Saturday, 23 March 2013

Verdict 20 years later

One of the worst bombings in Mumbai in the 90's , a direct consequence of the Gujarat riots has its day finally today where The Supreme Court sealed a man's doom and delivered justice to the 257 killed that day.

Half of it anyway, since the masterminds Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim are still absconding.

 On Friday 12th March 1993, 13 bombs killed 250 and injured 700 . Some of the iconic places in Mumbai like Hotel Sea Rock,Zaveri Bazaar,Air India Building,Hotel Juhu Centaur and nine other places were damaged.

Over 100 of the 129 finally accused were convicted by the TADA or the Terrorist and Disruptive (Prevention) Act in 2006.  

This was the first batch.

Then came finally in 2013 8 years later The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence to Yakub Menon, but commuted the sentence to life imprisonment of 10 others.

He has been put under max security in order to prevent another Ram Singh, (who was accused of rape and killed himself in Tihar Jail.)

Essa and Yusuf Memon, Rubina Memon sentences' has been commuted to life imprisonment.

 The verdicts of the planners is still awaited with the prosecutors looking for a death sentence.

Sanjay Dutt has been sentenced to five years in jail after already having served 18 months . He was arrested later in December1995 and re released in December 1997 under bail laws.  

In 2006 the case opened for sentencing for all accused  The period between 2006–2007 saw Dutt spend 7 months in Arthur Road Prison and Pune prison on three occasions for arms offences, although in 2006 Dutt was finally acquitted of any TADA-related offenses but was charged under the illegal possession of arms act.

The actor has been given 4 weeks to surrender. the Supreme Court said that the circumstances and nature of the offence was so serious that Dutt cannot be released on probation.

The rest of the film fraternity has rallied behind him saying that  he is a "changed man ". Justice Katju has appealed to the Governor for a lighter sentence for him.

This hs become another instance of the phrase " better late than never' . Which is turning out to be the defining statement of the last few months. Such as Ajmal Kasab's hanging for 2008 26/11, Afzal Guru for the Parliament shooting in 2001.  Many have applauded this comparatively fast decision making to deliver justice to those who have lost lives and loved ones in all these attacks.

But as people have said before. These mass killings deserve better. They deserve speedy justice and compensation, they do not deserve a court case which spans most of the current generation's lives.

The slowness of the judicial system is starting to irk people who demand that cases such terrorist attacks take precedence and not be tied up in red tape and bureaucracy.

But more than that people demand that India has to stop taking such  a soft stance on Pakistan. the Supreme Court has held Pak responsible for those attacks. And it has not been the last one and  then and probably will go on and on if India doesn't become tougher on Pakistan's evasion on the terrorist masterminds holed up there.


Monday, 24 December 2012

The new French Revolution

 Why is it always us? Is a question women all over the world ask. Why is it always us ? Why is it always us who are violated? Why is it always us who have to bear the faults of men? Why is it always us who are blamed for our violation ? Why is it always that when we dare to speak up to demand our rights we are put down ruthlessly by those who are supposed to protect us? Isn't it our right to want to protect ourselves and kindred spirits from being used by truly sick men as if we are nothing but blow up dolls for them? 


Ever since the dawn of time , we are always the guilty party. We are supposed to bear all the abuse and discrimination silently . If we speak up for basic rights we are treated with violence and abuse as  if we deserve this. Why? Just because we were not born male? I say with absolute sarcasm when I ask forgiveness for our OBVIOUS gender defect. When we are raped or sexually harassed we bear it silently and never talk about it 'cause let's face it , who the hell is listening to us? I mean , we have been brought up with the same antiquated , sick mentality that we are nothing but breeding grounds for men and they can do what the hell they want with us and we are supposed to shut up and let them do it. 

Women are always blamed for it. We wear short skirts, that "provokes" men to rape us. We smile at a guy we are "asking" for "it". We are nice to a guy  and that gives guys express permission to manhandle us. We should not be travelling outside at night , we should be dressing up as nuns . In Bihar recently women using cell phones was banned. Wonderful , could you behave more "anti - women" like?

No place knows all this better than Delhi , our capital in many ways than one. Its not only the nation's capital but is Rape Central. A place where parents are terrified of sending their daughters to study or work.  
My grandmother blew up when my dad suggested a University in Delhi. So did my mom. For obvious reasons. 

