Wither Indian state?

Nearly 18 months after the Mumbai carnage, what lessons/status does India offer its citizens?
An update. (30/5/2010)
There has been one more terrorist activity in Pune.
Four hubs of NSG have started operations. NIA has started operations.
However, Maoists have stuck terror in Chattisgarh, Dantewada, Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar, killing almost a thousand people altogether in their gory, mindless fashion.
The UPA has completed one more year of its second innings.
HIV population is slooowwwly stabilizing.
The rape situation has not undergone any significant change.
Child abuse is as rampant as then.
Though fundamentally nothing has changed, the seeds of change, and revolutionary change have been sown in the country. Tough questions have been asked and answers sought for. Politicians are a far more answerable lot than yesteryears. And that has thrown better men to the arena of politics.
Are the lot of poor any better? That is something that still requires a cogent answer. In a country, where $15billion is raked in the by the government for 3G licenses, thus cutting the fiscal deficit of the government by nearly 10% (!!), the same government finds it tough to ensure that its citizens can get foodgrains at a nominal cost.
Is there any meaning in apportioning blame to anybody? Who do we blame? In a country where T20 champions are feted in grander-than-grand style at phenomenal costs, and where NSG commandoes have to be transported in dinghy BEST buses, who are we complaining against and for what?
Let us look inside. The day when we are able to stand up to the corruption and not bend to suit our two-bit needs, the greater cause of our country may be won.

How to beat the transport blues

City travel, with reference to Delhi and NCR, is certainly not something that anyone, who has encountered it on a daily basis, can appreciate. And this has particularly to do with the fact that public transport of the city is deplorable. Delhi Metro continues to wage a grim battle to balance the travel load of the city. They are successful to a large extent since they have a dedicated corridor manned by an extremely efficient set of people that man its routes on a second-by-second basis. The other mass transport means like buses, (low floor or otherwise) use the carriageway, which troublingly, is shared with personal modes of transport. Cabs, taxis, rickshaws, autorickshaws cannot realistically be called public modes of transport in the sense that buses can, simply because they occupy the same road space that personal modes of transport do without offering any compensating advantage, except that of paid comfort and the knowledge that they can reach right up to the doorstep of their destination.

There are many classes of people who travel the Delhi roads. Early in the morning, newspaper vendors, bread and milk vans and school students make the travel. Those who need to take the early trains and early flighters also make the journey. Shift duty personnel are another groups of people who travel. Cabs, DTC buses, taxis, personal vehicles like cars, motor cycles, mopeds, scooters, rickshaws and cycles get on the road.
Mid morning sees the college and office goers join the jam. More private cars, public transport vehicles, chartered buses, rickshaws, cabs, motor bikes, scooters and cycles clog the system. Late mornings are the times for the foot soldiers of the economy to tramp the streets. Labourers, Salespersons, Insurance agents, courier ‘boys’, FMCG carriers, and the lakhs of assorted tradespeople are on the roads. This is the “max brunt” period for the roads. Government offices that have public dealings, utility offices etc. get visited the most in this period of the day.
By mid afternoon, school children are on their way back. Public dealings in government offices are almost over. There are comparatively fewer public mass transport vehicles on the road. This lull is broken by around early to mid evening, when the rush to get back home begins in earnest. Metro, DTC, STC, chartered buses autorickshaws, motorbikes, private cars, scooters, cycles and other modes of transport are all again on the road.
The late evenings offer no respite when after-office commitments are strictly adhered to, nay eagerly awaited.
Long serpentine queues are generally the norm. The metro construction coupled with the Commonwealth games might prove to be the proverbial last straw on the overburdened capital’s camel back. Even now, the strain is showing with cases of road rage becoming common enough to NOT warrant a mention in the newspaper column unless they have gruesome consequences or horrific endings.
Which brings me to the idea of a unified transport model for the city. Certain caveats are in order, though. There has to be mechanism whereby the number of passengers using a particular mode of transport can be counted. There has to be a graded “pass” system. This system will allow multiple types of passes to be generated. A higher value pass will allow the bearer to use the vehicles that are specified for that band, while also allowing it to be used for vehicles of the band that are lower in the hierarchy. Public bicycles, metro, buses, chartered buses, autorickshaws, taxis and cabs can be coordinated to join this “band pass” system. The passengers can subscribe to any band that s/he chooses by paying a pre-arranged sum to the transport authority. This will allow him/her to use the public transport vehicles according to availability, comfort and ease.
More to follow…

Looking beyond Pakistan

The irony of being Pakistan is that without India, it is nothing. It was carved out of India. Its history is the history of India. Its very existence is a sectarian response to India’s plurality. Its culture, art and everything else that edifies it comes out of the idea of India. Beginning from Prithvi Raj Chouhan, (and even much much earlier), and through the times to Bhagat Singh, to Gandhi, and Lord Mountbatten, they all belong to both Pakistan and India. So what separates them? Their religious identity. But most unfortunately, (and it is particularly galling in the context) here too, Pakistan does not score. India has more muslims than Pakistan 🙂
What can a nearly failed state do to prop up its pathetic birth and existence? Keep hitting India. Is it really worth Pakistan? This is something that every Pakistani must ask himself over and over and over again.

No capital punishment for Kasab

Since capital punishment has manifold ramifications, the most notable among it being that except his loved ones, nobody else is actually going to miss him, he should be spared the capital punishment. Instead he should be clothed in a pig’s hide and made to serve in some social service project.

One, it will defile his sense of righteousness / cleanliness with his supposed Allah. More than death, which Kasab will accept as his “prize”, this or some similar sort of punishment that revolts a Muslim’s sense of righteousness will ensure that jihadis have a tougher time recruiting such pawns in the first place.

Yes, it is time consuming. But it will ensure that India has a peaceful future at least from the Western front.

I hope my Muslim brethren will have no objection to such punishment, unless they wish to enjoy “paradise” along with Kasab in the afterlife!