Archive for January, 2010

Cleansing of Hindu Pandits from the Kashmir Valley by Muslims –

This is a film about the ethnic cleansing of Hindu Pandits from the Kashmir Valley by Muslims. Since the onset of the Islamic separatist movement in 1990, 500,000 families have been internally displaced. This figure represents more than 90 percent of the original Hindu population in the Kashmir valley. The Pandits have been the primary targets of Pakistan-trained killers in the war against the Indian government.

The persecution and systematic destruction of Hindu culture in Kashmir follows a similar pattern to the treatment of Hindus meted out to Hindus in Pakistan after the partition, and during the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh in which 3 million people were killed and 10 million forced to flee to India

Deportation of a nation

URL: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indus-calling/entry/deportation-of-a-nation

Deportation of a nation
Tarun Vijay, 16 January 2010, 11:00 PM IST
Nineteen always comes before twenty-six. But here, in our gloriously decorated centres of governance, we celebrate January 26 with a blank look at our republic’s bruised soul showcased through January 19, considered the day when the biggest forced exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the valley was accelerated.

A republic is merely a signature of the Constitution adopted for governing a people, who, in turn, constitute a nation. That nation actually represents the continuity of the civilisational flow of the land and its inhabitants. Ironically, in our case the republic, instead of nurturing those roots, is trying to overwhelm the memories of the soul of this nation with decorated mass annihilators. It’s like putting more earth on the debris to stifle any voices of the living underneath it instead of unearthing and safeguarding the life underneath.

Kashmir, one of the fountainheads of Indian civilisational memories and a symbol of the highest achievements in the scholarship that made India a centre of universal acclaim, is one such example. Everything about its relation with the rest of the Indian nation’s body is sought to be deleted as if a nation is a computer storage you can add to or delete from at your whim.

Mercifully, these neo-state-owners are not gods. Hence, the debris, even when put under mounds of earth, show the facts, however unpalatable they might be to the Wahhabi variety of secularism. The truth about Kashmir comes out in a miraculous demonstration of life. The memory of Rishi Kashyap, whose name Kashmir wears, the history contained in “Raj Tarangini” and the valour of the citizen King Lalitaditya, the sacred bareness of Kashmir’s Meera Lal Dyad, the spiritualism of Muslim fakir Rishi Nund, victory campaigns of Zoravar Singh, the region’s defining glory in Amarnath, Shankaracharya’s Hill and Mata Vaishno Devi, and Vivekananda’s unique realisation at Kheer Bhawani. The age-old fountainhead of Hindu wisdom reflected in Sharada Peeth and the origin of Shri Vidya, Shaiv traditions and the Wazvan, Samovar amalgamation that looked once inseparable.

Can there be a Kashmir without these? What happened on January 19 is part of the efforts to erase all that.

On that day 20 years ago, one of the largest and most painful exoduses of a community took place. Although, agreeably, it’s tough in such circumstances to pinpoint a single date, this has come to be registered as one such day of mass escape of the Hindus from the assaults of jihadis in the valley. This was the day when the mosques blared out a message from their loudspeakers: Pundits leave the valley, leaving behind your women. We want Pakistan, without Pundits.

The killings were brutal. Famous philosopher-poet Sarvanand Premi and his son. Their eyes were gouged out before they were killed. Sarla Bhatt. A nurse in a Srinagar hospital. Mass-raped and killed. Tika Lala Taplu, Lassa Kaul. Prem Nath Bhatt. H L Khera and Mushirul Haq (their killers were acquitted recently after a 19-year-long trial). Those were the days when such killings did make some news in Delhi.

It’s amazing to find a studied silence in the Indian and the foreign media on an exodus that made the valley‘s cultural vibgyor vanish. It’s shocking to see a secular tribe in the national capital too hospitable to patriotic Indians’ slayers like Musharraf and Yasin Malik, the former being the instigator of the Kargil war and the latter facing cases of murders including those of Indian Air Force officers. Google and find out about him. He was the guest of honour at a recently concluded India-Pakistan dialogue for peace which was conducted without a single participation from refugee Kashmiri Hindus.

We are about to celebrate yet another day of the republic without willing to see that this republic hasn’t been able to assure safety to the patriotic people of Kashmir and has stage-managed an autonomy report that is widely seen as a document of separation mocking at the resolution of Parliament swearing to guard India’s integrity and take back the land illegally occupied by Pakistan and China.

