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VOLUME-2 ISSUE-5 MAY 2007 http://cppr.blogspot.


An e-journal from Centre for Public Policy Research

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2 Editorial
4 Raw
The SSLC results are out and every one is INDIA COMPANY
surprised. As the nation celebrates 150years of first
war of independence, Vinu fears about
3 Kudos
A tribute to NILA MOHANAN, ranked 13th
the similarities between The Smart City
and The East India Company.
in the Civil Services examination this
Reality Bites PRESIDENT TO-BE?
3 SUPER LOTTO Hear what Thulasi J. Nambiar has to say.

A medical officer, desperate to sell

lottery bewilders Vinu and his friend. 5 Book Review
The Crab walks again...

7 RTI Corner
Jithin Paul Varghese updates us on the
latest on RTI in a Report on The National
Convention of RTI Activists


At last, the results of the new scheme higher secondary examination are out; giving a sigh of
relief to the 213786 candidates who appeared for the exam. When Education Minister M.A.Baby
announced the +2 examination results on Tuesday May 22, it came as a surprise for reporters as well as
the public that it has attained an all time record of 64.12%, in the same year when SSLC results also
turned out to be the highest ever(82.29%.)

Nice to know that 64.12% students came out in flying colours in the higher secondary
examination which was held according to the new, much discussed, grading system for the first time
ever. More nice to know that girls outscored boys with an amazing number of 1,24,311 to 89,475 in a
state where female literacy rate is comparatively lesser to that of boys.

The parents are also, quite naturally, glad about the results; not to mention, most of the
school managements and teachers. But, the media and the authorities do not seem very satisfied. Of
course, they do not want a better result; I guess they've already estimated that the average student
cannot, or rather should not, go higher than this. An all time record in SSLC pass percentage also seems
to have enraged the media and the authorities very badly. The fact that the result was achieved
without giving any marks as moderation also seems to have caused a bad head-cold to a few
authorities in the education department and, of course, the media.

By asking the education department to make the question papers more difficult and valuation
of answer papers less liberal, it seems that most of them are forgetting that in our state, only 30% of
the candidates who pass the higher secondary examination will continue their higher studies. Among
the less-than-50% students who continue their studies, only 40-50% acquires a job giving them a 4-digit
salary, or so the studies say. Though boasting about being the only state to have achieved a 100%
literacy rate, we forget that poverty and over-population, the two main problems gripping the
developing nation which is India, is very high in Kerala. They lead us to greater problems of
unemployment. Don't you think that if the +2 and SSLC question papers are brought to an even higher
standard, the number of students who pass the examination will decrease, and invariably, the
unemployment graph will go higher in no less than a decade? The new grading system itself is already a
head-ache for the school managements because even the teachers have almost no idea on what to do
with the unconventional mode of question papers. The students also, especially those who choose
science group (with practical examinations in addition to the theory ones) also find it very difficult to
face the exam as they do not have any previous years' question papers to refer to. The results of +2
exams this year come a a relief to many. It even helped to increase the confidence in state syllabus
among the students and their parents. The news about 340 schools achieving 100% victory is something
we should be proud of, and not a thing to be investigated. The absence of not even a feeble cry against
this absurdity surprises me a bit. May be the government think otherwise, aah! After all, we gave them
our votes only a year back.

Anyway, thanks to our education minister Mr.M.A.Baby for reminding the 17.71% students who
failed to achieve the qualification for higher studies, that the famous writer C.V.Raman Pillai had also
failed in a degree examination before decades… So they still have hope..!!!

- Athira A. Nair, Editor

We regret the exclusion of two of our sections, Wake-Up and Just A Minute (JAM) due to technical
reasons. The sections will be continued from next issue onwards.

MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-5 | May 2007 2


NILA MOHANAN, ranked 13 in the Civil Services examination this year. Nila has
been a very good friend and motivator to team CPPR since its inception. it is a
glowing tribute to her from Mind Text team as Mind Text celebrates it first
anniversary of publication in May 2007. Nila contributed to 'Book Review' of the
first Mind Text edition published in May 2006.



Some days ago, I and a friend of mine applied for a job. For the application, we had to get the
certificates and photographs attested by a gazzeted officer. It was almost noon and we went in search
of the places where we could find these elite class government servants. As it was a second Saturday,
most of the Govt. offices were closed. Finally we reached the Govt. Ayurveda Hospital to check
whether there were any gazzeted medical officers. To our relief, we found one lady doctor, sitting idle
at her desk. We went in and made a request to get the documents attested. The Doctor instantly
opened the drawer and took out the official seal; but then she paused and said, "I'll attest your
documents whatever they are, but only on one condition…" We stood a bit puzzled, eager to hear the
condition while she pulled up a small bundle of paper which resembled some sort of pocketbook. We
were in for a surprise. It was a bundle of the Kerala State Govt's sports Lottery!!

