Saturday, June 5, 2010

And the Trip begins ..........

Finally I am in New Delhi, The Capital of India. Home to India's parliament and the Supreme court. The city which takes decisions that consequently carves the futures of more than a billion people. Till date all my information about Delhi has only come from history books and friends. For the first time I will get to know for myself if all that I have read and heard is true.

I have come to this city with some preconceived notions. I have been warned by everyone that the Rickshaw drivers and taxi drivers are just waiting for customers like me whom they can rip off easily. I hadn’t booked my hotel till the last minute and was absolutely certain that I would be shelling out about 500 to 700 rupees only to reach the hotel. Every Internet blog put up (especially by foreigners) speaks of how the money divide is huge in Delhi and how crowded and chaotic the markets are here.

Of course the history books are full with all the major events that took place here over the last 2000 years. Not to mention the fact that the capital city of the pandavas, Indraprastha is very close to this very city as well. In a sense Delhi has been the capital of India for about 5000 years now.

Today I will be clearing all these doubts that I have. I will be trying to speak with people to check if what I have heard is true or not. Visiting as many monuments as I can and clicking as many pictures as possible. I need to make this day as fruitful as possible. I also have a lot of shopping to do for Ladakh. Need to buy a card reader (Forgot to pack my data transfer cable  ), An additional batter for my camera (Which I could not buy in Bombay) and of course good sun glasses (Which I did not have and need to protect my eyes from UV radiation in Ladakh  ).

Finding the Hotel was the easiest thing for me. There was always an element of doubt if the room would be good, and I must say I am not disappointed. The Room is big spacious and very comfy. I could spend my time sleeping all day in the room and still it would not be a waste of time. But then again I have a lot of things to do today  . I have not yet had my first brush with the Taxi drivers here. I took a prepaid meru so that don’t get ripped off. I reached my hotel in 300 rs, much less than the estimated amount. However the driver was probably not happy dropping me at Kirti nagar (Quite close to the Airport) and kept complaining about how meru has converted him into a postman from a taxi driver.

The ride was smooth and the hotel quite good. All I could think off after reaching the place was “Sleep”.

I hope today, I am actually able to see the city without any hassles. I am almost through with my tour plan. Don’t see any scope to travel on the Delhi metro. Possibly I will experience it when I am back on the 13th.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One more Reservation bill????

As an open category student I have been a first hand witness to the way reservations in educational and government institutions are misused. How it is used as a political tool to garner more votes by incompetent politicians and how easily it can fragment Indian society, which by the way is the key to win any elections in India.

I cannot express how angry I was with the Congress when the then human resource minister Mr. Arjun Singh just could not stop ranting about why the reservations for backward castes must exceed the current 51 %. He was visible in every TV news channel giving his opinions and views, managed to get a lot of support from a few and sparked out violent protests in Mumbai and other cities. But I guess all is well that ends well. The Bill never saw the light of day; however the congress managed to present a Dalit/OBC/ST/SC friendly face just before the elections. This could have been one of the reasons as to why they had such a good showing in the hindi heartland.

However when the Women reservation bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha, I was ecstatic. I had what so ever no doubt in my mind that this was history in the making. A day of which I can talk of when I grow old to my children or grand children and say “I was there when this happened”. Finally the right, left and central politicians agreed on something which was for the greater good of the country. Never before have I seen the Indian parliament so very much in tandem about an issue. Of course there were some unruly scenes in parliament, but guess it is not uncommon for the Yadav’s to make such a ruckus.

But then my mind wondered. What was so different about this bill? Why did I support this one when I am in general opposed to all and every reservation system anywhere?

Well as per rules of the Vatican, the process to declare a person as a saint does not start before at least 50 years have gone by after the person’s death. And the rule is for a good reason. Emotions need to be eliminated before you can take a decision or make a point or support a cause. I was not going to wait for 50 years to express my views on this matter or write this blog, but I did wait for a few days just to check out how I feel about it a little later. I am still quite positive about the whole affair. I still believe this will increase credibility of the parliament. Bring in more clean politicians and would by and large sensitize our law makers in terms of women issues.

But then I ask myself, Will this bill really make a difference?
If you ask the detractors of the bill they have the same points to speak of. Women will be little more than puppets in the hands of their Husbands!!! Parties must have self imposed quotas… etc. Countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan have more than 25% women in their parliaments and their lot has hardly improved… And the list goes on and on.

And Again I ask myself, how valid are these objections? Will this Bill really make a difference? I still cannot answer with great confidence. But I do feel, it will bring about a positive change. India should strive not only to be a land of equal opportunity but also a land where every one enjoys equal growth. Women have long been in the fringes of Indian politics. This will surely empower them to change India.

Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope the bill makes its way to the LS this very session.
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