A resolution passed in December 2009 by Panun Kashmir, an organisation of Kashmiri Hindus said: “It is a matter of extreme apathy that the exiled Kashmiri Pandits are forced to live in subhuman conditions and subsistence in so-called migrant camps in Jammu and elsewhere for the last 20 years. There is no policy for reversing the genocide and rehabilitating the community in its homeland and the governments of India as well as the J&K state have treated the holocaust with bizarre inaptitude and abandonment. In the last 20 years the government has made empty announcements and piecemeal return formulae, only to further compound the plight of the community.”

When a people are uprooted, not just the bodies that consume food and procreate are transferred from one station to another. It’s an entire life cycle and the reservoirs of collective memory that get dehydrated. It affects and destroys a language, traditions that weave the fabric of a societal dynamic, songs and beliefs, religious rituals and places of worship, behaviour and protocols that were created and nurtured by the elders as far back as a thousand years, oral history and the patterns of living including homes, food, utensils, methods to greet and calls to organise for a resistance. It affects the attire, the way children are reared, marriages solemnised and the dead cremated.

An entire world is lost.

A single citizen of the republic contains in him the entire fabric of the nationhood as much as a drop of the ocean carries the ocean in itself. Kashmiri Hindus deported from the valley is like the Indian nation deported from this region. Mere geography doesn’t constitute nationhood.

Afghanistan was Gandhar. We lost it. We lost Taxila, Bappa Rawal’s Rawalpindi, Dahar and Jhoolelal’s Sind and Dhakeshwari’s Dhaka with the Ramana Kali temple, destroyed by Pakistanis in 1971 yet to be rebuilt, as neither Mujib nor Hasina’s government, so lovingly described as “friendly” allowed its reconstruction. When the people, representing the spirit of a nation are deported, the nation’s cultural ethos too gets fragile and finally eliminated. The memory, once a living life force, gets museum-ised.

Imagine how this will sound: Once upon a time, Kashmiri Hindus lived in the valley.

Now we have our own kith and kin, in our independent republic living as refugees for the ‘crime’ of being Hindus and loyal to the Indian nationhood, who refused to side with the pro-Pakistan separatists.

We in our entirety share the sin of forgetting our soul. Our sin is we loved to dine with the killers.

A Bhadralok Communist

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=A+Bhadralok+Communist&artid=ao92j8QENic=&SectionID=d16Fdk4iJhE=&MainSectionID=HuSUEmcGnyc=&SectionName=aVlZZy44Xq0bJKAA84nwcg==&SEO=

A Bhadralok Communist
[ ]

