Sunday, November 30, 2014

Enlivening Juvenile Spirit at cost of Victim’s flesh

In this post, I am attempting to raise following two questions  One, in Juvenile justice, what is more important, juvenile or justice? Second, who do we feel should be the candidate for our compassion and sympathy, the criminal who committed some heinous inhuman act or the innocent victim who suffered for the whims of this immature haughty mind?

Martin Luther king once said “Law and order exists for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose, they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress”.

Before an elaboration of facts is made it is imperative that we understand that punishment is awarded for crime committed and if that is diluted then we are indeed acting as catalyst in crime. With these preliminaries I would now like to focus my views on following three points.

1. What should be the right age for someone to be considered juvenile and should the age or nature of crime decide course of justice?
UNICEF a fraternity dedicated to children considers 13 years as the age for someone to be categorized as a child. The concept of minor is not sharply defined in most jurisdictions. For example in United States drinking and keeping arms is not permitted till age of 21, but criminal responsibilities are fixed after age of 12. In Britain though person below 16 is minor but criminal responsibly is fixed after age of 10. Our very own Indian Penal Court 1865 considers offense committed by a minor under 7 as no crime and between age 7 to 12 the course of action should depend on severity of crime, circumstances and mental maturity of offenders. The amendments made in 2000 have arbitrarily set the age of juvenile as 18 years based on internal recommendations not on any predicament under Beijing convention of UNO. Studies conducted have shown that 65 % of juvenile crimes in last two years were committed by people in age group of 16 to 18 years. The parliament in August 2014 has indeed taken right step in lowering the age to 16 again. I would like to stress here that age set in no way grants impunity to offenders to commit murders, do drug trafficking, commit crimes against women or indulge in terrorist act and later show the birth certificate that one is only 15 yrs 11 month so that grants them a kind of license for these evil acts. This is mockery of law. If the crime is heinous the punishment should be equally severe so that it acts like a deterrent for anyone else from repeating that act.

2. What should we try to change, an individual criminal or this growing tendency to crime?

It is true that no one is a born criminal and development of psyche has correlation with circumstances and conditions that people grow up with. This argument that a child born in nation has certain fundamental rights and abuse to those is core reason that breeds criminals should not be mixed up and end up showing solidarity and mercy to those who have acted and harmed innocent in cold blood and unbroken conscience. I would like to ask all those who justify criminals on the basis of upbringing and social injustices, don’t victims a have a right? In my opinion instead of trying to reform a proven criminal, we should try to use them by granting exemplary punishments that will inhibit others to follow their path. The attempt should be to curb the tendency to crime rather that to show consideration to heinous crimes on basis of who committed them. A clear distinction is necessary between a child attempting to steal bread or bicycle from one attempting to assault dignity of women.

3. How to make rehabilitation really effective?

No civilized society can afford to believe in retributive justice .Reform and transformation should indeed be the purpose of imprisonment even in adults. It is unfortunate that jails and rehabilitation centers have become just places in isolation where all rotten eggs are kept together to prevent the stink from getting out. In such environment even a minor offender graduates out to be a mastermind culprit who is a real danger to the society. The rehabilitation centers should have psychologists and psychiatrists and above all a caring environment so that circumstantial offenders can be reformed and brought in main stream. But, here a distinction is to be made that such privilege should be restricted only to those who are not guilty of heinous or anti national crimes because showing mercy on them is injustice to victims of their act. It is important to understand that an injustice done anywhere will lead to injustice everywhere.

To recapitulate, I would only like to say that to err is human and to forgive divine but if your eraser ends before pencil you certainly are overdoing it. Fredrick Robertson once said “three things in this world deserve no mercy, hypocrisy, tyranny and fraud” .I modify that statement as, three crimes in this world deserve no mercy these are, crimes against humanity, against women and against nation.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Colours of nature

I was in Dhauladhar range of mountains in Himachal last week. The beauty of hills is not at specific tourist attraction points rather, it is spread all around . As Dale Carnegie puts it, "One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today "

Truly, all one need is the sight and sense to see and feel that beauty all around. because we really do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.  Below are some pictures that prove that the nature has its own way  kaleidoscopic canvas with ephemeral colors that change with time of day. 

Here are two photos of morning  that show sun rays finding there way through trees and plants

then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

And then ,the day begins to end and the nature begins to spread all its colors in the sunsets ,These photos were taken in span of total ten minutes but  notice the changing colors over mountains.


