with love to indore

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Indore RTO

Something which I had reported at least 6 months back

Naidunia carried similar news today

http://naidunia.com/Details.aspx?id=104925&boxid=30019786

means indore RTO is still a den of open corruption.
It is season of municipal election. Can our mayor candidate promise to end this nightmare??

Thursday, November 19, 2009

this is how naxals are created

स्वयं सहायता समूहों ने छीना बच्चों का निवाला
Nov 19, 12:00 am
बताएं

* Twitter
* Delicious
* Facebook


झाबुआ/भोपाल। आदिवासी अंचल झाबुआ जिले की अधिकांश स्कूलों से बच्चे भूखे लौट रहे हैं। उन्हें स्वयं सहायता समूहों की गड़बड़ियों के चलते भूखा लौटना पड़ रहा है। गांव के स्वयं सहायता समूहों पर दबंगों का कब्जा है और मध्याह्नं भोजन योजना दबंगों के मकड़जाल में उलझ कर रह गई है।

मध्याह्नं भोजन में विसंगति में नया तथ्य यह है कि जो शिक्षक मध्याह्नं भोजन न मिलने का या अमानक भोजन देने का विरोध कर रहे हैं उन्हें स्वयं सहायता समूहों की दादागिरी का सामना करना पड़ रहा है। विगत एक सप्ताह के भीतर ही दो शिक्षकों को स्वयं सहायता समूहों से जुड़े लोगों ने पीट दिया। मामला थानों तक जा पहुंचा है लेकिन जिला प्रशासन के पास एक भी शिकायत मौजूद नहीं है।

थांदला-पेटलावद ब्लॉक में पीटे शिक्षक : थांदला विकासखंड के लाटपुरा गांव में पदस्थ शिक्षक महेश डामर को स्वयं सहायता समूह समर्थकों ने विगत 14 नवंबर को उस समय पीट दिया वह मध्याह्नं भोजन चार माह से विद्यार्थियों न मिलने संबंधित दस्तावेज लेकर जनपद के सीईओ के पास जा रहे थे। काकनवानी पुलिस में इसकी शिकायत भी दर्ज करवाई गई है। अब आलम यह है कि महेश डामर नामक यह शिक्षक स्कूल ही नहींजा रहा है क्योंकि उसे अपनी जान का खतरा है। उसने बीईओ को इस आशय की जानकारी भी दे दी है। दूसरा मामला पेटलावद विकासखंड के रायपुरिया गांव का है, जहां हरिओम स्वयं सहायता समूह की अध्यक्ष मीरा पाटीदार ने मंगलवार को शिक्षक सुनील पटवा को सिर्फ इस बात से नाराज होकर अपनी दो सहयोगियों के साथ मिलकर पीट दिया क्योंकि वे सब्जी में कीड़े होने एवं कच्ची रोटी दिए जाने का विरोध कर रहे थे। यह मामला भी रायपुरिया थाने पर पहुंचा है। यहां के प्राचार्य मंजुला कौशल ने भी स्वयं सहायता समूह पर दादागिरी करने का आरोप लगाया है। यह दो उदाहरण पूरे झाबुआ जिले की मध्याह्नं भोजन योजना में चल रही स्वयं सहायता समूहों की दादागिरी एवं फर्जीवाड़े को दर्शाते हैं।

अधिकांश समूहों पर सरपंच-तड़वियों का कब्जा

झाबुआ जिले में 312 स्वयं सहायता समूह संचालित है जो जिले के झाबुआ, राणापुर, मेघनगर, थांदला, पेटलावद एवं रामा विकासखंड में मध्याह्नं भोजन योजना को संचालित कर रहे हैं। कहने को तो शासन की मंशा यह थी कि गांव की महिलाओं को सामूहिकता की भावना सीखाकर उन्हें आर्थिक रूप से समूहों के माध्यम से सुदृढ़ बनाया जाएगा। लेकिन हकीकत में इससे उलट हो रहा है। समूहों पर सरपंच-तड़वियों का कब्जा हो गया है। समूह उनके रिश्तेदारों या शुभचिंतकों द्वारा संचालित किए जा रहे हैं और झाबुआ जिले के गांव में अभी तक शिक्षकों या कर्मचारियों की हिम्मत गांव के इन दबंगों का विरोध करने की नहींहै।

