The brain is his fiefdom
Conversation about corruption in the freezing winter
In New York, a protest against
corruption in India
January 30, New York’s Union
Square Park saw a rather unusual
protest gathering near the statue of
the Mahatma. There was neither
slogan-shouting nor posturing
when a small group of about 15
Indians scrunched their way
unsteadily through the piled snow
to make a quiet stand against corruption in India. The discussion
was civil, most of it mature and
nuanced, some of it a little more
The protest, organized by Atul
Kumar, was a result of a social
media effort driven by Indians
Against Corruption, a Delhi-based
non-governmental organization, as
part of general public disgust at the
venality of the Indian bureaucracy,
articulated most recently in the
scandal over the distribution of 2G
spectrum to private telecommunication service providing companies.
Kumar and the others present
agreed that corruption is
entrenched in the Indian system.
Kumar recalled that during his
student days at the Indian Institute
of Management, he was stuck with
the nickname ‘Ghotala’ (scam) only
because he came from corruption-
ridden Bihar. Ashamed of the bad
reputation his state has gained,
Kumar asked other IIM alumni to
help organize protests in the US.
“What I am proud about is that all
people have come on a single platform. It was planned in a few cities,
but people have come forward
everywhere,’ said Kapil Bolisetti,
who outside his day job is an activist
for India’s Lok Satta political party.
While calling for more accountability, Kunal Khosla of New Jersey
felt that the culture of corruption in
India is encouraged by a complacent and often complicit media.
Protester Ashok Nagrath argued
that technology, such as in the form
of the proposed biometric unique
identity cards, would help dramatically reduce fraud in the system and
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish
Kumar has won plaudits within
India and abroad for signs of
improvement in the state, which is
one of India’s most backward, poor
and corruption-ridden states.
Bolisetti cautioned that if Kumar
“goes away tomorrow, we don’t want
another (former Bihar chief minis-
ter) Lalu Prasad Yadav. If we want
to go there, we want to have check
balances in the system itself.”
When neurologist Vilayanur S Ramachandran was 12, he
told his father he wanted to be a scientist. His father sug-
gested that he go to medical school instead, because doctors
are assured of a living wage, scientists are not.
The Association of Scientists of Indian Origin in America
held its fourth national meeting at the Philadelphia College
of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Pharmacy, in Suwanee,
Georgia, January 15 to 17.
Despite a week-long winter storm, more than 60 delegates from across the United States attended the event,
held under the leadership of Dr Avadhesh C Sharma, president, ASIOA; Dr Satya Kunapuli, vice president; and Dr
Prasad Dhulipala, secretary.
Dr George Chandy, professor of physiology and bio-
physics, microbiology and molecular genetics, and medi-
cine, University of California, Irvine, and the director and
founder of Airmid Incorporated, delivered a presentation
on ways to address conditions caused by the immune sys-
tem turning renegade.