Thursday, January 29, 2009


Dear Responsible Citizens,
Following is the abstract from the Newspaper of the NEWS regarding Chief Election Commissioner demanding that there should be a button in the Electronic Voting Machine(EVM) having an option of 'none of the above'. 

"The Union Government today opposed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking right to reject all candidates in the fray in a constituency and if majority of votes are for rejection of all candidates, then the election in that particular constituency has to be cancelled. The Election Commission is of the view that in order to check the entry of criminals in the election arena, the electorate must be given a right to reject all candidates in fray, in a constituency to purify the electoral process in the country.

Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami had written to the government on December 15 last year, suggesting measures for electoral reform and recommended that there should be a button in the Electronic Voting Machine(EVM) having an option of 'none of the above'.

The Centre today, however, contended before a bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal and G S Singhvi that the petition filed by People's Union For Civil Liberties(PUCL) is not maintainable under Article 32 of the Constitution, as no violation of any Fundamental Right is involved.

According to the Centre, Right of negative voting cannot be given to the electorate as it will create lot of problems and may frustrate the electoral process.

In a democracy, the voter has the right to vote for the candidate of his or her choice but he/she cannot be given right of negative voting because it will strike at the root of the democratic process.

According to the Election Commission, right of rejection is a must to eradicate the vices of criminalisation of politics, money power and to keep the tainted persons out of the electoral fray.

As per negative voting, in case number of negative votes against a candidate is more than the number of votes he has got, he will be presumed to have been defeated.

This right is more effective than the right to abstain from voting which is already available to the voter in India.

The apex court will hear tomorrow the arguments on the maintainability of the writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, since this Article can be invoked only when a Fundamental Right of a citizen is violated. It has been a long standing demand of those who want to purify the electoral process in the country of vices like criminalisation of politics, use of money and muscle power to get votes, that the electorate must be given right to reject a candidate with criminal and dubious track record.

The petitioner has also pleaded that secrecy of ballot paper is a must to ensure free and fair election.

-- (UNI) --

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Speech By Pankaj Gautam on Launch of Confederation of Responsible Citizens

This is one of the proudest moment of life when I stand here on this podium to address amongst all responsible men and women of Phagwara.

I am here to unveil the dream of zillions of Indians who would like to see their nation at the TOP...but what brings a nation to is definitely not the Corrupt Social Set up , Failed Systems, Intolerant Society or Terror strikes.

We all are condemned to be the permanent victims of crass politicians, corrupt bureaucrats, Insolvent Police and Insensitive Class of People.

We are living with KFP attitude “Ke Fark Painda”..

We have somewhere forgotten our pride as an Indian and we have classed ourselves into smaller compartments which are getting smaller day by day. What we worry is abt my home, my family, my children, my job and what we expect from our nation and its up keepers is to take care of even minute details.  We have lately become too selfish and grounded to even respond to major issues like Intolerance, Indiscipline and Corruption.

How can we ask for more when we are not contributing.

How many times we care to manage traffic when a policeman is not many times we have thought of shutting down the water tap while we are brushing our  many times we have followed the many times we have cared not to throw garbage of our house into a open plot which is a public many times we have cared not to pick up a flower from a public garden just to please our many times we have cared to donate many times we have fought on roads with people for petty many times we have cared  to wear a seat belt or  a many times we have cared to  switch off our mobiles when we are driving or when we are attending a funeral service...

And my dear citizens how many time we have cared to VOTE..

Friends Recollect How many times we have acted responsibly to our nation and our society...But still we have 1000 reasons to blame.  Every time we blame our leaders, our police or infrastructure and sometimes even God. But we forget that we are equally responsible for potholes, encroachments, dirty public properties and poor infrastructure.

If you really want to change things, Change yourself. Each one of us needs to take a very honest look inwards and rectify and work on what we think is wrong with us. We have to stop thinking of our own individual gain and loss and do what is honest, true and right, and think collectively. It calls for personal sacrifice in this time of chaos but from chaos will emerge clarity. Even if we don’t manage to achieve this for ourselves we will achieve it for our children. 