.. लेकिन जिले में एक भी शिकायत दर्ज नहीं

यह विडंबना है या कागजी खेल कि जिला मुख्यालय झाबुआ पर मध्याह्नं भोजन योजना में स्वयं सहायता समूहों की गड़बड़ी की एक भी शिकायत दर्ज नहींहै। यह कहना है जिला पंचायत के परियोजना अधिकारी (मध्याह्नं भोजन) आरएस चौहान का। चौहान ने बताया कि जिले में अभी तक कोई भी शिकायत नहींपुहुंची है। अगर शिकायत जनपदों में पहुंची होगी तो उन्होंने अपने स्तर पर निपटारा कर लिया होगा। यहां जिला प्रशासन की गंभीरता समझने की जरूरत है। अति महत्वपूर्ण मध्याह्नं भोजन योजना की शिकायत संबंधी जानकारी तक अगर जिले में उपलब्ध नहींहै तो जिले की रुचि इसे संचालित करने में कैसी है इसे आसानी से समझा जा सकता है।

भूखे लौटते है स्कूली बच्चे

स्वयं सहायता समूह दादागिरी कर शिक्षकों से पूरी उपस्थिति दर्शाने और मध्याह्नं भोजन दिए जाने संबंधी कागजी सहमति लेने की कोशिश करते हैं। अधिकांश में वे सफल भी हो जाते हैं लेकिन इसका परिणाम यह हो रहा है कि ग्रामीण इलाकों से स्कूली बच्चे भूखे लौट रहे हैं और जहां कहीं भी मध्याह्नं भोजन मिल भी रहा है वहां गिनती की एक रोटी और पतली दाल की उपस्थिति ही मध्याह्नं भोजन के नाम पर है।

इस संदर्भ में अमरसिंह बघेल, जिला पंचायत सीईओ कहते हैं, मुझे इस संबंध में ज्यादा जानकारी नहीं है, अखबारों में जरूर पड़ा है। एसडीएम जांच कर रहे हैं। मध्याह्नं भोजन योजना में अगर कहीं विसंगति है तो उसे दुरुस्त किया जाएगा।

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kamal Patel Shamim Modi and tribals of Harda

This is a news completely suppressed by local media

see this article in frontline

he attack in Mumbai on the social activist Shamim Modi raises disturbing questions.

PHOTOGRAPHS: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Shamim Modi. Her decision to contest the Assembly elections had brought her into confrontation with political bigwigs.

THE day started out as usual for the social activist Shamim Modi at her Vasai residence in Mumbai on July 23. It was hardly a month since she moved in there from Harda in Madhya Pradesh to join the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) as an assistant professor. It turned out to be a day of terror when the watchman of her apartment barged into her house in an alleged attempt to kill her. Her throat was slit, her hands were broken and her head was smashed. Her husband, Anurag Modi, says it is only “her will power and courage to fight” that enabled her to survive. Shamim had to have 118 stitches all over her body.

The police initially tried to pass off the incident as a case of robbery. But Shamim’s political background indicates that there is much more to it than meets the eye. Her decision to move base from Harda and Betul in the tribal hinterland of Madhya Pradesh itself was a deliberate one, to ward off the “unwarranted” attention she was getting in her efforts to organise the Korkus and Gonds (the two majority tribes in the region) under the banner of the Shramik Adivasi Sangathan (SAS). For the past 13 years, the SAS has been enabling the tribal people to fight for their land rights and to protest against their exploitation by Forest Department officials.

The SAS entered urban space last year by helping sawmill workers and hammals (porters) unionise against the exploitative industrial nexus in Harda, which has the largest number of sawmills in India. The timber industry thrives in the area because of its dense forest cover. With more than 50 per cent of the population in the region being tribal, it was easy for the rich, who belong to the upper castes, and the settler Gujarati business community to employ dirt-cheap labour. The SAS made it possible for sawmill workers to organise and protest against the denial of basic rights such as minimum wages and mishap costs.

The Modi couple, who were also among the leaders of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, faced stiff resistance from forest contractors and industrialists and also the district administration and the Forest Department. That Shamim contested the elections (twice to the Assembly and once to the Lok Sabha) on the Samajwadi Jan Parishad ticket from Harda made the resistance worse.

The administration slapped several charges on Shamim and Anurag, including that of preparing the ground for naxalite activity. Recently, stating lack of evidence, the Madhya Pradesh High Court stayed a report of the District Judge that accused them of breeding naxalism in the region.

