Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

In these times, the society does need special days to remind and celebrate causes that should ideally be part of our upbringing and consciousness. It is not a complaint, but acknowledgement of the necessity because we live in such Kaliyug. 

Mother's Day has a very special meaning and opportunity for Sanatana Dharmi society worldwide to relook at the concept of a Mother. Is mother a mere person, who gives birth? Or does motherly concept stretch beyond just this? 

From giving birth, to nourishing, to bringing up her children, a mother has the greatest role and she does all of this with unconditional love, and without ever complaining. This alone is a great test and an opportunity for a mother to cultivate the virtue of Tolerance. And hence, two of the greatest qualities one learns from a mother is Unconditional Love (Loving Kindness) & Tolerance.

And at the same time, when a Mother sees her children becoming wayward, her anger, without any bitterness, is directed entirely to bring the children back on correct path. 

And such qualities are not limited to a person. All around us, we see things that are "Mother Personified". Where we find phenomena of producing, of nourishing, of helping along the upbringing with unconditional love, tonnes of tolerance and the anger without bitterness to bring us on the correct path. And that is the third quality we learn from her.

From a Human Mother who gives us birth; to Mother Nature which gives us all, including our human mother, the wonderful things like Sun, Wind, Water, that gives us food, that gives us natural resources; to Mother Earth or MotherLand, that gives us Shelter, Security, Law & Justice, a chance to enjoy the natural resources; to Cow/Buffalo that give us Milk, that offer us livelihood, and whose dung gives us fuel, whose urine can give us medicine; we find that Mother is not just a person who gives us birth, but also so many things that personify the motherly qualities.

Recognising these motherly qualities in persons and things around us only helps us in cultivating fourth virtue in us - Gratitude. Gratitude for all that we receive, from a selfless giver, with that nourishing loving kindness & compassion. And that teaches us the fifth virtuous quality - to be a Selfless Giver, to share, to indulge in charity. And the sixth virtuous quality - Compassion. 

We are Human Beings, endowed with greater faculties than any other species of animals, we know in Science. As we evolve further, we must evolve into a serious, deeply reflecting, deeply absorbing, wise beings rather than the frivolous, superficial society that we are turning into. Only such reflecting, absorbing, aware, wise human being with virtuous qualities will give the hope that the society has a chance to move from Kaliyug into Satyug as well. 

So let the Mother's Day stand for something bigger, something that broadens the horizon of our wisdom and enhances our human qualities. 

May all beings be happy. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Adil Shahryar – Warren Anderson Swap Deal

Adil Shahryar
Warren Anderson
Here are the key points for those who may want to understand Adil Shahryar – Warren Anderson Swap Deal.
  1. Adil Shahryar was son of Mohd. Yunus, a very close-aide of Indira Gandhi since 1940s.
  2. So, obviously, Adil Shahryar was a childhood friend of Rajiv & Sanjay Gandhi too.
  3. Adil was living in US and had been sentenced to 35yrs Imprisonment on 5 counts of Militancy in 1982. It was a high profile case.
  4. Charlston Heston was the Local Guardian for Adil Shahryar in US. Heston was the famous Hollywood actor known for Hallmarks of Hollywood like Ben Hur and Ten Commandments.
  5. Heston wrote 3 Letters to the US Attorney General of the time, William Smith, to reconsider the sentencing of Adil Shahryar, but Smith did not give in and explained his position in his replies. 
  6. Heston's efforts were in addition to efforts by Shri. Mohd. Yunus and "other persons acting on Mr. Shahryar's behalf", as revealed by US Attorney General in his reply.
  7. That Charlston Heston with such a hugely influential position failed to arrange Pardon for Adil Shahryar shows the resolve of the US Government on issues pertaining to Militancy, even if the convict had a high profile.
  8. Suddenly on 11th June 1985, President Reagan pardoned Adil Shahryar. There was no reason given, except as a Goodwill gesture.
  9. Actually, India’s then Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was visiting US on 11th June 1985 and American Press put it out clearly that Adil Shahryar, a convicted militant was being released on the occasion of arrival of his close childhood friend, Rajiv Gandhi.
  10. Rajiv Gandhi was, however, not such a popular World Leader that US would be compelled to release a convicted Militant. And during attempts by Charlston Heston in 1982, the US Govt had given clear reasons for its decision to not reconsider this issue.  Obviously, especially considering the secrecy that US Govt maintained on reasons of clemency, Adil Shahryar was being Swapped.
  11. On December 8, 1984, 7 months earlier, Rajiv Gandhi had allowed escape of Warren Anderson, Chairman of Dow Chemicals that was responsible for Bhopal Gas Tragedy of December 3, 1984.
  12. Rajiv Gandhi gave no reason whatsoever to explain the release from Jail and escape from India of Warren Anderson.
  13. CIA released documents related to Warren Anderson’s release (he may have been flown out on a CIA Plane), under Freedom of Information Act. Most parts were blacked out. But whatever little was shared with public; it said Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi arranged for release and escape of Warren Anderson.
  14. All key players of this old drama are dead today. Warren Anderson is dead, Adil Shahryar is dead, Mohd. Yunus is dead, Rajiv Gandhi is dead, Ronald Reagan is dead, Charlston Heston is dead, William Smith is dead, then CM of Madhya Pradesh Arjun Singh is dead.
  15. We only have three relevant documents 
  16. Scores of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims who died in Sleep
    1.  CIA’s debriefing on release of Warren Anderson
    2. 3 sets of Letters exchanged between Charlston Heston and US Attorney General William Smith 1, 2, 3
    3. New York Times news coverage of 11th June 1985
  17. Govt of India should seek clarification & confirmation from US Govt on Adil Shahryar-Warren Anderson Exchange.
  18. They should seek US Govt’s reply before December 3, 2015, 31st Anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Today none of the responsible persons is alive. At least give the families of the victims a sense of closure.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

