Citizens' Issues
Narendra Modi in US: Huge crowd waits for the Indian PM with excitement

The excitement among Modi fans as well as critics is unprecedented. A ticket to the speech has become a status symbol and those who have not acquired one plan to gather at Times Square to hear the Indian PM


(Image: Panorama Times Square by Kripa Chettiar)


There is never a dull day in New York City (NYC). Enthusiastic tourists, unperturbed residents going about their daily routine, crowded subways, the serenity of parks sitting in the middle of this hustle-bustle --  the astounding diversity of it all makes NYC one of the most interesting places to live in.
Few people know that George Washington, First President of the US, had his inauguration in New York City and not Washington DC. NYC has seen its fair share of history and it will bear witness to a historic event once again when Narendra Modi addresses the largest public meeting by an Indian Prime Minister outside India.
Madison Square Garden has a capacity of 20,000 people; the organizers expect 80,000-100,000 Indians from all over the US to gather in NYC to attend listen to Mr Modi. The event is ticketed out of security considerations and a few free admission tickets are also being drawn through a lottery.


(Image: Madison Square Garden  (outside view at night) by Kiran  Gavalli)

Over 400 Indo-American organizations like Overseas Friends of BJP, the Indian Students Association at Columbia and others have come together under the banner of “Indian American Community Foundation” (IACF) to organize the show. I learn that Mr Modi’s speech will be broadcast to live crowds in 20 prominent US cities including Washington DC, Houston, Chicago, Boston, Tampa Bay, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. With three screens rented at the world-famous Times Square, surely the IACF is not leaving any stone unturned in making this a grand-grand affair.

BJP leaders Ram Madhav & OFBJP Convener Vijay Jolly were on a US tour last month to assess preparations. Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri and PBS Newshour Weekend Anchor Hari Sreenivasan are expected to emcee the program.
A large number of US lawmakers and CEOs of top American companies are also expected to attend. Pranav Mistry, head of research at Samsung tweeted that he will be flying in from South Korea to attend. The excitement among Modi fans as well as critics is unprecedented. A ticket to the speech has become a status symbol and those who have not acquired one plan to gather at Times Square to hear the Indian PM.

Indian Americans are the third largest Asian American ethnic group after the Chinese Americans and Latin Americans, but tend to outpace others in terms of their socio-economic status. Indian Americans had the highest household income of all ethnic groups in the US. The three-million-strong Indian community in the US is a force to reckon with and Mr Modi’s approach to trade, administration and foreign policy has raised the expectations of NRIs and PIOs across the world.

The Indian diaspora is hopeful that this visit would infuse a breath of fresh air in Indo-US relations. Media reports in the US indicate that the Indian PM is expected to raise a jaw-dropping, eye-popping $1 trillion dollar investment from US in his upcoming visit. This would most certainly be a favourable development for the Indian-American community, who are hoping to invest more in the growing Indian economy, but have been unable to, so far, due to restrictions on foreign direct investment.

When the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was in power in 1999, it had eased up the citizenship and visa norms for the overseas Indians. The Indian Constitution does not allow dual citizenship in any form but by introducing the OCI and PIO cards, the Vajpayee Government had made investing and doing business in India easier for the non-resident Indians. However, there are still several hurdles that prevent overseas Indians from investing freely. The Indian-American community is hoping that PM Modi will follow the footsteps of his mentor Vajpayee and help with the problems of the Indian diaspora with respect to investing in India.

Mr Modi’s use of technology to reach different segments of people in India has led to the expectation that Mr Modi may talk about leveraging the same technology to elicit greater participation of the overseas Indians in contributing to India’s development. With Mr Modi’s visit just a few days ahead, the growing excitement and anticipation is adding to the spice of living in Manhattan. Whether the Prime Minister lives up to the high expectations, remains to be seen.

(Neha Srivastava holds a Masters in Computer Science from Columbia University and currently resides in Manhattan. She actively writes on Indian politics, technology and social issues.)


