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Perspective | Oped | Reflections

PERSPECTIVE

ON RECORD
Protest against tainted ministers will continue, says Arun Jaitley
by S. Satyanarayanan
T
he BJP leadership has decided to hold a "Chintan Baithak" in Goa to thrash out various issues including the BJP’s unceremonial exit from the government, its performance in various states and future strategy. 

Target approach to family planning won’t work
by Usha Rai
W
ith several state governments advocating a target-driven approach to family planning and the public being wooed with incentives to go in for sterilisations, health activists fear a return to an Emergency-like situation. 


 

EARLIER ARTICLES

It is shocking
July 31, 2004
Lining up for PM
July 30, 2004
Realistic Reddy
July 29, 2004

Not by boycott
July 28, 2004

Bank burst
July 27, 2004

Punjab without power
July 26, 2004

Left provides life support to Manmohan govt, says Raja
July 25, 2004

Troubled waters
July 24, 2004

Eyeball to eyeball
July 23, 2004
Show him the door
July 22, 2004
Waiting for rain
July 21, 2004
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
OPED

Profile
Lamba: Champion of solar energy
by Harihar Swarup
C
omments of two farmers from Punjab best sum up the remarkable achievement of Hemant Lamba, a young Indian executive, who has won the prestigious Green Oscar Award. Lamba and his team mates successfully delivered affordable, reliable and renewable energy products (in the form of solar panels) in 12 states, benefiting about 80,000 people.

Reflections
An open letter to all Indians anywhere
by Kiran Bedi
W
atching Americans celebrate their Independence Day on July 4 was an experience of sorts for me. It naturally made me compare how we celebrate our own Independence Day back home. Having served my country in the police service for the last 32 years, I have had the privilege of being on duty on many Independence Day celebrations.

Diversities — Delhi Letter
Promoting Indo-Pak peace and friendship
by Humra Quraishi
I
 had been to Rajmohan Gandhi’s book launch on the Frontier Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. The main auditorium of India International Centre was packed. External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh commented on the sheer numbers who had turned up.

  • IIC’s talent on display

  • Faces stand out, unfazed

Kashmir Diary
New Srinagar flyover revives the memory of the Bakshi rule
by David Devadas
T
he pride and pleasure among Kashmiris over the flyover that was inaugurated in the heart of Srinagar has to be seen to be believed. That it has become something of a status symbol is an indicator of the nature of the Kashmir problem: it is as much about the ordinary Kashmiri’s need to feel as good as, if not better than, other peoples as it is a political or geopolitical dispute. 

 

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ON RECORD
Protest against tainted ministers will continue, says Arun Jaitley
by S. Satyanarayanan

Arun JaitleyThe BJP leadership has decided to hold a "Chintan Baithak" in Goa to thrash out various issues including the BJP’s unceremonial exit from the government, its performance in various states and future strategy. In an interview to The Sunday Tribune on the eve of the "Chintan Baithak", former Union Law Minister and BJP General Secretary Arun Jaitley touched upon some of these aspects. Excerpts:

Q: After the BJP’s drubbing in the recent Lok Sabha polls, your party cadre seems to be completely demoralised. What action plan do you have to boost their morale?

A: Yes, we lost the elections. But we are the second largest party, just seven seats behind the largest party, in Parliament. I don’t think it would be appropriate to call it drubbing. We have to ask the right question to ourselves i.e why did we lose? Indeed, the NDA government was a government with direction. It had many achievements to its credit on economic and security front. Yet we lost. I think there are three principle reasons for our loss. First, instead of being a national poll, it became an aggregate of state polls. In some states there was anti-incumbency and in some states there was anti-incumbency against the Congress or other parties.

State alliances also affected it. Therefore, we did much below our expectation in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. In fact, the difference between victory and loss was decided in these four states. In other states, we won some and we lost some. Therefore, both we and our alliance partners have to strengthen the alliance. We have to take into consideration the social factors as in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and therefore, try and revive ourselves.

Secondly, we banked too much on our positive achievements, which results have shown in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, are less attractive in fetching votes than campaigns of criticism against the government. Now that we are in the Opposition, I think that this disadvantage we do not suffer any longer. Thirdly, as Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani explained earlier in BJP’s Mumbai conclave, you can never create your party by ignoring your own constituency. Our constituency is a larger political, ideological and social constituency, it is a base which we have built over a period of several years. Some actions in the government, which may amount to good governance but tend to ignore your own constituency. But that again is another disadvantage which we no longer face. Therefore, now we have to monitor our stand in such a way that we appeal to the conscience of our constituency once again.

