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Brijesh Kalappa
Friday , December 07, 2012

December 6, 1992: The Day that changed India

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The world watched with horror the day the Bamiyan Buddhas were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from its supreme leader leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols. The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001, carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented that, "this work of destruction is not as simple as people might think. You can't knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain." Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches, so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the statues would....

Monday , November 19, 2012

Bihari manoos, rest in peace

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Bal Thackeray, the chief proponent of the sons-of-the-soil ideology in Mumbai and the man who ruled the city for more than four decades, passed away after nearly four months of illness at his Matoshree residence in Bandra at 3.30 pm on Saturday following a cardiac arrest. He was 86. The Indian Constitution provides its citizens the right to freely move across the length and breadth of India and indeed to pursue their means to livelihood. Article 15 of the Indian Constitution puts the onus on the State to ensure that the no citizen shall be discriminated against on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. This freedom is an appreciation of the intrinsically nomadic nature of man. The birth of civilization and its flourishing has much to do with this nomadic nature. If man weren't a nomad and he didn't move from....

Thursday , November 01, 2012

Of Vadra's riches and Kejriwal's endless accusations

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Even as Kejriwal made his 'startling disclosures' on Reliance controlling the Government, came news from China that Premier Wen Jiabao has accumulated billions from various corrupt deals. A general belief in China that corruption in the Communist party was confined to the lower ranks while top leaders kept their hands clean has been exploded by a series of recent scandals including the fall of Bo Xilai and the death of the son of Ling Jihua, a close aide to the president, in a Ferrari crash. In the United States, Terence Flynn who was on the National Labor Relations Board resigned in May, 2012 after being accused of serious ethical violations by leaking information to the National Association of Manufacturers. Earlier, Martha N Johnson, head of the General Services Administration, fired two top GSA officials and then resigned herself after it was revealed that a whopping $822,000 had been spent....

Friday , October 12, 2012

The Khalistan episode cuts both ways, requires healing and reconciliation

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Newspapers have carried extensive coverage of the news of the honouring of the killers of Congress MP Lalit Makhen and General AS Vaidya by the SGPC, the clergy of the apex body of the gallant Sikh community. The memories of terrorism in Punjab, a little more than a decade old, came back in a rush for readers when Lt Gen. KS Brar was attacked in an assassination attempt a few days ago in London. Most people felt that in this background, nothing could be more seditious than honouring the killers of a General who performed the bidding of the Indian State. The killers of General Vaidya - Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha - were hanged by the Indian Union in Pune after due legal process was followed. They were serial offenders and were responsible for a number of killings besides robbery. On July 31, 1983, General Vaidya....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Anasuya's dream rhapsody

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It was the day of her superannuation and Anasuya was quite thrilled. Everyone at the bank spoke to her in endearing terms and asked after her wellbeing - it was a day unlike any other. As she cheerfully walked home a few blocks away, she was carrying a load of goodbye presents and cards. Her son Sandesh, who had married a girl of his choice a few months ago, opened the door for her and enquired eagerly, "Have you retired officially? Have all your dues been cleared?" Anasuya held a pay-slip triumphantly, and said "Yes! Come on, where's Supriya? I've got some samosa and tea!" The two shared their snack in silence and Anasuya went away to finish her work for the day. Sandesh informed her that her daughter-in-law was sleeping with a migraine condition. Supriya was the local tailor's daughter and had been aiding Sandesh's attempts at finding a....

Thursday , September 13, 2012

Decoding Winston Churchill's hatred for India

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When the Independence Bill was being debated in British Parliament in 1947, Winston Churchill had angrily remarked, "Power will go into the hands of rascals, rogues, and freebooters. Not a bottle of water or loaf of bread shall escape taxation; only the air will be free and the blood of these hungry millions will be on the head of Attlee." While reading Kuldip Nayar's autobiography, "Beyond the lines", I came across a portion which is a brief account of his interaction with Lord Mountbatten - wherein Nayar threw an allegation at Mountbatten: "But your act of advancing the date by ten months resulted in the killing of over a million on both sides of the border, I charged. It was as if I had touched a raw nerve because he suddenly became pensive and lapsed into silence. After a while he said that in the 1947 Partition riots nearly....