S Gurumurthy

‘Gana’ as Jyoti Basu who ruled West Bengal as chief minister for 23 long years from 1977 to 2000, was affectionately known at home, is no more. Undoubtedly a versatile politician whose public life lasted six decades, different people will recall Basu in different ways. His adversaries and friends alike will recall him as a practical communist who even undertook a visit to the US, the arch enemy of his party and its ideology, seeking its investment in his state. The official website of the Left Front government brings out his greatest achievement. It eulogises him as the one who perpetuated Communist control over the state apparatus of West Bengal — an indisputable fact. Understanding how he achieved this feat is critical to know Jyoti Basu as a politician as also his mission.
The State website http://www.jyotibasu.net says that Jyoti Basu “is known primarily” for “establishing a seemingly indestructible Communist control over some of the levers of the state-level political power in West Bengal”. The official website says that he achieved this by combining “communist extra parliamentary” political tactic with the parliamentary tactic “aimed at establishing indestructible Communist control”. But could ‘indestructible communist’ control be consistent with parliamentary democratic process? No. It could not be. But a re-reading of the official website makes it evident that what it talks of is not democratic, but “Communist”, parliamentary and extra-parliamentary political tactics.
Here is a telling illustration of how ‘the Communist extra parliamentary political tactic’ is different from democratic parliamentary process. In its editorial dated August 6, 2003 written in the context of the unprecedented violence that marked the panchayat polls in the state which the CPI(M) had won, The Statesman newspaper said it was not “the popularity of the Marxists” that was the reason for the marginalisation of the opposition parties in the elections, but, it was the Marxists’ “expertise in fixing elections by violence, intimidation, and by simple expedient of preventing opposition candidates from filing nominations”. The edit concluded: “it is the prescriptive right of the communists to use any method they choose and if it is a wrong or illegal method, the stigma is instantly washed away when they touch it.” The implication is clear. The Marxists never considered it a sin to fix elections by fraud and violence, and if they did it, no stigma would attach to them! The use of this extra parliamentary tactic along with the parliamentary — read electoral — process is the secret of Jyoti Basu’s success in perpetuating communist control over the State apparatus in West Bengal. But more than this achievement, that he did so without being faulted for it speaks volumes about how an acceptable face can make unacceptable things acceptable to the people who count.
Jyoti Basu was the face of Bengali Communism most acceptable to the Bengali Bhadralok. For the British, Bhadralok meant the ‘well-mannered’ Bengali. But, in the dictionary of Indian politics, it would simply mean the upper castes in Bengal. While in rest of India, with the democratic process deepening with each election, the lower castes’ share of power increased, the Marxist controlled West Bengal had virtually kept out the lower castes and denied their due share in power. Surprised? Here is the evidence. In the governments led by Jyoti Basu between 1977 and 1982, “there were even more Brahmins than in the Congress governments, over 35 per cent; the number of Kayasthas (31 per cent) and Vaishyas (23 per cent) was almost the same as in Congress governments”. What was the share of the Scheduled Castes in Jyoti Basu ministry? Believe it — just “1.5 per cent”. If the “inferior ministers — ministers of state and deputy ministers — were left out”, it would be even “lower”. Stunningly, in Basu’s ministry in 1977 and 1982 “there was not a single Scheduled Caste member of the Council of Ministers”. Yes, not a single one despite West Bengal having the highest concentration of Scheduled Caste population in the whole country — almost 24 per cent (Census 1991). These shocking facts have been brought out in a scholarly work that appears in http://www.ambedkar.org/books/tu2.htm.
The message is evident. The transfer of power from Congress to Marxists had actually made it worse for the lower castes. The reason. Jyoti Basu largely represented the traditional Bengal, contrary to the popular notion that he and the likes of him were products of Marxian modernity. His dress and circle of friends readily identified him with the Bengali Bhadralok and endeared him to the media in Bengal dominated by the Bhadralok, which in turn made him inevitable for the party within. Result, Bhadralok actually dominated Bengali politics more under the Marxists than even under the Congress. The website http://www.jyotibasu.net says that Jyoti Basu was “initially distrustful of parliamentary politics as the politics of the ‘bourgeois talking-shops’”. But that is precisely what his politics substantially ended with. The Bhadralok-led media in Bengal, save exceptions like The Statesman, were understandably comfortable with the tactics of Jyoti Basu government since that preserved the political primacy of the Bhadralok. The national media was content to certify the CPI(M) as secular, which was sufficient to wash off all sins of its extra parliamentary tactics.
The extra parliamentary tactic that Jyoti Basu had bequeathed to the Marxists has sustained them for almost a decade after Basu quit in the year 2000. But things seem to be changing now. Thanks to the aggressive politics of Mamata Bannerjee, the Bengali lower caste political assertion is on the rise. The southern states witnessed such assertion in 1950s and the northern states, much later, in 1990s. But, thanks to Marxist — read Bhadralok — control over West Bengal politics, lower caste assertion has been delayed for almost half a century and has not taken off even today in the State. With the Marxists beginning to falter, the national media too has begun pointing to the Bhadralok character of Marxism in West Bengal which it would not do a day earlier. Analysing the Nandigram issue in Indian Express (March 20, 2007) Yogendra Yadav, a well-known political analyst wrote: “Nandigram did not surprise me…….. In West Bengal, the proportion of upper castes increased in the state assembly after the Left Front came to power. A coincidence? Not if you calculate the caste composition of successive Left Front ministries: About two-thirds of the ministers come from the top three jatis (Brahman, Boddis, Kayasthas)”. Yet, thanks to the very media’s indulgence, Jyoti Basu was not perceived as a traditional Bhadralok politician who did not share power with the lower castes, but, as a Marxian modernist.
But the one area where Jyoti Basu combined the parliamentary and extra parliamentary tactics to keep the lower sections of society satisfied was land reform. Thus, even as Jyoti Basu reserved state power for the Bhadralok, he also ensured that legislative land reforms were supported by extra legislative abrogation of land by the communists for distribution. Thus, Basu secured land for the lower castes but reserved power for the upper castes — a trade-off that retained the Bhadralok primacy in power politics, and also won rural Bengal for the CPI(M). But ironically, this is precisely where the Trinamool Congress is challenging the Marxists. How? The very land, distributing which the CPI(M) became the ideological darling of the people, has now become its nemesis as the CPI(M) forcibly took it back from the people in Singur and Nandigram to give it to the ideological enemies of the party.
But undoubtedly Jyoti Basu knew the art of building and wielding power within, and without altering, the existing social architecture. He was a practical politician, not an idealist nor a statesman. But despite ruling the state of West Bengal for 23 long years Jyoti Basu himself died as an unhappy man because when other parties wanted him as the prime minister of the country in 1996, it was his party which prevented him. Expressing his frustration, not once but twice, Jyoti Basu said that his party’s decision to veto his elevation to the highest political office was a “Himalayan Blunder”. Yet, till now there is no explanation from his party as to why it denied him the high office when the dream of any political party would be to see one of its leaders as the prime minister. The mystique veto of the CPI(M) against its own most popular leader makes Jyoti Basu unique. Thus ends the political saga of Jyoti Basu who made his party acceptable to Bengal but found himself unacceptable to his own party, to lead India!
(S Gurumurthy is a well-known commentator on political and economic issues. E-mail: comment@gurumurthy.net)

