Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Commonwealth journey through my eyes : Training sessions

22nd June 2010:General Training for volunteers @ Amity ,Noida

First and foremost i would like to thank Delhi Metro services becuase without our dear beloved metro i would never even imagined to reach Noida alone (almost 4o kilometres from my place) in any other public transport and that too in flat 45 minutes.And from there Amity University provided their buses to their campus.

I was excited for the first training session chiefly because of two reasons it was my first experience at attending any such training event in life and secondly, because somewhere inside my heart i was proud to be associated to a national sports event.The introduction session was good and basically they showed us some videos of Melbourne Games when the baton was given to India and we invited the world to Delhi for the games in 2010.Some messages by Mr.Suresh Kalmadi and Mr.Ashok Chauhan who aspired that volunteers will become like super-human and help in delivering the best -ever games.Suddenly we all the volunteers were part of the Delhi United team.And then the training part began where they associated each letter of DELHI UNITED to an aspect of training module and the qualities they thought an ideal volunteer should imbibe in himself/herself.Example: D was for Dedication, T was for Training and Team-work. After the introductory session all the volunteers present were divided into groups 20-30 and had to go to various rooms for each session on D,E,L and so on.The things most of us already knew were repeated like boring classrooms lectures in same monotonous school-type of instructors.The two sessions which stand-apart from all other sessions were N-Namaste session by Mr.Rumao James , it was funny,enjoyable and helped us to learn the etymology of Namaste and the proper way to greet someone desi style.Another session was where the group was divided into teams of 5-6 people and each team was asked to a prepare a cheer-up song.I remember singing Chak-De India with my team ,it was great team building exercise and helped in breaking the ice .

Though the food served to us was bad and cold and I remember hardly eating something.Besides this we were shown a lot a pakao powerpoint presentations and we were advised to read newspapers and try to collect every information available related to games.We also got a heavy manaul at the end of the session to carry along with us which had all the information regarding games even the things they told us during the training sessions was repeated there.It was too fat almost 200 page books with a little font.We were told to read that before coming for the next training session ,I never read it and I'm sure most of the volunteers didn't read it .I donot know why we believe in wasting so much money and paper.

18th August 2010:Role Specific Training@Amity, Noida

Being a journalism student i expected that i would be a given a job related to press.But i was a Spectator Services Assistant (SPS Asst).I was very disappointed about this development.

Theni went for the training , and believe me this training was ione of the most boring training/sessions i had ever attended in my life.Being a SPS asst i had to perform some nine role mainly Ushering,Soft ticket check,directional assistance,Public Information booth and Stroller storage booth (which during the games never existed in any of the stadiums).And for each of these functions to be performed they had a powerpoint presentation.But whoever made those powerpoint presentations had only pre-dominant notion/assumption in his mind that all the volunteers are DUMB.To cite two examples they were trying to teach us types of ques and what is a stroller through powerpoint presenatations(mind you all the volunteers were 18 year olds or more).It was so dragged as they wanted to kill the time till the evening they could have well finished that training in a half day.This training session was a real test of patience even when i had a good friend along i am even afraid to imagine myself without her at that training session.

At the same training i got to know that some 2000-3000 left the volunteer programme and i thought how lucky they are they don’t have to bear all this.Plus, as directed by them we read newspaper and magazines to gain information about CWG but at this stage there scams, delays in construction sites and corruption in giving out tenders.But when some us tried to raise questions they refused or turned a blind eye towards them and that really pissed us off.Even the sessions this time were classroom type lectures in monotonous tone with virtually no participation from volunteers.

The food was as bad as it was last time but i had learnt my lesson and took food from home.And when it ended i felt like i was set free from a prison.

The only thing i learnt at this training was the motto/mantra of our functional area (largest among all FA’s)Spectator Services “Flawless Service for a memorable experience” and while writing this i think we managed to do it well.

After coming back from this training (though the seeds of quitting were sown by my friend in my mind) i considered quitting but then I thought by doing so i would be purely acting like a politician who just comes for the inauguration/stone-laying ceremonies and then they forget about it and the optimistic in me was still hopeful of some miracles and surprises.

