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 {From BBC News}

Shobhan Saxena in Mumbai-based The Times of India writes Twenty six years after 40 tonnes of lethal gas seeped into the lungs of Bhopal, some 17,000 men and women are still waiting for the so-called compensation… In all these years, the poor victims have done everything they could to get justice and compensation… Today, they were denied justice. Today, they were told that they should be happy with the peanuts thrown at them by Union Carbide. Today, India proved once again that it doesn’t care for its poor…

Today, India proved that it doesn’t really care for its people, particularly if they have been slaughtered by powerful people from the most powerful nation in the world. Instead of taking on America and fighting for justice for its poor, India is more than happy to sell its dead cheap.

 

Bhopal gas tragedy, 1984, India. Photographer Raghu Rai

Bhopal gas tragedy, 1984, India. Photographer Raghu Rai

 

 

 “Today’s verdict is a disaster… They’ve made it look like a traffic accident,” said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, an NGO representing the survivors and an activist who has been involved with the victims since the 1984 disaster.  

I am, like many including the victims, stunned and shocked by this verdict, a travesty of justice that shamed India…a light punishment given to those who involved in a holocaust like crime against innocent, helpless Indians, the intensity of which moved/moving us deeply. A light punishment after a highly frustrating and long winding judicial process, renders it quite anguishing a journey for the victims , a bitter memory to live with for all of us…It is a big blow to our faith in our justice system, which anyway is dwindling thanks to the never ending crimes with dismaying  outcomes/verdicts being churned on by the system. I am furious that Union Carbide professionals were convicted only for criminal negligence, which is punishable with a maximum of two years in jail, despite the enormity of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. Is this how we deliver justice to the hapless, innocent victims of the world’s worst industrial tragedy stirred up by an American firm in our land? I do not want to get into the basics, but are not we supposed to raise our voice to support our fellow Indians in this fight for justice, which now is BURIED, RUTHLESSLY BURIED?

Elderly survivors of Bhopal Gas TragedyThe victims are suffering the worst consequences of corporate apathy, bureaucratic red tape, judicial sluggishness, right in front of us….a living example of how we as a society miserably failed to drive a movement against this terrible tragedy. I wonder, are we so blinded by power and skies-kissing aspirations, increasingly considering the poor and disadvantaged as unpleasant attributes of the country’s landscape? who are the reason behind them to be so?

More than 20,000 people died when the deadly menthyl-iso-cyanate leaked from the multinational Union Carbide Corporation’s pesticide formulation factory in Bhopal. An estimated of 8000 people died within the first three days, as this deadly gas leaked from the plant and surrounded Bhopal city on the night of December 2nd,1984. A population of nearly half a million was severely affected. More than 150,000 survivors have been injured for life. It is nothing less than holocaust. In the years that followed, people exposed to the gas kept dying or suffered from life-long ailments and complications. Even after 25 years, toxic waste continues to seep into the ground water.

Raghu Rai, covered the world’s worst industrial disaster   

a sense of anguish and depression throbs in the voices of survivors 

“We are not expendable. We are flowers offered at the altar of profit and power. We are dancing flames committed to conquering darkness and to challenging those who threaten the planet and the magic and mystery of life’ – Rashida Bee, Bhopal Gas Tragedy survivor.

Updates : Internationally acclaimed Indian filmmaker Shekar Kapur denounced the verdict terming it “completely irrelevant’. He said on his blog ‘those on whose shoulders lies the responsibility of this avoidable, irresponsible, completely mismanaged accident have long since made their deals with the government of India and gone. It was one of the greatest and most brutal sellouts by the government of India and its courts of the people of India”. He further wrote “who cared about the poor people of Bhopal? Certainly not our own government who like cannibals preyed upon their own people…this judgment just proves that you could do anything in India and get away with it”

Actress Gul Panag said, ‘Mockery of justice. Then again we have got used to it. Such little value for human life and its again on display”. Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan too hinted his displeasure with the court judgment “The public and most concerned voices show discontent. 15,000 dead and hundreds suffering the aftereffects of the leak, and only two years in jail for the management of the company…absolute shock on the outcome – an outcome after 25 years have passed when the disaster occurred”

Truly an inspiring capsule about a little girl driving a big cause, despite being surrounded by poverty and insecure-n-uncomfortable life!

