1. FESTIVALS: Devotion surges as Ambubachi Mela ends: Thousands of devotees queued up in front of the main door of Kamakhya Mandir Guwahati which opened on June 26 after the five-day Ambubachi mela came to an end. Since morning, lakhs of visitors from every corner of the globe were seen waiting for their turn to have a glimpse of goddess Kamakhya braving rains. The Mandir door was thrown open at 6.45 am.
The door was closed from June 22-26 in accordance with the rituals of Ambubachi Mela. The fair is the most important mela celebrated at Kamakhya Mandir. It is believed that the presiding goddess of the mandir, Devi Kamakhya, goes through her annual cycle of menstruation during this time. This year, some 13 lakh visitors from across the globe attended the fair. On June 26, about 30, 000 people offered their prayers to the goddess.
2. Pilgrims have first glimpse of Shiva lingam: Vedic hymns and religious slogans glorifying Lord Shiva rented the air as thousands of pilgrims began trekking towards holy Amarnath Cave to pay obeisance and catch a glimpse of naturally formed ice Shiva lingam on the inaugural day of annual pilgrimage on June 29.
The overnight shower came as a good omen for the pilgrims who embarked on the pilgrimage with bonus of escaping the sweltering heat back home.
Around 5,000 pre-registered pilgrims had reached Baltal on Srinagar-Leh National Highway by 28th June evening to proceed on the 45-day pilgrimage on the maiden day.
3. RASHTRAPATIJI displeased over changing names of Kashmir villages: Rashtrapati Pratibha Devi Singh Patil expressed her displeasure and astonishment over the reports of changing of ancient and historical names of some Kashmiri villages, religious places, hillocks, mountains etc. She expressed her total disagreement with the moves of rechristening Srinagar as Shahar-e- Khas. She expressed these views to a five member delegation of Kashmir Vahini, the women wing of Panun Kashmir which called on her on June 23. She keenly sought more details about the issue and assured the delegation of taking up the matter with the appropriate authorities including the Governor of the state.
Khema Kaul, National spokesperson of Kashmira Vahini, while highlighting the issues faced by the displaced Kashmiri Pandits in general and the women in particular, made a strong case for seeking Rashtrapatiji’s intervention in raising the amount of meager relief being paid to registered displaced families. She wished for the immediate revision of the relief amount and requested the intermittent revision to be linked with the whole sale price index.
4. PM suggests popularising Vivekananda via internet: With most of the material on Swami Vivekananda coming from Western sources, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has suggested propagating the ideas of the youth icon among the Generation Next through the internet by developing websites on him. Singh heads the National Committee on commemoration of Vivekananda’s 150th birth centenary. Swami Prabhananda, General Secretary, Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission, emphasized on inculcating ‘value education’ to the youth, so that they understand their responsibilities with a moral benchmark and imbibe spirit of national service.
Narendra Modi, Gujarat Chief Minister, one of the members of the panel suggested establishment of four yoga universities across the country given that stress management would become integral to every establishment.
Ramesh Pokhriyal, Uttarakhand Chief Minister said a book on this great legend could be made available in all schools besides setting up of an International Dhyan and Yoga Kendra in Almora, where the Ramakrishna Mission has an establishment.
5. bharat, China growing rapidly: Obama: US President Barack Obama has said that countries like Bharat and China are on the move and growing much rapidly, and America is facing stiff competition from these nations.
"For a long time we were told that the best way to win this competition was to undermine consumer protections, undermine clean air and clean water laws, hand out tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, and everything would work out just fine. It did not work out well.
6. DRDO hands over integrated thermally regulated shelters to Army: The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has provided the Bharatiya Army its product, Integrated Thermally Regulated Shelters (ITRS) to protect the soldiers against extreme climatic condition of the Himalayas.
ITRS’s were dedicated by Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, Secretary, Defence R&D and DG, DRDO to the HQ 14 Corps at a function in Leh, Ladakh. The shelters designed and developed by DRDO, are equipped with integrated temperature regulators, biodigestors and air monitoring systems.
