From the Desk of Dr. M. Vijayanunni IAS (1969), Former Chief Secretary of Kerala


 Vishu the start of the malayalam new year
In Malabar the new year was traditionally reckoned as beginning on Vishu which falls exactly on Medam 1.This is also confirmed by the fact that we begin our list of months from Medam,Edavam,Mithunam,Karkatakam... and end with Meenam, as we learnt in our childhood from our ancestors. We do not begin the list of months with Chingam, Kanni,Thulam... and end with Karkatakam, though the official malayalam year begins in Chingam and ends with Karkatakam. That is used only in the official parlance, which was formally imposed by some king or other higher authority some time in the past. The current malayalam year 1193 began on 17th August which was Chingam 1. Onam comes later on in Chingam on thiruvonam day which fell on Chingam 19 last year.

It is noteworthy that in all the other southern states of Tamilnad, Andhra and Karnataka, as also in the north and east Indian states, the new year comes in March/April along with Vishu,and not in August which has come about only as a historical aberration that happened in south Kerala where the new malayalam year or Kollavarsham was started in 825 AD. But the traditional festival of Vishu continues to live on in the hearts and minds of the populace and continues to be celebrated as the new year day on Medam 1.

In the undergiven list of new year festivals also, for Malabar it is clearly given as Vishu in April.

Date -- Festival name -- Regions

Jan 1 -- New Year-- Christians

Mar/Apr -- Ugadi -- Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka

Mar/Apr -- Gudhi Padwa -- Maharashtra, Goa, Konkan

Mar/Apr -- Cheiraoba -- Manipur

Mar/Apr -- Navreh -- Kashmir

Mar/Apr -- Navratra -- Jammu

Mar/Apr -- Cheti Chand -- Sindh

April 13/14/15 -- Vaisakhi -- North and Central India

April 13/14/15 -- Rongali Bihu -- Assam

April 13/14/15 -- Chithirai Vishu -- Tamil Nadu

April 13/14/15 -- Vishu -- Malabar, Kerala

August 16/17/18-- Puthu Varsham -- Kerala

April 13/14/15 -- Bishuva Sankranti -- Odisha

April 13/14/15 -- Poila Boishakh -- Bengal


 India's caste cauldron- A dangerous portent
While in the pre-independence era, caste divided Indian society horizontally, caste now cleaves it vertically (graphical representation), which is equally destructive.

The short sighted reservation policies and discriminatory laws imposed by politicians in power from time to time have become like a serpentine dagger being inserted deeper and deeper into the Indian society;keeping it there or taking it out are both fraught with dangerous consequences now and the governments are caught in a cleft stick unable to deal with it or come out of it.

Causing grave concern are the recent developments after the supreme court's judgment last month ordering safeguards against the increasing misuse of the extreme provisions of the SC-ST prevention of atrocities law. The protest call by SC-ST organizations against the court order caused widespread violence and 12 deaths in north India and this evoked a counter-agitation by anti-reservation organizations.

As regards Kerala, though both these protests as such did not make any presence here, a subsequent dalit bandh call to protest against the deaths in the clashes in far away north India caused tremendous dislocation and disruption of public life in the whole state. This shows a high level of caste-based antipathy which does not augur well.

 Amend the rules and save those who blatantly violate rules !
The elected representatives of panchayats and municipalities in Kerala had to file their property statements within six months of their election, failing which they will be disqualified from their membership and fresh election held for that constituency. Declaring the details of their assets and liabilities is just a first step to curb their indulging in bribery, corruption and accumulation of wealth during their five-year tenure.

This time limit of six months was extended to 15 months by the last UDF government. Now the LDF government has further extended it to 30 months thereby allowing all the elected members to escape the penalty of disqualification from their membership of the panchayat or municipality and evade the simple requirement of filing their property statements even after two and a half years. If the government allows another extension upto 60 months, these members can complete their entire 5-year tenure and get away without filing their property statements at all! What a travesty of implementing a well-meant rule for people's representatives!

This absurdity does not happen in the case of parliament and assembly seats because all candidates there are required by law to file their property statements to the election commission at the time filing nomination itself and this law cannot be lightly tampered with.

The reason adduced to justify this extension of time in the case of panchayats and municipalities is that the members' disqualification will necessitate holding of re-elections in their constituencies and that in some local bodies such re-elections may also lead to change in the ruling parties. Instead of leading to all that, can't the defaulting members just do the simple act of filing their property returns ?

