PLEASE DO NOT TREAT MILITARY VETERANS LIKE BEGGARS

June 17, 2014

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: EX-SERVICEMEN WELFARE – PLEASE DO NOT TREAT MILITARY VETERANS LIKE BEGGARS.

Please click the link above to read the original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Blog

The article is also posted below for your convenience:

PLEASE DO NOT TREAT MILITARY VETERANS LIKE BEGGARS
An Ex-Serviceman’s Earnest Appeal
By
VIKRAM KARVE
As a military veteran who has served his entire life in the armed forces, I make an earnest appeal to the all concerned authorities (“powers-that-be”) and all citizens of India:
“Please do not treat military veterans like beggars”
If you do not want to give any concessions to military veterans and war widows, please do not give them.
But if you do decide to give concessions to military veterans and war widows, please do not make military veterans and widows of martyrs run from pillar to post begging to get what has been promised to them.
For a true soldier who has worn uniform, dignity and respect is more important than concessions and sops.
Recently a leading English News Channel showed reports of how promises of plots of land made to widows of gallantry award winning martyrs were not honoured by the “powers-that-be” and how these hapless war widows were being made to run from pillar to post for many years begging for allotment of land that was promised to them many years ago when their husbands gave the ultimate sacrifice of lives for the nation.
Do the “powers-that-be” feel that they are doing personal charity to military veterans by giving them concessions and that is why they are entitled to make military veterans or their widows run from pillar to post and beg for getting what is their due?
Why make promises that you cannot deliver?
Why announce sops and then make the delivery mechanism so cumbersome that it makes things difficult for the retired soldier to get his due?
For those soldiers, sailors and airmen in uniform, who may be living under the false impression that they will get some special treatment once they retire, let me make it very clear that military veterans are treated just like any other citizen.
Let me share my personal experience which happened today morning.
Just before I retired from the Indian Navy, I bought a flat in the PCMC area of Pune as my retirement home.
I saw a news item and an advertisement that PCMC had decided to give 50% rebate in property tax to military veteran ex-servicemen.
I went to the PCMC Office to get the form.
As usual, the forms were not available, so I was asked to request a certain clerk to take a printout.
The clerk did this most reluctantly and made some sarcastic comments about why such concessions were being given to military veterans, as if she bore a grudge against the military.
After running around to complete all the paperwork, which involved going to a lawyer to make an affidavit, getting a “life certificate” from my bank, attaching attested copies of PPO etc, I submitted the application.
As usual, there was plenty of red tape, as my file went up and down, with some clerk even questioning my eligibility, and I had to make three trips to follow up.
Someone suggested that a bit of “speed money” or mamool may help expedite matters, but I decided to wait – I was in no mood to pay bribes for what was my rightful due.
After a couple of months, the sanction letter was finally issued, giving me 50% rebate on property tax.
The municipal officer who gave me the sanction letter told me that the 50% property tax rebate sanction letter was valid as long as I was the owner of the property.
He advised me to get at least 10 photocopies of the letter made since one copy would be required to be submitted every time I paid my annual property tax.
Later, I realized that the rebate actually worked out to be roughly only 20% of the total amount, since the 50% rebate was only on the basic property tax element which was half of the total amount comprising various levies and charges which were not exempted, and everyone who paid on time was anyway entitled a 10% rebate, and rebates could not be combined.
I decided to pay my property tax online.
But there was a hitch.
The property tax bill was for the full amount and the ex-servicemen’s 50% rebate was not given in the bill.
If I paid online, then I would not get any rebate.
If I wanted to avail the 50% ex-servicemen’s rebate, then I was required to personally go to the ward office, stand in the queue, submit a copy of my rebate sanction letter along with the bill to the cashier, who would then calculate the rebate, and I would have to pay accordingly.
I did this for three years.
It seemed to be working fine, except for the inconvenience that I was not able to pay my property tax online.
Today morning, when I went to pay my annual property tax at the Thergaon Ward Office of PCMC, I was in for an unpleasant surprise.
When my turn came, the cashier told me that the procedure had changed, and now I had to get a new rebate sanction every year, and there was a new form to be filled for ex-servicemen’s rebate and he asked me to meet a certain clerk.
I showed the cashier my sanction letter and previous 3 years property tax receipts in which the 50% ex-servicemen’s concession was given.
But the cashier was not impressed and asked me to meet the clerk.
The clerk told me I would have to go through the entire procedure once again as the “powers-that-be” had decreed that property tax rebate sanction letter was to be issued every year.
In addition, I was required to get a letter from the local municipal corporator, certifying my identity and that I am alive (the Armed Forces Retired Officers Identity Card has no value as far as these authorities are concerned).
I did a quick mental calculation.
Was it worth disturbing my peace of mind by going through all the hassle, paperwork, red tape, the running around, petrol costs and waste of time for the modest amount of money I was saving by way of the 50% (in effect 20%) rebate?
Besides, what was the guarantee that even if I went through all this trouble, the “powers-that-be” would issue the rebate sanction letter before the deadline for availing rebate 30 June 2014?
Worst of all, I felt bad at the way I was being treated, despite identifying myself as a military veteran.
There may be a lot of rhetoric eulogizing military veterans, but the fact of the matter is that civilians do not care; especially civilian government and municipal employees who seem have a dislike for ex-servicemen.
I did not want to be treated like a beggar and made to run around from pillar to post just to suit the whims and fancies of the “powers-that-be”, despite the fact that I had a proper sanction letter.
I decided not to avail the 50% ex-servicemen’s rebate and I paid the full amount.
Since I will not be availing the ex-servicemen’s concession, from next year onwards I will save myself the trouble of going to the ward office and I am going to pay my property tax online like all civilians do.
I was angry at the attitude of the municipal employees which seemed to suggest: “If you retired military veterans want a concession then we will make you run around from pillar to post and beg for it”.
If PCMC wants to give a concession to ex-servicemen, why not give it gracefully?
Is “ex-servicemen’s welfare” a myth?
Why does every organization which is supposed to help ex-servicemen and look after their welfare, be it CSD, ECHS etc, make military veterans run around from pillar to post for what is their rightful due?
By making procedures difficult, isn’t it tantamount to denying facilities to ex-servicemen?
Why not simplify things for military veterans?
Instead of having multiple identity cards for each entitlement/facility, why not have just one biometric ex-servicemen’s card (like Aadhaar) which is applicable for all entitlements of military veterans?
India has recently elected a new government under the leadership of a dynamic Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, from whom everyone has high expectations.
Military veterans have high expectations from the new Prime Minister and his Government.
We military veterans and ex-servicemen hope that procedures will be simplified, corruption will be eliminated, efficiency of the government machinery will be improved and a message will be passed down to civilian government employees to treat military veterans and war widows with dignity and respect and give them their due in a helpful manner.
We trust that “ex-servicemen’s welfare” will become a reality.
Once again I appeal to the “powers-that-be” and all citizens:
Please do not treat military veterans like beggars.
If you do not want to give any concessions to military veterans and war widows, please do not give them.
 