It would not be out of place to quote this beautiful poem by Chelsea Poshini
Have you seen the Sunset and Sunrise
And the Horizon that's a prize
How the colors mix and melt
And look as soft as felt
How they float away into black
As you wish them back
And that feeling that makes you sad
How the tears come and just make you mad
But then you see the stars
That are so small they could fit in jars
Now there are so many
You'd buy each one with a penny
How they shine so bright
And don't put up a fight
So you stand watching them twinkle and shine
Then you realize you feel fine
So you sigh
And say goodbye.
Take care , observe the  surroundings, stay healthy and be happy Always.....

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wise after Event

If the responses on social media are any indicator, whole country seems to be jubilant at the news of Kailash Satyarthi being jointly awarded the Noble prize 2014 for peace in recognition of  his work on prevention of child labor . The question that arises in my mind is what really is more important in our society to get appreciation and acceptance? Is it Great work or Great award?

Where were we, the Indians, since 1990 when he started his work on combating the child labor? Where were all the admirers who post his photo today, when he was struggling to set up and fund his NGO? US has given him at least 7 awards, Spain, Germany, Netherlands all have applauded and awarded combat of his group for freeing the children of tender age from clutches of brutal and inhuman labor. One is forced to think where was our Indian Government all these years? More importantly where was our ubiquitous media, whose priority seems to be reporting affairs of film stars and tantrum of politicians while the positive and inspiring work of such hidden heroes does not come to lime light till it gets recognition from across the borders. 

Isn't it sad, that talent of music maestro like Vishva Mohan Bhatt was recognized in our country only after he got Grammy Award? Isn't it pathetic that we could not offer a respectable job to likes of Har Govind Khurana, who had to migrate to revolutionize the world of bio science with his work on interpretation of the "genetic code and its function in protein synthesis". As a countryman it is justified to feel pride in achievement of an Indian but shouldn't we be ashamed of ourselves that such people exist in our neighborhood but we fail to identify them till they get recognition from across seven seas. Although we have got independence from British decades ago, the cobweb and fungus of colonial mindset still layers our minds. Irony is, inspiring leaders , passionate anthropologists and talented craftsmen exists among us but they are often opposed, ridiculed, scorned, bullied and even beaten till they get appreciation and award from west and then masses, media and so called system of our country share their photos and make them angels. 

The second important thing is we are a ‘person centrist’ and not an ‘issue centrist society’. We don't follow the ideals and thoughts of person .Instead, we make their idol , garland them and sing praise in their name. In this process people are transformed into super heroes in lime light and the cause they stood for becomes gets marginalized on side lines. It will be interesting to see how many of these people who are singing songs of his laurels join hands and come to support his NGO "Bachapan Bachao Aandolan"(Save Childhood Movement)? There are reports that many children he freed were forced to go back to work because of hunger and poverty that prevails in those families. Isn't somewhere , someone responsible and accountable for human resource development and for ensuring that at least children get basic education and two square meals.

Majority of our output from our premium institutes like IITs and IIMs settles abroad and not all of them go there just for more dollars. In our holy land, they don't want a scientist to remain a scientist, they want to make him an officer. We transform them into an elite head clerk who can sign applications and tenders and write useless committee reports. Whereas, a fertile mind wants to do work on the chosen field of specialization that one has passionately pursued. He or she wants a laboratory , equipment , books, fellow researchers , students to pursue their passion . Their  priorities are not a plush office with 9 to 5 mockery with dictation from ministerial authorities who don't know S of science R of research or E of education.

If we really have to become a progressive society then we have to be rational in our approach, sensitive in our observations and sensible in our actions . We have to develop sense of right and wrong within us because wisdom is in setting correct course before and during event as "even a fool is wise after the event ".

Friday, September 5, 2014

All the power is within You

“Anyone can make a difference and everyone must try”. Though this famous John F. Kennedy axiom is  a perfect success formula for any profession but it is especially true for teachers. It is because good teachers fill some lives with hope and give some good reasons at-least to a  few,  to embrace all aspects of life.

Those who are privileged to be part of teaching  fraternity should never forget that it is a responsibility , a duty and an obligation to groom the future generation not only by imparting skills that are essential to make a success in life but also to inculcate values that will make the young a better person and a better citizen. The difficulty is that the values cannot be taught just by preaching. Ethics and principles are to be integrated through examples; the strength of character of the teacher is the cement that fabricates holds and glues morals in young minds.

To be good in any field requires hard work and expertise. To be a good teacher besides having good knowledge of one’s subject one should be a good communicator and patient listener. Besides being a professional guide, one has to be essentially a good human with calm and composure because when heart is a sweltering volcano, flower of compassion can never bloom.

