The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Friday 30 September 2011


While working on raising fund for an elderly couple in desperate need for medical aid (, I came across many telling experiences. Sharing some of them here:

Dr Pradeep Sharma is a renowned senior orthopaedic surgeon who will operate the elderly lady for knee-cap replacement. I have been meeting Dr Sharma since May this year, the time I came to know about case of this elderly couple. And by my experience, I can say Dr Sharma is an extremely busy globe trotting professional. But his politeness and understanding of the issue can humble even the toughest of skeptics. Dr Sharma had operated on the lady five years ago and since then he doesn’t charge the couple his consultancy fee. This time again, when the AIIMS had messed-up with the case to the extent that many other doctors said it was beyond treatment, he came forward with reassuring words that a chance still could be taken. Giving out of the turn time, writing to donors when needed, going to the court twice to appear for the couple who had met an accident in November 2010, he does all this without questioning. The doctor had no role to play in the legal matters but he came forward to extend the help once it was conveyed to him that statement by him in the court would further strengthen the case and might work to secure some financial help for the old-age home couple having no source of income. On one occasion, he was returned from the
Saket Court
after he managed to take time out for the court appearance without any significant reason. But he didn’t react and told me to inform about the next date. The last Saturday (September 24) was significant for the elderly couple as the doctor finally testified in the court. Such a fine person and a refined professional would certainly bring smile back to the elderly couple once the whole fund is raised and surgery is scheduled that is expected next month. He has not said much but he seems to be doing much.

Now let me share the next one. While approaching and discussing the cause behind the case, I came across a known bizarre prospect – the underlying philosophy or the reasons for extending any humanitarian help to the poor, so-called third world or the developing countries – abject poverty, destitution, images of tattered, begging, starving, malnourished children and populace, a laggard education and health care system largely out of reach on qualitative parameters, just to name a few. The potential donor on the other side of the communication was a US citizen, a country the social security cover of which would simply blow out the poverty Economics and politics of Indian policymakers who are trying to put up a brave face in justifying there meticulous calculation of Rs 32 a day poverty line limit.

I had mailed him the required documents with a normal looking photograph of the couple expecting him to mobilize some more funds for the cause. I could not send a photograph with physical deformities of the lady who has been bed-ridden almost for a year now. The documentation was enough, in my sense, to convince anyone who could identify with the cause and thankfully there are people who came forward. But I could not convince him and the reason he presented stopped me to pursue him further though I still intend to work with him – some good development work that he is doing in India. His logic was – there are millions of malnourished children in India and funds should not be wasted/diverted to this ‘well clad’ couple. ‘Well Clad’! It led me to find out the cost and I did it, literally! It was mere Rs 300 – cost of the whole clothing that the couple had put on when I clicked them. And this mere Rs 300 short circuited their chance of getting some valuable funding. This sense of ‘looking down’ on the subjects of a cause reminded me of the many written anecdotes on how the rich countries and if not all, many of their rich inhabitants, thought of the poorer countries. Like Britain wanted to civilize India. Like the US wants to make the whole world as civilized, democratic and free as it feels it itself is and even imposes it forcibly. And so, a sum of Rs 300 could overshadow the desperate urge for financial support to meet the treatment cost of Rs 4,25,000, an amount 95% of the Indians without any insurance cover would not be able to afford as such cost heads are normally one-time lump-sum payment. He also told me I was working on a problem that India would be staring at 20 years down the line. What was he trying to say? He was trying to put his logic for a country that had over 80 million of the population above 60 years of age. A UN forecast says it will reach nearly 170 million by 2025 and 325 million by 2050 - that will be 20% of the population then. From an alien Western concept, now over a thousand of old-age homes have sprung-up in India catering to both financially capable and the needy class. I was not convinced and yet I expect to launch a social development project with him by November.

Coming back to the home turf! The reason put forward by some intellectuals belonging to an organization that boasts thousands of highly placed members across India and is doing some good work in the field of rural education, and, interestingly, the top management representatives I was taking to, were in their 70’s and 80’s – was nothing but an attempt to look sincere and at the same time questioning the cause to put plug on the request. They said – there are millions of such cases and since we cannot assess the need of the need and since we cannot help all, we should not help even this otherwise it will be an injustice to the other needy people. What a crap! Let me have some fresh air. I gently retorted. For me, this whole debate of ‘reaching all’ was irrelevant. Practically, even the most capable of the organizations cannot reach to the every needy even in one country. It’s not about changing society. It’s about listening to your call simply. You cannot correct all but you can begin with one you come across. Why do we come here? What all this existentialism is for? I had a purifying teaching by someone some years ago that had removed some of the doubts I was having.

