Friday, February 19, 2010

Sexual abuse on children

India has now yet another dubious distinction of having the highest number of sexually abused children in the world; the country being already infamous for having the highest number of HIV positive cases and highest rate of malnutrition among children. The need of the hour is to enact a comprehensive legislation that addresses all forms of sexual abuse on children and enforce it with full force. Those found guilty has to be punished in the most exemplary manner so as to deter future incidences of such heinous crimes. At the same time we cannot remain complacent by entrusting the security of our children with the government. Our watchful eyes should follow our children wherever they are. The children should be made aware of different forms of sexual abuse so that they may be in a better position to recognize the malicious intentions of elders

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Are we supposed to look like either Princess Diana or Kate Winslet or Aiswarya Rai?

The Holy Bible says that we all human beings have been uniquely carved in the mould of our heavenly father. The colours of our skin, the texture of our hair, the length of our nose are all what makes us different. But what we see is a growing trend in the society to spend unreasonable amounts on cosmetic surgery and other procedures that promise enhancement of personal appearance. I can understand as well as I do endorse the corrective aesthetic treatments like putting braces on teeth or rectifying cleft chin/lip and other distortions that is glaring and that would cause a psychological distress if not addressed. What I feel uncomfortable is the growing number of advertisements that conveys the message that looking good is tantamount to success in life. And that explains why people are desperate to defy ageing through many costly treatments which are seldom validated and thus jeopardise their health in the quest for vanity. There are also a large number of doctors who have been lured to this lucrative arena from their conventional specializations. Thus the expertise of doctors is wasted on something which doesn't improve the health of people; the opportunity cost being the services the doctor could have rendered to people otherwise.

Well, those who can afford to can always avail of such procedures. I am in no capacity to question that. But what troubles me is the message that is conveyed deliberately. I ardently think that we should ward off such negative thoughts from being permeated into the public psyche. Other wise it would really demoralise those who are not that financially or aesthetically advantaged. It calls for us to reflect upon our ethics as to how we value another person, by his looks or character. Whether what I am is what you see outside or what is within me. We need to educate our posterity as well as enlighten ourselves.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"Come on India.....Dikha do......"

This exhortation is not to be confined to cheer up the Indian cricket team during World Cup cricket. For me it is a battle cry that should rattle throughout my motherland. India is encountering the most severe blows it had for decades in the form of militant terrorism. Mumbai was an easy target and their choice was far more symbolic. It was clearly meant to defame India's growing reputation as an investment friendly destination and thus hit hard at the core competencies of Indian economy. They wanted to convey to the international community that India is no longer a safe place especially for Britons, Americans and Jews. They wanted to defeat the very concept of INDIA as an embodiment of secularism and democracy.They wanted to wipe off the country's history , present and future in one shot as Mumbai represented all of these. The India Gate is India's edifice of heroism, Taj and Oberoi hotels represented the nerve centres of India's economic ambitions and the paranoia effect that the blast created has arrested the hopes and aspirations of India's youth.
The coordination and sophistication of the attacks were more than enough to suggest that it had external links and patronage. Given the size of our country, it is practically impossible for our security forces to be vigilant at all places at all times. But of course, Mumbai was a strategic location and it should have been observed more closely.The familiarity and ease with which the terrorists were operating clearly points at our security lacuna as it is apparent that they have surveyed those places before either in person or virtually through a detailed satellite image or map of the area. When our commandos were finding it difficult to move around in dark on account of smoke inside Taj hotel , the terrorists were doing the same very confidently which indicates that they were well -informed of the layout of the building. The precision and style of attack also suggest that it involved at least a few months of extensive planning as well as training and it is very unfortunate that our intelligence agencies did not get even a small clue.

Other than security lapses, the Mumbai carnage has revealed the shameful collapse of governance in Indian states. Mumbai has been always notorious for its active night life attributed to underworld. State machinery was never keen on nipping their menace in bud and were often alleged to be facilitators of their heinous crimes. It is a wake-up call for India as these underworld dons are an easy prey to the baits set by terrorists and we cannot rule out the possibility of them being used by terrorists to provide local knowledge. Politicians never dared to stand against them for fear of retribution and in fact most of them received generous donations from underworld tycoons in lieu of closing eye on crimes committed by them. What we have just witnessed are the wages of sins of administrative incompetence and political malfeasance of our representatives in power. They are too busy playing communal cards to ensure their seats in future that they cannot be bothered to think about the long term interests of the nation. Unless and until our politicians and bureaucrats stop gambling with the country's destiny, the country is not going to have a future.