As an infant, Bharti Kumari was abandoned at a railway station in Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. Now, at the age of 12, she has become the head teacher at a school in Kusumbhara, her adopted village. Every morning and evening, under the shade of a mango tree, she teaches Hindi, English and maths to 50 village children who would otherwise receive no education. In between, she attends a state school in Akhodhi Gola, a two-mile walk away. Dressed proudly in her school uniform, she passes on the knowledge gleaned from her lessons to the village children, aged between four and 10, in her own class. “I have a long day. My school is from 10am to 3pm and I study late,” she said. “This is what I love doing. I enjoy teaching children their ABCs as well as the Hindi alphabets.”

Kusumbhara is a poverty-stricken village 87 miles from Patna, the state capital. Most families are Dalits, India’s lowest social group, and they live in fear of Maoist insurgents waging a terror campaign against the security forces. In the past four months 30 schools and community buildings have been blown up by the rebels. “How will we get educated if we’re scared?” asked Bharti, appealing to the government to build a proper school in the village.  Her pupils are among the 10 million Indian children who are outside the state education system because their parents are so poor that they need them to work or no schools are nearby. Earlier this month the Indian government pledged £3.6 billion for a “right to education” scheme which aims to provide free schooling for all.

Bharti’s adoptive father, Rampati, an impoverished farmhand, said he would not follow the rural tradition of pushing girls into early marriages but would allow her to continue her studies. Her future career has already been decided. “I definitely want to become a teacher when I grow up,” she said.

Should not we, leading far more comfortable lives, be doing much more for others? 

the-common-man {The Common Man}

It’s quite annoying to be an audience to the same old predictable pieces of conversations swirling around the work tables, at the airport lounge {while killing moments remorselessly waiting for the aircraft to kiss the surface of the fagged out airport}, in the flight, on the escalator, at the taxi stand….pieces of conversations carrying that mindless restlessness about how to celebrate the arrival of a new fresh year, which watering hole to hit, what’s that one new thing to do on that fabulous earthy hour of the night when the goddamn old year is shown the door, and arms {cocooned in woolen cardigans, let’s not miss this fact!) reach out to hug the new arrival – A fresh New Year, a moment when people are expected to list down some stupid resolutions – Resolutions with No Sweat please, which invariably would be forgotten the next day or the next week. The New breed of Sensationalists, i.e. TV News Channels, guys and gals in the Monkey Business, flaunt, with some hideous sense of pride, the clips of the same old party scenes pan India – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, ….humans swinging their bodies – legs, arms, hips…to some junkie music! Amidst this nonsensical organized cacophony, I came across something in today’s The TOI , “REAL, AUTHENTIC AND PROLETARIAN INTERNALISM”. There are a few individuals, very regular people with a mission,  who amazingly have already taken a leap into something precious, i.e. do that bit for the society, which  we always think of doing, we always talk about during those Fag or Coffee breaks, you know it’s fashionable to nurture certain a degree of  “Social Conscience”, at least while holding conversations with others, that twisting pinch of which we feel most times… How shallow and superficial we could be ? disgusting!  And how meaningless are our lives?

This TOI article talks about some Indian Idols ….it reads “In an I-me-mine world, the workaday hero holds out a comforting reassurance that all is not lost, that greatness does spring out of ordinariness…”

Babar Ali, the article says is an unusual teenager. While his peers are immersed in their own lives, this class XI student has decided to do his bit for others. After his classes get over, this 16 yr old turns the small courtyard of his house in Berhampore, West Bengal, into a makeshift school for nearly 600 children. Moved by the plight of some parents who could not afford to send their children to school, he took it on himself to teach them. Some of his students walk as much as 4 kms to reach his house. Besides lessons, the children are drawn by the free rice distributed at the end of each month. “Attendance was falling drastically. That is when I hit upon this idea. As my school is not recognized by the government, I could not have got free rice. But government officials helped me”. Ali has big dreams for the future…he dreams that his school would grow and expand to other parts of the state and country where children want to but cant go to school….

Jayati Chakraborty, every morning, wakes to the sound of drums from a distant santhal village. She walks barefoot to a nearby field. Every morning, she waits till they start streaming in through the green iron gate that separates Bhalopahar from the rest of Bandowan in Purulia on the Bengal-Jharkand border. This area is infested by Maoists and inhabited by adivasis on the edge of survival. She gave up a secure job with Tisco “to build something new, create something that would be of use to others. Honestly, I did not know what it could be”. She happened to visit Bhalopahar, an NGO run by another former Tata employee Kamalesh Chakraborthy, got inspired by his developmental work in the area….faced down appalled friends and family  ”they found it hard to believe that I would be better off working with poor people in a godforsaken village”. She tried new things – Linseed and Tomato farming, converted a hall into a classroom and started with 66 students in 2001. It seemed  the school was waiting to happen,” she says.

