Saturday, December 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
- The President's entourage included over 240 businessmen from the U.S. The U.S. government
- This is the longest that the U.S. President has stayed outside the United States in a single country!
- He signed business deals worth over 10 billion USD, which is expected to create 54,000 jobs in the U.S.
- In Mumbai he stayed at the Taj Hotel which was attacked during the Mumbai terrorist attack.
- The U.S. has removed controls on India for transfer and use of dual-use nuclear technology (which means, nuclear technology and products that can be used for both energy and nuclear weaponry)
- Several Indian defense related organisations have been removed from the export controls of the U.S. so that these organisations can trade with U.S. companies
- The President announces that, India has emerged as a key player in the globe, against hitherto remarks, "India is emerging as a global player".
- An U.S. navy ship, several navy boats, armed men, 8 dogs, and of course the Air Force One, the presidential cadillac were all brought from the U.S. besides the unprecedented air, navy and ground security given by the Indian government.
- Cost of the entire travel: according to media reports, it is 900 crores per day x 3 days. In other words, the U.S. government spent 240 million dollars each day, and so over 750 million dollar is said to have been spent on the President's visit to India.
- He also announced that the U.S. would support India's bid to have permanent membership in the UN Security Council.
- He mentioned that "safe havens in Pakistan for terrorists" must be dismantled, and refused to internationalize the Kashmir dispute bringing cheers to the Indian media.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I believe, it was some time in the year 2003, there was a big noise in Raiganj and its surroundings about a sadhu coming down from the Himalayas, and going around the cities and country side in India. And then one day, while I was on my motorcycle, I found a great crowd of about 600 – 700 people following a naked man who had his hair flowing, walking stiff, with only a small trishul in his hand. There was a group of police men surrounding him, with another lot of police following on two vehicles. This is a man who had forgotten everything, and had no botheration about his nakedness being known to the world. He is Buddha, in a sense. But did he need so much of protection, if he had left everything? I wonder. Now, contrast this with what I saw on 14 Aug 2010 morning, the eve of Indian independence day. I was rushing in and out of Howrah railway station to look for a local train to go a little known village called Chaulakuri, in Sabang block of Paschim Medinipur district. I was on a mission, as UNICEF has requested me to support their partner non-profit organization to help them develop a detailed village disaster management plan. As I was getting out of one gate of the station to go to another gate of the station, I saw a plainclothesman was beating a young man who was naked, just a skeleton covered with skin, barely in his twenties, crumbling, and trying to hide his nakedness on the floor against a wall! It was so pathetic to see that the plainclothesman was beating him, and trying to push him out. I had nothing with me. I opened my briefcase, took the simple towel I had, and threw it on the man. I had to rush to catch the train! The people waited there. And here is a man who needs attention. In a dilemma, all that I could do was just that. To hide his shamelessness.
But why was the policeman in plain clothes beating him up? I could never answer this to myself. May be he should have walked with a sign of religion in his hand….and walked straight with a garland on his neck!
Our country is full of hypocrisy. And religion and authority have grown to support it.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Nothing is as contagious as courage. But, if the people are not ready to take the fight on, nothing else is worse than that. Once they begin to feel that they can over come the negative impacts of climate change, when they accept that they can turn the tide and make the world work on the positive acts to reduce global warming, and have the strength to remain prepared for disasters, they will survive--as humans, even if, as people living with lesser dignity.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
The next thing I want to do is to set up community managed Rain Monitoring System, with simple gadgets to measure rain.... Anyone has an idea, or a simple gadget for that? I wish to set it up across at least 400 locations in the State, and interlink them, so that every severe variation can be noted, and informed as a Warning to the people. (May be students in Seattle or Western or Cornell or in Germany should go for this challenge!)
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Best regards from Puthumai !
This is my last mail as the State Coordinator of the State Inter Agency Group - West Bengal ! The State IAG-WB will have a full time coordinator shortly. Whereas I will be leaving as the Coordinator, I shall continue to support and strengthen the State IAG-WB to the best of my ability from wherever I am.