3rd September 2010: Venue Specific Training @ Siri Fort Sports Complex

Though the Siri Fort Sports Complex is on a walking distance from my college but still it took me more than half an hour to reach the stadium because i couldn't find the entry gate for the volunteers.Though i was amazed at the beautiful stadium initially but after some time i could make out a lot of work was left and the games were just a month away.But i have to admit they did good work ,it was certainly state of art infrastructure inside the stadium and they did manage to impress me and were contradictory to a lot of media reports as well.

The training took place inside plaza of the stadium.We were introduced to some former players who were officials and supervisors at the stadium.Some more presentations about the stadium and the games of Badminton and Squash ,some tips,words of advice on conduct of volunteers and issues of security were discussed.Then we were given sight-seeing of the whole stadium with a team leader.Also we met our Team :paid staff at the stadium.

But at the end of the training what i saw was heartening to see some child labourers working at the stadium and i still have that question in my mind if i was Demographic Dividend for my nation serving at the prestigious CWG event what were they?http://surbhidevcomm.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/child-labour-a-future-lost/

But i like the security arrangements and was very satisfied with them and would to thank Joint CP/Crime :Rajesh Goyal who guided us on that day and also who successfully supervised the arrangements during the entire games.

Once again we were called at the stadium on 28th Sept 2010 for a kind a full-dress rehearsal and on that i was given the duty of Public Information desk though without any information so when some people came from OC and asked me about some information and I had no clue i looked like a fool because of some inefficient people.At the same day i was one of the few volunteers who were invited at the launch of theme song for Delhi United Volunteers at Le Meridien but my venue manager never allowed to go for that and i still hold grudges for that against him.But i never heard the theme song at my stadium at all ,i don't know where it got lost i only heard jeeyo jeeto song from Rehman.

26th September 2010:Spectator Services Volunteers Final Coordination @ OC Headquaters

As the name suggests it was the final co-ordination meet to praise the efforts of volunteers till and to boost their morale to give their best during the games.How can any of this be complete without presentations and speeches.Plus we were re-introduced to our teams which most of us had already met at the Venus specific training itself.Also present at this event was Mr.Suresh Kalmadi and Mr.Rajiv Shukla ,Chairman,Spectator Services Committee.Though till date i couldn't figure out why Mr.Suresh Kalmadi was given a standing Ovation by the volunteers when he came in but to clarify i was not one of them .Mr.Shukla in his speech did admit that "hamara band baaja hua hain" giving a covert message that volunteers should put their best foot forward and save the reputation of Organizing Committee.Not to forget that both the members of parliament Mr.Kalmadi and Mr.Shukla were late for the event and we had to wait for them.The session concluded with some clarification session for the volunteers.At this meet we were informed that we had to report at our venues in the coming days for the full-dress rehearsal.

At the end, Would sign off by

"Volunteers are not paid because they are worthless but because they are priceless"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Commonwealth journey through my eyes

At the beginning of the blog i would like to clarify to each one out there that i did not volunteer for Commonwealth Games for so-called " NATIONAL PRIDE ",a term i believe invented by politicians for their own convenience .I did it for ISHQ-E-DILLI.I did it because i felt it was pay-back time to my beloved city Delhi which has given everything to grow into a sane person(though i never liked sane people because its boring to be one and being crazy was always fun and different ).

I dont exactly remember how all this started and from where exactly i heard about the volunteer programme but as soon i heard about it i knew i had to do it but i never knew at that time it would be such a long process before i finally got the accreditation card which certified me as a CWG Volunteer ,a part of Delhi United team (in spirit and in action) and would leave me with an enriching experience with some really priceless moments , beautiful friendships , a few interesting tales about the biggest sports event in the country till date, and above all a satisfying smile and contented heart when i left the Siri Fort Sports Complex (my venue) one last time around 4 pm on 14th October 2010 .

Though i remember filling the form for it through College as a part of NSS but never got any response about my form or confirmation that they received or just any information.So, the facebookalcoholic in me decided to take out some from my status,photo updates and chit-chat on the net to fill the huge form which wanted to know everything from the day i was born to my existence till that day .An over-stretched and boring online form of atleast 5 pages (i guess it was longer than the standard passport form we fill) and while filling the form i discovered a lot of details about myself (self-discovery u know).And the form refused to accept my mobile number to contact me though i took my dad's number in a second for emergency purposes.