We tend to ignore small incidents to bigger issues and are better known as torchbearers of resilience, we are soft targets because we never held ourselves responsible for these happenings.

Friends if we see our town Phagwara, we all are to blame ourselves for making our town looking ugly by putting banners of different kinds all over the town. Some of them portray individuals bigger than GOD. We have compartmentalised ourselves into societies, committees, clubs and organisations but did we ever think collectively of our town.

I quote Napoleon Bonaparte “There are only two forces that unite men- fear and interest”. Lets be united in common interest and lead our leaders and accept responsibility... and Lets be angry.

Ladies and Gentlemen, after introspection and well thought we have come across that Lets DO rather than talk because if we have to Dominate then we have to DO.

Confederation of Responsible citizens is a well thought brainchild of four people which includes Mr. Rajnish Mittal, Mr.Hitesh Kaplish (Adv), Mr. Puneet Duggal and myself. We are thankful to JCI Phagwara Elite who has adopted this subject and has given us a Coordinator in Mr. Bhupinder Jeet S. Bambah

WE appeal to each one of you to join this movement because WE MATTER. We do not seek your money, nor your position to be part of this movement. The only condition is that you carry the same passion and is overzealous to bring change in oneself and to our society at large which will help us to develop our nation...our India. Our vision is to develop a sense a responsibility towards our society, our town and nation so that Mera Bharat develops in thoughts as well as in passion.

We look forward to people who carries an attitude of “Bahut Farak Painda”. Jai Hind

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Culled from IndiaToday.In

At 6.30 p.m. on December 3, a week after the terror attacks, two bags containing 8 kg of potently explosive RDX were found on platform number 15 at the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in Mumbai.

The bag containing RDX was found in rucksacks like the ones used by the terrorists among the luggage of victims stacked in one corner of the terminus. This is a city on the edge and a police force that is supposed to have been alert. You would imagine that following the attack at CST, the police would have mopped the place for any evidence, sniffer dogs must have been deployed and the luggage sanitised. Yet a week later, the explosive was sitting at CST awaiting discovery. It’s as if India’s worstever terrorist attack had not happened.

It is this casualness, the lack of capacity to comprehend and act, that allowed terrorists to plan and execute what is now being called India’s 9/11 that claimed 173 lives and left 288 wounded.

The bloodbath at The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
The bloodbath at The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
The basics, who could do what, where, when, why and how that determines the core of counter terrorism strategy, was lost in a maze of politics.

Thomas Kean, who headed the National Commission to probe the 9/11 attacks in the US had observed that the attack reflected not just a failure of intelligence but the failure of policy, management, capability and above all a “failure of imagination”. He could have been talking about the 26/11 attacks by terrorists across Mumbai. The terrorists chose to come by sea, target the twin towers of the Taj and Oberoi, attacked a crowded rail terminus, planned to blow up an airport and internationalised their cause by targeting foreigners and above all a Jewish outreach centre at Nariman House.

At least six intelligence reports from the Research & Analysis Wing dating from September to as late as November 19 pointed out the possibility of a sea-borne fidayeen attack.

The Taj Hotel and the CST station were among the attacks repeatedly referred to. Yet the terrorists had a free run of the coast, landed without trouble and struck at will. Predictably, the state Government claims it got no warnings and the Centre insists it did warn the state. Typically in the Indian tradition, everyone is responsible but nobody is accountable.

A reconstruction of the events reveals that everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. The city has been a sitting duck for such an attack. The coastline, for instance, is patrolled by three agencies—the Navy on the high seas, the Coast Guard and the Marine Patrol. The Navy absolved itself that it patrols the high seas. The Coast Guard took cover under the issue of scale. After all, there are 5,000 trawlers and checking them all is impossible.

Also the landing happened in the domain of the coast patrolled by the Marine Police. Under the Marine Fishing Regulation Act (MFRA), enforced since 1993-94, the Centre provides 100 per cent assistance to states on capital costs of patrol boats and communication equipment to be used for patrolling. Yet states have failed to implement the scheme.