Q: Recently when BJP President M. Venkaiah Naidu gave a call for "Back to Basics — Hindutva", there was a general perception that the BJP would again rake up its pet issues of Ayodhya, Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code.

A: I don’t think it is appropriate to reach presumptions to this effect. When Venkaiahji used the words "going back to basics", he meant doing basic political work... go to the villages he said. But Hindutva and Hindutva-related stories make good news copy. So the media preferred to interpret his statement that way. Even if it is so, the NDA has a particular position on several issues. The BJP has its own commitment on issues. Now once we are in the Opposition, the space for your own ideological identity is also there. Once you are in the government, you have to go entirely by the NDA agenda. While it would not be correct to assume that we would be concentrating only on a set of issues, the BJP is not going to be apologetic about its own ideological identities.

Q: While the BJP has been consciously trying to keep the NDA intact, leaders of your own long-standing allies have been indulging in blame games against the BJP.

A: People have their own nuances as far as their own statements are concerned. They have the right to do so and I can’t quarrel with that right. But when the NDA takes a consolidated stand, either in the government or in the Opposition, our experience had been that all NDA partners accept this.

Q: You had listed Bihar as one of the problem areas for the party. So as in charge of Bihar, what action plan do you have to revive the party ahead of Assembly polls there?

A: Our problem in Bihar has been first due to massive misuse of the State machinery during elections. Secondly, a large political alliance against us, i.e. the RJD, the Congress, the Lok Janshakti Party and thirdly, a larger social alliance. We have to learn a lesson from the recent Lok Sabha polls.

Q: Do you still believe that Ram Vilas Paswan could ally with the BJP-JD (U) combine in Bihar?

A: What Mr Paswan does is up to him. Our electoral strategy is not centred around that. I don’t want to say anything more now about our strategy in Bihar.

Q: There is virtual deadlock between the UPA government and the Opposition in Parliament. Can you recall any other party going to the extent of boycotting Parliamentary Committees?

A: Has the space been denied to the Opposition in the very first session of Parliament after the new government has taken over? The Shibu Soren incident and the presence of "tainted ministers" shocked the conscience of the whole country. The Indian Opposition has been denied the opportunity of raising the issue in Parliament...Parliament has been denied the opportunity of discussing this. A space which is legitimately due is denied to the Opposition in Parliament. The Government has to realise that parliamentary obstructionism also becomes part of the parliamentary tactics to raise that issue.

Q: Don’t you think boycotting parliamentary committees amounts to a direct attack on the Lok Sabha Speaker?

A: I think our protest is not targeted against any individual. It is targeted on an issue. I would have been happier, had the Speaker allowed a discussion on the Shibu Soren issue.

Q: Now Shibu Soren has resigned and the focus has now shifted to courts. Will the Opposition still continue its protest?

A: Our protest against other "tainted ministers" will continue to remain in one form or the other. How we use the various forms of protest on the issue will depend on the situation and the attitude of the government.Top

 

Target approach to family planning won’t work
by Usha Rai

With several state governments advocating a target-driven approach to family planning and the public being wooed with incentives to go in for sterilisations, health activists fear a return to an Emergency-like situation. Though the UPA government is supportive of the poor and marginalised sections, some worrying signals are being sent out in the section on women and children in the common minimum programme.

It mentions that “the UPA government is committed to replicating all over the country the success that some southern and other states have had in family planning. A sharply targeted population control programmes will be launched in the 150-odd high fertility districts. The UPA government recognises that states that achieve success in family planning cannot be penalised.”

A population control approach is against the interests of women. It is not in sync with the declaration of the international conference on population and development, Cairo, to which India is a signatory, and our own National Population Policy (NPP) of 2000. At the Cairo conference there was a major shift in the way women were viewed. No longer were they viewed as tools through which population control objectives could be achieved. Family planning was seen as much a responsibility of men as of women.