Then the journey of Commonwealth Games began for me.Got an interview call on my mail.Went to the Organising Committee ,CWG Delhi 2010 Headquarters situated at Jai Singh Road opposite Jantar Mantar just to find out that another fairly long form was waiting for me asking the same old details(such a waste of paper though these games were green games and they were supposed to save paper) that i had filled in the online form atleast 20 times before and the twist in the tale was they never asked to bring any photographs so the first task was to find a shop which can provide me with some instant photographs so the search was on.Finally found a shop primarily an electronics shop but he took advantage of the fact this his shop was located near the OC office which never believed in giving information to people and i guess taken up photography as a side-business(he was earning loads of money as most of the volunteers came to him to get their pictures clicked).With some real bad pictures ( i hate instant pictures ) completed filling another confusing form(i forgot to mention the online form was equally confusing in some areas)and finally i was allowed to enter the building (which had nice structure but whats' with weird colours they had painted on it) .Waited for a few minutes and then my name was called for the interview ,the question were very basic and easy and to answer them i didn't had to use my brains just common sense and presence of mind was required most of them dealt with handling emergencies .

On Sunday afternoon when i was enjoying my sweet sleep got a call on my dad's mobile(as there website failed to take my number ) informing me that i was selected as a volunteer at that i didn't feel anything and went back to my dream world.But while chatting with someone , i discovered after almost two months that a lot people were rejected (i thought everybody got selected) and then i felt good.Then began a series of boring and pakao(waste of energy,time and money ) trainings which i believed didn't help any one of us ,though general training was far better than the other two most enjoyable of them and most tolerable as well as they were the only people which made sense.

Now its been the longest blog till date i have written .And i think for my experiences at the various training sessions and the those 10 days when i actually contributed towards delivering the best commonwealth games ever i need two more blogs.so to be continued.And May God be with you till we meet again.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Protection not Prosecution for Whistleblowers'

The Right to Information Act is one of the most revolutionary laws that have empowered the Indian People like no other law in this century. The law secures citizens’ right to access information under control of public authority in any form in order to promote transparency and accountability in the system. But when the informed citizenry exercised their right to information to expose misuse of government funds or to expose corruption or abuse of power in decision-making they were thrashed and sometimes their voices were made silent forever.

“Eight RTI activists killed in seven months” when recently made headline on the first page of a national daily The Hindu it explicitly stated the fate of the citizens who dared to use the act and exposed rampant corruption. Thus, in the aftermath of the Coldblooded murder of RTI activist Amit Jethwa who exposed illegal mining activities in a wild life-sanctuary in Gujarat the Cabinet has approved a bill Called The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Persons making the disclosure Bill,2010 or simply called Whistle Blowers’ Bill.

The Bill provides Central Vigilance Commission powers of a civil court to hand down harsh penalty revealing the identity of the whistle blowers’ and protecting them against victimisation or any disciplinary action against them. And revealing the identity of a Whistleblower can lead to three years of imprisonment or a fine up to fifty thousand rupees or both. Though the proposed Bill comes after six years, the Supreme Court pressed the government into issuing an office order, the Public Interest Disclosures and Protection of Informers Resolution, 2004 designating CVC as the nodal agency to handle complaints.

But one of the biggest drawbacks of the proposed bill is protection only for Central, State and public government employees and not to individuals and private or non-government organisations. Though there is no denial of the fact that government employees need protection from their own organisations after they expose corruption or abuse of power in public interest and we have had incidents of unfortunate deaths of Satyendra Dubey and Shanmughan Manjunath (two government officials )after they did something similar. Though as per the recommendations of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, the scope of the proposed law could be enlarged to deal with corporate whistleblowers too.