Like the Modis and other dedicated SAS activists, the tribal people who showed any kind of sympathy to the SAS, too, could not escape the wrath of the administration. “Shamim had to move to Mumbai in order to proceed with the movement more tactfully,” Anurag said.

Shamim’s decision to contest the Assembly elections had brought her into direct confrontation with Kamal Patel, the local legislator belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Kamal Patel, a former Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad leader, is known to be a powerful Jat leader. He later became a four-time MLA from Harda and was once the Revenue Minister in the State. He is known to secure the interests of Jats and Gujjars, who form the bulk of the landlords.

Anil Bansal, a resident of Harda, recently filed a public interest petition against Kamal Patel, accusing him of amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. To this Kamal Patel replied that he owned only 200 acres of land (one acre is 0.4 hectares). Bansal then filed another case under public interest litigation (PIL), accusing him of violating the Land Ceiling Act. “This is only one of the highlighted cases against him,” said Hemant Tale of the Congress, who contested against Kamal Patel.



SUPPORTERS OF THE Samajwadi Jan Parishad, on whose ticket Shamim contested the elections, holding a rally in the jungles of Harda.

The SAS movement, Anurag said, apparently jolted Kamal Patel as it not only disturbed the balance of the exploitative status quo but also encouraged the tribal people not to exchange votes for cash. Anurag said Shamim had lodged a complaint with the local police after receiving death threats.

Matters worsened between Kamal Patel and the SAS during the November-December elections in 2008 when Natwar Patel, a close aide of his and president of the sawmill owners’ association, was detained by an order of the Election Commission for threatening Shamim and preventing her supporters in the sawmills from campaigning for her. A few months later, when the mill workers, under the SAS, called a strike for their basic rights, the mill owners’ association told the District Collector that the mills would be closed down unless Shamim was arrested in 48 hours. The very next day Shamim was arrested and was detained for more than a month on charges as old as two years – instigating the tribal people and organising a dharna at the collectorate. She was shifted to the Hoshangabad jail, in the neighbouring district, and was allegedly tortured mentally and physically.

Kamal Patel could not be reached despite several efforts by Frontline.

“She was attacked earlier twice in 2007. We explained this at the Manikpur police station in Mumbai. Yet they tried to pass this off as a robbery case. I came to know of this when I visited the police station on July 27.

The senior police sub-inspector wanted me to sign on a paper which read, ‘My wife informed me over phone that the watchman attacked her for money.’ This prompted me to check my wife’s statement, and I got to know that it had been doctored. With pressure from the activist Medha Patkar, Chandra Iyengar, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) of the Maharashtra government, and a delegation from TISS, her actual statement was recorded on August 3. And only recently was Section 307 [attempt to murder] invoked, because of the interference of the Mumbai High Court,” said Anurag. The watchman is still absconding.

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), TISS, and the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), which sent their own fact-finding teams to the region, came across the exploitative nexus between the industry and political powers. According to them, the district administrations at Betul and Harda were using exclusive and specific repressive measures against the SAS, other social action groups working for human rights, political and social activists, and the tribal people, who were denied their rights to land, water and forest.

So much so that the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Rajya Surakshya Adhiniyam 1990 (generally described as a black law) were invoked against political and social activists, including harsh measures such as externment from six to nine districts for a period of one year.

The political platform that the SAS had set up in the region must have provided enough reasons for the attack on Shamim. The investigation until now has lacked direction.



IN WHAT THE police say is a case of robbery, Shamim Modi was attacked brutally and suffered serious injuries.

The rising number of incidents of exploitation in Harda and Betul over the past decade has been drawing public attention, thanks to the SAS. Thus, it has been found that the age-old systemic exploitation of the tribal people in the forests is slowly getting converted into incidents of torture and false criminal charges.

This correspondent travelled to two such forest villages, Dhega and Ucchabarari. Destruction of agricultural fields and torture have allegedly been repeated by the Forest Department despite the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, which grants the tribal communities the right to forest land. Both villages are situated in difficult hilly terrain. For the villagers, the authorities simply mean an exploitative combination of nakedaar, hawaldaar and patwari (forest guard, police guard and the lowest-level revenue inspector). The residents have been strongly opposing the arbitrary practices of the forest administration.

