Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My letter to the editor of Bangalore Mirror!! [:)]

This letter surprisingly appeared in Bangalore Mirror on April 30th, [page 22]!! [:)]It was sent in response to a reader who blamed the govt for not acting against Pramod Mutalik.


Pramod Mutalik was arrested within 48 hours of the Mangalore incident and also most activists of the Shri Rama Sene. The cases against them are being heard in courts. The elected government has not failed in its duty and it can’t sit in judgment of the issue and it is up to to the judiciary to provide justice to the victims. This government, unlike the previous ones, is at least acting against Pramod Mutalik in various cases that have been pending since quite some time and has arrested him quite a few times. You cant blame the state government if he gets bail. Regarding anti-incumbency in Karnataka, this is a Lok Sabha election and we are voting for a central government. So it is the Congress-led UPA which is facing anti-incumbency. It would be wise for our voters to rise above petty local issues and think big and think about the problems facing the country as a whole.
Dr Lakshmi Krishnan, Mysore

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Curled up with my book,
My thoughts race back in time,
To the time I was held by a hook,
A hook which I believed was bliss supreme.

So naive I was, and naive I still am…
To have believed life had bestowed upon me a gift.
Only to now feel like a dam,
Torn down by deceit.

The dam trusted in its maker,
And so did I…
Only to learn better,
That ‘trust’ is a word destined to die.

As I sunk in this negativity,
I heard the pitter and patter
Of the rain, trying to do its duty,
Trying to remove my minds 'clutter'.

Through the window, I opened up
To the first rain of the season…
I stood there numb,
Trying to reason with reasons…

I know not why, I know not how…
But I know now that for sure it is…
Am a fool and there was no love,
And definitely no ‘good wish’..

As the rain grows fierce,
The thunder and lightening within
Does not seem to cease,
And all my questions seem thrown into the bin..

‘Why are there no answers,
But only empty faces?
Why have I no answers,
Just some more blank questions?’

Like the first shower,
Trying to beat the heat,
I too want it all over
And have my life laid out neat.

The rain seems like noise...
When all I want is a voice…
A voice to tell me, am cared for,
A voice to give me the reason to live for.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

RULE 49-0 So near yet so far :( JAAGORE!!!!

For politically awakened citizens of India - Read the blog
For half awake citizens - Directly read the first and the last paragraph
For other - View my other posts for light reading

Well, many of you might have recieved the mail about rule 49-O, which says that if you don't want to vote you need not vote, the candidate might be debarred etc etc...well it's election time again and I wanted to know the authenticity of that mail and this is what I found out....

Text of Rule 49-O
49-O. Elector deciding not to vote .- If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.

Present Implications of Rule 49-O
Since the ballot paper / Electronic voting machine (EVM) contains only the list of candidates, a voter cannot record his vote under Section 49-O directly. He must inform the presiding officer at the election booth. This violates the secrecy of the ballot. However, with paper ballot a different method is used to "waste" ones vote, which is stamping on multiple candidates. In fact this was the standard method of giving null votes without violating secrecy before the advent of the EVM.
At present, in an election, a winner will be declared irrespective of the number of 'non-votes'. However, a note of every 'non-vote' will be made with the Election Officer, and the total number of non-voters will, presumably, be available under the Right to Information Act.

Proposals by the Election Commission of India
Among the proposed electoral reforms[2] submitted in 2004 to the then Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh the then Chief Election Commissioner of India, T.S. Krishnamurthy, suggested the following:
The Commission has received proposals from a very large number of individuals and organizations that there should be a provision enabling a voter to reject all the candidates in the constituency if he does not find them suitable. In the voting using the conventional ballot paper and ballot boxes, an elector can drop the ballot paper without marking his vote against any of the candidates, if he chooses so. However, in the voting using the Electronic Voting Machines, such a facility is not available to the voter. Although, Rule 49 O of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 provides that an elector may refuse to vote after he has been identified and necessary entries made in the Register of Electors and the marked copy of the electoral roll, the secrecy of voting is not protected here inasmuch as the polling officials and the polling agents in the polling station get to know about the decision of such a voter.
The Commission recommends that the law should be amended to specifically provide for negative / neutral voting. For this purpose, Rules 22 and 49B of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 may be suitably amended adding a proviso that in the ballot paper and the particulars on the ballot unit, in the column relating to names of candidates, after the entry relating to the last candidate, there shall be a column None of the above, to enable a voter to reject all the candidates, if he chooses so. Such a proposal was earlier made by the Commission in 2001 (vide letter dated 10.12.2001).

Disqualification hoax
A hoax has been circulating which claims that if the '49-O' votes more than those of the winning candidate, then that poll will be canceled and will have to be re-polled. Furthermore, it claims that the contestants will be banned and they cannot contest the re-polling.

Criticism of proposals regarding negative voting and annulment of polling due to neutral votes
The proposals of negative voting by the election commission and annulment of polling if neutral votes exceed those of the winning candidate have been criticised by experts.
It is the duty of every citizen to educate himself / herself about the agenda of the candidates and to vote conscientiously for the candidate they think is better. The very purpose of an election is that the representatives should be chosen by the people. Encouraging people not to express their preferred candidate goes against the intended purpose. For this reason, voting is compulsory by law in Australia. Also, annulling an election would result in much waste of public funds spent to conduct polls.
An argument in favour of provision of neutral voting is that it ensures the individual's freedom to choose whether or not to vote.
Russia allows voters to vote "against all" candidates.