But if you do decide to give concessions to military veterans and war widows, please deliver seamlessly with grace, efficiency and dignity, and please do not make military veterans and widows of martyrs run from pillar to post begging for what has been promised to them.
 
JAI HIND

Infantry Regiments: The cutting edge of Soldiering » Indian Defence Review

June 13, 2014

Infantry Regiments: The cutting edge of Soldiering » Indian Defence Review.

FOODIE HUMOR IN UNIFORM – COLD CUTS

March 27, 2014

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: COLD CUTS – Humor in and out of Uniform.

Click the link above to read the original post in my blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal

The story is also posted below for your convenience:

HUMOUR IN AND OUT OF UNIFORM
COLD CUTS
Navy Foodie Memories
By
VIKRAM KARVE
This happened almost 30 years ago, in the mid 1980’s.
The moment I reported to IAT Pune, I was immediately given a “bum job” – Mess Secretary of the Officers’ Mess (of course, in addition to my primary instructional duties).
I duly reported to the President Mess Committee (PMC) in the Mess Office.
“Welcome to the IAT Officers’ Mess,” the PMC, an Air Force Group Captain said, “well, the first thing you will have to do is the valedictory dinner coming up this weekend – plenty of bigwigs are coming, so let’s have a grand affair.”
After uttering those words, the PMC disappeared, leaving everything to me.
I called the mess staff and I was delighted to see that there were two navy sailors – a cook and a steward.
I recognized the cook at once – he had served with me on a ship a few years ago and was now a Petty Officer.
I looked at the cook and said, “Let’s have a cold cuts spread for the valedictory dinner – like we used to have on the ship. I think it will be ideal for a hot summer evening.”
The cook’s face brightened up, and he said, “Very good idea, Sir. It will be a nice change from the usual butter chicken, mutter paneer, daal makhani menu.”
“Let’s have a Naval Pudding too,” I said.
“Sir, I can make Diplomat or Trunk of Tree,” the cook said.
“Let’s have both,” I said, “and we will have a lavish cold cuts spread which everyone will remember for a long time.”
On the morning of the dinner, I personally went along with the cook to the market and stores in Pune Camp to select the assorted cold cut meats and other ingredients.
 
I wish I could show you pictures of the lavish Mixed Cold Cuts Buffet Spread we had laid out on Banquet Tables on the plush lawns of the IAT Officers Mess, but this happened 30 years ago, so the best thing I can do to whet your appetite is to upload from the internet some delicious “food porn” pictures of cold cuts. This should give you an idea of what the delectable array of meats in a cold cuts buffet looks like and how scrumptious and fulfilling a cold cuts banquet is. I am sure your mouth will salivate when you look at these delicious pictures of the succulent cold cuts.
 
