Sunday, November 30, 2008

Roping in ‘immigrants’ will hike voters’ percentage

ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS in several states have been announced. Very soon India will go in general elections to elect its 15th Lok Sabha. In the past several elections, voting percentage has been the concern of those who want India to become a better democracy.

Higher voting percentage will indicate greater participation of citizen in the democratic process and thus enhance the strength of democracy. Thus all of us, who feel strongly about democratic traditions, must come forward and ensure greater voter turnout.
One of the problems in the way of higher voter turnout is the problem of immigrant population.

A large number of people work for central and state governments, private sector and thus have to live away from their home town where they are enrolled as voters. Some of them even get enrolled as voters in the towns where they are working but they don’t vote because they don’t feel a sense of belonging as they cannot identify with the politics and problems of that place.

Often state and central government employees working for elections outside their state are unable to vote as their names are not listed in the voters’ list. By enabling such people to vote will hike the voting percentage and subsequently create larger participation of people in the political process.


I think for this we should use a new system of voting.

  1. The system will use National Informatics Centers (NIC) as voting centers. NIC has its offices in every district of the country and it may be opened at every place which is not a district headquarters but has a good number of immigrant populations.
  2. Every Person who wants to vote for her/his constituency back home will apply at NIC office in area she/he is living, with his electoral voter identity card (EPIC) and thus will be registered at the place. His/her name will be omitted from voter list to be used at election day of her/his poling booth back home.
  3. As soon as final list of candidates of the particular constituency is prepared, it will be loaded on election commission website with a layout for voting.
  4. Those who are registered at an NIC office will visit the same carrying their EPIC and directed to a computer where they can vote for their constituency. A copy of their EPIC and a photo taken by the web cam while using computer will be saved and loaded on the website.
  5. The system will use a password created by voter to vote so as to prevent bogus voting.
  6. Data of such votes will be available for the use of concerned election office back home for finalizing election results.
    Such voting can be done after list of candidates are loaded on website to the day of counting in the concerned constituency.
  7. Even those who are living in their constituencies may be offered the facility of early and late voting. Such voting may be offered between the time of final list of candidates are prepared and day of counting, barring five days around the voting day. Such voting must be stopped two days ahead of voting day and those who had already voted will be marked in voter lists to be sent to polling booth and resumed once polling data of polling day reaches NIC offices.

Polling centers of such voting will be made at NIC office and an observer from election commission could always be there to check irregularities.

This System may have some problems but I am sure once officials and civil society starts looking into this system, we may get a wonderful system of electronic voting which will ensure greater participation and stringer democracy.

Blog It in Hindi

When Amitabh Bachchan decided to write his blog in Hindi, it evoked mixed reactions everywhere; but not many know that Hindi blogging in recent times has reached such a height that it really doesn't need big names to endorse it.. In FACT there are many Hindi blogs which boast of lots of clicks everyday – many a time, more than a hundred readers feel that they should comment on the post in the blog. So, Hindi blogosphere already boasts of many Amitabh Bachchans. Let’s see how.

When a new technology arrives, everyone feels inclined to exploit it, if it offers exploitable features. Using one’s own language is one such exploitable feature. Soon after the Internet started gaining popularity, there were people willing to see their language put to use on the Internet. Hindi lovers were one of them and soon we saw the emergence of Hindi websites on the Internet. This we may call as the first phase. Hindi-writing and Hindi-reading was not so easy in the first phase as most documents were either scanned or typed using primitive Hindi fonts. Hindi-typing was tough and scanning was not an easy task. What people wanted was using Hindi at their convenience.

Then, along came the era of transliteration. In transliteration, one script was transformed into another - like you wrote Hindi words in the Roman script and then transliterated it into the Devanagari script. The software which used such tools could be downloaded free of cost. This needed the relevant software to read such write-ups. If you installed the relevant software in your computer, you might read; if not, you might watch a lot of squares on your computer screen. The software needed a particular combination of key-strokes for each and every Devanagari character that one needed to remember – quite a tough task obviously.

