Citizens' Issues
Fresh From The Farm – 2: Till the Cows Come Home
Cattle are tom-tommed as the backbone of our economy. However, increasingly, farmers are finding it difficult to take care of them
 
A couple of years ago, a senior ophthalmologist residing in my locality got up as usual for his regular morning walk. His wife, a physician at a local government health outpost, was also getting ready. It was 4:00am. 
 
He put on the light of his portico and opened the door. The distance from his main door to the gate was just a few feet. As he opened the gate, two persons suddenly barged in and pounced upon him. They were wielding swords.
 
“Go back into your house!” they warned in menacing tones. 
 
The good ophthalmologist was still rubbing his eyes. From the haze, he could see a Maruti Omni van on the road in front of his house. There were two or three more people there. They were loading a cow into the vehicle.
 
He went inside and tried to peep out from his window. The operation was quick, the men jumped into the van and they drove away.
 
In the local Tulu lingo, they were petta kandunakulu (roughly translated, it means those who steal cows)—or cattle rustlers—common in the coastal areas.
 
Later that evening, our colony’s residents’ association president, secretary and a few other people met. This was the situation: Cows from the adjacent village are left to graze in our colony without anyone to mind them, and they populate our colony.
 
Every resident had his own, but similar story to share. In the dark hours, sometime between late night and early morning, a van or a car or a tempo used to drive up. The cattle rustlers injected the cow with some ‘medicine’, and once it became unconscious—usually in a couple of minutes—they would load it into a van or jeep and whisk it away. Everything was done in an eerily quiet manner. On occasion, such thefts took place in the afternoons when the streets were deserted because the men were away at work and housewives were having their siesta. 
 
This writer was a member of the colony along with the ophthalmologist already mentioned earlier, two retired senior bankers, a businessman, a school headmaster, and a surgeon in a major multi-specialty hospital. We walked down to the old houses in the village, a few yards away, and spoke to the residents who owned the cattle. 
 
After an hour or so of discussion, they promised to take care of their cattle “from now on”.
 
Yet, the story continued. And it still continues.
 
The businessman, a popular social worker in the area, went to the nearby Manipal police station along with a couple of residents. The cops admitted that cattle rustling was a major issue and assured him that they would “look into it”.
 
But everybody knew that the police were hand-in-glove with the thieves. There were police barricades three-four kms either way on National Highway 169A abutting our village. The rustlers cannot move even without being stopped for a check.
 
This writer spoke to many villagers in the surrounding areas -- mostly farmers and separately, to their wives, about the cattle theft.
 
Living a couple of hundred metres away from my house, Shakuntala Shetty, 55, is the head of her household. Her father-in-law is very old and cannot work anymore. Her husband is an autorickshaw driver. They have a three-acre farm, on which they grow mostly rice.
 
Shakuntala also has three children, all grown up and educated. One son works in Mumbai, another is doing his 3-year diploma course at a polytechnic institute and the third is still in school. They also have other relatives staying with them.
 
They have two cow-sheds and possess several cows.
 
Shakuntala is also the president of the local dairy cooperative. Every morning and evening, she heats up gruel for the cows, feeds them, milks them and lets them free to graze in the nearby areas; she later leaves for the diary office, a few kilometers away, to sell the milk and talk to others of her ilk.
 
In between, she has to do the household chores, look after the paddy fields and organise labourers during the two harvesting seasons, since it is all manual work.
 
As we have a large compound and find it difficult to maintain–removing the weeds, overgrown grass, fallen leaves and so on—Shakuntala leaves a couple of cows with us, especially when they are pregnant. She will come and tie the cows inside our compound. In the evening, she comes and collects them.
 
She knows that we love cows: All of us, my wife, son, daughter and, of course, myself. My daughter has named them Kaveri and Gowri, based on their colours.
 
Shakuntala knows that we will take good care of her cows. 
 
