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Height and size of national flag has no cor-relation with patriotism
2017.03.17 18:44:48

India seems to be in the midst of a competition to hoist the biggest and the tallest national flag. As they say, some people wear their heart on their sleeves; we seem to be showing off our patriotism on our flags. The taller and the bigger it is the better it would seem to be.

One does not know how and who started off this fad of having tall flagstaffs to hoist flags the dimensions of which keep increasing by the day. The other day, the flag hoisted near the Attari border with Pakistan created a stir. Mounted on a 360 ft. tall staff, claimed to be the tallest of all flagstaffs in the country, it flies the heaviest ever national flag (55 tons). Its dimensions are 120x80 ft and it has cost the Punjab Government Rs. 3.5 Crore (billion). The annual maintenance contract for it has had to be awarded to a private company as, apparently, the Amritsar Improvement Trust, the institution that installed it, does not have any outfit that could possibly take care of it. So close to the border it is that the flag is claimed to be visible from the Anarkali Bazar of Lahore in Pakistan.

Its enormous height and size have brought in controversies in the wake of its unfurlment at Attari. Pakistani Rangers guarding the borders with India have alleged that such a tall flag has been installed only for espionage purposes. They think it would be used to peep across the borders from this side to pry on the goings-on there. They said that the flag at the top has powerful cameras to monitor activities in Pakistan. One is surprised to hear such a stupid argument. India didn’t have to have a tall flag to mount surveillance over and across the borders as hundreds of air force and civilian planes, leave alone satellites, fly at greater heights in the area everyday. These could do a better job and very easily at that. Nonetheless, authorities in India did convey to the Pakistanis that there was no camera on top of the pole; there was only a light - a regulation light that had to be mounted there.

But then this is only one of these tall flags. The second highest is somewhere in Ranchi – the capital of Jharkhand. The flag pole is 283 ft. high. Several states seem to have jumped on to the bandwagon to install tall flags – in what looks like competitive patriotism. Hyderabad, Pune, Faridabad, Raipur and so on all have flags flying at a height that is above 200 ft. Closer home, Bhopal too tried its hand at installing, once again, an under 300 ft. tall flag. It swayed violently in the rather strong breeze and soon got torn. I remember it having been replaced at least once. But for months now it is no longer visible anywhere. Probably the project has been given up as a bad job even though quite a tidy sum was spent on it from the public exchequer

One wonders who in these governments were trying to prove their patriotism. Enormous amounts of money have been wasted tn this what seems to be futile exercise. Patriotic fervor cannot be measured by the size of the flag and the height at which it is flown. The flags of smaller sizes flown at lower heights, for example at Rashtrpati Bhawan, are no less patriotic. Besides, there is a Flag Code as modified in 2002 that needs to be observed. According to it, the biggest size for the flag could be 6300mms x 4200mms. I have not come across any amendment that allows flying of flags exceeding these dimensions.

With the proliferation of the outsized flags one wonders whether the extant Flag Code is being violated. If that is so the authorities should cry a halt to the frivolity being displayed in respect of the National Flag that symbolically represents our values and aspirations.



Tags: patritism | national | flags | height | size

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Indomitable spirit of Afghan women
2017.01.29 18:25:36

A recent report on the first Afghan women’s orchestra taking Davos (Switzerland) by storm stirred some memories. Lately, it was unthinkable that music would be something which would be allowed in Afghanistan, more so, for women to indulge in it. The reasons are not far to seek. Music is reckoned as un-Islamic by the rigorous practitioners of Islam. Under the Taliban’s ultra-Islamic rule, leave alone women, it was taboo for even men.

Tags: orchestra | women;s | afghan

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Environmental take-aways from demonetisation
2017.01.26 17:24:36

Prime Minister Modi’s demonetization has been roundly criticized on various counts by politicians, economists, social organizations and general public. The abrupt ban on the two high value currency denominations of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 caught the people by surprise and many of those who had stashed away sizable hoards of them were naturally the first to raise an outcry in opposition.

Tags: environmenr | demonetisation

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Indian demonetisation: Pakistan's sinister designs forced Modi's hands
2016.12.16 18:59:44

The e-mails had been going round and round for sometime carrying the supposed facts regarding the reasons for the sudden demonetisation but one couldn’t really believe all that was conveyed in them. True, Modi had in his election campaign assured that he would fight the menace of black money and bring back all that was stashed away in banks abroad. But, two and a half years had gone by and yet nothing was seemingly moving on that front. He was, therefore, being baited and mocked at by the Opposition inside and outside the Parliament for his extravagant unfulfilled promises.

Tags: demonetisation | indian

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Our life our times :: 4 :: Air purifiers
2016.11.19 18:27:13

The national capital of India, Delhi, has been choking ever since the Diwali fireworks fouled up the air. That looked like a trigger, which in fact it was not, for the continuing spell of intense air pollution. With a blanket of smog settling down over Delhi schools have been shut, construction and demolition works have been banned, polluting power plants like the one at Badarpur have been closed for ten days.

Tags: purifiers | pollution | air

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Cricketing beards have it their way
2016.11.01 15:01:01

Beards have ultimately won not one but two series against New Zealand this year. While the bearded team won all the five test matches, the one-day series was won by three matches to two. The last One Day International (ODI) at Visakahpatnam must have been very disappointing for the New Zealanders. They lost it by as many as 190 runs, a stunning defeat – all because of too many bearded men in the field?



Tags: beards | cricket

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India's disappearing freedom of expression
2016.10.22 16:03:53

Ram Chandra Guha, a free-thinker, author and a historian who has authored numerous books on Indian History and random societal matters, recently enumerated eight reasons why Indians cannot speak freely. He says India is a 50-50 democracy. It is democratic only in a few respects and it is not so in many other respects. He says the country is free in respect of conduct of free and fair elections and movement within the country. It is, however, only partly democratic in other ways. “The democratic deficit” that largely occurs is in the area of freedom of expression.



