The Common Man Speaks

16Dec/132

2011: Anna unites India, 2013: Anna shocks India

By: Keyur Seta

anna-hazareAnti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement of 2011 to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill made the impossible look possible: lakhs of Indians from all walks of lives took on to the roads all over the country for the cause of anti-corruption; this was something that was considered impossible in the current era of India. As I too took part in the movement, it became the biggest turning point of my life. Not only was I happy to be a part of a national movement but, personally speaking, it also changed my perspective towards life completely!

At that time, however, I and many other Indians weren’t expecting things to take such a drastic change two years later and that too for the bad. Anna, his team and the entire country were protesting against government’s weak Lokpal Bill and were pushing for the Jan Lokpal Bill. The latter has the power of severely punishing those guilty of corruption. The former is weak in all aspects and is like a free license for the corrupt to indulge in the dirty activity.

To know its weakness, refer to the following points:-

  • All government officers don’t come under the scanner of Lokpal.
  • It doesn’t include Citizen’s Charter through which government agencies need to give a deadline for replying to the applications made my public, failing to which they can be fined.
  • It doesn’t compel every state to make a Lokayukta based on the Lokpal at center.
  • No whistleblower protection!!!
  • No independence from the government to the agencies investigating corruption cases. If the investigating agencies aren’t free from the pressure of the government, how can we expect corrupt government officials to get punished?
  • It imposes imprisonment up to 5 years if a complaint turns out to be frivolous. So if a corrupt minister manages to free himself from the charges by using his power, the poor complainant will be sent to jail! How can we expect people to report cases of corruption if one is always in a danger of being imprisoned?

Two years ago, Anna, rightly so, sternly opposed the weak Lokpal Bill. He kept opposing it until 2013 when he went on another hunger strike to pass the bill. During this time, our parliamentarians, mostly leaders from Congress and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), unanimously agreed to pass the weak Lokpal Bill. But as shocking as it may sound, Anna and his associate Kiran Bedi have happily given their nod for such a bill! The same person who wholeheartedly opposed the bill is now happy with it for reasons best known to him.

He has not only left millions of his supporters clueless but also with a sense of betrayal. If he is so happy with the bill why didn’t he give a nod for it in 2011 itself? Anna is the person who has changed my attitude towards life so I am saying this with great pain. But I am left with no other choice because he has just made a mockery of the protest that we carried out for more than two years.

What has hurt us the most is the way Anna recently said, “This is my movement, so I will decide which pass should be passed.” All this while, he was heard saying that this is people’s movement. I can seriously smell some ego from this statement; more so because Anna decided to sit on a fast again right after Aam Aadmi Party, formed by his estranged member Arvind Kejriwal, garnered a miraculous show in the Delhi elections.

Naturally, this has left the Congress and the BJP overjoyed. As soon as Anna okayed the weak bill, people from both these parties happily gave their word of passing it. The fact that they so happily agreed to pass it proves how weak it is.

In recent developments, Anna just gave biggest shock when he wrote a letter to Rahul Gandhi thanking him for his commitment on Lokpal! I am speechless at this. This is equal to rubbing salt on the wounds of the Common Man! I have no qualms in saying that the person who started this movement has given a serious blow to it!

8Dec/130

AAP Success: Revolution in Indian politics!

By: Keyur Seta

When Arvind Kejriwal and his group decided to form a political party, I was disappointed as I was sure it won’t yield any results to the cause of clean governance. Big political parties like the Congress and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) gave a different reaction to this – they laughed their hearts out since they were sure it was a suicidal step.

But circa December 2013, the joke is now on the Congress and the BJP courtesy an unbelievable performance by Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi assembly elections! Garnering 27 seats out of 72 in your very first elections is not only incredible but almost like a miracle! Personally speaking, I have never been so happy at being proved wrong before!

aap-logoFor Sheila Dixit and Congress, this is their worst defeat ever. To put it bluntly, they completely deserved that after continuously allowing humongous scams of unthinkable amounts to take place, failing miserably in protecting women and using police force in monstrously beating up innocent, peaceful protestors. These are just their mainstream blunders.