Destroyer of West Bengal

http://kanchangupta.blogspot.com/2010/01/destroyer-of-west-bengal.html

Saturday, January 09, 2010
Destroyer of West Bengal

Had it been Jyoti Banerjee lying unattended in a filthy general ward of SSKM Hospital in Kolkata and not Jyoti Basu in the state-of-the-art ICCU of AMRI Hospital, among the swankiest and most expensive super-speciality healthcare facilities in West Bengal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would not have bothered to arrange for a video-conference for top doctors at AIIMS to compare notes with those attending on the former Chief Minister of West Bengal.

Jyoti Banerjee, like most of us, spent his working life paying taxes to the Government. Jyoti Basu spent the better part of his life living off tax-payers’ money — the conscience of the veteran Marxist was never pricked by the fact that he appropriated for himself a lifestyle shunned by his comrades and denied to the people of a State whose fate he presided over for a quarter century. Kalachand Roy laid what we know today as Odisha to waste in the 16th century; Jyoti Basu was the 20th century’s Kala Pahad who led West Bengal from despair to darkness, literally and metaphorically.

Uncharitable as it may sound, but there really is no reason to nurse fond memories of Jyoti Basu. In fact, there are no fond memories to recall of those days when hopelessness permeated the present and the future appeared bleak. Entire generations of educated middle-class Bengalis were forced to seek refuge in other States or migrate to America as Jyoti Basu worked overtime to first destroy West Bengal’s economy, chase out Bengali talent and then hand over a disinherited State to Burrabazar traders and wholesale merchants who overnight became ‘industrialists’ with a passion for asset-stripping and investing their ‘profits’ elsewhere. A State that was earlier referred to as ‘Sheffield of the East’ was rendered by Jyoti Basu into a vast stretch of wasteland; the Oxford English Dictionary would have been poorer by a word had he not made ‘gherao’ into an officially-sanctioned instrument of coercion; ‘load-shedding’ would have never entered into our popular lexicon had he not made it a part of daily life in West Bengal though he ensured Hindustan Park, where he stayed, was spared power cuts. It would have been churlish to grudge him the good life had he not exerted to deny it to others, except of course his son Chandan Basu who was last in the news for cheating on taxes that should have been paid on his imported fancy car.

Let it be said, and said bluntly, that Jyoti Basu’s record in office, first as Deputy Chief Minister in two successive United Front Governments beginning 1967 (for all practical purposes he was the de facto Chief Minister with a hapless Ajoy Mukherjee reduced to indulging in Gandhigiri to make his presence felt) and later as Chief Minister for nearly 25 years at the head of the Left Front Government which has been in power for 32 years now, the “longest elected Communist Government” as party commissars untiringly point out to the naïve and the novitiate, is a terrible tale of calculated destruction of West Bengal in the name of ideology. It’s easy to criticise the CPI(M) for politicising the police force and converting it into a goons brigade, but it was Jyoti Basu who initiated the process. It was he who instructed them, as Deputy Chief Minister during the disastrous UF regime, to play the role of foot soldiers of the CPI(M), first by not acting against party cadre on the rampage, and then by playing an unabashedly partisan role in industrial and agrarian disputes.