The NPP too supports voluntary and informed choice and consent and a target-free approach in administering family planning services. In the NPP, quality health services were mooted as vital for stabilising population growth. However, some state population policies are not in harmony with the NPP. In all states, female sterilisation predominates as the overwhelming contraceptive. States have merrily continued sterilisation camps and introduced disincentives. Contraceptive targets have been reintroduced and there is punishment for those not meeting targets. Even non-health personnel are being given targets. The pressure of targets has led to flouting of quality norms in sterilisation operations. Hundreds of women are herded to sterilisation camps for laparascopy operations. This is despite the fact that in some states like UP, a woman dies every 12 minutes in childbirth. A staggering 40,000 maternal deaths occur in the State.

The most disturbing disincentive is the disqualification of persons from panchayats and local bodies on having more than two children. The two-child norm is being practised in five states – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa and the worst affected are the women who, thanks to the Constitutional amendment and 33 per cent reservation in panchayats and local elected bodies, are entering the political arena in large numbers. A study done by Mrs Nirmala Buch, former Secretary to the Government of India and President of the Mahila Chetna Manch of Madhya Pradesh, shows how the two-child norm is being misused by the rich and powerful to settle personal scores and push out women struggling for political empowerment.

In Andhra Pradesh, a seventh class female was elected sarpanch in August 2001 in a panchayat that had traditionally been the political stronghold of the upper caste/class. Even before she was elected, she had three children and had undergone sterilisation. But after the election she was physically attacked, chilli powder was thrown on her face and in October her opponents filed a case against her saying that her third child was born after May 1995, soon after the two-child norm came into existence in the state. The woman had neither the knowledge nor the money to defend her case in court. Her husband is a bus conductor. She feels that rich politicians, to keep control and power in their hands, are misusing the two-child norm. Candidates who are poor like her, she feels, will not be able to run around the courts defending their cases. This law does not favour the poor.

In another case from Andhra Pradesh, when KB, a Dalit sarpanch from 1995 to 2001, found his wife was pregnant and realised he could be disqualified because of the third child, he quietly sent his wife to her parents’ home and did not bring her back for more than two years. When people enquired about his wife, he told them she was sick and had gone to her parents. In the two years that his wife was away he married again and had a child who was one and a half years old when the research was being undertaken.

People seem to have forgotten what happened in China when it introduced its one-child policy. Baby girls were ruthlessly killed. In India too, with the strong son preference, female foeticide is on the increase. This was brought out quite clearly in the 2001 census that showed a sharp decline in the female sex ratio in the 0 to 6 age group.

Political parties and the public at large do not realise that population growth rate has slowed down — from 2.14 per cent per annum in the eighties to 1.93 per cent in the nineties. Currently, it is less than 1.7 per cent. But the “momentum effect” will take time to settle down. It is like applying brakes when the car is in top speed. It takes a few seconds before it comes to a complete halt. What we need to provide is good health care facilities. Contraceptives should be easily available so that those who want to limit their family size can do so.

There is no need for disincentives for promoting family planning. The enactment of a national law for implementation of a two-child policy across the country has emerged as a political agenda in the recent manifestos released by national parties. Such a political move will have a negative impact on people, especially dalits and poor women.

In August this year, a People’s Tribunal is to be held in Delhi to highlight the impact of coercive measures in family planning in different states through live testimonies. Individual testimonials will be collected from states by grassroots groups who have documented experiences of violation of human rights due to coercive practices adopted in implementing the family planning programme. Relatives of women who have suffered grievous physical damage or died during or immediately after sterilisation are likely to make presentations. There could also be testimonies from individual providers who have faced punitive action or been prevented from providing quality health care services.

There will also be presentations by acknowledged experts from different fields on the impact of coercive population policies.

The People’s Tribunal is being organised by Healthwatch UP-Bihar, Sahyog, Lucknow, and the Human Rights Law Network. A distinguished panel will act as the jury of the tribunal and present their report at the end of two days.
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Profile
Lamba: Champion of solar energy
by Harihar Swarup

Illustration by Sandeep JoshiComments of two farmers from Punjab best sum up the remarkable achievement of Hemant Lamba, a young Indian executive, who has won the prestigious Green Oscar Award. Lamba and his team mates successfully delivered affordable, reliable and renewable energy products (in the form of solar panels) in 12 states, benefiting about 80,000 people.