Dinesh Goswami, who learnt about the fate of Whale sharks in a documentary by environmentalist Mike Pandey, decided to make it his mission to save them. Every time a Whale shark gets caught in a fishing net, he rushes to the rescue. Even if it means giving up his daily wage of Rs 160 at a private company in Sutrapada taluka of Junagadh district. Most times, it’s not an easy mission. Rough weather and a choppy sea make it a risky affair. But a saved Whale shark is worth all the trouble, he says, who has rescued as many as 50 so far. Describing his most dangerous rescue so far, he recounts, “State officials called me after reports that a shark was trapped in a net. Fter we set off, the sea got very rough and every minute, we thought the boat would overturn. Thankfully, we managed to save the whale shark and return safely”. He now runs Paryawaran Mitra, an NGO for the protection of sea animals.

The former Physics professor Sekhar Raghavan is passionate about saving and harvesting water. He taught himself all there was to know about rainwater-harvesting and then spread the word. Chennai based Raghavan worked for the Centre for Policy studies, which examines traditional ways of living. He says, he found “we had the complete records of Chengelpet district for 200 years and realized rain-water harvesting is not new. Its just something we had forgotten”. His Akash Ganga Trust eventually led to rainwater harvesting becoming compulsory for all buildings in TN 2002.

Hemant Goswami, in 2005, when the Right to Information Act (RTI) came into force, decided to use it to make Chandigarh the first smoke-free city. He filed over 300 RTI petitions with all government departments and offices, raising questions about their adherence to Tobacco control laws. In a year, morte than 1800 signboards warning people of the health implications of smoking were up in all government offices. Educational institutes too fell in line. He lobbied with the Chandigarh police which agreed to initiate enforcement drive as well as rain policemen on provisions of the law.

Simple Real human tales with solid and inspiring thoughts….I salute them. And it’s time for me make a conscious effort to draw some inspiration from such true human beings. I {link :am not certain what I am going to do, but maybe this, to begin with {Feed Cows- Abandoned, Neglected} 

 

 

 

 

 

Bachhu - my friend who loves Bananas and chapatis

Bachhu - my friend who loves Bananas and chapatis

What they are doing is beyond all that meaningless existence laden with materialistic pursuits, which most of us lead.

{this TOI article is a collection of reports from Arnab Ganguly & Subrata Mukherjee in Kolkatta, Himanshu Kaushik in Ahmedabad, Shruti Setia Chhabra in Chandigarh, Prithvijit Mitra in Kolkatta and Shalini Umachandran in Chennai}  

And I have to mention Mr Tukaram Omble here, who held onto the gun barrel of the terrorist in the Skoda at the Chowpatty and took all the bullets in his chest but did not give up.  {Mumbai 26/11 Carnage} mumbaicarnage

{Link :When the terrorists’ bullets exploded into Tukaram Omble’s stomach, he was not wearing an NSG commando’s uniform. When he challenged two terrorists at Girgaum chowpatty, where their run on a hijacked car was stopped, Omble was armed with only a lathi. Yet, Mumbai learnt later that he had another weapon that few Mumbaikars thought an assistant sub-inspector like Omble would carry: courage that outstrips the collective bravado of all the Indian six-pack jocks. While some fled from the scene fearing death, Omble looked in the eyes of death and embraced it.}

 

elderlywomanprayingforvictims

{Link : feel the disruption Mumbai Terror Attacks}

 

Somewhere at the back of my mind, the horrible loss of lives in the terror attack is playing a surge of depression, my face wears a grim layer of sadness and grief which can not be captured in words, and an ambiguous cold anger swirls in & around me. I, like many who have been watching and reading about this massacre, feel DISORIENTED. One of my close friends, actually, reflected what I am feeling now, perhaps, this’s what everyone feels at this moment, more or less in the same  intensity, …….”Actually, I feel like crying, howling over the Mumbai massacre and get this heavy body of grief out of me”

nsg-team1

An animal lover wrote to me, …”Yesterday, I was  watching NDTV News cubicle on Taj at around 7 AM of our time (probably 8.30 AM at Mumbai); the fire exchange was heavy and severe, the floors were reeling under intense fire. I saw a black dog barking, continuously, staring at the same direction from where the sounds were coming as well as the smoke. He, actually, was frightened with the sounds, yet he was conveying the message loud and clear. In fact, he came very near to the NDTV correspondent for human comfort. Later as you see all those commandos were taking their better halves at their work – Sniffer Dogs. They, sitting on the ground, were listening to their chief, just like their human counterparts, obediently and carefully. This footage should be sent to the MAYHEM CREATORS…..that look even an animal hates such discomforting and meaningless developments.

