Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blackened face of humanity

Let us take a bird’s eye view of some of the events of last week

If former Haryana police chief SPS Rathore has got away with a six-month sentence for molesting a 14-year-old girl, Ruchika Girhotra, who killed herself three years later, while desperately searching for justice, it is mainly due to a glaring lacuna in the 150-year-old Indian Penal Code (IPC), which does not have any provisions for child victims of sexual molestation.

While there are special provisions for child victims of rape, where the minimum punishment is 10 years jail as against the norm of seven years, the law on sexual abuse, under which come all abuses apart from rape, has been left untouched.

This anomaly has not been redressed even after the Law Commission, in its 172nd report in 2000, recommended a provision recognizing and penalizing child sexual abuse. Besides expanding the definition of rape to include all forms of penetration, the commission suggested the introduction of an offense called "unlawful sexual contact" to impose a maximum sentence of seven years on the likes of Rathore.

Ruchika case is a glaring example of how the law and order machinery can be misused for personal gains by those in authority- politicians and officials. It also underlines the fact that necessary amendments to IPC must be made, giving due consideration to such crimes. Rathore misused his authority in every possible way. He got Ruchika expelled from the school and framed false cases against her brother. If such a person is left scot free, it will be a very bad example of Indian system of justice.

Rathore loses Police Medal

On relationship:

Spirituality is not a search for the God. It begins when you get connected with HIM from within. That connecting interaction with the surrounding, that relationship, is a spiritual experience. Read my new blog post on the subject.

Compulsory voting:

The Gujarat government has enacted a law which makes voting compulsory in all elections, save the legislative and parliamentary elections. It has drawn mixed reactions. They range from acceptance of the norm, lauding it even with caveats that it is impractical.

Some objections:

One: it is not practical.

Two: that it is anti-democratic to force people to vote.

Three: It has a punitive element in it so it is bad.

Four: it amounts to authoritarian move and makes elections something akin to what happens in the people's democracies of Communist regimes, not a liberal regime.

Some supportive arguments:

Poor turnouts: Poor turnouts give room for poor representation.

60 years, no change: If for six decades and more, the country's citizens have not taken the responsibility seriously enough and where on an average, the voter turnout is just about 60 per cent, then serious steps are called for.

Not anti-democracy: It is not anti-democratic. It deepens democracy because the law makes it voter-centric. The option "none-of-the-above" (NOTA) on the ballot serves two purposes. One, it lets the voter say that he is disgusted with the list of candidates. He can express his disgust instead of lamenting about poor options and not voting.

Test it: One needs to give it a fair try and if required, make suitable alterations so that the law is made to work. If elections could be managed near-perfectly in India, this too can be managed quite well.

Quid pro quo: If we do not realise that we have a duty in return for the rights and privileges conferred on us because we are citizens of a democratic country, then the rights and privileges are not ours. One has to acknowledge that quid pro quo.

That quid pro quo has never been enforced because in a free democratic country, it is assumed, the rights include the choice not to participate in the due process, which makes the country truly democratic. If I do not want to vote, the arguer says, it is my right not to. To me, that is not acceptable.

The year that has gone by:

No, I am not going to talk about global warming or the recession. I bring your attention to an event that sent shivers down Pune city and blackened the face of humanity like the Ruchika’s case mentioned in the beginning: Molestation and Murder of Nayana Pujari


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On relationships

Spirituality is not a search for the God. It begins when you get connected with HIM from within.

That connecting interaction with the surrounding, that relationship, is a spiritual experience.

We are in relationship with our parents, brothers, sisters, offspring, spouse, friends. Our commitment towards relationships initiates, develops and sustains on mutual love and trust and ceases when these values are lost. Healthy relationships enrich our life.

Relationship becomes fragile when .. ..

it is based on falsehood

intentions are doubted,

mutual respect is lost,

suspicion replaces trust,

a promise is not kept, repeatedly,

partners do not care for each other.

Never you do it to your partner !

But if someone does it on you ?

Well, use your wisdom ! Refresh !!

Try your best to get reconnected !!!

Snapping ties is the last recourse, when every attempt fails.

So, make a beginning .. ..


Monday, December 21, 2009

Why should India be concerned about climate change

As expected, last week was dominated by the climate change meet at Copenhagen. Let us take a bird’s eye view of the last week’s developments.