But it is a much bigger loss to the BJP, who would have had a cakewalk in the Delhi elections if there was no AAP. By helping AAP perform such incredibly in their first elections, the people of Delhi have given a strong reminder that the opposition’s job is not just to criticize the ruling party. The most important task is to strive to bring a change in the dirty system and this is where AAP has scored. These facts along with the communal history of the BJP have affected them.

The road to victory for AAP, however, has been full of potholes created by the Congress and the BJP. There has been constant allegations and mud throwing against Kejriwal and his team from both the political forces. It’s incredible how enemies join hands to crush a common threatening source! But AAP’s biggest challenge came in the form of a rigged sting operation by Media Sarkar, which became a laughing stock later. These factors couldn’t stop the debut political party though.

Another important issue that deserves a mention is the utterly cheap practice by both the Congress and the BJP of buying votes by supplying liquor and other lucrative items. This too didn’t help! Combating this major hurdle is another achievement for AAP. All thanks to the common sense of a large group of Delhi-ites. I am mighty proud of them!

Although AAP has succeeded only in Delhi, the result is nothing short of a political revolution at a time when there was practically no hope. Finally, we can say that the power of the Common Man is not just limited to Hindi films!

aam-aadmi-party

12Nov/132

Sachin’s 200 test ticket fiasco not surprising!

By: Keyur Seta

There is shock and outrage among the Common Man over the non-availability of tickets for Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th test match. But although I am eager to watch Sachin’s last match, I am not at all surprised by the turn of events, forget being shocked. This is simply because of the terrible history of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).

This is not the first time that the Common Man has been deprived of watching a cricket match in the stadium. For as long as I know, the MCA has always been favoring affiliated clubs and, of course, the so-called VIPs and VVIPs whenever there has been an important match held at the Wankhede Stadium.

Picture Source: Indianexpress.com

Picture Source: Indianexpress.com

So, to me, it doesn’t come as a surprise whatsoever to see them do the same thing during the most important match ever in India; maybe on par with the World Cup Final. Just imagine – out of 50 or 60 thousand tickets, they kept just 4500 tickets for common public. However, even such tiny numbers of tickets were not sold to the public. The excuses given about law and order problem due to the sale of large number of tickets on stands and other issues are plain laughable!

Due to such excuses, they decided to sell those 4500 tickets online but how many did they actually sell? I had predicted beforehand that even the online sale of tickets is just a sham so I didn’t even try. The website owners said the site crashed as too many people logged in. And when the site finally opened, all tickets were already sold. Then the website walas created fake Twitter IDs for praising their site for their work in selling the tickets. You can’t fool as all the time!

In this way, the MCA has indirectly announced that such matches are only for the rich and elite class comprising super rich businessmen and Bollywood celebrities. The Common Man, who has solely helped in taking cricket and Sachin to such enormous heights, has no right to bid farewell to the legend! They have shown that for them, we cricket lovers forming the masses can be treated like dogs because they very well know next time, when there will be an important match at the Wankhede, we all will queue up again!

It also doesn’t come as a surprise to see such high level of black-marketing of tickets. In fact, such corrupt activities take place before each and every important match just below the nose of MCA authorities. What does this mean? Please read between the lines.

So the question remains - what can we do in such a terrible situation? One option is to dissolve not only the MCA but the entire Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The other is to stop buying tickets not only in black but also in normal rates and refuse to go even if you get them from any of the affiliated clubs. Empty stands will open their eyes! I am well aware that both these possibilities sound almost impossible. But there doesn’t seem to be any other option.

12Nov/136

Campa Cola Issue: Common Man about to be strangled!

By: Keyur Seta

I am shocked with disbelief at the happenings outside Mumbai’s Campa Cola Compound in Worli. Hundreds of families have been staying in it for around 25 years. They bought their houses from their hard earned money. Plus, they have been paying regular taxes all these years. But now Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to demolish their houses just because of a shoddy crime committed by the builder and the politicians.