 

{Link : Anil Dharker writes…..Mumbai is a resilient city, much of its resilience coming from its cosmopolitan fibre: the industrious strain that comes from the people who have settled here from the South of India; the North Indians with their willingness to undertake the most menial of tasks cheerfully; the entrepreneurial Parsis and Marwaris who set up its cotton mills and industries; Gujarati traders and businessmen … All these came together to produce the DNA of Mumbai and its rubber ball-like ability to bounce back from wherever it was thrown. Yet on Wednesday night, that resilience has been tested like it’s never been tested before. Mumbai is not new to terrorist attacks: bombs have been placed in buildings, in trains, in the marketplace. These bombs have killed many people too. But the killings were random and the dead were, by and large, the men on the street……

This was reminiscent of the time when synchronised bombs had ripped apart Mumbai’s train service; before any official help could arrive on the scene, passengers devised their own rescue service, making taxis and auto rickshaws into temporary ambulances. That’s the spirit of Mumbai. And it will not be put down}

 

 

tajinflames-1 

{link :Benumbed by Violence} mumbaimayhem-1 

My thoughts are with the family / loved ones of those who have not been fortunate, who lost their precious lives in coordinated mayhem-like attacks spilled across luxury hotels, a popular restaurant and a crowded train station. I have no energy and ability to understand the motives and minds of these two-legged barbarians who set out to kill innocent people {who usually go about their regular lives, who mind their own affairs, and who have never ever played an active role in any schematic regional / religional conflicts} in such unprecedented ferocity.

 

{Link : Even by the standards of terrorism in India, which has suffered a rising number of attacks this year, the assaults were particularly brazen in scale and execution. The attackers used boats to reach the urban peninsula where they hit, and their targets were sites popular with tourists. The Mumbai police said Thursday that the attacks killed at least 101 people and wounded at least 250. Guests who had escaped the hotels told television stations that the attackers were taking hostages, singling out Americans and Britons}

 

 

 

 

mayheminmumbai 

The TV channels, repeatedly, state that the Indian Government was warned of possible attacks by terrorists heading towards the city through the sea. One of the most violent terror attacks in India, the commercial capital, Mumbai – the forever vibrant city is reeling under an unprecedented night attack as terrorists ran amok to strike the hyper busy CST Railway terminus, the awe-inspiring landmark Taj Hotel at the Gateway and the luxury Oberoi Trident at Nariman Point and other key places in the city. This massacre claimed over 100 195 precious lives and hundreds are left wounded / injured. This brutal assault involving terrorists drifting around the city, blasting their way through various spaces in the city, killing, injuring innocent people and taking Western tourists and business people as hostages wherever they went, whomever they came across is both gruesome and shocking, and a disgraceful development as well. Wonder, where are all those politicians who declared in a very robust tone that they would save Mumbai! Helpless commoners and non-Politicians are being hit everywhere, caught unawares in the clutches of death. What’s the use of strings of statements of condolence from Ministers and the rest from the high citadels of Power, immediately after such murderous rampages? And what else can we expect from this bunch ? The blast sites would be cleaned off all the blood and human debris by tomorrow, the media will continue to ruminate over the number of people died (just one more statistically significant disaster that struck Mumbai) for a while, all schools & colleges would be open tomorrow, the whole population of commoners would explode out once again on the roads for their sustenance, whether or not like the whole idea of letting selves open for the possibility of yet another dastardly attack on their lives. And this “Mumbai rocked by yet another…” will soon be forgotten, it will become one more milestone in Terrorism Attacks. We are nothing but hard-working regular human bodies made of flesh and blood, filled with Shaken belief systems and shaken trust in Government, going about our lives, anxious about our loved ones’ safety, shedding tears for those strangers who died, feeling stressed over the enormity & magnitude of attack, indulging in some kind of soul searching. We are nothing but hard working and sincere regular citizens of a great country being led by Non-leader like Politicians, questioning other me-toos, wondering why and how certain kind of humans commit such violent acts against innocent people. Acts of terrorism can be stressful for those who faced the massacre as well as for those who are being audience to such discomforting disruptions…….