Swine flu:

After the initial hesitation, the government included private hospitals in the fight against swine flu. But lately, they are facing flak from the government once again. So far, there are 670 deaths due to swine flu in our country and according the Health Ministry most of it is due late reporting for which they hold private doctors responsible. Two things are obvious: (a) private doctors require training on the modalities, (b) better coordination between the government and private agencies is required

Climate change at Copenhagen:

A tonne of carbon dioxide emitted in India is the same as a tonne of carbon dioxide emitted in the U.S., but that isn't making climate negotiations any simpler in Copenhagen. India has displayed flexibility in its climate change position by offering to adopt the international guidelines under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), while reporting to Parliament on its unsupported domestic efforts to deal with climate change. This move can be viewed as a significant step. It conveys to the global community that India’s reporting would be at international standards, at the same time the government would be able to tell the domestic audience that it has not submitted to international review.

Why should India be concerned about climate change? The three main ‘categories’ of impacts, namely those on agriculture, sea level rise leading to submergence of coastal areas as well as increased frequency of extreme events. Each of these pose serious threats to India. Read this article and more such interesting articles. Help India become Carbon Neutral.

China and the US were placed at the bottom end of a worldwide national ranking of performance on climate protection published on Monday, 14 December 2009. Compiled by Germanwatch, a think tank and the Climate Action Newtork (CAN), an alliance of environment pressure groups, the annual Climate Change Performance Index ranks countries based on their climate protection performance, comparing 57 industrialised countries and emerging economies.

Money laundering:

A team from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body that sets benchmarks for legislation on money laundering, is in India to assess the country’s legal and enforcement framework. The assessment, which ends on Friday, 18 December 2009, will set the ball rolling for New Delhi’s membership of the elite body.

Illegal activities such as drug trafficking, trade in weapons and white collar crimes can generate large sums of money. Money laundering refers to the act of making these gains legitimate by disguising the source of money, changing its form or moving it to a location where not many questions are asked.

Storing power in the grid:

The distribution of electricity to millions of consumers is a difficult task because while the amount of electricity generated is relatively fixed over short periods of time, the demand for electricity fluctuates throughout the day. A highly efficient electricity grid that can easily harmonize energy production with energy consumption is needed to answer this problem. Read my recent blog post on the subject

Danish Island:

The Danish island of Samso has become one of the first industrialized places on Earth to qualify as completely energy self-sufficient. Should we aim at converting our villages into the so called ‘Danish Islands’ using appropriate renewable technology ?

India’s first commercial MW power plant:

Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Dr. Farooq Abdullah on 15 Dec 2009 (Tuesday) inaugurated country’s first commercial 2 mega watt Solar Power Plant in Punjab’s Amritsar District.

Cement and concrete:

Those working on cement and concrete may have a look at my recent blog post on International Journals on Cement.

See you next week


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Pandora's box

The week was dominated by Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who was on indefinite fast for his demand of Separate Telangana State. The Pandora's box was opened when the Government at the Centre declared that the bifurcation of present Andhra Pradesh can be considered to carve out the separate state of Telangana. Where as there are huge protests from the parties opposed to the idea (including Congress Party), the earlier somewhat mute demands of separate statehood from the other parts of the country became strong, example: Vidarbha, Gorkha Land and so on. The demands for separate statehood are due to increased aspirations of people on the one hand and the regional imbalances in the development created over the years, within the State, on the other. The imporatant question is whether the creation of smaller states shall lead to better development or only add to the administartive machinery.

Tiger Woods announced that he will be away from the Golf for some time and spend time with his family. Tiger is a great player. Hope he settles the personal issues and returns to the professional life soon.

At Copenhagen, India declared that whilst they are ready to go with the world in terms of limiting the carbom emissions on voluntary basis, they will not accept any legal binding. I think we in India should focus on (a) renewable sources like solar and wind energy (b) reduce the energy losses and pilferages, example in electricity transmission.

As an academician, I always searched for a perfect model for academic-industry cooperation.
James Weyhenmeyer, Senior Vice Provost for Research with the State University of New York (SUNY) shows the way.


About Me

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Independent Professional: Experienced educator and management consultant for engineering educational institutions, researcher, trainer, technical consultant on sustainable technologies, related to cement manufacturing and characterisation, using industrial and agricultural wastes in cement and concrete, durability of concrete and fuel cell power.