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General, Maharashtra refused to pick up the tab for maintenance and underutilised the funds. Ergo, the police, believe it or not, has just five boats—of which two are non-functional—to patrol the 760 km of Maharashtra coastline. To get a sense of the callousness that marks governance, consider this: the terrorists could have hit the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre if they had travelled just a few miles down, the naval installations or oil refineries in the western coast. Imagine the damage and the consequences.

Capability on ground zero is no better. When the terrorists struck almost simultaneously at three different locations, the Mumbai Police found itself battling the foes with pathetic leadership, poor coordination and outdated methods and weapons. There was poor assessment too. At around 9.15 p.m. on November 26, the Director-General of Police A.N. Roy, Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare and the Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil finished a meeting and were headed home when the first calls came. The first assessment: gang war shootout outside Leopold Cafe.

As the attack escalated, officers rushed to the locations. Despite knowing that the terrorists were armed with AK-47s, the top brass of Mumbai Police hit the road with archaic weapons like carbines and 9mm pistols. The CST encounter is truly an Indian story. While Police Inspector Shashank Shinde was battling the terrorists, the railway police officials were not even armed. They had to rush to the weapons room to fetch their rifles. By the time they returned, the terrorists had killed 58 and Shinde was dead. Contrast this with the terrorists. Each carried a Kalashnikov, nine magazines with 30 rounds each, 150 spare bullets, nine grenades and a pistol with five magazines of 18 rounds each. And there were only 35 ATS members to deal with the enormity of the crisis. A200-member commando force created in 1999 was disbanded by subsequent regimes.

he saga of equipment is a tragedy. Nearly 18 months back, P.S. Pasricha as director-general of police mooted upgrading of weapons. Thanks to the bickering between finance, planning and home departments, the proposal got “in-principle” approval last month. At this speed the police won’t get their weapons till 2010. The.303 rifles are out of production, there is no ammunition produced and therefore cannot be tested in the firing range. In many cases the guns jammed too. At CST, Constable Ajit Kumar Nalavade took position behind the drinking water taps and fired three rounds at a terrorist before his carbine jammed.

The bullet-proof vests worn by the officers also did not provide defence against AK-56 and AK-47 gunfire. In 2004, samples of these vests were sent to the firing range. Every bullet from SLRs and AK-47s went through the jacket even though the rounds were fired from a distance. Says former IPS officer Y.P. Singh: “More than Rs 100 crore is spent every year under the name of police modernisation but the jackets used are of very poor quality.” If Nagappa Mali and his team did manage to nab the terrorists at Girgaum Chowpatty, it was providence and uncommon bravery as none of the cops wore bullet-proof jackets.

Two of the bombs planted by terrorists exploded in taxis in Vile Parle
Two of the bombs planted by terrorists exploded in taxis in Vile Parle
The gunning down of Karkare, Inspector Vijay Salaskar and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte in an ambush shows how ill-prepared the force is and the total absence of training, strategy or tactics through the crisis. Indeed Roy admits that “the response was very prompt but whether they were capable of neutralising terrorists is something that needs to be looked into”. This admission, in a state racked by three serious terror attacks, tells the story of apathy. Within the hour when the two hotels and CST were targeted, it should have been clear that this was a major terrorist strike.

In theory, the crisis management group headed by the chief secretary and its members should have met within the hour. In Mumbai, the chief secretary was at home, the crisis room was manned by the DGP, Patil and senior officers and Home Secretary Chitkala Zutshi was among those trapped at the Sea Lounge in the Taj and calling for help. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was in Kerala and reached Mumbai only at 3 a.m. The state Government didn’t lack advice. Last Monday Deshmukh announced the creation of a Maharashtra Security Council to advise the state. A similar council was also formed with army and police officials in September 2006 following the Mumbai serial blasts. Lieutenant General D.B. Shekatkar, a council member who has over 20 years of experience in “insurgency and terror” ops, reveals that the council has not met since August 2007. Worse, its suggestions—including one to strengthen coastal patrolling and involving the Koli community—were largely ignored.