BJP, Shiv Sena ends 25-year-old alliance in Maharashtra

While parting ways, the BJP has blamed Shiv Sena for the breakup. Now all eyes are on Congress and NCP alliance


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its oldest ally Shiv Sena have finally decided to part ways ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections. This would make the elections in the state more interesting, as there are reports of a possible split between the ruling Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) headed by Sharad Pawar. However, both the parties have not taken any decision on whether to contest elections on their own or remain as partners.


Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Devendra Fadnavis, state president of BJP blamed Shiv Sena for not showing any flexibility in seat sharing. There are 288 seats in Maharashtra Assembly and Shiv Sena had proposed to retain 150 seats for itself, 120 for BJP and rest for their alliance partners.


This follows the failure of talks between the two parties after Shiv Sena refused to accept BJP’s demand for contesting seats more than the last Assembly elections.


The development also comes just two days ahead of the last date for filing of nominations in the elections to the 288-member Assembly.




2 years ago

BJP ne kamalki dandi Se sena ki dhulai ki. Jo khud ke sathi yo ke nahuye woh auro ke KESHE honge.jaise EVM me cheat KI baat sunai ja rahi hai agar sahi hai to sena wale buri tarah pitenge

Now, Which Leg Was It?

Be a pest and ask questions, before medical negligence ends up causing serious problems


Many years ago, a typically British-humour movie series had titles starting with “Carry On…” One was a film called “Carry On, Doctor”. The protagonist was a rather nasal surgeon in charge of an operation. Having completed his ‘procedure’, he raised his hand to check the time. Oh! My God! Where was the wrist watch?

Then follows the punch line. “And it’s an alarm.” Medical negligence; with daily warnings to boot.

Law has come a long way since this ‘bells and whistle’ episode. We have heard of cotton and gauze being tucked away in tummies. An article in a previous issue of Moneylife had a reference to mixed up ears while operating. And many more.

What follows are real-life experiences involving the author personally. While lying on the operating table for a broken femur, a nurse sounded a warning. “…make sure the doctor operates on the correct leg. He had once opened up the wrong knee of a woman.” Thanks, miss, but why not simply paint the leg to be cut up? Or tag it with a large sign?

In the mid-1970s, an 80-year-old patient on the next bed was in agonising pain. He had to be tied down; sides of the bed raised to cradle him, sedation had to be given to control him. He had just been through a skin graft, following gangrene. The operation was absolutely perfect. After all, Dr Dastur never made mistakes. The nurses swore that “no patient ever has any complications.”

Maybe THAT was the problem. Complacency. After a most successful surgery, the patient was moved to the general ward for recovery. He was now under the physician’s care. A senior doctor, the physician, would troop in every morning, retinue of medicos in his wake, and shout instructions left, right and centre. Awe was the prevalent emotion. On Monday, the old man was more than active. On Thursday, the physician deigned to stop at his bed for longer than the mandatory one second. The man was sinking from acute bowel movements. “Oh, my God. You’re feeding milk to a diarrhoea patient?” Nearly 40 years later, the doctor’s exact words still ring in my ears.
The old man died that night.

Wrong medicines, incorrect nursing, over-burdened staff, rent-seeking cleaners, all combine to make the hospital a disaster zone. No wonder, medical negligence practice is the lawyers’ new frontier. In fact, this very article had its birth in an advertisement for a certificate course for advocates specialising in this now-lucrative field.

You be the judge.

Who was at fault? That is the question that must be answered. If there is a malady (pun intended), there has to be a remedy. In the instant case, it was the hospital, no doubt. And the doctor physician and his staff of medicos. Yet, having seen this episode unfolding for four days, blame must also lie with the old man’s son. He would visit his father for a couple of minutes each evening, just to pay the private wardboy his daily wages and disappear.

In today’s world, the whole team would have been hauled over the coals. Manslaughter would have been too mild a charge. Forget costs. Imprisonment would definitely have followed. The old man did not die. He was killed. Negligence, at its utmost. Duty of care, at its nadir. It happened; it may still be happening; it will continue to happen.

So what does the public do? Just as eternal vigilance is the price one pays for democracy and freedom, constant enquiry will save your kin. Ask questions. The doctor is bound to answer. Ensure that there is no mix-up in the application of medicines and treatment. And bring any obvious fault to the notice of the management. In short, you have the right. Please enforce it. Even when hospitalisation is free.

Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai.


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