The fulsome praise that is heaped on Jyoti Basu today — he is variously described by party loyalists and those enamoured of bhadralok Marxists as a ‘humane administrator’ and ‘farsighted leader’ — is entirely misleading if not undeserving. Within the first seven months of the United Front coming to power, 43,947 workers were laid off and thousands more rendered jobless as factories were shut down following gheraos and strikes instigated and endorsed by him. The flight of capital in those initial days of emergent Marxist power amounted to Rs 2,500 million. In 1967, there were 438 ‘industrial disputes’ involving 165,000 workers and resulting in the loss of five million man hours. By 1969, there were 710 ‘industrial disputes’ involving 645,000 workers and a loss of 8.5 million man hours. That was a taste of things to come in the following decades. By the time Jyoti Basu demitted office, West Bengal had nothing to boast of except closed mills and shuttered factories; every institution and agency of the State had been subverted under his tutelage; and, the civil administration had been converted into an extension counter of the CPI(M) with babus happy to be used as doormats.

After every outrage, every criminal misdeed committed by Marxist goons or the police while he was Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu would crudely respond with a brusque “Emon to hoyei thaakey” (or, as Donald Rumsfeld would famously say, “Stuff happens!”). He did not brook any criticism of the Marich Jhapi massacre by his police in 1979 when refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan were shot dead in cold blood. Till date, nobody knows for sure how many died in that slaughter for Jyoti Basu never allowed an independent inquiry. Neither did the man whose heart bled so profusely for the lost souls of Nandigram hesitate to justify the butchery of April 30, 1982 when 16 monks and a nun of the Ananda Marg order were set ablaze in south Kolkata by a mob of Marxist thugs. The man who led that murderous lot was known for his proximity to Jyoti Basu, a fact that the CPI(M) would now hasten to deny. Nor did Jyoti Basu wince when the police shot dead 13 Congress activists a short distance from Writers’ Building on July 21, 1993; he later justified the police action, saying it was necessary to enforce the writ of the state. Yet, he wouldn’t allow the police to act every time Muslims ran riot, most infamously after Mohammedan Sporting Club lost a football match.

Did Jyoti Basu, who never smiled in public lest he was accused of displaying human emotions, ever spare a thought for those who suffered terribly during his rule? Was he sensitive to the plight of those who were robbed of their lives, limbs and dignity by the lumpen proletariat which kept him in power? Did his heart cry out when women health workers were gang-raped and then two of them murdered by his party cadre on May 17, 1990 at Bantala on the eastern margins of Kolkata? Or when office-bearers of the Kolkata Police Association, set up under his patronage, raped Nehar Banu, a poor pavement dweller, at Phulbagan police station in 1992? “Emon to hoyei thaakey,” the revered Marxist would say, and then go on to slyly insinuate that the victims deserved what they got.

As a Bengali, I grieve for the wasted decades but for which West Bengal, with its huge pool of talent, could have led India from the front. I feel nothing for Jyoti Basu.

Bhavni guided to succeed

http://www.livemint.com/articles/2009/10/16210619/Bhavani-guided-to-succeed.html

Bhavani: guided to succeed

Bhavani certainly shares a special bond with her mentor Parimala Krishnan, who has been visiting her twice a month for over a year now.

Pavitra Jayaraman

Bhavani pecks at her tiffin during lunch at college as she and her friends pore over a mock common entrance test (CET) paper. She has most of the answers on her fingertips, but the few she has to ponder over make her nervous. “I have to score well in both the entrance test and my pre-university exam,” says the 17-year-old, who hopes to secure a mechanical engineering seat in her home state of Karnataka next year.

The dream of becoming a mechanical engineer took hold in school when an older cousin opted for the subject. “Before that point, all I knew was that I wanted to support myself,” says Bhavani. But the dream was in danger of remaining unfulfilled when her father died two years ago. “I was very disturbed and could barely concentrate,” she says. She did manage to secure a seat at the NMKRV College for Women, a pre-university college in Bangalore, but her mother, who works as a domestic help earning Rs3,000 a month, threw up her hands, saying she couldn’t afford to pay the college fees. She suggested Bhavani find a job and support the family instead.