Picture Source: Mid Day

Picture Source: Mid Day

Just try to imagine this – The builder plays a game of crook with the politicians to earn huge sums of money by constructing three illegal floors in the buildings. Oblivious to this fact, a number of families buy flats on these floors. They keep paying taxes for 25 years with the BMC having no clue about the scam.

Now after 25 years, the BMC somehow get enlightened about the scam. So what do they do? They forcefully try to vacate the innocent residents from their home sweet home. They are not provided with any other option or compensation whatsoever! They are common people like me and you. Where will they go now?

How justifiable is to torture the Common Man for the shoddy crime committed by the builder-politician nexus? Where the hell are we heading? I am not sorry to say that the British Raj was better!

These poor residents are literally begging to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan to intervene and help but the he has no time for them. Of course, he has all the time to attend Sachin Tendulkar’s felicitation!

Picture Source: Ndtv.com

Picture Source: Ndtv.com

What’s more annoying is how scams worth thousands of crores are being allowed in our country. These criminal politicians are roaming scot free while innocent residents are turned into beggars. Also, we all know the extent of corruption in BMC itself. Despite spending hundreds of crores for better roads and other welfare of Mumbai, hardly any work is done. One doesn’t need to be a genius to realize that this is nothing but shoddy corruption. Why no action against any such terrible crimes? Will law be used or rather misused only to punish innocents in such a terrible manner?

As I write this, the poor residents of Campa Cola Compound are struggling and begging for their homes to be returned to them. At any moment their shelter can be snatched away from them for no fault of theirs!

Now all eyes are on the happenings at Campa Cola. If the Common Man is strangled now, it will be proved that we are living in a lawless land!

Picture Source: Indianexpress.com

Picture Source: Indianexpress.com

12Nov/130

Interfaith Dialogue: We have the same flesh & blood!

By: Keyur Seta

All over the world, human population is divided on the basis of religion. There are a large number of religions practiced universally and people from each one consider someone from another religion as different from him or her. But if we look at it closely, we realize that we all fall under the category of human beings; that we all have the same flesh and bones; that we all feel happy and sad at the same things. This universal truth was presented at the event Interfaith Dialogue for Modern Era in Mumbai by Ramakrishna Mission and Math, Mumbai. The Interfaith Dialogue was a part of the 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda, whose message was also spread widely at the event.

There was dialogue and interaction by religious heads of various religions -

  • Christianity by Father Joshua
  • Zoroastrianism by Lion Yazdi Panthaki
  • Baha'ism by Dr Mangesh Teli
  • Buddhism by Prof. Sudhakar Arjun Pawar
  • Jainism Dr. Bipin Doshi
  • Islam by Maulana Syed Athar Ali
  • Sikhism by Mr. Harpal Singh
  • Judaism by Mr. Ralphy Jhira
  • Sufism by Mr. Sami Bubere
  • Hinduism by Swami Atmapriyanandji Maharaj

After listening to each one of them, it wasn't hard to realize that all religions preach the same message of humanity, oneness, equality and love for all fellow beings.

Some pictures from the event:

Picture Source - DnaIndia.com

Picture Source - DnaIndia.com

Interfaith-Dialog-India

Swami-Vivekananda-religion

 

 

12Nov/130

AAP funding issue: Thank you Mr Shinde!

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s decision to probe Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) funding has once again proved that truth is stranger than fiction. We have come across a list of atrocious statements from our politicians but still I find Shinde’s statement completely unfathomable! Here’s why.

Picture Source - Livemint.com

Picture Source - Livemint.com

Just consider this. Here’s a political party (Congress) which is strictly not willing to reveal its sources of humongous funds. On top of that, their rule has given rise to a long list of shocking scams worth, literally, unthinkable amounts. But forget revealing their funding source, the ruling party is not even willing to probe any of these scams despite numerous reports by the CAG.

On the other hand, AAP, forget being involved in any scam, is been revealing every detail of its funding on its website (check it HERE). So what sense can one make out of Shinde’s decision? Somebody please explain!

