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Speak Softly-- keep Covid 19 at bay

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By Vijaya Pushkarna


Whispering is generally about sweet nothingsthat are romantic; gossip that is interesting but not necessarily relevant or true; and the game called Chinese whisper-- a game in which a statement gets distorted as each player whispers it into the ears of another.
Covid 19 , originated in China , now requires us to whisper---well almost whisper—whether or not it is romantic, gossip or not a game.
One of the important toolswe need to succeed in our battle against the novel corona virus, is to lower our volume, and speak softly, very softly.
Thenation-wide lockdown that began on March25 was used as much to ramp up our health facilities for Covid patients as to educate people on how to fight it at an individual and community level. Every Indian knows the importance ofhand washing, wearing a mask, social distancing and staying at home. But there is a crucial message the government has failed to convey, or at best, whispered. And that is to speak softly.
Whether we are speak…

Making a Self Reliant India

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By Vijaya Pushkarna



Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches are a lot like governance and economics –they seem simple and straight forward, but never are when it comes to implementation.
In his broadcast to the nation on May 12, the prime minister spoke about turning the Covid 19 crisis into an opportunity, and gave the example of PPE kits and N-95 masks, whose production in India has gone up from almost negligible to 2 lakh each, on a daily basis.
While there would be many interpretations and nitpicking and number crunching over the Rs 20 lakh crores he announced as a package that will provide “a much needed boost towards achieving ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’”, it is the idea of self-reliance that millions of Indians have been waiting to hear, for quite some time now.
In the early years of economic liberalization, there was euphoria of the “phoren” –pen, dress, mixer-grinder, tv, shoes, perfume, car, and even the pizza and doughnut. But as Chinese goods swamped our markets, it did not take lon…

Dear Mr Prime Minister

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By Vijaya Pushkarna





Dear Mr Prime Minister
One of your best qualities is your communication skills. You know what to say to the people of India in a convincing way.Your language is also enviable. When you said in a broadcast on March 24 evening that from midnight“Lakshman Rekha kheench di”, everyone in the country understood your message of the nationwide lockdown.  So much so that tens of thousands rushed to the markets in a panic buying spree!
The only part of that speech that some may not have understood is the “social distancing”. In Punjab people went around looking for Shoshadistan Singh. When some scholars realized what was happening, they made them understand what you were talking about. Tandoori, they said, tan doori. But of course, you remain the master communicator. And so in the course of a video conference with Chief Ministers on April 27, you said it very well—Do Gaz Doori. Two yards distance! Now, not only chief ministers but even your “mitron” understood that, and also un…

What if the migrant labour really want "ghar wapasi"?

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By Vijaya Pushkarna





Five hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the  21-day nationwide lockout, police manning the Mehrauli -Badarpur Road near Saket in south Delhi, caught 55 migrant labourers trying to leave the city. 
The police however had learned from what happened on March 27 and 28 , at East Delhi’sAnand Vihar integrated transport depot. Thousands of migrants had converged following rumours that buses and trains would take them back to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, eventually forcing the government to do that – in total violation of the lockdown.
So on April 14, the police summoned a couple of buses and dropped the migrants trying to escape out of the sealed borders, at their homes in Saidulajab. These were not without a roof over their head or cash or food. In fact they were trying to take back bags of rice and atta!
Atul Kumar Thakur, theDCP(South) revealed that as the police were talking them into staying put and abide by the lockdown, many said they wa…