Will this argument be stretched in a different way to cover the legislative assemblies and parliament saying that the elected members and ministers and chief minister and prime minister will have to resign if they are arraigned before courts for misfeasance, and therefore no charges should be raised against them leading to their resignation and consequent re-elections in their constituencies and even a change in the ruling party ?!

 മൂട്ടകടിച്ചാൽ അവിടെയങ്ങനെ ഇവിടെയിങ്ങിനെ
അമേരിക്കയിലെ കാലിഫോർണിയയിൽ ഒരു ഫ്ലാറ്റിൽ താമസമാക്കിയ ഒരു കുടുംബത്തിലെ മൂന്ന്‌ വയസ്സായ കുട്ടിക്ക്‌ അവിടെവെച്ച്‌ ദേഹത്തും മുഖത്തുമൊക്കെ മൂട്ടകടിയേറ്റതിന്ന്‌ നഷ്ടപരിഹാരമായി 16 ലക്ഷം ഡോളർ (10 കോടി രൂപ) നല്കണമെന്ന്‌ കോടതി വിധിച്ചു. മൂട്ടകടിക്ക്‌ അമേരിക്കയിൽ ഇതേവരെ അനുവദിച്ച ഏറ്റവും ഉയർന്ന നഷ്ടപരിഹാരത്തുകയാണത്രെ ഇത്‌.

ഇവിടെ തൃശ്ശൂർ തിരുമുടിക്കുന്ന്‌ സർക്കാർ ആസ്പത്രിയിലെ അന്തേവാസികളായ 70 വയസ്സ്‌ കഴിഞ്ഞ 51 അമ്മൂമ്മമാർ വർഷങ്ങളായി മൂട്ടകടി കാരണം സ്വസ്ഥമായി ഉറങ്ങാൻ കഴിയാതെയും കട്ടിലിൽ കിടക്കാൻ പോലും പറ്റാതെയുമാണ്‌ ഓരോ രാത്രിയും മൂട്ടകളെ ശപിച്ചുകൊണ്ടും ദേഹമാകെ ചൊറിഞ്ഞുകൊണ്ടും തള്ളിനീക്കുന്നത്‌. ചുമരിലും,കട്ടിലിലും, പുതപ്പിലുമെല്ലാം ആയിരക്കണക്കിന്‌ മൂട്ടകൾ. 1930 ൽ പണിത കെട്ടിടം പഴകി ജീർണ്ണാവസ്ഥയിലാണ്‌.

ഈ കാലത്ത് ഇത്രയും വലിയ തോതിൽ മൂട്ടകളെ കാണുന്നത് ആദ്യമായിട്ടാണെന്ന് കേരളവനഗവേഷണസ്ഥാപനത്തിലെ ഷഡ്പദവിഭാഗം ശാസ്ത്രജ്ഞൻ പറഞ്ഞു.മൂട്ടകളെ നശിപ്പിച്ചില്ലെങ്കിൽ മനുഷ്യരക്തം ആഹാരമാക്കി ഇവ ഇങ്ങിനെ പെരുകും. ഒരു പെണ്മൂട്ട മാസം 300 മൂട്ടക്കുഞ്ഞുങ്ങളെ ഉല്പാദിപ്പിക്കും. രക്തം കട്ടപിടിക്കാതിരിക്കാനുള്ള ഒരു സ്രവം ഇവ മനുഷ്യശരീരത്തിൽ കുത്തിവെക്കുന്നത് കൊണ്ടാണ്‌ മൂട്ടകടിക്കുമ്പോൾ ചൊറിച്ചിൽ ഉണ്ടാകുന്നത്.

വാർഡ് നവീകരിക്കുകയാണ്‌ പരിഹാരം.അതിന്ന് ആരോഗ്യവകുപ്പിന്ന് പണമില്ലത്രെ.അറ്റകുറ്റപ്പണികൾ ചെയ്യേണ്ട പൊതുമരാമത്ത് വകുപ്പിന്ന് കത്തെഴുതി കാത്തിരിക്കുകയാണ്‌ ആസ്പത്രി അധികൃതർ.ഇതാണ്‌ ഇവിടത്തെ സർക്കാർസ്ഥാപനങ്ങളുടെ പ്രവർത്തനശൈലി.

