SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI

 

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
O P I N I O N S

Perspective | Oped | Reflections

PERSPECTIVE

ON RECORD
Commercialisation of water must stop: Pandey
by Vibha Sharma
F
OR Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey, Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that the earth has enough resources to take care of everyone’s needs but not enough to fulfill even one person’s greed forms the basis of his fight against cola majors — Coca-Cola and PepsiCo — in the country.

Reforming the military justice system
by Surinder Paul Shori
T
HE Supreme Court, in Union of India versus Charanjit Singh Gill and others, held that the Army Act (1950) is riddled with many drawbacks. The Bench consisting of Justice G. B. Pattaniak, Justice R.P. Sethi and Justice Shivaji Patel referred to the P.P.S. Bedi’s case and the UK Court Martial (Appeal) Act, 1968 and pointed out that the Indian military justice system is still antiquated.



 

 

EARLIER STORIES
Courting disaster
September 9, 2006
Tale of Telgi
September 8, 2006
PM’s anguish
September 7, 2006
Wheat imports
September 6, 2006
Slow and steady
September 5, 2006
Coalition dharma
September 4, 2006
What ails India
September 3, 2006
Iranian rejection
September 2, 2006
Comrade’s fusillade 
September 1, 2006
The killer drain
August 31, 2006


Onus on teachers
by S.K. Khosla
G
OVERNMENT schools in Punjab are in bad shape. If all candidates in the Class VIII examination in many schools in border areas have failed, there is something seriously wrong with the system. Moreover, education is bound to suffer when the general atmosphere is polluted. Leakage of question papers, rampant copying, tuition menace have all adversely affected the school system which needs a complete overhaul.

OPED

REFLECTIONS
Teaching youth the basics of life
by Kiran Bedi

I loved English honours as a subject in college because of my teacher Dr Urmila Nagar, a petite woman who taught so well. Her way of teaching made me love English literature. I loved to see her ride a bike and wear jeans when not in college. All this was fascinating for us, then, as students.

DIVERSITIES — DELHI LETTER
Pachauri’s word of caution on environment
by Humra Quraish

What with non-issues being made to issues by political parties, where is the   inclination or the political will to think of pending problems? At a seminar  on “Sustainable development in South Asia: Issues of infrastructure and   environment” held at the Jamia Millia Islamia’s Academy of Third World  Studies, Dr R. K. Pachauri, Director-General, Tata Energy Resources Institute, spoke of some of the frightening prospects.

  • Iran, India and Gulf on focus

  • Relevance of Satyagraha

  • Good news for undertrials

PROFILE
At 33, Rahul Dravid reaches the peak 
by Harihar Swarup

Rare are persons like Rahul Dravid who now joins the galaxy of world super cricket stars, having been nominated for four awards, including the new award for Captain of the year. His consistence performance over the past one year earned him the top cricket honour and this includes the most prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Award for the ICC Cricketer of the year. Others who have been honoured along with Dravid include such big names in the “Gentleman’s game” as the Australian Captain Ricky Ponting and Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene.

 
 REFLECTIONS

 

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ON RECORD
Commercialisation of water must stop: Pandey
by Vibha Sharma

Sandeep Pandey
Sandeep Pandey

FOR Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey, Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that the earth has enough resources to take care of everyone’s needs but not enough to fulfill even one person’s greed forms the basis of his fight against cola majors — Coca-Cola and PepsiCo — in the country.

The 41-year-old social activist’s years of dedication won him the Ramon Magsaysay award, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the Emergent Leadership Category in 2002. He has also been in the forefront of the campaign for Right to Information. Sandeep says his current struggle against Coca-Cola is “rooted in the bigger context of water privatisation”.

It was in 1991 that Sandeep, along with his two friends founded Asha, an education programme for underprivileged children during his student days in the University of California. The NGO now has chapters in India, the US and other countries.

A Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering, Sandeep quit his IIT-Kanpur job to devote full time to social activism which, according to him, is now a way of life." It is from here that I get all my strength”, he tells The Sunday Tribune in an interview.

Excerpts:

Q: How serious is the water commercialisation issue that you are most vocal about these days?

A: Commercialisation of water is a very serious issue. So serious that I feel that like hunger deaths which are a reality today, the commercialisation of this natural resource may lead to a situation in future where lives of people, especially the poor, will become severely affected by the water crisis.

