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On Government’s ‘Ease of Living Index’ Exercise

The government has ranked the nation’s major cities on a 100 point scale reportedly based on four parameters of governance, social, economic and physical infrastructure under its ‘Ease of Living Index’ and has stated that Pune is the most liveable city with Panaji being at the 90th position.I was born in Pune (then Poona) and spent my school days and beautiful college years in that city. Today Pune is an overcrowded noisy polluted city, generally smelling of garbage with traffic and parking problems, pedestrians finding it difficult to walk safely, potholed roads, power failures/load shedding and flooding at the slightest rain. I have stopped visiting Pune for holidays where most of my family resides because it brings tears to my eyes to see what they have done to my beloved city. This exercise I suppose is good government propaganda for smart cities and I pray Panaji does not follow suit and become a concrete jungle. Ease of living for whom?



Chatterjee’s Demise Great Loss For Nation

The demise of 89-year-old communist leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is a great loss to Indian politics. He was liked by everyone and respected by all. He was an institution in himself. With his departure, our country will suffer from an irreparable loss. I pay my deepest condolences to him. We will never forget him and his contributions which he made for the sake of the country. May his soul rest in peace.



Control Price Of Domestic Gas

Although the state government intends to assure relief to the financially weaker/downtrodden sections of our society, in practice, this class of people tends to be the sufferer in the process. Prices of basic necessities/commodities have been rising. The cost of 14.2 kg liquefied petroleum gas (LGP) cylinder (Bharat Gas) at present is Rs 780 which the poor people cannot afford. Due to non-availability of wood for cooking, people rely on gas stove to sustain themselves. However, the rising price of gas cylinder has turned out to be a burden for the public. On various occasions, politicians promise to reduce the rising prices on various fronts but practically the picture is quite different. People have no other alternative but to pay the hiked prices. It is necessary for the state government to initiate favourable steps and see to it that the price of gas cylinder is controlled on a permanent basis.



Ridding Nation Of Maladies

It is indeed significant that August 15 is the birthday of Aurobindo Ghosh (1872) and Free India (1947). While the former went on to become Sri Aurobindo (1910), the latter Republic India (1950).  Unfortunately, after 71 years of our independence, India is still facing the music of hunger, malnutrition, child labour, slavery, unemployment, illiteracy, girl foeticide/infanticide, untouchability, honour killing, lynching and rising inequality among Indians in an alarming rate. What is the cause of such maladies? Why do we still remain prisoners of prejudices, superstitions and colossal wastage of human potential? Almost a century ago, in 1920, Sri Aurobindo diagnosed India’s disease as thought-phobia. In his letter to his younger brother Barin, he wrote, “My idea is that the chief cause of the weakness of India is not subjection nor poverty, nor the lack of spirituality or dharma (ethics) but the decline of thought-power, the growth of ignorance in the motherland of knowledge. Everywhere I see inability or unwillingness to think, thought-incapacity or thought-phobia.” In 1920, when Europe was in all sorts of trouble after the first world war, Sri Aurobindo had the insight to write, “People say Europe is running into the jaws of destruction. I do not think so. All these revolutions and upsettings are the preconditions of a new creation.” Then, what he said has, unfortunately, remained as relevant today as it was almost hundred years ago. “Our civilisation has become an achalayatana (prison), our religion bigotry of externals, our spirituality a faint glimmer of light or a momentary wave of religious intoxication. And so long as this sort of thing continues, any permanent resurgence of India is improbable.” Indeed, we will get the society as well as the government we deserve. We have no other way but to do our fundamental duty as enshrined in the Article 51A (h) of the Constitution of India – “To develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform” in ourselves to make our country awake.


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