പിൻ കുറിപ്പ് : പതിവിൽ നിന്ന് വ്യത്യസ്തമായി ഈ വാർത്തക്ക് ഉടൻ ഫലമുണ്ടായി.അമ്മൂമ്മമാരെ തല്ക്കാലം അടുത്തുള്ള മറ്റൊരു കെട്ടിടത്തിലേക്ക് മാറ്റി എന്നും മൂട്ടകളെ ഉടനെ നശിപ്പിക്കുമെന്നും ജീർണ്ണാവസ്ഥയിലായ ആസ്പത്രി കെട്ടിടത്തിന്റെ നവീകരണം ഉടനെ നടത്തുമെന്ന് പൊതുമരാമത്ത് എഞ്ചിനിയർ പറഞ്ഞു എന്നും വാർത്ത!

 “പോലീസും ദൈവവും”
കേരളാപോലീസും ദൈവവും തമ്മിലാണ്‌ ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ തുലനവും താരതമ്യവും.

പോലീസുദ്യോഗസ്ഥന്മാരുടെ ഫോട്ടൊസഹിതമുള്ള വാർത്തകളാണ്‌ ഇപ്പോൾ എന്നും പത്രങ്ങൾ നിറയെ മുൻ പേജിലും, ഉൾപ്പേജുകളിലും, നഗരസപ്പ്ളിമെന്റുകളിലും എല്ലാം. ഒരു ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ വാർഷികോൽസവത്തിന്റെ പത്രപരസ്യത്തിൽ പോലീസ് ഡിജിപിയുടെ ഫോട്ടൊ ആണ്‌ ഏറ്റവും വലിപ്പത്തിൽ ഒന്നാമതായി കൊടുത്തിരിക്കുന്നത്.അതിൽ ദൈവങ്ങളുടെ പ്രതിരൂപങ്ങളെക്കാൾ വലിപ്പവും പ്രാധാന്യവും പോലീസുദ്യോഗസ്ഥന്റെ മുഖരൂപത്തിന്നാണ്‌.

പോലീസും പോലീസിന്റെ പെരുമാറ്റവും "ദൈവ"ത്തെപ്പോലെയായിരിക്കണമെന്ന് മറ്റൊരു പോലീസ് എഡിജിപി പറഞ്ഞതായി പത്രവാർത്തയും കാർട്ടൂണും!!

 പോലീസിന്റെ ചീത്തവിളി കേട്ട് പോലീസുകാരൻ ബോധരഹിതനായെന്ന്
പത്രവാർത്ത : “പുളിങ്കുടി എ.ആർ ക്യാമ്പിലെ ഉന്നത പോലിസ് ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥന്റെ അസഭ്യവിളി കേട്ട് ബോധരഹിതനായ പോലീസുകാരനെ നെയ്യാറ്റിൻ കര താലൂക്ക് ആസ്പത്രിയിൽ പ്രവേശിപ്പിച്ചു.”

ഇക്കണക്കിന്‌ പോലീസുകാരുടെ തെറിവിളി കേട്ട് നാട്ടുകാരും ബോധരഹിതരായിത്തുടങ്ങിയാൽ റോഡുകളിലും,വീടുകളിലും, പോലീസ് സ്റ്റേഷനുകളിലും,പോലീസ് പോകുന്ന എല്ലായിടങ്ങളിലും എത്ര നാട്ടുകാർ ബോധരഹിതരായി ആസ്പത്രിയിൽ പ്രവേശിപ്പിക്കപ്പെടണം!

 Hope on the language front
My last blog post was about the French prime minister's decision to accord greater recognition to english in schools in their effort towards greater globalisation, while the "malayalam first, malayalam only" forces in kerala are pulling the state backward into linguistic obscurantism.

Now comes heartening news that a legislation for the exclusive use of malayalam passed by the state legislature two years ago and sent to the President of India for approval has been rejected and returned. The bill had provided for the adoption of malayalam as the medium of instruction in schools from primary to tenth standard, and as official language in district courts, legislature and in government.

Even more heartening is the sagacious reason cited by the central government for the rejection, namely that making the regional language the exclusive official language of the states will destroy the country's federal structure.

The move of karnataka to make kannada the medium of education from class 1 to 10 in schools has also been rejected by the centre on the ground that this is uncostitutional. The move to make Urdu the second official language in the state of Telangana has also not received centre's approval.