Our struggle against Coca-Cola is rooted in the bigger context of water privatisation, a policy being pushed by the government in the wake of the emerging water crisis in the country. Inherent in this policy is the attitude towards water. On one side, water is seen as an asset and a commodity by the government and international companies. And on the other, attitude shaped by centuries of civilisation where water is seen as an essential life creating and propagating resource.

Q: How close is the country to the crisis?

A: Scores of studies by well-known social activists and scientists have substantial data to prove the gravity of the situation. A country faces water crisis when the availability of water falls below 1,000 cubic meters per person per year. In India, the current per capita water available is at 1880 cubic meters. In 1951, this availability was at 3,450 cubic meters and by 2050, it is expected to fall to 760 cubic meters.

To take care of this emerging water crisis scenario, the government is pursuing a policy of water privatisation pressured by the World Bank, the WTO, the IMF and other development banks within the framework of its neo-liberal policies introduced since 1991.

The privatisation of water is based on the principle that its commodification will result in conservation. Now privatisation has taken many forms like privatisation of rivers through power sector reforms, bottled water, and carbonated drinks. The core of the problem is the question of the policy impact on the lives of agrarian communities, their right to clean water, right to life and food and right to participatory development.

Q: Pesticide content has been well documented by the CSE. How do Coca-Cola and Pespsico figure in the depleting water table and ground water contamination issue?

A: Dropping water tables is a real problem in the country. The ground water is being used rapidly due to bad agricultural practices, resulting out of excessive and indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers. But commercialisation of water is also adding to the crisis. The cola companies are not only damaging the water around the 100-odd factories they have set up in the country by adding poisonous lead, cadmium and chromium to the ground water through sludge discharge but also causing water levels to drop at an alarming rate in the vicinity of the plants.

Our studies show that the rate of drop in water level has exceeded by 1,000 per cent since Coca-Cola came in the Mehndiganj area in Uttar Pradesh. It is estimated that 92 per cent of a cola drink is carbonated water. Hence water as a raw material forms the very basis of Cola companies profit.

Their plants extract up to 15 lakh liters of water per day from the ground out of which three quarters of the water is released as wastewater. This huge extraction of water has already dried the region of Plachimada in Kerala where women have to walk far to get drinking water.

Q: But to manufacture their product don’t they need water?

A: They do but not at the cost of the local people. The CSE study has shown that there are pesticides in soft drinks beyond permissible levels. By spreading the right awareness, the report has given consumers a choice, whether to drink carbonated drinks or not. But farmers and those located near these factories have no such choice. They need water for their daily needs. If the water table goes down and their wells and hand-pumps get affected or the quality gets contaminated by heavy metals, how will they survive?

Q: What is the answer to these issues?

A: We just cannot allow commercialisation of water; it has to be done at the community as well as individual level. The community in Mehndiganj is waging a non-violent struggle against the plant along with the National Alliance of People’s Movement, Lok Samiti, Sajha Sanskrutyi Manch and Gaon Bachao Sangarsh Samiti. Soon there will be a nationwide movement to spread awareness on this issue.

Q: You say bad agricultural practices are also a cause for the falling water table. What is the situation in Punjab and Haryana?

A: Right now bad agricultural practices leading out of excessive and indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides is resulting in farmers using more water than what would be required for organic farming practice.

The situation in Punjab and Haryana is even worse because farmers have been encouraged to adopt green technology. The only way to take care of the ground water there is reverting back to organic farming and planting more trees.

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Reforming the military justice system
by Surinder Paul Shori

THE Supreme Court, in Union of India versus Charanjit Singh Gill and others, held that the Army Act (1950) is riddled with many drawbacks. The Bench consisting of Justice G. B. Pattaniak, Justice R.P. Sethi and Justice Shivaji Patel referred to the P.P.S. Bedi’s case and the UK Court Martial (Appeal) Act, 1968 and pointed out that the Indian military justice system is still antiquated.

In the absence of effective steps taken by Parliament and the Union Government, the apex court said that it is the court’s duty to protect and safeguard the constitutional rights of all citizens including those in the Armed Forces “to the extent permissible under law by not forgetting the paramount need of maintaining the discipline of the Armed Forces of the country”.

According to Major-General S.K. Sanam, the Judge Advocate-General (Army), though a review committee had been informed to review the Army Act, rules and regulations, little has been done in this regard. This writer feels that on the top of the reform agenda should be the review of all cases by the Board of Review (BOR) against the decisions passed by any type of court-martial in India. For the constitution of BOR, the following procedure may be introduced.

