Follow by Email

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Strike of the strike

Bandh, strike or hartal - the word dreaded by the common man especially if he is a Mumbaikar or rather an Indian. Come to think of it, only an Indian is a common man because he is the one who is always taken for a ride by the Government, Mafia and the Judiciary. 

The Opposition recently called for a nation wide bandh to protest against the upward spiraling prices. I guess that was the only issue. Or rather we have been made to believe that this was the only issue. The bandh has caused a loss of 20,000 crores to the nation. Probably, this is the best way to get the prices downwards.

Incidentally, the Hindi word ‘hartal’ comes from two Sanskrit words, namely, hatta and talaka. Hatta means shop or market and talaka means a lock. Thus ‘hartal’ literally and etymologically both means closure of shops or market. Protests in the form of closure of shops or halt of public transport are forced on to the people.  Therefore, the success of such a bandh cannot be attributed to public opinion as it may not have been observed voluntarily and may have been done out of fear. 

I would like to focus on two aspects:
First, though strikes have been declared illegal and unconstitutional by the courts, forcing someone to join the bandh is yet to be made an offense.
Second, state governments and administration have genuine practical problems in enforcing the orders of the courts to ensure that complete normalcy is maintained during a strike.

The legal catch is that even if they have hundreds of thousands of people with them, it does not mean that every single member of the society is with them. Even if there is a single individual who does not agree with a man or party registering its protest, his rights are as sacred as the rights of millions. He has as much right not to take part in a strike or ‘bandh’ as the other person has to take part in them. Hence the ‘bandh’ supporter does not have the right to encroach upon the rights of others in the exercise of his right to protest. The moment he does so, he commits a crime. Forcing someone to join the bandh is akin to forcing a female to having sexual intercourse against her wishes. 
The bandh supporter has the right not to go to work or keep his shop closed. He does not however have the right to force others to do so. That’s why forcing others to join strikes or bandhs is illegal and unconstitutional. By the same logic it must be made into a substantive offense.
Why would a group or political party want to enforce a bandh? The answer is very simple. If normal life were to continue as usual, they might have as well not bothered to give the bandh call in the first place! The reality of life is that the call for a strike, bandh or ‘hartal’ is essentially a show of strength and the parties would fail in their purpose if normal life were not to be affected.

Whenever a ‘hartal’ or a general strike is called, the government must take adequate measures to see that normal life of the citizens is not paralyzed. That is to be done not by declaring holidays or postponing examinations; but, by giving effective protection to those who are not participating in such ‘hartals’ or strikes. 
What are the measures to be taken by the state governments to ensure normalcy? If the strikers do not heed to police advice, the latter have three means of using lethal and non lethal force. Tear gas is the mildest form followed by ‘lathi charge’ and the stun grenades and stinger grenades. The lethal form is firing. The tear gas option is generally ineffective if used in large areas. The police during a lathi charge may be outnumbered easily and this decision may then backfire. So, the only effective way to disperse unruly mobs is by firing. Every police firing results in a judicial inquiry. They are then criticized for using disproportionate quantam of force.
The underlying fear of a judicial inquiry and all the trauma that accompanies it, is actually responsible for the reticence of the police officers in using lethal force to good effect.

The state government finds itself in a fix. If they fail in maintaining complete normalcy, they may be accused of disobeying the court and failing in their constitutional duty; and if they start shooting people down and shed blood on a large scale, they will still be accused of using excessive force and being inhuman. The only solution therefore, seems if the courts press for making the forced imposition of a strike or bandh into an offense and also assure the state governments that their use of force in maintaining normalcy would be viewed with due concessions in mind.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Murder 3: A Murder of the Murder franchisee.

Murder 3, coming from the Bhatt camp, is a directorial debut by Vishesh, son of Mukesh Bhatt. An official adaptation of the Spanish thriller, The Hidden Face, this film however falls flat on its face.

Randeep Hooda is an ace photographer who relocates to India with his girlfriend, Aditi Rao. Very soon she goes missing, and another chic, Sara Loren moves in with him. It is now upto these two with the help of the cops to unearth the mysterious disappearance of Aditi.

The cinematography is just average. The narrative is very hackneyed. The acting skills of the lead stars leave a lot to be desired. Music just hummable. Surprisingly, Vishesh has toned down the eroticism which has always been an integral part of the Bhatt tradition. It always is a better option to stick to your USP than opting for the middle path.
The movie is devoid of action but that was partly compensated by the off screen melee that took place during the intermission at our multiplex.

This could probably be the last of the Murders. I guess the Bhatts would be very skeptical to think about Murder 4.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Story

For many years, chocs have been an expression of love and affection, spreading smiles and happiness everywhere.

Chocolate comes from cocoa beans -- the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree -- which, along with other plants like tea, are high in flavanols. These compounds have marked antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are thought to be responsible for much of the health benefit ascribed to chocolate consumption. Keep in mind that overly processed chocolate -- most of the candy aisle -- often contains added sugar and saturated fatty acids, which offset cocoa's health benefits. So stick with dark, flavanol-rich varieties.

Winning a Nobel Prize may have just gotten easier. Findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine in October 2012 show that countries with more chocolate consumers produce significantly more Nobel laureates, possibly through enhanced cognition.

European Heart Journal found that daily dark chocolate consumption over a 4-week period improves endothelial and platelet function in patients with congestive heart failure.
Chocolate consumption has also been associated with a lower incidence of myocardial infarction and mortality from coronary heart disease.