Thus there is still hope that our future generations could be saved from the ill-effects of the shortsighted and narrow-minded policies advanced by the linguistic fanatics and fundamentalists.

 The French recognize English
France, which has traditionally been a staunch bulwark against the supremacy of English, has now realised the importance of English in the international sphere.

"English is now the lingua franca. That's how it is. You have to speak English if you want to act and move in globalisation," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told a news conference in Lille, northern France.

French students traditionally perform rather poorly in international ranking of English fluency. In the latest ranking by Education First, the French were ranked second-worst in Europe after Italians.

The prime minister said the government would make it compulsory for students in high school or undergraduate level at the latest to pass internationally recognised English-language certifications, such as Cambridge University's IELTS test.Taking these tests, which cost around 230 euros (about Rs 18,000), will be paid for by the government.

"I'm convinced these measures are game changers," said the prime minister. "They will help more French people go and conquer the world."

Our own "malayalam and malayalam only" advocates should take a lesson out of this farsighted policy, for the sake of the present and future generations of malayalis who are fast becoming frogs in the kerala well.

 The leaning towers, new and old
This is the image of the leaning tower of Taiwan in the aftermath of the recent powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake, which caused many buildings to tilt upto 45 degrees and are in a state of unstable equilibrium. The question is how long will they last in this state of dangerous disequilibrium and will they have to be brought down by controlled implosions.

This reminds us of the original leaning tower of Pisa, Italy, (pic 2) which has been surviving for the last over eight hundred years. The 185 feet-leaning tower of Pisa began leaning from the time of its original construction in the late 12th century onwards and its original tilt of 5.5 degrees has now been partially corrected and stabilized at 3.99 degrees in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

 About the Governor's address
Participated in a TV discussion on the recent Governor's address in the Kerala legislative assembly. An ex-minister from the UDF, an MLA from LDF and a represenstative of the BJP were the other participants. My association with the Governor's address goes back to over forty five years when i had prepared the Governor's address for the then state government headed by then chief minister C.Achutha Menon.

The discussion this time centred around the portions in the address skipped by the Governor while reading out the prepared speech in the assembly. I said that even those skipped portions will be treated as part of the approved address. This is what is upheld by parliamentary law and procedure in force here. This has subsequently been confirmed in the ruling given by the Speaker in the assembly, though the opposition tried to advance a contrary view but in vain.

 ഫെമിനിച്ചിയും ട്രമ്പ്ച്ചിയും
ഫെയ്സ്ബുക്ക് ട്രോളർമാർ ഫെമിനിസ്റ്റ്കൾക്ക് കൊടുത്തിരിക്കുന്ന മലയാളീകരിച്ച പേരാണത്രെ “ഫെമിനിച്ചി.” അമ്മച്ചി, ചേച്ചി, അക്കച്ചി, തങ്കച്ചി എന്നൊക്കെ പോലെ.

ചൈനയിലെ കാർ നിർമാണക്കമ്പനിയുടെ ഒരു കാർ മോഡലിന്റെ ചൈനീസ് ഭാഷയിലെ പേരാണ്‌ “ട്രമ്പ്ചി”- ചൈനീസിൽ ഇതിഹാസം എന്നർത്ഥം വരുന്ന വാക്ക്. പ്രസിഡന്റ് ട്രമ്പുമായി ഒരു ബന്ധവുമില്ല എങ്കിലും അങ്ങിനെ ഒരു തോന്നലുണ്ടകാമെന്നതിനാൽ അമേരിക്കയിൽ ഈ മോഡലിന്ന് മറ്റൊരു പേര്‌ കൊടുക്കാൻ തീരുമാനിച്ചിരിക്കുകയാണ്‌ കാർ കമ്പനി.

 Wrong government decisions which cause untold damage
The government of India has finally decided to undo its ill-advised, untenable and artificial merger of the erstwhile Air India International and Indian Airlines Corporation into one monolithic entity which has incurred an accumulated loss of over 60,000 crores of rupees.

The forced merger of these two companies with vastly differing operating environments and service conditions and wages for its pilots, cabin crew and other staff, was not a sound proposition and it created more problems than it was supposed to solve. The government has now decided to undo the merger before offering the company for privatization. Air India will become a separate company operating international flights as earlier, and Indian Airlines will become another company operating domestic flights as previously.

There are other such government of India decisions crying out aloud for immediate cancellation in public interest, owing to their gargantuan human and economic cost - Aadhaar tops the list.