 
                                          COLD CUT MEATS
 
                                                        COLD CUTS PLATTERS
 
 
 

 COLD CUTS BUFFET SPREADS

COLD CUT MEAT AND SEAFOOD PLATTER

 (Just imagine entire tables with such delicious mixed meat cold cuts spreads)


The valedictory dinner was a grand success.

Everyone appreciated the cold cuts buffet spread.
The PMC and I were sitting in his Office, feeling good in a self-congratulatory mood, when Colonel “S” walked in.
Colonel “S” was most unhappy with the dinner.
“What sort of menu is this for a party dinner?” he complained.
“Everyone says the dinner was excellent – even I enjoyed the food,” the PMC countered.
“All of you are carnivores – in the dinner there were only meats and meats – ham, salami, sausages, mutton, chicken, fish, luncheon meat…god knows what all was there – but there was nothing for vegetarians like me.”
“Sir, there was Russian Salad…” I tried to say.
“S” interrupted me, “There was egg in there…”
“Egg? In the Russian Salad? I don’t think so – though they do put in a few chopped boiled eggs in Russian Salad sometimes, I don’t think last night’s Russian Salad had eggs…”
“But it had mayonnaise – there is egg in mayonnaise – and one of the puddings had egg too – in the custard – this is total injustice to vegetarians – the only thing I could eat was those bread rolls, terribly tasting cheese and a few raw vegetables,” complained“S” bitterly.
“Okay, your point is noted,” the PMC said.
After “S” had gone away, the PMC said, “These bloody Pongos can’t appreciate good cuisine – I think we will have the standard Army Style party menu next time.”
So, for the next dinner party we had the standard greasy “Fauji” party menu.
But “S” was still unhappy.
“S” started his sob story: “For the non-vegetarians there was chicken curry, fish fry, mutton…”
“Mutton..?” I said, surprised.
“In the small eats – don’t think I didn’t see the heaped plates of Boti Kababs, Seekh Kababs, Shami Kababs along with the Chicken Tikka, Fish Finger and Prawns – and for the vegetarians there were only peanuts and wafers…”
“And mixed pakoras – cauliflower, palak, potato, onion…” I added.
“S” interrupted me and asked, “Where is the equivalence?”
“Equivalence?” I said, nonplussed.
“Yes, where is the equivalence between the food served to non-vegetarians and vegetarians?” asked “S”.
“Sir, in last evening’s menu for vegetarians we had paneer, daal, palak, vegetables – all these have plenty of protein and vitamins just like non-veg dishes – healthwise they have the same, maybe even better nutritional value…” I said.
“Who is talking of nutritional value? I am talking of monetary value. I have calculated the cost of all the non-veg food you served last night – it is double the cost of the veg menu – and you charge the same amount of party share to veg and non-veg…”
“Sir, please…”
“And in that bloody western style cold-cuts party of yours – the disparity was even worse – it is total injustice for the vegetarians…” said “S” bitterly.
I was getting fed up of his diatribe so I said to the PMC: “Sir, let Colonel “S” organize the next party – let him decide whatever menu he wants.”
“S” readily agreed and the PMC gave his okay.
At the next party, the buffet spread out on the dining table was a bonanza for vegetarians – paneer shahi korma, mutter mushroom, malai kofta, dal makhani, Navratan Korma in rich Cashewnut gravy laden with pineapple and other fruit and a rich dry fruit embellished pulao – in short, the works.
 
And on the non-veg side of the table there was just a measly looking chicken curry, as if “S” had personally supervised it.
As usual, I was well prepared for the party and had built up a good appetite – a game of 6-a-side hockey, a swim in the NDA pool, followed by 6 large pegs of Hercules Rum had made me happily high and voraciously hungry.
I had a look at the measly looking chicken curry.
I ladled in a leg piece of chicken and some curry on my plate.
I noticed “S” looking at me – he had a gloating look of triumph and victory.
I looked at the array of delicious dishes on the vegetarian table.
I could not resist the temptation, so I crossed over and started heaping my plate with the vegetarian delights.
“S” suddenly appeared by my side, “You are non vegetarian. Why are you taking vegetarian food?”
“Who says that a non-vegetarian cannot eat vegetarian food?” I countered “S” – and then I said to him: “And who is stopping you from eating non-veg food? If you want you can also have non-veg food. In fact, you should have enjoyed the delicious cold cuts that day.”
 
The PMC was overhearing our tête-à-tête.
 
“Yes, a non-vegetarian has the best of both worlds, especially in the services,” the PMC commented, tongue-in-cheek.
 
 
MORAL OF THE STORY
 
If you are a pure vegetarian, it is best to steer clear of the navy (army and air force too).
 
And yes, the same applies if you are a teetotaller non-drinker too.
 
But that is another story which I have already told you earlier – remember the story of THE “MAUKATARIAN” FREELOADER ?
 
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 
 
Disclaimer:
1. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
2. Pictures in this blog post are downloaded from the internet from free images websites with thanks and courtesy
Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
     

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 


Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: WOMEN NEED TO PLAY VOTEBANK POLITICS

February 17, 2014

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: WOMEN NEED TO PLAY VOTEBANK POLITICS.