After years of abuse, violation and silent suffering. The city's roiling emotions and anger finally boiled over when a girl was gang raped and thrown out of a bus and the government which is supposed to protect those in need did nothing but put their hands on top of one other and condemned the incident and gave verbal assurances while the girl fought for her life. Typical.

But the city'd had enough. Especially the angry youth who were tired of seeing the same routine over and over again. Tired of apathy, uncaring , they decided to launch a protest at India Gate against the easy dismissal of the government of such heinous crimes against women who are wives, daughters, sisters to someone in the country and the city. They demanded that those sick rapists be given the death penalty and stricter anti rape laws and sexual harassment laws be established to put fear into every rapist and potential rapist until they are so scared that they treat women with nothing but the utmost respect and deference.

The government has seen such protests before and decided to dismiss it by sending brute force in the form of the stellar Delhi police thinking they will go home . 

Watching the images of police beating up peaceful protesters which included women who were protesting a rightful cause it was like watching pre-independence India . Sad. But surprise , surprise they refused to move , in fact the crowd got bigger. I guess, in all the politics they forgot to look at the level of anger of the country's youth.

They were facing the next generation who were just beyond their tolerance limit. The police could whatever the hell they want , they weren't going to budge. The protesters got louder and more stubborn to move the protest from the India Gate . Even after enacting Sec 144, the protesters which included equal amounts of boys and girls, sent a clear message " We ain't moving. Bring your worst."

And now the government got worried . The protesters meant business. Sonia Gandhi met a delegation of protesters  and despite "assuring" that the criminals will get the highest form of punishment , the protesters were not convinced or satisfied. 

Politicians you need to know something about us. We have seen it all before. We know your every move thanks to the media and quite frankly we ain't falling for it. We want it all and we ain't moving even a little inch until you give it to us. So either give us something real or we are going to make your lives a little bit more difficult day by day.

The government then tried another method. Sending violent hooligans to force the police's hand into breaking up the protest with tear gas, water cannons and lathi charging which was basically an excuse for the police to beat up the blameless protesters also. Amazing , really genius . Could you fall more in public opinion ?

Of course , such a big event could not escape politicising . Baba Ramdev, Anna Hazare, and the Aam Aadmi party led by Arvind Kejriwal and try to spoil it by turning it just another selfish , greedy movement against the ruling party.  The students were furious at this and said that they wanted no part of the politics 
This was a movement for basic human rights not a political vendetta.

Eventually , the protesters moved to Jantar Mantar but are being dished the same treatment by the police.

My message to all of you there is this-

You guys are freaking awesome. Its time the apathy stops and we show the power that we  are done. We are done with shutting our eyes and letting the government get away with trivializing murder, rape and violence. Its time we protect the ones in need , cause let's face it, the ones who are supposed to do so aren't doing so great.

This entire post is in red to signify the blood shed by the protesters and the brave girl who is still battling for her life.

Go with God and Godspeed.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Reelection of the Prez of USA

A race many thought would be one of the closest in history. The current President of the United States of America , Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney both vied for the highest position in the country. But reality was a tad bit different.

The Prez had a diffcult four years in office when he succeeded George Bush and adopted the issues which had arisen in his predecessor's time. the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the issue of gay marriage and legalizing marijuana , and most important of all ,the economy which was pretty much in the dumps somewhere. He did manage to make a difference in some issues such as healthcare, the rate of unemployment is comparatively down , gay marriage being legalized in cities such as New York , and recently the legalizing of marijuana in Oregon . But for many embittered Americans who had lost their jobs and livelihoods it wasn't enough.

Hence he faced a tough challenge by Republican Mitt Romney. Tougher than the challenge he face by Senator John McCain in 2008.

From the beginning the competition was fierce. Neither campaign was shirking from slinging mud at each other. The Obama campaign portrayed Mitt Romney has a rich capitalist who cannot connect with the middle class people of the country and is only looking out of the interest of the upper classes such as on tax cuts and is against the rights of women such as on contraception and abortion. Whereas Romney's campaign portrayed Obama has a President who has failed to deliver on his promises.