7. bharatiya yoga icon finds following in China: Renowned yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar arrived in China on his first visit to a passionate reception, and was stunned by the wide interest in his teachings in a nation where he can now count more than 30,000 people as followers of his yoga philosophy. Yoga schools inspired by his famous writings on the discipline have sprouted up across 57 Chinese cities in 17 provinces, from Beijing and Shanghai to Harbin in the North and Chengdu in western Sichuan.
Iyengar lectured an audience of more than a thousand yoga practitioners in Guangzhou, where the Bharatiya and Chinese governments organised the first-ever joint yoga summit. His students demonstrated yoga asanas before a crowd of more than 700 in Beijing, while he engaged them in a two-hour interaction that covered philosophy and even the mechanics of breathing. Questions from the Chinese audience ranged from the technical — “Can yoga help fight against schizophrenia?” asked one doctor — to the practical — “Why do I get dizziness when I meditate?”
One yoga student complained: “I’ve been practising for seven years, but feel I can’t improve.” “I’ve been practising yoga for 76 years,” Iyengar said. “And I’m still learning.”
8. Yoga spectacle in Times Square: An estimated 8,000 yoga enthusiasts participated in what has come to be part of New York’s eclectic culture, Yoga in Times Square, on June 21. First organized nine years ago with merely two participants, this year it had 5,000 people from 31 countries pre-registering for first day of the year.
The day featured free yoga in the heart of Times Square with small-scale musical performances. The day kicked off with “Mind Over Madness” yoga from 7am-8am on Military Island (intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets). Scores of yoga enthusiasts descended on Times Square, led by Levitate Yoga owner Connie Chan and Summer Solstice event co-creator Douglass Stewart, in a search for tranquility and transcendence at the center of New York’s most frenetic and commercial space. Participation was free and open to all, the celebration continued until 8 PM.
9. cONGRESS BUSY KILLING THE INDIA STORY: The flight of capital from India is now official. The latest Reserve Bank of India report says that the outward flow of FDI in May 2011 was up 59 per cent at $3.7 billion. Outward flow in May 2010 was less than half of this at $1.39 billion.
Blame it on policy paralysis, the unconcealed civil war in the economic ministries, absence of governance or a deliberate drift to jeopardise India’s growth, the UPA has practically succeeded in killing the India story. FDI outflow is the result of Indian firms investing abroad. In the best of times there is nothing wrong about it, in a globalised world. The problem is when it starts pinching the domestic economy, affects growth, investment and employment generation and disincentivise FDI inflow. This also is a reflection of the corporate perception that there are better, more profitable destinations for investment. In a way, it is an expression of no-confidence by the corporate, on the present regime. Has Manmohan Singh done anything to the arrest of this trend? No. In fact, the UPA government is wilfully encouraging this flight of Indian capital. This at a time, when FDI inflows from the rest are drying up. Other Asian countries have emerged stronger contenders for foreign investment.
Flight of capital from India has been on the rise for the last three years. In these columns we had warned about this trend on a couple of occasions earlier. In 2007-08 the outward Indian investment stood at $20.94 billions. This was $17.16 billion in 2008-09, and it remained at $17.98 in 2009-10. In 2010-11 it jumped to $43.92 billion. The liberalisation of the overseas investment policy by the UPA in 2005 was one of the main reasons for this trend. It was explained as an initiative to strengthen economic linkages with other countries. The RBI report says that Tata Steel, Reliance and Gammon are some of the major overseas investors.
Reports say that almost 65 per cent of Tata’s earnings come from abroad. The group is giving jobs to some 45,000 British citizens. Almost the entire investment plans of the Reliance group for the next five years are all overseas. The RBI report reveals that as many as 418 firms have made investments overseas in May 2011. Outward FDI comprises investments in equity, loans and guarantees issued by Indian companies to their joint ventures or wholly owned subsidiaries and purchase of oilfields, agricultural land, real estate and other properties. A major concern in the flight of Indian capital is that it affects investments, job creation, growth and development in India. It also neutralises whatever FDI the country attracts – one of the major rationale behind liberalisation. The RBI would however claim that the outflow is part of the government’s initiative to growth in India’s export, and transfer of skills and sharing of R&D.