That was until a year ago when I fell ill seriously. Due to hospitalisation and other issues, we could not take care of the cows. Recently, the cows came back. On their own!
 
But Shakuntala’s reason for leaving the cows was not that there was enough grass in our compound nor the fact that I also ran a “cow wash”. (She barely has any time to clean them…)
 
It was her fear that her milch cows would be whisked away by cattle thieves.
 
These thieves are not the only issue faced by villagers. By itself, taking care of cattle has become a cumbersome chore.
 
A few days ago, I travelled by train from Udupi to Kumta on the scenic Konkan Railway route, about 150kms away, in the beautiful monsoon season.
 
The fields along the railway tracks for miles and miles around were being readied for harvesting. I could see the farm folk—women included—going about their work. Some were repairing the bunds, some spreading fertilizers, a few others ploughing their fields. 
 
What struck me later was that at only one place I saw a couple of bullocks being used by a farmer for ploughing. At all other places, it was a mechanical, hand-operated plough at work!
 
The second thing that struck me was that most of these people were middle-aged or older.
 
I noticed the same thing in the villages and hamlets in my neighbourhood also.
 
I spoke to a farmer sometime back – he owns six acres of land about a couple of minutes from my house. They were once well-known for possessing some of the finest stock of cows in the area. However, one night, after a hard day’s work, while he was having his regular tipple at a local bar, he told me that he had to give up his cattle, one by one. In the middle of the night, he would take a head of cattle, leave it in nearby Manipal city, and return.
 
“What to do? I am growing old, my wife is also not keeping well. Our children go out and they find it below their dignity to taking care of the cattle,” Ramdas Nayak told me.
 
Besides, they are ‘educated’. They rarely come to help in the fields, even at the time of sowing or during harvest.
 
Even though Nayak’s fields are next to River Swarna, they are entirely dependent on the monsoon. The reason is that during summers, the river turns salty as sea water comes in with the tide.
 
“Earlier, we used to have at least two cycles of paddy, but nowadays we barely manage one,” he said, sipping his ambrosia.
 
One of his ‘educated’ sons—‘only’ 12th fail—is now driving an autorickshaw. His daylong earnings are spent in the same watering hole along with his friends.
 
Coming back to the cattle, when one of Shakuntala’s cows gave birth to a male progeny, she was dejected. The cows give milk, the bulls are of no use, and they are abandoned to their fate.
 
And, they say, cattle is the backbone of our rural economy!
 
(Shrikant N Shenoy has been a journalist since 1980, having worked in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Dubai. He launched a news portal and an online Konkani language channel from Manipal, Udupi, but ran out of money. In 2011, he successfully launched an English newspaper with five editions simultaneously on a shoe-string budget. He tweets as @udupinet.)

User

COMMENTS

Anand Vaidya

2 years ago

There is another side to this problem: The cattle-rearers let loose their cows on the city streets for "free feeding" on the streets.

1) These cows sometimes turn aggressive and attack people. Me and wife just survived such an attack by "Go Mata". This happened inside a park where these cows were happily destroying vegetations and suddenly remembered their wild side.

2) Have we all not seen cows eating from garbage dumps? I have seen them eating - rotting food, bandages (yuck) and plastic etc. Now that makes consuming daily uneasy...

I wonder why can't these cow-owners keep their cows in their own sheds tethered and feed them with grass and leaves?

Mobile number portability across circles. Are you ready to switch?
Now, you can switch your mobile operators from one circle to another, while retaining the same number. The process for National MNP is quite simple. It just involves sending an SMS, and submitting an application form along with necessary documents
 
Finally, there is some good news for those wishing to retain their mobile number while moving base to other states or circles in India. From 3 July 2015, anyone can use the mobile number portability (MNP) facility, which was available inside the circle, to switch to any mobile operator in any other circle. However, mobile subscribers should use this facility only if they are shifting base to the circle and have necessary documents, mainly address proof, for MNP. For those, who continue to travel between circles, MNP is not the solution. Instead, they can use free national roaming (no incoming charges while roaming) from BSNL and use intra-circle MNP to shift to the state-run operator.
 
