GOD DIDN’T SAY YOU ARE A WOMAN AND THEREFORE DON’T COME TO ME. WE DID.

God is for everyone. God is of everyone. That is the ideal position but something that has been a deep rooted ‘glass ceiling’ phenomenon universally, in almost every religion with different hues, in every society, in every country, including India.

We worship women. In Hinduism, Goddess Shakti is revered like the supreme deity. And it doesn’t end here. I am sure every religion has its own female deities. Yet we deny women the basic right – the right to equality in the places of worship.

And that’s why the court decisions like the one on the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai yesterday or the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmadnagar in April this year allowing women’s entry in the inner sanctum, so far barred for women, are important – away from the debates of such demands being being a mere publicity stunt – like we saw in Trupti Desai led movement that resulted in Shani Shingnapur verdict – or away from the political lethargy we see when the political class refuses to budge from its position keeping equations of the votebank politics in mind and it ultimately comes to the courts, the top custodian of our Constitution.

Court verdicts like these pull our attention to this very important discrimination prevailing in our society that we have so subtly legitimized – again in the name of religion – and have efficiently co-opted women to perpetuate such practices – out of fear psychosis – or emotional bondage – or cultural blackmail. You will find a major cross section of women advocating the women entry ban, be it Shani Shingnapur or Haji Ali. When women activists were planning to storm the Shani Shingnapur temple, women of the Shingnapur village and the nearby villages were preparing to stop them and a multi-layered security around the sanctum sanctorum.

Our scriptures say God is for everyone. They say He knows what is in our conscious and He comes to everyone. They say our faith is as important for God as God is for us. The Bombay High Court while delivering the order observed, “It cannot be said that the said prohibition `is an essential and integral part of Islam’ and fundamental to follow the religious belief; and if taking away that part of the practice, would result in a fundamental change in the character of that religion or its belief.” The High Court further summed up the spirit in its verdict, “There is nothing in any of the verses which shows, that Islam does not permit entry of women at all, into a Dargah/Mosque and that their entry was sinful in Islam.” (From the BombayHigh Court’s verdict)

When we worship our deities of both genders with equal faith and devotion, why do we discriminate between their devotees based on their genders? Why men fear women presence in innermost religious circles? That brings us to this point that religion is one of the most primitive tools to maintain male domination/hegemony in the society.

The court’s verdict on Shani Shingnapur was a slap in the face of orthodox Hinduism the same way as the yesterday’s is on Muslim fundamentalists, especially when women were allowed entry in Haji Ali’s inner sanctum till 2011-12. Haji Ali or Shani Shingnapur, they say the practice to deny women their basic rights in the religious places is not restricted to any particular religion. In fact, women have been historically denied their religious rights – and the problem is acute in religions like Islam or Hinduism or in different tribal sects. There are many taboos humiliating and restricting women rights in our society and this is one of them – a practice that has been made socially acceptable even if it is fundamentally wrong.

©SantoshChaubey

COFFEEHOUSE BULLSHIT?

Well, that is truly a post-modernist expression that some ultra-modernists folks speak out loud – every now and then.

I heard a character in a movie speaking it last night while I was randomly shuffling channels.

Coffeehouse bullshit catches your attention.

Because all that has been in the name of ‘coffee culture’ or ‘coffeehouse culture’ is simply not bullshit.

Coffeehouse culture has its connotations and nuances, and it has its relevance to the cultures in societies it has had its vibrant presence.

Historians say the coffee culture (or the coffeehouse culture) originated in Turkey around 14th Century and spread in many European countries. As UNESCO puts it – ‘where time and space are consumed, only the bill is in the name of coffee’ – the coffeehouse culture has had a great contribution in European political and cultural revolutions – and in European Renaissance and Enlightenment.

Like it happens even today, you pay for the space and time while sitting in a coffeehouse, spending some quality time, or doing the routine networking. You easily end up paying somewhat 10-20 US$ for two mugs of coffee even in many not so uber cool Delhi outlets. Rationally thinking, these price points are astronomically high for the product but you don’t feel so because you know you are paying for the ‘time and space’ there.

Back then, passing through years, and even now, coffeehouse culture has had that same symbolism – obviously with era-specific modifications/adaptations. People may argue that internet is threatening the discourse culture of coffeehouses.