The fact remains that, foreign investment to India is down by over 25 per cent during this period. Inflation has reached double digits. The interest rates have become so high that the EMI on housing, vehicle and other consumer durables have increased 100 per cent after the UPA came to power. In the last 27 months interest rates have risen 10 times. And the growth estimates are being lowered. Is there a deliberate shenanigan to guillotine the India growing story?
Look at the stock market, the most sensitive index of economic bullishness. The post-liberalisation India used to boast of its buoyant stock market, which attracted an ever increasing number of retail investors, with the government offering attractive tax incentives. The other day an Economic Times report said, by June 10, 2011, the Sensex had slumped about 11 per cent, in the last six months giving India a place along with Egypt and Tunisia among the world’s 10 worst performing equity markets. The FII investments in the Indian equities which was $29 billion last year was the lowest at $52 million in 2011, — not only is it a fraction of the money that Indonesia ($1586.4 m) and Taiwanese ($1830.8m) markets received, even Pakistan ($72.8m) has done better than India. Indian investment market today is one of the most expensive in the world. And the never ending tales of graft have put a permanent question mark on the government’s capacity to pursue reforms. As a result even Indian corporates are feeling unsure of dealing with the UPA. They find it safer and cheaper to invest abroad. This, however, is only part of the story.
The UPA, it seems is bent on instigating a capital flight from India. It has created a super cabinet of frustrated, retired babus, over-ground Maoists and Left fellow travellers as Sonia’s advisory club, which obstructs all economic reforms. This Sonia club has devised a number of schemes to perpetuate poverty in the country and create a captive vote bank for the dynasty. So, major investment proposals are languishing for want of environment clearance. Power generation is stagnant because of coal linkage bottle-necks. The promised 20-km a day road-built is only on paper. Infrastructure building is facing stumbling blocks because of the cussed UPA agenda.
The funny aspect is that the regime obsessed with the slogan of all sorts of rights—right to education, right to food, right to information –has stopped doing anything right for the country. – Editorial, Organiser, July 3, 2011.
10. 300 km in a litre of petrol! Eight B Tech students of the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Jalandhar have designed a vehicle that aims to cover over 300 km in a litre of petrol and which they aim to achieve at the prestigious Shell Eco-marathon to be held from July 6 to 9 at the Sepang International Formula Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Their design is among a few chosen from Bharat, China, Japan, Pakistan, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore by an international jury to get high school and college teams to design, build and test energy efficient vehicles that travel the farthest on a fixed amount of energy.
Apporva Pargaritha, team leader of Autorex, said the vehicle had been designed by him along with Raghav Nagpal, Anuj Sood, Sachpreet Singh, Balpreet Singh, Ravinu Garg and Arushi Gabrami under the guidance of Prof Vishal Sharma.
11. BSNL cellphone services for Amarnath yatris: The state-owned BSNL on June 22 announced the launch of cellphone services for the Amarnath yatra, which will enable pilgrims to stay in touch with their families.
One BTS tower had been installed in the shrine area while three towers had been set up on the Baltal route and four on the Pahalgam route.
12. Guru Vandana organised by HSS (Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Ortega park shakha) on June 4th in Sedgwick Elementary school, Cupertino, California, was attended by 15 teachers. Talk by kids of 8 to 12 age group, Shloka recital by Shishu and Bala kids of 5 to 12 age group, and a stage dance performed for Vandemataram song by Bala Gana (kids 8 to 12) were attractions of the event. The kishore gana performed an excellent demonstration of Surya Namaskar. Teachers were felicitated by their students in complete traditional Hindu way.
13. Hindu Samrajya Diwas at Nairobi was attended by 112 Swayamsevaks and 70 Sevikas. The program consisted games, sharirik, samata, sanchalan and bauddhik on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by Pandurang Handeji.
