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.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015



In these figures lies the silverlining.

Yes, it is true information-technology or communication revolution through deep tele-density cannot achieve the purpose alone.

But it is equally true that India cannot achieve the objective until it is technologically equipped to reach out to its masses - bypassing the 'middle meddling'.

India needs to ramp up the process now and have to be consistent with the process - something that we can rely on more logically if it is weaved with involvement of global companies and thus many countries.

Big multinationals like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Qualcomm or even India's Bharti are 'big lobbying powerhouses' that would ensure 'straightness'' of the process to keep their profits 'straight' and linearly up.

And they would ensure that at any cost when they get such a big market - the youngest nation in the world with 65% of its population below 35 - the population segment that is the first user of the products of telecom revolution and internet spread.

The UN Broadband Commission report (The State of Broadband) released on September 21 ranked India at 131 in 'fixed broadband' connections category and at 155 on 'mobile broadband' connections. These figures are significantly lower than what they were in earlier rankings - 125 for fixed lines and 113 for mobile connections.

But when seen relative to high telecom reach in India - to almost 80% of the population - and with 81 crore Indians below - the combination represent an unparalleled business opportunity.

The report says 18% individuals use internet in India (as in 2014) and the household penetration rate of internet is just at 15%.

So, the companies - the telecom operators, the internet outfits like the social media companies and e-commerce firms, the media outlets and everyone else - has a huge pool to capture.

India's is already the biggest market of smartphones and is expected to have around 170 million annual of them annually shipped by 2018. 

Reports also say India will have 500 million internet users by the end of 2015. And obviously most of the internet traffic would be mobile. 

It is here that opportunity lies and it is here that India needs to trade cautiously to direct its politics. 

Like carrying Doordarshan is mandatory on satellite channel platforms, government can make it mandatory for every operator to provide a 'government devised' communication channel to every subscriber - on telecom technologies - and on internet technologies. In fact, government can devise a communication package that works with mobile phones even in absence of internet connections. 

India doesn't need CSR activities but the 'communication channels' provided by the telecom firms and internet vendors. 

Harsh Mander writes in his book - 'Art, culture, poetry and films have a huge role to play in this (uplifting India's poor). There are no people in the world who are as close to their cinema as we are.' 

Quite logical. Add to it the most logical and most 'pervasive' communication tool - internet - through mobile phones. 

Experts say India need huge investment to uplift its masses. Mander puts it at 10% of GDP. Other estimates also put it at such unprecedented level that it becomes impossible for government to implement that. 

India needs industry partnership there. 

And industries are ready to invest in India - in its huge market - on its human pool - a market with its middle class larger than Europe. A Financial Times report has put India as the favourite FDI destination surpassing China and the US. 

That would provide the government the desperately needed platform for 'insightful collaborative efforts' to reach out to every citizen individually. 

Yes, it is going to be a mammoth exercise - connecting hundreds of millions of dots - but it is the most practical way to do it. 

The government needs to provide information first - and then must ensure it with follow ups - and furthering the process to weave an ecosystem intended help the last citizen of the country - through direct cash transfer - through more and more accounts - through government schemes and more importantly how to own those government schemes - through direct disbursal of every resource - ending the culture of meddling institutions like Gram Panchayats, community health centres, district monitoring committees and so on. 

And the government needs to ensure that the distribution reaches to the more needy sections of the population -  and not just to the middle class. The government must ensure the equitable flow - from its burgeoning middleclass to its 'citizens-in-need'. It is good that this high tele-density reaches even to many poor - living below the global poverty standard. 

These are just some of the thoughts. The universe of them to traverse is vast - and so are the opportunities. 

Other parts of the write-up:


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015



At least that is what we can expect. This much, at least, we should expect now.

India is not about the debate between choosing a socialist or a capitalist system. In fact, with China blatantly following the Capitalist model, while stubbornly preserving its dictatorial precincts, the lines of debates on models of socioeconomic systems of countries is fast becoming irrelevant. A country needs to follow (and follows) what suits it best - based on its ruling dispensation.

India's democracy needs multinational companies of the world to assist its governments in uplifting masses out of ignorance and poverty.

