Sunday, January 31, 2021



 Living literally the life of  a recluse  since my  retirement from service  more than  eight years back, now the things have come full circle  since   Covid rocked the World and assumed the dimensions of a Pandemic in March last. There is no need to repeat and mention again how the Covid Pandemic wreaked havoc upon our lives in more ways than one. 

One could not simply close one's eyes on the existing  horrible scenario, unless one were insensitive enough, devoid completely of humane feelings . 

Fortunately with an inbuilt mechanism against what is commonly known as depression, nothing affects me so  easily . However, I am fed up with over protective environment prevailing for months now. To be on the safe side, finally I had to call the barber home to have a proper hair cut, as the trimmer proved only a  makeshift arrangement.

Another realization that comes to mind is the value I have put on my life, with so many persons, known or unknown have fallen  fatal victims to Covid.

Again  with now Vaccine having entered the scene, it is no win- win  situation as yet, with doubts arising  not only as to its efficacy, but also the apprehension of its side effects. 

On a lighter and not altogether unfounded note, one of the Facebook friends came up with a very inventive idea about the dilemma people find themselves in thus :

मिलो न तुम तो हम घबराएं,  मिलो तो आँख चुराएं हमें क्या हो गया है....!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021


  One of the charms of our growing up years at Shimla was the sudden appearance during festive season of a tall person wearing turban, a long  Kurta, tahmat, and  jutti,  moving about in the Bazar and residential area with a huge tokra full of  primitive form of Iktara, also called Kingri, as I have come to know just now. While walking he would play with the instrument the tunes of some beautiful song like Tan Doley Mera Man Doley.....from the movie Naagin, and some other songs. The tune was so attractive and so deftly played that we children would buy the instrument for as little an amount as  25p.or 50p depending on the size. It was a simple instrument with an earthen / clay matka which was covered and through which passed a bamboo strip joined at both ends with a hair- thin wire. A bow-  like device with horsetail hair  tightly joining the two ends would be moved along and across the thin wire to produce the sound. We could never produce any sound, much less a song tune and the money spent would go waste. However the charm persisted and we would buy Kingri again and again.

The actress Sandhya singing the song - Saiyaan jhoothon ka bada sartaj nikla - in the film Do Aankhein Barah Haath, purportedly playing the tune with a Kingri,and carrying the tokra on her head in the same fashion and manner is enough to recreate the scene. 

The Good old days !!

Thursday, January 21, 2021


 Today is the third and the last phase of PANCHAYAT ELECTIONS in Himachal Pradesh. The results in respect of Pradhan/Up Pradhan/ Ward Member in the Panchayats covered in first two phases are already out. The results of 

Pradhan/Up Pradhan/ Ward Member  of the Panchayats being covered today will also be out by late night today. The results of BDCs and Zila Parishads will be declared only tomorrow when counting is done. Except Covid Pandemic, Elections this time are no different than the earlier ones. 

One hopes that the elected Candidates 

meet the expectations and aspirations of their voters by working honestly and diligently for the development of their respective areas . 

It will be amusing to see the Political parties laying claim to the winning candidates as having been 'supported' by them. It is common knowledge that Elections for the PRIs are not held and contested on Party Symbols. Candidates file their nomination in individual capacity and symbols are allotted according to their names in the Alphabetical order.  No Political leader worth the name from outside the Panchayat/ BDC/ Zila Parishad ward comes for canvassing or holding public meetings / rallies. On the face of this the claims of Parties supporting the candidates seem hollow , unfounded and quite an aberration. There is only one aspect left  and that is of financial support . Again , if parties help a candidate financially out of the Party fund even on the sly, there is no point in holding the Election on independent non- Party symbols.  Ironically such unauthenticated claims make headlines of the Press, especially the Hindi newspapers.

The other amusing aspect is of the pictures of very old voters being carried to the Polling booth to gain publicity. Though this is a sign of healthy democracy, if very old people  participate in voting, there is no point in carrying sick people from  the comfort of their homes. Sometimes there are exaggerated claims regarding their age, which is nowhere documented.

Good luck to all who are in the fray !

Hail democracy and the spirit of democracy !!