This neglect clearly contributed to creating the landscape for the terrorists to strike at will. The desperate calls for help from Zutshi and other hostages in hotels should have prompted the state to call for the NSG. But it wasn’t till midnight that the state asked for help from the Centre. Precious hours lost could have saved lives. When they did reach Mumbai at 6 a.m. on November 27, those watching television the world over were treated to the pathetic sight of them being transported in BEST buses.

The NSG itself did a good job but that they took 50 hours to clear the Taj raises questions.

Yes, they operated blind without maps while the terrorists seem to know the Taj very well. And yes they have not had training for urban guerrilla warfare. Yet counter terrorism experts ask why it took so long? Why was gas not used in the operations? In Operation Black Thunder, the NSG had used yellow phosphorus to smoke out terrorists. But inexplicably this wasn’t done in Mumbai. What is unpardonable is that even this elite force is starved of equipment. Forget the high-end stuff like UAVs or mobile command posts, troopers fought without the basic equipment. Minutes before they took off from Delhi, Black Cats were frantically dialling for ballistic vests to be delivered at the airport. The crisis was aggravated by failure of leadership and total collapse of the system. For instance, though the Trident was secured, hostages were not evacuated till November 28 even though Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor was parked right outside the hotel.

Even basic information systems were absent. There was no system to guide anxious relatives on who was hurt, killed or held hostage. Rumours ruled the roost. The police didn’t know how many terrorists had entered the city. First they said 12, then Deshmukh and Patil said “about 25” and finally 10 have been accounted for. But doubts persist. Were there more ? Did they check into the hotels or work there? How did they keep going for 50 hours? Did they pre-plant the ammunition? The blasts at Vile Parle and Wadi Bunder are yet a mystery. Who planted them? Was the airport the target? Over 700 people were evacuated from the hotels without checks. Did some terrorists escape? Are they out there? These queries will haunt Mumbai and India in the coming days.

On Friday night as the crisis dragged on, Patil asked Roy if the Mumbai Police could add to the NSG force to storm the Taj. Gafoor who had already lost men put his foot down. He revealed that they were simply not equipped or trained for this. The average policeman is bogged down in bandobast duties through the year and fires less than five bullets at the training range (compared to 150 by any commando force). They were and would have been sitting ducks. That is shocking. But that politicians and babudom have allowed matters to come to such a pass is chilling. It is this rot which passes for security in Mumbai and it is this stench that has fuelled the anger across Mumbai and India.

Saturday, December 13, 2008



Prayers for peace from all religions


Prayer of St. Francis


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. 

Where there is hatred . . . let me sow love; 

Where there is injury . . . pardon;

Where there is doubt . . . faith;

Where there is despair . . . hope; 

Where there is darkness . . . light; 

Where there is sadness . . . joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled . . .as to console; 

to be understood . . .as to understand; 

to be loved . . . as to love. 

For it is in giving . . .that we receive; 

It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned; 

and It is in dying . . .that we are born to eternal life. 



Baha’i Prayer for Peace


Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.

Be fair in judgement, and guarded in thy speech. 

Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness, and a home to the stranger. 

Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. 

Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, 

a dew to the soil of the human heart, and a fruit upon the tree of humility.



Buddhist Prayer for Peace


May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind quickly 

be freed from their illnesses. May those frightened cease to be afraid, and 

may those bound be free. May the powerless find power, and may people think 

of befriending one another. May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful 

wilderness - the children, the aged, the unprotected - be guarded by beneficial 

celestials, and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood. 



Jewish Prayer for Peace


Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, that we may walk the paths of the 

Most High. And we shall beat our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into 

pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation - neither shall they 

learn war any more. And none shall be afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts 

has spoken. 



Hindu Prayer for Peace


Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the Real. 

Oh God, lead us from darkness to light. 

Oh God, lead us from death to immortality. 

Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all.

Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in celestial regions. 