Am I an Ageless Wonder – THE ETERNAL “UNCLE”

January 22, 2014

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: THE ETERNAL “UNCLE”.

Link to my original post in my blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/01/the-eternal-uncle.html

THE ETERNAL “UNCLE”

Last evening I attended a nostalgic and memorable get-together where many of my erstwhile colleagues and fellow officers, serving and retired, from the Navy, Army and Air Force were present.
 
Many friends who had met me after many years, complimented me: “You haven’t changed at all. You look just the same after so many years.
 
“Stop pulling my leg,” I said.
 
“Seriously, Sir,” said a young Commodore, who I had taught in this very same institute when he was a young Lieutenant; and then he added, “Sir, we last met in 1993, more than 20 years ago, and you look just the same. 
 
“Thanks,” I said, accepting the compliment, and then boasted, “maybe I am an ageless wonder!
 
And then I told them this real life story:
 
AM I AN AGELESS WONDER ?
A Real Life Story – The Eternal “uncle”
By
VIKRAM KARVE
 
 
NEW DELHI (1982)
 
In 1982, as a newly married couple, we lived in Curzon Road Apartments on Kasturba Gandhi Marg near India Gate in New Delhi.
 
Me, my wife, and our puppy dog (a small Lhasa Apso Puppy Dog given to us as a wedding gift) – all three of us lived in our neat cosy one room apartment with a small kitchenette and a lovely balcony high up on the top floor.
 
One evening, while on her way back home from work, my wife went to the convenience store to buy milk and the shopkeeper told her that her father had already bought milk a few minutes ago.
 
My wife was delighted at the unexpected visit of her father so she rushed to our house and on not seeing her father around my wife asked me, “Where is Daddy?”
 
“Your Daddy? He must be in Pune,” I said.  
 
“No. Daddy has come here,” she said.
 
“Who told you?” I asked.
 
“The shopkeeper,” she said.
 
“Let’s go down and ask him,” I said.
 
So we went down and asked the shopkeeper who pointed towards me and said, “He took the milk. I thought he was your father.”
 
“He is my husband,” my wife said, pointing at me.
 
“I am sorry, Sir, but I was really mistaken,” the shopkeeper said apologetically to me.
 
Then the shopkeeper smiled at my wife and said to her, “Madam, you look so young, like a schoolgirl, so I thought he was your father.”
 
It was true. 
 
When we were married, my wife looked very young, just like a schoolgirl. 
 
She was 21 and I was 25, and though the shopkeeper hadn’t spelt it out in so many words, I did look a bit older than my 25 years, with my “healthy” built and my formidable beard.
 
Unlike the so-called “metrosexual” men of today, I like to be who I am, so I don’t believe in “cosmetic engineering”.
 
I believe in the “old-mould” idea that a man must look like a man, tough and manly, and though hygiene and grooming are important, there is no need for a man to be excessively obsessed about his looks.
 
Of course, whereas having an appropriate dress sense and wearing good quality clothes is a must, there is no need for a man to “deck up”.
 
That’s why when the first strand of grey hair appeared on my head when I was in my mid 40’s, I never used hair dye, nor did I colour my copious beard when it started greying.
 
Of course, I must say here, that my wife too has a natural look and she hardly uses any cosmetics and nor does she colour her hair.
 
The fact of the matter was that my wife did indeed look much younger than me. 
 
Period.
 
So, even in those days, when a pretty young girl called me “uncle”, I did not mind it very much. Maybe, to her, I did indeed look like an “uncle”.
 
 
30 Years Later
 
 
PUNE (2012)
 
This happened a few days ago in Pune.
 
My wife was getting off an auto rickshaw. 
 
The fare was 52 rupees. 
 
She gave the auto-rickshaw driver a 50 rupee note and was desperately searching in her purse for a two rupee coin when the auto driver said magnanimously to my wife, “Never mind Ajji – it is okay if you don’t give me the two rupees.”
 
Now, in Marathi, the word AJJI means GRANDMOTHER.
 
I cannot begin to describe the emotion I felt when I heard this.
 
And just imagine, pretty young girls still call me “uncle”.
 
 
Disclaimer: 
 
Maybe the auto-rickshaw driver needed an eye checkup. 
 
My wife still looks very young – maybe not like a school girl like she did in 1982, but certainly like a college girl. 
 
And me? 
 
Well, I am an ageless wonder – The Eternal “uncle”
 
 
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 
 
Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
 
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@hotmail.com

Twitter: @vikramkarve
      

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

 
First 
 
 

Has Corruption Infected UIDAI – DO YOU HAVE TO PAY A BRIBE TO GET AADHAAR CARD ?

January 2, 2014

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: DO YOU HAVE TO PAY A BRIBE TO GET AADHAAR CARD ?.