India always used to be a tough nation and extreme measures has to be resorted when the time demands. From being a perpetual victim of terrorist strikes, India has to be prepared to deal with terrorism more effectively. India has paid enough price for being a soft state. We can't afford to be like this anymore. Enough is enough. Our security forces have done a commendable job in flushing out terrorists from their hideouts in an encounter lasting more than 60 hours. Let us salute these valiant heroes who have fought their best risking their lives. Let us also pay homage to those brilliant officers who lost their lives while performing their duties. Let us also not forget the sacrifices made by the hotel staffs who shielded their guests even while enduring bullets themselves. Can we see this noble gesture anywhere else in the world? And that's what India stands for and again that's why I love my country as much as I love my mum.

The security forces have done their part and now the ball is in our courts. Do we have the audacity to flush out all those inefficient, divisive politicians and bureaucrats and cleanse the soul of the nation? Will the Mumbai episode be a watershed event that charts out a new political landscape. It is still possible, if only we exercise our fundamental right of adult franchise with caution. We should never allow anyone with a criminal track record to adorn our offices. We should be able to resist the temptation of giving or accepting bribes . We should never allow our public policies to be coloured by caste and religions. I am sure all those who love the country will give heed to my battle cry.."Come on India...dikha do.."
(Photograph used is taken fromTimes of India online editionCopyright © 2008 Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Justice still is possible in God's own country!!!!

A deep sigh was my first reaction when I heard about the arrest of 3 key personnel last night (19/11/08), alleged to be involved in Sister Abhaya's murder . I had given up the hope already that laws of this country would give justice at least to Abhaya's parents.But yesterday's arrest was a big turning point particularly because those arrested included two priests and one nun of the mighty Catholic church.What an irony that all the officials who investigated the case and even the local people were fully convinced that it was a cold blooded murder and it was also evident who the culprits were, but could not arrest them on the ground that there was no evidence.I was a kid of 9 year old when Sister Abhaya homicide took place, but yet this event had captured my attention, probably because I am a native of Kottayam. Sister Abhaya was a second year pre-degree student at the BCM college for women when the tragedy took place. Right from that age I have been closely following the turns and twists of this case and I remember being very much distressed when one of the investigating teams attempted to close the case as a suicide on account of depression. All the circumstances in which the dead body was found proved by itself that it was not a suicide and one need to have only simple common sense to realize that. Yet there were big pressure on the investigation teams to dismiss the case as suicide. I was also privileged enough to witness a striking revelation by former CBI officer Mr.Varghese. P. Thomas at the MGOCSM (Mar Gregorious Orthodox Christian Student Movement) annual conference held at St.Mary's College, Sultan Battery in 2004.Mr. Varghese was a very efficient officer who had conluded that Abhaya's death was a clear case of murder and had reported that in the CBI diary. But he was compelled to conclude the case as suicide from several quarters, even from then Prime Minister Mr.P.V.Narasimha Rao.When he found that he can no longer withstand their pressure, he resigned from service in 1994 and gave a bold press conference stating his findings and reasons for resigning. This press conference had attracted national mainstream and reignited the public interest. I take this moment to appreciate the valiant officer who did not yield to temptations or threats.

It just occured to me now that the timing of this breakthrough is by itself a divine intervention.A case which was inactive for years had now suddenly found a headway. It comes at a time when Alphonsamma, a Roman Catholic nun from the same region is proclaimed as saint. I find this coincidence as a deliberate act of God and attribute it to the intercession of Alphonsamma. Sister Abhaya was destinied to be a beautiful flower in the garden of God, when it was plucked and crushed to death before it could blossom. I am sure that Alphonsamma's prayers are behind the latest developments and therefore truth will triumph.''SATYAMEVA JAYATE"

Sister Abhaya Murder case: Timeline - (Taken from Malayala Manorama online edition)

27 March 1992:Sister Abhaya, an inmate of the St. Pius Xth Convent in Kottayam and a second year pre-degree student in BCM college, is found dead in a well in the convent compound.

31 March 1992:An action council is formed by those who believe Sr. Abhaya was murdered

7 April 1992:Crime Branch is entrusted with the investigation of the case

30 January 1993:The Crime Branch submits its report before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. It states that Abhaya had committed suicide. The Action Council meanwhile approaches the High Court of Kerala. Demands CBI inquiry.

29 March 1993:CBI starts investigating the unnatural death of Sister Abhaya under DySP Varghese P. Thomas.

30 December 1993 :Varghese P. Thomas resigns from the service of CBI and from the investigation of Abhaya's death though he has seven more years in service to retire.

19 January 1994:Varghese P. Thomas calls a special press conference in Cochin. Alleges that he resigned from CBI as his conscience did not permit him to comply with the directive given by his superior officer, V. Thyagarajan, Superintendent of CBI Cochin Unit. Thyagarajan according to Varghese had asked him to record the death of Abhaya as suicide in the CBI Diary. Abhaya murder case gets national media attention.

3 June 1994: Kerala MPs jointly submits a petition to the CBI director requesting him to disallow Thyagarajan from heading the Sr.Abhaya murder case. M.L. Sharma, the Joint Director of the CBI, is given charge of the investigation.

7 April 1995:Using a life-size dummy of Sister Abhaya, the CBI conducts tests in the well where her corpse was found.

17 April 1995: Forensic experts submit a special report to the CBI investigation team. It says the death was due to murder.

27 November 1995: Action Council stages a protest in front of the CBI office at Cochin against the callousness of the CBI and its lack of orientation as there was no progress in the investigation and no arrests were made.

18 March 1996:A big rally is organised under the former chief minister of the state, E.K. Nayanar, in front of the state secretariate, at Thiruvananthapuram.

1 July 1996 :The Action Council files a petition in the High Court challenging the inaction of the CBI.

20 August 1996:The High Court passes an order in the petition directing the CBI to complete its investigation in three months from the date of the order. In the meantime, the CBI declares an award of Rs. 300,000 to whoever gives dependable evidence in the case of Abhaya.

12 October 1996: All the MPs from Kerala together visit the Prime Minister and jointly pleads with him to expedite the CBI investigation into the death of Abhaya.

6 December 1996 :CBI files a petition in the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court, Ernakulam, seeking permission of the court to wind up investigation.

18 January 1997: Thomas, father of Sr.Abhaya, files a counter petition in the court to dismiss the final report of the CBI and its recommendation for closure of investigation.

20 March 1997:The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) directs the CBI to re-investigate the case.

30 May 1997: The Action Council, files a Public Interest Litigation in the High Court of Kerala against the non-compliance of the CJM's directive for re-investigation. The High Court directs the CBI to report back to the court the progress it had made in the investigation.

28 September 1998:The High Court directs the CBI to file its final report of the re-investigation on or before 12 October 1998.

12 July 1999:The CBI files report in the CJM court, which stated that Abhaya was murdered and that the murderer(s) could not be arrested as all the evidences were destroyed.

23 June 2000:Eranakulam CJM Antony T. Morace issues directive to the CBI to appoint a new team to reinvestigate the case. Asks CBI to make use of all the modern investigation techniques including brain fingerprinting.

11 December 2007:CBI team captain SP R M Krishna files a report before the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court stating that the team was still trying to unravel the mystery behind the 'unnatural death of Sister Abhaya'.

19 November 2008:The CBI arrests Fr Thomas Kotoor, Fr Jose Putrike and Sr Sefi on the basis of statement by Sanju P. Thomas, a college student who stayed in the neighbourhood of St. Pious Convent.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wow!!!! We have become a part of history....Hats off to ordinary Americans

I have never been an admirer of America before. But today's turn of events has dramatically reversed my opinion.I take this moment to bow down before the citizens of America as they defied the tradition and gave a land slide victory to Senator Barack Obama. In the famous speech of Martin Luther King,'I have a dream', he was referring that America had given a bad cheque to the blacks which was dishonoured stating insufficient funds. Here comes a time when America has honoured the same promissory note as the nation elects their first Afro- American President.It is truly a historic and defining moment which we were privileged enough to witness.

The whole world was closely following this presidential election as it comes at a time when America as well as the rest of the world is going through unprecedented crisis and financial turmoil. And the margin by which Obama won i.e. 349 electoral votes versus174 for McCain sends a clear message that the ambassador of hope has ushered in an era of profound social and political realignment in America. I wish him good luck as he assumes the Commander - in-chief of the world's most powerful country.

What is it that has inspired and energised millions around the globe to support Obama? I believe that the fact that Obama was able to give hope to a generation who were totally lost and confused should have really paid off. We can see a remarkable increase in the involvement of youth and women in this election,thanks to the eloquence of Obama. Although he didn't have any prior credentials as to his stake for White house, he was able to induce the ' Audacity of Hope' among the people across- the- board.And that was indeed the need of the time. Obama portrayed himself as the agent of change and now America has given him the opportunity to bring that change.His presidency is the change for the big change ahead. I do hope and pray that he will be able to deliver his commitments. Let us watch and see.

I wish so much that India would also have a visionary like him to set things right for the country or to at least promise to do that. Our country has many things to cheer like Chandraayan, Indo- US Nuclear deal, soaring forex reserves, tremendous R& D potential, vast human capital and so on. At the same time we are confronting newer and complicated problems every day in the form of terrorism, religious intolerance and violence, environmental pollution, moral degradation and the list goes on. Recent findings that about 200 youth were recruited from Kerala alone for ISI is highly disturbing. This is because Kerala is supposedly one of the most educated , socially awakened and enlightened state in the country. Also the gang rape of a nun in Orissa and the callousness with which the authorities responded makes me worried as to what sort of a place we are going to raise up our children. It calls for action. We are now indifferent and passive because we thought that this would not happen for us. We cannot afford to remain like this for long. We also need a CHANGE. We also need to act and think with prudence , especially while exercising our fundamental right of adult franchise. We are a powerful country because we are committed to democracy. Let us also display the power of democracy by voting for only the candidates with the vision and potential to lead this country.Let the true meaning of democracy i.e of the people, by the people and for the people be proved. JAI HIND
(The image used here is taken from

Sunday, November 2, 2008


It has been always a strong desire for me to give vent to my thoughts among like minded people and get their reviews and know more from what others have to say....I belong to a new generation of expatriate Indians who had to move out of our home town on account of marriage or professional and career aspirations.It has made a big difference in the way I see the world ..While I was at home, I had always desired to experience what is often hyped as the exciting hi tech life style of a foreign country.I was always whining about poor infrastructure in Kerala, corruption of the bureaucracy, inefficiency of the Government, lack of opportunities, lack of exposure...I felt as if my growth has been stifled and restricted...I was of the opinion that this place is not worth living and cursed myself of not being born in Europe or America or even in Delhi or Mumbai...At that time I didn't care much about the beauty of rain that the nature endowed on us.... the greenery which was all around.... the gentle breeze that wafts across me and carry away the tiredness of a day.... the peaceful sleep I had enjoyed abundantly.... the family prayer where all of us sat on the mat and prayed together....the joy of watching a movie together with family...the hot tea and snacks I found on table every evening when I cam back home after school/college.... endless conversations with my mother and sister at night on everything from morning to evening....the hartals and bandhs which were a great family time ....friendly talks with neighbours and afternoon nap during holidays...weddings,baptisms and house warming which preoccupied us most Sundays...occasional fits of anger by my Grand mother .....standing at the tomb of my Grand father....I had taken all these as granted and was always looking to the other side of the pasture as greener although I loved my country and my place very much..It was just that my expectation and imagination of the life in a foreign country had blinded me and made me believe that I am missing so much things in life.

Now that I am here in Singapore, I realize that whatever may be the comforts and conveniences of life here, I am missing my SOUL here....I am looking at my home in a new perspective...and I now feel that life was a bliss back there ....Whatever may be the promises of government here on equality and equity , little can be done on the basic attitudes of people who look at Indian skin tone as dark and inferior.Not that I have faced any bias at work place.(Hats off to ITC-School of Business and Laws,where I am working..I feel I am in the best work place in the world). But I can read the thoughts of people in the way they look and express themselves. I would also like to add that I have enjoyed graciousness of quite a good number of Singaporeans; but of course not so good experiences also...At least at home we were KINGS AND QUEENS.. We had plenty of time for everything..We didn't have tensions to carry home...We had time for friends, family and society...Is this again my Utopian dream????

It is the memories of our past that sustains us through an alien country.But often we can find that once we get used to a life style in a foreign country, it is very difficult for us to come to terms to reality on reaching back home for good. We would start comparing everything with Singapotre/US/Dubai/Australia/UK or wherever we were before. So this vicious cycle again continues...

My attempt is to find out how we can make best use of the both worlds we are privileged to be in. I expect all the readers to give your sincere comments on that. Let us not give a false impression to people back home that life is as glamourous as a Holly wood film in a foreign country...Let us give the true picture that life has got many opportunities as well as many challenges here...Let us learn to appreciate life wherever we are...Let us imbibe in us the virtues of hard work, discipline , life- long learning that we have found in the people here..Let us be proud of our Indian culture and heritage wherever we are...Let us not forget to stand as a testimonial for that great country which had let us to be born educated and grown...Let us not forget our mother tongue Malayalam...Let us not forget to wear Saree and Mundu..Let us not be ashamed to speak Malayalam among ourselves...Let us not recklessly follow others ...Let us be guided by foresight and wisdom...Let us be reminded that we are representing a country with a population of more than 1 billion people....Let us socialise and create a harmonious community among ourselves...At the same time we should not be passive about happenings back home. We should be able to reach out to the country in times of crisis. We should be able to give at least emotional empathy and support to victims of earthquakes or floods or violence. We should be able to accept our country as it is. We should be able to influence Government from taking unethical or undesirable decisions. We should be a voice and we should be a force...We may not be able to do BIG things..but the small steps we can make, we shouldn't refrain from making....