Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Swiss 'wrap up'

Hello people! It’s been almost two weeks in Delhi. More than anything else, it’s the weather which is keeping the spirits low. X-Men-3, Da Vinci Code and Ice Age-2 are the three movies I’ve seen so far…all at PVR, Saket, supposedly the best multiplex of the city…

Internship is going fine, albeit at my own pace.

Its high time I wrap up the Swiss story. Here are some shots from our trip to Bern, the political capital of Switzerland. It was by far the best place we visited there. We had stopped by on our way back to Zurich and had just about enough time to see around the old city…
























































The train journey from Geneva to Zurich via Bern was phenomenal in more than one ways...


































Albert Einstein's house in Bern...



















Aish at Bern...


















Everytime the age old bell of this clock tower rang at the stroke of every hour, we could sense the past gripping us in its medieval corridors...



























Shadows...




























































The Gothic cathedral came into existence in 1421. Its tower was added in 1893. The colourful statutes embellish the Cathedral.































An old pavement...








































Aare, a tributary of Rhine passes through Bern















The Swiss Parliament...














Switzerland is undoubtedly an enchanting place.We were there only for a week and found very little time to see around. Nevertheless, whatever little I saw would remain ingrained on my memory forever. I take this opportunity to thank Adarsh and Roy for the wonderful company. I also thank all my friends at the Law School for the support they provided right through the effort (Hoysala, Basva, Rachit, Anurag, Anshul and Siddarth deserve a special mention for bearing with my mood swings during the preparation days...special thanks to Anjali, Monal and Anubha for all the encouragement...for whatever reasons, these people always made me believe that we would get past the national rounds...a big thanks to our sponsors Allahabad Bank, Jindal Power and Steel and the State Govt. of Chhattisgarh.Lastly, I thank my parents and brother for everything. God willing,I'll visit again!

As they say in Geneve, au revoir!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

He would have been just another poor boy forgotten in a faded corner of India.

Leaning back in the luxury of leather, waiting impatiently for the red light to turn to green, you would have probably looked up to find his searching eyes on the other side of your shiny, sun-protected window-screen.

Most likely his hand would be outstretched, hawking desperate deformity, in exchange for a coin or two. You would have looked down at your cell-phone, the light would have changed just at that moment when the guilt was creeping up on you to compete with the irritation and heat; the car would have zipped past him, leaving just another street urchin staring on at a world that could never be his.

Instead Budhia Singh got a life. A local martial arts teacher rescued the three-year old from the oppression and anonymity of poverty. Biranchi Das became both saviour and surrogate parent to the fatherless child. He had caught him just at the edge of the abyss. Driven by despair, Budhia's impoverished mother had traded him in for Rs 800 when Das discovered him and his prodigious talent.

So, the boy who would have been just another nameless poverty statistic, became a headline. The child who would have most likely ended up a beggar-boy or tea-stall vendor or the domestic help who washes up after you and I eat, instead, got the chance to dream, and dream big.

The little kid who had been abandoned by his biological family was no longer alone. And, when he ran sixty-five miles in a record seven hours, cheered on by two hundred soldiers from the CRPF, Budhia Singh had already broken free from his past; the marathon boy was running the race of freedom.

But then came the biggest hurdle. Worse than memories of an alcoholic father, worse than the pathos of being given away by a mother who could not afford to keep him; this was the obstacle between the boy and his future; the tyranny of India's politically correct lobby.

What sort of people are we? How self-indulgent and naïve can our liberalism be? What smacks of hypocrisy and utterly misplaced idealism is the attempt to vilify the man who pulled the young boy out from the heart of darkness.

The State government, absent and inert, when Budhia was bartered for survival, now has a solution-it's considering separating the boy and his foster-father and placing Budhia in an orphanage or SOS village. The National Human Rights Commission has lifted the cobwebs off its files and bellowed for many explanations as well. And sundry activists are enraged by the "exploitation" and "manipulation" of a small child.

Drowned in the din is the gentle rebuttal from a small little child too dazed to understand what all the fuss is about. Watching Budhia wrapped around the only man who has ever been a father to him, I was convinced of two things. First, the demand to separate them seems utterly cruel and unthinking. And second, Budhia must run. It will be India's shame if the sprint in his soul slackens and surrenders.

So was it not uncomfortable and disturbing to watch this little big man run under the stern stare of a scorching sun, barefooted and brave, his endurance pushed beyond the pale? Yes it was. It is entirely possible Coach Das may have put too much pressure on his protégé; there is a certainly a sense of too much too soon; the passion could be tempered and the talent transformed into a stable powerhouse instead of fluctuating brilliance that is destined to burn-out.