 

tajinflames-21

 

 

 

 

(Delhi Blasts – Sep 13, 2008)

{read the link Delhi bombs follow haunting script & this & nytimes}

 

…any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. “

{No Man is an Island – by John Donne}

Has death on the Indian streets become such routinized an affair? It, perhaps, has become a routine for the leaders who are at the helm of country affairs in my country. It, certainly, is not for me and other commoners. My heart bleeds for all those innocent people who died in the string of blasts that have rocked my country, that will continue to rock my country. And I will wait for the blast that will take away my life or leave me to lead an existence with no limbs or as a blind or stunted {dumb after having lost vocal chords}. There’s only one question that keeps me intrigued, disturbingly intrigued – why do innocent people, who are managing their lives, sustaining their miserable existence without depending on anyone, have to be at the receiving end of such tragic outcomes, time and again? has the system (the leaders and the anti-human outfits) rendered people as mere numbers, whose lives are considered in terms of tangible figures ? So that means, our lives have no meaning in this system. Nothing much is happening around, and am not expecting anything earth-shakingly different either, it’s painfully sad a realisation, which we have to carry around along with our respective load of life-responsibilities. We move around like people who were introduced to death, who we search for it (subconsciously, may not be articulating) – who will deliver its formal hug, how will it be delivered, do others think I am the one who would deliver it or do I think the young boy who is standing idly near the tea stall, as if waiting for the right moment to launch his mission….It’s simply unforgiveable, unpardonable and unthinkable …this is not an abrupt violence against our physical bodies, this has affected our minds, comfortably made inroads into our psyche. Such a detached and dubious perspective on life. Who will carry the blame?

Regular people like me, on weekends, have simple and regular plans like checking out new models of mobile phones, buying the model that they liked, shopping for a new frock for their little girl, walk around to enjoy tangy-spicy-chatpata street food from their favourite chaatwaala, watching a movie, post which a plan to have some exotic dinner  etc etc.. They usually have no space for plans that involve carrying badly injured bodies of strangers who they walked past, just a few moments ago…..While some irregular people have different plans…to kill regular people or to wake up from their deep slumber to condemn the attacks, or to mouth death in terms of numbers on the TV channels, gush over (with palpable a level of anxiety) the destruction ….and forget about it a week after that. With no Active follow-up of the incident. Bloody media! 

Pablo Neruda’s “The Men”

We transients, we deadbeats: we blunder about
with our big feet and our elbows, our pants and our suitcases,  
from railroads and gangplanks and jets we debark
in funeral hats with our clothing in wrinkles,
trimmers, transgressors, we arrive
from the hotel’s stagnation, our industrial doldrums, 
with our last laundered shirt on our backs
and our ties lost somewhere in the shuffle:
we come just as we are, rattled and long-faced, 
circumspect sons of bitches from the very best neighborhoods,
or simply,
serene in the thought that we owe nobody anything———
all just alike, or alike in our solitude, 
facing our lifetimes ——– poor devils
earning a living or dying, sweating it out
in the usual manner, bureautragically normal,
stacked up on platforms or seated in subways,
on shipboard, in reading rooms, prison cells, mines,   
universities, breweries ———-
(under our clothing, the same thirsty skin)
(the same hair, the identical hair in an assortment of colors)

 

Year after year, the unpredictable nature of monsoon rains and pregnant rivers sweep away many villages, send many humble-looking mud houses into the earth. The heavy water-bodies do not even cringe a bit when they sweep away cattle and goats. The newspapers scream out about the ever increasing death toll every day, a few more numbers are added to the existing massive destruction. They give a dramatic title “The Nation stood clueless, The Political leaders stood defenceless…’. They also provide a few images of – both the victimised and the limelight gatherers, holding a wailing baby who has a biscuit in her hand.  The leading media house, which has recently won awards worldwide for being an impactful social activist, runs a campaign “Make a Difference” in the corner….it says

“Bihar is witnessing its worst flood in living memory. Many districts are under water, rendering 15 lakh people homeless. These people have lost not just their homes, but virtually everything”

XXXX appeals to its readers to donate generously to the Chief Minister Relief Fund. Contributions will qualify for tax exemption under 8OG(2) of the I-T Act…….you can also electronically send money into the account of “Chief Minister Relief Fund”, SBI A/c No……..”