Something which changed the status of Hindi usage on the Internet was the arrival of Unicode fonts (such as UTF 7) with transliteration capability. Here you write Hindi in the Roman script on your computer screen and it will be transliterated into Devanagari. If you feel the word is not correct, you have options to choose from. Using this is something close to perfection and the Hindi in Devanagari script is clear and clean. Moreover, this form of Hindi is supported by the main search engines and operating systems like Windows XP and Vista. Websites like quillpad.com and tools like Google Indic Transliteration tools make Hindi writing so easy that everyone who so desires, can write Hindi on the Internet. There are other tools like Romanators which transliterate the content into other Indian scripts. So if one knows Hindi but can’t read the Devanagari script, one may get to read it in the Tamil script.

This brought about a revolution in blogosphere and soon, Hindi blogs started to grow exponentially. Hindi lovers from all over the world switched their blogs to the Hindi language; everyone got so enthusiastic that soon there emerged blog aggregators for Indian languages. A blog aggregator is a website which registers every blog and places it in its page as soon as a new post arrives. Those willing to read blogs just visit the blog aggregators and choose the blogs they need. Thus they help the blogs to attract traffic and the readers to access blogs. Currently there are many Hindi blog aggregators like blogvani, narad, chitthajagat, chittha wishva and Hindi blogs.

There are other websites like chitthacharcha and Google charcha samooh which discuss posts on several blogs giving precise information on what is going on in the Hindi blogosphere. aggregators help the new blogs greatly because when one starts, one may not have many readers. With the number of Hindi blogs rising everyday, anyone who desires to express in his / her own language has a platform. There has been a sudden rise in Hindi poems, short stories and views on society, economy and politics. There are a few theme blogs like women’s blogs where more than one blogger shares the same platform. Everyday, each and every piece of information, news, etc, is discussed and thus, a cyber coffee house sort of ambience is created. There are blogs to tell you how to use new technology and how to make your blog better; there are tips on health issues, writing a poem or a story or even a gazal.

Hindi blogs are working as an alternative media which help you in getting your views published, commented upon and appreciated. That is why many notable names from media, literature and the social sector and the masses as well just log on to any blog service and start blogging in Hindi. Trust me - it is a cool and effective way to say something.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Roping in ‘immigrants’ will hike voters’ percentage

ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS in several states have been announced. Very soon India will go in general elections to elect its 15th Lok Sabha. In the past several elections, voting percentage has been the concern of those who want India to become a better democracy.

Higher voting percentage will indicate greater participation of citizen in the democratic process and thus enhance the strength of democracy. Thus all of us, who feel strongly about democratic traditions, must come forward and ensure greater voter turnout.
One of the problems in the way of higher voter turnout is the problem of immigrant population.

A large number of people work for central and state governments, private sector and thus have to live away from their home town where they are enrolled as voters. Some of them even get enrolled as voters in the towns where they are working but they don’t vote because they don’t feel a sense of belonging as they cannot identify with the politics and problems of that place.

Often state and central government employees working for elections outside their state are unable to vote as their names are not listed in the voters’ list. By enabling such people to vote will hike the voting percentage and subsequently create larger participation of people in the political process.


I think for this we should use a new system of voting.