An Open Letter to Sushma Swaraj on Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Adil Shahryar

जुलाई , २०१५

आदर्णीय सुषमा जी,

आज आप मध्यप्रदेश से सांसाद भी हैं और भारत की विदेश मंत्री भी, ये हमारे लिए गौरव की बात है। पर यह खुली चिट्ठी मैं आपको "भोपाल गैस काण्ड" के विषय में लिख रहा हूँ।

बचपन से इस काण्ड के बारे में सुनते आए। कई रिश्तेदार भोपाली होने के कारण भी इसकी चर्चा घर पर चलती रही। सुना तो बहुत था कि इतने हज़ारों लोग मरे, और ऐसा हुआ या वैसा हुआ, पर कानून और न्याय पर नज़र कुछ बड़े होने के बाद ही पड़ी।

२०१० मई में, विभिन्न राष्ट्रपतियों ने कितने अपराधियों पर अनुकम्पा कर क्षमा किया, ये पढ़ रहा था। शोध करते-करते, अमरीका के विषय में आदिल शहरयार का नाम पढ़ा। आदिल के नाम के साथ लिखा था - भारत के प्रधानमंत्री के करीबी, मोहम्मद यूनुस का पुत्र। मैं थोड़ा चौंक गया कि ये महानुभाव कौन हैं जिनके पिता भारत के किसी प्रधानमंत्री के करीबी माने जाते हैं और ये अमरीका में कोई ऐसा अपराध कर बैठे हैं, जिसकी सज़ा इतनी कड़ी है कि इन्हे अमरीकी राष्ट्रपति से क्षमा प्राप्त हुई। मैने तारीख जाँची, ११ जून १९८५। तब तो राजीव गाँधी भारत के प्रधानमंत्री थे। मतलब ये आदिल शहरयार के पिता मोहम्मद यूनुस गाँधी परिवार के कोई अत्यंत करीबी व्यक्ति होंगे

स्वाभाविक सी बात है कि मेरी उत्सुकता का ठिकाना नहीं रहा और रात दिन एक करके इंटरनैट के माध्यम से इस विषय पर खोज शुरू की। तो पता चला मोहम्मद यूनुस १९४४ के आसपास से इंदिरा गाँधी के करीबी मित्र रहे, और उनका लड़का, आदिल, और इंदिरा गाँधी के लड़के, राजीव और संजय, बचपन के करीबी मित्र रहे। थोड़ा और आगे बढ़ा तो जाना कि १९८० में आदिल शहरयार पर अमरीका में किसी होटल को बम से उड़ाने का प्रयत्न करने पर पाँच विभिन्न नियमों के तहत आरोप लगे थे, जो साबित होने पर वहाँ के न्यायालय ने उन्हें ३५ बरस तक कारावास में रहने का दण्ड दिया था। अरे बाप रे! आतंकवाद का आरोप? वो भी ऐसे किसी व्यक्ति पर जिसका परिवार भारत के नेहरु-गाँधी परिवार से अत्यंत करीब है, इतना करीब कि संजय गाँधी के विवाह की रस्में तक उनके घर में अदा की गई हों। पैरों तले जमीन खिसक गई।