Yes, no corporate entity does charity. No one is going to uplift masses - hundreds of millions of them - out of poverty and social humiliation - out of sheer goodwill and driven by the chaste purpose of philanthropy.

But they will do it once they find the market - to sell their products - and since their main products are basically 'channels of information - in any and every possible way' - they will find an unbeatable (and unavoidable) market in India.

Rulers of China's autocratic system are not going to budge from their iron-curtain stand on 'internet freedom' there. China's one-party system ruthlessly crushes any dissent - however small it is - and tightly controls, filters and regulate every communication channel - including traditional media and new media.

That effectively rules out a market of 150 crore people beyond reach of the global information-technology giants. In fact, all of them have watched China in anticipation and their growing frustration and realization is forcing them to look towards the next big frontier - as is being said - India.  

India, the second most populous nation with over 125 crore people is 'the holy grail' for these companies that they no longer need to unlock. Populations of China and India in absolute terms make them lucrative markets because such large population bases offer huge markets - the sizes of which can easily outmanoeuvre Europe and even America.

And India is in better position here - ready to take off - provided its policymakers act in time - and act in unison with the requirement.

A BBC report says India is projected to have the world's largest middle class by 2030 - 475 million of them. 

That is almost four times of Facebook's India users - at 132 million now. Reports say 90% of them come from 'internet users on mobile phones'. And according to a TRAI report, India has already over 1000 million mobile phone subscribers. So, there is a big market to catch - a market that can potentially help the government in reaching out to its citizens directly - if the government establishes 'insightful collaborative efforts' with telecom operators and other information-technology companies. 

'Insightful collaborative efforts' - desperately needed to reach India's illiterates - 287 million of them - maximum in the world  - 37% of them - and these are just 'quantity' illiterates - quality illiterates are much higher in number. 

'Insightful collaborative efforts' - desperately needed to reach India's 49% poor rural households (as the socio-economic caste census says) - poor rural households with 92% of them running on less than below Rs. 10000 a month. 

'Insightful collaborative efforts' - desperately needed to reach some 363 million Indians living below the poverty line - a poverty line that has always remain controversial - a poverty line that continues to humiliate us with its latest round that fixes urban and rural poverty lines at Rs. 32 and Rs. 47 a month - poverty lines that says the real poverty in India is much beyond the official figure of 29.5%. People like Harsh Mander, in fact, put it as 70% and that is quite logical. 

'Insightful collaborative efforts' - that also desperately need to direct the energy of 65% of Indians below 35 years - 65% Indians that make India the youngest nation in the world demographically. 

And India's telecom revolution is reaching to them - with over 100 crore connections in July 2015 and they day is not far when India can claim absolute tele-density. 

And the infrastructure behind this vast tele-density can prove a major tool in connecting people to the government - to aware them - to enable them - to empower them.

To continue..

Other parts of this write-up: 


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Monday, 28 September 2015


Irrespective of various raging debates over Narendra Modi's 'Digital India' push in the US, in Silicon Valley, endorsing or criticising his approach, we need to accept that he has triumphed in bridging a 'much felt but always ignored' policy gap in India's governance to administer connect to the most potent technology to uplift Indian masses.

And we need to accept that with élan.

Yes, expecting change overnight is nothing but daydreaming. 

But what is important here - the process to connect the dots to begin the process - and that can begin now with such initiatives.

Technology, particularly information and communication technologies, can prove the biggest social levellers in a country like India, the world's largest democracy, where scores of people still live below the poverty line - reeling under pressure of social and financial disparities.

And 'no access and suppression' of information' are major factors in this.

A 'Digital India' that intends to build a robust information highway taking technology to every village in India - will empower every citizen of his or her position and rights in the system - in the society.

A 'Digital India' that envisages an 'information highway' connecting people will provide its citizens with the information that they are kept away from. 

'Effective' end use of ICT can prove effective in eradicating problems that beset and drag India - like widespread corruption and all-pervasive culture of different meddling institutions and middlemen in the process - thus eating into distribution of resources - from governing circuits to beneficiaries.

Access to information empowers people - and communication ecologies like social media tools and other internet based platforms have the potential to spread concerned issues like some wildfire. We have seen it - especially in the last years of the last decade and it is an ongoing and deepening process in this one, and going by the trend - it is slated to record an upward ride in the near future.