Saturday, January 16, 2021


 PANCHAYAT ELECTION is the buzzword in Himachal these days. Open canvassing having come to an end, however,  the supporters of candidates may silently go door to door to make a last ditch effort to garner support. The Elections not being held on party lines, the candidates are constrained to make personal requests on social media as well , spelling out their credentials and holding out promises on development plans envisaged   by them for the villages in the respective Panchayats.This is another matter that majority of the candidates enjoy the indirect support of one political party or the other.  With the least of stakes involved unlike the State Assembly and Loksabha Elections, ironically the Panchayat Elections are the most sensitive in terms of personal prestige and reputation as  the  electoral constituency is of persons personally known to the candidates and vice versa, whereas due to the larger area of constituency involved in Assembly and Loksabha Elections, it is the prestige and reputation of the respective Political parties at stake. 

The conduct of PRI elections is cumbersome for the polling parties as the same party has to conduct elections at three different stations  , the interval being given for movement and setting up booth at the next station. There is simultaneous voting for Pradhan/Up Pradhan/ Ward members  as also for the BDC & Zila Parishad members. This is all very cumbersome for the polling officers.

The candidates for the various offices are on tenterhooks right till the declaration of  results for which they wait with bated breath. The village politics is at full play there being many individual considerations.  Undeniably, some people might think it a chance and opportunity to set scores , in case the voter harbours personal grudges against a candidate for whatever reason. The political parties are also in the fray though indirectly. The poltical leanings of the candidate are well known within the segment.The scene at the counting centre resembles the one during a festival, people all agog with enthusiasm and anxiety.

All said , these elections being local in nature serve as a nursery for poltical awakening and participation so crucial to a working democracy.

Munshi Prem Chand 's classic story पंच परमेश्वर' automatically comes to mind, as putting up a bench mark of sorts for the elected candidates, as far as integrity and impartiality are concerned.

Good luck to  Candidates and voters alike !

Do the best; expect the best !

Fate for good or bad is going to be sealed for the next five years !!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021


  A ray of hope however dim it may appear  is in sight after a long time .I have already mentioned in some of my previous posts that to me , a retired person leading a laidback life ,forced restrictions on movement are not a big deal. But on other accounts I am as much a worried person as a common man can be in these circumstances. All through this Covid  period , I have closely followed news on mainstream  Media-printed & visual- and social media and have   read about and seen  the plight of people reported on day to day basis. The Economic recession , resulting in unemployment  and  deaths caused by Covid in such large numbers are the worst fall out of the Pandemic.

With the Vaccine  ready to be administered to health workers in the first instance and in  near future hitting the market for common use , there is optimism  and hope of some kind albeit with some reservations. Despite the va ccine , the precautions and safeguards are there to stay for a long long time.Physical distancing and mask will continue to be a   part of life till 100% immunity is achieved.

I am waiting for the day,  I may move about fearlessly, shaking hands with friends and exchanging pleasantries.  

Though never a regular on the Mall, and now with no charm left after the closure of my favourite Baljee's, I hope to have lunch at Gupta jee's in Middle Bazar. 

Next will come some random shopping at DCAR !

Monday, January 11, 2021

COVID19 in 2021

 For months together we have been literally on our toes waiting anxiously for the magical Vaccine that  would rid us of the threat of Covid 19 and help lead normal lives. The medical scientists and researchers  across the world  worked day and night in this direction. Now that 2-3 types of Vaccine have come up and hit the market, the slugfest so  natural to the   immensely competitive  world of today has started sooner than later. The doubting Thomases waxed eloquent about some imaginary or imagined misgivings, but mercifully not lent much of ear. The rival manufacturers and developers have made claims and counter claims about the comparative efficacy of various brands and types, which might get  get laid to rest in due course. The sad incident of  death of a young volunteer offering himself for the testing in MP is no doubt a dampener and rightly has invited an Inquiry as to the cause of death. 

The Government of India has already made a roadmap and issued guidelines for the order and manner in which Vaccine is to administered , considering all aspects. The countrywide launching of vaccination program is slated for 16th this month. A beginning has been made. We hope to meet with the desired results. We as people have suffered enough one way or the other.