Tags: freedom | expression

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Rahul, Sonia Gandhi - like mother like son
2016.10.14 19:47:49

Plummeting standards of political discourse in the country can surprisingly be largely attributed to its “Grand Old Party”, the Indian National Congress. Some years ago, its current president, Sonia Gandhi, called Narendra Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat, “maut ka saudagar” (merchant of death), hinting at his alleged role in the Gujarat communal riots of 2002.



Tags: rahul | sonia | like | mother | son

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THE 'SURGICAL STRIKE'
2016.10.05 19:17:53

As I came back home that afternoon, my wife excitedly told me as she opened the door that there had been a “surgical strike” across the LoC (Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir). The TV was on and I asked her whether there had been any retaliatory nuclear bombings or missile (tactical or otherwise) attacks. She didn’t know. She had just heard of the “strike” when I rang the bell. I was expecting the worst.



Tags: surgical | strike | kashmir

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Nehru thwarted two winnable wars
2016.09.16 18:46:13

Aroop Raha, the Indian Air Force chief recently articulated his disappointment that the country’s air power was not fully utilized during the first war with Pakistan in 1948. Likewise, he said, the airpower was not used during the 1962 war with China.

Tags: india | disasters

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India's slipping values
2016.09.02 19:00:56

A photograph was recently published of a villager carrying his dead wife’s body on his shoulder while his daughter walked alongside crying all the way. The unfortunate incident happened somewhere in the interiors of the backward district of Kalahandi of the state of Odisha.



Tags: slipping | indian | values

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Chief Minister Kashmir gets the right perspective
2016.08.31 16:11:32

Earlier last week Chief Minister Mahmooda Mufti’s speech was being telecast live by India TV.  I wanted to check where did she speak in the vein that she did which appeared to be highly rational. I scanned all the newspapers that I get – Hindi as well as English – but I could not find it covered in any of them. The Times of India, of course, did not report it and even The Hindu – a newspaper that reports in detail everything of national interest uttered by a person of the stature of a chief minister – seemed to have glossed over it.

Tags: kashmir | unrest

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Our Life, Our Times: Changing Lives Through Technology
2016.07.31 16:06:42

“Desh aage barh raha hai” (the country is marching ahead), this is what Prime Minister Modi has been saying at various fora. Many would not agree with what he says. They would be right as in many areas of governmental activities not much change is perceptible. In fact, they have got worse.

Tags: technology | lives | changing

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Roma - 'Children of India'
2016.06.29 18:07:24

While reading a review of a film I was surprised to learn that it was made by a Roma about a large Roma family. The film is about a sunny day when the family with about 15 kids in tow goes out on a sunny day with tp celebrate their fresh start in Berlin. The name of the film is “And-Ek Ghes” in Romani (“One fine day” in English) which the reviewer found “visually chaotic” but telling an intimate tale of their “tumultuous uprooting” and yet of “strong hope, often contrived and staged”.



Tags: roma | children

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Corruption hindering growth and prosperity
2016.06.12 15:22:59

Rummaging through my collection of newspaper clippings I came across one that was of a fairly recent origin. Its sub-head said corruption remains major barrier to growth in India. This earth-shattering finding was made by as unlikely an organization as the World Economic Forum (WEF), a Swiss non-profit based near Geneva. Its mission is supposed to be "... improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas".



Tags: corruption | indian

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Sonia Gandhi's Congress is allergic to truth
2016.02.01 15:28:33

The Indian National Congress High Command has sent a show-cause notice to the Mumbai Congress chief, Sanjay Nirupam, for publishing an unsigned article in the November 2015 issue of “Congress Darshan”, a mouthpiece of the Party in Mumbai, denigrating the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Party’s current president, Sonia Gandhi.

Tags: Sonia Gandhi

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Pakistani Terror Repeats History
2016.01.09 14:43:30

The attack on the Pathankot Air Force Station was expected. I am sure the Indian Government and its security agencies must have anticipated it. It had to happen as it had always happened after every initiative for talks between India and Pakistan. One wonders whether the perpetrators of these are really so dumb as to believe that their nefarious designs would not be anticipated despite the historical background.



Tags: terror | Pakistan

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Hindu far right is Modi's enemy
2015.11.26 19:13:19

Prime Minister Modi is reported to have said the other day while addressing G20 leaders at Antalya (Turkey), “We need to involve religious leaders, thinkers and opinion makers for a social movement against extremism, particularly addressed to the youth”. This was needed the most in countries where extremism was most prevalent, he said, and highlighted the urgency for promoting broader peace and stability in West Asia and Africa. He also said, “We don’t have a comprehensive global strategy to combat terrorism. And we tend to be selective in using the instruments that we have.”

Tags: enemy | right | hindu

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Wars - manifestation of Social Darwinism
2015.09.06 18:54:06

The last one hundred years were full of international strifes and wars during which two world wars were fought involving most of the countries of the world. Apart from them there were smaller regional wars or ethnic movements for independence. Barring Australia – a single country continent – no continent was spared the luxury of peace and tranquility.

Tags: darwinism | social | wars

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Hindu pilgrimages are now destructive of environment
2015.08.08 18:37:18

This year quite a few Hindu pilgrimages are scheduled. In fact, some have been gone through, some others are continuing and still others are yet to commence.  An ancient religion as it is, it has a number of auspicious days as prescribed by the scriptures and the same have designated a number of holy places.



Tags: enviroment | pilgrimages | hind

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