We saw the vital role played by social media (and internet) in the global 'Occupy' movement, during the Arab Spring that swept many Arabic countries and in making 'Guy Fawkes masks' universal symbol of mass protests. We know how significant the social media was in shaping the hugely popular 2011 anti-corruption movement in India. Twitter has become the fastest platform to break any news and not just people but credible organizations, too, follow it religiously now. After all, it has a 'most' famous tag line to go with that says the news of 'the US marines killing Osama bin Laden' was broken first on Twitter.

What social media (and internet) do?

They multiply sources of information.

Yes, it does create chaos. That is its natural corollary.

But the art, the game, is in taming this chaos.

If India does so - the task of addressing livelihood issues of intended beneficiaries would become much easier - and so in tackling the inherent associated vices.

We all know the leaks and pilferages in the public distribution systems - not just in the PDS shops in regular drought relief packages - but in almost every wing of governance. The malaise of corruption is so deep that the rot has now effectively spread to corporate and private sectors. We all experience the trauma daily.

Much of it is due to non-availability of channels to claim directly what is rightfully ours. The 'middle meddling' consumes much of what is yours. Then there are millions who are not aware what is theirs. Then there are other millions who know of their rights but they cannot raise their voices or don't know how to raise their voices.

An information highway that connects people directly with the government - or repository of resources - reducing the number of layers that is there to keep them deprived - would be the beginning of the process to address the most pressing issue that we face in the world's largest democracy - uplifting millions from heaps of poverty, illiteracy, exploitation and 'ignorance'.

Companies like Google or Twitter or Facebook or services like Facebook, YouTube, Whatsapp, Twitter, blogs and content sharing sites or the overall internet infrastructure - coupled with deep penetration of telecommunication services - can provide India a channel to address its citizens as directly as possible - bypassing the middlemen - the 'middle meddling'.

India runs huge (and hugely) subsidized schemes for its citizens-in-need but we all know, due to the different layers of 'meddling institutions and middlemen', most of it is siphoned off.

Opening bank accounts to transfer cash directly, instead of giving subsidized items, can be a much more potent empowering tool if people can get in touch with regular account-related updates through their mobile phones. Farmers would, naturally, get good price for their produce if they have access to information of different markets where they can sell their product. They would be much more empowered the day they start negotiating to sell their product on their own and are not limited to the local community marketplace or its different middlemen.

India's citizens-in-need, millions of its BPL population, would feel more mainstreamed when they know what is theirs and from where they can get it directly - without any leakage - without any pilferage.

Narendra Modi's 'Silicon Valley push' matters because India has this grave need to address these 'deadly loopholes' in its governance systems - touching social systems and lives of over 125 crore people.

And it is good that these big technology companies of America are 'rightly' seeing some 'greener business pastures' in these 'over 125 crore' people.

China is a 'no go' zone for them and if India successfully translates what Modi laid out yesterday, it will be a win-win situation for all the parties involved.

Indian citizens would get the 'much needed' information access and these companies and would see their revenue going up multiple times. And Narendra Modi would be able to claim brownie points on it. 

To continue.. 

Other parts of the write-up: 


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Thursday, 24 September 2015


This image is all about what MSG-2's trailer means to me.

Normally, I don't write about movies. Yes, I love watching them - but those that suit my taste. So, Citizen Kane is my favourite. Padosan is my favourite. Schindler's List is an all time in. And I appreciate the art of filmmaking that has gone into making of 'Haider'.

I do write about such movies. My personal collection goes with detailed analysis of them. Films are the best communication tool ever crafted and I respect the movies that respect filmmaking as an 'art' process.

And movies like MSG are certainly not there. In fact, it is such a product that it should not even register.

And that is exactly the reason why its trailer registered.

Its trailer told me how rubbish would be the movie and that how fool we are to worship such people as Gods or as our religious gurus next only to the God.

Yes, with most of the movies being produced here and there, one doesn't need to watch trailers to make any opinion. Name of cast and crew and are enough to tell about the product (save those small time, obscure movies like 'Court' that are big on content and on everything creative).