I am also glad to inform you that in June 2010, I wish to spend the time on setting up a state-wide SMS based geographically sensitive Early Warning System. I hope this will benefit you and the community. The system will be fully functional from 01 July 2010. Anyone can register to receive Early Warning updates. The very idea of this is to give real time geographically sensitive Early Warning (e.g. in case of a possible embankment breach, send alert to people of the area who are under threat, and heads of INGOs/NGOs working in the area only.). You are most welcome to register yourself by sending in a message "START ALERT" from your phone to 09547997119. Kindly encourage your staff and community members to register to this. I would like to keep this as an absolutely free service to reach to the last person in the village. Your suggestions are most welcome. I will be available for your contacts on my personal E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The information collected for generating these alerts will be, from the subscribers to this system, community, IMD, Government and other relevant websites and media.
Coming to this departure of mine, I remember the circumstances which brought me to Kolkata and to take this challenging task. I remember with sorrow the hundreds and thousands of people who bore the brunt of Cyclone Aila. I sincerely thank Fr. I.P.Sarto, then Director of ABCD, the Convener organization of the State IAG-WB and Ms. Parnasri Roy Chowdhury for placing their confidence in me, and calling me in to shoulder this responsibility. Their guidance and support throughout the year will never be forgotten. I thank Fr. Reginald Fernandes, who as Director of Seva Kendra and later as State IAG-WB Convener since September, arranged my stay for the entire year, and guided me with enormous freedom to work and succeed.
I must thank the Honorable Joint Secretary, Disaster Management Department, Govt. of West Bengal, Sri Debabrata Pal, IAS, who has helped me with guidance and suggestions at various occasions. I thank the officials of the Disaster Management Department, and specially Mr. Himadri Maitra with whom I worked very closely. I also thank Mr. Subhasish Debnath of UNDP who has been my heart and voice with the government, and has always chipped in with such useful information that helped me achieve beyond my capabilities.
I must thank Ms. Lori Calvo, Mr. S.N. Dave, Mr. Nasir Ateeq, and Ms. Moumita Dastidar of UNICEF. It is they who helped me strengthen my technical skills, and with financial support and guidance at every step. Thanks to the entire UNICEF family of Unicef Kolkata Field Office.
I thank all the partners across the State. If at all I have achieved anything, it is because of you. All that I am, all that I am capable of, and all that I have come to be is because of your constant support, love, assistance and guidance. It would certainly be unfair if I miss any of your names in listing. But, I think, I must list at least persons who have made a great impression in the past 12 months: Anurag, Shubhro and Soma of WWF, Campoo and Logun of World Vision, Banku B Sarkar, Bhaswar, and Bipul of Oxfam, Nirmal of Rama Krishna Mission, M.A.Wohab of SHIS, Dr. Aniruddha Dey and Sutapa Ghosh of PRISM, Sanjay Rozario, Pallab and Bapi of Caritas India, Subhrokhali, Dr. Garai and Dr. Vijayakumar of Lutheran World Service, Taraknath of CARE India, Kasturi, Rama and Rajshree of CRS, Praful Rao of Save the Hills, Prof. Chandan Majumdar and Niladri of Jadavpur University, Ms. Gargi Mitra of CII, Fr. Soosaiappan of Palli Unnayan Samity, Dr. Subhomoy Pal and Arup of CINI, Chittaranjan Mondal and Surajit Neogi of Action Aid, Raja, Noel, Soumick, Lucas Gomes and Shubhra of ABCD, Ajanta Dey of NEWS, Ajitha Menon of ANI and Amitava of PTI, Samsur Alam of BMCDM, Anshuman of DRCSC, Shibani of Indienhilfe, Sebastian and Mamata Sahu of Concern Worldwide, Aloke Ghosh of CASA, Sandeep of Childline Foundation, Niraj of Children International, Vikas, Vikrant and Parimita of Sphere India, Sr. Sabrina Edwards of MWDC, Dr. Prabir Chatterjee (independent consultant), Tanaji Sen and Praveen Kumar of RedR India, Sujay Chowdhury of Goal India, Dr. Ujjwal Kr. Sengupta of IMA, Nazrul Islam of INSS, Shibesh Das of RCHSS, Saradindhu Banerjee of PRIA, Anshuman of Sabuj Sangha, Abinash, Jatin and Manabendranath of Save the Children, Mrs. Bani of SMS, Bidyut Debnath of SPADE, Fr. Valentine Rai of Anuggyalaya, Darjeeling, Raja, Bhaswati and Jayanta Das (all three of them worked as my collegues for a short term), and you, my friend, have made a positive difference in my life.