It was at this point that Youth for Seva entered Bhavani’s life. A relative who worked with the association referred Bhavani and her sisters to it. “I was told that they might help me but I really didn’t believe it could be true,” says Bhavani. Impressed with her dedication, the foundation decided to sponsor her pre-university education and assigned her a mentor. Youth for Seva is also sponsoring and mentoring the education of Bhavani’s younger sisters, Latha (15) and Ramaya (12).

The NGO, founded in 2007, is now helping 322 children, even organizing regular health check-ups and funding basic medication. It has around 4,000 registered volunteers. “We realized that the youth of India are very keen on doing their bit, especially on weekends,” says Venkatesh Murthy, co-founder, Youth for Seva.
Bhavani certainly shares a special bond with her mentor Parimala Krishnan, who has been visiting her twice a month for over a year now. Krishnan keeps tabs on Bhavani’s college reports and sends out monthly reports to the individual sponsoring her education. That way her sponsor can have the satisfaction of having spent money for a good cause. “Bhavani has always been quiet, but I now see some confidence in her,” says Krishnan, who also works as a spoken English trainer with Youth for Seva. “I enjoy seeing her study hard,” she says.
Bhavani wakes up at 5am, studies, then cooks, rushes to college, goes for her CET coaching classes, which end at 7pm, and is back home by 7.30pm. She then studies until 10pm. “She rarely goes out with her friends for a movie or an ice cream. Sometimes it’s tempting to just give her a treat, but in that way I will be overstepping my role as a mentor,” says Krishnan, who holds Bhavani’s skinny arms and points out that her one concern for her student is that she doesn’t eat properly.

IF YOU WANT TO VOLUNTEER
You can mentor children by visiting and talking to them once or twice a month
pavitra.j@livemint.com

The Tata way

October 10 2009

Meeting with H N Srinivas – Senior Executive Vice President, Taj Group of
Hotels

Last evening, I had a dinner meeting with HNS in Goa (I was there for a
National Institute of Personnel Management conference – as a speaker).
He narrated the 26th November 2008 terror attack on Taj Mumbai and there
were some important points.

*A. Terrorist Entry*

*
*1. They entered from the Leopold Colaba hotel entrance and also from the
northern entrance – spraying indiscriminate bullets on the Taj security
personnel and guests in general.
2. Though Taj had a reasonable security – they were surely not equipped to
deal with terrorists who were spraying 6 bullets per trigger.
3. The strategy of the terrorists was to throw chunks of RDX in an open
area that will explode and burn – creating chaos so that the guests and
staff run helter skelter so that the terrorists could kill them. The idea
was to create maximum casualties.
4. There were several critical gatherings and functions happening in the
hotel on that day – a Bohra wedding, global meet of Unilever CEOs and Board
members and 2 other corporate meetings were being held in the hotel –
besides the usual crowd.
5. The firing and chaos began at about 8.30 p.m. and the staff including
employees on casual and contract basis displayed exemplary presence of mind,
courage and sacrifice to protect the guests who were in various halls and
conference rooms.

*B. Stories of Staff Heroics*

*
*1. A young lady guest relation executive with the HLL gathering stopped
any of the members going out and volunteered 3 times to go out and get stuff
such as ice cubes for whiskey of the guests when the situation outside the
hall was very explosives and she could have been easily the target of the
bullets
2. Thomas George a captain escorted 54 guests from a backdoor staircase
and when he was going down last he was shot by the terrorists
3. There were 500 emails from various guests narrating heroics of the
staff and thanking them for saving their lives
4. In a subsequent function, Ratan Tata broke down in full public view and
sobbed saying – “the company belongs to these people”. The wife of Thomas
George who laid his life saving others said, she and the kids were proud of
the man and that she did not know that for 25 years she lived with a man who
was so courageous and brave
5. The episode happened on 26th November, a significant part of the hotel
was burnt down and destroyed – the hotel was re-opened on 21st December and
all the employees of the hotel were paraded in front of the guests
6. It was clearly a saga of extra-ordinary heroics by ordinary people for
their organisation and in a way for their country. The sense of duty and
service was unprecedented
7. The young lady who protected and looked after the HLL guests was a
management trainee and we often speak of juniority and seniority in the
organisation. She had no instructions from any supervisor to do what she did
a. She took just 3 minutes to rescue the entire team through the kitchen
b. Cars were organised outside the hotel as per seniority of the members
c. In the peak of the crisis, she stepped out and got the right wine glass
for the guest
8. People who exhibited courage included janitors, waiters, directors,
artisans and captains – all level of people

