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There is an apparent irony in today’s paper. On the front page you have a half page story talking about India’s investment and how Mukesh Ambani is the world’s richest man (63 billion $ is a lot). On how the sensex has risen 1000 points in 14 days and the top 5 companies have contributed to it.

A few pages afterwards we have a story about 25,000 people marching to the capital to demand land rights and stressing that they have been betrayed by corporates, rich landlords and the likes of them. I was aware that this march was being organised during my stay in the Gandhi Peace Foundation. This march is no joke and I have witnessed the people at ekta parishad planning out everything to the detail.

The above above two instances tell us the story of the Indian Nation. Those who get rich do so at the cost of thousands of others. The Planning commission has released a document stating that the issue of naxalism is directly linked to land rights of the poor. Helloo!!!!! “did you take that long to realise it?”. The Prime Minister says that he shall form a committee to look into this land issue. Now that he’s made the statement the poor will be ‘packed off’. That’s how diplomacy works in this country. Give them an assurance, a ray of hope and there shall be no issue in the future. The same was with the Gujjars too. Ah well! nobody seems to realise the gravity of the situation. I can just imagine 25000 people coming from gwalior to Delhi on foot just to hear this statement without understanding that 7 Race Course Road might hardly do anything. They have bigger things to do; remember the Nuclear deal and saving the coalition!

That is the irony of India Shining. We see it, we know it, but most of us don’t raise a voice about it.

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Now playing: Neil Young – We r in control
via FoxyTunes

The recent events in Gujarat are tattering to an Indian’s heart. It’s not just the Tehelka tapes that have come out in the open; the banning of TV news channels in Gujarat, disgusting comments by the Press and politicians are all a consequence of it which further saddens me.

Mirza in an wonderful read pens down the responses,

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said “This sting has rendered Tehelka as the investigative wing of the Congress”. BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said “Definitely the sting operation and its content are suspect, because we are aware for sometime that there are detractors against Modi in Gujarat and there is the Congress party, which has lost all ground in the state.” They talk about everything but not about the inhuman brutality. Vir Sanghvi wrote very aptly regarding this in 2002 “I was not surprised when the political establishment scrambled to look for conspiracies: the CIA was behind it, the ISI sponsored Tehelka…My point then, as now, was simple enough: let us first deal with the revelations and then worry about Tarun’s so-called backers.”

Today Chandan Mitra, the editor of the 143 year old newspaper Pioneer and a BJP supported Rajya Sabha MP, invoked the third and the fifth point; Modi has won various elections and why do you take out dead issues now. This is the editor of one of the oldest national newspapers of India! In which moral system and when was justice decided by the street? If someone wins elections does it exonerate them? Mr. Mitra, is the state of journalism going down to this level in India? And since when did we start forgetting about injustices on the pretext of moving ahead? Should we have said the same to the Sikhs who were hounded in 1984? Should we have said the same to the utterly vulnerable Jews who were brutalized and killed in millions by the Nazis? That it will be all decided in the court of law and forget about it in the social aspect.

When I myself went to Ahmedabad last december, I was shocked to learn about and see the ghettoization of the Muslims; rich and the poor in the officially put ‘world class city’. But the other issue was, whoever I met (hindus only), were sort of equating Modi to Gabriel as a messenger of god.

And what about free speech? The governments decision to ban all the TV channels that showed the news clip is now a rider to the free speech clause in the Constitution. Hah! gone are the days when Article 19 1(a) was the ultimate sword for the press. If my readers are interested, I’d request you to read Express Newspapers v. Union of India; an amazing case that exposed the link between Gov action and free speech in 1985 and the Delhi riots. (A related article here)

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A few days ago there were allegations of retail giant GAP violating child labour laws in many of its outsourced suppliers factories all over the world. 31 of these factories are located in India.

These events gave GAP the image as if it was being run as a sweat shop operation.

……………..

 

A 10-year-old boy was filmed making clothes for Gap shops in the US and Europe as part of an investigation by the UK’s Observer newspaper. The boy told the Observer he had been sold to a factory owner by his family. Gap, which has made commitments not to use child labour, said that only one item – a girl’s smock blouse – was involved. The boy said he had been working for four months without pay and would not be allowed to leave the job until the fee his family had received was repaid.
Another boy of 12 said children were beaten if bosses thought they were not working hard enough

What stands out however is that action that GAP is taking to clear its image. The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) code lays down strict norms for factory compliances and child labour prevention. GAP has today announced the following measures,

1 ) GAP said it cancelled supply deals with 136 plants last year because of various violations. Contracts were terminated with 42 plants in China, another 42 in south-east Asia, 31 on the Indian subcontinent and nine in Europe.

2) Free education to the children involved. After they come of age, GAP shall have a separate policy to recruit them based on their skill.

3) A separate fund to stop such projects all over the world.

This is but a classic example of corporate social responsibility. The Indian gov passed a child labour law last year according to which it extended child labour violations to domestic workplaces. This law draw huge flak as no measure had been taken to ensure the welfare of the children, i.e. education, housing etc…

What the Indian gov couldnt do, GAP is doing in India. With more than 60% of Indians children not getting good education and millions of them involved in Child labour, immediate action is necessary but not being taken. But the good part is that now atleast 3000 odd of them would benefit from this policy. Wish others would do so too.

See also,

– Guardian report

– BBC on the story

I Don’t think I’ll be able to study anymore tonight. First a few II years find a marriage profile of one of our Professors and second the first years come up with this hilarious post on Facebook.

PS: the spellings are the way the teacher’s pronounce them.And NALSAR is the National Academy for Legal Studies and Research. Where I study. (Suppose to be one of the best in the Country)

YOU KNOW YOU’RE A NALSARRITE WHEN-

1.They told you that the laa/low/law was an elephant on your first day of classes

2.Random insects that you wouldve found strange earlier form an integral part of your daily environ

3.You know that romaance is supposed to be strictly forbidden….

4.Dhaba food comes dangerously close to being a treat
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Bobby Jindal has won! He is now officially the new governor of Louisiana.

Think I’m writing this for the main fact that he’s an Indian and has won in a once segregated state. Born of native Indians in New Orleans, this guy has actually come up the ranks the hard way to win and become the top man in a US State.

NYT reports,

 

The ascendancy of the Brown- and Oxford-educated Mr. Jindal, an unabashed policy wonk who has produced a stream of multipoint plans, is likely to be regarded as a racial breakthrough of sorts in this once-segregated state. Still, it is one with qualifiers attached.

And yes, like always, the sirens have started hounding louder in India than in the US of his victory. Indian news channels have already started showing videos of Bobby’s Indians home and lineages in his town. Similar instances happened when Sunita Williams went to space and when she came to India after that, not one day did i not see her photograph with some school children on the cover page talking about their future.

Bobby Jindal is a nice man. Deserves the credit. But do we Indians always have to make big issues about such instances as if History would never witness them again?