If ever you need my support in strengthening any of your systems or building the capacity of your staff or partners, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart! Lots of Love and Best Wishes to all of you !
Puthumai A. Nazarene
Sunday, May 30, 2010
These same groups were promoted over the last two decades by various political parties, in order to threaten their political opponents. Today, the Maoists have grown into a monster! Yes, they cannot be called Maoists, just Monsters. They have killed over 1,000 security personnel in the last three years, and a few thousand civilians through bombings, murder and kidnaps. The home minister of the country has asked the defence ministry to support him with drones to track the movement of the Naxals in the secluded dark jungles of the region, and the defence ministry says, it cannot share its resources because it cannot be seen to be waging war against its own citizens!
My dear Defence Minister, we are talking of citizen’s right to life, and not the right of murderers to live.
Law and governments are meant to protect the people of the country, and not to let loose Frankensteins like this. Today, the jungles of at least five states are under the control of the Maoists, and the State (provincial) governments are finding it difficult to control their power. The anomaly of governance has led to blame games, and no one wants to take responsibility in the States. They are growing into a group like the LTTE that ruled parts of Sri Lanka until a year ago. Interestingly, most states haven’t even declared these groups as unlawful! I am afraid it will take an assassination of one of the top leaders of the country, for the governments to wake up and ban these institutions that work for hatred-building across the country.
We need the rule of law to be enforced strictly, immediately.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
As we traveled through the bumpy mud road that parted from National Highway 34, after crossing about 6 kilometers from Karandighi, (35 kms north of Raiganj town), we were greeted by a bullock cart that was carrying three others and some bags of wheat, two bags of cement and few rods. Once we crossed it, we entered Basudebpur, the little hamlet that is dotted by palm trees, and it was almost empty under the scorching noon. Accompanied by two other companions and the driver, our Scorpio was soon surrounded by couple of women, three men and a dozen children. As I got down, I was looking for some known faces. I had been to these areas almost eight years ago. Nothing much has changed.
The Santhal tribal people who live in the midst of the village surrounded by Muslims and Scheduled Caste communities on either side were still living with hope, living in present! When I walked into the first house I felt comfortable with, I found a boy of about 12 years old. There was some light in his eyes. I could read that he is educated. I enquired. He said he is studying in the fifth grade. And when I walked in, I found a old lady whom I could recognize, and fortunately she could recognize me as soon as I introduced! I requested her to take us around the village. Soon some more known and unknown faces joined us.
I saw at least six fully damaged houses and several partly damaged houses in the hamlet of about 30 odd houses. All of tribals. I saw the men sitting and drinking the liquor drawn from palm trees (toddy), and all that the men and women could utter at every house was, they received nothing after the tornado that tore their houses apart on the fateful night of 13 April.
We checked with them. They had gone several times to the Panchayat (local government office). But the crowd at the panchayat was overwhelming, and they were asked to come another day. Well, these people had no money to travel, nor the voice and strength to stand and receive the tarpaulins.
We walked further. At the farthest end of the village was the house of Denis Soren. (That’s how she pronounced it.) Her house was flat. She is a young widow. Has a child of about 5 months old, and another girl studying in upper kinder garden. Her husband died when she was just three months pregnant. The house on which it was built is a declared “waste land”. With no other assets, and the house flattened, with nothing to cook, she wanted to go to see her elder child whom she had not seen in weeks. Tears were rolling up her eyes, as there is no one to help her collect the broken tins, nor to repair her house. She is, luckily, the only person who had received a black polythene sheet (as tarpaulin) and three kilograms of rice. And she had eaten all that stuff in the last four days.
We were dumb. We had no words to console. We took her on our air-conditioned 850,000 rupees worth Scorpio, and dropped her at the boarding school where her child is. On the way, we gave her some money, which would probably buy her some oil and soap for her child, and purchase some pulses for her own survival for few more days. The support from humanity never seems enough to get her out of poverty. Alas, you could still see thirst in her eyes.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
This is a government that never learns. The people haven't learned it either.