Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Two of my very close friends Rajesh & Renuka are getting married today (to each other :) ). Unfortunately I was not able to make it to their wedding. I wish them a blissful life ahead and many many years of happiness, togetherness and memories. Congrats both of you!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
It was an act of human rights violation by none other than the government itself in the name of eminent domain and industrial growth. Simply put, eminent domain means that the government has the right to seize private property of any citizen and put it to 'public use'. So the West Bengal government decided to give the land in Nandigram (near Haldia) to Salim Group of Indonesia as an SEZ to set up a chemical hub. The land I am talking about is no small piece - it is 14,000 acres spanning across 29 villages and currently houses a population of 40,000! That this land belonged to some poor farmers who have no other source of income other than cultivating this land was just a minor inconvenience for the government. After all, there was recourse to Eminent Domain that can get it done easily.
But things did not happen as per the plan as the farmers did not give up their land easily and decided to protest this land seize. This resulted in the infamous massacre of 14th March 2007 where activists from many factions of the ruling Left party mercilessly killed many villagers and police was a mute spectator! Needless to say that the government denied any involvement in these killings and dismissed these killings blatantly. There have been multiple rounds of violence since then (the latest being in November) and many have lost their lives. Eminent personalities like Medha Patkar, Mahasweta Devi, Aparna Sen, Arundhati Roy have raised their voice against State Government's apathy & apparent involvement in this act of violence. The West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi has also condemned the govt for its handling of this issue. An enquiry by CBI has also been ordered in this matter. The govt has since then announced that it would give another piece of land and not Nandigram for developing the SEZ to Salim Group - this would be a sparsely populated land in the island of Nayachar.
Probably the problem has been solved for now. But there are many questions which still remain unanswered -
- Why did the govt choose Nandigram (well populated) and NOT Nayachar (sparsely populated) for developing the SEZ in the first place? Haven't they heard of something as simple as feasibility study?
- If the villagers had not protested and taken the land seizure lying down, we would never have even heard of Nandigram. In our country, do we get justice ONLY WHEN we protest the injustice?
- Will those guilty of these killings ever be brought to justice? There have been way too many scandals & expose`s but I have seen very few from the govt actually being punished
- Does the government have the right to seize property of any citizen without providing any alternatives? Yes, I know it is the law as per our constitution, but what kind of a law is this??
Sunday, November 11, 2007
When we were at Calangute beach, I noticed a board showing directions to Baga beach & Fort Aguada and along with it was that for 'Sulabh Shauchalaya'. That's a very thoughtful gesture I would say ;)
But the best one was this store which sold some 'genuine' stuff. Just the name was enough to convince the shoppers of the ingenuity of the store :). And what did they sell - leather stuff, jewelry or clothes?