Well, they miss the point here – internet is reshaping the ‘public sphere’. Its most relevant examples are ‘Arab Spring’, ‘The Occupy Movement’ and ‘massification of Guy Fawkes’ masks in popular culture.

Not all the debates, not all the coffeehouses back then were part of the lore. Same holds true even today. Debates will find their coffeehouses (or their ‘public sphere’). Willing folks will find their outlets.

Those who mattered – stood out and spread. Those who will matter – and those who are willing to matter – will initiate or join the conversation.

Internet has made the exchanges faster and freer. Communication can begin anywhere and its threads can be picked up from anywhere.

All this is not some bullshit!

Obviously, it has some crap quotient. But then that is an inevitable part of a commercial activity where people’s time means money.

Today, the coffeehouse culture is a global phenomenon in democratic countries across the globe – and in countries where the ‘public sphere’ has been crushed – and is being crushed.

Yes, expressivity varies – but then, that is the rule of the game.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THAT NONCHALANT BUT PASSABLE ATTITUDE..(I)

Short Story

He was about to leave for his office when it suddenly came to him that he had to make that call.

It was around 9 AM and it was the time.

But he could not proceed in that melee of the metropolitan crowd that had engulfed his life – and life of everyone whom he knew – people like him who had left their roots behind to make a life for them.

Now it is a borrowed life at best.

This ‘important call’ was just one of many prices he was paying for a piece of land in the sky of this big city that he called him home – a home that had started confusing him now.

He could not make it then – the call.

And he was not sure whether it would stay with him to remind him later that he had something important pending to do – a call that was from his personal relations.

When it would happen with him initially, he would feel greatly disturbed.

But with time, that feeling of restlessness gave way to a nonchalant but passable attitude.

He didn’t intend for it. He didn’t ask for it. But he didn’t found himself in the position to say no. It was the life that he had made in this city that forced this attitude in his lifestyle.

He had not come to this big city with dreams of making it big.

And it is the story of millions who are forced to migrate to big cities looking for their threads of life that they fail to get where they are born.

Yes, all they want is a life – not a big pie in the social circles of Metro cities that is both, welcoming and hostile.

All they want is a way to earn their living – that they cannot have where they came from.

They are accepted as they add to the economic spokes of the city but they also become the easy targets whenever the big city faces some human crisis. Millions, who rent out their lives, while living in rented accommodations, are forced to get so much absorbed in their borrowed lives that the feeling of permanence becomes a fleeting expectation that they even do not want to think of.

He used to think deeply on these lines.

But not anymore!

Not because he doesn’t want to.

Because he doesn’t get time to think such things that take many hours away from his daily routine – a routine that gives him sustenance – but doesn’t show him any purpose.

Yes, he knew that he had left thinking on those themes a long ago. ‘Aim of life’, ‘objective’, ‘purpose’, these used to be realistic words when he had come to this city. When they became ‘big’ words he didn’t realise.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA’S EDUCATION MARKET – SCHOOL EDUCATION (I)

IndiaEducationMarket1

INDIA’S EDUCATION MARKET
SCHOOL EDUCATION

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA’S EDUCATION MARKET – AT $100 BILLION AND GROWING!

IndiaEducationMarket1

INDIA’S EDUCATION MARKET
AT $100 BILLION AND GROWING!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CAN THESE TEMPORARY MEASURES HELP DELHI? (II)

The first requirement to decongest Delhi is to draw a roadmap on how to decelerate Delhi’s population growth.

And it cannot be something like what China did while restructuring and developing Shanghai and Beijing, forcefully evicting people out of city precincts.

Delhi is magnate for people from across India because it gives best hopes to people to earn their livelihood when we compare the employment generation capacity of all the metros in India.

And that has been the major reason behind Delhi’s rapid population growth. In fact, if we see the population growth in Delhi without the migrants inflow, it comes out to be lower than the national average.

And they are most welcome. It is their Constitutional birthright to settle anywhere in India that supports their life.

So, what are the options that Delhi can adopt to decelerate population growth here.

The answer, though innovative in the Indian context, is nothing extraordinary. What policymakers need here is the vision to follow the roadmaps being followed with persistence (and patience).