The biggest reward of being a teacher is the affection and respect one gets from the people whose life they touch .A good teacher is fondly remembered by thousands of people for the rest of their lives. The kind words and greetings of students on 'teachers day', instead of creating an overwhelming euphoria or conceit should be a source of motivation  and this is indeed an occasion for every teacher to introspect and correct course for how he or she can contribute to society by molding good scholar and rational thinking individual who are sensitive to surroundings and who are not blind followers of any faith , leader or ideology.

Some good teachers get carried away by success and begin to believe that they are maker and creators of talent. It is not true, talent is an  attribute of individual student . A teacher at his best can only try to groom the potential of child by cultivating a right attitude .A teacher can show the path,  kindle the spark but the zenith of success is to be climbed by the student only by bearing and walking through the smoldering heat of hard work .

 These beautiful lines of Shel Silverstein have always been my advice to fellow students because to teach is to learn twice. I urge all learners to understand them..

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you--just listen to...
The voice that speaks inside.”

You may also read Teacher's day :Time to introspect and prospect 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

INS Sindhuratna Accident: Deeper Questions

The mishap of INS Sinduratna yesterday  and  Sindhurakshak in august last year are just two of the ten accidents that took place  in past seven months in Indian Navy alone . An episode of an army soldier killing his five colleagues before committing suicide is another tragic incident that made into headlines of all papers and TV channels yesterday. Court of inquiry has been ordered in both the cases and reports will tell us the technical reasons  of mishaps.These two apparently uncorrelated incidents call for deeper understanding and pacifying  increasing level of depression and frustration in men and officer in uniform.
Chief of Naval staff Admiral Joshi resigned yesterday taking moral responsibility of incident and a lot has already been said and written about how our armed forces have lived to high standard of morality. There is no doubt that our Armed forces have always risen to occasion in crisis and have done exemplary work in peace and war, despite visible divergence between  our politico- bureaucratic set up and  men in uniform.
While it can be argued that aging fleet of submarines in Navy and aircraft in Air force are the major cause of incidents, Yet, corrective measures must also be taken within the armed forces regarding morale and training of men who maintain these machines. Isn't it a matter of concern that no engineer from top IITs and NITs takes the engineering career with armed forces? A look at the promotion policy for different branches within defense will tell you the reasons for that. A comparison between civil counterparts and defense officers adds salt to injury.
The technical staff in ranks who maintain these sophisticated machines are well trained but the question that needs an honest answer is , are they  and their families well looked after ? A rational unbiased study done will easily show that functioning in military organizations still has deep shades of British Raj where lesser mortal sahabs have a different standard of life compared to subordinate in ranks. Closed autonomous decision making and improper grievance redress system are not at all compliant to positive flourishing  and thinking mind. It is high time that an answer is found to why so many trained technical people in uniform decide to quit their career in middle age for an uncertain future while in civil fraternity no one ever quits a government job after 20 years of service.
Hopefully good sense will prevail  and we will see  better coordination  not only between bureaucracy of defense ministry and armed forces but also among people in uniform . It is high time that those in position of power formulate policies and develop work culture that  is sensitive towards self esteem of men placed below them.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Government and Armed Forces

It was great to see so many people stand up for boosting moral of Armed Forces which was  claimed to be supposedly lowered by remark of an average human right activist on suggestion of plebiscite of Kashmir . People wrote at length about how one suggestion by an individual was an act of utter disrespect for Armed forces. Encouraged by this sudden flow of  concern by people I am sharing  following two facts for your consideration to decide how Governments sometimes treat veterans of Armed Forces.

Isn't it ironic that the Government which is proposing to spend 3000 crores for rebuilding Lutyens' Bungalows at Delhi that accommodates 100 odd politicians has filed second reconsideration petition in supreme court  for amendment of  the effective date of benefits of arrears of   pension anomalies  for ex - service officers and men from Jan 2006 to Sept 2012 . The sixth pay commission became effective  from 01 Jan 2006 so the pension should have been amended for that day .However as some  anomalies in Pay commission in case of retired personnel were resolved later Government wants to pay arrears  from  24 Sept 2012  .SC had quashed the appeal of Government in Single Bench so they have applied for review.

Insensitivity that is shown  in  formulation of policies   against disabled and war disabled soldiers results in number of cases going to court . When Court upholds and justifiably intervenes , soldiers are forced into ruthless litigation. . Government  with its large team of  lawyers and Solicitors  is busy waging  a war against its own disabled soldiers, but can these soldiers and their families afford to effectively fight this war against the official establishment at the level of the Supreme Court? 

The question looms large,  don't  the people who gave their youth and sometimes their whole life without many complaints about  injustice, hardships and high handedness of authorities within the forces for the honor of  emblem on their caps, deserve peaceful and dignified existence even after they are out of uniform?

It is time we learn to respect vertical people instead of writing sweet obituaries about them  when they become horizontal .


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