 "Service tax" for a "disservice"
Banks have been using the arbitrarily fixed savings accounts minimum balance requirement (while it was a low Rs 500 and 1000 in SBT, it was arbitrarily fixed by SBI at Rs 3000 for Trivandrum categorising it as metropolitan city like Mumbai or Delhi) as a highly profitable source of income from unsuspecting customers.

The customer is not warned in advance or given an opportunity to make good the shortfall to avert it before the bank imposes the penalty behind the back of the customer. Surely this no way for a bank to treat its customer. Not content with this bonanza, it is reported that the bank also extracts a "service charge" of 12 percent of the penalty as though it is a "service" provided to the customer!

Government's service tax is a tax on service as the name shows. A service is defined as "an act of assistance, help or aid." But government collects service tax at 18 percent on the penalty levied by banks on the customer. How does a penalty become a "service" rendered by the bank calling for the levy of service tax thereon? The object of the legislation is to tax a service and certainly not to tax a disservice which is violative of the very legislative intent.

Instead of addressing this injustice and redressing it the government goes on merrily collecting and pocketing the "service" tax from the cornered citizen.

 The Aadhaar fiasco
A ruling BJP MP Sushil Kumar Singh from Bihar has cited in the Lok Sabha the example of his elderly mother who could not get a mobile phone SIM card because her fading finger prints and retina scan did not match the impression stored in the Aadhaar database. Old people are unable to get pensions since last one year as their fading thumb prints and retina scan do not match with the Aadhaar data.

When will the government of India respond to the wails and travails of the crores of people in India who are at the merciless receiving end of the vagaries of this listless Aadhaar experiment? The Indian government will do well to follow the example of UK and China which abandoned their similar universal citizen database ventures, or misadventures, to be more exact.

The last UK government abolished the ill-advised project and even totally deleted the entire database so that nobody in future will be able to misuse the data on the citizens already collected. And even China with a totalitarian government which could impose anything on its people without respecting protest, had the good sense to abandon its project to introduce a universal citizen database as unworkable. When will India do the same? The earlier it is done, the less will be the public resources wasted!

 India's economy
"India to be the 5th largest economy in the world in 2018" reads the newspaper headline, which does not give a self-explanatory picture of where India's economy stands now vis a vis other countries of the world and what this jump would mean in real terms.

The next line reads "India will overtake UK and France," which puts the picture in perspective considering how high UK and France stood in world ranking during all these past years in the post-World War II era, and therefore have been two of the permanent members of the UN Security Council based on their economic dominance in the past.

The top six economies now are USA, China, Japan, Germany, UK and France in that order, and india is not in the picture. India is now set to overtake France and UK to reach the 5th position, according to the report. Though India is also predicted to overtake Germany and Japan too and reach the 3rd spot behind USA and China in 2030, it will be a distant third behind China.

And China is predicted to dethrone USA as the world's largest economy by 2032. This clearly shows the efficacy of the economic and demographic policies that China has followed in the post-Mao period.

 Population projections as on 1st January 2018
India's projected population at the dawn of the new year as on 1.1.2018 is 130 crore. Undivided British India, comprising India and Pakistan which later got divided into the present Pakistan and Bangladesh, now has a total population of 167 crore, with 130 crore in India, 21 crore in Pakistan and 16 crore in Bangladesh. Pakistan and Bangladesh together have as many people today as India had at the time of partition in 1947.

World's projected population as on 1.1.2018 is 744 crore. India's share which was 16 per cent of the world population has now gone up to 17.47 per cent. The Indian sub-continent comprising India, Pakistan and Bangladesh carries a population load of 22.31 per cent of the total world population.

China's population now is 138 crore. China is estimated to have prevented over 30 crore births during the last forty years through its one-child policy. Otherwise China would have had a population of 168 crore today, more than India, Pakistan and Bangladesh combined. This lessened population burden has certainly helped China in its economic advancement particularly in reducing poverty and improving per capita income levels to more than double that of India.

 “ആധാർ” എന്ന ഇന്ത്യാ ഗവണ്മെന്റിന്റെ ആധുനിക “ആയുധം”
സിനിമയിൽ അച്ഛനായ തിലകൻ മകൻ മോഹൻലാലിനോട്‌: “നിന്റച്ഛനാടാ പറയുന്നത്, കത്തി താഴെ ഇടടാ.”