One of the tipping points for the President's campaign was when a video was published where Romney was saying at a campaign event  basically that he was writing off around half the country. and of course the recent comments by the Republican senators about rape and pregnancy really did not help curry favour with the women voters who statistically voted more than the men voters in the country.

Romney also did not spend much time winning over minorities such as Hispanic people who are the fastest growing population  and states like Pennysylvania which made the difference in the electoral vote count eventually.

and then in the closing weeks of the election campaign came the Presidential debates where the undecided voters would be wooed by both candidates.

The first one was an absolute landslide for Mitt Romney, the President was soft spoken, distracted and simply paled under Mitt Romney 's forceful and confident aura. Maybe he was wondering what to get the First Lady for the anniversary gift, who knows?

When the polls showed that Romney had now got the slight edge , it was a harsh wake up call for the President which basically told him" Nice doesn't win".

The Vice Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan was a lot more interesting as neither candidate was willing to concede and both were impressive and forceful about their view points on the issues inside and outside.

The second Presidential debate was in a word nasty. The dormant "blue" dragon had woken up from its slumber and was in the mood to tear and rend into the "red" dragon who was no less capable. The candidates got in each other's faces and Romney was clearly starting to get irritated by the Prez interrupting him and finally snapped at him. The Prez also shot back at him when Romney questioned him about his pension he sarcastically replied that it was definitely not as big as his.The debate was a bitch fest basically and even though it was a victory for the President not a lot of people were happy at the tone of the event which was basically - get in each other's faces.

But it did help the poll numbers for the Prez.

The third Presidential debate was on foreign policy -The US Ambassador attack in Libya, the rapidly escalating civil war in Syria  and most importantly China . For someone whose investments were in most Chinese companies Romney was pretty determined to make China the whipping boy of the debate and the "currency manipulator" became a hot issue in not only the third but also for sometime in the second debate.This one was mostly as a draw

As the election day neared, another issue came up Hurricane Sandy which has ravaged the tristate area of NY, NJ and most of the Eastern Seaboard. This Hurricane proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Prez.The Prez had the opportunity to show the country about how he was in charge and how he personally went to the damaged areas and he took it with both hands.

At least he did it better than the Katrina and FEMA thing.

and Election Day-
Election Day was a day of projections by everyone from CNN, BBC to the Daily Show  to the Colbert Report to anyone and everyone involved with news.

There were not a lot of shockers as the Southern states like Missouri, Alabama, Texas went to Mitt Romney where as Washington,Califorrnia, New York , Pennysylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and most importantly Ohio which is the clincher went to Obama giving him the necessary 270 votes to win the election. Even though projections showed that it was Obama who would become President again,his Republican challenger's campaign did not wish to concede as they hoped that they still would have a chance in Ohio.

I don't blame them for that, a hard fought campaign  will not be given up that easily especially since they lost before to John McCain. It was truly a hard fought campaign where they actually believed that this time they had a real chance to win.

 But as the electoral votes came out in favor of the President, Mitt Romney called him up to say congrats  and conceded with a warm and nice speech where he wished the President the best of luck.

Earlier, reporters had asked him whether he had written a victory AND  a concession speech  and he said he had written only the former. That was not a wise move. Tempting fate. Bad juju.

When the President came to Chicago, Illinois (HQ) to give his victory speech , he gave a rousing, hopeful  and optimistic one where he promsied to do better than the last four years  and that he believed good times were to come.

Well we''ll see won't we?
The Electoral votes count like this-
Prez Obama- 303
Mitt Romney-235

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Should Performance Enhacing Drugs be allowed to athletes?

This is my side of the debate on Friday. We cam 2nd. Still don't know whether to be happy or depressed at that.

Disclaimer- This is SO not what I believe. It was just a debate.