In some cases, tribal people charged under bailable sections or booked for compoundable offences have been denied bail. In some instances, the Indian Penal Code section regarding destruction of public property, which the Forest Department is not permitted to invoke, has been added to make the charge non-bailable. The nature of offences varies from “encroachments of forest land” to the “use of forest resources”.

This is despite the fact that the Forest Rights Act has given them the right to use their land and forest resources if they have been staying in a forest village since December 13, 2005. To establish that right, the gram sabhas have to put their claims with the district administration, which, after due verification, has to grant the land rights to the forest-dwelling people.

On July 13, Sunita, a 15-year-old, was allegedly beaten badly and dragged into a vehicle by forest guards while she was working in the field. “When my uncle Subedar objected, he was arrested and he is still in jail,” she said. Later, the guards came to know that she was the only tribal girl to have passed the Board examination with first division in Class X. They did not arrest her because her name had been publicised in the local media. However, she is still traumatised and too weak to return to school.

In a similar incident on July 20, in Ucchabarari, an activist of the SAS was surrounded by forest guards when he was going for a meeting, and beaten and arrested. He is in jail.

In both these cases, the family members are unaware of the charges made against them. Such denial of basic information makes it impossible for any accused to defend himself or herself.



SHAMIM MODI ADDRESSING a rally in one of the villages in Betul district.

Some villagers complained that the seeds of jatropha and babool shrubs were thrown into their fields so that the Forest Department could establish that these lands were not cultivated by the villagers. The Department has apparently put a band of “watchers” in the village community on its payroll to prevent cultivation on “encroached” lands.

The administration’s apathy towards the tribal cause seems evident despite the State Cabinet’s decision in 2007 to dismiss around 4.5 lakh petty cases against the tribal people. Section 4 (5) of the Forest Rights Act also strictly instructs that no tribal village be dispossessed until the process of verification is complete. From what can be seen in Harda and Betul, it is apparent that the Forest Department is violating the Act by evicting villagers from their own land.

Under such circumstances, the politicisation of the tribal people by the SAS posed a threat to many. In a strange turn of events, the District Collector, the Superintendent of Police and the District Forest Officer in Harda were transferred within 15 days of the attack on Shamim. So, though Harda District Collector Renu Pant said she would look into the matter, she pleaded innocence of all the happenings in the past.

Sub-Divisional Officer of Police Jitendra Singh Pawar, however, told Frontline: “There is no need to see this incident in a sociological context. The villages are run in a certain tradition and they cannot function in a new way. The SAS has been instigating people to encroach on forest lands, which we cannot allow.”

The attitude of Forest Department officials in the State capital, Bhopal, was also one of denial. “There is no exploitation of people in the villages. The forest guard system is one of the best in forest management. It is our job to prevent the girdling of trees, which the tribal people often do. Encroachments will not be tolerated. Rights have been an excuse for the villagers to encroach on lands. We have a grievance redress forum meeting every Tuesday. Why don’t these people come there and complain?” said R.N. Saxena, the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.

Asked about frequent resettlement of these villages by the government being cited as one of the reasons for such encroachment, he said the department would address the problem in due course.

Major resettlements in 1977 and 1980 and smaller ones later have left the forest-dwellers with no choice but to cultivate new lands. In 1977, the government recognised the forest dwellers’ right to land and decided to grant them pattas, or title deeds. While the intention was to settle the villagers in their original places, the process of giving pattas was fraught with discrepancies. So, many villages had to change their location. This happened again in 1980.

Now the Forest Rights Act recognises the right of traditional forest-dwellers to claim forest land held before December 13, 2005, but the fear of being left out in the verification process and faulty issuance of land rights lurks again. The “historical injustice” that the Forest Rights Act intended to remove has been cropping up in various forms.•

finally a greenfield thermal plant in MP

See this news item from Business standard

If I remember correctly in last years of his rule Diggi Raja also floated this idea but nothing happened.
In current economic scenario how financial closure will be achieved is a question and further coal linkages are still unclear...
Let's wait and watch

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Madhya Pradesh discriminated in JNUURM bus purchase

See this news item from Dainik jagarn. Number of buses in all other states is very high while MP is getting same number of buses as small states like uttarakahnad or chhattisgarh.