"You pay only Rs.5 and you get Rs.50lakhs.. Nice, eh??" said the doctor. We stood there still,
looking at each other and at the bundle. It took us sometime to recover ourselves from that shock. My
friend was the first one who spoke. "Ma'am, we are students and we don't have much money with us
now. This is very urgent as we have to send the application today itself and we don't have any extra
money with us to buy the lottery tickets. And if we buy the tickets now, we won't have money for the
postal charges.." we stood there trying to plead her with our looks of helplessness. "You college
students have money for every other thing.. Why not for this? You see this is a State Govt. Lottery. If
you win, you'll get Rs.50 lakhs." We stood there without saying anything… A doctor marketing a
lottery ticket?

But she didn't seem to melt. She said, "If u can't buy this, then I'm not signing any certificates.
You can do as you like." My friend pleaded once more. But she replied, "No. if you cant buy the lottery
tickets, I can't sign your certificates. The Govt. has handed over this bundle asking me to sell it. I have
no other choice but to get the amount from you people for these kinds of jobs. Either you take it and
I'll sign the papers or you can go and try somewhere else." We were speechless for a few minutes.
Then she said again, "My time is important. You can leave. I have a job to attend to." It took some
time for me to digest it completely… A well-educated person, a medical practitioner, a gazzetted
officer, trying to sell lottery?? Pathetic!!!

We stood there bewildered as the doctor left to attend the ‘job’; have her lunch! MINDTEXT

MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-5 | May 2007 3

I have learned from my school text books, how
the British came to India for business, how they
THE RETURN OF established the East India Company, how they sought
protection from the local emperors and kings and how
THE EAST INDIA they finally conquered the country. To cut the story
short, they robbed the great nation in the front of

public, in broad daylight. And when the true sons and
daughters of Mother India, led by great men made
their protests, the British fled. But people of this
country were left behind with the scum of an era, which
could last for eons.
Today, we Indians are celebrating the 150th year of the First War of Indian Independence. But here in
Kochi, another grand celebration has taken the front seat, the famous and notorious "Smart City" project. In
the past, we have seen the Leftist ideologists fighting globalization in Kerala with tooth and nail. (I hope you
have not forgotten the violent protests at that time and how the City Bank offices in the state were attacked by
pro-leftists and how the ADB was asked to go back.) Ah… we people have poor memory. Now the leftists have
taken this smart u-turn. They have embraced globalization with little or no protests. After all, its always good to
change with time. Well then, the leftist ideology itself is not made in India, it came all the way from Russia!

Even then, I'm afraid what's happening now is not a coincidence. I do hope its just a wild imagination;
but there are unbelievable similarities which just can't go unnoticed. Back then, it was the British East India
Company who came here for trade and business; today it's the Smart City people. Back then, India was famous
for spices and other local resources, today, we are famous for IT/ITEs and BPOs. Back then, India was divided
into several provinces and princely states ruled by rulers having different ideology. Obviously, there was no
mutual co-operation. But even today, this great nation is divided into several states. Some are even claiming
further division (remember the Telegana issue). The states themselves are, in fact, in a state of non-co-
operation (be it the inter-state water dispute or the political /ideological issues). Back then, the Kings and
Emperors of the states used to lock horns with each other. Today, political parties in the states are playing
their dirtiest tricks against each other. Back then, the British used the political situation of enmity between the
princely states for their advantage. Today, I feel that the greedy, wild west is once again capitalizing on the
political tension among the current political parties.

It's the 150th year of the First War of Indian Independence. Lest, we must remember the sacrifices
made by our ancestors, whom we praise as true Indians and on whom all the political parties make a claim. But
then, when no one cares for the living, who is going to care about the dead?? MINDTEXT

by Thulasi J. Nambiar

If your answer is 'NO', let me tell you, there is more than 90% of the Indian population having the same
answer to this question…And she is going to be the next president of the country!! Yes.. Welcome to India… A
great country with stupid politicians who can stoop down to such an unbelievably pathetic extent, that nothing
about normal middle class and, not to mention, those under the poverty line matter to them. I think it's time for
another independence struggle within the country to save it from the clutches of these politicians. From time to
time, many people have tried too, but again the common man gets trapped in the beautiful, never fulfilling
promises of these cunning minds.