Link to original post in my journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/01/do-you-have-to-pay-bribe-to-get-aadhaar.html

DO YOU HAVE TO PAY A BRIBE TO GET AADHAAR CARD ?
I want an Aadhaar Card.
I have made repeated efforts to get an Aadhaar Card.
I have enrolled, I have re-enrolled – but till today I have not received my Aadhaar Card.
My numerous complaints have not been satisfactorily responded to by the UIDAI.
Let me tell about my efforts to get an Aadhaar Card.
FIRST ENROLMENT
I first enrolled for Aadhaar on 08 February 2012 (08/02/2012).
The enrolment centre was located in a leading IT Software Company in Pune and Enrolment Agency was “Tera Software Ltd”
There was a big rush and I had to wait for more than 3 hours in a queue before I was enrolled.
I was issued an acknowledgement receipt with an enrolment number.
I did not receive my Aadhaar Card for over 6 months despite repeated reminders from my side.
On checking Aadhaar Status on the UIDAI website, the status would show: “Your Aadhaar Number is under generation”.
Suddenly, 10 months after enrolment, in November 2012, the status said: “Your Aadhaar enrolment could not be processed due to data process error. Please re-enroll yourself at the nearest enrolment centre”
RE – ENROLMENT
Accordingly, I re-enrolled myself for Aadhaar on 10 December 2012 (10/12/2012).
The Enrolment Centre was located in IDBI Bank Hinjewadi Pune and the Enrolment Agency was “Sreeven Infocom Limited”.
I explained to the lady enroller that my first Aadhaar enrolment had failed due to data process error and asked her to be extra careful and ensure that my data was collected properly.
The enroller took due care and confirmed to me that my biometric details had been recorded perfectly.
She also cross-checked my documents of Proof of Identity (PAN Card), Proof of Address (Electricity Bill in my name) and even took a Date of Birth proof document from me and attached photocopies of all these documents to the form which she was forwarding.
She assured me that I would receive my Aadhaar Card within 3 months.
I was issued an acknowledgement receipt with an enrolment number.
This time the Aadhaar enrolment acknowledgement form had additional comments like “Good Fingerprint Quality”, “Biometrics Captured Fingers (10) Iris (2) Face” etc.
I eagerly waited for my Aadhaar card.
Unfortunately, exactly the same sequence of events happened as had taken place during the first Aadhaar Enrolment.
For the first few months the status report said: “Your Aadhaar Number is under generation”.
After more than 6 months had elapsed, the Aadhaar status said: “Your Aadhaar enrolment could not be processed due to data process error. Please re-enroll yourself at the nearest enrolment centre”
Why was “data process error” occurring again and again?
What exactly are these “data processing errors” which were happening more than 6 months after enrolment?
I sent emails to UIDAI (E-Mail id: help@uidai.gov.in) but received no response.
It seemed that things were moving in a circle and I was destined not to get an Aadhaar Card.
APATHETIC GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL SYSTEM OF UIDAI
It has been my experience that the UIDAI Grievance Redressal Mechanism is totally ineffective.
Since I am keen to get an Aadhaar Card and I do not want the same “data process error” to happen again and again, I made a number of complaints by email / helpline but did not receive any satisfactory response.
The only response to my complaints and grievances I received was a call from the UIDAI Mumbai Office that I should re-enroll once again (for the third time) and try my luck.
I asked the official: “This time can you please guarantee that that there will be no “data processing errors” and can you assure me that I will receive my Aadhaar Card?”
He laughed it off, saying: “Who can guarantee anything? The whole enrolment process has been outsourced to private companies. You re-enroll once more and try your luck. If your Aadhaar generation fails again, you keep trying again and again.”
This reply from UIDAI left me bewildered. I did not know whether to laugh or cry.
A few days ago, I discussed my Aadhaar woes with a friend of mine, who said matter-of-factly, “You have spent all your life in uniform serving in the Defence Services, so you don’t know anything about the outside world. In India, you cannot get anything done unless you pay a bribe.”
I was aghast.
“Do you have to pay a bribe for an Aadhaar Card?”
At first I did not believe my friend.
But then I read this news report that an Aadhaar enroller had been caught taking bribes for making Aadhaar Cards. What is worse, if you paid bribes you could get an Aadhaar Card made even without the necessary documents:
 
If corruption is rampant in the Aadhaar Enrolment System, it is no wonder that even illegal immigrants who are not citizens of India are being issued Aadhaar Cards, as frequent news reports say:
 
 
DO YOU HAVE TO PAY A BRIBE TO GET AADHAAR CARD?
The Government keeps saying that Aadhaar Card is voluntary.
But in actual fact they are making it compulsory by making Aadhaar mandatory for LPG subsidized cylinders and other requirements.
A retired defence officer told me that soon veteran armed forces ex-servicemen of the army navy and air force will not be able to avail medical treatment under ECHS unless they had an Aadhaar Card.
The more they make anything compulsory, the more the scope for corruption.
Will the virus of corruption infect the UIDAI Aadhaar System too?
The UIDAI is headed by Mr. Nandan Nilekani, a distinguished technocrat who has achieved outstanding success in the IT Industry.
 