Despite the fact that we are a large state and our state roadways has been closed.

this can mean only two things:
1. incompetence of our bureaucrat and politicians to make proper plans and get funding
2. discrimination by central government


इंदौर। केंद्र सरकार की आर्थिक मदद से मध्यप्रदेश समेत देश के अलग-अलग सूबों ने अपनी शहरी लोक परिवहन व्यवस्था की बेहतरी के लिए 11185 बसें खरीदने के ऑर्डर दिए हैं।

सरकारी सूत्रों ने बताया कि ये ऑर्डर जवाहरलाल नेहरू राष्ट्रीय शहरी नवीकरण मिशन के तहत दिए गए हैं। इनके जरिए एसी (वातानुकूलित) लो-फ्लोर, नॉन एसी लो-फ्लोर, सेमी लो-फ्लोर और मिनी बसें खरीदी जाएंगी।

उन्होंने कहा कि जेएनएनयूआरएम के तहत महाराष्ट्र 2230 आंध्रप्रदेश 1540, उत्तरप्रदेश 1350, पश्चिम बंगाल 1300, राजस्थान 400, केरल 320, झारखंड 240, मध्यप्रदेश 175, उत्तराखंड 145, छत्तीसगढ़ 100 और मणिपुर 25 बसें खरीदेगा। तमिलनाडु और दिल्ली ने 1600-1600 बसें खरीदने के ऑर्डर दिए हैं।

सूत्रों के मुताबिक, बसें खरीदने की योजना शहरी विकास मंत्रालय की राज्यों को एकमुश्त आर्थिक सहायता के जरिए संचालित की जा रही है। इस योजना के तहत जेएनएनयूआरएम से जुड़े शहरों के लिए कुल 15260 बसों की खरीदी को मंजूरी दी गई है।

Harisingh Gaur

Sagar university is named after this gentleman and is soon going to be a central university but ever wondered as to who he was?

this article from frontilne gives the answer . He can be easily termed as one of the best legal minds of India.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall in standards of Media in Indore

Dying man never lies.

Even Prabhash Joshi said that newspapers in Indore are selling space to political parties to run down opposition.

one more obituary from abhivyakti

another one from a hindi blog with some video as well
Are e paper the new way??

It is with great sadness that I write in memory of Prabhash Joshi, a steadfast friend and valued colleague of many years. I had been trying to reach him for some days but he was away. And then just yesterday he called to say he was back from his wanderings and that we must meet soon as there was much to discuss. For the past many months, indeed years, he had been travelling incessantly, lecturing, speaking, and participating in a variety of media and other activities even while keeping up his heavy writing schedule. He remarked that he was tired after all this hectic journeying and needed a few days rest after which he would be in touch and we should meet.

That day was not to come. He has departed and left the country’s journalistic fraternity the poorer. He reported from the field, mixing with high and low, and wrote a regular column in Jansatta and occasionally elsewhere, telling it as it is, focussing on values, principles and the lives and wellbeing of ordinary people.


Over the past many months he had been greatly exercised over the grievous fall in ethical standards, even among some of the best known brands in the Indian media. He was particularly concerned about the graded “packages” being sold by media houses for electoral coverage with different price tags to favour a candidate or damn his or her opponent. He took me with him to Indore, his home town, some time back to attend and address a seminar and public meeting called to discuss this matter by the Madhya Pradesh Union of Journalists. He had done his homework and was armed with clippings and other hard evidence of such malpractice. Returning to Delhi, he got me to join him in filing a complaint with the Press Council of India, which is currently seized of the matter. One of his last public assignments in Delhi was a seminar to discuss and denounce this most undemocratic practice.

I first met Prabhash in Delhi at the time of the JP movement. He was with the Gandhi Peace Foundation and edited the Hindi version of Everyman’s, a journal devoted to advocating Jayaprakash’s views and sponsored by Ramnath Goenka. This journal campaigned for JP’s movement for purity in public life. RNG, a man of strong likes and dislikes, took to Prabhash and brought him to The Indian Express, charging him with the task of conceptualising and launching Jansatta, the Hindi paper he had long wished to establish in Delhi. Jansatta gained a devoted readership and considerable prestige under Joshi’s editorship.

Prior to that we had been colleagues in The Express and Prabhash served in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad as also in Delhi and remained a confidante of RNG. He was passionate about cricket and wrote about it with panache. Sadly, He was taken ill at home after watching the India-Australia match last night and was rushed to hospital.