The vascular benefits of cocoa are reflected in the growing body of evidence linking chocolate consumption with reduced blood pressure.

Increasing chocolate consumption by 50 g per week reduced cerebral infarction risk by 12%, hemorrhagic stroke risk by 27%, and total stroke risk by 14%.

Despite its lipidic reputation, chocolate appears to have a positive influence on cholesterol levels. Most milk and heavily processed chocolate contains added saturated fatty acids, which, along with added sugar, may negate cocoa's health benefits and are likely to raise cholesterol. But dark and unprocessed chocolate, with at least 60%-70% cocoa, is associated with decreased low-density lipoprotein levels and increased high-density lipoprotein levels. Cocoa does contain saturated fat, but it is primarily stearic acid, which is thought to be cholesterol neutral.

There are mixed results in Mood Disorders.

Frequent chocolate consumption is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI).


With apologies to the milk chocolate inclined, consumption of dark chocolate appears to provide significant and varied health benefits. However, all chocolate is caloric -- 2 oz of dark chocolate can contain over 440 calories -- so before you get carried away, moderate, calorie-conscious consumption should be emphasized.

Cavities: The refined sugar in processed chocolate can be detrimental to your teeth when eaten often without regular and proper teeth brushing. Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay by providing the bacteria in your mouth with energy. The bacteria begin to multiply faster, and plaque begins to grow in size and thickness on your teeth. Bacteria can also use sugar as a type of glue to cling to your teeth, making it difficult to get rid of with just a toothbrush.

Sugar can cause and aggravate gum disease.

Fruits provide the same health advantages of dark chocolate without the calories and saturated fats. They also contain natural sugar for those who crave sweets.

If you must have chocolate, buy it in the smallest serving size possible. This prevents you from eating up all of your calories for the day but satisfies your cravings too. 

The Illusions of Diabetic Branded Produce:

"Diabetic foods tend to be 'treat' foods such as chocolates and biscuits. These foods do not contain sugar so some people may think that they're fine to eat in large quantities. However, diabetic foods offer no benefit to people with diabetes. They are expensive, contain just as much fat and calories as the ordinary versions, can have a laxative effect and will still affect blood glucose levels."

Diabetes UK joined forces with the Food Standards Agency in an attempt to stop this false advertising - "People with diabetes should eat a normal healthy balanced diet, the same as everybody else."

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Special 26: Something special about it

As always, the tried and tested does work. Neeraj Pandey as expected, does what he does best. A suspense thriller based on real life incidents which took place in the 80s.
Akki, Anupam Kher and their associates are con men who specialise in posing as CBI officers and rob politicians and businessmen of their hard earned black money. But this time they have their task cut out. They have to get past the real cops in Jimmy Shergill and Manoj Bajpai.
Performances of the male leads are decent. However, It is the story and screenplay that take the cake. The mandatory songs could have been done away with. They slacken the pace of the movie in the first half. The climax however makes up for the minor glitches.
And as Kher correctly says. "Listen to your heart".
Go for this film.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Mac Halal

The Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT) has reiterated that there is no truth to emails currently circulated stating that McDonalds South Africa was not halaal. According to the latest hoax email doing the rounds, a study into the McDonalds ingredients in the Kitchen Office in Florida, United States has shown positive evidence of pork materials called "LM10", used in the McDonalds mayo. The warning stated that South African McDonalds officials have confirmed that all sauce based ingredients are imported from the US.

“Consumers are advised to abstain from McDonalds. The MJC and IQSA has also withdrawn certification countrywide,” the email read. In a statement issued to VOC on Friday, MJCHT spokesperson Sheikh Moosa Titus said the sauces for the South African outlets are imported from the UK and are fully halaal compliant. He reconfirmed that McDonalds South Africa was certified by the MJCHT and are fully halaal. “The latest email is bogus information and bereft from any truth. The public should dismiss it with disdain,” he said.

All the suppliers and ingredients used in the products listed on the McDonald’s menu are halaal. The McDonalds’ stores are on a continuous basis supervised both internally and externally. “No McDonald’s store is allowed to purchase raw materials or products elsewhere as all the stores are supplied from halaal certified central distribution centres that are certified by the MJC’s Halaal Trust. Should any McDonald’s store require any additional stock, they are required to place an emergency order and a special delivery will be done from the distribution centre,” Titus explained.

He emphasized that Muslims should not be circulating these types of emails unless they had confirmation from the body. The ulema body’s protocol on public announcements is to write the notice on its official MJC Halaal Trust letter head and would be endorsed with the signature of a senior MJC halaal trustee. If the message is to be conveyed via email, the original copy will be scanned and it will be sent in a PDF form.

“Official announcements are in most cases delivered via the mosque boards, printed media or community radio stations. No such message was ever disseminated by the MJC Halaal Trust.” VOC (Tasneem Adams)!msg/kozhichena/OOWj-UuY4T0/tHbciBdCxH8J

The Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust hereby informs the community that the McDonald brand and all outlets are under the jurisdiction of the MJCHT and certified halaal.

The recent concern raised by the community is based on an email which was circulated 2 years ago and does not apply.

We therefore request the community to refrain from circulating any such outdated emails as this creates unnecessary confusion and doubt. We would appreciate it if prior to the dissemination of emails to groups, information contained be verified and confirmed as factual.