മോഹൻലാൽ: “നിങ്ങൾ എന്റച്ഛനാണെന്ന് വെറുതെ പറഞ്ഞാൽ പോരാ. ആധാർ കാണിക്ക്.”

 A strong case for smaller states in India
The Social Progress Index prepared by the Institute for Competitiveness captures the social progress of states based on three components viz Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Well being and Opportunity.*

The social progress index for each state for the years 2005 and 2016 shows where the state stood in respect of social progress parameters in the respective years and the difference between the two figures provides a measure of the progress achieved by each state during the period.

The most recently-formed small states of Uttarakhand, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand are seen to have done well during this period.

Uttarakhand (54 points in 2005 and 66 points in 2016) not only maintained its higher index than its mother state of UP (41 and 51 respectively) but also improved its all-india rank from 8 in 2005 to 4 in 2016.

Chattisgarh (45 and 57 respectively) with an even higher achievement of 12 points during the period did better than its mother state of MP (44 and 55 with a rise of 11 points) improving its rank from 19 in 2005 to 14 in 2016.

Jharkhand (38 and 48) with a better progress figure of 10 points also did better than its mother state of Bihar (36 and 45, with a rise of 9 points), after it was freed from the shackles of the most backward state of India.

Himachal, another small hill state formed out of the erstwhile extensive colonial state of Punjab, has also done well improving its social progress index by 10 points from 56 to 66 during this period and improving its all-india rank from 5 to 2.

Sikkim (51 and 63 with a rise of 12 points) is another small state which has done well during this period.

The new states of Telangana and Andhra (which did not exist in 2005) formed out of the old undivided Andhra only last year have also been doing well in competition with each other.

The two small states that have not lived upto the expectations proving to be exceptions to this trend are Assam and Delhi.

Of all the small north eastern states, Assam has been the biggest laggard improving by only 4 points from 44 to 48 during this period, while the other small states have not done as badly. This state has not evidently had good governance and has also suffered a severe onslaught of illegal immigration from the neighbouring muslim Bangladesh resulting in a reversal of its demographics. 

Delhi, the capital state with a messy administrative set-up being neither a full-fledged state nor a union territory, with an overbearing police organisation to boot, is the other worst case with a rise of only 4 points from 57 to 61 plummeting in rank from 4 to 9 during the period. This points to the need for urgent administrative reforms in this state.

All this shows the imperative need for small, viable, well-governed states for achieving progress.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Basic human needs : Infant mortality, maternal mortality, underweight, anaemia, diarrhoea,typhoid, source of water, rural habitation, rural sanitation, electricity, power deficit, pucca houses, housing shortages, crime against women, murders, violent crimes, road accidents.

Foundations of wellbeing : Dropout rates, school enrolment ratios, gender parity, literacy rate, internet subscribers, newspaper circulation, phone subscribers, television, forest cover, land degradation, renewable energy, water withdrawals, HIV prevalence, leprosy prevalence, life expectancy at 60, obesity, respiratory infections, suicide due to illness.

Opportunity : Human trafficking, judiciary, property rights, child labour, corruption, early marriage, family planning, child sex ratio, financial inclusion(banks), financial inclusion(women), insurance, women in panchayats, women graduates, college enrolment, technical institutes, colleges.

 The Rupee Rigmarole
As can be seen from the adjoining collage of images of the new set of rupee notes, the color of Indian rupee has changed substantially during the last one year - presumably in the process of the government of India's effort to convert it from "black" to "white". The new notes have also shrunk in size compared to the old notes - presumably reflecting their depleted purchasing power.

We also sorely miss the convenient Rs 1000 denomination notes which are most handy to transact everyday business for everyone including the housewives, traders, office goers, workers et al. The new pink Rs 2000 notes are no substitute for the good old 1000 rupee notes. One hopes that the handy 100 rupee note of the old series will not also disappear overnight like the good old 1000 rupee currency note. The pressing need of the time is to print and circulate a new set of 1000 rupee notes urgently. Just like the new series of 500 notes that were printed and circulated in the place of the old series of 500 rupee notes which were withdrawn.

The American dollar is commonly known as "greenback" supposedly because they are usually printed green on the back. What should the new Indian rupee be referred to as.... "whiteback" because they were meant to convert the black money to white? Or "pinkback" because the new highest denomination 2000 rupee note is pink in color? Or "piggyback" because the government is riding piggyback on the common man to fight against black money and counterfeit notes? Or simply "piggy bank" because currency notes have become just small savings with the new rules severely restricting their holding and imposing low limits on cash transactions?

