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Former President of India Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (A P J) Abdul Kalam, who expired this day last year, felt India could meet the people’s aspirations only through an ‘integrated response’ to the problems. He said that had been impressed by the ‘integrated response’ to the problems that he had witnessed in Dubai.

He said: ‘When I visited Dubai, I met the Ruler of Dubai. He told me that Dubai is planning to increase tourist arrivals by five folds.

‘Once this decision was taken, I found, that the aviation minister was planning for a new airport and also new types of aircraft needed for attracting tourists. The surface transport minister was planning a number of additional road lanes required on highways. The works ministry was planning the increase in hotel accommodations so that tourists could get bookings without being disappointed. The health ministry had a road map for waste management and a plan for providing additional clean water.’

Kalam said that this was the type of integrated response that he found in the whole government to fulfil the national objective. ‘We have to take the message coming out of this experience and plan for multiple requirements simultaneously for promoting tourism in our country’, he added.

Kalam recalled his experience while addressing the Madhya Pradesh legislators in Bhopal on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Assembly.

Addressing a seminar on alternative strategies of development at RCVP Noronha Academy of Administration and Management at Bhopal, he said: ‘Recent experiences indicate that the economic progress of a few countries particularly the developed countries is due to the contribution of large number of small entrepreneurs employing less than 50 persons in their establishments. We need such entrepreneurs in large numbers in our country for developing and transforming our village clusters into sustainable economic units.’

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has qualified to be rechristened as Bhrashtaraj Singh Chouhan. During his ten-year regime, he has not only given protection to the corrupt but also consciously and systematically corrupted every department of the government and also every sphere of life which he could touch. The Ujjain Kumbha, one of the holiest traditions of India, is the latest victim of his greed.

The month-long Kumbha, better known as Simhastha, was virtually turned by this greedy man into personal fiefdom with reckless construction of sub-standard structures and purchase at incredibly high prices of items which it was not the job of the government. Almost every day he was there as if to ensure that his share in the loot is not siphoned off by the officers assigned the jobs. The horrendous details of his actions have started coming out through various forums.

Kumbha is held every three years in rotation at four holy places, Prayag (Allahabad), Hardwar, Nasik and Ujjain. The turn at each place thus comes every 12 years. Nowhere else and never in the past has a Kumbha been polluted by the government as this April-May in Ujjain. The government of the day confines itself to providing security and other basic facilities.

Even in Ujjain 12 years ago, then Chief Minister Uma Bharti did not disturb the rhythm of the holy event. She did not once go to Ujjain during the month-long Simhastha but had constantly monitored the goings-on in Ujjain from Bhopal.

The Kumbha had begun with the ritual bath by the established akharas of the sadhus in river Kshipra on April 5 as the State government helicopter with security personnel aboard kept a watch from the sky and a dog squad and the mounted police stalked the ground. Besides, surveillance cameras were installed at vantage points.

Mahant Paramanand Saraswati of the Joona Akhara performed Pooja of the river Kshipra with great fanfare at Datt Akhara area at 5-40 in the morning. After that the sadhus were granted permission to enter the river for the auspicious bath.

The scores of Akharas, camping on the outskirts of Ujjain for the entire Kumbha period, were allotted by mutual consultations time and place for the holy bath.

By a strange tradition, the ordinary mortals are not permitted to go near the river Kshipra till all the sadhus belonging to various akharas have taken bath and returned to their camps – that is some time after noon. A slight change, however, was made in 2004 and a limited number of common people were permitted to take bath in the river at Datt Akhara area after 8 am.

The administration had not taken any chances. Strict checking of the vehicles moving towards Ujjain was done.

That much was the government’s role.

Narendra Modi has done great disservice to two women.

One is Jashodaben whom he married and abandoned. Conservatively brought up in an orthodox Hindu family, she had her own young dreams of settling in a family life. Suddenly, she found herself neither here nor there.

The other is Smriti Irani whom he lifted sky-high by placing her at the head of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) and then pushed her onto the ground. Actress-turned-politician, Irani was ill-equipped, intellectually as well as temperamentally, to deal with HRD Ministry, one of the few most important in the Government of India, where she was expected to interact with the renowned scholars and intellectuals and also to give a shape to the system of education which could take the country out of the quagmire of illiteracy and poverty and place it at par with the most advanced nations.

Irani could not do it because she did not have the education or the aptitude needed for the task. She, though, was able to create controversies which, however stupid, did keep her constantly under focus in the media. The important thing, however, from her point of view was that she had her ego inflated by simply being in charge of one of the most important Ministries.

Then all of a sudden, she found herself pushed to the Textile Ministry which, though it had its importance till a few decades ago, is no more a high-profile Ministry. Moreover, she may hardly get media attention which has become her staple diet from the days of her quasi-religious roles in the TV serials. She was feeling so deflated that new HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar had to spend some time with her in order to restore her sagging morale and prepare her to accept the charge of her new Ministry without a fuss. Perhaps what clinched the issue was the newly announced Rs 6,000 crore package for the Textile Ministry. But the injury to her psyche by this supposed demotion is unlikely to be cured permanently by this palliative of Rs 6,000 crore package.

Here is a true story of a young man who had felt so demoralised in a similar situation that he was unable to cope with the new situation. In a newspaper establishment, there was a young reporter who had no experience of reporting complex political matters. The chief reporter assigned this young reporter to cover the Assembly proceedings just to spite the senior reporter who had been covering the Assembly for some years. The reason was that the chief reporter, who had dictatorial tendencies, got displeased with the senior Assembly reporter for some personal reasons and decided to humiliate him in this manner.

The young reporter, as could be expected, made a mess of the Assembly coverage. The chief reporter would mostly write the stories with the help of the agency reports. On the whole, the reporting of the Assembly proceedings became drab and the important stories were missed. After the session of the Assembly was over, the chief reporter took the young reporter off the Assembly coverage and assigned him to cover the Municipal Corporation.

The young reporter’s ego was badly hurt. From Assembly reporter to Corporation reporter? He started brooding. His senior colleagues tried to make him accept that this wall all part of life. But he was so demoralised that after being in the sulk for a couple of weeks, he resigned from the newspaper.

July 2016
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‘Fascism in BJP’!

A political party cannot be run through Fascism (Hitlershahi). It can be run smoothly only through Parliamentary democracy. ------ Veteran BJP leader and former Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh BABULAL GAUR a day after he was ordered in a 'Hitlershahi' manner by party high command (read Amit Shah) to resign from cabinet.

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