देखते देखते मालूम हुआ कि अमरीका में आदिल शहरयार हॉलीवुड के दिग्गज कलाकारों में से एक चार्लस्टन हैस्टन के संरक्षण में रह रहे थे। बहुत बड़ी बात है ये। भारत के सबसे शक्तिशाली राजनैतिक परिवार से संबंधों का ऐसा लाभ कि विश्व के सर्वशक्तिमान राष्ट्र अमरीका का अत्यंत मशहूर कलाकार उनका संरक्षण करे। और हैस्टन ने अमरीकी एटॉर्नी जनरल से आदिल की रिहाई की माँग की। कहा ये सारा कुछ गलत हुआ है, इत्यादि। अमरीकी एटॉर्नी जनरल से हैस्टन का ये पत्राचार तीन भागों में आधिकारिक तौर पर उपलब्ध है। और ऐसे मशहूर, सम्मानित कलाकार ने आदिल को छुड़ाने की पुरजोर कोशिश की और उसकी एक नहीं सुनी गई? तो जिज्ञासा जागी कि फिर १९८५ में ऐसा क्या हुआ कि अमरीकी राष्ट्रपति ने आदिल को क्षमा कर दिया? कुछ तो बड़ा हुआ होगा।

दरअसल, ११ जून १९८५ को भारत के तत्कालीन प्रधान मंत्री राजीव गाँधी अमरीका गए, और न्यू यॉर्क टाइम्स तथा अन्य समाचार पत्रिकाओं के आधार पर पता चला कि इस उपलक्ष पर अमरीकी राष्ट्रपति ने, बिना कुछ अपने देशवासियों को समझाए आदिल शहरयार को क्षमा कर मुक्त कर दिया

Warren Anderson
इस घटना से सात माह पूर्व, ८ दिसंबर १९८४ को, राजीव गाँधी ने भोपाल गैस काण्ड में गिरफ्तार हुए वारन ऐण्डरसन को भी ऐसे ही, अपने देशवासियों को बिना कुछ समझाए, नियमों को ताक पर रख, रिहा करके, भारत से भगा दिया था।

फिर २०१० में ही समाचार पत्रिकाओं के हवाले से ज्ञात हुआ कि अमरीका की कुख्यात खुफिया संस्था सीआईए ने एक अधूरे दस्तावेज़ को जनता के समक्ष रखा है जिसमें भोपाल गैस काण्ड आरोपी वारन ऐण्डरसन की रिहाई की दास्तान लिखी गई। ये एक खुफिया संदेश था जो कुछ दशकों बाद सूचना अधिकार के अंतर्गत जनता के समक्ष रख दिया गया।

इस दस्तावेज़ में अधिकांश भाग पर काली स्याही है, पर इतना कहा गया है कि ऐण्डरसन को राजीव गाँधी नें छोड़ा। और उनका मानना था कि भारत में चुनाव आने की वजह से ऐण्डरसन और भोपाल गैस काण्ड के मुद्दे पर राजनैतिक गर्मी बन सकती थी।

नतीजा ये कि ऐण्डरसन भारतीय कानून के शिकंजे से हमेशा के लिए छूट गया। भोपाल गैस काण्ड में हुईं मृत्युओं को न्याय न मिल सका। ३१ बरस पूरे होने वाले हैं, पीढ़ियाँ बदल चुकी हैं पर न्याय नहीं मिला। आज न ऐण्डरसन जीवित है, न राजीव गाँधी, न आदिल शहरयार, न मोहम्मद यूनुस, न मध्यप्रदेश के तत्कालीन मुख्यमंत्री अर्जन सिंह, न चार्लस्टन हैस्टन, न अमरीकी ऐटॉर्नी जनरल विलियम स्मिथ और न ही अमरीकी राष्ट्रपति रोनाल्ड रीगन। अब न्याय की कोई गुँजाइश नहीं

जरा ध्यान से देखें तो पाएँगे कि ये बड़ा विचित्र संजोग है। अवश्य ही राजीव गाँधी के अमरीका आने की खुशी १९८५ में इतनी नहीं हो सकती कि उनके राष्ट्र में आतंक के मामले में गिरफ्तार व्यक्ति को क्षमा करके मुक्त कर दें। जिस व्यक्ति के विषय में वहाँ के एटॉर्नी जनरल ने हैस्टन की एक न चलने दी, और उसे न छोड़ने के साफ कारण बताए, उसे दो राष्ट्रों के बीच किसी महत्व के आदान-प्रदान के आधार पर ही कारागार से बाहर निकाला जा सकता था

अगर कोई सुराग बचे हैं तो वो हैं
१. अमरीकी खुफिया विभाग का वह खुफिया वर्णन जिसमें राजीव गाँधी का हाथ होने की बात कही है।
२. अमरीकी एटॉर्नी जनरल से चार्लस्टन हैस्टन का पत्राचार।

