with love to indore

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Khuni Bhandara of Burhanpur : A potential tourist attraction

Read this item about khooni bhandara of Burhnapur. It is indeed an architectural marvel .I remember going to a science exhibition in school days where one team had painstakingly researched adn created water supply structure of ancient and medieval India .later I also saw a documentary on DD which showed how intricate irrigation networks were laid down in south India by chola and vijaynagar rulers.
This place can be developed into a big tourist attraction if we have some visionary people sitting in tourist department.

this links have some more pictures and info.


`Khooni Bhandara' gets state protected status

Khooni Bhandara – the ancient water supply system from Mughal period at Burhanpur has been declared as state protected structure by the State Directorate of Archaeology, Archives and Museums. The structure – spread over an area of 0.340 hectares in Burhanpur Town – is an historical engineering marvel of immense importance because of its unique features and structural perfection.

The ancient water supply system was envisaged and constructed by Mughal Subedar Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana of Emperor Jehangir's regime. The Subedar – known to be a man of huge foresight, collected information on the the groundwater resources in the Satpuda region and to tap the resources properly and provide its benefit to the residents of Burhanpur, constructed the unique water supply system in year 1615.

The structure includes several small ponds were constructed in various parts to collect water. The water was transported through baked clay pipes to the Pond at Shaniwara Dwar in Burhanpur city. The water from this pond was then supplied to the palaces, Masjids and residences of common people again using underground pipes. Though the system is not in use presently, it is yet very much workable.

Meanwhile, the water supply pipelines of the other ancient water structures in Burhanpur such as Mul Bhandara, Chintaharan Bhandara, Jali Karanj, Lalbag Mandi Bhandara, Gol Bhandara and Shakkar Talab have choked up. However, the 1.5-meter high air vents constructed near these water structures to ensure cleanliness of stored water still exist. These air vents were constructed using bricks.

Eve teasing in Madhya Pradesh

Came across this piece of news. i remember one girl named Priti Shrivastav was run over by Jeep of hoodlums when she protested against eve teasing. This seems to be becoming a deep seated malaise in MP now .Worst part is girls don't complain due to social reputation and whenever police try to act they are decried by media as against human rights. Mushrooming of valentine day and friendship day functions, tv channels , easy availability of porn due to spread of computer and internet has not helped matter.
I fear this trend to go worse in future as
1. sex ratio is decreasing if one goest to "parichay Sammelan " - a unique MP innovation one can easily see few no of girsl and a lot of no of boys .
2. Another problem is with growing affluence in society more and more youth just litter away their time on dad's money while more and more girls are getting higher education this is creating imbalance as apart from being fewer in number now girls are normally more educated also and such tensions are bounfd to flare up e.g. recent scholarship initiative of central government for minority students ended up selecting 50% beneficiaries as girls. It is a good thing in itslef but as i pointed out above there are dnagers within.

Another girl burnt for resisting eve-teasing

Another day, another incident. This time the location is Sagar. A teenager was burnt by a group of youth in Shahgarh town of the district on Tuesday.

Again, her 'fault': she dared to speak against the eve-teasers, just like Pooja who was recently burnt to death. Vinita was the target of their indecent remarks and acts.

On Tuesday, when she protested the youth threw kerosene on her and burnt the girl. She is now admitted in a hospital where her condition is serious.

The culprits are Manoj, Dassu, Kallu and Jaggi. They were standing near the gate of the girl's house and making indecent comments. The police say they have caught two of the culprits.

Just two days ago a girl, Pooja, who was resisting the local goons who regularly teased her, was burnt to death. Pooja lived in Sihora near Jabalpur.

The same group regularly teased her. She had complained to her brother, who confronted the gang and was beaten. The youth then set her ablaze.

Monday, March 3, 2008

10 yrs : which MP lost

I chanced upon this very good article by M N Buch one of the finest civil servants MP ever produced. I read in today's newspaper his exhortation to abolish "Indore development Authority" or "Vikas Pradhikaran" as it is popularyl knows. This is something which I completely agree as IDA is working at cross purpose to what was its original mandate.
Anyway here is the article on Diggi Raj

An assessment of MP during The Digvijay Years
Homo Politicus

The genus homo sapiens is sub divided into a number of species, of which homo politicus is one. This species, within its genera, exhibits as its most dominant characteristic an almost atavistic commitment to manipulative politics, more closely resembling the Medicis than Mahatma Gandhi. Perhaps one of the most prominent representatives of this species is the present Chief Minister of MP, Digvijay Singh, who has fine tuned the art of politics to a level where he is, 'bin harif', or without rivals. In medieval times, whether in the Europe of the Medicis or India of the Sultanate period, one became 'bin harif' by physically liquidating ones rivals. In modern MP this exercise has been done painlessly and without causing any physical harm. In fact the weapon used here is charm, which makes the achievement of Digvijay even more remarkable.