May there be peace on Earth. 

May the waters be appeasing. 

May herbs be wholesome, and may trees and plants bring peace to all. 

May all beneficent beings bring peace to us. 

May thy Vedic Law propogate peace all through the world. 

May all things be a source of peace to us. 

And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all and may that peace come to me also. 



Jainist Prayer for Peace


Peace and Universal Love is the essence of the Gospel preached by all Enlightened 

Ones. The Lord has preached that equanimity is the Dharma Forgive do I creatures 

all, and let all creatures forgive me. Unto all have I amity, and unto none enmity. 

Know that violence is the root cause of all miseries in the world. Violence, in fact,

is the knot of bondage. “Do not injure any living being.” This is the eternal, perennial, 

and unalterable way of spiritual life. A weapon, howsoever powerful it may be, can 

always be superseded by a superior one; but no weapon can, however, be superior to 

non-violence and love. 



Muslim Prayer for Peace


In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful. Praise be to the Lord of the 

Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations that we may know 

each other, not that we may despise each other. If the enemy incline towards peace, 

do thou also incline towards peace, and trust God; for the Lord is the one that 

heareth and knoweth all things. And the servants of God, most gracious are those 

who walk on the Earth in humility, and when we address them, we say 




Native African Prayer for Peace


Almighty God, the Great Thumb we cannot evade to tie any knot; 

the Roaring Thunder that splits mighty trees; 

the All-seeing Lord up on high who sees even the footprints of an antelope on a 

rock mass here on Earth… You are the one who does not hesitate to respond to 

our call. You are the cornerstone of peace. 


Native American Prayer for Peace

Oh Great Spirit of our Ancestors, I raise my pipe to you. 

To your messengers the four winds, and to Mother Earth who provides for your 

children: Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love, to respect, and 

to be kind to each other so that they may grow with peace of mind. Let us 

learn to share all good things that you provide for us on this Earth. 



Shinto Prayer for Peace


Although the people living across the ocean surrounding us are all our brother and 

sister, why are there constant troubles in this world? Why do winds and waves rise in 

the oceans surrounding us? I only earnestly wish that the wind will soon puff away all 

the clouds which are hanging over the tops of mountains. 



Zoroastrian Prayer for Peace


We pray to God to eradicate all the misery in the world: 

that understanding triumph over ignorance, 

that generosity triumph over indifference, 

that trust triumph over contempt, 

and that truth triumph over falsehood. 



Sikh Prayer for Peace


God adjudges us according to our deeds, not by the coat that we wear.

Know that Truth is above everything, but higher still is truthful living.

Know that we attaineth God when we loveth, and only victory endures in consequences 

of which no one is defeated. 



Christian Prayer for Peace


Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS, 

for they shall be known as the Children of God. 

But I say to you that hear, love your enemies,

do good to those who hate you, 

bless those who curse you, 

pray for those who abuse you.

To those that strike you on the cheek, 

offer the other one also; 

and from those who take away your cloak, 

do not withhold your coat as well.


Give to everyone who begs from you; 

and of those who take away your goods, 

do not ask for them again. 

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Article 49-O of Constitution gives us the Right to not vote

DID YOU know that there is a provision in the Constitution of India, as per the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1969 Act, in Section 49-O that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked, and convey to the presiding election officer that he/she doesn’t want to vote for anyone! Yes, such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. It is called "49-O".

49-O: The voter (or elector) deciding not to vote:

If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.

If you think none of the candidates at the ward / constituency are able enough to lead the community, you can always opt not to vote, but if you will use this right of yours you may start a new things in our electoral process, which will further strengthen our democracy. 

It is useful in the following way:

In a ward or constituency, if a candidate wins, say by ’x’ votes, and that particular ward has received "49-O" votes more than x, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. 

Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people have already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way of our whole political system. It is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public.

Please spread the word about this and make our fellow countrymen aware of this right.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008



Dear Mr. Prime minister

I am a typical mouse from Mumbai. In the local train compartment which has capacity of 100 persons, I travel with 500 more mouse. Mouse at least squeak but we don't even do that.

