animesh kumar

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words of wisdom

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alberteinstein“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.”
–Albert Einstein, 1954

Written by Animesh

April 22, 2009 at 2:59 am

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Every morning, in Africa, a gazelle wakes up and it knows that it has to run faster than the fastest lion; else it will be killed.

Every morning, in Africa, a lion wakes up and it knows that it has to run faster than the slowest gazelle; else it will starve to death.

– African Proverb.

Nature is discriminatory.

Why shouldn’t I?

Kunal Sir says, Graphics are more potent when it comes to convey (or portray..?) something abstract. Here is the same idea in his language.nature

…agree? I do.

Written by Animesh

May 11, 2006 at 2:05 am

Posted in Candid

An Aesthetic Dark

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I don’t know what had tempted me to dig into the world of photography. As yesterday I was reading ‘A history of god’ by Karen Armstrong, I realized the importance of ‘displaying-art’ in the evolution of god, thus religion, thus faith, and thus society. The idea was important. ex nihilo nihil fit…! (Nothing comes out of nothing.)

So, they had a waste mess of water and mud in the beginning from which the Gods started to evolve, in pairs, each superior to their ancestor.

And they made the temples for themselves.

The masses perfectly knew that the temples were made by men – though in presumptuous belief that their temples were the divine replicas of those in the heaven – but associating them with the divine forces helped in endurance of their creative manoeuvre.

From there came the concept of divine association. And art became an endeavor closest to those divine forces.

Art…! What is an art?

In an article in The Hindu, 2nd April 06, titled ‘A vision for our arts’, the author Shakti Maira buys into the Korean view of art, and talks about how that can be incorporated in India and Indian definition of art. She herself is a contemporary artist. She compares a Korean bronze figure “The pensive Buddha” with “Mona Lisa” and accuses the lack of popularity of Asian arts in the world, for its lesser recognition. She endorsed Korean law that requires commercial buildings to spend a percent of their budget on the arts. She quotes from the their Minister of Culture:

“…the real art cannot be found in museums and galleries, but in the way we experience our daily life … the real nature of an artistic experience may lie in a process where a human being, as an organism, responds and adapts to the environmental and recognizes his surrounding into culture…”

She goes a little further and digs out even more of Korean history, and their legendary emphasis on art, when she cites Kim Koo – Korean equivalent of Mahatma Gandhi:

“… I do not want my nation to become the richest… most powerful…the only thing I desire in infinite quantity is the power of highly developed culture…”

Koreans are definitely doing a good job in the fields of art, but can we really learn from someone how to do arts? Can you really learn to write fiction, unless you have an imagination? Can you really paint something, unless you are at home with colors? Can you really make potteries, unless you have those adept, gifted fingers? I agree, they run schools and crash courses and everything to lure people, but do they really make someone an artist? They do shape, hone naïve people, but only those who have an inherent penchant for art.

This is something very, very deep in us. We can’t learn it, we can only ameliorate it.

Better to let Korea go its way, we shape our own.

However, as far as technicalities of art are concerned, it can be taught. Like they teach photography! And if it fails, you can always rename it to ‘aesthetic modern art’. Funny? But, not ‘funny ha-ha-ha’.

Anything you can dare to shoot, only make it a little contemporary, little fleshy, little dark, and people would love it. If not, then improvise some spiels to go with the snap. Sort of drools with the content! And you are through.

So, with all this yesterday, today I thought of doing a little research upon ‘the history of Photography’. And see, what I got. The first link ‘google uncle’ came up with was of ‘pure beauty magazine’ – a delusory porn site, camouflaged behind the modern art, cache lined: “where the body says what words cannot”. Interesting! I thought so and went in.

It had a list pf photographer, models, their vital stats, interviews of leading fashion designers, latest fads, clothing vogues, and then as if to cleanse the space with incense of intellect, they had a section: “history of photography”.

