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BROTHERS AT HEART - Khaleej Times – wknd. - 18 February 2011

I have no hesitation in advocating the idea that Daivid Hopkins be granted Indian citizenship at the earliest (The Englishman whose heart beats for India, Feb 11). In fact, I would be delighted to treat him as my own brother, and accommodate him at my house, which is currently under construction in Kerala, India. That is to say, when I return to India from Sharjah, UAE, in the not-too-distant future.

I am also confident that Section 5 (1) of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1955 shall be suitably amended to accord Indian citizenship to Daivid. That’s right, and I mean it.
- Prathap G, Sharjah


Voting rights - Khaleej Times, 17 June 2010

It appears the Government of India has once again made the NRIs, as well as its missions abroad — consulates and embassies — a laughing stock.
Perish the thought of postal ballots, why not entrust the task of providing adequate voting venues abroad for NRIs to consulates and embassies, just like other countries do successfully?
- Prathap G, Sharjah


Unity in Diversity - KT, 25-Oct-2005

THE Honourable Ambassador of India, C. M. Bhandari’s article ‘Why Middle East and India bond so well’ (KT, Oct 22), has further cemented my thoughts and reasons for being a proud Indian. The article is an apt recollection of the historical past of India, which merits a read several times by one and all who look forward to the meaning of what tolerance, unity in diversity, and harmony — amid wealth and poverty — is all about. The divine proclamation ‘Do not do to others what you would not like others to do unto you’ is an eye-opener to humankind — a statement that must be chewed and digested.
- Prathap G., Sharjah


Cursed are the people - A private thought

Cursed are those very wicked people who infest this beautiful planet earth, and not the earth (Is the earth cursed? – City Times, Oct. 12). Earth is a gift from God Almighty, and the sanctity of it ought to be honored by one and all, be they human beings, birds, or animals. It is said that birds and animals do possess an extra-sensory power to become aware of God’s imminent acts well in advance, for they have ‘unwittingly’ fallen in line with the tenets of God from the beginning.

On the other hand, hell-bend on amassing wealth and fame by hook or crook, the humans keep on exploiting their less affluent genre. They have no regards whatsoever to the utilities of this earth other than enjoy its bounties to their hearts content. They are a creed apart, and one must salute them for their one-upmanship and bravery in whatever they do. They are blissfully oblivious that earth is the right place for love, peace, and harmony. In such a scenario, what shall these cretins do than face the music in the form of natural calamities, or should one call it the planet’s revenge upon humanity. God is great, as he does his act more expeditiously now than ever before for all the morons in this world, to mend their ways, no matter where they live.
- Prathap G., Sharjah


Vote for Kerry - KT, 20 October 2004

‘WORLD votes for Kerry’ (KT, Oct. 16) is welcome news for all those who await an end to the tyrannical dictatorship of that cowboy, G. W. Bush. During his tenure, he has been able to alienate his own country, and that of his solo partner, the United Kingdom, from the rest of the world, with his sortie into Iraq looking for that so-called ‘WMD’, which in fact did not exist.

Just as the proverbial blind philosopher and the theologist who argued upon the existence or not of a black cat in a dark room, and both coming a cropper in the end.

John Kerry, with his plan for ‘America stronger at home, respected in the world’, which I read, made a great deal of sense to me. I do not claim to be a man who is prudent and pragmatic at all times, for every man or woman becomes angry when his/her lives are jeopardised by forces that affect them from within or without.

Hence, I hereby urge the right-thinking people of the USA to be prudent right now, and vote overwhelmingly for Senator John Kerry, who — in my opinion and the world at large — is quite capable of making his own country stronger and respected in the world.

Think of the families in your country who have been and still losing their dear and near ones, waging an unproductive battle in Iraq, and the thousands of innocent Iraqis who have been killed or destitute now as a result of that reckless invasion.
- Prathap G., Sharjah


Parking woes - KT, 8 May 2004

THE haphazard manner in which the used-car dealers park their vehicles on both sides of the roads all through the Abu Shagarah district in Sharjah is most troublesome and annoying for the residents. That the prospective buyers test-drive these vehicles in the locality makes it even more menacing. The situation affects the people in two ways: one, hundreds of people residing in the area find it extremely difficult to park their vehicles anywhere near their buildings; two, they have to put up with the ever-increasing noise pollution caused due to the purchase and test-drive activity. Under the circumstances, may I request the authorities in Sharjah to restrict the number of vehicles these used-car dealers can park in the vicinity of their showrooms at any given time. As for the rest of their stock, they can relocate them to some far-off place in Sharjah which is suitable for the purpose. Better still, the entire used-car dealership and their wares in Abu Shagarah area are relocated to an appropriate place in Sharjah in a phased manner.
- Prathap G., Sharjah


ExpressIndia - VoteIndia04 - 13.04.2004

You ought to be the Prime Minister again

To the Hon. Prime Minister of India - Atal Bihari Vajpayee,

Respected Sir - Here's wishing every success to you and the BJP in the ensuing general elections in India. You shall be the Prime Minister again, for at present I cannot think of any one else who can do that great job.