So, fine, bring on the doctors and the dollars. Let Nike design the right shoes; let the track queens and kings who have worried that the boy is being misdirected offer expertise and time; let the state spend money on food, clothes, education. Groom him as India's next Olympic hope; let the Flying Sikh from Punjab pass the baton on to the Barefoot Boy from Orissa.

But for God's sake, don't imprison him in the bureaucracy of procedure and propriety. And remember, it was a local judo teacher who discovered him and created him first; not any one of the zillion sporting federations who feed and fatten themselves on taxpayers' money.

There are those who argue that the foster-father is merely looking to inflate his own ego through the feats of his child. Maybe. But no more or less, I think, than any other family with the same opportunity. Pause to consider some of the other kids who have made their way to the record-books. The youngest classical maestro listed in the Limca Book is four- year old Satvik Bhatt; the grandson of acclaimed musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, who began rigorous training in classical music before his second birthday.

Then there's the ten year old who is the world's youngest ever Microsoft- certified computer engineer. Or the five-year old who can identify the flags of more than a hundred and fifty countries and has won India's National award for exceptional achievement.

So why don’t we hear anyone hear anyone talking about mental abuse, exploitation or pressure in any of these cases? Forget so called prodigies. What about parents who paralyze their children with performance anxiety before a Board examination or a Medical entrance test? What about teenagers driven to suicide because they failed some imagined benchmark set by their over-ambitious families? Where are the social workers and activists then?

Could it be that safe within the cocoon of our middle class comforts, we are convinced that what happens in our world is respectable "ambition", and any other reality is "exploitation?" Fact is, love it or loathe it, we live in a society and age that worships achievement. In this ruthless world, merit may be a myth, but talent is not. This is a chance for a poor slum child to break down the class divide and travel on the same superhighway to success as everyone else.

Budhia Singh is an extraordinary child. Let him keep his date with history.

The blog grafitti...your comments in the same forum please..
great blog that u have been writing but it would be better..that you as a law student address issues that are of greater interest to the society..keep blogging..will wait and watch for the next blog..

Anonymous said...

He would have been just another poor boy forgotten in a faded corner of India.

Leaning back in the luxury of leather, waiting impatiently for the red light to turn to green, you would have probably looked up to find his searching eyes on the other side of your shiny, sun-protected window-screen.

Most likely his hand would be outstretched, hawking desperate deformity, in exchange for a coin or two. You would have looked down at your cell-phone, the light would have changed just at that moment when the guilt was creeping up on you to compete with the irritation and heat; the car would have zipped past him, leaving just another street urchin staring on at a world that could never be his.

Instead Budhia Singh got a life. A local martial arts teacher rescued the three-year old from the oppression and anonymity of poverty. Biranchi Das became both saviour and surrogate parent to the fatherless child. He had caught him just at the edge of the abyss. Driven by despair, Budhia's impoverished mother had traded him in for Rs 800 when Das discovered him and his prodigious talent.

So, the boy who would have been just another nameless poverty statistic, became a headline. The child who would have most likely ended up a beggar-boy or tea-stall vendor or the domestic help who washes up after you and I eat, instead, got the chance to dream, and dream big.

The little kid who had been abandoned by his biological family was no longer alone. And, when he ran sixty-five miles in a record seven hours, cheered on by two hundred soldiers from the CRPF, Budhia Singh had already broken free from his past; the marathon boy was running the race of freedom.

But then came the biggest hurdle. Worse than memories of an alcoholic father, worse than the pathos of being given away by a mother who could not afford to keep him; this was the obstacle between the boy and his future; the tyranny of India's politically correct lobby.

What sort of people are we? How self-indulgent and naïve can our liberalism be? What smacks of hypocrisy and utterly misplaced idealism is the attempt to vilify the man who pulled the young boy out from the heart of darkness.

The State government, absent and inert, when Budhia was bartered for survival, now has a solution-it's considering separating the boy and his foster-father and placing Budhia in an orphanage or SOS village. The National Human Rights Commission has lifted the cobwebs off its files and bellowed for many explanations as well. And sundry activists are enraged by the "exploitation" and "manipulation" of a small child.

Drowned in the din is the gentle rebuttal from a small little child too dazed to understand what all the fuss is about. Watching Budhia wrapped around the only man who has ever been a father to him, I was convinced of two things. First, the demand to separate them seems utterly cruel and unthinking. And second, Budhia must run. It will be India's shame if the sprint in his soul slackens and surrenders.