49-o.org a group of indian citizens have done research and now they have a mission. To know more visit http://49-o.org

49-o.Info seems to have done decent research and have come up with an easy to understand writeup that explains the rule. They've also indicated at a petition to amend the rule to incorporate the re-poll clause. More at http://www.49-o.Info

See also
· Elections_in_India
· Compulsory voting
· Negative voting

1. Wikepedia
2. The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961
3. Proposed electoral reforms

And well people, the sad news is when I logged into the ‘right to information’ site and asked about it, this is the reply I got..
“You wanted to know if we have a right to vote 'none of the above candidates' or cast a negative vote, then the answer is NO. In the present system there is no such mechanism, though a similar proposal is recommended by election commission.”

:( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Life is an Experience-Live it"

This is one of my fav stories.. it happened during a creative writing competition where one had 2 spin a story between 2 unrelated sentences. The story had 2 start wit ‘It was raining, I heard her scream’ and end wit ‘I finally had an ice-cream’. And this was my entry..

It was raining, I heard her scream again…..Being the only intern on duty, I rushed to her bedside. There she was lying helplessly on the bed, wriggling in pain of God knows what!! It was pathetic to see her suffer that way. Why were the medical interns taking such a long time to return from their evening walk? And if they were caught in the rain, they would probably take longer time to return. There were no other patients in the PHC (Primary Health Centre) to be taken care of, except for Anania…the little thing with an innocent face. Her pain was troubling her and that was clearly evident from her face. But then, there was nothing much I could do or for that matter anyone else could too. She was admitted here four years back or should I say deserted? When found, she was unable to walk, eat on her own and even unable to respond to others.

I could now see that her face was relaxing and my goodness, didn’t she look beautiful? By now the rain had reduced to a drizzle. Sanjana, one of the medical interns came back from her evening walk quite early and directly entered Anania’s room. She somehow seemed to share a special bond with Anania, always understanding what Anania needed and what she seemed to say. Sanjana helped Anania on to wheelchair and got her ready for an evening walk. They invited me to join them. Having nothing much to do , I joined them.

It was still drizzling when we stepped out, but then nobody seemed to mind the rain. Out on a walk with Anania gave me a feeling as though I was with a child. She held her hand out to feel the raindrops and then put it on her lips. Then, she smiled……a smile so loving, so innocent. How could her family forget such an amazing gift of God? She admired each flower that came her way, each petal was examined….All the while I was wondering why I had failed to notice the beauty of the flowers when I had actually walked the same path a hundred times already.....In this mechanical life of mine, I realized I had forgotten to appreciate and admire the simple yet lovely things God had provided for us to enjoy life. I was hurrying up in my life and Anania was teaching me to stop by and enjoy each moment as it comes by. I had failed to notice how wonderful everything around is, until Anania opened my eyes to the happiness of being ‘yourself’.

As these thoughts raced my mind, we came across an ice cream parlour. Anania wanted to have one and so did Sanjana. They asked me if I would have one too. I was surprised- Ice-cream in the rain??!! I politely declined the offer. Anania looked into my eyes and it seemed as though she was asking me to attempt eating an ice-cream in the rain. Sanjana seemed to read both mine and Anania’s thoughts and asked me to have one and know the joy of being different….the joy of having an ice-cream in the rain. Anania’s eyes seemed to say the same and so I let myself free, broke from all inhibitions and with them, I finally ate an ice-cream.

I fortunately won the first prize for this story :)


Friday, March 13, 2009

In the still night air...

In the still night air,
Looking through the window,
I feel the gentle breeze feel me…

In the still night air,
Looking up at the bright starry sky,
I wonder about the wonders beyond thee…

In the still night air,
Looking lost in life’s mysteries,
My senses draw me to a train whistling far away.

In the still night air,
Far away, a journey begins while another ends,
And within me arises a question…

Is mine an ‘end’ or a ‘rejuvenated beginning’?
In the still night air,
Lie many unanswered questions.

Nights will come and nights will go..
This stillness may remain for eternity,
Or be blown away by nature’s fury and mankind’s merry.
But the nights will come and nights will go.

In the still night air,
As my finger moves over the keyboard,
My glazed thoughts become immortal.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

March 8th-International Woman's Day.. SO WHAT?!?!

For starters… March 8th is celebrated every year throughout the world as International Woman’s Day. Suddenly on this day, you read, you hear, you see almost the same thing everywhere… ‘The Woman’ being praised, praised and praised; and the so called upliftment of woman, and by the end of the day its all over. The next time anyone comes across similar matter, is on the next International Woman’s Day.

So much has been said and written on woman’s rights to work, conflicting with her patriarchal, society defined, traditional role of fostering a family. First of all, I have never understood how men managed to pull off the deception that going out there and earning money was a more powerful function than creating a home.

It is this very idea of insidious marginalization that comes to my mind every Woman’s Day. How is the quest for gender parity served if a special day has to be devoted to women? How is the cause served by treating women as a special interest group, like sufferers of a fatal disease, whose special needs we need to be sensitive to?

Every year it’s rather astonishing on why there has been no worldwide campaign to abolish this day. YES, there are women who are still enslaved in the most primitive manner in some parts of d globe, but what does this day mean to them?
Instead of celebrating it on one single day with posters, essay competitions, speeches with guests of honour being remarkable ladies, it’s better off to treat HER on par everyday.

So, all the women out there… stand up and stop acting delicate and fussy and realize that God created you and the Man on par.

And all the men out there… respect and treat the Women around you equally. After all,