And now, Sir, I have a request. We, the NRIs, need to exercise our franchise in the elections in our country. I have been employed and living in the U.A.E. for 29 years now (aged 50), and yet, I have not for once exercised my vote to any party in any elections. When you are PM again, please come up with a mechanism which would facilitate our becoming eligible to vote.

People like me can be of immense value to our country. Please see below what I wrote in Khaleej Times of U.A.E. on Dec-30, 2003.

"IT IS great to hear that the foreign exchange reserves of India touched the $100 billion mark on December 20. Congratulations to the visionary leadership of the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Reserve Bank of India and all those who were involved in this remarkable achievement. Keep up the good work and strive hard to double that figure by the year 2010, for I believe India can do it.

May I call upon the government of India to efficiently utilise these resources for the country's infrastructure development and creation of employment opportunities in every conceivable sector, so that the percentage of people who now live below the poverty line is significantly reduced?"
- Prathap G., Sharjah

Letter to L.K. Advani


Powell must go - KT, 07.04.2004

THIS is in response to the comment “Powell says it a little too late” as well as Powell’s statement that his case for Iraq war was wrong (KT, April 4). I think Powell’s culpability in the said issue is not defendable and he has no other choice but to step down immediately as the US secretary of state, on moral grounds. As for Condoleezza Rice, George Bush Jr’s security adviser, she must tell the truth about what she knew or believed about the dangers emanating from Iraq and what prompted her boss to prioritise his agenda to include a brutal attack and invasion of a sovereign country. Once the truth emerges from her own tongue, a suitable verdict can be delivered on whether or not she should also step down. And that holds true for Bush Jr as well, under the circumstances.
- Prathap G., Sharjah


Killer instinct - KT 09.01.2004

TO ALL dangerous drivers on the road, I say: in order to instill a sense of safety in your dispositions whilst you are at the wheels, may I respectfully ask you to visualise the following: You meet with a serious accident as a direct result of your dangerous driving.

You are either injured or dead. In either case, you endanger the lives of other people, damage your vehicle and those of others, damage public and private property. Consequently, if you sustained only injuries, you are taken to a hospital, and later on sent to jail for an indefinite period of time, plus payment of blood money. And, what about your family back home under such a scenario? You better be dead!
Prathap G., Sharjah


Vested interests - KT 04.01.2004

REFERRING to the headline of January 2, "Hawks design new agenda for Bush's second term; Call for regime change in Syria and Iran; Treat Saudi Arabia as enemy; and, Isolate France from Europe", let me state that I have no doubts in my mind that it is a general threat to the whole of the Middle Eastern countries to destabilise them and rob their wealth.

It is vital that the countries in the Middle East saw eye to eye each other and take a leaf from Ralph Waldo Emerson when he delivered a speech to his fellow Americans in 1836. He said, "We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our own minds", and the Americans followed suit and prospered. But for some vested interests now in that country, it is American hegemony.

However, for the rest of the world, except for the friends and associates of the United States, such statements from the neo-conservatives in the US shall be taken with a pinch of salt, for it is nothing short of a recipe for a Third World War. Such evil designs must be condemned by all countries in the world, especially France, Germany, Russia, China, and needless to say India and Pakistan.

As for me, for the sake of posterity, if I were the prime minister of India today, I would have wanted the new year to augur well for an all-round improvement in the health, wealth, and thus happiness of people across the world.
- Prathap G., Sharjah


Matter of pride - KT 23.12.2003

IT IS great to hear that the foreign exchange reserves of India touched the $100 billion mark on December 20. Congratulations to the visionary leadership of the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Reserve Bank of India and all those who were involved in this remarkable achievement. Keep up the good work and strive hard to double that figure by the year 2010, for I believe India can do it.

May I call upon the government of India to efficiently utilise these resources for the country's infrastructure development and creation of employment opportunities in every conceivable sector, so that the percentage of people who now live below the poverty line is significantly reduced?
- Prathap G., Sharjah


Tolerance - KT 13.11.2003

WITH reference to Meher's letter titled "Self-control" (KT, November 13), I would reckon that just as the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan needs to be preserved by all other religious groupings during that holy month, wherever they are in the globe, the people who observe fasting and other sacred rituals in this month should be prudent, pragmatic, and tolerant towards the other religious sects that happen to live with them. Obviously, the bottom line is that in the eye of Almighty God, all human beings are equal where no restrictions prevail, and I subscribe to that school of thought.- Prathap G., Sharjah


Unwise reasoning - KT 03.11.2002

(This letter of mine is a response to someone who wrote in the Khaleej Times, UAE, on 01.11.002 - Prathap G.)

