Sunrise/Sunset for 12th January : Specifically for Meerut . Twilight start - 6:48am Sunrise - 7:14am Sunset - 5:40pm Twilight end - :6:06pm. Meerut Latitude : 29.0 deg N, Longitude : 77.5 deg E.
The structure of Government in 1829, thought you would like to know, especially when the Media is reeking of Elections, Voting and Government.
Little less than 2 centuries later we must try to answer the questions , Was it all bad ? Was it all good? What should be retained, What should be trashed, What should be modified , What should be abbreviated. Whatever happened , nobody can deny - it was fascinating. Sir Phiroz Shah Mehta referred to India as the 'Jewel in the Crown' when he proudly welcomed England's Monarchs in 1911 , actually it was the Crown. Even so it was merely a half-way stop to China. What they really wanted lay in China - Tea ( came later to India ), Silk , Crockery ( China :) ). This was paid for by forcibly selling Opium to the Chinese. This was grown in the Eastern region. The Opium Agent was an ICS officer and was a covetted post. The companies which grew Opium later changed to Tea and Tobacco.
To understand what I mean you must see the front page of the Times of India of March 3. This may have appeared earlier in the more privileged Metros - lucky people :). It begins with 'I SWEAR'. Hilarious is the only word for it. It covers the entire front page and is directed at the 'common' man. It seems to suggest that voting is a panaceã for everything. No advice about how to prefer one scoundrel over the other. No comments about how they are allowed to stand for elections in the first place. Constructions are illegal. Outdated, unmodified, static and alien laws are not. Well the 'common' man is much smarter than he used to be, and definitely considers himself to be superior to 'those in power'. There is no mention of how to demand more from the Taxes he pays - case in point over 100% taxation on fuel !! And in the final reckoning, the question is just this. What are we the people getting back for the astronomical amount of money collected from us? Democracy is far more preferable to a Monarchy, no doubt about that . In the West at least one Monarchy behaves like an exemplary Demcracy. However that does not mean there is no room for improvement, especially in the third world. Its concepts go all the way to Ancient Greece. Actually 'Plato's Republic' in Greek was a part of essential reading of the Senior Officers of the East India Company - the people responsible for our current administrative and defence structure. There have always been problems with democracy and there will always be problems for something so wide ranging in scope. However , why can't incremental improvement take place? The saying we hang petty criminals, the big ones we elect to high office comes from the Aesop's Fables ( which by the way predate Ashoka's inscriptions ).
*This drone is now being emitted through TV. No matter how widely stupidity is spread it stays stupidity in fact glaringly so . It is Indian nature perhaps Human nature, to be seduced by nice sounding words and forget the 'how' of things. I refer to 'religion in politics' and 'politics in religion' stuff. If they add these buttons to the voting machines I will take my words back. My gut feeling is this is going to be as successful as the "India Shining campaign". It is really disgusting to think that the destiny of our children is in the hands of scoundrels. Now a filmy type is also doing his jig on TV to convince people to vote :).
Heard snatches of a TV program anchored by Barkha Dutt. About voting and disgust of the people regarding criminals in politics. There was consensus about 'Educating the people to not vote for criminals' . No mention of Educating the 'Westminster System'( or more correctly 'East India Company system') Authorities to screen criminals from standing for Elections. All they require is to implement the same conditions which apply for issuing passports. Yes, the self-proclaimed elite inteligensia was discussing the matter with great intensity. Everything under the Sun is subject to constant change and development, but not the artifacts of the Indian version of Democracy ? One half-witted woman actually said that this topic was overblown and for every criminal there were many 'good' ones. It would have taken no time to name them :) Well politicians have a function to perform beyond noise in Parliament. And a single bad one can corrupt an entire structure. Almost all the particularly disgusting crimes have political links. 'Ek gandi machli saare talao ko ganda karti hai'.
Wish I knew the meaning of the word 'Slumdog'. It is not in any dictionary. Of course it is a matter of great pride that it won so many awards. However there is not the least embarrasment expressed in the media about the topic. That such slums and poverty are unique to India. If the Western World was looking for a unique topic, they got it. For them our kind of poverty vanished centuries ago. I still have to see the movie. However one thing is certain there are more wonderful people living on Mumbai's sidewalks than we have in the Parliament or State assemblies. Sad ? Unfair? - you bet. And 100s of thousands of crores are spent on ... ???
Look around closely and you will see enough evidence that one is not permitted to get out of poverty. No I am not joking! The Bombay Mall lies a mute witness to that statement ( it was broken down after having taken over a year to build and about the same time to get up and running ). The magnificent building opposite the water tank on West End road says the same thing. Which rules were applied to arrest Economic progress? Rules dating to before 1857, 1836 to be precise!! Jai Ho Independent India! They are called the 'Laws of the Land' by the ignorant. Almost all these Laws date back to the East India Company, which implemented them to give themselves the appearance of a Government, and to obstruct the local Economy, and mainly to collect 'taxes'. They are still very effective :). Maybe now you have some idea why people place creators of employment on a higher pedestal than Government minions. It is stupendously difficult just to survive!