Though he gave up editorship of Jansatta after some years, he continued to write for it and was something of a guru, not merely among his devoted colleagues but for the larger media fraternity. Immaculately dressed in a starched dhoti and kurta, he had a wide and varied circle of friends and professional contacts with whom he kept in touch, often inviting them home for a splendid vegetarian meal cooked by his wife, Usha, with his children around. It was a happy and close knit family.

Prabhash Joshi will be missed — and remembered — for his friendship, his values and his perseverance in ploughing a furrow that not too many have followed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Indore Film Festival

When you are away from home and miss the event which could actually make your home town an attractive destination then it is not very easy to imagine how one feels.

None of Indore media could give the glimpse of Indore film festival or its background in a better way than one given by one of the jury members.

Indore intelligentsia should also wake up as MP government is cheating Indore of its legitimate right of becoming film capital of MP by promoting bhopal instead.



here is the article

CINEMA

Global glimpses

S. KRISHNASWAMY

The improvement in the quality of cinema, especially Indian films, over the past four decades is stunning.

PHOTOGRAPHS: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

From "In the Name of Art", a short film from New Zealand, which got a certificate of merit.

WHEN I received an invitation from the Film Federation of India (the apex body of the film industry) to be the chairman of the jury for a “Global Cinema Festival” it was to hold, I was initially intrigued by the choice of Indore as the festival venue. Then I found a clue to the riddle. Soon after the advent of “talkies” in the 1930s, film production centres took shape, but only in three metros – Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. One has always felt that the somewhat rootless character of the Hindi film may be at least partially attributed to the fact that there is no film production centre in the heart of the Hindi belt. Possibly motivated by this fact, the Film Federation of India decided to encourage film production in Madhya Pradesh, and as a first step organised its first “Global Cinema Festival” in Indore, for one week in October 2009.

The State government extended financial assistance although there is an unresolved difference in perception between the Federation and the State – the Federation, under Jitendra Jain's leadership, insists on developing a film industry in Indore and the government backs the proposal for the State capital, Bhopal. This article is limited in scope to the festival per se.

The Global Cinema Festival was non-competitive for feature films, which were invited from across the world, and “competitive” for documentaries and short fiction films, which attracted a surprising number of entries from over 50 countries. As the chairman of the jury, I enjoyed the opportunity not only to view a cross section of excellent contemporary short films and documentaries but also to compare the scene today with what it was like over the last four decades, during which time I have served in the jury of different festivals on a dozen occasions as a member, secretary or chairman. I was stunned by the remarkable progress in the quality of the Indian entries in particular.



'Bilal', an Indian entry in the documentary section, got a special mention.

The documentaries and short films screened for us had been pre-selected by the festival authorities from a large number of entries. We were asked to choose only one documentary and one short film for the awards in the two categories. But the visual excellence, the variety of styles adopted, and the varied subjects selected by the film-makers of the 56 entries were so exciting that we felt some more films deserved formal recognition. The organisers accepted our recommendation to give two certificates of merit in each category, in addition to an award in each.

While award-winning feature films manage to get some distribution, if not in the cinemas, at least as DVDs, equally deserving short films and documentaries get very little exposure; even those interested in them are unable to access them. However, short films and documentaries are emerging as future vehicles of exceptional sensitivity, exploring new vistas, competing with print in investigative journalism and science reporting. Let me describe briefly some of the entries to awaken your interest.

The award for the Best Documentary Film was given to Paradiso, an entry from the United Kingdom, directed by Alessandro Neglini. It is a lyrical recreation of how a group of friends in a small town in Ireland manage to foster harmony between two estranged groups of Catholics and Protestants – literally through music. Although the brick wall, built 40 years ago, dividing the village, remains intact, the emotional wall breaks down as old friends of a ‘Boys Music Group’ begin performing again, now re-assembled as senior citizens.



'Bebadelse', a Swedish entry, received the Best Short Film award.

We gave the award for the Best Short Film to Bebadelse, an entry from Sweden, directed by Jonas Moberg. Poetic, profound and provocative, the film challenges conventional wisdom in hardly 27 minutes. It has an ethereal if not mystic dimension with strong feminist undertones. Mariam, a pregnant Muslim girl, believes she is carrying the child of Allah. She meets a priest in a church and declares this to him, stating that she has never had a sexual experience. The priest does not believe her, and he says so. She considers him a hypocrite, since he preaches every day that Jesus was born to Virgin Mary.