  1. The system will use National Informatics Centers (NIC) as voting centers. NIC has its offices in every district of the country and it may be opened at every place which is not a district headquarters but has a good number of immigrant populations.
  2. Every Person who wants to vote for her/his constituency back home will apply at NIC office in area she/he is living, with his electoral voter identity card (EPIC) and thus will be registered at the place. His/her name will be omitted from voter list to be used at election day of her/his poling booth back home.
  3. As soon as final list of candidates of the particular constituency is prepared, it will be loaded on election commission website with a layout for voting.
  4. Those who are registered at an NIC office will visit the same carrying their EPIC and directed to a computer where they can vote for their constituency. A copy of their EPIC and a photo taken by the web cam while using computer will be saved and loaded on the website.
  5. The system will use a password created by voter to vote so as to prevent bogus voting.
  6. Data of such votes will be available for the use of concerned election office back home for finalizing election results।
    1. Such voting can be done after list of candidates are loaded on website to the day of counting in the concerned constituency.
    2. Even those who are living in their constituencies may be offered the facility of early and late voting. Such voting may be offered between the time of final list of candidates are prepared and day of counting, barring five days around the voting day. Such voting must be stopped two days ahead of voting day and those who had already voted will be marked in voter lists to be sent to polling booth and resumed once polling data of polling day reaches NIC offices.

    Polling centers of such voting will be made at NIC office and an observer from election commission could always be there to check irregularities.

    This System may have some problems but I am sure once officials and civil society starts looking into this system, we may get a wonderful system of electronic voting which will ensure greater participation and stringer democracy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why a new blog!


I have been writing blogs since September 2002 and made, used and deleted many blogs. For last few time I have been devoting my attention on my Hindi blog dil ek puarana sa.. . Soon I found that in the mean time I left my writing in English. While I have made my other English blogs with some themes and was unsure about theme of my oldest blog, I found it essential to write a new English blog so I am here. This blog will be a general blog in all sense. I wish to devote a great time here now.

So lets Begin.......

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Selective thinking and terror


What IF Rahul Raj had been a Rizan-ur-Rahmaan and hijacked a bus in Ahmadabad instead of Mumbai and said that he wanted to teach Narendra Modi a lesson? Would the leaders from his community have appealed to the Prime Minister for a probe without having to face charges of protecting terrorism? Would the PM have demanded an explanation from the government of Gujarat?

Remember the Batla House case? Everyone raising questions was questioned. People on both the sides were injured. Is it true that Inspector Sharma died at the hospital? It is not about supporting police action in either case; it is about why the logic applied to the Batla House case did not apply to the Mumbai bus case and vice versa.

Every single news channel is saying that Rahul’s killing was not the only option but those who raised such voices in the Batla House case were condemned. Persons like Prof Musheer-ul-Hassan faced questions over integrity because he talked about providing legal assistance to those who were nabbed. The question is clear - why the Delhi Police had faith in the majority and the Mumbai police did not? Why we look at things with a bias?

When Union Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav said that meting out justice in Gujarat would have prevented these terror attacks, he was blamed for playing politics but in the Mumbai case no politically-motivated blames are being levelled. Remember the Gujarat encounters. Banjara is still in jail and paying for those encounters while Modi is enjoying power. Time alone will tell who will reap the benefits arising from the Maharashtra incidents.

The Home Minister of Maharashtra was very furious, promising ‘a bullet for every bullet’. But the same Minister was not furious when North Indians were killed and tortured by the MNS men.

Is it not another instance of Marathi crime versus Bihari crime? It is very clear that things would have been better if those in power had nipped the problem in the bud.

There is another snippet of news that stands out these days. Every news channel seems to be happy over using the phrase ‘Hindu terrorist’, as if before the Malegaon incident, no Hindu figured in terrorism. As if those working in Orissa, Assam or Gujarat were all saints. Ask Bashir Badra, the noted Urdu poet. He will tell you there is nothing wrong in Hindu terror as it is just an answer to Muslim terror. He said as much on the Ayodhya case recently. It was reported on the Internet edition of a news magazine, “Rawiwar”. Badra is not wrong. Some people are still invoking the barbaric tit-for-tat mindset. The same mindset was in evidence in Delhi in 1984, Ayodhya in 1992, Mumbai in 1993 and Gujarat in 2002. Sadly there is no termination of such a mindset and problems are growing faster than ever. Courts will decide the fate of each and every person arrested as terror suspect but till then we have time to think. Do we desire Atifs and Pragyas or Amartya Sens and Kalams?