“This is like magic. I cannot believe that it is running by sunlight”, said Joginder Singh, after seeing, for the first time, a solar machine pumping water in his fields. Another farmer, Baljinder Singh, too was dumb-founded seeing a solar pump, gushing water. He is still to make out how a pump could run without electricity. He feels it is an act of the God. But the life has become easier for him with “no fumes, no start up problem, no trouble of getting diesel, and no night shift for waiting for power from the grid”. “It is like providing sight to the blind”, was the reaction of a woman in Ladakh after getting home the lighting system. “We are saving five litres of kerosene every month after taking a solar lantern on rent”, says a Chennai hawker.

Lamba’s sustained work in the field of solar energy can be seen elsewhere also. People have a community life in the evening after installing solar lights. Women at home have a better environment and children can study for longer hours. Dependency on private drinking water suppliers has also gone.

Hemant and his team from the international township of Auroville, near Pondicherry, succeeded in delivering affordable and reliable renewable products and services across a dozen states. Lamba had to strive hard to achieve this goal. He acted as a network agency between government, banks, NGOs, manufacturers and end-users to provide financially viable products. He also successfully created prototypes which have accelerated the take-up of renewables in urban and rural communities in addition to making provision for reliable installation and after-sales services.

Hemant’s inspiration for the work stems from the belief that there are not only just good ecological and scientific reasons for doing it but there are spiritual reasons too. Words of the Mother, founder of Auroville, named after the sage Sri Aurobindo, always echoes in his mind: “The present form of energy, which is drawn from beneath the Earth, is not an elevated form of energy, and that the future lies in drawing energy from above”. This precept remains his guiding belief.

Hemant’s projects to date include installing 1025 solar water pumps to farmers in 11 states, providing solar lantern to street hawkers in Chennai and coordinating a rural electrification project in Ladakh using 8,700 solar home kits and 6000 lanterns. Small and medium-size farming has become viable due to the installation of solar pumps as no longer do farmers have to reply on the notoriously black-out prone state grid. They are able to save Rs 35,000 annually otherwise spent on diesel. The pumps are also easier to operate and requires less maintenance than diesel pumps. Solar lighting has provided opportunities for income generation, improved health and education even as more than 250 youths have been trained.

A study conducted by Lamba and his associates reveals that potentially huge Indian market for solar energy is not being penetrated due to lack of availability, affordability and reliability of renewables. With his untiring efforts and dedication, Hemant was able to tide over these obstacles and his work came to the notice of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, UK, better known as “Green Oscar Awards”.

Hemant was decorated with Green Oscar and given 30,000 pounds for acting as a catalyst for small-scale solar business across India, helping this vast country start to unlock its huge potential for solar power. In the words of one of the judges: “These are the guys who make solar happen”.

Hemant proposes to use the award money to expand his organisation’s activities, re-engineer and re-design products, promote local energy enterprises and continue to build NGO capacities in service delivery skills.
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Reflections
An open letter to all Indians anywhere
by Kiran Bedi

Watching Americans celebrate their Independence Day on July 4 was an experience of sorts for me. It naturally made me compare how we celebrate our own Independence Day back home. Having served my country in the police service for the last 32 years, I have had the privilege of being on duty on many Independence Day celebrations. I vividly recalled the elaborate formal parades, the At Homes, the folk dances, the participation of thousands of school children and, of course, the keenly awaited speech of the Prime Minister from the ramparts of the historical Red Fort in Delhi.

But what struck me, in comparison, is the manner in which the common person here participates in the celebrations. How each one is proud to be an American and pronounces to be so in every speech, song and action. How house after house fly the American flag, or the people carry flags in their hands on their cars or symbolise them on their attire by colour, stripes or the stars: All in celebration of the spirit of freedom, sacrifice, courage and gratitude, which the day stands for.

This is a prayer for our representatives and we Indians to take the lead this year, even more, in the content and intensity with which we may celebrate our own Independence (Freedom day) Day this year.

I plead the following:

* All Indians must in some form or the other be encouraged to celebrate the day and understand the meaning of Independence and Freedom. National responsibility and gratitude be the call of this year.

* Our celebrations must go beyond the colourful rituals: The Parades: Red Fort Ramparts, Raj Bhawans and the At Homes: It be celebrated in each school, village, colony, bylane, shop, market, religious place, institution, office, workplace, home, organisation in the manner which befits. The object is that the spirit of the Indian Tricolour, as a symbol of sacrifice, courage and gratitude, touches or revives, all Indians all over, wherever and whoever they are.