WHAT the writer of the letter says (KT, Nov.1) is nothing better than washing one's dirty linen in public, thus creating more hatred and ill-will amongst the peace loving people of the world. Whether or not India is a truly democratic country does not warrant any further deliberations. I don't subscribe to the ideology of any political party in India or abroad. I haven't voted for any of them so far and I hardly consider myself to be very enlightened.

However, I do believe that the present deputy prime minister of India is not 'hawkish', but brave and that the government of India is not a 'junta' but a democratically elected one.

The government has demonstrated its wisdom in deciding to pull back its military from the western borders to de-escalate any tension that may have hitherto existed. it should be appreciated for this move. I call upon my brothers and sisters in India, Pakistan and those of them living in the Middle East, to be brave and optimistic about a better tomorrow where we will enjoy peace, harmony and prosperity.
To allow the developed world to emulate us rather than exploit us, we must unite as a whole. - Prathap G., Sharjah


Warring siblings - KT 12.06.2002

IN THE aftermath of the end of colonialism and Partition 54 years ago, India and Pakistan have been threatening each other with dire consequences on rather flimsy grounds. Instead of focusing on social and economic development, so that the citizens of both countries can enjoy a better standard of living in every way, people at the helm of affairs of these two countries are engaged in amassing weapons of mass destruction, much to the dismay of the subcontinent's inhabitants, who love only peace and no war.

Longing to see all forms of life on earth coexist harmoniously, I am at a loss to understand the wisdom of these two neighbourly nations in defying common sense and the wishes of the people. I may belong to the arena of the "big brother", as they say, but my "younger" brother is no foe of mine. Therefore, I request the powers that be, in New Delhi, to behold, and wage no war (on my behalf), against Pakistan, where my brothers and sisters and their children live.

At this juncture, I do hope that my brethren in Pakistan agree with me when I say that life is precious to all tenants of this beautiful world. Preserve it, and do not plead ignorance of the natural law when everything is blown out of proportion. Let us not become catalysts to this catastrophe. - Prathap G., Sharjah


Flying pleasure - KT 20.01.2002

IT WAS indeed a great pleasure for me to have travelled on the Indian Airlines inaugural flight from Trivandrum to Sharjah on January 12. The flight was on time from Trivandrum, and landed at Sharjah's airport at 6.20pm, the exact time given for arrival of the plane.

The service provided by the ground staff at Trivandrum airport, as well as that provided to passengers on board the Indian Airlines flight, was impeccable. The excellent captaincy, and courtesy and warmth of the crew members on board the aircraft, is worthy of emulation; we thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Keep it up, and let the Indian Airlines flag fly high.

Although the number of passengers were negligible, given the excellent quality of the service experienced by the passengers, it is hoped that the Trivandrum/Sharjah flight will become a popular and profitable sector for the Indian Airlines in the days to come. Hats off to the management and staff of Indian Airlines, both at Trivandrum and Sharjah, and wishing them success in the future. - Prathap G., Sharjah



(A personal observation)

At a time when countries of great wealth and military muscle invades and destroys smaller but hapless countries in total disregard to the International Laws, and Presidents and Prime Ministers shake hands at one point and rebuff each other at another opportune moment, is it any wonder then that a veteran Secretary to the CEO of a Sharjah, U.A.E., based ISO certified company of international repute is verbally abused at the workplace by a small-time office boy? And when the matter is brought to the attention of the management, no action whatsoever is taken by them to rectify the situation, and the office boy walks free!

What about the corporate culture we hear people very eloquently discuss these days? - Prathap G., Sharjah.


Talents Day saga at Sharjah Indian School

(Original, unedited version)

A talents day program was supposed to be held on 30.09.2003 at the Sharjah Indian Association by some 11th standard girl students from the Sharjah Indian School, but was called off by the organisers due to the girls’ refusal to perform at a time when one of their colleagues was lying unconscious at the ICU of Kuwaity Hospital, Sharjah, following a tragic traffic accident in Sharjah on the evening hours of 29.09.2003, sustaining multiple leg fractures. Two other girls were also injured in that accident, though not seriously. Those threesome, amongst four other girls, were in a hot pursuit making last minute preparations to participate in the said talents day event. An unlicensed motorist, with an unregistered automobile (as it was understood from the word of mouth narration of the incident), knocked down three of the seven girls who were walking over the pavement of a busy Sharjah street on that fateful day.