Before trying to probe AAP’s funding, is Mr Shinde ready to compel Congress and various other parties to disclose their funding? Well, he isn’t for obvious reasons.

But looking at it from another angle, I realize that Shinde has immensely helped the cause of AAP. So please carry on sir!

10Oct/130

Sachin retirement: Memories never retire!

By: Keyur Seta

So the news the world never wished to hear is out. The God of cricket Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has finally announced retirement from international cricket. Of course, the news is not surprising whatsoever even to a single cricket fan, yet it has hit everyone like a bolt simply because of Sachin’s priceless value. Some are literally into tears!

However, as strange as it may sound, in the midst of the emotional turmoil, I might be in the minority for not being sad, shattered or whatever. This might even label me as anti-Sachin or a Sachin hater, but believe me, I am not. My close friends would know that I have worshipped him as much as you people (you can read my poem on him by clicking HERE). It might sound rude but I think we should all accept the truth.

The law of nature is that everything has to end one day. None can escape this law including Sachin’s career. Every player has to end his career at some point or the other. Let’s be practical - Sachin had to retire one day, no matter how much we hoped against it. Also let’s face it – he is facing a lot of trouble with his technique and timing since recent times. And come on, he has been playing international cricket since 24 long years! How much more do you expect from him?

The number of great and proud memories provided by the Master Blaster is uncountable. It won’t be an overstatement to term them as priceless treasure. So instead of crying over his retirement, let’s be positive and cherish the priceless treasure. Our wailing will make things difficult for Sachin himself. By the way, one thing I can assure everyone is that the great man would continue to do his bit for cricket or other sports. Despite retiring, you will keep hearing good things about him for sure!

Sachin’s emotional strength was proved during the 1999 World Cup where he played against Kenya just after he lost his father. So being true Sachin fans, we can’t afford to be weak. In case, if we do, just revisit his numerous innings available on YouTube. After all, memories never retire!

Picture source: Cricinfo.com

Picture source: Cricinfo.com

29May/136

Mr Srinivasan, even retards won’t endorse your ‘enthusiast’ theory!

With the BCCI chief trying to fool people in the most shocking manner, it is high time the legends of the game listen to their conscience and speak on behalf of those who made them what they are: their fans!

By: Keyur Seta

Politicians and big-shots trying to fool the aam junta is nothing new in our country. For them, the common public is either unintelligent to fall in the trap or too busy in their own life to pay heed to the issue. But the way N Srinivasan, the President of the Board of Control For Cricket in India (BCCI), is lying through his teeth has set a new benchmark in trying to take the country for a ride!

Picture Source - Indianexpress.com

Picture Source - Indianexpress.com

Let's have a look at the background of the issue first. As we all are aware, Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, owner of Chennai Super Kings, is arrested for his alleged role in betting and match-fixing (or spot-fixing as they are calling it) in the so-called cricket series Indian Premier League (IPL). So according to the IPL rules, the team can be banned due to their owner’s malpractice.

But to make sure his son-in-law doesn’t get into trouble and his team isn’t banned, Srinivasan has come up with a shocking theory. According to him, Gurunath is neither the owner of CSK nor he is associated with the team in any way. In fact, he also says, Gurunath is just a cricket enthusiast who travels with the team!!! Well, even mentally retarded individuals won’t believe such a theory.

The President has clearly gone way too ahead in trying to fool the people of India due to the following reasons:-

  • Gurunath’s ID card, which is splashed across all TV channels, mentions him as the owner of CSK.
  • We have seen him giving numerous interviews on TV as the owner of CSK.
  • His visiting cards mention him as the owner of CSK. This was also shown across various news channels.
  • (Best point of all) He was seen bidding for his team at IPL team auctioning.

Before this incident, nobody knew that a mere cricket enthusiast gets all these privileges! I can assure to Srinivasan that I am a much bigger cricket enthusiast than Gurunath. So will I be given the opportunity to speak as a team owner and bid for the team during auctions?