* All sections of society, rich or poor, rural or urban, young or old, healthy or sick, men or women, children, home or on the street, all faiths, castes, and regions be motivated to celebrate in a manner which involves people’s participation.

* They may choose the manner in which they wish to celebrate. They may plan by a participatory method. These need not be expensive or involving big financial costs.

* On this day the Indian TV channels, Indian cinema halls may volunteer to run patriotic film shows, free of cost, which display the spirit of courage, sacrifice and patriotism.

* We may organise countrywide concerts (dependent on where one is), ballets, music and creative shows all over the country in celebration of the spirit of love, harmony, non-violence, patriotism and gratitude for all those who laid down their lives so that we could breathe free. Our nationally recognised artists may adorn these. And let common persons directly see and hear them. Same can be done here in the US.

* Students on this day may volunteer service in hospitals, homes for the aged, orphanages, planting trees, clearing dried up ponds for better watershed management (in the Indian villages).

* Or let the students with the guidance of their teachers in their schools plan their form of national service for this day. It could as well be dressing up of their respective schools and educational places.

* Basically we are talking of the return and revival of the Gandhian concept of Trusteeship and Shram Daan with a sense of sacrifice and gratitude for those who gave us our freedom.

* Let the entire nation rise and sing the National Anthem together at one common time. May be when the flag is unfurled at the Red Fort by the Prime Minister. Let this be announced. We may start to announce the plan from now on with specially made spots....

I do not have all the ideas. All I am pleading for, on this day is that we all celebrate all over, far and near, with our hearts and souls. To say Jai Hind together. And to sing our National Anthem together and to sow, revive, nourish, preserve, encourage, our spirit of patriotism and gratitude from our hearts and say, “May my country be blessed...Proud to be an Indian…Jai Hind...
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Diversities — Delhi Letter
Promoting Indo-Pak peace and friendship
by Humra Quraishi

Natwar SinghI had been to Rajmohan Gandhi’s book launch on the Frontier Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. The main auditorium of India International Centre was packed. External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh commented on the sheer numbers who had turned up.

Singh recounted this incident on his last visit to
Pakistan (a few days prior to this book release) as he was visiting one of the interior provinces he heard a group of men clapping. “I thought that they’d spotted Imran Khan or some such personality but, no, I was mistaken. For they were clapping to welcome me. It was touching. There’s a need and urge to move towards friendship.”

It was heartening to hear Frontier Gandhi’s grandson Asfandyar Wali Khan speak that evening. He interacted well and answered all possible queries from the audience. He told me that people in his country are very keen on promoting peace and friendship. “I think the role played by satellite television has been immense, for wherever one goes people  say that enough is enough and now there should be no further wars and tension and we should  live in peace.

The relevance of the words of non-violence, preached and practised by Mahatma Gandhi and Frontier Gandhi have to be drilled into the younger generation so that they see no further wars and destruction that wars bring with them.”

IIC’s talent on display

Though it’s been some weeks when I saw the talent on display of India International Centre staff, it perhaps left a mark. For one, the concept is great, encouraging your staff  to come out with their talent and then to have it displayed in the form of a formal exhibition. The response was greater. The art works put up by IIC  cooks, Chitra Sen and Vinod Sarkar, and junior maintenance supervisor Rajan Kumar  Verma and several others could match any professionals.

Works of about 10 staffers display (including Chief  Programmer Premola Ghose’s works) were on display. She had used water colours and acrylic and digital art to create  a world of animal tales. It was her idea of displaying the hidden artistic talents of staff members.

Faces stand out, unfazed

Meeting people and more people. Some faces stand out, unfazed. At a dinner hosted by the Institute of Social Sciences for the 29-member visiting delegation of  Nizams and  Councillors from Pakistan, it was an experience talking to them. Ashiq Hussain from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ancestral village “Gah” (West Punjab in Pakistan) looked rather sullen. The reason was rather emotional. He and his villagers had chosen a pair of those specially-made traditional shoe wear for the Prime  Minister and wanted to present it, but the meeting was cancelled at the last minute. Ashiq said the shoe ware would have fitted him fine for the village elders’ judgement  rarely goes wrong.
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Kashmir Diary
New Srinagar flyover revives
the memory of the Bakshi rule
by David Devadas

The pride and pleasure among Kashmiris over the flyover that was inaugurated in the heart of Srinagar has to be seen to be believed. That it has become something of a status symbol is an indicator of the nature of the Kashmir problem: it is as much about the ordinary Kashmiri’s need to feel as good as, if not better than, other peoples as it is a political or geopolitical dispute. The fact that impressive flyovers have come up in Jammu over the past decade has rankled in the minds of many Kashmiris.