It went something like this:

A man named de la Roche (1729-1774), in his work entitled ‘Giphantie’, wrote a tale wherein it was possible to capture images from nature and imprint them permanently on a canvass. This was probably the first confrontation – though in imagination only – of humans with the science of photography. The term came from Greek words light and writing, first coined by Sir John Herschel in 1839. Since then billions of photographs have been taken, most of them are of women since they emblem the beauty that drives men behind the camera with a passion to capture something sensuous, something eternal. And nothing is more eternal than a nude woman, in all her pureness, sensuality, provocation, love, passion, creation, and the nature of primal existence. Greece had nude statues dating from 570 BC.

If we can go to the museums to see it, even the most stimulating, offensive piece of it, why can’t we accept the nude photography in our otherwise mundane lives? Because it’s the very basic in us, the very nature of our existence, that we deny it? Because we are ashamed of it, of ourselves? The site argues.

Well, this column certainly left me in a confused state. And all that I had thought of art was challenged.

Isn’t it itself an art then? Different, challenging, demanding, avant-garde!

Perhaps, what makes you feel at home is an art for you. Be is writing, painting, sculpting, orating or even coding, programming, engineering, everything is an art, since everything demands you to be different, aesthetic. Everything demands for your heart, and where your heart is, there your destiny is, your art is.

That’s the personal form of art. And art as a sellable commodity is nothing but a mélange of a confused brain.

A heavy flesh, garnished with little brain, does sell. And that’s what today’s art is.

Written by Animesh

April 4, 2006 at 1:44 am

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All my life I believed that the right always triumphs. Things happened to me; things that said differently; things that shattered my belief, but I retained. I felt humiliation but I never let my belief go.

Then I thought I am righteous; today I doubt – was I upright or a coward?

There is a small difference between the two.

Cowardice is ‘lack of courage’ and a coward is a timid man – hence he keeps from action. Righteousness is ‘according to moral principles’ and righteous is a moral man – henceforth he refrains from action out of his morality. Both slip into inaction – the difference lies in their reasons – one is scared to act, because he might get hurt – another, because to act is immoral. Dread of scar is okay – it’s physical therefore immediate and visible – but what about morality? How do we define that something is immoral, or something is moral?

Gandhi talked of non-violence – “thou must not hurt others.” India could have won her freedom much earlier had he not withdrawn ‘non-co-operation’ movement in the wake of blazing chaura-chauri police station. Was it moral? During partition when Pakistan government was denied of earlier promised 55 crores, he sat on fast-till-end. Was that moral? Nathuram Godse killed him – in almost the similar way Bhagat Singh threw bombs in parliament – but was treated discriminately. Was that moral?

I dare to ask: what is moral? Who defines it?

Can I not say that Gandhi was a coward – if only we change our perception of morality? Why do I present myself to my perpetrators? Why on earth should I even try to change his heart, that too, at the cost of my own life, my body, physical sufferings, and my self dignity? If someone rapes my sister what would I do? Would I go and kill him, or would I go and ask him to rape her again – because this might change the rapist’s brain as Gandhi said. Or would I simply mourn at home and pray to god for not to repeat such a torment again, like a typical coward? Had Gandhi been alive today, and Pakistan attacked on us, would we have presented our country to them, hoping that this would change their hearts and they would return our land?

Gandhi could not fight back in the train from which he was thrown out in South Africa, that is why, he took up non-violence. And later he defined it moral. And people believed him.

Had it not been to Gandhi, India would have become free much earlier, and today, it would become much better. Merely because Gandhi couldn’t fight back the abuses spewed upon him, we are suffering today.

Few people who understand this assume power and then try to subjugate us, and we, like moral, upright men, submit ourselves. But for how long? How many more times, how many more days would this go like this? Are we really devoid of all dignity? Then, why do we still idolize Shivaji, Tipu Sultan, Mangal Pandey and many like of their ilk? Forget them, of forget Gandhi.

Every man has a right to live, but not at the expense of other’s life. You can’t sacrifice your life to change someone’s brain or heart.

This world is a fucking place, where nothing but power speaks. You don’t believe it…eh? You think that Gandhi did everything on his principle of non-violence? No. This principle only helped him to shed his failures, and hence generated a great support from the masses – which actually was his power. Gandhi took almost five decades in freeing India; Babar took only few years to conquer India. Who was mightier?

This is a man’s world – a brawny competitive world.