My repeated efforts at obtaining an Aadhaar Card in an honest manner have failed, so I want to ask Mr. Nandan Nilekani a simple question: “Do I have to pay a bribe to get an Aadhaar Card?”

The 10 Commandments From a Dog’s Perspective

December 25, 2013

The 10 Commandments From a Dog’s Perspective.

10 DOG COMMANDMENTS

1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years; any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you adopt me.

2. Give me time to understand what you want from me; don’t be impatient, short-tempered, or irritable.

3. Place your trust in me and I will always trust you back. Respect is earned not given as an inalienable right.

4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment; I am not capable of understanding why. I only know I have been rejected. You have your work, entertainment, and friends, but I only have you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice and your tone. You only have to look at my tail.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I’ll never forget it, and if it’s cruel, it may affect me forever.

7. Please don’t hit me. I can’t hit back, but I can bite and scratch, and I really don’t ever want to do that

8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right foods or I’ve been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak. It may be I am just dog-tired.

9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old and may also need love, care, comfort, and attention.

10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, regardless of what you do, I will always love you.

Author Stan Rawlinson
1993

Read more: http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/10-commandments-dogs-perspective/#ixzz2oUBZUjqo

EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN IN INDIA THROUGH VOTEBANK POLITICS

December 2, 2013

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: WOMEN’S VOTEBANK – A Distant Dream?.

Link to original article in my academic and creative writing blog:

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/12/womens-votebank-distant-dream.html

Article also posted below for your convenience to read:

WOMEN’S VOTEBANK – A Distant Dream?
WOMEN CENTRIC VOTE BANKS FOR EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN IN INDIA
Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE
ELECTION DAY IN GIRINAGAR – An Apocryphal Story By Vikram Karve
This happened a few years ago when I lived at a place called Girinagar near Pune.
“I want the day off,” Sushila, our maid, asked my wife.
“Why?” my wife asked.
“We have to vote. Today is election day,” she said.
“That’s good,” I said.
I was quite surprised at Sushila’s eagerness to vote because Sushila was totally illiterate.
Yes, she lived just a few kilometres away from a modern city like Pune (often called the “Oxford of the East”) – yet, like so many others, she could not read or write.
But her keenness to vote indicated what a vibrant democracy we were.
“Who are you going to vote for?” I asked, in jest.
She told me a symbol – “I am going to vote for XXX symbol,” Sushila said.
“But why?” I asked.
WE have decided,” she said.
WE” meant her husband.
Apparently, her husband had gone for a “meeting” and it was decided that the entire neighbourhood will vote for XXX symbol.
“So you vote for XXX symbol every time,” I asked her.
“No, last time we all voted for YYY symbol,” she said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because “WE” had decided,” she said.
Of course, she did not know anything about the ideology of the  political parties to which the symbols XXX and YYY belonged.
It was none of her business.
Before every election, it was the men who had a meeting and decided who to vote for and the women dutifully complied.
(Of course, the men had a “leader” who guided them in these matters)
Like Sushila’s husband, most of the men in that area were drunkards who lived off their wives’ earnings.
But all that did not matter.
In the patriarchal society that prevailed, the women dutifully obeyed their men, even if the men were good-for-nothing drunkards.
So, in Sushila’s family of 7 voters (she, her husband, her two sons and daughters-in-law, and unmarried daughter), all would be voting for the symbol XXX which had been “decided”.
Added up, it was quite a large number of votes in the locality, and since they all of them voted en-bloc for a certain “symbol” it was quite a sizeable “votebank”.
A few more such solid votebanks could ensure victory in the election, as the victory of the XXX candidate proved.
Around 3 in the afternoon we saw Sushila standing near our gate.
“Have you voted?” I asked her.
“No,” she said.
“Voting time will be over soon. Why didn’t you vote in the morning?” I said.
“They haven’t come to take us,” she said.
A friend of mine who had come over and was hearing the conversation said, “Don’t you know? Someone has to come and take them to the polling booth in a vehicle – and then give them some inducement, here it is mostly liquor – only after that will they vote.”
After some time I saw a van arrive to take all them for voting.
In the evening we saw Sushila’s husband and her sons lurching in a drunken manner on the road, as were most men.
It was obvious that liquor was flowing freely on election day (though strictly speaking it was a “dry day”)
At night, when Sushila came to work, we saw tears in her eyes.
She said that her husband and her sons were drunk – and her husband had thrashed her as he always did when he was drunk, and one of her sons had thrashed his wife too.
“See,” my wife said to Sushila, “you voted for the person who gave liquor to your husband and sons – you all women voted for those who are causing you harm.”
What an irony!
Why do women vote for someone who causes them more harm than good?
IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A WOMEN’S VOTEBANK ?
Isn’t it a similar story everywhere?
We see media reports of male chauvinistic politicians who make derogatory remarks about women from time to time.
Is it possible for them to get elected unless women vote for them?
After all, women comprise 50% of the electorate.
Though it is a secret ballot, obviously, most women do not vote independently and freely for that candidate or party who may best serve women’s interests.
In our patriarchal culture it is the men who decide who to vote for and women comply meekly.
That is why votebanks are male-centric.
And that is why many politicians have no qualms about denigrating the dignity of women by making tasteless comments, because they are confident that women will still vote for them.
In a democracy like India, the only way women can emancipate themselves is to organize themselves into a formidable women’s votebank.
A women’s votebank will have 50% of all voter strength.
The women’s votebank will be larger than all other votebanks put together and it will be the women’s votebank which will decide the results of the elections.
Women have to emancipate themselves, not depend on men to do so, especially when democracy has given them the opportunity to do so.
I wonder why women politicians are not taking the initiative to consolidate women’s votebanks to address and mitigate women’s issues?
For example, in the place I mentioned, alcoholism was a major issue which was affecting most womenfolk.
If all the women had got together and decided to vote en-bloc for that candidate who promised in his manifesto to shut the liquor shops and introduce prohibition of alcohol in the area, would it not have been better for the women?
A strong women’s votebank will ensure that political parties include women’s issues like safety, security, gender equality etc in their manifestos and try to implement them otherwise the women may throw them out in the next election, or better still have their own candidate.
I feel that the best solution to achieve betterment of women in a secular democracy like India is to have a strong women’s votebank cutting across caste, creed, linguistic and religious lines and including all women.
 