I wonder why Soniaji (yes, with all respect she needs from an Indian citizen, for all those things she did
to this country, I call her Soniaji) had chosen someone whose name was never even heard! What was it that
Mrs. Patil did even when she was a governor? Did Soniaji choose her because Prathibha Patil is a woman? Then
I'd like to tell her that if she wants to show that women are capable, then Prathibha Patil is not the right choice.
There are women out there who worked for this country, who have moved the nation, who work for the poor and
lived for the minimum human rights..

MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-5 | May 2007 4

Obviously if she chooses one of them, she won't last in her seat for long! And a woman like Prathibha Patil being
a president is a shame for the entire women population of India, who has struggled their way up and strived for
the weaker sections of society.

India is a country where the tradition and pride of our women is synonymous with the Indian history
itself. Still in such a country Soniaji could find only Prathibha Patil!! And I should say, it's a wise option. Yes..
because Prathibha having a foot in congress will never say 'NO' to Sonia's rule and again being a WEAK woman
she'll be just another puppet. My salute to that brilliant brain of Soniaji!! You just had the prime minister in
your hand and now you have the president too…Wow! So now you can rule both positions. India has one
president, one prime minister and one political party, which is one and only one Soniaji. I feel its a shame to
this country's one of the most intelligent and worthy presidents, Mr. Kalam, to step down for her!!!

I wonder why our politicians, the so-called leaders, haven't seen the recent polls in almost all the
channels and websites, in which almost 75% Indians just don't want Mrs. Patil to be the next president. People
want Kalam back, they may welcome even Mr.Murthy. Why don't our voices have any effect? How can the rulers
just ignore our response so easily? Why are we so much helpless? Why do the people we elect never listen to
us? Why do those people who have lost elections become ministers? Why is Arjun Singh still in his chair when
the whole of India has protested? Isn't it time for a change in our constitutional rules? Isn't it time the Indian
constitution be reinvented? Isn't it time we think practically? C'mon, wake up..We can do a lot. We have
internet, we have our right to voice our views and we have the power.. Let's show the world what we can.. Let's
show them how we can change our country and get a better world to live in... Let's protest through all the ways
we can…Let our voices be the powerful storm that is going to change the world.. It doesn't matter whether
India is ruled by a woman or a man, but it really matters who rules.. We need a president like Kalam, Laloo or
Narayana Murthy, who can make a change in the oldest civilization ever lived before it becomes the dumbest
civilization ever lived… MINDTEXT

The author is a student in Architecture at Kharakpur IIT


THE CRAB WALKS AGAIN by Nikhil Kuriakose

Well, if the question of the biggest sea disaster pops up, the name that comes into most of our minds is that of
Titanic, but I say different. The story of Wilhelm Gustloff is far from being popular, and that too, for a cause.
Nevertheless, this formed a perfect treat for Gunter Grass in his novel 'Crabwalk'.

Like the movement of a crab, this Nobel laureate slip backward to move forward, the story of the KdF ship Wilhelm
Gustloff, during World War II, and its effects on three generations. The wreck of the Gustloff was the greatest
maritime tragedy of all time; drowning nearly ten thousand women and children when it was torpedoed on
January 30, 1945. Moving back and forth, the author describes the part his family plays in the circumstances that
led to the disaster and the problems rising from it. It shows how the political view of the Germans changed during
and after the war, and how it did not change for some others. The name Wilhelm Gustloff comes from a Nazi
functionary, who was murdered by the Jew David Frankfurter out of frustration and despair.

Paul, who was actually born on the 'cursed' ship, minutes before it sank, represents the narrator. The book
continually portrays a complaining and frustrated Paul, who blames his birth on the ship as the reason of all his
misfortunes. The next one in queue is Tulla, Paul's mother, who plays a typical war time refugee. Tulla is confused
and she confuses the readers. It's hard to guess what kind of a person she is. A part portrays her speaking high of
Aryan supremacy and the next day she weeps over the death of Stallin. Maybe it was her experience in the
Gustloff and the days she wandered around the German border with her newborn, which gave her such a nature.
Konard, Paul's son, represents the young blood outlook on the issue. Konard, aka Konny, operates a website
which is entirely devoted to the ship, and moderates a chat room on the same issue. He goes head on with a Jew,
David and exchanges some hard words on how much inferior he considers the Jews are. Apart from these
triumvirates, there are other characters like Aleksandr Marinesko, who is the captain of the submarine that sunk
the Gustloff.

MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-5 | May 2007 5

The different characters represent the different faces of the then political strata- Frankfurter who
represents the frustrated and the suppressed class, Marinesko representing a Russian Officer who is
eager for a victory and even Wilhelm Gustloff himself who is a devoted Nazi activist. The three members of
the Pokriefke family- Tulla, Paul and Konard, again are portrayed with a different political outlook. As the
story progresses and the plot strengthen, the reader is given a chance to decipher the different characters
in the book, be it the neutral Paul or the neo-Nazi Konny.