 Vandalism during hartals and bandhs
News: "Expressing concern over the loss of life and property during agitations, which continued despite guidelines framed by it, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to bring a law to fix liability on people who could be prosecuted and made liable to pay compensation for indulging in and abetting mob violence."

So far, so good. The news report further says: "The bench said special courts should be entrusted with the task of prosecuting people and fixing compensation to be paid by them for loss of life and public property."

Why only public property? Is not damage and loss of private property by mob violence to be compensated by those who exhort and deploy their followers to indulge in these hooligan acts? Unruly groups enter shops, offices, banks, and other private institutions and premises and indulge in unbridled vandalism to force them to close down. They stop private vehicles and beat up their drivers and damage the vehicles to prevent their journeys.

All this happens due to the total failure of the government and its enforcement agency the police to ensure law and order on such occasions. Therefore damage to and loss of private property should also be covered and compensated just like public property.

Now the helpless victims of mob violence have to silently suffer the loss and damage or undergo the expensive and torturous civil court process to seek compensation which may never materialise in the end. The goons and vandals are running riot everytime precisely because of this flawed law and order process.

The Attorney General had expressed the government's readiness to amend the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act during the hearing of this case. Along with this process, the above aspect of compensation for deaths and injuries as also damage to private property caused by mob violence on such occasions should also be addressed and taken care of right now.

 Social norms reflect in philology
The Church of Sweden is reported to have decided to use gender-neutral terms (neither masculine nor feminine) like "God" in the place of specifically masculine terms like "Lord" or "He", while updating its 31-year old handbook on conducting church services.

The fact that this radical shift has come about in just 31 years shows how social norms have changed in such a short span of time. Malayalam terms for 'neither masculine nor feminine' (like ആണും പെണ്ണും അല്ലാത്തത്, രണ്ടും കെട്ടവർ) have been derogatory but would have to give place to more acceptable gender-neutral terms in future.

 പാലക്കാട് വിക്റ്റോറിയ കോളജിലെ ഒരു നൂറ്റാണ്ട് മുമ്പത്തെ ചട്ടം
അര നൂറ്റാണ്ട് മുമ്പ് ഞാനും ഒരു വിദ്യാർത്ഥിയായിരുന്ന പാലക്കാട് വിക്റ്റോറിയ കോളജിനെപ്പറ്റി ഒരു നൂറ്റാണ്ട്മുമ്പ് വന്ന ഒരു വാർത്ത ഇപ്രകാരം: “പാലക്കാട്ട് കോളേജിൽ മുഖരോമം നീണ്ടിട്ടുള്ള വിദ്യാർത്ഥികൾ ചെല്ലാൻ പാടില്ലെന്നും മുഖക്ഷൗരം കഴിക്കാതെ ചെല്ലുന്ന വിദ്യാർത്ഥികൾ പ്രതിദിനം അരയണവീതം പിഴകൊടുക്കണമെന്നും അവിടത്തെ പ്രിൻസിപ്പൽ ഒരു ചട്ടം വെച്ചിരിക്കുന്നത്രെ.”

അരനൂറ്റാണ്ട് മുമ്പ് ഞാൻ ആ കോളജിൽ വിദ്യാർത്ഥിയായിരുന്നപ്പോൾ ഇങ്ങിനെ ഒരു ചട്ടം ഇല്ലായിരുന്നു എന്നും, ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നെങ്കിലും ഞാൻ മുഖക്ഷൗരം ചെയ്യാതെതന്നെ പോകുമായിരുന്നു എന്നും മുഖക്ഷൗരം ചെയ്തില്ലെങ്കിലും എനിക്ക് പിഴയൊന്നും കൊടുക്കേണ്ടിവരില്ലായിരുന്നെന്നും ഓർത്തു. കാരണം 1947 ൽ ജനിച്ച ഞാൻ പതിനാല്‌ വയസ്സ് കഴിഞ്ഞ് 1961 ൽ അവിടെ പ്രിയൂനിവെഴ്സിറ്റി ക്ലാസിൽ ചേർന്നപ്പോൾ അനാഗതശ്മശ്രു ആയിരുന്നു !