More from that delightful school function at Chiragh
There is a set of pictures below , could take a minute or more to load on a slow connection. Another thing, this is a good test to see the difference between the browsers. Internet Explorer of course does it right. Firefox, Safari and Chrome do not show the fading in and out.
Basant is still around. There are many annual functions around this time. With good reason. The Sun does not scare you . The weather is great . Enough reason to be joyful!
It is pleasantly cold . A little mist with the golden Sun, and things don't get much better than this. This same Sun will terrorise everyone after two months!
The Street on which Sophia Girl's School is located.
There is a little touch of gold in the humblest of places.
Just another rural scene which nobody looks at because it is so common. This is particularly true for those who pass through the English Medium of Instruction. This is a little more than 20 km from Hastinapur, the seat of both Hindusim and Jainism. There by the way Patti Kauravan and Patti Pandava still exist. There is something in the air which dates back to several thousand years back. Let's toast the people who survive sometimes thrive, without Electricity, without Government provided municipal services, roads etc.( that holds for 80% of the people - total Metro population is less than 50 million ) Is Life good here ? Well,not for those whose middle name is Liberty. Which is better the town or the forest? The answer of course is As You Like it!. The name of the Shakespeare play which has town people and green people as its cast. Is Life bad ? Maybe for some . An old saying goes " Jab Geedar ki Maut aati hai to woh Shahar ki taraf daurta hai " :).
A more unbelievable aspect of our 'rural' areas ( now considered very backward ) is that they financed the transformation of the EAST INDIA COMPANY from a trading organisation which could scrounge just a few guards to guard their forts ( Fort William etc.) to a 'Government' owning a respectable army. Having an Army of course accelerated their expansion. (If you think the Viceregal Lodges, Clubs , Race Courses , Theaters and abundant liquor came from selling the Crown Jewels, you got some facts wrong. Little or no benefits accrued to those who paid.)
Just a few years after Clive( PDF version ) defeated Siraj Ud Daula(1757) by underhand means, revolts against the 'levys' started, culminating of course in the Gadar of 1857- the revolts continued long after that. It was a Peasant Mutiny than a Sepoy Mutiny, every single Sepoy had a Peasant background. Have not read a rivetting book for long ? Get this one The Evil Empire : 101 ways in which England ruined the world .
Shikanji at Modinagar - a scene which is typical of small towns. What is invisible is that such shops usually have a past going back several decades, if their owners have a bank balance it is mainly due to thrift. Their days start before dawn and end close to midnight.
Tongas at City Railway Station - their state says it all. These are their declining years. They have been around since before the advent of the motorised vehicle or even the common bicycle. You will find Tonga stands at many points in the older sections of the town. They were probably built with the Railway stations around mid-1860s. Have you seen any Rickshaw stands built at Government expense?
This is as incongruous as it gets. A stretch limo against a backdrop of Khokas. Does it turn heads ? Not that I noticed. In fact one of the persons in the picture asked me why I was taking a picture.
I know there are countless Indians out there who would have deliberatly skipped watching the ceremony. This kind usually is working or has parents who are/were working for the Government of India. For these the Americans can do nothing right. For me it was the greatest program I ever saw on TV. Maybe because I still remembered MLK Jr's speech of 1963. For great words to take root you have to have a great environment. And the US has it period. I found Obama's speech and oratory even more powerful than MLK's 'I have a dream' speech and that is really saying something. Obama is dealing with a far more complex situation. Yet his message floated clearly in the mist. It did say 'Too much wine and too much song, wonder how we got along '. It is interesting to note that the US is now 3rd on the list of exporting countries after Germany and China List of countries by exports. India by the way comes after Malaysia and just before Thailand. The thing about the modern Western World is that even when things are going fine and the engine revving smoothly, they never use rose-tinted spectacles. We can rush to help here. Our glasses are such that they make a disaster area look like a potential Super-Power.
Over a 100 days later job losses still continue various International Indexes show an upward tendency. For long now, the people who created the enormous chasm between the West and the other Nations are labelled as geeks, nerds , techies - something wrong with that. Sure. One of the finest Tech companies of the World is now headed by a non-techie so you know where that is going :).
Wikipedia Quote of the day -In Common Sense Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable. Washington recognized the difference, and in his calm way said that matters never could be the same again. -- Thomas Alva Edison.
This refers to a slim book called Common Sense. It is inexplicable why the book which actually led to the US Declaration of Independence is almost unknown. Perhaps only in British colonies :). You would be lucky to get it in any Bookshop in India. The best way is to download it from Project Gutenberg.
Cold, damp and misty and we ( those of us who are not sleeping on the side-walks ) cannot have enough . These are the colors that paint misery elsewhere but we just don't want it to end . It is impossible to believe that this very place gets hot and unbearable.
January 12th - this fog has already vanished. The wintry Sun turns everything to gold in the mornings. The Economic fog deepens by the day - a Silver lining is still not visible