The Judge Advocates-General (JAG) of the Army, Air Force and Navy should constitute one or more BOR, each consisting of three officers or civilians, each of whom shall be a qualified advocate having knowledge of military laws in India and be a member of the Supreme Court Bar Council with 10 or more years of experience as an advocate. The BOR should be empowered to confirm only such punishment of sentence as it finds correct in law and fact. It should be given the authority to weigh the evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, and determine the questions of fact, having recognised that the trial court saw and heard the witnesses. It may also set aside the findings and sentences and order a rehearing.

The JAG should be empowered to instruct the authority concerned to take action in accordance with the BOR’s decision. If the BOR has ordered a rehearing but the convening authority finds a rehearing impracticable, he may dismiss the charges.

The JAG may be given the prescribed uniform rules or procedures for proceedings in the BOR and empowered to meet periodically to formulate policies and procedures on the review of court martial cases in the offices of the JAG and by the BOR.

There is need for a Court of Military Appeals (CMA) with three judges, to be appointed by the President on the advice of the Chief Justice of India. The judges, on par with Supreme Court judges, may have a five-year term. The President may designate one of the judges to act as Chief Judge.

The CMA should be in a position to review the following cases. All cases in which the sentence, as affirmed by a BOR, affects a General or General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. All cases reviewed by a BOR with the JAG orders forwarded to the CMA for review, and all cases reviewed by a BOR.

A time-limit of 90 days may be prescribed for filing a petition to the CMA for the grant of review. The CMA shall act only with respect of findings and sentences as approved by the convening authority and as affirmed or set aside as incorrect in law by the BOR. After it has acted on a case, the CMA may direct the JAG to return the record to the BOR for further review in accordance with the court’s decision. If the court orders a rehearing, but the convening authority finds it impracticable, he may dismiss the charges.

The CMA and the JAG of the Armed Forces shall met annually to make a comprehensive survey of the operation of the suggested code and report to the Committee on Armed Forces Services of the Government of India and to the Defence Secretary on the status of the pending cases and any recommendations relating to uniformity of sentence policies, amendments to this proposal code and so on.

The JAG may appoint an appellate defence counsel as per the requirement. He shall be approved by the Bar Council of India as a qualified registered advocate and fully conversant with laws of the Armed Forces in India. The appellate government council should be empowered to represent the Union of India before the BOR or the CMA as and when directed by the JAG.

The appellate defence council should be empowered to represent the accused before the BOR or the CMA when the Union of India is represented by the counsel or when the JAG has transmitted a case to the CMA. The accused shall have the right to be represented before the CMA or BOR by the civilian council provided by him. The military appellate council may also perform such other functions in connection with the review of court-martial cases as advised by the JAG.

The system, as suggested, will ease the burden on the Supreme Court and the high courts regarding litigation pertaining to the military personnel. If the suggested system is implemented, the Bench will not have to spend time in summoning and recording evidence. It will help remove the day-to-day infirmities in the present military justice system and promote discipline and rectitude in the armed forces.

The writer, an advocate, is a Ph.D Research Fellow in Military Law, Department of Laws, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amrita

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Onus on teachers
by S.K. Khosla

GOVERNMENT schools in Punjab are in bad shape. If all candidates in the Class VIII examination in many schools in border areas have failed, there is something seriously wrong with the system. Moreover, education is bound to suffer when the general atmosphere is polluted. Leakage of question papers, rampant copying, tuition menace have all adversely affected the school system which needs a complete overhaul.

The problem with Punjab’s schools is that though there are about 30,000 vacancies for teachers, the government does not bother to fill them up. Now that elections are approahing, it has realised the gravity of the situation. The position is worse in many senior secondary schools with science groups. Science lecturers in some schools have no work as science groups are either closed or discontinued.

In many schools, there is no infrastructure. Science laboratories are ill-equipped and there are no computers or libraries. Some school buildings are in a dilapidated condition with no black boards, clean drinking water and toilets.

Absenteeism is another major problem. There is virtually no monitoring mechanism to make teachers accountable. Security of service with perks has become a hindrance to enforce discipline among the teachers. Of what use are the Punishment and Appeal Rules if they only remain on paper?

In addition to qualitative improvement in the methods and practices of teaching, there should be special focus on improving the personality of students by encouraging extra-curricular activities in the government schools. The teachers will have to create a lively and stress-free environment so that learning becomes a pleasure in the schools.

