May I sleep for a year, dear Country?
Dear my beloved country, India,

It has been more than one full
day that I have been awake.

Yesterday, I went around with your little flag stuck to my chest, and also attended a hoisting of the bigger version of the same.sung your national anthem, talked and listened a lot about being one of your true citizens.

I heard about what we should do
and what we should not, but I am extremely sorry, I could not remember most of

I listened to a few songs
praising our people who I understand were instrumental in “freeing” you. I even
watched a couple of movies on their lives too.

All these activities had been
really tiring, more so since I am not used to doing it regularly.

May I request you now that I
may be allowed to sleep? Kindly ensure that I am not disturbed for any reason
while I am sleeping.

I would keep an alarm to get up again next year, same day. In case I miss the alarm, kindly shake me up a bit to wake me up from my slumber for another such show.

I assure you that I would
actively participate and put up such show every year to amuse you.

Yours faithfully,
My false patriotism
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The Ban-ana syndrome, our leaders’ latest addiction
What I write may be
blasphemy to some, and surely to our ill-learned leaders, but then as a citizen
of this country, I think I have as much right to convey my “Mann Ki Baat” as
much as our Premier can.

Are our Governments, be
it the one at the Centre or the ones in the various states that comprise our
great nation, addicted to churning out bans, be it what we eat to what we see.

The Supreme Court had
rightly observed that sites showing child porn should be blocked. Child porn is
surely sick and anyone indulging in it whether physically or visually should be
severely punished. But the Government going overboard with its assumed
enthusiasm and enforcing a blanket ban by sniffing off around 857 porn sites is
surely a case of over-reaction and an absolutely avoidable over-regulation.

The apex court had just
called for spiking child porn, but is this Government trying to play big-daddy
in the false claim of enforcing the Supreme Court’s observations. Is it not a
case of over-reaction, without even understanding fully that even the honourable
court had observed that an adult can watch porn in privacy?

These calls for bans tend
to get more active as the polls season looms. The bans do not make any economic
sense except that it generates enough fodder to feed the political expediency.

The recent ban on beef
in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana has gained nothing apart from gaining
some political mileage for the government in power. But then this little gain
at the cost of what? It is at the cost of depriving the poorer class of their
staple food, their livelihood, snatching away from them perhaps the only food
that they could ever afford.

As long as this
political expediency exists and fuels the vote banks, such demands for bans
would continue, be it books, films, food or even our thoughts.

With another two states
very shortly going into polls, political heavyweights there are lobbying and
dolling out promises of prohibition in their respective states if they are
voted into power. One of them, the leader of the opposition in Tamil Nadu is hoping
to get back into power on this promise though knowing very well that
prohibition, instead of being a solution to alcohol addiction has only resulted
in organised bootlegging and adulteration deaths, wherever it has been

The other one, the ruling
head of the state of Bihar promises to impose prohibition, if he is able to
retain power after the coming elections. We, the voters are so stupid not to
ask him that if he thinks that a liquor ban is so desirable, why does he not
impose it immediately rather than wait to win another term in office.

Coming back to the
topic of porn ban, I am totally against child pornography, but a blanket ban in
general is absolutely ridiculous.

I am scared to think as
to what extent is this moral policing going to spread and extend. If such
arbitrary action of the Government is not challenged, let’s be prepared to be
slapped with any more rules based on Government’s own notion of morality.

As statistics has
proved that prohibition has only promoted bootlegging, such a ban will only
prompt consumption of porn going underground.

Whether it is
prohibition or porn, these are just a few aspects of the growing ban mentality
of our Governments, many more of such, we are going to see in the coming days.

It’s time we citizens
wake up and tell our leaders that what they are trying to offer us is just
bogus morality in the name of genuine security. What we need from our
Government is freedom to decide what and how we eat, drink, see, think and
live. We are not a ban-ana republic.

This is my “Mann
Ki Baat
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VYAPAM – the deaths, an Epidemic par Epi-medic
India had always been
the epicentre of scams ever since it gained independence. All the hard work of
our freedom fighters to gain independence after more than two centuries of
foreign rule seemed to have been put to shame by the power hungry politicians.

The way our
politicians, cutting across party lines went on rampage looting the common man
and the national exchequer would have surprised even the most hard-core
criminals. When it came to scams, our leaders somehow forgot all political
differences and have always joined hands to ensure that the common man is
squeezed to the last drop of his sweat.

We have been so used to
be drained dry of our pockets that financial scams rarely seem to affect us anymore.
But then the plot seems to be getting murkier and dirtier as we the common man
is being complacent.

The latest to hit the
headlines is the scam involving the Madhya Pradesh Professional
Examination Board, referred more commonly in Hindi as Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik
Pareeksha Mandal.

VYAPAM the acronym
of the name in Hindi, the scam involves highest level of manipulation in the
selection process for government jobs in the state by putting up proxy
examinees on the basis of which the candidates are examined and recruited to
these jobs across the state.

What is beyond
comprehension is the way, one after the other,the people linked in various
capacities with the scam, dying, or rather getting knocked off their lives.
With the state government and the probe agencies passing the buck and trying to
pass on these deaths as quite natural, the mystery keeps deepening with every
death reported.

A scam involving
officials, businessmen and politicians of the highest order, it has claimed the
lives of not only candidates but even the dummy aspirants and even also those
probing the scam. The first light on this scam was thrown was in 2013 with
reports that imposters and proxy candidates were being used for the recruitment
exams to medical colleges, government teachers and doctors by the politicians,
bureaucrats and others in exchange of bribes and kickbacks being paid by those
seeking admission.

Over the last two years
since the scam erupted, which has more than 2500 accused of which more than
2000 having been arrested, more than 40 people have lost their lives so far.
What is intriguing is that the government and the police claiming that over 900
of the accused are missing. It is difficult to fathom for a prudent mind, how
so many people can just disappear into thin air.

The scam fanning and
spreading its wings to unimaginable proportions has seen deceit in all forms
being enacted.

Be it impersonation
wherein all details in the in the admit card of the original candidate is kept
intact with just the photograph of the imposter affixed on it. The scam is with
the connivance of the examination board officials who make sure that the
original photograph of the candidate is replaced back after the examination.

The ergonomics of how a
train moves is applied so scientifically here in the engine and bogie system of
cheat and deceit. The person who is fixed by people on the board acts as the
engine being seated strategically between the two other candidates aspiring for
a seat. With examiners having been already bribed to fix the seating
arrangement, the engine helps the two bogies to copy from his paper.

The bravest of the
cheaters even adopt the modus operandi of advising the chosen candidates to
leave their answer sheets totally blank, with them being made to fill in the
answers in the OMR booklet according to the high percentage marks already given
to them randomly.

46 lives so far and
still counting, it is already becoming no less than an epidemic incomprehensible
and par any epi-medic.

As a common man
watching in wonder, we can just hope this serial killer is leashed by the
Supreme Court intervention and investigation by the CBI.
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