Full MNP or National MNP allows a subscriber to retain her mobile number in any part of the country even when she changes the operator or state. This means you can retain your mobile number irrespective of the state or operator. For example, if you are using an Airtel Delhi number and you are relocating to Mumbai, you can continue using the same number in Mumbai by shifting it to Airtel Mumbai, or any other operator in Mumbai of your choice.
 
How to use the National MNP?
The process is similar to intra-circle MNP. You need to generate the unique porting code, visit the office, store or gallery of mobile operator you are shifting to and submit a form accompanied by necessary documents.
 
1.  Generate the UPC code using the number to be ported by sending an SMS PORT to 1900. e.g. PORT 9123456789. The word PORT' is not case sensitive and keep space between port and your number. This UPC code will be valid for 15 days. You will receive a reply, which will contain a unique 'porting code'
2.  Visit to the nearest office, store or gallery in the visiting state/circle and fill the subscriber enrolment form. Submit requisite documents, like Photo ID, address proof, one passport size photo, porting form, form 60 or copy of PAN card, and complete other formalities, if any. You will have to pay Rs19 as porting charges. However, the new operator has an option to either waive off the fee or give a discount to the subscriber. 
3. The new operator will provide you a new SIM for that particular circle, which will be activated after the request is accepted and your number is ported. You may be charged some fee for the new SIM card.
4. The operator where you are porting your number will complete the formalities over next 24-48 hours (minimum), depending upon clearances from your existing operator. National MNP takes at least seven days to complete and may take more time, depending upon the circles. As prescribed by the TRAI, porting will be completed within seven working days except for Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and North East Service Areas where 15 days time has been prescribed.
5. You will also receive an SMS, which will provide the time and date for porting. According to TRAI, it is mandatory for both the existing and the fresh operators to complete the process for number portability within four days after the first SMS.
6. You will receive another SMS from the new operator, confirming the switch. Your mobile phone may remain 'dead' or without network coverage for about two hours while the porting takes place. But don't worry—you will be able to go 'live' again with the new operator—and your old number. 
 
Precautions for National MNP
1. Make sure to pay all your outstanding dues (if you are a post-paid subscriber), else your existing operator may reject the MNP request. Your deposit, if any, will be refunded to you by existing operator. The new operator may ask for fresh deposit from you, if you are opting for a post-paid plan.
2. Prepaid subscribers should use most of available balance in their account. Just keep few rupees, in case you needed. This is important as the existing/remaining balance will expire upon successful porting and cannot be transferred to other service provider. 
3. Your existing tariff plan is subject to change after porting. So be careful to select the mobile operator and chose your tariff plans accordingly.
4. There may be some charges while porting. Although, most operators claim to waive off the porting charges of Rs19, they may collected it under the pretext of providing new SIM card.
5. Remember, you can change your operator only once in every 90 days.
6. You will have to back up the contacts and the messages stored on the old SIM card before making the porting request. 
7. You can cancel your porting request within 24 hours of making the request. It will take 24 hours-within which the porting request can be cancelled.
8. All your value-added services (VAS) with the current operator will automatically be terminated once the number is successfully ported to the new operator. 
9. After porting, you will again have to register for National Do Not Call (NDNC). 
 
Are there any conditions for MNP?
You should have completed a period of 90 days (from the date of activation of your mobile connection) with your current operator.
You should have cleared all outstanding payments with your current operator.
You should have no pending request for change of ownership of the mobile number.
Your mobile number sought to be ported should not be sub-judice i.e., it should not be involved in any case pending before a Court of Law.
Again, porting of your mobile number should not have been prohibited by a Court of Law.
There should be no ownership change request pending against the number you wish to port.