*C. The Tata Gesture*
*

*1. All category of employees including those who had completed even 1 day
as casuals were treated on duty during the time the hotel was closed
2. Relief and assistance to all those who were injured and killed
3. The relief and assistance was extended to all those who died at the
railway station, surroundings including the “Pav-Bhaji” vendor and the pan
shop owners
4. During the time the hotel was closed, the salaries were sent my money
order
5. A psychiatric cell was established in collaboration with Tata Institute
of Social Sciences to counsel those who needed such help
6. The thoughts and anxieties going on people’s mind was constantly
tracked and where needed psychological help provided
7. Employee outreach centers were opened where all help, food, water,
sanitation, first aid and counseling was provided. 1600 employees were
covered by this facility
8. Every employee was assigned to one mentor and it was that person’s
responsibility to act as a “single window” clearance for any help that the
person required
9. Ratan Tata personally visited the families of all the 80 employees who
in some manner – either through injury or getting killed – were affected.
10. The dependents of the employees were flown from outside Mumbai to
Mumbai and taken care off in terms of ensuring mental assurance and peace.
They were all accommodated in Hotel President for 3 weeks
11. Ratan Tata himself asked the families and dependents – as to what they
wanted him to do.
12. In a record time of 20 days, a new trust was created by the Tatas for
the purpose of relief of employees.
13. What is unique is that even the other people, the railway employees,
the police staff, the pedestrians who had nothing to do with Tatas were
covered by compensation. Each one of them was provided subsistence allowance
of Rs. 10K per month for all these people for 6 months.
14. A 4 year old granddaughter of a vendor got 4 bullets in her and only
one was removed in the Government hospital. She was taken to Bombay hospital
and several lacs were spent by the Tatas on her to fully recover her
15. New hand carts were provided to several vendors who lost their carts
16. Tata will take responsibility of life education of 46 children of the
victims of the terror
17. This was the most trying period in the life of the organisation. Senior
managers including Ratan Tata were visiting funeral to funeral over the 3
days that were most horrible
18. The settlement for every deceased member ranged from Rs. 36 to 85 lacs
in addition to the following benefits:
a. Full last salary for life for the family and dependents
b. Complete responsibility of education of children and dependents –
anywhere in the world
c. Full Medical facility for the whole family and dependents for rest of
their life
d. All loans and advances were waived off – irrespective of the amount
e. Counselor for life for each person

*D. Epilogue
*
1. How was such passion created among the employees? How and why did they
behave the way they did?
2. The organisation is clear that it is not something that someone can
take credit for. It is not some training and development that created such
behaviour. If someone suggests that – everyone laughs
3. It has to do with the DNA of the organisation, with the way Tata culture
exists and above all with the situation that prevailed that time. The
organisation has always been telling that customers and guests are #1
priority
4. The hotel business was started by Jamshedji Tata when he was insulted in
one of the British hotels and not allowed to stay there.
5. He created several institutions which later became icons of progress,
culture and modernity. IISc is one such institute. He was told by the rulers
that time that he can acquire land for IISc to the extent he could fence the
same. He could afford fencing only 400 acres.
6. When the HR function hesitatingly made a very rich proposal to Ratan –
he said – do you think we are doing enough?
7. The whole approach was that the organisation would spend several hundred
crore in re-building the property – why not spend equally on the employees
who gave their life?

*Minuted by Dileep Ranjekar

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Sanskrit is second official language in Uttarakhand

Sanskrit is second official language in Uttarakhand
By Ravindra Saini

It is a great irony that in India, 18 states have made Urdu their second official language under the appeasement policy but for the first time the Uttarakhand government took the right decision by declaring Sanskrit the second official language. -KS Sudarshan, former RSS Sarsanghachalak

Against the mad race among certain states declaring Urdu as second official language, Uttarakhand became the first State in the country to declare Sanskrit as second official language. The State Assembly passed a Bill to this effect recently. Now, it is hoped that the much-neglected language would flourish in the State.