A nascent Digvijay eight years ago appeared to be a person who was asked to chart a turbulent sea, with almost no navigation aids and plenty of obstructions and tempests, both within the Congress Party and in the opposition. He started off as a surrogate of Arjun Singh and in the earlier years one could sense his diffidence in relation to his powerful political guru. There was a strident opposition in the form of BJP which was annoyed with the Congress Party for its unceremonious ouster from power after the Ayodhya affair. At that time Digvijay was a child who was learning how to walk. One watched with admiration the adroitness with which he handled both his party and his opposition rivals, winning over, neutralizing, marginalizing or downgrading practically every one of them. Some were appeased, other purchased, still others coerced and those who could not be so suppressed were ignored or marginalized.

Simultaneously Digvijay started on the twin tracks of populism on the one hand and administrative change on the other which kept the opposition on the hop. Populism consisted of free electricity to farmers and slum dwellers, regularization of encroachments on urban land, regularization of forest encroachments, etc., Whilst impoverishing the state and its agencies these measures certainly brought Digvijay a degree of immediate popularity amongst the beneficiaries. Digvijay was also the first Chief Minister in India to cash in on the opportunities offered by the Seventy Third Constitution Amendment Act. He used this as a means of projecting himself as a man in a hurry to bring about a total social and administrative restructuring of the state. He constituted a three tier Panchayat system and held elections to it. On paper, at least, he transferred many powers to the Panchayats and referred to them as the future face of government in the state. However, great care was taken to ensure that the transfer of power to the Panchayats was by way of delegation and not genuine devolution. Despite this, when the Sarpanchs of the Zila Panchayats began to show their teeth, thus increasingly marginalizing the members of the legislature and the ministers, Digvijay averted a revolt by constituting what he called the District Government. This was in fact the District Planning Committee mandated by the Seventy Third Constitution Amendment, the spirit of which amendment is that the said committee be representative of the people and the elected officials in the district. Instead Digvijay made a minister in-charge of each District Planning Committee, with the Collector as the Member Secretary, whose writ became more powerful that that of the elected Zila Panchayat.

Theoretically this is a democratic body, but since its Chairman is not accountable locally and he also happens to be a minister in the state government, in effect the District Planning Committee/District Government became more powerful than the Zila Panchayat. This is a classic case of what the left hand giveth the right hand taketh away. Certainly the substitution of ministers as chairmen of the District Planning Committees in place of the person who should rightfully have been there, the Sarpanch of the Zila Panchayat, partially negated the concept of decentralization of powers. Notwithstanding strenuous denials by government the present form of the so called District Government does reduce the importance of the Zila Panchayat. Incidentally in the urban field, where the Seventy Fourth Constitution Amendment also mandates decentralized local government, the municipalities have much less powers than the Panchayats and the level of interference is much higher.

Digvijay has certainly been successful in handling politics. The creation of Chhattisgarh has removed from the scene his major rivals, the Shukla brothers and Ajit Jogi. Mr Arjun Singh's health probably does not permit him to play as active a part in state politics as before. Kamal Nath has his own problems and in any case the MPEB is the cockpit in which he and Digvijay fight their political battles. Madhavrao Scindia is no more. Within the Congress no one walks as tall as Digvijay, who is thus able to run the most centralized government in the history of the state, where nothing moves without his clearance, whilst presenting to the world the face of a totally decentralized government. This calls for rare manipulative skills. So far as the BJP is concerned, Digvijay has charmed most of its leaders or won them over through blandishments, with the result that it is no longer a serious contender for power. That leaves Digvijay the monarch of all he surveys.

Homo politicus Digvijay has done three other things. The first is to so manipulate the three All India Services that where once they formed a homogenous team, today they are at each others throats. In most districts the Collector, SP and DFO are no longer on talking terms. This certainly suits the politicians. Secondly, he has been able to convince the media about the sincerity and the effectiveness of all his administrative and political measures and has also been able to convince a number of NGOs that what he is doing is right. In other words, he has been able to persuade them to view him uncritically despite the reality belying what is projected. Thirdly, having created the edifice of Panchayati Raj he has now partially dismantled it by completely marginalizing the elected Sarpanchs and members of the Panchayats and substituting them by seven committees per Gram Sabha, consisting of twelve members each who are selected by a process which is certainly not formally democratic. In fact this is a restoration of a feudal system because the one who is most influential in the village and commands the largest number of strong armed men now virtually rules the Gram Sabha. By having eighty four plus members of the committees per village this government is able to spread thin but quite evenly a layer of corruption right down to the level of the village. At least for the next general elections a strong force of vested interests now exists, which would probably yield rich electoral dividends. These would be short term, extremely harmful to the overall interests of the state, at the cost of genuine development and brought about by the debasement of established institutions. However, if the objective is not governance, but merely holding on to power, this would be manipulative politics at its worse. But that is at the core of the game of politics as now played in India. What greater certificate of success can one give to homo politicus ?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

hello world

I believe this blog is long overdue. There is no blog on Indore from citizen's poitn of view even the news coverage is superficial. So maybe I will try to use my local knowledge and analytical skill to present issues in more perspectives then are usually offered.