The semester system shall reduce the students’ burden to some extent, but there should be subjective questions too instead of all-objective questions. In view of the stiff competition, quiz contests should be organised for high and higher secondary classes to improve the competitive skills of the students.

Training of teachers forms an essential component of educational reforms. Through in-service training, the teachers can learn modern teaching methods to suit the fast changing scenario. This calls for a major revision of the curriculum programme. Why not introduce grading system for improving results in schools in rural areas ? Schools performing well should be rewarded and those faring badly should be censored and efforts intensified to improve their performance.

There is a greater need for job-oriented and job-linked study at the high and higher secondary level so that parents and students don’t get worried about their future.

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REFLECTIONS
Teaching youth the basics of life
by Kiran Bedi

I loved English honours as a subject in college because of my teacher Dr Urmila Nagar, a petite woman who taught so well. Her way of teaching made me love English literature. I loved to see her ride a bike and wear jeans when not in college. All this was fascinating for us, then, as students.

I equally enjoyed being a NCC cadet because of my NCC teacher Ms Ramana, who was the smartest person in uniform. I enjoyed the subject of Political Science as because of the way my teacher, Mrs Taneja, taught me. This subject became the preferred one for my Masters in Panjab University, Chandigarh.

While at the Panjab University the way my Professor J.C. Anand taught us Political Thought, made me feel I was reading the minds of great political thinkers and understanding them on why they thought the way they did. We found our professor regularly updating his knowledge by spending considerable time in the library. He made us feel so valued. The way he explained I always felt as if we were face to face with the philosophers. I felt I knew Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau, personally.

Similarly in the learning of International Law from Dr M.M. Puri opened up my world that it became my preferred subject for the Union Public Service Commission examination which later provided me my career in the police service.

But before I joined the Indian Police Service, I too was a college teacher. I taught as a lecturer in political science in Khalsa College for Women, Amrita. I loved my students and they in turn loved me. I recall when I was going to play my Asian tennis championship all my students gave me their written prayers on small bits of papers which I carried along with me. I came back with the trophy and the title. The students celebrated it as if they had all won it.

My students were an innocent lot from semi-urban rural areas of Amrita. They could be moulded anyway. We played with each other as friends. Or whenever I thought it would help me teach them better. There was so much of mutual love, care and respect.

The Ujjain case of Professor being killed by his own students is most shameful. It is clearly a product of decades of acceptance and tolerance of violence by society as a whole; by parents at home, neighbourhoods, and academic institutes starting with schools, the media projections, political statements or speeches, unlawful behaviour of law enforcers and others.

I believe we all are neglecting to teach our youth the very basics of life and living due to which there is a decline of the Ujjain kind. And we have to stop it now. Even if it is getting late! We have to save our coming generations.

Here are some issues which I believe we must educate our children to ensure they imbibe it, if we have to prevent similar tragedies to re-occur.

lParents and teachers ought to make the children realise early on that they cannot get all that they want, any time and every time. They must learn to deserve and if needed, wait. They have to be taught that what is pleasant in the beginning may be pain later. And what is pain now may be joy later. For instance, hard work and discipline may be discomforting now but certainly rewarding later. We have to teach them in a manner they see and believe.

lNature is governed by some infallible principles. Such as, ‘you will reap as you sow’; if you sow knowledge now you will reap greater mental ability as you grow; the more the sowing, the greater the harvest. More varied the fields of knowledge, richer the spring of life. Involve students with nature in any form as a part of unconventional learning and teach them to be gardeners of their own life. Doing is learning and not mere reading or hearing. Today’s youth needs more practical learning than theoretical. For them experiencing and seeing can be an effective method of learning. They have to learn to tend the gardens of their own lives.

lParents and teachers together have to make the youth realise that ‘life is growth’. ‘Time will fly’. It will not wait. Child will become an adolescent soon enough. And the adolescent a young man or a woman. Either you are in step or you are behind. Choices and consequences have to be understood. No point regretting later. Find situations to make them realise it for themselves. Loss of dear ones is a clear message for all.

I remember my mother telling me that when we are small we form habits and when we grow up habits form us. So if we acquire right habits when we are young our characters and personalities will have a strong foundation. Our responses will be naturally sound. Hence being made aware early on will be of tremendous help. Thereafter as we grow, remaining alert, will be a/by habit. These issues are education in the real sense. And it this is what students remember most.