Good luck to us all  !!

Sunday, January 3, 2021


 Elections to the Panchayati Raj Institutions in most of the areas of  Himachal Pradesh are slated in three stages on 17th, 19th & 21th of January. Like elections to the Loksabha and the State Assembly, the Panchayati Raj elections too are a quinquennial exercise. The rural people down to the village level  become very enhusiastic about these elections as they  have the right to vote for and elect their representatives to address local issues at Ward and Panchayat level in the shape of Ward members, Pradhans and Uppradhan . Up the  ladder under the three tier systems are the Panchayat Samiti or the BDC at the Block level  and the Zila Parishad at the District level. The members of the BDC and the Zila Parishad are fewer in number and represent a larger area. 

As is generally observed that in terms of seriousness and sensitivity, the PRI Elections take precedence over Assembly and Loksabha Elections , in which the Party of affiliation rather than the candidate himself/ herself  become more important. The Panchayati Raj Elections are not held on Party symbols, rather symbols are allotted  in the alphabetical order of the name of the candidate. No candidate has the choice of a symbol. 

To an observer, it is amusing to see the maximum  zeal and fervour of voters during the PRI elections  though the stakes are not the that high. Ironically the Loksabha Elections  where the stakes are the highest ,engage the voters the least in terms of   zeal and enthusiasm as the M.P. they vote for has a larger Constituency to cater to , often consisting of 3,4 districts . 

Even though PRI Elections are not contested on Party symbols, the presence of political Parties on the sly is all too evident and some statements from the Party persons make this more confirmed, when they mention the name of candidates supported by them. In this scenario, the all appeals to the voters to vote  for a competent, capable, knowledgeable candidate are given a go by. The ruling party in the State has an obvious advantage, as it  is believed and rightly  so that the ruling party supported candidate would  be better able to push matters and get work done.

In essence and if taken in the right earnest,  the PRI elections train the people to participate in the democratic process of decision making.

The aftermath of the Election is worth watching when the rival Political parties lay their claim to successful candidates.

The social Media has become a useful and effective tool for the candidates to reach out to the voter, apart from personal appeals made by visiting the homes.

Friday, January 1, 2021


  As I woke up to the New Year Day in 2001 at Reckong Peo, the District HQ of Kinnaur, a telephonic call from the Deputy Commissioner, Solan informed me of the sad demise of Sh . Thakur Sen Negi , at Salogra, where he used to stay. Sh. Negi is a revered name in Kinnaur, who being an IAS officer had retired  as the Chief Secretary to H.P.Government in the '60s. Joining politics post retirement, he was a five time MLA from the Kinnaur Constituency and had  been twice a  Speaker of H.P. Vidhan Sabha and once a Cabinet Minister. The Deputy Commissioner Kinnaur was  out of the District on tour. The District had suffered flashfloods  in August 2000, which had caused massive damage to the National Highway , bridges buildings and private land along the Satluj river. The restoration work  was underway and  the road had not been restored. 

I made a call to Sh . Subhash Negi, a very Senior , affable and approachable IAS officer to inform him of the prevailing situation. He asked me not to worry as he would  handle the  situation . Since it was not possible to bring the mortal remains to his native place in Kinnaur, he was accorded  funeral as per protocol befitting his status, at Shimla with many VIPs in attendance.

Sh. Thakur Sen Negi  was a highly respected leader and a person known for his impeccable credentials both as a senior Bureaucrat and a politician. Known for his intelligence, learning , honesty and punctuality , he was held in esteem by all, cutting across party lines.

He was associated at different times with the Congress, Janata Party and lastly the BJP. He did a lot to meet the aspirations of the tribal people and also wrote a book about the Scheduled Tribes of Himachal Pradesh.

He was a B.Sc.(Agriculture) from Lyallpur Agriculture College and had a degree  in Law. He had served as a Naval Officer and a Tehsildar before getting inducted into the IAS. I had the opportunity to meet him when he visited  Kinnaur in 1998. The Government Degree College Reckong Peo  bears his name and  there is a statue erected in his honour at Reckong Peo.

Humble tributes to the highly respected person and an iconic personality !