The Water Cooler
  • The phone rang and it was my mother. "The SMS isn't going through. I don't know what is wrong. You try sending the SMS a couple times and go to their website also", she ordered me across the phone while at her home a thousand kilometres away.

    Mother dearest was talking about 'Satyamev Jayate' and the SMS that Aamir Khan, the show's host, had asked all viewers to send. The text messages will apparently help back his request to the Rajasthan government to set up a fast track court, so that doctors who were caught practicing female foeticide are brought to justice.

    With the first episode of 'Satymev Jayate' telecast, the verdict is out and it's divided. The nation was waiting with bated breath for Aamir Khan's foray into television.  You couldn't miss the show even if you wanted to; such was the promotional blitz before its debut. Aamir's carefully cleared up face looked down at you dauntingly from virtually every billboard and the show's musical jingle never lost an opportunity to ring Read More »from Satyamev Jayate = India's Oprah
  • IRCTC Bookings : The Daily Circus

    On 28th March, I reached Mumbai from New Delhi (via Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata and Jaipur). I was supposed to reach Bangalore from Bhubaneshwar around March 15. The reason for my cross-country railway marathon? Trying to, or rather having the vast courage to, book my railway tickets online from IRCTC. If you are an agent making a living from overcharging tourists, stop reading NOW. And if you don't want to read this long, heart-rending post, a few quick bites before you go away:

    • 6,111 agents have been blacklisted by IRCTC
    • Of them, 4,310 were using multiple user IDs
    • 1,005 have been claiming fraudulent TDRs
    • 2 super-thug agents from Mumbai have been banned by the Railway Ministry
    • Problems related to IRCTC are discussed daily on Consumer Forum sites, Grahak Seva, Cleartrip Forum, National Consumer Complaint Forum, apart from loads of blogs
    • A friend Tweeted, 'Rajnikanth is faster than Intel Processors, but IRCTC can hang Rajnikanth'

    I had gone to Orissa on

    Read More »from IRCTC Bookings : The Daily Circus
  • Damayanti Sen is not Inspector Vijay. Unlike the muscled, trigger happy super cops who always triumph in the end of a satisfying Bollywood movie, the story of this IPS officer is not so rosy. Her mistake was to persist on the track of the culprits and crack a high profile gang rape case. Her reward is a transfer to a low profile position.

    Damayanti’s reaction on her transfer order. Photo by Anandabazar Patrika. More on

    Damayanti has a Masters Degree in Economics. She entered the IPS in 1996, and in 2009, became the first woman ever to grace the post of Deputy Commissioner, Detective Department, Kolkata. She was Joint Commissioner in February 2012, when a woman was gang raped in Park Street, Kolkata. One of the suspects involved was related to a Congress leader.

    The case got some negative publicity right at the beginning as the local police station did not cooperate with the victim, delaying the process of lodging as FIR. Next there was a confusion over identifying the criminals. It didn't help when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee publicly claimed that the case
    Read More »from Mamata Transfers Supercop to Police Training School
  • No country for women

    Girl children in IndiaTo be killed before you are born is inexplicable. For the 10 million girl children who were brutally killed due to selective abortions [after pre-natal screening between 2001 and 2011], the first blow landed before they were born. ABC News did an expose last year where it claimed that a staggering 40 million women have gone 'missing'. The result? The sex ratio has dipped to 918 girls for every 1000 males in 2011 from 927 girls in 2001.

    For the girls who make the cut, it's not over, gendercide awaits. India has among the highest rates of girl children being killing after birth in the world (by women who can't afford pre-natal screening). It's a girl; three words that sound the death knell. After carrying their babies for nine months, mothers or midwives will put an end to the 'burden' by slamming their heads against the wall, burying them alive or stuffing a wet cloth in their mouths. Survive this and malnourishment follows, felling more. Around 2.5 million children die in India every

    Read More »from No country for women
  • Hooch Deaths

    Malappuram, Sep 2010 — 26 people dead after consuming illicit country liquor. Excise Minister P. Gurudasan refuses to accept 'moral responsibility' and resign. Several hundred illegal toddy shops destroyed. Compensation of Rs. 1 lakh promised by the government to the victim's families.

    South 24 Parganas, Dec 2011 — 172 people dead after drinking spurious hooch. The government promises compensation of Rs 2 lakhs to victim's families for 'accidental death', refusing 'moral responsibility'. Two PILs are filed at the High Court, demanding justice and welfare coverage instead of compensation. The High Court suspends compensation pay-outs for 2 months. Khora Badshah, main culprit for spiking the liquor, convicted in a charge sheet on Feb 11, 2012.

    Cuttack and Khurda, Feb 2012 — 34 people dead, 6 blind, 80 under treatment after consuming illegal liquor mixed with cough syrup. 3 government officials suspended. Excise Minister A U Singdeo resigns claiming 'moral responsibility'. Compensation

    Read More »from Hooch Deaths
  • The Price of Rape: Rs 42

    According to the Planning Commission, human dignity is worth Rs 2 lakh. That's the maximum compensation for a rape victim who files an FIR with enough evidence and pursues the correct legal channels. The price of a life is higher. A minor or mentally challenged woman, or a woman who gets pregnant or contracts AIDS as a result of the rape, might claim the princely sum of Rs. 3 lakh.

    January 2, 2012, the Delhi court awarded compensation of Rs 1 lakh to a 17-year-old rape victim awaiting justice. She was 14 when the incident occurred. In the interim, she tried to kill herself by consuming acid, and was reduced to a vegetative existence. The court, appropriately 'shocked' with the situation, coughed up a lakh and sent her back to the queue.

    Article 38 (1) of the Constitution of India provides for Criminal Injuries Compensation Boards in every state. The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of setting up the boards. The National Women's Commission, the Working Women's Commission, and several

    Read More »from The Price of Rape: Rs 42


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