Incidently, all those girls who were to participate in the talents day program, were systematically subjected to intentional infliction of emotional distress by none other than the SIS head-mistress who dictates a high standard of dress code to the students but fails to practice it by herself, which is in total disregard to the sanctity and reputation of a well known school. The ladyship in question does not even possess a sense of hospitality when it comes to her dealing with the visitors at her office in the school, which leads to a rather pertinent question as to how she or the school authorities deal with the 2000 plus students in that school.

Needless to say, the parents of those girls too are distressed at the manner in which the said school official had been treating these girl students through out their preparations. She made abrupt demands on these girls persistently until the calamity struck three of them on that fateful day. Had it not been for the high-handedness of that lady, none of those things would have happened, and the talents of those girls would have come out with flying colours. None of the school authorities appeared to have repented over their uncanny attitude (not to mention their silence over the condition of that school going girl now in the hospital but to tell a blatant lie in futility. The school authorities even had the audacity of lying to the girls that the very unconscious girl at the hospital had expressed a wish that the those girls do perform at the event) And as the talents day event failed to make any headway as desired by the head-mistress, she and her cohorts even threatened those girls with dismissal from the school.

It is high time the relevant authorities in the country intervened in the matter, investigations conducted, and the culprits brought to book immediately, as a deterrent, so that the credibility of schools are preserved. And for all of us the parents, we shall pray to God for the quick recovery of that girl now at the hospital - PRATHAP G., SHARJAH


To Shankar, Office Boy,
Conmix Limited, Sharjah - 23rd October, 2003

(A private letter)

I herewith express my strong condemnation to yourself for having referred to me as a "naainte mon" (which if translated into English becomes "son of a dog", or in Hindi "kutha ka bechha") this morning at about 8.30 a.m. whilst you scaled up the stairs from the ground floor of this office. I heard it, and several other employees in the office heard it.

Your uncalled for abuse of a person of my professional calibre (i.e. the Secretary to the General Manager), was without any provocation of whatosover nature from me, other than myself leaving a message with the Receptionst at the ground floor level that when you came to that area, you shall place the cutting machine back to where it is usually parked.

As a senior employee of this company, I have every right and reason to expect you to carry out a simple task as the one above, however, as usual, you have demonstrated once again, your usual self of a country bumpkin persona of the most crudest order.

I have already expressed my concern over this matter to my boss shortly after your verbal utterance, which if viewed legally boarders closely on slanderous behaviour of a rather aggressive nature. A law suit can be filed against you in the local Court, but I am not resorting to such a step right now.

However, whilst I herewith warn you not to badmouth me in future at the workplace - which if you did would have serious repercussions - you are hereby advised NOT TO SERVE ME TEA, COFFEE, or WATER hereafter, as I suspect you might even jeopardise my life by mixing poisonous content in the said refreshments.- PRATHAP G., Sharjah


To Honorable Chief Minister,
Kerala State, India.

Sir, The Lady Village Officer at Omalloor, Pathanamthitta Dist., Kerala, has a penchant for cash. This was clearly visible at that office when I visited them in August, 2003, to pay Tax arrears (karam) on some of my properties at Omalloor, and when my mother visited that office during the last week of September, 2003, to have my newly purchased property to be made in my name and to pay the tax.

The village officer preaches that she is a very upright officer in front of everybody, but behind the door, on an individual basis, she collects huge sums as bribe in the name of Onam celebration, Independent Day Celebration etc. She cheated money out me and my mother. We are not the only victims. Her victims are especially the poor people. She will demand documents of trivial nature to harass the people, making them go round and round, for several days, and finally end up paying the demanded money to her to get things done.

I am not writing this to vent my anger over the ordeal she made me go through or that of my mother's bad experience as stated above, but the authorities must know the goings on in these village offices.

The notoriety of the said Village Officer is well known in the circles at Omalloor, but no one seems to talk about it, but instead undergo the harassment meted out to them in patience. There must be an end to it. I would have done something about it when I visited Kerala in August, 2003, as I said, however, I did not have the time to take this lady to tasks. On my next visit to India, and should I have a requirement at Omalloor Village Office, and if I find this lady gracing the occasion asking me money, then I will give her the run for her money, and that is a promise, your Hon. Chief Minister.

How could an alien Village Officer posted at my very native town, Omalloor, dare play games with me, and the people in the neighborhood, especially the poor who are short on cash?

Now the ball is in Government of Kerala's court. Best regards - PRATHAP G.



"If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars."
J. Paul Getty (1892-1976)

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