I, like those many dwellers in the concrete-jungles, moved by such intense destruction {I can never blame the Mother Nature}, certainly do feel to be part of the momentum, but shamelessly feel helpless and discouraged as I contribute to such funds with an inexplicable sense of hesitation. Would my contribution reach the real victims, considering the unparalleled lineage and established credentials in Corruption and Bureaucracy that the country managed to acquire/achieve, thanks to you know who, who function at their efficiency best especially in this dimension, throughout the network that begins from the highest corridors of power? or would it go to someone who reels under the delirious sweltering heat of Goddess Lakshmi? 

I am irritated, I am concerned, but do not have the energies to channel my frustration and anger into acts of rebellion!….a majority of the working class that we belong to, is stuck, stuck with different kinds of struggles as brought in by the rigmarolic existence, there are just a few events (unfortunate ones, but there’s no escape from them) when we want to go beyond what we do and think & act like true human beings that we are born as. There’s a felt need in most of us to reach out to people who need the most basic attention, they are much tougher than us (cocooned in the comfort of concrete jungles) and when we attempt to fulfill this need, the highly corrupted system acts like a disgusting detterent factor.   

 

 

 

 

Would my message reach the little brave-heart who was seen wading through the overwhelmingly deep, fast moving, neck-deep waters, holding her pet goat close and tight? or would someone tear my message to her into several pieces, while she continues to feel neglected by the world, after having lost her loved ones and near & dear? Has the media house  whose papery output I read religiously over my ritualistic state (with a mug of coffee), ever attempted to build and reinforce confidence amongst its readers about the sustenance of the transparency codes behind such humanitarian moves, has it ever run a campaign assuring the folks that their contributions did reach the real victims, we did ensure that they reach the correct destinations and post-natural calamities, through the real-interviews, we did indicate, this is how the victims are recuperating from the shock and reconstructing their lives once again?    …am depressed over this bit of reality”, the kind of respect that we give to our Freedom Fighters, …..Just imagine a person who fought the British Raj for India’s freedom before year 1947. One who feels the bullet and baton injuries he suffered in the Quit India movement of 1942 pale in the face of his miseries today. One who is 83 years old now & one who is forced to pull a rickshaw on the streets of Jharkhand state of India.

UpdateDonations towards Bihar Relief Fund. This link provides quite a few reliable NGO organisations  

Man left to Die : Source : TIMES NOW

 

(link:The bus stopped midway to get rid of him. The old man got down trembling. He leaned against the shutter of a closed shop, gasping for breath. Passersby saw him but didn’t offer help. They informed the Bantra police, who took hours to sort out if the case was under their jurisdiction. The man lay on the road unattended for three and a half hours until he died. Kadam Prasad Panth, a Nepali, had come to the city in his youth to work as a security guard. He lived with a fellow guard, Raj Kumar Chhetri, in a school at Kasundia in Howrah. Early on Wed-nesday, Panth took a route 52 bus from Howrah station after returning from Nepal. He was headed to Ghoshpara, his local address. Mid-way, he started feeling dizzy. Trembling and gasping, he stumbled out of the bus at the Gouriya Math stop on Netaji Subhas Road. He didn’t even have the strength to carry his luggage, and the conductor and other passengers were in a hurry. The bus moved on with his boxes. It was 6.30 in the morning.

Pause, Think and Go ahead with your life : We would SHIVER WITH INEXPLICABLE FITS OF RAGE AND HELPLESSNESS, if we were to face one of our elderly family members dead in such unfortunate and inhuman situation. You may mumble that I am rich, have taken adequate care & ensured every damn thing in the world, so that my elders can enjoy their last phase with a sense of Comfort. But, DEATH does not come with prior a notice or an appointment. It’s such sheer a matter of disgrace that most of us, in those demanding times, fail to emerge as True Humans. What can I say ? I truly thank the bloody world and the bloody-inefficient system around me for being so unbelievably kind to fellow humans, especially, the old & the withered who carry human struggle against life, visibly and miserably.   