14. bharatiya chef wins $100,000 prize: in the Top Chef Masters contest in Los Angeles, Floyd Cardoz whipped up an upma of semolina and mushroom to win the top prize of $100,000. In the personal food memories section, Cardoz upped the ante with upma, which critics called a Bharatiya version of the Italian polenta.
15. world's largest tricolour: Exuding unflinching patriotism, a Bharatiya-American in Chicago has created the world's largest Bharatiya flag, weighing 250 kg, as a symbol of peace and harmony in the country. The tricolour, which stretches 153 by 102 feet, was created by entertainment businessman Monty Saiyed and has found place in Limca Book of Records in April this year. His creation will feature at the two-day Vibrant India event to be held in Chicago on July 16 and 17.
16. Harish Manwani named Unilever's first global COO: Unilever—the world's second-largest consumer goods company—has appointed Harish Manwani as its first chief operating officer, with a specific mandate to spur growth in emerging markets.
Confirming the creation of the post of COO as part of a broader management reorganization, Unilever's CEO Paul Polman said, "About 56% of Unilever's revenue comes from outside the US and Europe now; by 2020, it will be 70-75%. We have to shift our thinking from New York to New Delhi."
17. IIT alumnus named head of MIT's top lab: The prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has named Bharatiya academician Anant Agarwal as director of its Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), the institute's largest interdisciplinary lab.
An IIT Chennai and Stanford University alumnus, Agarwal will assume his new role on July 1. A professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science, Agarwal succeeds Victor Zue, who served four years as CSAIL's director. The key appointment comes days after MIT named another Bharatiya-origin professor Anantha Chandrakasan to lead the department of electrical engineering and computer science, the largest academic department in the institute. Chandrakasan is Professor of electrical engineering at MIT and will also be assuming his new role on July 1.
18. RSS stamps its presence in Tiruchy RSS on June 20 stamped its presence with a route march, the first of its kind in Tiruchy. As many as 142 volunteers took part in the route march, which coincided with Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s public meeting in the region.
19. FOUNDATION FOR INDIA AND INDIAN DIASPORA STUDIES: “In the battlefield of ideas, it is need of the hour to have an India related think tank where opinion makers, scholars, thinkers and political leaders are brought together to brainstorm their ideas and analyze different scenarios which will help resolve unknown future problems” said Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha at the inauguration of The Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS), a think tank in Washington, D.C. on June 23. More than 150 community leaders, thinkers, academicians, journalists and activists from the Indian American community came together in Washington, D.C to be a part of the historic event.
20. SI USA ORGANIZES CRICKET TOURNAMENT: A cricket tournament was organized on June 18th at Lincoln Park, Jersey City in which 16 teams participated.
The YFS Cricket For Charity benefits Sewa Internationals Youth For Seva (YFS) Vidyadaan (Sankrit for Spreading Knowledge) project that supports educational expenses of poor children in urban slums and villages in Bharat. So far, more than 300 donors have come forward to support this event and we have raised a total of $25,000, said Ravi Chandra, the events organizer. For more info please visit http://www.sewausa.org/yfs-cricket & http://youthforseva.org
21. BBC Hindi Service saved from closure: After protests in Bharat and the UK, the BBC's Hindi Service has been saved from closure after Foreign secretary on June 21 William Hague announced additional funding that will ensure its continuation amidst major funding cuts across the BBC. Hague has agreed to give an extra 2.2 million pounds annually to the World Service for the next three years from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office budget. The BBC Trust has also reallocated 9 million pounds of existing World Service funding to editorial investment to counter the impact of government funding cuts.
22. VITAMIN D Can Cure Heart Disease, Diabetes: Recent studies by experts in Bharat and the US have linked the heart disease and diabetes to a lack of vitamin D. An increase in Vitamin D-rich food items such as treated milk, butter, fish and increased exposure to the sun, can help ward off diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The Bharatiya study was conducted by the Diabetes Foundation (Bharat), department of diabetes and metabolic disease at Fortis Hospital and the department of biostatistics, AIIMS. Lead researcher Dr Anoop Misra said that after studying 92 subjects with type II diabetes mellitus, it was found that the average concentration of Vitamin D was significantly lower in diabetics as compared to non-diabetic patients.
