Off the record

Sober Sheila

The mishandling of protest against the Delhi gang-rape exposed the communication-gap among rulers. What the police or th home ministry was doing was not known to the Delhi government including Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. Similar was the case when it came to political action from the Congress leadership. When a few boys were sent to meet Sonia Gandhi, Minister of State for  Home Affairs RPN Singh tried to take credit and none of the  party stalwarts from Delhi  was taken into confidence. All this led to loss of face on the part of Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar.
The Delhi Police Commissioner even lost to simple minded protesters Yogendra and Paulin in a battle over the authenticity of the police claim that attacks from protesters killed a police cop. He almost proved him wrong. Sheila was left to fend for herself in an extremely hostile situation and she did it meticulously.  Her consistent criticism of the Delhi police might not have won her all the public sympathy she might have tried to have, but she certainly gained all that Shinde or Neeraj Kumar failed to.  

“May be she truly felt bad,” opined a very senior political observer. “This is all she wanted to put in public mind, and in this adverse circumstance, no one could do more. She played sober and it saved her to a great extent,” smiled an activist.

Anil Sinha, New Delhi   

Modi vs Modi

In this battle of one-upmanship between Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has proved once again that he was more loyal to his boss than the BJP’s (possibly) would-be-prime-ministerial candidate for 2014 polls.

This became amply evident when at the National Development Council (NDC) meeting convened in New Delhi, Sushil Modi refused to not only congratulate Narendra Modi on hitting a hat trick in Gujarat but also did not even acknowledge his presence, much to the amusement of other BJP veterans present there.

Those who could not fathom out why he did so, here is the reason: Bihar’s Modi’s boss (read: Nitish), who too,  was present at the NDC meet, reportedly did not congratulate Narendra Modi even as the spotlight was on the Gujarat chief minister. Nitish’s angst and uneasiness was quite understandable, but BJP leaders wonder why Sushil Modi, the most visible face of the party in Bihar regime, refused to extend the basic congratulatory message to Gujarat’s Modi. Such is the loyalty of Bihar’s Modi towards Nitish that when many of the NDA alliance partners had lined up at Narendra Modi’s swearing-in at Gujarat on December 26, Sushil Modi was ‘busy’ in Patna attending an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad meet.

No wonder, rumour mills are agog with the theory that in the days to come, Modi could become another Sanjay Jha, a BJP MLC, who refused saffron party’s re-nomination and joined Nitish’s bandwagon. For Sushil Modi to do that (and cross over the fence), it will be a tad difficult, as he will have to split the BJP in the State and require more than 60 MLAs.
Now that seems to be an uphill task.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Innovation everywhere

The “theory of relativity” is what strikes most as a recall point at any mention of Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein. But it was perhaps not so well known that he was “quietly” working on several other innovative devices and getting patents for them.

Probably, the least you would associate Einstein with is a “static refrigerator” – one that runs without a rotor-. But it was Einstein who got the first patent for this innovation, recalled Prof A K Chakrabarti, Director of the Defence Research Development Laboratory, to drive home how the great physicist was constantly driven by an unceasing restlessness to innovate.

Chakrabarti, who was sharing his insights at a seminar in Chennai to mark the inaugural of DRDO’s new Research and Innovation Centre (RIC) at the IIT-Madras research park on Friday, made no bones about he being “struck” when this question “who got the first patent for the static refrigerator?” was posed in the popular Amitabh Bachchan game show, Kaun Banega Crorepati.

Chakrabarti’s intent in quoting this was to show how innovations in science happen in the most unsuspecting of circumstances. A guidance system from the recently decommissioned “INS Vikrant”, about to be auctioned off by the Indian Navy, was resourcefully acquired by DRDL and sent to Jadavpur University in Kolkata which has completely refurbished the system’s software and hardware, he disclosed. “In China, the sense of innovation is everywhere that they now make even Ganesha idols,” chuckled Chakrabarti!

M R Venkatesh, Chennai

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