 

ccd.jpg

(based on the article by Tathagata Bhattacharya-The Week. I captured what the author intended to communicate about this project, reproduced certain printed content to avoid “distortion”)

One amongst a few things, I truly enjoy these days, in solitude, besides relishing the gradual movement of silence to pacify, detoxify the anguished body of mine, is reading thought-provoking articles on many a kind of issue, surprisingly BIG visions by SMALL people. The write-up by Tathagata Bhattacharya on “Little minds and Big visions”  {The Week} has captivated me so much that I felt like highlighting it in my space. Tathagata starts his article with Paulo Freire’s quote  in Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed

….“The idea that hope alone will transform the world, and action undertaken in that kind of naiveté, is an excellent route to hopelessness, pessimism, and fatalism. But the attempt to do without hope, in the struggle to improve the world, as if that struggle could be reduced to calculated acts alone, or a purely scientific approach, is a frivolous illusion”. 

Tathagata Bhattacharya-The Week mentioned that through their film, which was shot almost entirely on the roof of their home on a handheld digital camera, young boys Tapa Bhowmick and Rinku Babu Mondol, inmates of Muktaneer, a home for destitute boys run by {link:Centre for Communication and Development (CCD)} in Madhyamgram, reached out to the International audiences. Their film has been selected for the “Auburn International Film and Video Festival for Children and Young Adults” to be held in Sydney. The film has also been sent to participate in many other International Film Festivals held across such as the “Kids for Kids International Film Festival” in Naples, the “Chicago International Children’s Film Festival”, the “Tehran International Children’s Film Festival” and “Fike, New Zealand”.

…….The author of this article captured the essence of this film in Rinku’s words….”the children play kings of various countries, each king makes a unique declaration. One king says his country will not have any mosquitoes so that children do not fall prey to malaria and dengue. Another promises that children in his country will always play, while another king says every child will receive a certain amount of money so that he does not have to work. But, ultimately, they realize that reality is painfully different. It hurts their conscience and they take an oath to ensure that every child has access to education and health care, and that no child has to work in brick kilns or shrimp farms”.

Rinku, who is adept at Still and Video Photography, who has a natural instinct to capture life, aspires to become a doctor – both to serve poor people and to make money. ‘Í have seen what poverty is. My father passed away when I was very young. We went to stay with my mother’s parents, who, too, were poor. Had the centre not come to my rescue, God knows what would have happened. I have got so much from here. I have to pay back as well”

{link :One more excellently written post on  such brilliant young children : Through the Eyes of Children}

I am both amazed by and proud of this simple yet profound statement from young boys, who, unfortunately can not attend their film screening in Sydney, as their home CCD is now facing severe financial crunch. As mentioned in the article, the home does not have funds for airfare for 40 children. And it also has not received any assistance from the Centre or the State, a few staff members stopped taking salaries, a few walk to work and back to save money.  

I wonder, why can not the National carrier in the skies – The Air India take up the responsibility of carrying aross this brilliant crew to the Island of Kangaroo? Why can not a heritage hotel endorse their basic living facility so that they can represent the country through their honest, truly inspiring endeavor at a film festival of such International a stature? Why can not….if one thinks, one pauses amidst the hustle-bustle of one’s life, there would definitely be many an option. I am astounded by the fact that there are no endorsers from Indian Corporates, for these young Indian boys who are poised to represent India, one of the BRIC economies, a flourishing knowledge economy. Or is this due to inadequate a level of saliency about such accomplishments amongst Corporates ? Political leaders ? Media ? Child Welfare authorities? Bureaucrats ? Obscene amounts of money are wasted for nonsensical pollution as propagated by political campaigns, for parading political representatives in front of some leader who is at the helm of country’s affairs, but no one has enough funds to appreciate a genuine effort by young boys. And I am ashamed when the most so-perceived educated communicators, those blessed with a sharp bend of mind, thought and tongue, do not even have the courtesy to raise some intelligent noise about the same. Perhaps, they may write about these boys post-their struggle to reach newer heights and Celebrityhood, later in life. 

Thanking Tathagata Bhattacharya of The Week! One’s social conscience needs to be awakened and its momentum to be sustained through capturing such precious journeys embarked upon by individuals – a child or an adult, to a large extent, go unnoticed by the materialistic world. Articles penned by individuals like you would nourish one’s forever-sagging social conscience, especially, in the forever-getting richer society where more and more families fumbling their way into “Nouveau Riche” segment, who pamper young blighters to a dismally disappointing  extent that everything comes to them “gift-wrapped”, with zero-efforts, while a majority struggle on the streets for a handful of rice.

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