Jing-Jin-Ji or Putrajaya are what India needs to look up to – in terms of what China is doing to decongest Beijing or Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur.

Jingjinji or Jing-Jin-Ji is a planned vision of China where it intends to establish a Megalopolis. China is working to develop Jing-Jin-Ji as an urban complex of superb economic growth.

But the underlying reason behind it is decongesting Beijing.

Jing-Jin-Ji, China’s National Capital Region, is going to be the answer of China’s Beijing woes – an environment nightmare. Beijing, like Delhi, is one of the most polluted cities. In fact, its notoriety precedes Delhi. Emergency alerts on extreme pollution levels have been a common feature of the city.

To tackle it, China is working on a multi-pronged strategy – developing areas in Beijing region to house industries and people – and shifting government offices out of Beijing. In fact, the municipal government of Beijing, that employs thousands of employees, is being shifted to a satellite town.

There will be infrastructure in place for industries and people to relocate, not far away from Beijing, developing the region as a whole. Once this starts happening, it will reduce population and thus the vehicular burden on Beijing.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CAN THESE TEMPORARY MEASURES HELP DELHI? (I)

Like it is happening elsewhere, in hubs of intense economic, and thus social activities, around the world, should it not happen in India, in Delhi?

Experiments like odd-even scheme of traffic rotation or phasing out diesel taxis or putting on hold registration of diesel vehicles, are these really going to work for a city of 1.85 crore people (18.5 million) and some 9 million vehicles?

Can these short-term temporary measures work for a city that attracts some 1000 migrants daily to the city from different parts of India?

Delhi is in a mess. Years of unplanned growth has led to this – that the Indian national capital is now the most the polluted megacity on Earth.

Unplanned growth, because our policymakers never considered what should be the limit to the city’s spread – in terms of its human habitations.

Now, even the geographical extremes of the city are real estate goldmine, with hungry prospectors looking to snatch that last piece of land he or she could have.

When, ideally, for a better quality of life, and for a world class city, our policymakers should have cared for its open spaces.

And a robust public transportation system was the first need.

Well, we all know how pathetic Delhi’s public transportation is.

And its failure led to massive increase in number of private vehicles in Delhi – multiples times of any other city.

These vehicles are now a major contributor in choking Delhi’s air – along with the other major culprit, the construction boom – that is again related to the mindless growth Delhi has seen.

Reducing number of vehicles on roads drastically, as the odd-even scheme intends to do or not allowing further real estate projects or banning diesel taxis or shutting thermal power plants are not going to help until our policymakers come with something practical, that is innovative as well – at least in the Indian context.

Delhi needs to think, talk and act sense on it.

And here Delhi means our policymakers.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

DROUGHT – OF WATER – AND OF POLITICAL TRUST!

Acts of political apathy and their cruel symbolisms continue unabated – midst a deepening crisis that has forced thousands of farmers to commit suicide – in one of the worst drought seasons – displacing millions in India internally – in 10 Indian states in North and Central India including parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

And the problem is only exacerbating with the intensifying heat wave as mercury is soaring up. Heat wave has already claimed many lives in the affected regions.

A case study from Beed in Maharashtra came today where a Class 5th student died while fetching water from hand-pump. According to her family members, she was helping her family to get water and had repeated trips to the hand-pump where she collapsed. Beed in Maharashtra is one of the worst drought affected districts in Maharashtra (and India). In fact, we can say it is another Latur of Maharashtra.

Rather, we should say there are many Laturs in Maharashtra that need comprehensive government intervention to win over this tide of nature’s fury.

But how can we take the government seriously to the extent that all will be set right henceforth – because this nature’s fury is man-made as well?

And to add to the drought of political trust that we have towards our political fraternity, there are continued acts of insensitivity by some of our senior-most politicians – chief-ministers and ministers.

Now, it may be true that these ministers and chief ministers may not be aware that thousands of litres of water was wasted making helipads for them or in makings roads dust-free for them but when it comes to political branding based on symbolism, no one goes into the nitty-gritty of what lies beneath. It’s all about what looks on surface.

