Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Farewell to the Legend

Jyoti Basu, the veteran political legend breathed his last leaving behind loads of charismatic contributions in the Indian political scenario over the past five decades like a colossus. Indeed, the Communist Party has lost one of the greatest frontrunners of its ideology with the sad demise of this pioneering leader.

May his beautiful soul rest in eternal peace.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

National Youth Day

India boasts of giving birth to several visionary Indians and Swami Vivekananda, a larger-than-life personality, is one of the most remembered persons, who is popularly known world over for his spiritual teachings and arduous endeavour for social reform. By his tireless efforts the world became known about the essence and importance of Hinduism, making it a world religion. This great visionary had played an immense role in introducing Vedanta in the Western countries. The ideology for which he lived and worked is a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth.

To commemorate his dauntless contributions towards the youth, National Youth Day is celebrated every year on 12th January, the birthday of this luminous star who ignited young minds with words like the ones below:

• "Brothers and sisters, the long night is at last drawing to a close. Miseries and sorrows are disappearing. Ours is a sacred country. She is gradually waking up, thanks to the fresh breeze all around. Her might no one can overcome."

• "Are you prepared for all sacrifices for the sake of our motherland? If you are, then you can rid the land of poverty and ignorance. Do you know that millions of our countrymen are starving and miserable? Do you feel for them? Do you so much as shed a tear for them?"

• "Have you the courage to face any hurdles, however formidable? Have you the determination to pursue your goal, even if those near and dear to you oppose you? You can be free men only if you have confidence in yourselves. You should develop a strong physique. You should shape your mind through study and mediation. Only then will victory be yours."

• "I loved my motherland dearly before I went to America and England. After my return, every particle of the dust of this land seems sacred to me."

It would be absolutely befitting commemoration if on this very day, the young strength of India take a pledge to serve for the country beginning in their neighbourhood through engaging themselves in various social works like plantation of trees, literacy drive, donation of blood, concern for the aged and involvement in games and sports and different cultural activities to help India dreaming a true developed Nation of the future.

The Shattered System of Transportation

It is welcoming that the Department of Transport, Govt of West Bengal has taken some significant initiatives to eliminate the long-drawn woes of the passengers mostly dependable on road-transport. The recent deployment of a good many Volvo buses is not only a problem solver to some extent to ever-increasing passenger-load but worth-watching too. The glam look is also playing a fine quotient to the passengers like a pleasure never before.

But the transport system in Howrah is still miserable enough. Almost all the main roads are labyrinthine and clumsy and a lion’s share of them is occupied by several number of illegal and shabby make-shift shops as squatters. Barring Kona Expressway bearing the tag, a lease of life and quite a few, all are deplorable, slothful and typically unplanned. It is to our utter surprise that to travel a distance of a mere 5 km, 1 hour or so is exhausted. There are several routes still to be discovered all over the city.

The connectivity among the various fringes of north and south Howrah is an absolute worry for the commuters. To reach the extreme north of the city like Bally, Belur etc. from Botanic Gardens, it takes at least one and a half hour time with not less than one break journey, which is absolutely frustrating and sarcastic in these days. Moreover, there is not a single route vehicle plying through this route. The narrow stretch of the Grand Trunk Road from Bally to Botanic Gardens is an utter dismay with hundreds of multipurpose vehicles like bicycles, rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, trolley-vans, taxis, mini-buses, buses and ever busy pedestrians heading to a destination which is already overcrowded. The situation has reached to such a momentum that covering this distance on foot is more than a sigh of relief. The tortuous routes through which public buses like 52, 55, 57, 58 and some minibuses ply are indescribably horrible considering the traffic-jam, discomfort and waste of invaluable time by the passengers.

It is better late than never that the concerned authorities should come forward to lessen these long-drawn woes of the commuters. Various modernized plans are required to be drawn and implemented. Even stringent steps must be undertaken for widening of roads even by issuing ordinance, rooting out the squatters and slums abutting the roads etc. etc.

Monday, January 4, 2010

21st Howrah District Book Fair

With the advent of another new year, a series of district book fairs are on the anvil and some of them have already been inaugurated. Yesterday, I visited Howrah District Book Fair. This is my maiden visit here. With the passage of time, this book fair has grown young and now it is 21. Earlier, I heard of this book fair but never paid heed to visit it once at least. Many of us have little information about this fair.

This book fair is not like Kolkata International Book Fair which has spent many winters and the coming one is going to be 34th. Though this district book fair at Howrah has no grand look like that of the fair presently organized at Milan Mela, its present abode yet there are around 60/70 bookstalls with books of varied taste. Moreover, various discussion and cultural programmes are being organized to attract people from all over the district and its suburbs. Sunday saw a huge number of readers flocking there with full of enthusiasm to enjoy the fair. Even the cultural programmes arranged, has got wide response from the audience present. The ambience here is very quiet but attracting. There are no such over-crowded gatherings and dusty atmosphere rather a couple of hours can be spent pleasantly.

I urge my dear friends to please have a visit there before the fair downs its curtain on 10th January 2010.