Mariam's deeply disturbed sister takes her to a clinic and discovers to her amazement that the doctors confirm both virginity and pregnancy. Although the family wants her to abort, Mariam decides otherwise. Three years later, we find her and her daughter in a park, where she meets another Christian priest, who is initially sympathetic to her. He wonders whether the child is normal. Even as Mariam confirms that there is nothing paranormal, we find the little girl, who is playing around out of their sight, caressing a dead pigeon which comes alive and flies. The jury was unanimous in applauding this film.

In the documentary category, we gave the two certificates of merit to House of Numbers (Canadian) and Children of the Pyre (Indian). House of Numbers, directed by Brent Leung, challenges the common understanding of HIV-AIDS, with a combination of perceptive research, investigative journalism and a sharp eye for detail, compelling you to change your perspective. One learns that the AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) threat is highly exaggerated. Through interviews with patients, doctors and scientists, the film establishes that the mortality rate among those who receive treatment after testing positive for HIV, or the human immunodefiency virus, is far higher than in people who ignored the diagnosis more than 15 years ago and refused to take the prescribed medicines. Interviews with Nobel laureates and senior scientists reveal that HIV has never been recognised in any laboratory and that all treatment is based on vague hypotheses. The film indirectly suggests that pharmaceutical lobbies have created the threat in the minds of possibly well-meaning but ignorant politicians.



'Paradiso' from the U.K. was chosen as the Best Documentary Film.

Children of the Pyre, directed by Rajesh Jala, is a visually brilliant and an emotionally disturbing statement about children who are compelled by poverty to work in the cremation ghats of Varanasi, helping to burn corpses. In the short films category, we gave the two certificates of merit to In the Name of Art (New Zealand) and Midnight Lost and Found (India).

Midnight Lost and Found, directed by Atul Sabharwal, is a sensitive film with brilliant performances. The story is about the blossoming love between a call girl and a pharmacist from whom she buys condoms every night. The relationship between a regular buyer and a retailer takes a turn when the pharmacist shows interest to give her a complimentary set of medicines which she may need in her avocation. The film combines stark realism with artistic finesse and never falls prey to the temptation to be titillating. In the Name of Art, directed by Mardo El Noor, combines aesthetically fabricated visuals of live action and animation.



'Grandpa', a Taiwanese short film, got a special mention.

In addition to the two main awards and the four certificates of merit, the jury considered it important to record our high appreciation of three more entries, which narrowly missed the certificates. We made a special mention of Bilal, an Indian entry in the documentary section, which delicately portrays how a blind man and his blind wife bring up their little son, who has normal vision, in a poverty-stricken slum; Grandpa, a Taiwanese entry in the short films section, a tender and poetic portrait of a little girl who searches for her loving grandfather even as the family is performing his last rites; and Sincity Sincerely, an American entry in the short films section, which dramatically narrates the mental trauma of a soldier just returned from the war in Iraq.

Let me conclude with a behind-the-scenes real story which unfolded just before the festival started. The Film Federation of India had nominated two members of the jury, besides me as the chairman. One member, Professor Nilotpal Majumdar of the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata, waited with me for the other member to arrive, but he did not turn up because of ill health. The festival authorities approached a delegate to the festival who had travelled with me from Chennai – Mohana, an award-winning short-film producer in her own right – to co-opt her as a jury member. When both Mohana and I were embarrassed by this suggestion and were unable to decide, Ramesh Tekwani, on behalf of the organisers, asked, “How can you think of it as nepotism? Who can be more fiercely independent in judging than a spouse?” We conceded the point. There were lengthy arguments after most films.

S. Krishnaswamy has won many national and international awards for his documentaries and TV serials. He is a recipient of the Padma Shri, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the U.S. International Film & Video Festival, Los Angeles.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Economic Indicators : How backward MP is

I don't trust in oft quoted figures of so much tax collection increase mouthed by state government ( even those are falling) but even if one argues that these are temporary drops there are deep structural weaknesses in our economy and sadly except soyabean nothing has been done to project MP as export source, or manufacturing hub or even software hub. Big three of Indian IT TCS, Infosys & Wipro employ some 3,00,000 people all over India and on an all India basis except NE and J&K perhaps MP is the only state where none of them have any office.

At most we have a thriving trading economy which improts stuff from outside state to satisfy consumption needs in state without much value addition.

this report from business standard on top Indian cities which made use of export entitlements mentions this in no uncertain terms.