We have all sorts of votebanks.
 
Isn’t it high time for a gender based women’s votebank which can be a game changer in Indian Politics?
 
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 
Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 
Did you like this article?  

I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html

COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie I am sure that you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@hotmail.com

Twitter: @vikramkarve
      

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Short Fiction by Vikram Karve – SHE DID NOT LOOK BACK

November 20, 2013

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: SHE DID NOT LOOK BACK.

Link to my original post in my academic and creative writing journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/11/she-did-not-look-back.html

Click the link above to read the story – the story is also posted below for your convenience:

SHE DID NOT LOOK BACK
Short Fiction Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE
 
From my Creative Writing Archives
 
One of my recent fiction stories – I wrote this story (then titled RUNNING AWAY) a year and half ago, in mid 2012.
 
I am posting the story once more on request from a reader – I thought the title SHE DID NOT LOOK BACK may be more apt.
 
Do tell me if you liked this story.
 
RUNNING AWAY (She Did Not Look Back) – A Short Story by Vikram Karve
 
“Hello Sir,” she said.
In the suddenness of the moment, I did not recognize her.
But then she gave me her vivacious smile, her eyes danced, and I knew who she was.
She had been one of my brightest students – but then that was quite some time ago.
“Of course I recognize you,” I said, “How can I ever forget one of my best students? But meeting you here was so unexpected that I was confused for a moment; and you’ve grown up so much, and I too am getting old, you know.”
“No, Sir, you still look handsome, and as young as ever. I am sure all the girls still have a crush on you, like we did!” she said naughtily.
I almost blushed, so to change the subject, I asked her, “What you doing here at the airport?”
“I’m going to New York,” she said, “my flight is delayed so I am just killing time.”
“My flight to Singapore is delayed too,” I said.
“Singapore?” she asked.
“Yes. I’m going for a conference,” I said.
“Oh,” she said.
For some moments no one spoke.
To break the silence, I said, “Let’s go to the coffee shop. We can sit and talk over there till our flights are announced.”
As we walked to the airport coffee shop, I thought of the girl walking beside me.
She had abruptly left our school three years ago, after completing her 9th Standard.
When we teachers expressed our surprise, the Principal of our school told us that her parents wanted to shift her to an elite boarding school, faraway in the hills.
We told the Principal that she was a brilliant scholar, one of our best students, who had the potential to top the 10th Board Exams, and she would surely bring laurels to our school by adorning the merit list. 
 
We also argued that, even from her point of view, it was not prudent to change her school and shift her just one year before the matriculation board examination.
But the Principal told us that he had discussed all this with her parents, but they were adamant.
So, the bright young girl left our school and went away to the elite boarding school at the distant hill station.
 
I did not see her again, or even hear of her, after she left our school.
“Sir, do you know why I had to suddenly leave school?” she asked, as we sat down for coffee.
“No,” I said, “in fact, we were quite surprised at your unexpected sudden departure.”
“My parents were getting divorced and they did not want me around, so they sent me away to the boarding school,” she said, nonchalantly, without batting an eyelid.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “that’s sad.”
“Yes,” she said, “it was really sad. They never asked me. They just decided to divorce on their own. I felt terrible. I did not like it at all. It was amicable divorce by mutual consent – but no one took my consent. Why is it that in divorce cases, no one bothers about the children’s consent?”
 
I did not answer. 
 