The approval of the proposed bill by the cabinet is certainly a positive step towards protecting those who are trying to sanitise the system from deep-rooted corruption and bring in some accountability in various departments.My sincere hope and desire is that the bill gets introduced and passed in the parliament in the coming winter session and India joins the elite club of four democracies namely USA,UK,New Zealand and Australia to have a full-fledged law to protect its valuable whistleblowers’.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stuck in the lanes of JUSTICE

The lanes which lead to an important destination called JUSTICE in worlds’ largest democracy are most often, murky, dingy and defective. And above all the legal system in our country is too lengthy, time-consuming and a painful process that it actually wipes out the very essence of the term justice. Malpractices, misconducts and techniques to linger on the cases have become an integrated part our complex legal system making the road to justice an invincible battle for a common man to win. Plus the rules governing the matters are completely transformed, twisted and turned if it involves a public figure.

The recent case of Ruchika Gihrotra which took almost 19 years, 40 adjournments and more than 400 hearings to deliver justice to a minor in a molestation case against a senior IPS officer SPS Rathore is a living example of our insensitive and overburdened legal system. Another important aspect of the case is that misuse of power by the IPS Rathore which actually lead to the displacement of Gihrotra family ,false charges against Ruchika’s brother Ashu ,her being thrown out from her school and which finally led to her suicide. And finally when Justice prevailed in the case against SPS Rathore ,he was sentenced six months imprisonment and Rs 1,000 fine which appeared as too little and too late.Ruchika’s case is just an example of thousands of cases lying and gathering dust in various courts of the country and exemplifies the fight and long –wait which the common man has to bear to find justice in the eyes of laws.While there have been other cases such as Jessica lall ,Priyadarshani Mattoo,Nitish katara cases which were also against the rich and mighty of the society only got justice due to media hype and public outcry for justice.

Another important feature of the law in our country is that the law is not at all the victim-friendly and fails to protect the whistle-blowers which strive for a better India.Brutual murders of Satyendra Dubey,Manjunath and RTI activist Shetty are examples of such individuals who fought for a clean and transparent systems but our legal system failed them.

Thus it is imperative for all of us to strive for a legal system which is proactive, checks overgrowth of power ,fast-paced , make our archaic laws match the needs of contemporary world, more victim friendly especially in cases which involves influential figures ,less time-consuming and simpler for common man to understand .But special emphasis should be paid to the time factor so that no more Ruchika, Manjunath die and others like them could be saved .And no more filing a case in court to seek redresses and justice becomes a curse for a common man and courts should no longer remain a tormented place and we should all understand that “justice delayed is justice denied”

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Forgotten heroes of our times

No in this blog i m not talking about some of my favorite stars born on reality shows or made out to cater the TRP needs of channels in this blog i talk about those two young men who lost their lives because they were taught that "there is no God higher than TRUTH"(by M.K.Gandhi) and their in their pursuit to out bring out the truth of our corrupt system they were murdered in cold blood and no one even talks or bothers about the real heroes or the whistleblowers of our times.

Satyendra Kumar Dubey ,an IIT Kanpur alumni,working with the National Highway Authority of India on project golden quadrilateral exposed high-level corruption within NHAI,detailing the financial and contractual irregularities in the project.From the higher officials of NHAI to the then prime minister A.B Vajpayee he left no stone unturned to bring the wrongdoers to the books and inturn just asked for anonymity .But his name was leaked which finally led to his assasination.But the larger question remains after his death that do we stand by those people who are upright,have the courage to fight the system and support them in their ventures or are we a society that just cribs and make huge hue and cry about the rising levels of inefficiency and corruption and do nothing about it.Or have we become so insensitive that this no longer boils our blood and what kind of a society we are heading towards?

Shanmughan Manjunath ,an IIM Lucknow graduate ,working with Indian Oil Corporation was murdered by oil mafia after he sealed three petrol pumps on charges of selling adulterated fuel in Uttar Pradesh.Another question that comes to my mind after examining both the stories is that why cant our law protect the crusaders of our times ,two young men who were the victims of exposing the deep-rooted and high levels of corruption in the system.Two young men who dreamt of a corruption free India and efficient use of public resources and who couldn't remain turn blind eye to all the crimes deserved this ?