User

COMMENTS

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

Rahul

2 years ago

Nice move. Though when you shift from current service provider to new one, you loose your NDNC status. You will need to re-subscribe to NDNC once you move to new operator. You can check your current NDNC status here http://www.mobilenumbertracker.com/dnd/s...

90 percent of Hindi voters sealed Indira Gandhi's fate

The Congress party has never won in Tamil Nadu since. Ironically, a decade later, it was this “Hindi voter” that dealt the Congress party its first national defeat in parliamentary elections in 1977, after the emergency was lifted

 

 “If the majority rule were to apply, the crow should be our national bird, not the peacock”. A quote attributed to the Tamil leader C.N. Annadurai during a protest speech in 1962 against the imposition of Hindi as a national language, 13 years before the imposition of emergency by Indira Gandhi. Annadurai went on to become the chief minister of Madras in 1967, galvanising support through the anti-Hindi movement, defeating the Congress party in Tamil Nadu for the first time and forever.
 
The Congress party has never won in Tamil Nadu since. Ironically, a decade later, it was this “Hindi voter” that dealt the Congress party its first national defeat in parliamentary elections in 1977, after the emergency was lifted.
 
Twelve states accounted for 90 percent of all votes cast in the 1977 election. Using a loose definition of “Hindi” and “Non-Hindi” states, six “Hindi” states accounted for 65 percent of votes and the six “Non-Hindi” states, the remaining 35 percent. Our loose categorisation of Hindi states include Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The non-Hindi states are Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal and Orissa.
 
One hundred and twenty million voters in these twelve states had a direct choice to express their anger against the emergency by voting against the Congress candidate on their ballot. Seventy million (63 percent) did. But 90 percent of all these angry voters were confined to the six “Hindi” states. Further, there were 376 constituencies in which there was a Congress candidate under Indira Gandhi’s leadership in both the 1971 and 1977 elections.
 
Fifty-two percent of these voted for the Congress candidate in the 1971 elections vs 38 percent only in the 1977 elections represented an absolute loss of 4.3 million voters for the Congress between 1971 and 1977. Incredulously however, 6.3 million incremental voters voted AGAINST the Congress in 1977 in the six “Hindi” states while 2 million voters incrementally voted FOR the Congress in the “non-Hindi” states.
 
Overall, in the “non-Hindi” states, roughly the same percentage of voters that voted for the Congress in 1971 did so in 1977. One state, Uttar Pradesh, accounted for 73 percent of all angry voters that treated the Congress with contempt while ironically, the voter in Tamil Nadu seemed nonchalant and even marginally happier with the Congress in 1977 vis-a-vis 1971. Ninety percent of all anger (vote share swing vis-a-vis 1971) was concentrated in three “Hindi” states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan.
 
The Congress lost 167 seats across these twelve states in 1977 from the 1971 elections, of which 168 seats were lost in the six “Hindi” states and a gain of one seat in the six “non-Hindi” states. It is of telling significance that 40 million voters in the six “non-Hindi” states did not deem Indira Gandhi worthy of punishment for masterminding arguably independent India’s most heinous crime.
 
While one can nitpick over whether Maharashtra and Gujarat can truly be defined as “Hindi”, the larger point of this analysis is the massive diversion in reaction to what is generally considered a terrible action by any standards. To the ardent observer of Indian society and its history, this is rightly no big revelation or surprise. However, we still miss a scholarly narrative about why the “non-Hindi” citizen was not alarmed by the Emergency vis-a-vis her fellow “Hindi” citizen.
 
Was it the perceived positive impact of the 20-point programme? Was it the absence of a strong opposition in these “non-Hindi” states to galvanise support against the Emergency? Was it the lack of a credible alternative for people to vent their anger with? Was it the notion that local governance mattered much more than any suspension of civil liberties?
 
While Annadurai got his wish granted of Hindi not being imposed, has that inadvertently exacerbated and prolonged this chasm in voting behaviour between the “Hindi” states and “non Hindi” states, as was evident even in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections?
 

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