But, then there is a silver lining - in some empty moments - when you want to watch something funny - not to recharge yourself - but just to continue in the flow of the moment - and that moment happened today.

I was sifting through television channels to catch something funny - some hilarious action stuff from C-grade movies that I do sometimes - when I found myself staring at and then watching this trailer in amusement.  And that reflection soon turned into 'sheer' amusement.

The image above explains what the trailer is.

And the image is about nothing. I simply, randomly drew lines on my computer screen with a while background. I was dragging mouse on and on until I felt it was black enough to draw lines anymore.

The trailer is like those lines, the countless ones in the image, with no meaning and purpose. Yes, as a mind can stare even at a blank spot and think for hours, and no doubt, can draw conclusions or pointers to think further, similar process can apply even to this trailer.  

But then this trailer is so bland, so bad in taste creatively (and therefore so funny) that you laugh it off - like I found myself stuck at it today - to laugh its blandness off - like I do with some C-grade action flicks whenever I catch them.

The trailer's (or the movie's) central protagonist is a controversial godman who continues to wield power.

And this C-grade trailer had all the D-grade elements like silly special effects, a flying, omnipresent and omnipotent  but odd-shaped and oddly clad hero, funny and funnily shot miracles, badly written dialogues, grandiosely exaggerated frame settings showing everyone else a minion compared to the hero, bawdily stacked shots and gaudy song and dance sequences - a perfect curry to enjoy moments of some absent-minded laugh.

And like drawing this image, that took my time (as its resource), big money (as resource) would have been invested into making this trailer (or the movie).

But while I care for my time, trying to write something around this image to see my resources talking to me, the ones who have invested in this sort of production, they never care for their resources (or they never care wasting their resources).

And it is natural (and understandable) that I am not going to use the movie's poster as the featured image of the article. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


I love watching this movie, especially when I try to sense a 'good' and 'humoured' satire in Hindi cinema.

Yes, the movie is not a masterpiece but has been lifted to a 'master sort' of level by brilliant performance of its actors, especially the character delivered to us by Saurabh Shukla - the eternal lower court judge - in his full flair - in his characterization's full tenacity.

The subject line is not so innovative but is popular enough to 'be sensitive to masses' - a drunk scion of a rich business family kills some people under his vehicle's wheels - and his 'superrich' family tries to manipulate and subvert the legal system to get him out.

We have seen it so many times in real life.

So, there is nothing new about it in the movie.

But, then, moviemaking is as much about the subject matter as it is about the treatment of the narrative.

A good narrative treatment can lift even an ordinary plot to the levels of a 'watchable feast'.

Here, a 'common but sensitive to masses' subject has been treated well by the director. In spite of routine song and dance sequences, transition from one frame to the next looks logical. The dialogues are punchy and 'poignant' at places - especially in the climax of the movie - the final scene that gives us all a 'jolly' feeling.

'Jolly LLB' is a treat to watch - because of some powerful acting by its central protagonists - the three legal eagles -  the brilliant lower court Justice and the good and the bad lawyers - and they are supported well by some supportive characters.

Anyone who has experienced how the Indian courts function, especially the lower courts, can correlate with the frame by frame development of the movie.

The judge, who ultimately proves that he is incorruptible and whatever he had said was basically part of the routine/social human behaviour, acts so naturally that one can identify him with what happens in natural settings.

The good lawyer is also a human being, like you and me, and finally evolves as a normal human being who is in a dogged pursuit to undo some wrong. Again, this is very human. Circumstances make, break and shape a man (or woman).

The bad lawyer is perennially bad and 'haughty'. He is cunning enough to see his profit in every move and goes to any extent to achieve his purpose. He does everything illegal to fulfil his objectives in his 'legal profession'. We can so easily identify him with real people in the said profession.

The high point of the film, in spite of its illogical but light-hearted humorous insertions, is that we act hooked to its scenes, especially the ones in the courtrooms and we spontaneously move from one frame to the next.

The film scores because most of its scenes are worth watching multiple times and we feel the need for its 'sequel' after the show is over.

And it was one of those 'jolly' times last night again while watching the movie (again) - with freedom of controlling the movement of its frames. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


It is a classic case of climbdown - classic because it comes immediately after the public backlash on 'government's proposed draft on net neutrality'.