 മൂക്ക് മാത്രമല്ല നാക്കും ഘ്രാണേന്ദ്രിയം
പാമ്പുകൾക്ക് നാക്ക് ഒരു പ്രധാനഘ്രാണശ്രോതസ്സാണെന്നും അവ ഇരകളെയും ശത്രുക്കളെയും തിരിച്ചറിയാനും മനസ്സിലാക്കാനും നാക്കിനെയാണ്‌ ആശ്രയിക്കുന്നതെന്നും ശാസ്ത്രം പറയുന്നു.പാമ്പിന്റേതുപോലെ അഗ്രം രണ്ടായി പിളർന്ന നാക്കുള്ള കൊമൊഡൊ ഡ്രാഗൺ എന്ന ഭീകരജീവിയും നാക്കിനെത്തന്നെയാണ്‌ മൂക്കായി ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നതെന്ന് ഇപ്പോൾ സഫാരി ടിവിയിൽ കാണിച്ചുകൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന ആനിമൽ കിങ്ങ്ഡമിലെ കൊമൊഡൊഡ്രാഗൺ പരിപാടിയിൽ പറയുന്നു.

ഹിന്ദിയിൽ മൂക്കിന് "നാക്ക്" (नाक) എന്ന് പറയുന്നത് അന്വർത്ഥമാവുന്നത് ഇവിടെയാണ്.

 Grape with initial inscribed!
Among the green grapes that i got, the one at the centre of the pic has the letter "P" clearly and unmistakably inscribed on it. Remember the great saying that "every grain (grape) has written on it who should eat it, " so i promptly handed it over to P!

 കുഞ്ഞാലി മരക്കാർ
മോഹൻലാലും മമ്മൂട്ടിയും, കോഴിക്കോട്ടെ സാമൂതിരി രാജാവിന്റെ നാവികസേനത്തലവനായിരുന്ന കുഞ്ഞാലി മരക്കാറായി വേഷമിടുന്ന രണ്ട് സിനിമകൾ അടുത്ത്തന്നെ ഇറങ്ങുമെന്ന് വാർത്ത കണ്ടു. “യ”കാരം എല്ലായിടത്തും അനാവശ്യമായും അസ്ഥാനത്തും ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്ന തെക്കൻ മലയാളത്തിലെ മാദ്ധ്യമങ്ങളിലെല്ലാം കുഞ്ഞാലി “മരയ്ക്കാർ” എന്ന് തെറ്റായാണ്‌ എപ്പോഴും എഴുതിക്കാണിക്കുന്നത്. കോഴിക്കോട്ടെ കുഞ്ഞാലി മരക്കാറെ തെക്കർ വികലമാക്കി “മരയ്ക്കാർ” ആക്കരുത്. അതേസമയം ഇംഗ്ളിഷ് പത്രങ്ങൾ Maraykkar എന്നല്ല, Marakkaar എന്ന് തന്നെ ശരിയായി എഴുതുന്നുണ്ട്.

അന്താരാഷ്ട്രീയഇംഗ്ലീഷ് പത്രങ്ങൾ എടുത്ത് നോക്കിയാൽ ലോകത്ത് ഏത് രാജ്യത്തെയും ഏത് ഭാഷയിലും ഉള്ള വ്യക്തികളുടെ സങ്കീർണ്ണമായ പേരുകൾ പോലും ഒരു തെറ്റും വരുത്താതെ ശരിയായ സ്പെല്ലിങ്ങിൽ അച്ചടിച്ച് വരുവാൻ നിഷ്കർഷിക്കുന്നുണ്ടെന്ന് കാണാം. ഉദാഹരണമായി തമിഴ് സിനിമാനടൻ രജനികാന്തിന്റെ പേര് തമിഴിൽ "രജിനികാന്ത്" (ரஜினிகான்த்) എന്നാണ് എഴുതുന്നത് എന്നതിനാൽ ഇംഗ്ലീഷ്‌പത്രങ്ങളും ഇംഗ്ലീഷിൽ Rajinikanth എന്ന് തന്നെ ശരിയായി എഴുതുന്നു. ഇവിടെ തെക്കൻ മലയാളപത്രങ്ങൾ മലയാളത്തിലെ പേരുകൾ തന്നെ ഇങ്ങിനെ തെറ്റിച്ച് എഴുതുന്നത് ശരിയല്ല.

  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    13    14    15    16    17    18    19    20    21    22    23    24    25    26    27    28    29    30    31    32    33    34    35    36    37