking about women athletes in India, She should remember that tennis players like Sanaa or Ankita or Shikha Uberoi or Rushmi Chakravarthi have not faced any ire over their outfits or on any other issue from anyone, So she should not make generalize statement over women athletes in India to describe her problems with muslim community. Perhaps she doesn't want to face another angry protest from muslims!.

Is Sania opportunistic in desiring to team up with Shahar again in wake of her dismal performances and especially after her last month's apprehension?, i'm not sure.. But in the end, winning is all that eventually matters!.

Friday, 17 February, 2006

Over silly cartoons!

Our hyderabadi muslim brethren were bit late in registering their protest against the depiction of Muhammad in the cartoons published by the Danish newspaper but nevertheless not to be left out, Today afternoon they finally protested in style by burning Kingdom of Denmark's flag, throwing stones on the passers, city's public transport buses(thereby breaking window glasses and hurting people traveling inside these buses, which include women & children), rampaging on streets and violently destroying public & private property.

In the old city(where majority of hyderabadi muslims reside) after performing their friday namaz(muslim prayer) they poured on to the streets with some green flags, perhaps their conscience was finally awakened during the namaz for not giving befitting reply to perceived abuse from Danish newspaper and started rampaging on the innocent people. In the past, law enforcement authority had proposed to install cameras at key locations in the city and also at some mosques due to then regular disturbance caused by our muslim brethren using those mosque premises, which was vehemently opposed by minority leaders and protested by asking rather a innocent question, that why they were singled out?. Later, under pressure from various political groups, this proposal was not even considered, instead government has increased number of police stations in the region but still they are not adequate to monitor the interiors of the old city. Members of rapid action force, a paramilitary unit which is deployed permanently in the area because of the past outbursts of our Muslim brethren and in the view of sensitiveness of this area, were helplessly watching the rampage of the mob since they were outnumbered. But few of the personal were quite glad in their inaction and that they were not in the harms way as their leisurely attitude suggested. Finally when reinforcements arrived, police personal were effective in controlling the situation.

Later, It was informed to me that our muslim brethren had difficulty in acquiring Denmark's flag because many of them heard this name (country/city:- whatever) for the first time!. If they would asked me, then i would suggest them to get any western nation's flag, preferably USA or Britain (their favorite great Satans) since in their eyes all those christian majority nations are same, eventually they will lump Denmark with the other western nations, so why scratch their head for this scandinavian country?. If anyone complains about the accuracy then may i point that most of these people had not even seen those said objectionable cartoons or Importantly Denmark's government is not a party in publishing those cartoons, so why bother?

All in all, I must express my gratitude to our muslim brethren for not killing anyone of us over silly cartoons, as their counterparts did in other parts of the world, even though i believe the honour should go to our security personals for quelling the mob. Whew!!!, i'm still alive!.

Sunday, 29 January, 2006

A beautiful travelogue and a captivating blog

No matter how busy we are, sometimes few things captivate our thoughts and make us lose our sense of time!. I had such experience twice in a span of few days. On republic day, Benjamin shared his fascinating travelogue of his Indian visit with the IndianCivilization group members. Well, his illustrated webpage took me into different & colorful world from mine and also it reminded me three things which i long been forgotten(perhaps i have not thought too seriously about the means, through which i can accomplish them!) and they are: 1) To learn Sanskrit 2) Study Vedanta 3) Travel this planet and learn about different cultures & its people (probably due to this urge, i get more attracted towards blogs which write about places or its people).

Today, i was going to bed when my friend called and requested me to come online. Initially, I was reluctant because i was drowsy due to lack of adequate sleep on the previous night, anyway in the end i had to oblige. After i had finished with him, i chanced upon a blog of a 47 year old women, RamaAnanth (nickname). Her style of narration is very captivating and one post led to another and this way i had read her entire blog and forgot that i was dying for sleep and that tomorrow i need to wake up early. I had much desire to read more of her writings but sadly she doesn't blog frequently. Anyway, i wanted to leave my comment on her blog but i can't post it due to some problem with msn :(.

Saturday, 21 January, 2006

Random Thoughts

When i don't blog even for a day, i have this emptiness but sadly as i said in my earlier post, i have limited time for blogs, in which i have to manage & keep pace with other blogs in my blogroll and if time permits, then writing for my own blog. In addition to this, These days i feel guilty for not contributing anything for Focus-India, a new group blog initiative with majority of the contributors being either socialist or outright leftist(i'm neither) but sadly this initiative seems to be dead even before it begun, i hoped that this blog will reflect diverse views. Hopefully after a month or two, i will have much time to blog.

It is amazing to observe congress ignoring the ruckus over major issues in 82nd Congress plenary and maintaining focus on Rahul Gandhi's nomination to the Congress Working Committee. Congress men and women believe that he is a crowd puller, particularly youth. Well to be honest, my young friends consider him bane to the nation! (if he becomes PM or a Cabinet Minister) to which i concur, there i go, perhaps i revealed my prejudice!.

After spending hours watching the relay of Anand's corus tournament game, I'm very much disappointed that he lost to Kamsky, Now he is sharing his number one position in the tourney with Topalov, However Humpy is doing well with respective to her rating. Anyway still 7 rounds to go. Here is the 6th round games in PGN format, you can watch them using any PGN viewer software like Winboard.

Tuesday, 10 January, 2006

Same old story

Time to get euphoric over India's cricket tour to Pakistan and talk about their hospitality, people to people contact, generating goodwill through sports, how we all look alike and so on... thereby hoping for improved relationship and reduced terror attacks. Thus forgetting the fact, that the terrorism exists because of the State's desire to achieve its political goals by means of terror, which has affected many of our lives. Their people has little or no influence on the Pakistan government, therefore whatever goodwill generated through these events would not bring any change to the ground reality. Of course we can ignore all these terror acts to feel good about our general conscious by blaming everything on so-called minority persecution or on riots, as some bloggers try to persuade us. Let us keep sport a sport without attaching any connotation to it. By the way, Good Luck to India & Pakistan, may the best team win!...oops i almost forgot, Happy Retirement, Ganguly!.

Saturday, 7 January, 2006

Apathy towards baloch people!

No civilized & responsible nation will use jets, gunships and heavy artillery against their own people unless of-course if the government thinks otherwise and doesn't care about them. World remains impervious towards the atrocities and brutal crimes committed by the pakistani army on baloch people. Some persons & the media in our country are more concerned about jeopardizing our relationship with Pakistan than noticing the tragic suffering of fellow humans in Balochistan. Our Uncle Sam who champions freedom and democracy all over the world remains indifferent in raising the issue with his number one ally, Major Non-NATO ally and trusted friend "Pakistan".

Below is the picture of a little girl and more gruesome images can be seen here

No democratic country in this world is willing to come forward to listen to pleas of numerous pakistani politicians, irrespective to their political affiliation or to the pakistan based group called Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy(ARD):
"The ARD appeals to the Western democratic forces to support the oppressed people instead of dictators, endorse the views of the ARD and other democratic forces and stop the (Pakistan) government from using force to suppress the fundamental and human rights of the people of Balochistan."

Anyway, Why anyone should come forward? and what is in for them? Specially when we all forgot about humanity long time ago!.

Ps: My sincere apologies to those unsuspecting readers for exposing you to such a gruesome picture.