Classic, because it reaffirms the 'established by now' fact that every government in power, irrespective of the political party it belongs to, follows the same tools to attract public's wrath that it had so vehemently opposed and criticised while it was in opposition.

Classic, because most of such issues face 'dilution of such draft proposals' including complete U-turns' with the electoral compulsions of the world's largest (and robustly functional) democracy).

Not complete, but a U-turn, again, happened today.

Classic, because governments are forced to take a completely hostile line to what they propose in a 'policy draft' paper like the government had to do with 'draft encryption policy' paper today.

From the very outset, the 'expertly' worded paper was so controversial that it had to see the fate it saw today. You, rightly, cannot expect from people in a democracy like India that they will allow you to monitor their personal communication and will 'preserve' the stuff for 90 days for authorities' kind 'perusal and action' (or similar other provisions/words).

Classic because it comes within six months of a grand rebuke by the Supreme Court on another draconian policy matter. Supreme Court, while striking down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act on March 24, had remarked, "It is clear that Section 66A arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately invades the right of free speech and upsets the balance between such right and the reasonable restrictions that may be imposed on such right."

Classic because the apex court had struck down the section finding it abusive towards the 'fundamental rights' given to us by the Indian Constitution but the 'experts' behind this 'draft paper' thought to come with something even more 'draconian', in fact totally illogical.  

Classic because more 'experts' would study this 'expertly worded' draft paper to instil their expertise in creating a 'reworded draft paper'.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Communications and Information Technology Minister, said today, "Experts had framed a draft policy. This draft policy is not the government’s final view."

But in a democracy like India, such 'policy drafts' should not be even the initial view of a government.

Otherwise, like this, we will continue to have such 'classic cases of climbdown'. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Monday, 21 September 2015


Trains and the Holocaust were inseparable – and the images will haunt humanity forever. 

Hitler's Germany killed scores by stuffing them like cattle in trains and on roads in harsh weather conditions.

Trains were the final component of Nazi Party's 'final solution' to 'free humankind of 'Jews and other unwanted races' - as Hitler and his collaborators saw them.

Trains - that make a significant part of every Holocaust narrative - of books, of memoirs, of autobiographies, of documentaries, of movies - the Holocaust trains.

For millions who lost their lives and for millions who somehow survived - trains were the last nail in their coffin - beginning a ride to hell - ending in concentration camps.

Yes, it is nothing like that today.

The ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, the second biggest mass migration since the World War II (or since the days of the 'final solution') to the world's wealthiest continent (and in the wealthiest continent) is not even remotely indicative of the inhuman ways of the Holocaust.

Except the images showing migrants being loaded into trains to stop them from entering a European nation (or European nations) - with rough treatments by Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Croatia! 

And now, the 'welcoming' Germany too, has started showing regressive signs with closing its border and demanding 'fair distribution' of refugees'.

Yes, we can say the incidents were and are an aberration and the European leaders will find some solution - either in their meeting tomorrow - if they can build consensus - or in a follow-up meeting based on the outcome of the meeting tomorrow.

Yes, the images are not suggestive of those frightening years seven decades back, but they reveal, once again, a primeval mindset every human being has - that we are so easily swayed to the extent that we start disregarding the other human life as if it is non-existent.

Had it not been so, we would never have something called the Holocaust or other reasons behind assassinations and massacres.

The primeval mindset - that so easily makes us to act selfishly to the extent that we start thinking that those who are running from certain death - would start sharing some of the space shared by us - even if it doesn't affect us in real terms - something that is happening in many countries of Europe.

Europe's wealth can easily take care of some one million migrants including refugee from the worst humanitarian crisis hotbeds like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yes, the countries need to sit and resolve nagging and divisive issues - and they must do it soon - possibly in the meeting tomorrow.

The world has already seen many bad images from a Europe that is peaceful for decades and has tried to send a message of harmony to the world by creating a unified documentation free travel zone of over 25 countries.

People, in search of life, are looking to a peaceful and financially well to do Europe to seek a passage to be able to remain alive - something that is 'basic' to every human civilization - and fundamental for us to remain humans.

And Europe, and its people - need to give them that 'life'.