Three cases! Some important learning! Nothing to be analyzed! Nothing to be concluded! 

It’s not about agreeing. It’s all about working sincerely. Expecting a single ‘yes’ for a thousand ‘no’s’ is what should be the spirit of honest fund raising. Be on the way. Be cool.  

Thursday 29 September 2011


“I do believe, rather naively perhaps, that the human heart is same everywhere, though our histories, cultures, classes and individual stories make us different and I deliberately wished to write about love but not to put it on a pedestal. Love attaches itself to objects, because collecting, gathering, cataloguing, categorizing lend meaning to objects. They bring past back to us.”

Pamuk at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2011

FOREVER.. - ©/IPR: Ragini Chaubey

Wednesday 28 September 2011



©/IPR: Ragini Chaubey


We all have the Good human in us. Sometimes, the bad in us overshadows the Good. The upright good thinking and doing soul may be pushed to the periphery. But the hope is never lost. Good and bad – the trait pool is common. The fountain of Good is always there to be humanized.  The mercenaries are from this pool of human existence only being weaved of similar elements of Creation. A human being like you and me! Why they chose then to eliminate the living embodiment of the Creation – the fellow human beings. Do they ever realize? Why the blood that signifies the life force, wavers to the dark side of the Red symbolism? Red is sanguine. Blood is life.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

Tuesday 27 September 2011


Being in a state of indecision – when you realize it – it opens the door to map the uncharted territory that was not possible or was myopied when you felt secured with tracked decisions en-route the perceptive dimensions of life. Being in a state of indecision makes you feel locked, chained, tethered, bound to an unknown fate!

And why allow the fate to decide you?
Why let yourself be captive to the visibly visible options only?
Why allow the questions to leave you perplexed and numb to the extent to leave a trail that say you could not work the riddle?
Why allow the negatives to prevail to the extent that they make your strength your very weakness?
Why not to try the other way round?
Why not make ‘the state of being in indecision’ a mapping exercise to find even higher tracks to be climbed?

The chronicle is hinged on uncertain moments when you find yourself looking for answers to scale further. And taking the challenge head-on here places you in the zone where you can touch the known yet unknown, explore the unseen and mobilize the volatile elements to build a life that is synonymous with you; that is synonymous with the natural flow of life. If life is about living, its text is to be read with all the embedded messages and all the ‘in-between the lines’ notions of the flow of ‘being you’.

Demand, deduce, decide, define, declare – play with the summative elements but remember - being the simple you, being the honest self of yours, being the upright Soul of the humane existence and being the persona of decisive integrity - is not that difficult as you had perceived or you still perceive! Indecision is just a state of mind that has the key to unlock the ‘Holy Grail’ of your long forgotten passion.


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - September 27, 2011

 'Be Your Own Guide' - A Creation by Ragini

©/IPR: Ragini Chaubey

Monday 26 September 2011


Ambiguities, they come uninvited, in varying formations.
Sometimes, they pass..
Sometimes, they find the gateway to stay put..
Sometimes, being at variance, they create monolithic variations of labyrinthine temperance..
Sometimes, creeps a state of hypersensible juxtaposition of polemic countenances piled up on mystifying gibberish.
Days, when they passed you never knew.
Days, what they told you could seldom decipher.
Days, what they sang you could hardly comprehend.
Ambiguous, had become the air!
Amorphous, had become the aura!
And, Atavistic, had become the need!
So it was not so long before it could become too long.
Recitals to the reverberations of crystallizing formations of clarity grew louder.
Moments, they find the known antithesis again.
Moments, they feel that enamoring pain.
Moments, they see the lost terrain.
Recitals to the call of the realization of splitting to the simplest echo wider!
Notions demarcated, notions recreated
Potion of the Soul finds the channel to the clear flow.
The hypothesis that was never there finds it giving the rein to the thesis that always there.
And, the antithesis again starts seeing the logic in supporting the thesis!
Polemic propositions to one-dimensional ruminations, a shift so scaled up!
To clarity..from assorted listen to the Soul talking!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - September 26, 2011

Sunday 25 September 2011


River Rispana, Dehradun - flowing through the city. Here it is crisscrossing the no man's land between the Doon University and Rajaji National Park.