Today I heard your speech. In which you said 'NO BODY WOULD BE SPARED'. I would like to remind you that fourteen years has passed since serial bomb blast in Mumbai took place. Dawood was the main conspirator. Till today he is not caught. All our bolywood actors, our builders, our Gutka king meets him but your Government can not catch him. Reason is simple; all your ministers are hand in glove with him. If any attempt is made to catch him everybody will be exposed. Your statement 'NOBODY WOULD BE SPARED' is nothing but a cruel joke on this unfortunate people of India .

Enough is enough. As such after seeing terrorist attack carried out by about a dozen young boys I realize that if same thing continues days are not away when terrorist will attack by air, destroy our nuclear reactor and there will be one more Hiroshima .

We the people are left with only one mantra. Womb to Bomb to Tomb. You promised Mumbaikar Shanghai what you have given us is Jalianwala Baug.

Today only your home minister resigned. What took you so long to kick out this joker? Only reason was that he was loyal to Gandhi family. Loyalty to Gandhi family is more important than blood of innocent people, isn't it?

I am born and bought up in Mumbai for last fifty eight years. Believe me corruption in Maharashtra is worse than that in Bihar . Look at all the politician, Sharad Pawar, Chagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane, Bal Thackray , Gopinath Munde, Raj Thackray, Vilasrao Deshmukh all are rolling in money.  Vilasrao Deshmukh is one of the worst Chief minister I have seen. His only business is to increase the FSI every other day, make money and send it to Delhi so Congress can fight next election. Now the clown has found new way and will increase FSI for fisherman so they can build concrete house right on sea shore. Next time terrorist can comfortably live in those house , enjoy the beauty of sea and then attack the Mumbai at their will.

Recently I had to purchase house in Mumbai. I met about two dozen builders. Everybody wanted about 30% in black. A common person like me knows this and with all your intelligent agency & CBI you and your finance minister are not aware of it.. Where all the black money goes? To the underworld isn't it? Our politicians take help of these goondas to vacate people by force. I myself was victim of it. If you have time please come to me, I will tell you everything.

If this has been land of fools, idiots then I would not have ever cared to write you this letter. Just see the tragedy, on one side we are reaching moon, people are so intelligent and on other side you politician has converted nectar into deadly poison. I am everything Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Schedule caste, OBC, Muslim OBC, Christian Schedule caste, Creamy Schedule caste only what I am not is INDIAN. You politician have raped every part of mother India by your policy of divide and rule.

Take example of former president Abdul Kalam. Such a intelligent person, such a fine human being. You politician didn't even spare him.  Your party along with opposition joined the hands, because politician feels they are supreme and there is no place for good person.

Dear Mr Prime minister you are one of the most intelligent person, most learned person. Just wake up, be a real SARDAR. First and foremost expose all selfish politician. Ask Swiss bank to give name of all Indian account holder. Give reins of CBI to independent agency. Let them find wolf among us.. There will be political upheaval but that will better than dance of death which we are witnessing every day.  Just give us ambient where we can work honestly and without fear. Let there be rule of law. Everything else will be taken care of.

Choice is yours Mr. Prime Minister. Do you want to be lead by one person or you want to lead the nation of 100 Crore people?

Prakash B. Bajaj

Monday, December 8, 2008

From the ashes rises the Phoenix....Aamir Khan

From the ashes rises the Phoenix.   

I am here in Chennai to meet Shridhar for the last time. Went to his house last night to meet his family who are in shock and grief. As he lay in the centre of the gathering he looked peaceful, almost as if he were just asleep. I met his parents, brothers, wife and sons who were all very dignified in their moment of deep pain. 

Shridhar was one of the finest technicians of our industry and a dear friend. We have worked together a number of times, and very closely during Lagaan. He did the final mix of the film, which is the last and most crucial creative process in film making. A close associate of A.R., he has worked together with him on a majority of his songs and background scores. In fact he was in A.R.’s studio until 4am yesterday morning working with A.R. and Murgadoss on our film. By around 8.30am he had passed away in his sleep. 