And yes, it is not just the responsibility of Europe. We all, in every part of the globe, must extend helping hands. 

We all need to be ‘fair’ in distributing our responsibilities. 

Keeping in mind the reality that we cannot do anything about partisan, irrational and selfish ways of geopolitics on international issues! 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Thursday, 17 September 2015


Facebook's “dislike” button is going to be a disaster - Quartz
Get real Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook's dislike button is too late - The Telegraph
Facebook Doesn't Need a 'Dislike' Button - Here's Why - NDTV
Does Facebook Need a 'Dislike' Button? - The New York Times
Facebook gives the thumbs-up to 'dislike' button - Financial Times
Will Facebook users like ‘dislike’ button? Opinionline - USA Today
Facebook is working on a 'dislike' button - CNBC
Here’s Why Facebook Wants a ‘Dislike’ Button - Time
Facebook’s ‘Dislike’ Button Is Going to Get a Lot of Use in Asia - Foreign Policy
Facebook 'Dislike' Button: Why It Might Not Be a Thumbs Down - ABC News
Facebook 'dislike' button in pipeline, says Mark Zuckerberg - The Guardian
Facebook Is Creating a Dislike Button, Mark Zuckerberg Confirms - Yahoo Tech

The world media carried out an intense debate about this 'dislike button' by Facebook, a development that is nothing but a delayed move by the social media giant - the largest social media platform by user base.

The social media platform that has remained there in spite of stiff challenges from challengers including from Google - it is in fact the only social media website in its category with a global presence. The most talked about challenger, 'Google Plus' is going to close its shop. Earlier, Orkut had also failed Google.

Also Facebook supports different media upload platforms. Other famous social media platforms are platform specific - like YouTube and other similar sites for video content - like Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, Medium or others for 'blog content' - like Twitter, Weibo and others for 'microblogging content'.

Basically, every social media website is a content sharing platform - in any form - with any possible content as per the norms - but Facebook provides, in a way, to share all of them in one place - and has evolved over the years - based on consumer feedbacks - and loads of 'algorithms' insight into them.

Today, Facebook has around one billion users spread in different countries. And in spite of the site growing commercial with time, its role in mass protest movements like Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street or even in anti-corruption movement back home is well known. In fact, the self-propelled social concerns (by users) provide global sanctity to platforms like Facebook. In fact, they help these organization in covering their 'omnipresent' commercial streak.

Anyway, what Mark Zuckerberg 'announced' was nothing new - and certainly not for generating intense analytical buzz over different 'contours and aspects' of the 'proposed or upcoming' Facebook 'dislike' button.

In fact, the massive global buzz around his 'question and answer' session has once again proved the marvel of 'sleek communication campaign' that kick off spontaneously after every such development - in case of products reaching masses globally.

People started writing about it because so many people use Facebook. The writers were trying to speak on their behalf, even if a 'like' or 'dislike' button doesn't do much beyond some case studies of anaemic effects of social media on people.

Well, the actual debate has to be - do we really need debates of this sort - like Facebook introducing an addition to elements of its site, here with a 'dislike' button?

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015


North Korea warns U.S. it's ready to use nuclear weapons 'any time' - CNN

North Korea Says It Has Restarted Its Main Nuclear-Bomb Plant - The Wall Street Journal

North Korea's Nuclear Gambit - The Wall Street Journal

North Korea's renewed nuclear threat keeps experts guessing - The Guardian

North Korea says main nuclear complex operational; warns U.S. - Reuters

North Korea to restart nuclear reactor - AFP (on The Australian)

Does North Korea have nuclear capabilities? - BBC News

North Korea Confirms Restarting of Nuclear Center - Voice of America

US warns North Korea against restarting nuclear facilities - AFP (on Asia Times)

North Korea admits nuclear reactors restarted, tells US it is "fully ready" - The Sydney Morning Herald

How to stop worrying and embrace a nuclear North Korea - The Guardian

North Korea Says Principal Nuclear Complicated Operational; Warns US - Times

US urges North Korea to avoid 'irresponsible provocations' over nuclear program - AFP (on The Economic Times)

These headlines once again confirm the ferocity of 'the baby-face, tenderly chubby, Dennis Rodman loving ‘hermit’, who also orders entire families to be killed, entire communities to be starved to death.'