Subliminally at least, the lack of development and the bottlenecks in job opportunities that marked the ’70s and more so the ’80s prepared the ground for the explosion of anti-India sentiment in Kashmir towards the end of the ’80s. It is interesting that Kashmiris, rural ones in particular, speak quite often now of how much Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed did for them. Indeed, it was during the Bakshi decade — following Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest in ’53 — that Kashmir’s transformation occurred, on socio-development fronts.

The key geopolitical point to be noted in this context is that, coming as they did in the wake of that Herculean development effort, the infiltrators that Pakistan sent into the valley in tandem with the ’65 war found relatively little support. Pakistan’s Air Marshal Asghar Khan wrote in his book “The First Round” (1979): “It was assumed that widespread support existed within occupied Kashmir to make such a guerilla campaign a success.” Occupied Kashmir is what Pakistanis call the portion of Jammu and Kashmir state on this side of the Line of Control but, that year at least, Pakistan discovered that the Kashmiris were quite happy to cooperate with their “occupiers” against the infiltrators. The visitors were reported to the authorities for Rs 5 or Rs 10 rewards, former Hurriyat Conference chairman Abbas Ansari says.

Even Ansari is full of praise for Bakshi – in whose old house in the inner city he now resides. Whatever development has taken place in Kashmir took place during the Bakshi years, he says.

Indeed, the bridge from which the new flyover begins was built by the Bakshi regime. There is an interesting story about how Bakshi got the sprawling slum around Maisuma on the other side of that bridge to move. He walked through the slum — as Prime Minister, which is how the chief executive of the state was then known – with a couple of men following him with a huge sheet stretched between them. On the sheet were countless bundles of currency notes. At each home, Bakshi would ask the awestruck man how much he thought his hut was worth. If the man said Rs 10,000, Bakshi would tell him that it was surely worth more. If the man said Rs 15,000 or Rs 20,000, Bakshi would hand him over Rs 25,000 as compensation to move.

There is an equally interesting story about how Bakshi got the Government of India to set up a Regional Engineering College in Srinagar. While visiting Delhi, he had gone to call on Union Education Minister, Professor Humayun Kabir, and happened to notice a file on his desk pertaining to the establishment of 17 Regional Engineering Colleges across the country. Bakshi did not leave that office, sitting there in virtual agitation mode, until Kabir had agreed to shift the site of one of the colleges to Srinagar.

Working like a beaver, Bakshi supervised the connection of electricity, irrigation canals and roads to distant corners of the valley and the construction of schools and medical centres. Not only that, drawing huge grants and loans from the Centre, he provided entirely free education right up to graduation. And he made sure that young persons, particularly from traditionally scorned communities, got prestigious jobs.

Unfortunately, the social revolution that Bakshi ushered in is too often forgotten as the iconic memory of Sheikh Abdullah dominates the public mind across India. If Bakshi is remembered, it is for the corruption that was institutionalised during his regime. However, most Kashmiris aver that corruption reached unparalleled heights after the Abdullah family returned to power in ’75.

No wonder, ordinary Kashmiris routinely stop to offer a fathiha prayer for his soul at Bakshi’s grave, which stands unguarded in the heart of the old city of Srinagar. On the other hand, armed guards keep vigil at Sheikh Abdullah’s lonely albeit majestic grave next to the Dal, to ensure that it is not vandalised.
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If you go on working with the light available, you will meet your Master, as he himself will be seeking you.

— Sri Ramana Maharshi

Let a man overcome anger by love, evil by good, greed by liberality, the lie by truth.

— The Buddha

Who is wise? He who learns from all men.

— Talmud (Sayings of the fathers)

The greedy merges with wealth as naturally as one feeling sleepy falls to sleep even on a narrow bed.

— Guru Nanak

Om is a symbol of the supreme Brahman. Om is an idol representing the divine ideal. It is considered the most powerful word-symbol used for meditation.

— Swami A. Parthasarathy
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