३. न्यु यॉर्क टाइम्स जैसे सामाचार पत्रों में छपी खबर कि राजीव गाँधी के अमरीका दौरे के अवसर पर अमरीकी राष्ट्रपति ने आदिल शहरयार को क्षमा करके रिहा किया।

A mother and a child victim of Bhopal Gas Leak
आप से निवेदन है कि आप ये दो कार्य करवाएँ-

१. आप शीघ्रातिशीघ्र अमरीका से इस दस्तावेज का बाकि बचा हिस्सा भारत सरकार को सौंपने की बात रखें

२. आप हैस्टन-एटॉर्नी जनरल पत्राचार और समाचार पत्रों में छपी खबर को आधार बनाकर यह भी पूछें कि क्या ऐण्डरसन को रिहा करने के बदले आदिल शहरयार को अमरीका ने रिहा किया।

आपसे यह भी निवेदन है कि अमरीका भारत की इन माँगों को संवेदनशील तरीके से देखे, मानवाधिकार का सम्मान करे, न्याय न मिल सकने के कारण कम से कम संबंधियों को यह तो बताए कि घटना के पीछे का सत्य क्या था
अगर आपको कोई भी दस्तावेज़ चाहिए हो तो मुझे बताएँ, पाँच मिनट में पहुँचा दूँगा।

आप उन्हें बलपूर्वक यह भी आग्रह करें कि यह सारी जानकारी, अमरीका भारत को
दिसंबर २०१५ तक दे दे। यह आश्वासन भी ज़रूरी है कि इससे भारत-अमरीका के रिश्तों पर कोई आँच नहीं आएगी, बल्कि एक मानवाधिकार के आधार पर नई नज़दीकी ही बनेगी।

आप पर बहुत विश्वास है।


पियूष कुलश्रेष्ठ

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bharat Bhagya Vidhaata

Image Courtesy: @arunvipra

Last few days, citizens of India are coming together to oppose the quality of news coverage appearing in India Media. The grouse with the media is not new. It is age old, but while opposing the News Media, the Citizen of this Country also aspires to have a tool that is a true representative of the Collective Voice of the Nation, something they see lacking in the current set-up, by and large.

However, off late, especially in the last 10-12years, with the boom of Private News Channels, and motivated propaganda that they all have indulged in, the social structuring that they have tried to indulge in, the illogical positions they have taken on matters pertaining to Law & Order and National Security, the Foreign Affairs of India, the perpetual negative posturing on Govt Initiatives, under reporting of Govt Initiatives, exploitation of access granted to them under Freedom of Press as was showcased in Radia Tapes case, as has been demonstrated in the recent Documents Leak in Oil Ministry, and the strange case of a Journalist calling Govt of India a ‘liar”, on the Pakistani Channel, an Enemy Nation.

Media’s access to India’s Official Secrets has been another worrisome matter that, for e.g., contributed heavily to shutting down of an alleged Military Intelligence unit, the TSD.

Freedom of Press – The Origin

The Press was entertained and encouraged in India in the backdrop of recently received Independence from the British Empire who had heavily clamped down the voice of the natives. Freedom fighters in the era had great difficulties putting out the voice of the nation and create a popular sentiment that was in the Interest of the Indians and not necessarily in the interest of the British.

In the backdrop, after Independence, through the Fundamental Right given to the Individual Citizens of India, of Freedom of Speech and Expression, the Press was extended this right, in the context of Collective Voice of the Nation. The idea was to create machinery that would inform the Citizens about the activities of the High Offices of the Govt and at the same time inform the Govt about the popular sentiments amongst the Citizen.

In short, the idea behind extending an individual citizen’s Freedom of Speech and Expression to the Press in India was to encourage machinery that brought the Public and the Govt. closer to each other and create a harmonious environment within which Country’s welfare will be undertaken.

The Freedom of Press is not separately mentioned as any Fundamental Right in Indian Constitution. The Press is legally subjected to the same restrictions that any individual is subjected to under Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India.

Press also has a right to earn Profits, for two simple reasons. One, it ensures their survival and ability to exercise Free Press and two, under Article 19(1)(g). And even here, it is subjected to the restrictions provided under Article 19(6).

Keeping this backdrop of Original Objective in mind, it is important to remember that News Media in India is supposed to operate within these two stated parameters and should meet the desired goals, i.e. Collective Voice of the Nation.

Is News Media fulfilling its role?