The ship, Wilhelm Gustloff, was a part of the KdF or 'Strength through Joy' programme. The ship was
inaugurated by the Fuehrer himself and was originally a cruise ship. But as the war tightened, it was
converted into a Red Cross hospital ship, and then into a floating barracks and finally into a refugee carrier
when it was torpedoed. Though the sinking of Gustloff really happened and the death toll crossed many
times than that of the titanic, it never found any publicity. The war was winding up and the Reich thought it
would degrade the morale of the citizens if ever the news leaked out. On its final cruise, it was overfilled
with refugees, not to mention the wounded soldiers and cadets in the ship. Those died were mostly
women and children, an embarrassing situation when the survivors were mostly men along with the four
captains of the ship. The ten thousand people who drowned were frozen to death.

The author unwinds the themes like 'the influence of the past in the present', the way the words 'martyr'
and 'hero' are confused with reference to the Pokriefke family. The effect of Nazism on the three
generations is made clear by Paul Pokriefke's statement, "I steered a middle course, never slid all the way
to the right or the left, didn't cause any collisions, swam with the current, let myself drift, and kept my
head above water…But then my son kicked up a storm.". The 'storm' is revealed as the story progresses
and makes a lasting effect on the reader.

Well, the novel can get you a bit impatient at times; actually the author is making a demand for patience.
But as the 'storm' sets in, the reader is in for one heck of a ride. The final assessment of the present
generation is too bad to be true, in fact worse. It's one of those books which mean to say, “Wake up,
sleepyhead”, and what I'll have to say is “Read it to wake up”.MINDTEXT

The author is an Engg. student at RASET, Cochin

Report on
The National Convention of RTI Activists
held in Pune on 12th and 13th of May 2007
By Jithin Paul Varghese

Two representatives, Jithin Paul Varghese & Dhanuraj, of C.P.P.R were invited for the National
Conference in recognition of the work done by the Centre in the field of Right to Information (RTI)
campaign. The conference was attended by delegates from 23 states and also from other countries .The
discussions were aimed at developing a uniform platform for activists throughout the country and also to
strengthen the existing network.

In the conference the status of RTI implementation in states were discussed and delegates from
each state presented the position. It is also a privilege that the Centre was invited to present the position on
behalf of state of Kerala. The conference was also attended by famous activists like Medha Patekar (NBA),
Aruna Roy (MKSS), Aravind Kejariwal(Parivartahn), Adv.Prasanth Bhushan and also Anna Hazare.

The issue of J&K excluded from the scope of RTI Act was discussed elaborately and the conference passed a
resolution to the central government to bring J&K within the Act. Moreover the conference also appointed a
high level committee to pressurise the government for the purpose. The conference elaborately discussed
the issue of Sec.4 compliance by the 'public authorities' and unanimously demanded that the public
authorites should disclose information suo moto , failure of which should invite punishment . Few excerpts
from the resolution passed by the conference are mentioned here:

MINDTEXT | Volume-2 Issue-5 | May 2007 6

- If any PIO(Public Information officer) says that information cannot be provided because the
files are missing , an FIR should be registered against the concerned official and also
departmental enquiry should be iniated.

- In case of delay of responding to an RTI application, show cause notice should be issued to the
concerned PIO.

- Cases should not be closed till complete information is received and the citizen reports

- For every second violation by any PIO , Information Commission should recommend for
disciplinary action as provided in Sec.20(2) of the Act.

- Information Commissions should ensure that the penalties imposed by them are recovered and
are entered in the ACRs of the officials.

- If any state has more than one commissioner, they should be spread out in the state rather than
holding hearing from only one city.

- No information commissioner should be allowed to deal with any department where he /she
served at any time in the past as there is conflict of interest.

- Commissioners should decide cases only in open court.

- A basic format should be developed for the decisions so that there will be uniformity in decisions
of the commission.

- The decisions of the central and state commissions should be available in the Internet.

- Central and State Commissions should treat non-compliance of Sec.4 (proactive disclosure) as
refusal of information.

- The responsibility of implementing RTI shall not be vested on the Department of Personnel and
Training, it should be with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and similar Departments
in the State.

The conference also demanded that the central government should not proceed with the move to dilute the
RTI Act , by any further amendments. In total, the two day conference was also an opportunity for
activists to share their experiences, clear doubts from experts and also to get charged up for the future
missions .

Hoping and fighting for a more transparent and free India through RTI.! MINDTEXT

Jithin Paul Varghese is the RTI Campaign Coordinator for CPPR.

- End of Document -

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