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Archive for January, 2009

Lest we Forget

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While my Republic day was spent as I’d (once in a while) want it to — in a train on a cross-country ride that spanned numerous states and 2500 KM, The Hindustan Times Republic Day special, New Delhi late city edition, has something I’d want to be published a little more often. This newspaper, already 2 days old and living in a constant threat of being pushed in a pile of its older counterparts, has things I’d like to mention on my blog here. So before this forewarning becomes realistic any further, here I would like to take 9 names that spell Bravery, Heroism and much more. Most of these people mentioned below, have been awarded the country’s highest Gallantry Awards. In a country so short of heroes, here are a few. I am producing this as is, from the newspaper — Lest we forget.

1. Ajitesh Singh, Age 34

Chhattisgarh police inspector, veteran of eight encounters with armed Naxalities, the last on January 9, 2006, which left him with five bullet wounds. He survived, but three bullets still remain embedded in his chest.

2. B.K. Sharma, Age 50

Central Reserve Police Commandant whose 24 member platoon warded off an attack by over 100 armed Naxalites on August 22, 2006, as it was traveling through a forested road in Jharkhand’s Palamau district.

3. Gajendra Singh Bisht, Age 36

National Security Guards havildar, member of the commando team that descended down a rope from a helicopter above onto the roof of Mumbai’s Nariman House to rescue the residents being held hostage by the November 26 attackers. Killed by a terrorist’s bullet.

4. Mohan Chand Sharma, Age 41

Delhi Police Inspector. Shot dead on September 19, 2008, as her led the raid on alleged Indian Mujahideen terrorists responsible for serial blasts in the city, killing 26 people. In his 19-year long career, he had put to death 35 terrorists and 40 gangsters.

5. Muzaffar Ahmed Bhat, Age 21

Army sepoy killed in encounter with armed militants in Pulwama on December 4, 2007, as he tried to carry an injured colleague to safety.

6. Pramod Satpathy, Age 43

Assistant Commandant Special Operations Group, Orissa, who led the police team that chased a band of over 500 Naxalites which had killed 13 Policemen and looted arms at Nayagarh on February 15, 2008. Satpathy was killed in the encounter.

7. Raymond P. Diengdoh, Age 32

Meghalaya Deputy Superintendent of Police who led the raid upon a militant camp in the Paham-Umdoh forests bordering Assam on November 6, 2007. Hit early by a bullet, he still carried on with the operation, capturing two militants before he died.

8. Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Age 32

Major in the National Security Guards, killed while leading the team that flushed out the terrorists who had taken over Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel on November 26, 2008.

9. Tukaram Omble, Age 53

Mumbai Police sub inspector who captured the sole surviving terrorist of the November 26, 2008 attack on Mumbai, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab. Held on to Kasab until he died, despite being riddled by terrorists’ bullets.

Written by aditya kumar

January 29th, 2009 at 11:52 am

Posted in Personal

As it ought to be

with 5 comments

My earliest memory of Bombay is also the most amusing one. My mother and father taking turns holding my sister and I holding one of them by the hand, standing on the overbridge of Ghatkopar station, pointing our gaze at the far end of the rail tracks, trying to ascertain which platform the coming train will ply on. If someone ever tried to find out a method to Bombay’s madness, here was one. At that moment, when all of us, despite everything, boarded the train, Bombay was an overcoming of obstacles.

The usual journey that took us to Bombay from the suburb we lived in involved a 45 minute boat ride, a walk through the Naval dockyard, a taxi ride, a train to be caught from the majestic Victoria Terminus. In monsoons, it was mostly an ordeal — much before we could make our ways through the Bombay roads that were full of filth and mire, we had to deal with the rough seas. But this fortnightly trip was something that had to be undertaken, for we lived in a place that was much away from the mainland. And going to the home of my father’s aunt — our only relation in Bombay, was a journey that was very comprehensive and offered me the only glimpse of a world that was so different than the one where I lived, only a few miles away. Then, Bombay was a collection of life’s first few lessons.

But the most rewarding of all was when I used to go to Bombay with my mother. She loved to windowshop at Crawford market (deep inside she still does, I know). We roamed around the fountain area, picked up some casual clothing and windowshopped at the costly stores. During one of those trips, I was amazed, almost to an extent of being in shock, to the sight of two glass doors opening (and closing) automatically as I stepped into a (very posh) Vimal Cloth Store. It was probably man’s greatest achievement, I thought — a technical feat. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the reward involved — the “softy” we called it then, the ice-cream cone that my mother treated me to. It was nothing less than a bribe. Getting it was not so easy — I had to keep my mouth shut while mom took her time choosing clothes. And on the rare occasion that I was extra good at it, I got twice of what was promised. At that very moment, Bombay became rewarding.

Slums were to be seen for the most part of the train journey. And there were different smells. A sea of smells. The smell of dried fish, the salty air. The city still retains most of it. Ah yes, the slums. They were just there, as if they had been there always. I never thought of them then — See, I was coming out of my shell and what I saw then was my idea of the world. So there it was, that another world alongside the railway tracks. The two worlds, by and large, living coherently.

So it comes as a surprise to me when they continue to derive so many things out of the slums. Spirit. Coherence. Unity. Tolerance. Pick up anything. Any movie, any literature on this city and you will find something or the other of the just mentioned coming out. Midnight’s Children, A Fine Balance, Salaam Bombay, Shantaram, Dharavi and the most recent, Slumdog Millionaire –each one of them a masterpiece. But why do we need to be reminded, by these works of art all based in Bombay’s slums, that religious tolerance and staying together are lessons that can be derived from an ordinary life?

At that time, for a 10 year old boy, Bombay was nothing extraordinary. It was just as things ought to be.

Written by aditya kumar

January 13th, 2009 at 2:37 am

Posted in Bombay,Society,Writing

In Order

with 3 comments

Update: The old theme is back :)

Don’t be surprised.

This blog has just gone through a successful upgrade. Apparently, the old theme is no longer supported and so what you see is the default WordPress theme. Depending on my patience level, I might just have to get a new one or make the old one work.

Till the time I get things in order, please bear.

Meanwhile, I hope this new year brings hope and peace to the world you and I live in. Have a good year.

More later.

Written by aditya kumar

January 2nd, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Blogging