September 24, 2011

Friday 23 September 2011


Snapshots..while researching for a WIP write-up, I came across some random lines on this word and found me spontaneously travelling back to a discussion that I had some years ago. I am someone who survives on memories but back then, I was not very sure about it. Now, after 1620 days of that discussion, while reading some random thoughts on this word, I am pretty sure about its place in my life and Memories.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

Thursday 22 September 2011


The Crisis of Excess - A Creation by Ragini

perdu dans l'excès

©/IPR: Ragini Chaubey

Saturday 17 September 2011


The day begins, grows up
Something fades-up
Masters rush, beckon the horses
Summons ignored, on detour,
They decide to be selective
The breed inanely coercive
Pull back the halter ropes
Are we to remain slaves?
Horses grab the lash
Diverting the detour
Even more, stage is set
The day grows up

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - September 17, 2011
©/IPR: Ragini Chaubey

Wednesday 14 September 2011


Rough into the mountains, deep into the sea
Pushing up the gear, pressing down the keys
A journey so far, a WILD journey to the far
From the mild flexes to the hot wild reflexes
To the hunter’s paradise killing every advice
Pumping up the thrill thumping to the access
Pushing up the shot to the extreme thunder

Born on a day, yes, born to take it higher
Born on a day, yes, born to climb it freer

Lost into the desert, deep into the jungle
Flying always soaring crashing on the go
Fueling up the journey living it retro
Jumping up the bar raving up the wave
Wrestling in the wild, rambling extra mile
Jetting me here and there out of nowhere

Born on a day, zigzagging it all the way
Born on a day, jazzing up the fluid clay

On the still planes, to the call of valleys
Diving in the hive, with life’s careless jive
To the nascent discrete route of adventure
Voice of the moment says keep moving on
Echo of the moment says follow it back on
Pacing up going full throttle on the highway
Known just to me, a creation of this day
That adrenaline vigour, the psychic rigour
The roar of the thunder, oh! that shrill of wonder

Yes, the vibes, this all is so known,
Yet so much more remains unknown
The home is where I belong,
Rounds round the creation what I demand
Crisscrossing even the place of nowhere

Born on this day, born to go wild
Born on a day, to take it my way

The antithesis and the creation now
This all is so jazzed up, electrified as Elvis
Ragged yet elegant as the Beatles chords,
Familiarly mysterious and soothingly numb
Stuck so comfortably contemplating, reflecting
Me and my loneliness, riding high on the words

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - September 14, 2011

Born to be wild (1969) - Steppenwolf
Source: Youtube

Tuesday 13 September 2011


Inclusion of non-governmental organizations under Lokpal purview is a debate that was always there and is gaining ground after Anna’s Fast on the ‘Jan Lokpal’.

And it has its practical reasons though the same is not echoing in the reasoning of political parties and some members of the larger civil society as it is being seen a sort of targeting and vindictive propaganda against the Lokpal Civil Society members almost of whom are operating through or belonging to this or that NGO.

And, this perceived bias is being used by the proponents and pro-NGO lobbyists to dismiss or dilute the demand of including NGOs under the corruption watchdog purview, therefore, shielding a widespread malaise of misuse of funds by a larger section of the NGO fraternity in India. (Though the malaise of misuse of funds is a global phenomenon).

Agreed, all of the current Lokpal Civil Society members are from NGOs with transparent operations but even this whole formation initially was not without any controversy. Can we deny the controversy surrounding Swami Agnivesh’s NGO?

A recent media report says, “The Congress-led Delhi government had in year 2006 allocated fund worth Rs 18 lakh to Swami’s NGO, Bandhua Mukti Morcha, for a survey on bonded labourers. According to reports, the Delhi government released Rs 18 lakh to Swami Agnivesh’s Bandhua Mukti Morcha (Bonded Labour Liberation Front) for a survey on bonded labours by flouting the norms. The NGO also hurriedly prepared a 60-page report and submitted it to the government.” 1 The report states many flaws in the report that clearly show misuse of funds.