More than Srinivas’s shocking claims, it is the audacity at which he is making them and, in turn, blaming the media for ‘hounding’ him that speaks volumes about his adamancy for fooling the people of India!

On the contrary, we should thank the media, especially Times Now, for not giving up on the issue and asking what billions of cricket fans across the country are desperate to ask. In fact, we can only rely on the media because the big names of the game aren’t going to utter a word on the issue. This is so evident from yesterday’s press conference where Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni just behaved like a puppet on the hands of his CSK owner and the BCCI President!

It was highly sad to see someone so confident and brave transforming into a scary bone! If this continues, be rest assured, the whole issue will soon be swept under the carpet. It is high time the big names of Indian cricket, including the Tendulkars, Dravids and Dhonis, raise their voice on behalf of those who have made them what they are: their billions of fans! It is up to them to choose between their bosses and their conscience!

18May/130

“Forgive him, he’s a superstar!”

By: Keyur Seta

The phenomenon of hero worshipping is very old among Hindi cinema lovers. There is nothing wrong with it since these actors have entertained us and helped us escape from our stressful routine. But when hero worshipping goes onto a level that people turn a blind eye to the high level of crime their onscreen ‘hero’ commits, be rest assured we are living in dangerous times.

Picture Source - Mail.com

Picture Source - Mail.com

I have always found it questionable and even disturbing to see people demanding forgiveness for Sanjay Dutt despite him being convicted in an utterly dangerous crime of storing arms in connection with the 1993 bomb blasts. But my disturbance scaled higher levels recently when I saw the actor being surrounded and cheered by his fans when he was about to surrender at the Tada Jail. It’s so funny to see people supporting a criminal just because he is a big Bollywood superstar!

All these disturbing scenes have given rise to a single question in my mind – Suppose if a common man like me was convicted under the arms act in connection to a crime as serious as 1993 bomb blasts, how many people would have supported me and demanded forgiveness for me? Nobody would have simply because I am not a superstar! The public would have burnt my effigies in fact! So how can the law be different for a common man and a filmstar?

It is been argued that Dutt has already spent some time in jail but is it enough for a crime as serious as this? His supporters are also raising the point that he deeply regrets what he did. So suppose if I commit a similar serious crime and then repent my acts, will people demand for my forgiveness too?

In the midst of this madness, Nana Patekar’s brave and bold statement on the issue has come as a pleasant surprise. The fearless way in which Nana has expressed no mercy for Dutt has increased my respect for him manifolds. Perhaps, he is the only one from the film fraternity to have spoken about equality in law.

As for the rest from the industry, they scream about honesty, truth and justice only in their films. Their fans whistle and clap whenever their favorite actors speak about these three issues. In real life, both parties will go all out in supporting a criminal activity.

Watch Nana Patekar giving a fearless opinion against Sanjay Dutt's mercy:

 

20Mar/132

Pictures from anti-women harassment event, Adhya

Recently, an event named Adhya to empower women to be safe and vigilant against crimes like rape and sexual harassment took place in Powai, Mumbai.  Organized by Powai residents Karishma Sharma and Shivani Thakkar, sensitize and train people to deal against crimes like Rape, Sexual Harassment and even Child Molestation. (For the complete pre-event article, click HERE.)

Adhya saw a number of interactive sessions including ‘Good Touch & Bad Touch’ by Psychiatrist Beenal Gangar, Child Molestation by Arpan, Women’s Right by Majilis, Sexual Harassment by Mr Jasaon Temasfieldt of We The People Foundation, ‘Portraying Right Image and Be Secure’ by Mr Harissh Iyer and Mrs Suman Agarwal (Image Consulting Business Institute), Constitutional Rights of Women by Inspector Asha Korke and Psychiatrist Taruna Khattar.

The event was wound up with the pledge to make world a better place for women.

Here are some of the pictures from the event:

Adhyaa

Team Adhya

Adhya-event

Participants taking a pledge to protect women

sexual-harassment-training

Dance performance to create awareness

Shivani Thakkar and Karishma Sharma

Shivani Thakkar and Karishma Sharma