I cannot find a better example than one of my most recent experience of being invited to Srinagar on this Teacher’s Day, by a former prison inmate during my time in Tihar prisons. He was a voluntary teacher, educating hundreds of fellow prisoners as a part of the ongoing educational programmes. After his release he went back to Srinagar and started a residential school especially for children of victims of crime. My Trust supported him in a small way to sustain his programme.

He surprised me by awarding me with an award of being a ‘non-conventional teacher’. When I asked him why he did this? He said, ‘he learnt to serve in a non-conventional setting in a non-conventional way’.

Perhaps what conventional teaching did not give him non-conventional learning did?

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DIVERSITIES — DELHI LETTER
Pachauri’s word of caution on environment
by Humra Quraish

What with non-issues being made to issues by political parties, where is the   inclination or the political will to think of pending problems? At a seminar  on “Sustainable development in South Asia: Issues of infrastructure and   environment” held at the Jamia Millia Islamia’s Academy of Third World  Studies, Dr R. K. Pachauri, Director-General, Tata Energy Resources Institute, spoke of some of the frightening prospects.

According to Dr Pachauri, India loses 10 per cent of GDP on account of environmental costs. These are due to the costs incurred due to land degradation, morbidity and mortality as a result of pollution, water scarcity, inefficient use of energy resources and loss of forest resources.

The per capita water availability in India has gone down. By 2047, India will be faced with an acute water scarcity and soil degradation will cover 80 per cent of land area which will result in losses in agricultural production.

Import dependence for energy will also rise. He believes that by 2047, oil imports will be four times current imports of the entire Asian region. By 2047, 60 per cent of our coal requirements will be met by imports. India is vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise. There may be a loss of 9 to 25 per cent of farm revenue due to climate change. Unfortunately, no one seems to be bothered about such impending disasters.

Iran, India and Gulf on focus

With the US chasing Iran on the nuclear issue, we again seem to be caught in a strange situation. What will happen to the Iran gas pipe or our ties with West Asia in the context of the changing world order? Needless  to say, the compatibility between India and the West Asia has been  crumbling over the years. It reached the peak during the Nehru and Indira   Gandhi regimes. However, in recent years, with India tilting towards the US and Israel, there is an obvious gap.

Interestingly, at last week’s panel discussion arranged by the Iran Studies Unit of the Academy of Third World Studies on the “Geopolitics, security and nuclear issue: Iran, India and Gulf Region”, journalist Praful Bidwai spoke on the hypocrisy of the global nuclear order.

He said though Article 6 of the NPT called for nuclear disarmament, it had over the last several decades become clear that none of the nuclear weapons states had any intention of disarming. There was a tension between Articles 1 and 4 and Article 6 of the NPT. Nuclear power and nuclear weapons technologies are like Siamese twins. The states having signed the NPT could walk out of it and some powers were allowed into the nuclear club by the US and other aspirants kept out, he said.

Relevance of Satyagraha

On September 9, Sadbhav Mission, in collaboration with the Delhi Pradesh Sarvodaya Mandal, organised a march in New Delhi. It started from Khooni Darwaja (the martyrdom spot of three sons of Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1857) to Rajghat to commemorate the 100 years of Satyagraha.

The man behind this march was IIT professor V.K. Tripathi. Speaking of its significance, he said Satyagraha can again mobilise the masses to take on the twin dangers of imperialism and communalism.

Good news for undertrials

What happens if a jail inmate loses his or her mental  balance? I am provoked to ask this question because the system is so severely unleashed   that he or she can’t cope with the strain. This provocation is on account of two different and unrelated aspects. In its latest press release, the National Human Rights Commission says that the Punjab and Haryana High Court has accepted the recommendations in toto on mentally challenged prisoners who have been languishing in different jails of the two states.

The matter came up for hearing before the High Court last month. In September 2004, the NHRC had filed intervention application for impleading it as a party, in the High Court, to assist in the pending civil writ petition in the case of mentally ill undertrials and victims who were languishing in jails because of their mental condition.

The NHRC took the decision while pursuing the case of Jai Singh, a mentally ill patient who was in custody as an undertrial prisoner in Ambala Central Jail for nearly 27 years. This case came to the notice of the NHRC when its Chairperson Dr Justice A.S. Anand visited the Ambala Jail in October 2003.