Image Courtesy: @arunvipra
We have seen news media whip religious passions, we have seen them divide this country along religious & casteist lines, we have seen them go slow on news or under report the news that requires nation’s attention, we have seen them bombard the news space with utterly nonsensical items that have nearly no relation to national interest, we have seen the media eat up nation’s precious time over encounter of terrorists (which they themselves accepted wanted to execute a “chhota-mota” blast), we have seen them call the Govt. a liar, syndicated article with Pakistani journalist peddling Pakistani version of the story and then walk into Pakistani newsroom calling Govt. of India a serial liar, we have seen them fix ministerial berths, fix policies through a wide web of lobbyists, corporate & politicians, we have seen them act as consultants in key sectors and indulge in Espionage of Govt. Policy Documents, we have seen them accessing India’s Top Secret classified files and accuse the Indian Army falsely of a Coup, we have seen them access highly classified documents on a Military Intelligence unit and expose its assets, causing it to be closed down and endangering the lives of its carefully cultivated Assets, we have seen them providing platforms to secessionist forces in Kashmir and other areas, we have even seen them partake of illegitimate money earned through corruption by politicians and indulge in money laundering and tax evasion, we have seen them twist news, we have seen them discussing and embarrassing the Prime Minister of India over his clothes, we have seen them literally acting as an agent of a certain political party in order to defeat another political party at a recently concluded State Election.

The constant role of the news media as seen today has been about driving a constant wedge between the Citizens of India and the Govt. of India. News Media has surprisingly not found any news worth celebrating in the last 9-10 months of the current Central Govt. It nearly never found a news to be sorrowful about, to complain about, to agitate about in 10years of the previous, failed regime of Congress that was pasted down to a mere 44 seats in a house of 545.

Image Courtesy: @arunvipra
We have seen the news media work with a prejudiced mind. We have seen them set an objective first and then manufacture news pieces around it. We have seen them produce news that lacks even basic research on subject. We have seen them assign jobs to reporters who have Zero Training on the beat that they cover. We have seen then media lace the ground reports with their own spicy views that rarely serve any national interest. We have seen the News Media attempting to set National Agenda.

This is the harsh reality, a bird’s eye view of what the news media is really doing in India.

Bazaru Media

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has constantly accused the news media of the above wrong-doings. During the General Election Campaign, PM Modi called them News Traders. During the Delhi Assembly Elections we saw him accuse them of being Bazaru, which is essentially the same things as calling them News Trader, though it may sound harsher as the meaning comes out very clearly in its Hindi rendition.

Is the Prime Minister wrong? I think Prime Minister could not have been more right. We may lose the depth from which the Prime Minister is trying to bring our attention to the rot and loss of objective in media in the din that shrouds these utterances.

Essentially, what the Prime Minister is saying is, that News Media in India operates under two Fundamental Rights issued to every Citizen of India. Article 19(1)(a) and Article 19(1(g) – Freedom of speech and expression and Freedom to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

Out of these while media is working beautifully towards enjoyment of Freedom available to indulge in Profitable Trade, it is doing so, almost entirely, at the cost of Freedom made available to the Press, that is, individual Freedom to Speech and Expression.

All the privileges extended to it, legally, through backing of Supreme Court over the years, formally through special, nearly unrestricted access to high and mighty offices of the Govt. of India, are being abused. The list of activities given above makes these charges quite self-sufficient, in a way to explain that News Media in India is indeed Bazaru. These people are Traders of News, and they have nothing to do with the idea of being a “Collective Voice of the Nation”, to bring the Govt of India and the Citizens of India as close and harmoniously synchronized by apprising each about the activities and aspirations of the others.

The Press Council of India’s Report on Paid News may be recalled here. Matters have gone now into such an abyss that the Editorial Content on News Media is sold and therefore it is aligned to interests that may be totally detrimental to the interest of the nation.

Cost that Country bears!

This abuse of privileges under Freedom of Press by the News Media for the purpose of running their profitable Trade has a terrible impact on this country. Citizens are constantly misinformed, ill-informed or even uninformed about issues that deserve their kind attention. This is creating a rot in this country. It is coloring the electoral might of the citizen by way of making him make ill-informed or uniformed choices of Govt. in elections that leads to spurious policy making in Governance that leads to complete reversal of National Interest.

The Press Council of India’s Report on Paid News or a Video report showingthis rot should be taken seriously. Investigative Agencies must ascertain who the News Media Editors are taking the money from, what kind of Interests do such activities align with, who’s interests are the news media houses fulfilling through their activities.

As per current trend, a democratically elected Govt may not be in a position to oppose anti-National activities (activities not aligned with national interest & working against it) of news media houses due to popular backlash as citizens largely do not know what news media houses are upto.

It is now the job of informed citizens to take this truth about news media houses to the public-at-large. Please join hands, let everyone know that News Media in India is not the representative of our Collective Voice.