Because I did not know the answer.
 
I remained silent and looked at the girl.
 
Though I had met her parents once or twice perfunctorily at school functions, I did not know her parents that well. 
 
In fact, I do remember most of my students, but I hardly remember their parents.
I sipped my coffee and did not say anything, waiting for her to speak.
“I just don’t know why they split,” she said, “we seemed to be such a happy family together.”
“They must have had their reasons,” I said.
“Well, I think I know at least one reason now,” she said.
I just looked at her, waiting for her to continue speaking.
“Do you know what my father did the moment the divorce was through?
 
“What?” I asked.
 
“My dad got married to a woman half his age.”
“Half his age?” I asked, quite incredulous.
“Yes. The female was his student.”
“Student?”
“You know that my father is a Professor, don’t you?” she asked.
“Yes,” I lied.
The girl looked at me with bitterness on her face and said, “Yes. That girl was his student. She was doing her Ph. D. under him. The wily female snatched him away from us. And it was his fault too – a married man with a family getting involved with a woman so much younger in age than him.  It was terrible – a teacher and a student shamelessly getting married to each other. Just imagine how embarrassing it must have been for me and my mother.”
“Yes,” I said, trying to show empathy.
“And do you know what my mother did?”
“What?”
“Three months later, she too got married to a jerk from her office,” she said, “I hate him – he’s such a crafty smooth-talking fake.”
She paused for a moment and said, “And can you imagine his audacity?”
“Audacity?”
“This so-called step-father of mine – one day he politely told me that ‘they’ wanted more privacy so could I please go and stay with my own Dad for a while?”
“Don’t tell me…!”
“Yes. And you won’t believe this – my mother just kept quiet and said nothing.”
“So?”
“So I packed my bags and went over to my father’s place, but it was even worse over there.”
“Even worse?”
“Though she did not say so in so many words, my ‘step-mother’ made it quite clear that I was not very welcome – she kept giving me repulsive vibes of fake politeness, you know those terrible negative vibes – I could feel them every moment.”
“That’s sad.”
“So I spent the next two years of junior college, my 11th and 12th, shuttling between my two parents like an unwanted badminton shuttle-cock,” she said.
 
“It must have been terrible,” I commiserated.
 
“Yes. It was really very painful for me, so I made a deal,” she said.
“A deal?”
“I told both my parents that I wanted to go abroad to America for my studies and wanted them to jointly pay for it – I told them they must fund my entire studies and my stay abroad,” she said.
 
“Oh!” I exclaimed.
She paused for a moment, had a sip of coffee, and then she said, “you know, all of them were so delighted to hear this. My Dad used his academic connections and went out of the way to get me admission to the best university. No one wants me here. So everyone, my very own mother, and even my so-called ‘step parents’, they are all chipping in to finance my education abroad for as long as I want to study. They all are so happy to get me out of the way.”
“Oh, so that’s why you are going abroad to America?”
“Yes. I am running away. To a new life,” she said.
Suddenly, her flight was announced, and she got up to leave.
“Thanks for the coffee, Sir,” she said, “it was so nice meeting you.”
“I am sure we will meet again when you come back,” I said.
“I am not coming back, Sir. There is nothing left here for me to come back to. I am leaving behind the debris of my past over here and I am moving on to begin a new life over there – and I am not going to look back,” she said.
“All the Best. Take Care,” I said.
“You too, Sir, Take Care,” she said.
 
Then she turned and walked away.
I watched her for a long time, till she disappeared from sight. 
 
I thought she would look back. 
 
I thought she would wave a last good bye. 
 
But she did not look back.
 
Maybe she did not want to look back at the world from which she had escaped forever.
 
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 
 
Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 
Did you like this story?  

I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
http://www.flipkart.com/cocktail-vikram-karve-short-stories-book-8191091844?affid=nme
http://www.indiaplaza.in/cocktail-vikram-karve/books/9788191091847.htm
http://www.apkpublishers.com/books/short-stories/cocktail-by-vikram-karve.html

COCKTAIL ebook
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:
AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MGERZ6
SMASHWORDS
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87925

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie I am sure that you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:
http://www.flipkart.com/appetite-stroll-vikram-karve/8190690094-gw23f9mr2o

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/vikramkarve
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm
Email: vikramkarve@hotmail.com

Twitter: @vikramkarve
      

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 
First http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/08/running-away.html

ARE YOU THINKING OF A CAREER IN THE DEFENCE SERVICES (Army Navy Air Force) – ATTITUDE MATTERS MORE THAN APTITUDE

November 6, 2013

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: STORY OF A BOY WHO WANTED TO APPEAR TO BE A NAVAL OFFICER – A CAREER IN THE DEFENCE SERVICES (Army Navy Air Force) Part 2 – ATTITUDE MATTERS MORE THAN APTITUDE.

 

http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/11/story-of-boy-who-wanted-to-appear-to-be.html

Click the link above and read my original article in my creative writing journal

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