Take it or leave it or simply ignore it.

Written by Animesh

March 4, 2006 at 12:55 am

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A dream school

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How does someone leap upon a path un-traveled, ignored, often condemned? How does someone take up a challenge against unreasonableness? How does it happen to him to educate people who don’t even know what education is all about? How? How does it come to the mind? Through anticipation of possible publicity and possible recognition, or through visions and dreams?

Imagine a second year bachelor student of engineering, in a premier school, who has seemingly bright future, going into slums in vicinity of his college campus and teaching deprived children who otherwise would have gone to serving food in messes, or washing dishes in nearby small eateries, or perhaps, would have hidden under the shed of drugs!

What might have driven him?

Namita Chourasia, a correspondent with The Telegraph, endeavors to unfold the history that began in 1999 in the locality of Emerald Hostel of Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad with a singular vision of a man. Amresh Mishra, the man behind the movement, was quite perseverant in taking such an unconventional step, especially when he had to convince slum-dwellers about the importance of education. But, he was adamant. Soon, the colors darkened and an evening school in the nearby temple began to be convened.

With time the school had flourished and recently the body inaugurated a primary education center in Lahbani village behind Emerald hostel.

Students of the campus are excited about the progress and the enthusiasm of locals who want their kids to study.

“We provide the children with textbooks and exercise copies. Fifty of us take classes in the evening. Students associated with Kartavya have to take classes once a week. We have hired a three-room building at a monthly rent of Rs 500,” explained a present third year student of petroleum engineering at ISM, Radha Raman Mishra.

What had started with a small drift has taken shape of a mass movement today. Once again, an old adage seems to come true: Histories are altered by single hands.

Amresh is undergoing training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad. The seed that he had sown is becoming a gigantic tree.

I remember – when I was in the same hostel during my final year in 2003/04 – how we used to go to the small temple in evenings and would gather students and urge them on until twilight. It was fun. There I had seen few best talents and few best teachers of the country. One of them was Parmendra Pratap (commonly known as PP). He had little interest in academics but was a voracious reader and a visionary. We used to talk a lot about the then education scenario, its problems and possible solutions, about philosophy, psychology, about Sigmund Freud, about Gazals, Jagjit Singh ji, movies, and everything. That time, palmistry used to be my fascination and we both used to sit hours discussing Chinese and Chiero’s dictates and methods.

He had a vision too, like Amresh. He used to talk vociferously about the importance of education and how it can be achieved. I, however, couldn’t go along very far.

Then, there was Manohar Shivam. He was shy and had a lot of interest in nano-electronics. Presently, he is in Netherlands, researching in his niche domain. He too was very particular about the need of education, and role of youth in it.

These men were never hungry of publicity; they worked because they had to work, not for others to appreciate or to recognize, but to keep their inner self at peace with themselves.

This is our obligation to keep them from oblivion.

It’s a rise of one man that drives the society to acclivity. We must not forget how much a single man can achieve, only if he wills to achieve. We must not forget the puissance of individuality. We must not forget the importance of visions.

Written by Animesh

January 17, 2006 at 12:30 am

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The myth of ‘we’

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Yesterday Times of India had an interesting article about prostitution where women were married to deities and sent off to temples; they would serve the temple with sweat and sex; and later end up in one of the brothels. They were called devdasis. Amazing! This Hindi word means ‘servant of the god’; instead they would serve the mortals on earth; and the puritanical society would deify them to the extent that many families willingly offer their daughters to temples; or say a camouflage of brothel.

If the temples use women for providing sex, how then are they different from, in any way, brothels? How then we, the ‘moral police’ of the society, allow this to happen? This is something that is necessary to study in order to study the physics behind prostitution.

What is prostitution? Dictionary exemplifies it as an immoral activity to offer sexual intercourse for pay. Okay. But who exemplified that selling sex is immoral? We, the people, the ingredients of society…Right? And who made this tradition of devadasi? Again we…eh?

Isn’t it dubious? At one hand, we despise prostitutes; but on the other hand we allow temples, our revered pandits, in the name of god, to sell women on demand? Ah! Where did we find such a janus-faced mask?