From Romans to footballers, from war to sports, one statement has always been the thread of commonality between them. When the odds are against you, a little help is always welcome.
Good morning everyone, my name is Abhilasha Pawar and I really do believe that performance enhancing drugs should be allowed. You see, I believe that all’s fair in love, war and competitive sports is akin to war.
We live in a cutthroat world, where competition is the name of the game among people. Especially for sportsmen. Not everybody in the world has the God given gift of running like Usain Bolt or swimming like Michael Phelps, we have to make do with whatever fate has handed to us and work extra hard on it. Yet, most of us fail because sometimes even that much hard work is not enough. Our dreams of seeing our country’s flag raised and touching that coveted medal with our hands have disappeared because quite simply someone was naturally faster than you.
We are all so quick to condemn those who have been caught taking performance enhancing drugs. We all scornfully say that they did out of a sense of personal glory. Has anyone considered that the reason could be more altruistic? They did it out of a sense of desperate want to make their country proud. To put their country on the map for that particular sport.
And how many of us seated here don’t think of personal glory? How many of us won’t go to any lengths to gain it? If you serve your country along with it it’s a double bonus! Who doesn’t want that feeling to be hailed as one of the country’s greatest? Who doesn’t want to be a hero? Not all of us here are Mother Teresa.
There have been great athletes over time and again who have been tested positive for performance enhancing steroids.  But that never took away their legendary status. It never diminished their natural talent and skill at their game.  Lance Armstrong is still considered the greatest cyclist of all time despite the scandal. Diego Maradona was tested positive for ephedrine in 1994 which effectively ended his career yet he is still one of the greatest footballers in the world and he was the manager of the Argentine football team in 2010.
Plus, the rules for forbidden drugs are different in every country. Some country has a certain drug in every medical store yet in another country it is forbidden. The rules for performance enhancing drugs are conflicting and confusing for the players. In one country the drugs are one man’s meat and in another a man’s poison.
I would like to conclude with quoting Bill Shankly about the importance of a sport “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Do marks matter?

This was my side of the Rotary- Landmark debate. My partner and I got thru the regional finals!!

For over centuries, a person’s talents, skills and abilities have been judged right from playschool. People who have judged us over time have changed but the one thing that hasn’t changed is marks.
Good morning everybody. My name is Abhilasha Pawar from St Mira’s College and I am resolute in my belief that marks are important.
Marks are a blessing and a curse to us students. We owe our promotions to higher classes and admittance to colleges to them yet we consider them a necessary evil because much like good things in life it doesn’t come easily.  To reach the very pinnacle of marks, we are pushed to our very limits, every ability, every skill we have is tested and it is through these that we know where we stand in the scheme of things.
Marks are unpredictable. Sometimes we have the good ones, sometimes we don’t. Yes it is disheartening when we get the bad ones but it is those bad ones which push us, motivate us. They keep us on our toes and remind us every day never to get complacent. A lot of people blame the marking system, saying it is unfair to judge people on them. Tell me, what else could we judge them on? We cannot judge somebody who has come in for e.g. for a position in a company or a seat in the college just be looking at them or trusting them by word of mouth. We judge them by their report cards, . Because, unlike people marks are impartial, they tell people what you are without prejudice and in clear and concise terms whether you deserve to be there.
Geniuses like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, yes they dropped out of school. But their marks were good enough to get in the most prestigious college of all Harvard University.  In fact, they both were considered one of the brightest students there.  Hence this proves another point, success today and in the future will be determined by how well you score or grade in the subjects you have studied in. All these subjects whether you decide to study further in that field are essential and higher marks will improve your understanding of the world and everything in it.
Marks also help us to figure out our talents, that special skill which puts us apart from everyone else. How else are we supposed to know what are we good at? What are we horrible at? What needs improvement?  I would like to give my own example here- I was consistently low in my marks in science in high school. It was those marks which reminded me every day that I needed to buck up, and work extra hard to get where I wanted. And in 10th I was successful in reaching my target. It was also my high marks in English, History and Arts subjects which convinced me that Arts is the field I wanted to enter in 12th.
I would like to sign off by quoting something which I personally love by Napoleon Hill “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”

Our topic for regionals is Should Performance Enhancing drugs be given to athletes? ITS RIDICULOUS AS HELL!! Unfortunately I have no choice . Worst part I'm FOR!!
The debate's is on Friday. I will put up my speech after that.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Olympics- A saga of sweat, blood, tears and victory

London Olympics was a pretty special one for me. Considering it's the first one i watched from start to end.