So was it not uncomfortable and disturbing to watch this little big man run under the stern stare of a scorching sun, barefooted and brave, his endurance pushed beyond the pale? Yes it was. It is entirely possible Coach Das may have put too much pressure on his protégé; there is a certainly a sense of too much too soon; the passion could be tempered and the talent transformed into a stable powerhouse instead of fluctuating brilliance that is destined to burn-out.

So, fine, bring on the doctors and the dollars. Let Nike design the right shoes; let the track queens and kings who have worried that the boy is being misdirected offer expertise and time; let the state spend money on food, clothes, education. Groom him as India's next Olympic hope; let the Flying Sikh from Punjab pass the baton on to the Barefoot Boy from Orissa.

But for God's sake, don't imprison him in the bureaucracy of procedure and propriety. And remember, it was a local judo teacher who discovered him and created him first; not any one of the zillion sporting federations who feed and fatten themselves on taxpayers' money.

There are those who argue that the foster-father is merely looking to inflate his own ego through the feats of his child. Maybe. But no more or less, I think, than any other family with the same opportunity. Pause to consider some of the other kids who have made their way to the record-books. The youngest classical maestro listed in the Limca Book is four- year old Satvik Bhatt; the grandson of acclaimed musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, who began rigorous training in classical music before his second birthday.

Then there's the ten year old who is the world's youngest ever Microsoft- certified computer engineer. Or the five-year old who can identify the flags of more than a hundred and fifty countries and has won India's National award for exceptional achievement.

So why don’t we hear anyone hear anyone talking about mental abuse, exploitation or pressure in any of these cases? Forget so called prodigies. What about parents who paralyze their children with performance anxiety before a Board examination or a Medical entrance test? What about teenagers driven to suicide because they failed some imagined benchmark set by their over-ambitious families? Where are the social workers and activists then?

Could it be that safe within the cocoon of our middle class comforts, we are convinced that what happens in our world is respectable "ambition", and any other reality is "exploitation?" Fact is, love it or loathe it, we live in a society and age that worships achievement. In this ruthless world, merit may be a myth, but talent is not. This is a chance for a poor slum child to break down the class divide and travel on the same superhighway to success as everyone else.

Budhia Singh is an extraordinary child. Let him keep his date with history.

The blog grafitti...your comments in the same forum please..
great blog that u have been writing but it would be better..that you as a law student address issues that are of greater interest to the society..keep blogging..will wait and watch for the next blog..

Debanshu Mukherjee said...

Give me a week!

Debanshu Mukherjee said...

Dear Graffiti Watcher,

I've a letter to the President lined up to be posted as soon as the matter comes out of court.

Unfortunately, I can't post anything related to the matter till it is in the court.I don't belive in challenging the system I'm part of.

God willing, justice will be done to him.

Debanshu

Anonymous said...

Well ok...but i was expecting a proactive role in blogging...write of your college(i presume u still remain a student)...about reservations...abouut the people u hate,....the people u love...
u have been doin a commendable job i must say..
lots of social issues plague our society as well...
waiting for the prez thingy...looks like fiery stuff to me...get me stuff and i make sure that u have traffic commin and watchin your blog....

love me hate me...but u cant ignore me----graffitti watcher

Debanshu Mukherjee said...

You'll see a lot of that starting next session...that's a promise...The next piece would be on my experiences in Delhi...Believe me, it was one cocktail of an experience...

Anonymous said...

great..waiting..well u seem to be the first one out of all the bloggers who i have commented upon who has not asked me about my identity...this shows your professional attitude...
The Graffitti watcher

anjali said...

!!!! urgh! plz bombay is cramped! there's absolutely no space to move!
delhi rocks - there's so much more culture... and like hello if u coock urself up in ILI u'll miss it all

give me one day - i'll show u what delhi is really about

Old Spice said...

Nice pictures, dude - I found this blog through the comments on Adarsh's. (And I know what you mean about not getting time to look around. I thought mooting would be a way of getting to see different cities around the world. Instead, it only gave me opportunities to see different law libraries. The one in Perth is the nicest I've been to yet ...) You did get to see a little bit of the places you visited, which is a bonus.

Re Graffiti Watcher's comments: I didn't think it was usually done to comment on sub judice matters - if there's a problem with the process, then things can be queried, but the process should take its course.

That said, I'm interested in knowing about any human rights movements and legal actions that may be taking place in India - it's something I'd like to contribute to in the future. What sort of stuff is happening, where, and how successful is it? What are the major issues? If either you or GW could email me, I'd be grateful, and happy to do what I can to help.

Old Spice said...

Hi - thanks for dropping by my blog, too. Briefly, I suppose my area of interest is really whether there are any legal bodies doing human rights law - as in, what are lawyers doing through the profession in order to make life better for those in India? If you could post about this stuff on your blog, I'd be immensely interested.

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