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why the CAG's allegations should be taken with a lump of salt and not a pinch

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The Government of India is busy attempting to raise a meagre Rs 30,000 crore by the process of disinvestment, the Union Cabinet having already cleared disinvestment in SAIL. The stake sale in blue chip PSUs like BHEL, HAL and Oil India is also in the pipeline. It is said that due to uncertain market conditions, the government in the last fiscal raised only Rs 14,000 crore from disinvestment against the target of Rs 40,000 crore. Meanwhile, the wizard CAG, Vinod Rai, has just pulled a magic figure out of his rabbit hat - hold your breath - Rs 38,00,00,00,00,00. Nobody can ever say that Vinod Rai is either unimaginative or that he thinks small. Coal India Limited, under whom this precocious number of 38,00,00,00,00,00 is touted to have been lost is a Maharatna Company, which is said to be ahead of the Navaratna Companies and is identified by the....

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Olympics, Oscars and the Nobel - a laggard's tale

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The Olympics have been played since 1896. India, which has been participating since 1900, has won 8 golds, 2 silver and 1 bronze - all in field hockey till 1980. India won one gold for rifle shooting by Abhinav Bindra in 2008. It has also won bronze medals for wrestling (Sushil Kumar in 2008), weight lifting (Karnam Malleshwari in 2000) and boxing (Vijender Singh in 2008). A silver was won by Rajyavardhan Rathore in shooting in 2004. The highest medal haul was in 2008 when three medals including a gold was won. With a total tally of 20 medals, it matches Latvia which began participating in the Olympics in 1924 and has a population of about two lakh. With Gagan Narang winning a bronze, we have just surpassed Latvia and are on par with Morocco, with a population of 32 million, and Thailand, a land of 70 million....

Saturday , July 14, 2012

Pakistan SC: Paving the way for military rule?

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"Let the Judges also remember that Solomon's throne was supported by lions on both sides: let them be lions, but yet lions under the throne." (Francis Bacon) When a Judge who is appointed and not elected, assumes the role of a judge, jury and executioner, it poses serious problems. Thomas Jefferson declared: "The exemption of the judges from that [elections] is quite dangerous enough. I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves." The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has set a date of July 25 for the new Prime Minister of Pakistan Raja Parvez Ashraf to write a letter to the Swiss authorities in order to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. Pakistan had plunged into a spell of political uncertainty on 19th June after Justice Chaudhry ruled that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani stood....

Saturday , June 30, 2012

Reforming the rail

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My 8-year-old son compels us to undertake any one leg of our vacation journey by train. Like Pranab Kumar Mukerjee, our-soon-to-be President, I too love rail travel and happily comply with my son's entreaties. We travelled I Class from Bangalore to Delhi. First class fares of the railways are comparable to air travel fares- the down side? One spends 33 hours longer! Enroute I took a good look at myself- unshaven, unkempt and disheveled after a day on the train. My five year old daughter resolutely stated that she would visit the toilet only at Delhi, since the one on the train was filthy and unusable. The children sat gazing outside the window since there wasn't much that one could do on the train anyway. Dr. Manmohan Singh, quoting Keynes has spoken about unleashing 'animal spirits' to get the economy going. John Maynard Keynes, the most influential economist....


More about Brijesh Kalappa

Brijesh Kalappa, an advocate in the Supreme Court, is the Additional Advocate General, Haryana. A former journalist, he has a wide range of interests including reading and travelling. He has worked with several legal luminaries on subjects of importance in civil, criminal, water and electoral laws and has individually represented governments, eminent individuals and major industrial houses. Gifted with the prowess for distinctive sharp-edged analysis, he has been working closely with several leaders of the Indian National Congress.