Here it is not about blaming and name-calling. Sincerity of Anna Hazare and his cause cannot be questioned and so his followers who are fighting with him for the cause are to be taken seriously and so here, issues like Swami Agnivesh can be dismissed as an aberration. But the issue remains.

Issue that clearly tells us operations of NGOs must come under the Lokpal purview.


Million of them are here – we may call them by names like ‘non-governmental organizations’, ‘not-for-profit agencies’, ‘self-help groups’, ‘religious charities’ and so on. In ideology, they have just one agenda –working for social empowerment and change. Their aims, objectives, prerogatives, methodology might be different. But, they all need to follow the sole dictum of ‘social empowerment’ through their acts. Alas! That is not the case. Across the world - millions of such agencies and billions of needy people!

Their millions keep on adding! The needy billions keep on swelling.

There are many who are honestly working to bring the change but still the proportion is like an iota in the sea of aid agencies. The singular concern of every funding agency should be how its funds are being utilized but that is not the case. Let’s have a look on some figures in Indian context.

By 2009, India was estimated to have around 3.3 million NGOs, i.e., one NGO for every 400 Indians, largest count in globally. This figure is many times some of the indicators of basic civic amenities like primary health centers, schools, and maternity centers. 2 Had it been a case where majority of NGOs would be working professionally, we could have much better social equations through the wide-scale coverage of these ‘grassroots’ organizations as they can directly touch the lives socially and emotionally.

It is said NGOs work with governments and donor agencies to facilitate, plug-in and correct the process of development. In India, more than 80 percent of NGOs are in larger and most populous states with Maharashtra topping the chart with 4.8 lakh registered entities followed by followed by Andhra Pradesh (4.6 lakh), UP (4.3 lakh), Kerala (3.3 lakh), Karnataka (1.9 lakh), Gujarat (1.7 lakh), West Bengal (1.7 lakh), Tamil Nadu (1.4 lakh), Orissa (1.3 lakh) and Rajasthan (1 lakh). 3

  • Yet UNICEF report says one in every three malnourished children in the world lives in India. The report further says, “In India, around 46 per cent of all children below the age of three are too small for their age, 47 per cent are underweight and at least 16 per cent are wasted. Many of these children are severely malnourished. The prevalence of malnutrition varies across states, with Madhya Pradesh recording the highest rate (55 per cent) and Kerala among the lowest (27 per cent).” 4
  • In 2010, the government revised its poverty rate from 27.5 percent to 37.2 percent of the population. 5
  • 2009 Global Hunger Index puts India at 65th position out of 84 countries studied. Here India lags behind countries like North Korea and Zimbabwe. 6
  • Malnutrition in India is roughly around 46 percent. It has fallen only six percentage points since economic reforms started gaining pace in 1991 while the GDP per capita boomed by 50 percent during the same period. It clearly shows increasing social disparity with majority still living at the bottom of the pyramid. 7
  • A UNESCO report puts India to be the home of largest number of illiterate adults in the world. 8
  • Government of India defines coverage area of a primary health centre to be 100 villages and 100000 of population by one doctor. 9 According to a report, 64.9 percent of community health centers report lacking specialists while 68.6 percent of PHCs function with only one or no qualified doctor. Also we can understand the negligence by the government machinery as public expenditure has stagnated at just 1 percent of GDP over the last two decades against WHO’s recommended 5 percent. 10

These are just some of the basic indicators that show the pathetic state of the huge demand and supply gap for basic life sustaining activities akin to the Fundamental Rights in the world’s largest democracy.

Government should be shown the mirror for its shortcomings but at the same time, in a country like India which is ranked 87th on the Corruption Perception Index of the Transparency International and where, it seems, public is in mood of taking to streets to tackle corruption in every walk of life, nothing much is to be expected alone from the official cadres of polity, bureaucracy and their appendages until social action and pressure groups realize and act honestly and efficiently to become part of the supply chain system that distributes state resources as well resources from other donor agencies aimed at bringing smile at the face of the last member of every social formation.