These headlines from the global news outfits once again reaffirm steely might of Kim Jong-un, the young though oversized ruler of the 'hermit kingdom', North Korea.

Kim Jong-Un tells the world he is still there, and in style.

For past few months, in fact for more than a year, Kim had remained subdued - out of public's eyes - but he was consolidating his position. Those North Korea watchers know it. After all, a visionary like Kim Jong-Un, though plump sized, covers even the finer details of his empire's various symbolisms. In this case, probably, he was trying to live the 'hermetic' spirit of his 'hermit kingdom'.

In his carefree ways, he was not bothered at all, in fact, he basked in the glory of the global media burning its midnight oil over analytic reports on his 'disappearance' from public life. There were reports on a possible coup, reports on his sister taking over, reports on Kim being dragged down by some serious health problem, reports of powerful North Korean generals successfully hatching a plot against him.

Loads were written on each of them - thousands of words literally flew - from one part of the world to the other - and Kim enjoyed each of them - with his 'maintained' silence. After all, his 'professional' mind believes that any publicity is worth 'going for' - no matter what it takes.

And what could be better than this that the global media powerhouses, which are seen as the gold standard for any communication material, day in and day out discuss him - for any reason - even after his 'mysterious' public disappearance for some days.

We may call it propaganda but Kim Jong-Un (and even his predecessors, the two other 'Kims' of the Kim nation) has a well-oiled communication system.

South Korea is a regular element  in its routine packages. And whenever Kim feels to go global, like he did during the 'Sony Hack' saga or when he decided to execute his uncle Jang Song Thaek by machine gun firing squad after his 'wisdom' told him that his uncle was in fact a 'despicable human scum, worse than a dog'.

Or like this renewed nuclear threat!

This is one of the 'tried and tested' North Korean publicity (one is free to read it as propaganda) tool to pull global attention and the Third Kim is getting mastery over it - incident after incident we have seen so.

So, even if the world had intelligence input for two years that North Korea was restarting its Yongbyon nuclear facility, when Kim finally said so, and openly, it made for global headlines. Obviously, he doesn't speak his mind directly. There is a well laid and expansive system for it - the Korean Central News Agency. And Kim has followed his predecessors in ensuring that the 'mighty provocative line of words' is followed without fail - even if it means firing KCNA staff and anchors by missile death squads to discipline them.

The latest round, as well, goes to the 'shrewd ways' of Kim Jong-Un. Since this 'artfully packed message' came out, North Korea, Kim Jong-Un and North Korea's nuclear capability are all around in news analyses and reports.

And what validates it is a response by North Korea's arch-enemy, the United States of America. Kim had again made Barack Obama's America to react to North Korean 'designs' in less than a year.

After all, running an empire is not an easy task, especially when it is by a single family that is there for 70 years. And the Third Kim is efficiently taking that 'legacy' forward, in style - though, the world may debate its 'substance'. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Tuesday, 15 September 2015


Well, that is Varanasi for me.

But during this trip back home, the first expression that came to my mind, while mapping its roads, is that the city should ban four-wheelers and other medium sized vehicles from most of its roads – especially in the second half of the day.

It took me an hour to reach the Ganga’s Rajendra Prasad Ghat from Nai Sadak, a stretch that is some one kilometer long. Places lying in between, Nai Sadak, Dalmandi, Godowlia, all are marketplaces now.  And these marketplaces, connected by an ‘insufficiently wide road’, are inundated with shops and street vendors.

And that ‘insufficiently wide road’ is flooded with encroachments – by regular shops – by roadside vendors – by auto-rickshaw drivers – by rickshaw-pullers (and the new addition is Delhi’s ubiquitous battery driven e-rickshaws). People park their vehicles as per their own convenience even if it means hurt-burn for others. In fact, the stretch from main Godowlia crossing to Rajendra Parasd Ghat (or Dashashwamedh Ghat) has a thick divider made of illegally parked two-wheelers (as four-wheelers are not allowed) in the middle of the road.

And Varanasi’s every road busy road has a similar grievance to tell – a grievance that is never heard.