The opening ceremony was a true dedication to British life and culture, from the portrayal of old London during the Industrial Revolution to the journey of British music and culture portrayed by teenagers. And of course the entry of Her Majesty the Queen of England entering the second most famous personality from England other than Shakespeare , Bond , James Bond.

The final journey of the Olympic flame where finally it was lit to form an enormous cauldron by the future athletes of the world was truly special.

Then started the Olympics.

After an impressive medal haul (to our standards) last Olympics there was huge expectations from this time's contingent.

Oh the bane of every Indian athlete and sportspersons. Expectations.

It definitely did not start great by the archers and shooters disappointing . Even the top ones had a disappointing run in the Olympics.

But this was also the Olympics of the dark horses. Vijay Kumar and Gagan Narang came out of the shadow of their fellow athletes and performed brilliantly  Giving us a silver and bronze respectively.

In boxing unfortunately the men disappointed but the silver lining came in the shape of a woman by the name of MC Mary Kom who won the first bronze for India in women's boxing.

Saina Nehwal truly had the gods on her side when she won the bronze in badminton , proving to be a true inspiration to aspiring badminton players around the country.

But along with the victories , came the flip side of the coin who got lonely . Controversies.

The badminton players who were disqualified for 'not playing to their best efforts" to the athletes who failed the doping tests , to the appeal which overturned a victory for the Indian boxer , controversies came thick  and fast in the London Olympics.

When it comes to GBR, the stars of the day were Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis , Andy Murray most importantly who become overnight heroes to so many in their countries.

Usain Bolt proved he was the best winning the 100 and 200m race back to back and to add the cherry on the cake the 4 x 100 relay. whoo hoo!!

Michael Phelps just added another number of medals to his already considerable tally making it up to 26. Huh, what's ours again??

Hockey. Oh god the hockey. Nightmare of apocalyptic proportions. It was like watching ManU and Mna City last year where the Red Devils lost 6-1. Painful . Stroke worthy painful.

  Shed a tear . Moving on.

The wrestlers however the highlight of the evening before the closing ceremony with the bronze and the silver from Yogeshwar Dutt and Sushil Kumar respectively not only become highlights but also immediate icons for the country.

They shed blood, tears and sweat as they struggled to reach the pinnacle of sporting events. The coveted Olympic gold medal. Unfortunately it wasn't our year. But the medal tally truly is impressive.

Hopefully one day in summer 2016 we add one??...

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Sports for us

Now i needed time to think about what to write ,so sue me for the tardiness of the post.

Now what's happened?? Oh yes Wimbledon.

Six time champion Roger Federer beat Andy Murray to reclaim the title and end the title- dry time. Serena Williams also similarly ended her title dry time.

To this i will only say this .


I remember that the first thing i did was call up my friend and gush about how awesome it was and also spared a thought for poor Murray who was our second fave ... u noe if  he wasn't playing against our favorite.

That reminds me of how much sports changed the atmosphere in my class. Whether its inter school , inter house (mostly) or an international one. Cricket to football to tennis . This also factors in the girls.

Yes some of us watch sports.

Its usually football which creates an air of excitement , tension and fights ( verbal) among the boys and girls. I remember the way i chased my friend across the class and almost tore his blazer when he started dancing in front of me after semi final of World Cup 2010. All of us got really mad at the boys as we were all pro Germany and they were ... well you know.

Cricket wasn't very popular among us teens since football dominated our every thought and action. But whenever something happened especially during IPL  most of the guys and gals who'd come from other places to Pune, it'd get pretty intense.

Facebook is our outlet for all the sports results and we were very vocal on all wins. The online debates were always stirring. I remember when Chelsea won, there were so many of my classmates online and every status was pro Chelsea including mine.

When we won the World Cup there was a kind of craziness on Facebook. Since it was after Boards so we couldn't meet the next day but we all talked and met each other on the street as we went out to celebrate.

If you think this is bad you should see us after the football matches in school. That's a whole different ball game. Especially the ones after rivals in -school and between schools. Anti Bishop remarks are brutal and ... welll you can imagine.

Whe the footballers came in after winning the match , even if we're in the middle of solving an equation we all cheer and clap . So do the teachers!

So basically  i wanna say that all of us love sports. The ones who play it and especially the ones who watch it . In one word we call them  something.


Peace out.