It is a well known fact that Sanskrit is a very scientific language and even many words of English have been taken from Sanskrit. Uttarakhand has long association with Sanskrit as many great Sanskrit scholars belong to this region. Kalidasa was born in Uttarakhand at Kavitha and by his writings he not only established his reputation as one of the all time great playwright, but also contributed towards promotion of Sanskrit also as Devvani.

As per the constitutional provisions, Article 345 determines the official language or languages and under the provision of Article 346 and 347 the Legislative Assembly of any State may adopt any of language/languages indicated in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution as its official language. Under the provision contained in the Article 345 of the Constitution Uttarakhand adopted Sanskrit as second official language. It is a well known fact that Article 343 of the Constitution declares Hindi as official language of the Indian Republic. In the case (AIR 1995 (SC 293) of Santosh Kumar and Others Vs Union Ministry of Human Recourse, the Supreme Court too made it clear that study of Sanskrit is not against secularism, rather, the study of Sanskrit is compulsory for the development of Sanskrit language.

Thus, the Uttarakhand Assembly has set an example for other states in the country by declaring Sanskrit as second official language. The Rajbhasha Vidheyak was brought in the Assembly to make Sanskrit as second official language as people of the State have keen interest in the language. They tend to use Sanskrit on special auspicious occasions with extreme regards. There are primary, intermediate, graduate and postgraduate Sanskrit medium schools and colleges also in the State which contribute to spread and learning of Sanskrit. The State government is providing all possible help to these schools and colleges and is trying its best to remove all their problems and obstacles which hinder their progress. That is why the State government decided to make Sanskrit the second official language.

This decision of the government would certainly help in flourishing and promoting Sanskrit in the State. Former RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan and many Sanskrit scholars felicitated Dr Nishank in Haridwar for this courageous step. Shri Sudarshan described it a historical and commendable decision. He said the decision is according to the sentiments of the people since so many saints and rishis dwelt and learnt spiritual values through Sanskrit. It is a great irony that in India, 18 states have made Urdu their second official language under the appeasement policy but for the first time the Uttarakhand government took the right decision by declaring Sanskrit the second official language, he said.

Talking to Organiser Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said the decision has been welcomed with great enthusiasm by the people from all nooks and corners of the State, the country and abroad. “Other states should learn from the decision. They should think of the rich great cultural heritage of India which made Bharat Vishvaguru. I feel all should work for the glorious future of Bharatmata ‘giving up all selfish interests and should declare Sanskrit as second official language of Bharat. Uttarakhand is the school of Sanskrit. It is due to the Sanskrit language that India is respected in the entire world,” he said.

Praising the step taken by Dr Nishank former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and veteran BJP leader Shri Nityanand Swami described it a historical decision which should be appreciated by all. He said the party had promised it in its election manifesto and it is good that the promise has been materialised.

Uttarakhand Sanskrit Academy is organising different programmes to facilitate the publicity and promotion of Sanskrit in the State. Through many programmes, the Academy is going to establish direct contact with the people of Uttarakhand. One such programme is Sanskrit Natya Yatra. For the first time school children in the State have been selected to undergo a 20-day drama-training programme. The trained students staged dramas at six locations across the State. The play Karnabharam composed by Mahakavi Bhas was staged by them at girls’ inter college at Srinagar. Prior to the performance in Srinagar, the Sanskrit plays were staged in Haridwar, Rishikesh, Bageshwar and Joshimath as part of the Sanskrit Natya Yatra. The Yatra concluded in Chamba. The students were trained by noted Sanskrit drama director Shri Suresh Babu of Sanskrit Department of Kaladi University in Kerala.

In order to elicit a connection between students and Sanskrit in the State the Academy had during

August last year organised different events in all the 95 developmental blocks. These events included Sanskrit plays, group singing, dance, debate, oration and general knowledge competitions. The Academy also initiated efforts aimed at facilitating the provision of Sanskrit Gram status to Bhanataula village in Bageshwar district. The Academy will also put efforts towards it from Kimotha village which has already been accorded the status of Sanskrit Gram in Chamoli district.

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