So, while feelings the pangs of moving continuously clutch, brake and accelerator my two-wheeler, the thought came to my mind spontaneously. Yes, it means a lot of noise from many of its ‘responsible’ residents, but they need to pay this price to maintain the city’s heritage with needs of changing times.

The problem of Varanasi roads is exacerbated by their poor upkeep.

Varanasi or Banaras is also notorious as a dirty city with loads of dust and garbage afflicting every part of it. Their prevalence is a telling sign of the administrative apathy the city has been subjected to for decades.

I decided to map some of its main road stretches – from Cantt Railway Station to Banaras Hindu University through Sigra and Bhelupur – from Lahartara to Banaras Hindu University through Manduadih and Sundarpur – from Rathyatra crossing to Dashashwamedh Ghat – from Lahurabir to Dashashwamedh Ghat through Nai Sadak – from Lahurabir to Dashashwamedh Ghat through Maidagin and Chowk – and from Banaras Hindu University to Godowlia through Assi and Sonarpura.

And except on the stretch from Lahartara to Banaras Hindu University through Manduadih and Sundarpur, the experience on every other road was like living a nightmare of being trapped in a traffic hell – coupled with potholed roads and air laden with dust particles.

What I experienced on these roads in last four days, its residents feel it daily. And since they are also responsible for it, we can safely say that many of them, the city residents, have this cycle of exploitation (exploiting someone or being exploited by someone) as part of their daily life now. A ride through these stretches (or in fact through most of the roads of the city) gives a feeling that the whole system governing them has collapsed here.

If Varanasi is still God’s Own City, it is because of its ancient spiritual legacy weaved around Shiva, the Ganga and death. Its spiritual and religious mysticisms draw people from all over the world. If Varanasi is still God’s Own City, it is because of its ageless culture weaved around its simple people. (Yes, exceptions are always there, but then, they are exceptions. Isn’t it?)

Varanasi is also famous for its streets and alleys and is loved for people always thronging them. Varanasi’s crowd, in its lanes, on its roads, is a big draw for many.

But we need to differentiate ‘this’ crowd from the crowds on its various roads that make even walking a difficult proposition. People would, naturally, hate this crowd and it is earning a bad name for the city.

The city is in dire need of good roads and their professional maintenance. And the city is in dire need of decongesting its roads – expecially the ones mentioned above – and any road that crisscrosses its older parts. Banning four-wheelers, say from 4 PM, would be the step in that direction that the administration needs to take, sooner or later.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Monday, 14 September 2015


My sky is what I walk for
My sky is there I know it
My sky has colours I look for
My sky has depth I seek now
Its black is plain, its white is pure
And its grey has fixed shades
Having hues of different lives
To make for the one
That is my alter ego now
Sometimes, it rains wisdom
At times, it’s all about a joyous walk
Sometimes, it stops speaking
Though still covering me
Expecting me to look for meanings
In its colours, and their symbolisms
Thankfully, I say to life now, that,
Colours are again my soul elements
I knew they were called names
I know they made for varied thoughts
But for me, they always meant life
Black for personifying completeness
White for an uncompromised purity
And grey for definitive touch of them
My sky has colours with meanings
Speaking for my needs
They come to sit with me
When today refuses
Its transformation into tomorrow
Giving elements to my thoughts
Giving me the reasons
To hold up for the sky
That has been there for me
Yes, they complete me
And celebrate me
In my part of the sky
Disappeared into brilliance of black  
But visible in subtlety of white
And identifiable by firmness of its grey
They sky is there, and I am there
And it’s not the day
When it chooses to remain silent
Its colours are in harmony
And the day is echoing the fusion
Ready for its journey into tomorrow
Though I didn’t call it today,
It has come to sit and think with me
Making it a special day for both of us
We are there, together,
Reading into one another’s minds
With meanings
So intrinsic to our existences
Today, like yesterday,
Looks like a new dawn
But with shared values of mutual silence
To live with the lives
And to go beyond them
Today, my sky’s silence reaffirms
That it is there with me, with my colours
In my several lives
In my living them severally alone
Yes, my sky was always there
But had stopped coexisting for some time
Draining colours of their depth
Yes, the loss was mutual, and,
Today, the silent communion felt that again

September 14, 2015: 35 years into the journey of 'life beyond this life'..


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -