Nagpur Now, Vidarbha Next?

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Union Minister Nitin Gadkari (centre), with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to his left.

JUST WHEN YOU ARE RESIGNED TO THE FACT THAT ALMOST NO ONE reads your blog posts, someone surprises you with a comment.

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Jokes about his ‘ample weight’ apart, would he be Vidarbha’s first CM?

Five days ago I wrote about the bonanza of development Nagpur, “the heart of India” as the country’s central point, is about to get due, not to the long overdue industrialisation but to the enforcement of GST from July 1.

Not one Nagpurian seems to have read it, as none reacted, though links to the blog were sent to many. Suddenly I learnt it was the 100th.  I felt ‘UnstoppaleAfterSeventy’  was ‘stoppable’ after 100.  So I stopped writing.

Continue reading “Nagpur Now, Vidarbha Next?”

Don’t Cry Over Ransomware Alone

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ALMOST EVERY MONTH BRINGS A NEW SCARE OF COMPUTER VIRUS. AND WITH COMPUTERS BECOMING an essential equipment at every step in every field, these ‘attacks’ cause more scare today than any virulent epidemic.

The recent Ransomware virus attack by the group WannaCry, which demanded payment of ransom in the digital currency Bitcoin in return for not destroying all the data on a computer, was said to be the worst virus attack so far. After the virus ‘Trojan’ caused a havoc a few years ago, every new virus that was released by the ‘cyber terrorists’ was described as the worst ever.

Computer viruses, unlike those that endanger your health, are not natural phenomena but the handiwork of technically qualified criminals who write the harmful software that causes the damage. The attackers say they want to cry (WannaCry) but made thousands cry.

What you should cry about, however is not just Ransomware. What is shocking is that the software was created by the National Security Agency (NSA) of America to destroy enemy computers and had leaked out somehow. It is like germs of a deadly epidemic, kept for research in some medical laboratory, leaking out and killing people. What is of concern is that this leak could be deliberately caused by people like the Islamic terrorists who think they are serving a holy cause by doing so.

It is seen that most of the terrorists using high technology are highly qualified and well versed in technology. Similarly those indulging in violence for the ’cause’ they believe in get highly sophisticated technology and weapons which again involve high resources and influence. So the education which gave them the technology and resources has failed to instil human values in them.

Technology, sophisticated weaponry and high resources can get into the hands of people with perverted mentality who can misuse them. Nuclear trigger may be within the reach of people with ideas which can harm the human race itself. And they can get the access to them even though the democratic process when ‘leaders’ are driven by hatred, wrong notions of nationalism, distorted interpretations of religion and hunger for power. That criminals can get elected needs no proof in India.

The new Ransomware criminals, according to The Economic Times daily, spent only Rs 686 to attack computers across 99 nations! Every organisation with computers issued advisory to all its staff not to click on unsecured links, not to open attachments and stop downloading movies for the next two days. Some ATMs were shut down and people told not to transact online for some time.

For the next few days one should not open any message with an attachment entitled ‘POSTCARD FROM HALLMARK,’regardless of who sent it, as it is sent from the hacked account of someone who frequently sends mails. The virus opens a post card image which ‘burns’ the whole hard disc (local disc C) of the computer.

Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee on Saturday. It was declared there was no repair found yet for Ransomware. It simply destroys the Zero Sector of the hard disc, which stores all vital information.

Thousands of mails were sent out by people, many of them self-professed ‘experts’, warning about the virus. Microsoft blamed it on the use of that pirated Windows software in most computers in India. And today some security companies already claimed they can protect your computer from Ransomware. So the attack turned out to be a business opportunity for some.

Again it boils down to ethics and moral values. Or their distortion.

Politics Without Greed

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Bungalows for Netas as Praja live in huts

IN MARCH THIS BLOG HAD TWO POSTS, ONE AGAINST MPs HIKING THEIR OWN SALARIES AND THE OTHER ASKING IF MPs AND MLAs SHOULD BE PAID MORE.

Many who responded felt that politicians were all greedy and wanted to amass wealth; there are too many instances of politicians and their relatives becoming rich beyond imagination almost overnight and memories of new scandals emerging every day were still fresh.

And yet many agreed that it was foolish to expect them to live at today’s costs on salaries prescribed when the Constitution was written. When a clerk or typist gets 15000 to 25000 rupees and even domestic servants make 10 to 12 thousand a month, can an MLA or MP live on a few thousand and without many perks?

Even if they agree to will they not be tempted to misuse their authority to make money illegally? Expecting them to live on a pittance while civil servants and petty traders make much more is foolish. This alone is the rationale behind periodic hikes in their salaries and perks. Even their worst critics would (grudgingly) agree.

And yet the announcement of Telangana State government that two bedroom bungalows would be build for all legislators raised eye-brows.The 117 MLAs are being gifted a Rs.1 crore bungalow of 500 square yards (a yard=0.9144 metres) with attached office in their constituencies, in additions to the accommodation they occupy in the State capital. They are entitled to lifelong pension even if they serve for some months. And most of them own huge properties.

I met the present Union Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapati Raju at his Hyderabad residence when he was a Minister in Andhra Pradesh government. As a prince of the Vizianagaram royal family he was born and brought up in palaces, though they were later donated to colleges.

Surprisingly he lived in “Ministers’ flats” and not in a sprawling bungalow. When I pointed this out, he said, “a house should be compact – maintaining a big one is not easy.” He could not have known that in Delhi, many MPs rented out the free quartets allotted to them.

This is nothing compared to another news that comes from Patna. The wedding season is on and Ministers there were renting out their bungalows for marriages for Ps.3 lakhs per day! The argument that poverty drives politicians to corruption falls flat in the face of such greed. While the poor and middle class are resigned to their fate it is the rich who want to be richer tiii being rich becomes a goal in itself and not for what money can buy.

An online campaign went viral some time ago against the subsidised Parliament canteen and the call to public to give up cooking gas subsidy. Millions of these posts went around on WhatsApp and other media without any result. Has even one MP been shamed into giving up the LPG subsidy?

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                 NONE SHAMED BY  THIS PLEDGE
And this is the county where Lal Bahadur Shastri took oath as PM with instalments still due for the Ambassador car he bought on loan and Gulzarilal Nanda had to go to a rented house when he resigned as Home Minister of India, as they did not belong to a dynasty.

You Are Corrupt, I Am Corrupt

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Small fry caught counting.  Big fish escape net

NOT A DAY PASSES IN INDIA without the media carrying some story or the  other about large-scale corruption or about raids on a bureaucrat or  politician yielding wealth beyond imagination,

 

Such deals by those in power stopped  with the Congress and its allies thrown out, but the recent demonetisation brought reports of old notes worth crores being unearthed and some bankers helping turn black money into white though fake accounts or convenient interpretation of rules always favouring the rich ‘Mallyas’.

A politician who became the poster-boy of the fight against corruption, Arvind Kejriwal, till he came to power in Delhi, is now accused of receiving a bribe of Rs. 2 crores, by his own  colleague and has not dared sue him for defamation.  A national media house has

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Many Social Media, Why One More?

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FB did not stop others starting – each is special

“THERE ARE SO MANY SOCIAL MEDIA, WHY ONE MORE?, a reader asked in response to the post on ‘Table2Talk‘.  A very valid question. If that question was asked before, there would not have been several hundred social media listed by Wikipedia.

Many readers may not know that more than 60 such platforms have several million users each.  When MySpace was there long ago, why did so many others start? With Facebook  there, did all others close down?  Why are thrillers and other story books written when there are already millions of them?

Because each one has something special – a different appeal. Continue reading “Many Social Media, Why One More?”

Morality As Political Tool

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IN INDIA WE EXPECT OUR PRIME MINISTERS AND PRESIDENTS, though the later are only titular heads, to be in their late sixties or older, to be paragons of virtue – very loyal to their spouses – though they may otherwise lack the acumen to handle a vast country’s complex  problems.

And they should preferably belong to a dynasty. If they do we can give them concessions like being in their forties. If they don’t belong to the dynasty, we question his having not having ever lived with a wife he married at a very young age and by arrangement, not his choice. If she belonged to the dynasty no one mentions that she married by choice but separated after becoming a mother twice!

And many Indian politicians lead double lives – of righteousness and high morals for the

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