It’s obvious that the problem lies not in the profession of prostitution, but in the perception and ways of prostitution. It seems like, until women are subjugated, suppressed, until they hover in their drudgery, until they don’t chide against, until they go along, we are okay with it, we even promote them with the congenialities of temples to be used as a ‘revered brothels’; but as soon as they voice up for their rights, for their recognition, we despise them, we make them third-class citizens, we preach them morality. We enforce them to continue without any expectations. How pious! Even Lords have advocated that ‘karm karo, fal ki chinta mat karo.’ (Toil without any expectation of results.)

Where do these lords go when young girls are brought into sex-slavery in their names? When Draupadi was being molested in front of her husbands, Krishna had come to save her. Why doesn’t he ever come to save these girls? Or has he, himself, made it their destinies? Is it that the concept that ‘all men are equal’ is a plain mockery to gods?

The flaw is in our blind submission, in the name of gods, morality, traditions, and customs. Why do we always need to follow everything every time, without even raising any question, any doubt, any clarification? Don’t we men have any brain left to challenge the obvious, but wrong? Or are we too scared of heavens-and-hells to make any move?

We say that it’s immoral to sell one’s body for money. Immoral! It’s a much used word in the recent years. Clinically speaking, morality is a motivation based upon the idea of right-and-wrong. So, to define morality, we got to define rights and wrongs first. What is right, and what is wrong? Is it that, if we run a survey, or a poll, and what most people would say ‘right’ would become ‘right’? No. Nothing can be absolutely right; neither can they be absolutely wrong. It’s a relative concept. Something might be right to me while wrong to you. We can’t decide using democratic, collective methods to evaluate if something is ‘right’.

It’s not the question of ‘we’; it’s a question of ‘I’. Men are individual elements, complete and content in themselves. ‘We’ can be made only by using the collections of ‘I’. But in the process ‘I’ must not be vanished. Men can trade among themselves at their will. They must not be forced for anything. They are free to reason and, therefore, to choose their course.

The fundamental conspiracy of ‘we’ was to humiliate and perish ‘I’. So, ‘we’ attacked the most revered thing in ‘I’ – it’s connection to the spiritual world, its tendency to love, it’s willingness to make love – to sex. And so, ‘sex’ was made a taboo, a ‘not-to-be-talked-about’ thing. But, since ‘sex’ was a prime necessity, they made families to enjoy sacred sex, and brothels for perverted sex. And they taught that sex was a condemned act. And to exorcise it, they made devdasis. It seems logical – a well drafted plan.

But, that era is bygone now. In modern world, we talk about equality, about freedom. Then let sex be free, a voluntarily chosen profession, why use camouflages, canopies, to pursue it? How different is sex from modeling, or sports? Models sell their bodies; athletes sell their bodies, why can’t prostitutes sell theirs? Instead of making so much of fuss about it, why don’t we simply make it a legal-and-taxable industry?

One fact is certain that prostitution can never be stopped. It is the longest surviving profession in the history of men. And moreover, society needs it. Then why not recognize and legalize it? It is same. Like we work in office, they work in bed. What’s so horrible there? They are serving the fundamental instincts lurking in each-and-every man. What’s so hesitancy about in accepting it?

For men, ‘sex’ is not merely a process of begetting; it’s more like a need. And, if this need is not satiated legally; they would g for illegal options. And then, sexual perversions would surface. Give one what one needs and one would concentrate upon more creative and productive things, than wasting energies over procuring the tools to one’s basic instincts.

It’s as simple as that.

Written by Animesh

January 9, 2006 at 12:21 am

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Civil war!

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In past six decades, there were 255 civil wars and many of them featured the same kind of conflict which is now perpetuating in Iraq, writes David Brooks (The hindu, 2-jan-06) of New York Times.