This is welcome, but what happens if a person loses his head or  health whilst in detention? Most cannot take the strain of interrogation and detention. I write this also in the context of the news that Delhi’s socialite Bina Ramani reportedly fainted even before detention. She is said to be asthmatic and fainted in the court room even before she  was being sent for the police custody. Bina Ramani is one of the key witnesses in the Jessica Lal murder case. 

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PROFILE
At 33, Rahul Dravid reaches the peak 
by Harihar Swarup

Rare are persons like Rahul Dravid who now joins the galaxy of world super cricket stars, having been nominated for four awards, including the new award for Captain of the year. His consistence performance over the past one year earned him the top cricket honour and this includes the most prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Award for the ICC Cricketer of the year. Others who have been honoured along with Dravid include such big names in the “Gentleman’s game” as the Australian Captain Ricky Ponting and Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene.

With the highest honour having been bestowed on Dravid, the prophecy of the celebrated Australian cricketer, Steve Waugh, that Dravid was emerging as the best batsman of his time, has come true. Waugh had once remarked in lighter vein that the only way to dismiss Dravid was to pray to the God that he makes a mistake. John Wright, former Captain of New Zealand team, who was also coach of Indian team, and rarely praised a player, also described Dravid as “mentally tough, a superb batsman and a student of the game, he understands”.

A right-handed batsman in the classical mould, Dravid produces elegant, technically correct strokes, seldom going through the air, and accumulates runs at a steady, moderate pace. He has been nicknamed by the media as the “wall” because of his defensive batting. In cricket circles some call him “Mr Reliable”, “a rock in adversity” and so on.

Dravid is well known as a cricketer but little is known about many facets of his personality. He is only 33 and yet to reach the prime of career but his life story —Rahul Dravid: A Biography — has already hit the stands. The skipper of the Indian team is an interesting man off the field; quietly assertive without being flamboyant.

He reads a lot in spare time. Wisden Asia featured a column by him on The Joy of Reading. The biography brings out several anecdotes hitherto unknown. His acute cricketing sense was reflected when as a 14-year-old student, he predicted that Sachin Tendulkar would play for India and one day captain the team. The young Dravid once burst into tears because he lost his wicket to someone else’s lethargic running between the wickets.

Seeds of Dravid’s classical batsmanship have been sown by his father, Sharad, an admirer of Vijay Hazare. Dravid’s father and uncle too played cricket and that, evidently, aroused the young boy’s interest in the game. Starting at the age of 12, his early cricketing was in the streets. Discipline and sense of purpose came from his mother who studied two courses simultaneously despite being from a conservative Marathi family.

Hailing from Karnataka, Dravid’s school — St Joseph’s Boys High School of Bangalore — had a good cricket team. He was the star batsman. He did very well in the junior tournaments to merit selection in the State Under-15, Under -17 and Under-19 tournaments. At one time, he was captain of the Under-19 team and was very successful with the bat.

In 1991, Dravid made his Ranji debut against Maharashtra. Batting at number seven, he scored a masterful 82. He got his maiden first class hundred in the next game against Bengal (134 at number six). The next year brought more success for him as he scored centuries against teams like Goa and Kerala. He got tremendous support from great former players like Gundappa Vishwanath, K.K. Tarapore, Roger Binny and Brijesh Patel.

All this time he did not neglect his studies. He studied at St Joseph’s College of Commerce and though he had to remain absent from the college for a long time, he maintained a first class record throughout. In 1995-96, Rahul broke into the international team for the first time and since then he has delivered consistent and solid performances.

Dravid is admired for his classy and technically correct batting. For a long time he has been labeled a test batsman because of his low strike rate even though he showed signs of some explosive batting. One may recall the way he thrashed Alan Donald in a crucial match, driving the fearsome bowler to despair. The New Zealand tour in December 1998-January 1999 saw him come into his own and cement his place in the one-day team.

No longer does he plod around, wasting hittable balls. His strike rate is comparable with the best and his average has also risen to a decent level. At the World Cup 99, he moved into the realms of greatness with fantastic performance which saw everybody singing his praises. Rahul has been an integral part of the Indian team both in One-Day and Test matches.

As far back as 1997, Rahul was ranked as the fourth best Test batsman in the world by Wisden. Also in recognition of his talent, the Government of India honoured him with Padma Sri in 2004.

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Uttam (superior) are they who understand the speaker’s intent and perform immediately to mutual satisfaction.
— The Upanishads

When a woman gives her heart to a man, she does not consider whether his life is long or short, his virtues great or none. Her love is pure and unsullied, untroubled by any material condition.
— The Mahabharata

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