And on surface, the message that went was that the political class was not acting proactively to end people’s misery but was rather forced to act because of electoral compulsions – after Eknath Khadse (senior Maharashtra minister), Siddaramaiah (Karnataka chief minister), Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh chief minister) and Pankaja Munde (again a senior minister from Maharashtra) were seen wasting water or exploiting their visits to drought hit areas as ‘drought tourism’.

Much has been written about drought in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region with consecutive years of drought. The crisis is also deepening in Karnataka with drought now spread to as many as 19 districts of the state. The politicians should take a cue from Pankaja Munde selfie incident that was otherwise a perfectly normal human response but for a human crisis perpetrated by drought. Pankaja Munde would never have imagined the incident would be painted like this.

But here it is. And so are the helipad incidents related to Eknath Khadse and Akhilesh Yadav or a dust-free road for Siddaramaiah!

In the season of India’s worst drought, it may also lead to a drought of political trust among common men and it should be a clear and present danger for our political class – as every coming year this or that state assembly election or some bye-election or some local body election is due.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BCCI DOESN’T BELIEVE IN COMMUNICATING!

Continuing from my last article, I thought to do some more data crunching with BCCI annual reports (or income/expenditures statements to be precise). On BCCI’s official website, you can find annual reports of the world’s richest (and now insensitive) cricket body from the financial year 2007-08 onwards.

I am not saying I carried out some deep data mining. In fact, I was not in a mood to do so because, it seems, everything related to BCCI is so complicatedly dull. Account statements shown in annual reports 2014-15 and 2013-14 look straight and easy to comprehend but when you look at 2012-13 AR, the income and expenditure statements look jumbled because they don’t correlate with what you find in the next year’s AR, i.e., the income and expenditure statements for the financial year 2011-12 are different in 2011-12 and 2012-13 ARs.

Okay, there might be some heads that I might be missing. Not an issue! There are various ways to write financial data and bookkeeping and tabulation is a boringly tedious process.

Anyway, my purpose to look into ARs of BCCI is not about its financial spreadsheets and their clarity.

In the season of continued ‘ignorances’ and convenient ‘dumbnesses’, when India’s policymakers have persisted with the same set of policies that would force thousands of farmers to commit suicide, mostly due to drought, and sometimes due to freaky weather patterns, my purpose was to look into the nature of the ‘responsiveness (or social responsiveness)’ of BCCI – as the organization that controls cricket in India, a game loved (if not revered now) by masses has found itself caught in an episode that tested its commitment towards them – who give it the sanctity to exist – who make it the richest cricket body in the world – who make cricketers stars and millionaires – yes, their love for cricket – that makes cricket a massive enterprise in India.

But BCCI failed to prove enterprising for them – for the people of this country.

Let’s see some figures here.

BCCI AR

Now what do they tell?

To be continued..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CSR IN BCCI LOGBOOK: WELL, IT IS NOT THERE!

The Board of Control for Cricket in India or BCCI, the richest cricket body in the world, traces the history of cricket in India as far back as to 1721, as mentioned on its website.

BCCI, that was registered in December 1928 as the apex body of six private cricketing associations, showed an income of Rs. 1266 crore in its balance sheet for the year ended March 31, 2015. The 2014-15 annual report showed a fund flow of Rs. 5437 crore including the sources of funds and their application.

BCCI that claimed being a ‘charitable organisation’, availed tax exemptions for decades, before the tax authorities decided that enough was enough, that BCCI was not a ‘charitable organisation’, but an entity driven by entertainment products and commercial interests. BCCI is now in courts against around Rs. 2300 crore tax imposed on it.

BCCI that controls cricket in India, a game with mass following, with an iron hand, is facing the Supreme Court’s ire on its persistence to maintain the status quo, on its refusal to bring reforms that can cure deeply rooted corruption in the apex body of cricket in India.

How can we expect from that organisation that it will behave in a socially responsible manner and would shift the IPL matches out of drought affected regions – with 10 Indian states officially declaring drought and India facing one of the worst droughts in its history?

This is the second consecutive year when a below normal rainfall has forced the millions of Indians to struggle for a even a single drop of water and has forced thousands of farmers to commit suicide.

Today, as expected, the Bombay High Court forced BCCI to take IPL out of Maharashtra. Yes, it was logical when the court put this restriction on matches after April 30, keeping in mind the fact the holding matches at a particular venue needs weeks of planning and work.