A civil war stems from a power vacuum at the top. When the central government of a country becomes ineffective, local groups try to grab for power and resources. Leaders of these insurgent armies magnify ethnic grievances to use it as driving fuel. People who do the killings might be whipped up by ethnic grievances, but people who lead civil wars are usually rational and covetous. Once the war starts, the length of the war depends upon the effectiveness of the central government. If the government is strong enough to fight back then the war can be cut short, on the other hand if the government is feeble or it reacts with excessive brutality, the war drags on. However, the civil war ends – usually – in three ways. If the ethnic hatred has been whipped to fever pitch, there is no way but a partition – hence, separation of the two groups. If, one group is determined to settle with nothing less than the total victory, then the war rages until another group suffers a crushing defeat. Third option to end the war is a joint government.

However, this is all theory.

If we look onto Iraq in this perspective, the most likely answer is a joint government. But, in this case no side would trust the other side. There would always be a flame. Not side would lay down their weapons permanently due to fear of insecurity. So, for U.S. it becomes necessary to remain in Iraq – to cajole the two sides towards the settlement – until the conflict is deescalated, says David Brooks.

But, the recent polls in Iraq tells a different story in which both Sunnis and Shas took part in larger numbers which makes it clear that all they want is a democratic and unified Iraq, despite their internal differences. That is, they fervently want to build a democracy. That is, there is no need of any third party cajoling, or intervening. Why then the U.S. is vamping up excuses to stay there?

The war against Saddam Hussein is no more ‘a war of liberation’.

Written by Animesh

January 1, 2006 at 12:12 am

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Brewing Tourism

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kerala_tourismBefore 1830’s, the Singpho tribes of Assam used to eat a local shrub as vegetables with garlic and gulped the brew after dipping its leaves in boiled water. Then came, the East India Company to identify those bushes as tea leaves. Robert Bruce, a Scottish, first discovered the tea plants near Jorhat with the aid of Singpho tribal chieftain, historically in 1823. He planned to establish a nursery; but unfortunately he died soon. Afterwards his brother Charles Bruce took up the command as India grew up to become the largest supplier of tea succeeding China. And today, Assam divides 55 percent of the total Indian tea production of about 820 million kilos.

So when the state is geared up to promote tea estate tourism then, besides including the demonstration of Singpho tribal elders on brewing tea in their traditional indigenous style, it is natural to air an urge to seek for its forefathers. The state took all possible toil within reach to locate the descendants of the Scottish brothers for the 3 days long festival starting from December 4th. But after almost 180 years, it is not an easy task. And eventually nothing could be traced out. The carnival which intends to attract more foreigners to the state would have gone splendid if it had its foreign spotters. But the show must go on. “We still have many interesting and unique events lined up for the festival” says, Tourism Commissioner S. C. Panda.

This fact – the finding of tea in Assam – breaks a common false-belief spread among Indians that English did only wrong to them. Among many others, tea is present India’s largest economic pillar. And it is due curtsey of foreigners, our once barbaric rulers. It might be the right time to build up a congenial, propitious milieu to debate over “What English did well to us and where did they err” – words that were continuously suppressed in past.

Assam stretching its hands to its past can be a humble beginning.

Written by Animesh

December 4, 2005 at 12:38 am

Posted in Candid

‘Charisma’ and Indians!

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Today, the local English newspaper of Indore, Free Press, ran an editorial that dealt in Indian politics and the charisma of the politicians influencing it. The author, V. Gangadhar, came up with facts and factors bolstering that the more a state was literate the lesser was the influence of personal charisma on it. He talked about Kerala, the most literate state of the country, where chief ministers likes Achutha Menon, A K Anthony and E K Nayanar were, though charismatic and could have used their personal charm to wheedle the masses but, diligently involved in cabinet and party decisions to lead the state towards progress. Then he had West Bengal and its 27 years long chief minister Jyoti Basu. Mr. Basu never sought any sort of charisma to rule the state to prosperity. On the other hand, he had a distinct rabble-rouser Balasaheb Thackeray and his Shiv Sena – which, in these days, is apparently under a threat of some inner-velitation. The author argued about how the Sena was conceived in 50’s without any political ideologies or manifestoes and how it survived as the most puissant political force of Mumbai for so many years. It was only out of the sheer charisma of Balasaheb. The same charisma helped Lalu Prasad in deferring the political rout he has just witnessed after 15 long years of misrule, rather tyranny. And who could deny the references to the Telegu Desham chieftain N T Ramarao who within 8 months of forming his party ousted the well entrenched congress, especially M G Ramachandran despite his fully rooted background in Dravidian movements for a long time. It was also the power of sheer charisma.