A study conducted by the Harvard Institute of Public Health and published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that a higher intake of Vitamin D is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases in men.
Vitamin D deficiency in adults precipitates or exacerbates osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases.
23. bharat's super rich club 12TH Largest in the world: HNWI population of the country grew by 20.8% to 1.53 lakh in 2010 compared to 1.26 lakh in 2009, according to the 15th annual World Wealth Report, released by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini.
24. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar receives Crans Montana Forum Award: Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been conferred with the prestigious Crans Montana Forum Award on June 25 at a glittering ceremony in Belgium''s capital Brussels attended by Presidents, Prime Ministers and Ambassadors of several countries. The ''Art of Living'' founder is the first Bharatiya to receive the award, which has been mainly conferred on politicians.
25. Hindu population below 80% in Census 2011:. This is for the first time in centuries, the proportion of the Hindu population in the country will probably fall below the 80 percent mark — in keeping with the long-term trend of a significant divergence between Hindu and Muslim growth rates.
26. SASB launches 24-hour helpline for Amarnath Yatra: Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) has established a control room equipped with a 24-hour helpline to facilitate smooth conduct of the Amarnath yatra. The control room was inaugurated on June 25 by Jammu and Kashmir Governor and Shrine Board chairman N N Vohra, Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board.
27. Vriksha Puja by Kalyan Ashram: Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram celebrated World Environment Day on June 5 with a difference. It organised a function at Surya Niketan, Randha, (Dadra Nagar Haveli) premises to worship the trees. Many people belonging to Vanvasi villages and also from several cities like Selvas, Naroli, Daman, Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan etc., participated in the function.
28. M Malla Reddy dies in road accident: Former Prant karyavaha and senior Sangh activist of Andhra Pradesh M Malla Reddy and his wife Smt Sukanya died in a road accident on June 8. They were returning from Jagatiyal after attending a family function. They are survived by two sons and a daughter. Their eldest son became a martyr while fighting against the Naxalites.
29. RSS Seva Vibhag organises Eye Testing/Surgery camp: Seva Vibhag of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bangalore's Jayanagar Unit arranged a free eye testing camp on June 26th at semi rural area of Gottigere. The camp was attended by 607 villagers who are poor and could not afford entry in to higher hospitals for their check up for their vision related ailments.
Apart from eye testing to diagnose the specific cause and health status of eyes, its mineral-nutrient requirements etc, the camp also had Cataract surgery facility. 44 villagers benifited from Cataract surgery free of cost. For 274 patients with poor vision the spectacles were distributed free.
30. Nod to NRI Commission: The Punjab Government has approved the setting up of a four-member state commission for the NRIs with a view to protecting and safeguarding the interests of the NRIs in the state. A retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court would head the commission. The other members would be an IAS officer (not below the rank of Principal Secretary/Financial Commissioner) and an IPS Officer (not below the rank of ADGP).
Two members would be nominated from amongst the persons having knowledge of matters and issues relating to the NRIs.
31. Baba Ramdev vows to fight graft: For the first time after his eviction from Ramlila Maidan on June 5, Ramdev said while he had come out stronger after the police crackdown, his movement against corruption and black money was set to be bigger. The yoga guru, who was back in the national capital on June 26 said, "I will fight corruption till my last breath." "I envisage politics based on morality bringing about a change in our social system," Ramdev said, adding, he would strive for a "political alternative".
32. Sewa Bharati KArNATAKA dedicates more houses to flood victims: In a programme organised on June 20, one more bunch of the newly constructed houses were handed over to the flood victims at Kotnalli village of Guledagudda district of Karnataka. RSS National Executive Member and senior Pracharak Mai Cha Jayadev formally handed over the houses.
Abhinava Swamiji of Oppattheshwara Mutt, Guledagudda, Adi Siddheshwara Swamiji of Jalihala, RSS Sah Prant Pracharak Shankaranand, Vibhag Pracharak Narendra and several others were present on the occasion.
33. Tribute to PP Dr Hedgewar: Rashtra Suraksha and Jankalyan Samiti organised a function in Delhi on June 21 to pay tribute to the RSS founder, Dr Hedgewar on his 71st death anniversary. Speaking at the function noted industrialist and RSS Delhi Prant Sah Sanghachalak Dr Shyam Sunder Agrawal said the life and work of Dr Hedgewar impressed each and everyone. Even his opponents admired him. Noted thinker and writer Shri Krishnanand Sagar Sharma said the uniqueness of the method developed by Dr Hedgwar is that the RSS workers are always in front of the action but when it comes to gain publicity they are seen nowhere. This vision and method needs to be followed by all those people who are active in social activities today.
34. save Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple: BJP MP Tarun Vijay recently visited Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Temple. He worshipped at this ancient Shiva temple, which is said to be built between 9th and 12th century.
Originally known as Shikhareshwar Temple, it is situated on a mesmerisingly picturesque mountain just on Thai-Cambodian border. Though the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has given its verdict in favour of Cambodia and recently the UNESCO also declared it a world heritage site, the Thai authorities are claiming it. There have been a number of incidents involving heavy shelling by Thai army causing serious damage to many of the gopurams of the temple. The temple is closed for tourists for the last three years.
35. Bharatiyas lead in charity: Bharat has emerged as one of the leaders in charitable giving among emerging markets, compared to other nations such as China and Brazil. In 2010, Bharatiyas gave 50% more since 2006 as a percentage of GDP at approximately $5-6 billion, up from $2 billion in 2006, according to a report released by global consultancy firm Bain & Company. Private charity contributions were largely dominated by money pumped in by foreign funds with individuals constituting only 26% of the overall $5-6 billion.
36. Bharatiya women most optimistic in world: Bharatiya women are more optimistic in the world compared to their counterparts in the developed nations. Despite facing a lot of stress, women in Bharat splash money on health, vacations, beauty products and electrical appliances and are gaining greater control over their lives, according to a survey of 6,500 women across 21 developed and developing countries. Bharatiya women are most optimistic about opportunities for growth, with 78% of the lot confident about better financial stability and better chances for education for their daughters.
37. first caste census kicks off: Independent Bharat's first census to determine the caste-wise breakup of the country's 1.21 billion people was launched from Bezamara, 45 km north of Tripura capital Agartala, on June 29. The census started in this remote tribal dominated village, 45km north of Tripura capital Agartala.
"In the caste census, there would be four categories — Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, others and no caste," registrar general and census commissioner of Bharat C Chandramauli said. The caste census would be conducted simultaneously with the socio-economic survey to determine the number of BPL families.
38. GOVERNMENT HAS SOFT CORNER TOWARDS SEPARATISTS: BAJRANG LAL
Addressing the concluding function of 20 day long Sangh Shiksha Varg on July 2 in Jammu , Dr Bajrang Lal, RSS Sanghchalak of Northern Region said it is unfortunate while the separatists are being given concessions, the nationalist people in the State are subjected to discrimination.
He lambasted the Union Government of sending fresh invitations to the separatists for holding dialogue with them saying the separatists are opposed to such talks and also against the integration of J&K with Union of India so Government should refrain from talking to them.
He urged the nationalist forces to remain united, by forgetting their all differences as Sangh is wedded to the cause of national unity and integrity.
The programme was presided over by Col. J B S Samyal. He also spoke on the occasion and threw light on aims and objectives of RSS.
39. BHARAT no more on human trafficking 'Watch List': After a gap of six years, the United States has taken Bharat off the human trafficking 'Watch List' for making significant efforts in combating the menace. In its annual Trafficking in Persons report, the State Department has upgraded Bharat to Tier 2 countries after six years.
40. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Shri Dilip Mistry & Family – Singapore, Shri Bharat Mistry & Family USA, Shri Gajanan Dhapodkar USA, Shri Mitesh Sevani and Shri Hasmukh Rabadia UK , Dr. Manoj Motwani – Hong Kong. Pravas: Shri Ravikumar, Sahsamyojak Vishwa Vibhag, will return to Bharat after his tour to Singapore and Hong Kong.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: It is always the selfless, self-confident and devoted band of missionaries, intensely proud of their national ethos, who have roused the sleeping manliness in our nation in times of adversity and made our nations rise gloriously from a heap of ruins. Verily such men have been the true salt of this soil. –Shri Guruji.
JAI SHREE RAM
THE SOVEREIGN’S RIGHT
M G Vaidya
In a few recent issues of The Indian Express, I find an extraordinary, incessant vehemence in criticising Anna Hazare’s and Baba Ramdev’s agitations. The principle underlining this criticism appears to underscore the sovereignty of the Parliament. But is that sovereignty absolute? No, it is relative.
If this Parliament, or any other Parliament of India, decides to pass a law declaring India henceforth a fascist or a communist state, can it do so? No, it has no power to do that, because its powers are limited by the preamble of the Constitution which declares in no ambiguous words that India shall be a “democratic republic.” If Parliament passes a law that is against the words and the spirit of the Constitution, the judiciary has the power to strike it down, declaring it ultra vires. In short, the sovereignty of Parliament is not absolute, it is relative. The Constitution is superior to Parliament. And as for the Constitution, the people are superior to it. It is thepeople who have framed the Constitution. The very words that begin it are “We the People of India” have resolved to have this Constitution. People are supreme; and people constitute the nation. Actually the people are the nation. The Parliament as well as all other institutions of democratic polity are, in a way, subservient to the people.
Article 79 of the Constitution says that the president and the two Houses shall constitute Parliament, but the two are not of equal power and influence. In a democratic, parliamentary system, the Lok Sabha is the real representative of the people. But for the last seven years, we are suffering a head of government who is not a member of the Lok Sabha. Why?
Because, the Constituion is silent about it? But is that the spirit of the Constitution? In exceptional circumstances, for a short period, the president can appoint a person who is not a member of the LS. For six months, you or I can be appointed the PM. But an exception is not a rule. In 1966, after Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sudden demise in Tashkent, Mrs Indira Gandhi was sworn in as PM. At that time she was a member of the RS. She could have continued as PM, even in that capacity. But she understood the spirit of the Constitution and fought an election, got elected to the LS, became the leader of that House, and continued in the august office of the PM. We need an amendment in our constitution that will make mandatory for the PM, to be a member of the LS.
If civil society drafts a bill, what is the harm in it? It does not become a law. Even this bill will have to be discussed and debated in Parliament. If Parliament passes it, then only can it become a law. Anna Hazare’s team that drafted the Jan Lokpal bill is denigrated as outsiders with no mandate to draft it. May I ask then about the National Advisory Council (NAC) drafting the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence bill? Which provision of the Constitution empowers the NAC to draft the Bill? If NAC can draft a bill, why not Anna’s team? A bill drafted by civil society neither usurps nor curtails the legislative powers of Parliament.
As for the prestige of Parliament, whose responsibility is it? Are MPs by their behaviour in the House, maintaining the stature of the Parliament? Are they ignorant about how one indicates opposition? Why do they so often rush in the well of the House? Why is the speaker required so frequently to adjourn it? How much time is wasted in slogan-mongering, how little is spent in serious debate and discussion? How many MPs are present in the House? A whole fortinght was lost on the issue of the JPC. Is this lapse excusable?
It is my considered opinion that UPA 2 has lost the confidence of the people. Its methods of handling Baba Ramdev are whimsical and arbitrary. The midnight crackdown on a sleeping crowd, beating them with lathis, lobbing tear-gas shells on them, is criminal. A PIL to prosecute the home minister will be legitimate. Had there been a provision for right to recall, at least 100 MPs of the ruling combine would have lost their position. I think that such a provision is essential. The conditionality and methodology of recall is a matter of debate and deliberation. Let us not overlook the significance of huge gatherings of people, both men and women, voluntarilly assembled at Jantar Mantar and Ramlila grounds.
-- The writer is a former spokesman for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. (The Indian Express, June 17, 2011)