The sudden news of his most untimely death came to me yesterday morning when I was still trying to pull myself out of the depressive state of mind I had slid into post the attacks on Mumbai. It left me shattered. 

As I had expected various politicians have tried to use this traumatic and tragic attack to their advantage. I only hope that people see through them this time. 

Quite clearly both the major political parties have failed to tackle terrorism. There have been repeated attacks on us during both their reigns which neither has been able to either anticipate or deal with well. While what happened in Mumbai recently clearly exposes the incompetence of the Congress, the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight 814 during the BJP rule shows them in even worse light. They actually NEGOTIATED with the terrorists and RELEASED 3 dreaded terrorists from Indian jails. All the 5 hijackers and the 3 terrorists released from India by the then BJP government were allowed to escape to attack us another day. 

I think the first lesson to learn from this is that we MUST NOT NEGOTIATE. No matter what, the next time round around, and lets not fool ourselves we must be alert and prepared for more attacks, we MUST NOT NEGOTIATE. All potential terrorists must get a very clear message that INDIA DOES NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS. What that means is, that in the future if there is a situation where me or my kids are held hostage by a bunch of terrorists then I must be prepared to tell our government - to hell with me and my children just go in there and kill the terrorists. I am prepared to sacrifice myself and my loved ones for the larger safety and security of the country but DO NOT LISTEN TO AND NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS. 

I personally hold both these political parties, and in fact other regional political parties across the country, responsible in one way or the other, for fueling terrorism in the first place. And please remember that the definition of terrorism is not restricted to AK 47 toting maniacs. It includes the spread of terror by other means like stone throwing, beating up of innocent people on the roads, and rioting, etc. Any means, in fact, to spread terror in the hearts of ordinary citizens. 

The other important thing we need to remind ourselves in this time of anger and hurt is to stay calm and take sensible steps, and not give in to thoughtless knee jerk reactions. I heard someone say on television that we should all stop paying our taxes as a show of protest. Haven’t heard of a more silly idea than that. If we stop paying our taxes then we won’t have an army and NSG to save us next time around!!! Instead we should all START PAYING OUR TAXES. We demand so much of our leaders but are we fulfilling our basic responsibility? Can we say with honesty that as citizens of our country we are all honestly paying our taxes? If we are not paying our taxes can we blame the government for being inefficient? If we are corrupt then how can we expect our politicians to be honest? 

I have a very important thing to say to all the various people going around arbitrarily throwing accusations at the politicians. These politicians are not from Jupiter or Mars, they are one of us, from our very own society, selected by us through a democratic process. So now think for a moment, who really is to blame? We can only blame ourselves guys. Half of us don’t go to vote. The half that does vote has selected these guys. 

In my opinion, you really want to change things? Change yourself. Each one of us needs to take a very honest look inwards and rectify and work on what we think is wrong with us. If each one of us does that individually then there will be a sea change in our society at large. I have to promise myself that I will not be corrupt, will play my role in society with honesty and sincerity. Doctors, lawyers, judges, people in the IAS, police force, media persons, businessmen, job workers, labour force, everyone. We have to stop thinking of our own individual gain and loss and do what is honest, true and right, and think collective. It calls for personal sacrifice in this time of chaos but from chaos will emerge clarity. Even if we don’t manage to achieve this for ourselves we will achieve it for our children. 

What I would really like to see emerge from all this is the youth of this country starting a political party. A group that stands for strong, clean, honest and fresh leadership. A group that we can all support. 

And finally, if we really want to make sure that terrorists fail in achieving their end, then these terror attacks should not take us towards hate but instead towards love. If we react with hate we are succumbing to these terror attacks, and if we react with increasing love and peace in our hearts then we squarely defeat the terrorists. Allowing love, peace and trust to grow within us is not a sign of weakness but a sign of immense strength. 

With appreciation and gratitude to the security forces who acted with courage, and with a prayer in my heart for those departed.