The author reasoned very well, and toiled hard in gathering up the facts. He hailed both sides, but eventually came to notice that only charisma could not lead to a successful political career. It’s true. The recent debacle of Lalu and the upbringings in BJP – out of Uma Bharati’s cognizance that she was overlooked for the MP chair of Madhya Pradesh – justifies that people can’t tolerate misrule, criminality, classicism or profanity, blasphemy just for a charisma of someone. Sure, personal charm does help in attracting people, but it offers no assistance in holding them. This kind of aid too comes with discrete drawbacks. A charismatic leader is more under the public-and-media scrutiny. His every move is noticed, every action marked, and a small digression could bring him to dust. Rajiv Gandhi had this charm, and he used it to perch to the chair of PM, but Bofors scandal ruined him. Indira Gandhi was hit by emergency.

We are a nation of hero worshippers. We can smash up Babri Mosque when Uma Bharati wails “ek dhakka aur de do.” We can keep Lalu for he sits and meals with us despite his facetious lullabies and hollow promises. We can flock out of the hospital when Amitabh Bachchan fights for his life. Even, we can buy Lux soaps since Shah Rukh Khan is endorsing it. But that’s it. Nothing more.

We wouldn’t let any charm, any charisma, anything, and anything at all, fool us. We are innocent but not fool. We have shown it in Bihar, and can confirm it again anywhere required.

Written by Animesh

December 1, 2005 at 12:38 am

Posted in Candid

A man or A woman?

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I was amused when I read that. I laughed, simply, not on the news item, but upon the kind of system our democracy has evolved, upon the state’s oneiric, lost state, upon the dim-witted politicians, upon the police institution and upon its rules-and-regulation department.

The 1971 batch IPS officer, Inspector General of Police (Rules and Manuals), Devendra Kishore Panda, for 14 years, had been donning himself like a woman – that too in public – and had earned himself some weird titles like, “Dusri Radha”, “Krishna’s Radha” etc. He vacated his official residence on 23rd of November and accused his wife and fellow police-men of harassment. He incriminated his wife, Veena, for physical harassment and said that he could no longer live with her: “She even threatens to send me to jail.” On 26th of November, The Hindu ran this news in the wake of Congress charging the Mulayam Singh Yadav government for failing to deal with this matter. Party spokesperson, A. P. Singh alleged the incumbent government that it transferred honest policemen on request of small time politicians, and it ignored the damage that Mr. Panda was doing to the morale of police force. The news item came affixed with a photograph of Mr. Panda who righteously wore his uniform. But, the bangle in his left hand was expressly visible. And his contemptuous smile addled to the public-and-political brouhaha after him.

The key is not to find whether he is guilty or not; but whether he is fit or not for the post he holds. As an IG of police, what message is he conveying to his juniors and peers? Whatever be his reasons to act or believe in such ridiculous public conduct; the conduct is certainly not leader like.

Ours is a democratic country and our constitution decrees “freedom of speech”, “freedom of expression” and “freedom of blah-blah” for everyone. Thence Mr. Panda isn’t doing anything wrong. I believe that he must have been engrossed into some spiritual or imaginary thinking process that led him to this stage – and this could have been prevented if the state government were alert and watching – and he started envisioning himself as the lover of the Lord. It’s good or bad? I would leave this question to be answered by the political pedants of the country; but it’s certainly ridiculous, absurd and derisory that such a person is Inspector General of police for last 14 years.

The question here is not of Mr. Panda’s conduct, nor of how he grew to this stage, but of the ignorance under which he matured to think of himself as a woman, rather a sacred woman, a lover of Lord Krishna. Did the state police have no method to test the mental fitness of officers chairing the vital posts? Did it continuously slumber for last 14 years? Did it never foresee the future implications such a person could possibly bring?

If they are the kind of people who are supposed to shoulder the public security matters; public safety would soon become a ludicrous and idiotic concept.

Written by Animesh

November 28, 2005 at 12:36 am

Posted in Candid