But even then, there was no ‘common sense’ wisdom dawned upon the arrogant and insensitive BCCI administrators as they started cribbing immediately after the verdict that it was too difficult to shift venues now, that it would harm in the brand IPL, that it would cause financial damage to the franchisees, that IPL was made a soft target, and what not.

Well, you cannot expect social consciousness from an organisation that earns billions but doesn’t want to pay taxes properly and desists from spending on practices like corporate social responsibility.

A simple document search of BCCI’s latest annual report available on its website (for year 2014-15) with key search words – corporate, social, responsibility, PR, outreach, conscience, citizenship and communication – words, when used in the context of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), represent social consciousness of on organization – tells how insensitive and in fact, commerce oriented BCCI is.

Here is the ‘cheat’ sheet with the information on how many times a Communication/CSR related word has been used in the annual report and in what context: (and not even a single of them qualifies as a proper CSR word suggesting some socially responsible intent)!

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – 0
CSR – 0
PUBLIC RELATIONS – 0
PR – 0
OUTREACH – 0
CONSCIENCE – 0
CITIZENSHIP – 0

CORPORATE (1)

  • Corporate Trophy (under the head – expenditure related to cricketing activities)

SOCIAL (1)

  • BCCI presence on social media platforms is being significantly strengthened to connect directly with fans.

RESPONSIBILITY (4)

  • It places an enormous responsibility on coaches at the grassroots level and on administrators.
  • As much as it is our responsibility to contribute to our team’s cause, it is also up to us to remember that we are entertainers too.
  • It becomes our singular responsibility to offer the right guidance to the younger cricketers..
  • While the ICC ACSU is mainly tasked with providing anticorruption cover to international matches played between Full Member National Cricket Federations, it is the responsibility of the BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit to protect all domestic games played under the aegis of the BCCI.

RESPONSIBLE (4)

  • He along with Mr. IS Bindra was responsible for ensuring a fair deal to the BCCI.. (about Jagmohan Dalmiya)
  • He was responsible for the return of South Africa.. (about Jagmohan Dalmiya)
  • He was responsible for introducing medical benevolent scheme for the retired cricketers and umpires. (about Jagmohan Dalmiya)
  • “We feel socially responsible as a unit wearing this kit and doing our bit for the environment. (R Ashwin on India’s new jersey launch – and that too, at Melbourne)

PUBLIC (2)

  • I have to request you to make best endeavours to work towards eradicating corruption from the game of cricket at the state level and assist the BCCI in its efforts to restore the faith of the cricket loving public in cricket. Shashank Manohar
  • It becomes our singular responsibility to offer the right guidance to the younger cricketers – not just on cricketing techniques but also on how to conduct oneself in public and how to be able to differentiate right from wrong.

RELATION(S) (4)

  • There is regular flow of information and news, and relations with the media are structured in a spirit of partnership and professionalism.
  • .. by the Board and defaulted in relation to the balance franchisee fee of ` 133.86 Crores.
  • .. It becomes our singular responsibility to offer the right guidance to the younger cricketers – not just on cricketing techniques but also on how to conduct oneself in public and how to be able to differentiate right from wrong..
  • .. obligations relating to UAE league matches vest with the Board and the Franchisee shall have no rights or obligations in relation to the staging of the Matches.

COMMUNICATION (7)

  • Communication Expenses (under the head ‘administrative and other expenses’)
  • Communication Expenses (under the head ‘establishment and other expenses’)
  • During the year ended 31st March, 2010, the
  • Board received a communication from the Director of Income Tax (Exemption).. (under the section ‘income tax assessment status’)
  • The Board’s appeal with the ITAT against the said communication had been dismissed as non- maintainable by the ITAT. (under the section ‘income tax assessment status’)
  • .. the Board has also filed a writ petition before the Honourable High Court of Bombay to stay the communication of the Director of Income Tax. (under the section ‘income tax assessment status’)
  • During the year ended 31 March 2013, based on communication from Income Tax Department, the Board had paid an amount of `144.32 Crores under protest. (under the section ‘income tax assessment status’)
  • Disputed Matters with Nimbus Communication Limited (under the section ‘Dispute With Nimbus Communications Limited’)

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/