A Time magazine December 2010 reports highlights it so precisely. It says, “With 3.3 million registered NGOs, India's nonprofit sector raises between $8 billion and $16 billion in funding every year. According to Home Ministry statistics, foreign funding to Indian NGOs saw a 56% increase in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 fiscal years. In 2008, the latest available data, the total official foreign aid to India was $2.15 billion. But according to NGO watchdogs, almost half of that money is misused, mostly to support high administrative costs of running organizations. NGO accountability — or the lack of it — is, of course, not India's problem alone. A 2008 assessment of 30 of the world's most powerful global organizations cites transparency as one of the least developed dimensions of accountability. In India, the problem is compounded by the highly unorganized nature of the NGO sector: organizations are often required to register under multiple laws without any uniform accounting policy or reporting framework. It's a problem driven both at the organizational and the donor levels.” 11

This report clearly states that almost half of the aid amount is misused but on carrying out a qualitative analysis, this figure could come out much higher. Apart from organizations established only on papers with sole aim to liquidate the funds mobilized, we see the biggest cost overhead is in running the organizations that’s requires serious attention. The fund generated by India’s NGOs is huge but equally huge is the mismanagement in redistributing the resources to maximize the output in real accessible terms.

Then there are other serious issues. Serious concerns are being raised on role on NGOs being conduits for terror money flow. Al Qaeda, Taliban, LeT/JuD, many other Islamic terror organizations, back home the right-wing terror groups – they get significant funding channelized by non-governmental organizations. In 2009, Indian Intelligence agencies started collaborating with the US, France, China, Brazil and South Africa to zero-in on such organizations. 12 Money laundering is another anathema that is polluting the whole working environment of the development sector organization. Many NGOs exist only to work as ‘Hawala’ channels or for making black money white or reducing the amount of taxable income of organizations/persons by charging certain sum of the donation as commission while returning the rest amount.  As earlier as January this year, a news channel had reported that Indians might have used offshore NGOs to stash their black money in Swiss banks. 13 Though, the government amended the ‘Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA)’ in November 2009 to include non-profit organizations (NPOs) - registered religious bodies, charitable trusts, NGOs, educational institutes or societies, that made for such organizations to disclose their source of funding and make records available for large monetary transactions, 14 nothing significant has been the outcome. It has not come out to be effective given the millions of such registered entities as well as the non-existent monitoring mechanism of their ways to utilize funds.

Some unconfirmed reports put the fund misuse by NGOs as high as 97 percent of the total funds mobilized in a particular year. In the prevailing set-up, NGOs are virtually unaccountable and a large chunk of NGOs receiving foreign aid do not even file annual report under the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act. 15 This is major concern area for terror money flow as the source of funding remains suspicious or vague.


For they are maligning the whole atmosphere; for they are vitiating the atmosphere by raising empty hopes and therefore killing emotions; for they are shadowing the real good work done by many of the good NGOs though they can be handpicked from this confusing conundrum of 3.3 million strong mess.

NGO consulting is still nowhere in India and most of the NGOs are established only to end up as defunct money making machines parking black money, providing tax havens, siphoning off valuable donor funds. And mind you, when this is the majority mindset of such organizations as clearly stated above, it is only other-worldly to think of professional or self-initiated NGO audits until it is forced. Again, it is to be kept in mind here there are still some NGOs doing remarkably well and they will certainly welcome it as the overall image kill by on-paper NGOs badly affects their prospects by hurting their chances of fund raising.

The time is opportune..  

The Lokpal debate on including NGOs under its purview is a never-to-be missed opportunity. An ordinary Indian, irrespective of where he belongs to, needs the honest audit of the process that may make him available the largely missing life sustaining means.

The sentiment is in the air and it has to be strengthened. With masses mobilized across the country against one particular issue of corruption, it is the high-time that leading pack of NGOs and opinion leaders come forward spontaneously to pave for the way for their inclusion under the Institution of Lokpal to check and control the unabashed greed of money making NGOs. Agreed, we need to work out the modalities to prevent unnecessary harassment of the genuine ones but that is only possible after a healthy debate, an opportunity that even the Lokpal Civil Society, it seems, has missed. But, let India do not miss the bus again. In a country where, according to 2006 figures, doctor to population ratio was 60:100000 (.24 dcotors per 400 of the population), 16 even an organized and efficient 10 percent section of the 3.3 million unorganized mess (and so one NGO per 4000 of the population) can bring qualitative change at the grassroots level.