But after so many years of their death no one even talks about Public Interest Disclosure (protection of informers' )Bill and many still stake their lives to protect the interests of people against many evils in our society be it corruption,scams,human rights violations etc.As this reminds me of the recent brutal murder of RTI activist Satish Shetty who exposed land scams in Maharashtra .Right to Information Act talks about INFORMED CITIZENRY to promote transperant and accountable system but i ask who will be accountable for the deaths as many manjunaths ,shetty's and dubey's even fight today for our better future and better tomorrow the society or the law?

Sunday, February 28, 2010


As Me and My city gears up for the Commonwealth Games i have begun to feel the DIFFERENCE and change has come to Delhi.After years of listening that Delhi will be transformed before the CWG ,the city is experiencing makeover to cater the needs of its own people and our lovely guests who would be visiting during the ongoing Hockey World Cup and Commonwealth Games in October.

With fleet of Low- floor and air-conditioned buses marching all around the city the public transport seems to have come par with the public transport systems of the global cities of the world.And how can we forget our very own Metro services which have now become a part of our daily lives and our existence as a Delhite. Plus the Delhi is one of the very few cities of the world where public transport system is totally Eco-friendly considering the needs of the times and vision for a greener and cleaner Delhi.The most important of all is that how all these services have made our lives so easy ,travel which cheap,comfortable and readily available and experience which is one of its kind .

From better roads to series of newly constructed Flyovers at various junctions to foot-over bridges have reduced the time to reach our destinations in a more safer and convenient way.Another significant change which has come to the city is newly appointed young police officers and especially women which i have noticed over some months and who are visible at most busy roads,near girls' colleges etc.This is a very interesting change as city is not considered a safe paradise for women.

The concepts of Bhagidari and E-governance has paved the way for new age governance where government believes that successful and meaningful governance cannot be achieved without the participation of people.It has given way to less corrupt and transparent systems where citizens can question,get involved,monitor progress of projects and free of red-tapism .

But the best change or transformation i should call it is the in attitude of People of Delhi and AWAKENED and ENLIGHTENED youth who believe in "MY DELHI-I CARE".With large number of non-government organisations looking after various issues to last week protest of young girls of Kamala Nehru College for "trees are our neccesity ,pavements are our right" to hundreds and thousands of Delhites registering to volunteer for commonwealth games to people filing loads of RTI's to keep a check on various government departments and their work .I can certainly say that this responsible citizenry would help in many folded progress of the city in an all-round manner .

With this i can certainly be proud of being delhite and can assert that Delhi is a city with a DIFFERENCE.Though there is still loads of work to be done with 'joint-ownership' with the government but Delhi has set an example for other Indian states and is all set to become one of the most GLOBALISED and VIBRANT cities of the world.And i would like to end with saying that "SHERA IS ON TRACK OF PROGRESS AND PROSPERITY"

Saturday, February 20, 2010


My date with DEVELOPMENT was an enriching experience, where i walked in as concerned Indian and after hours of discussion ,interaction,alternative solutions and out-of-thinking came out as an enlightened citizen with plethora of new ideas and vision for a BETTER INDIA and BETTER WORLD.

In leadership summit the topic under consideration was "INDIA'S DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES AND THE ROLE OF YOUTH".The seminar was organised for students of
Delhi University who were interested in exposure to the realities of India and for opportunities other than the corporate sector and white -collar jobs.

The summit was addressed by three eminent journalists namely Pankaj Pachauri(Manging Editor-Special projects and Prime time anchor NDTV-INDIA) , Vipul Mudgal(Resident -Editor Hindustan Times) and Binoy Job (Director and Media Adviser to PMO) who have over the years engaged themselves in balanced reporting and have been committed towards developmental issues which concerns the millions in the country.

Interacting with the leaders or more precisely the entrepreneurs of tomorrow Mr Pachauri
stressed that 2010 was a defining decade for the country which has full of energy and youth and pointed out on the changing times in each sector as even the last two lok sabha elections were also fought keeping in mind the AAM-AADMI of the country.He motivated us to look beyond which is easily available and towards alternative sectors such as Food sector(as by 2050 Indians are going to spend 46% of their total expenditure on food ),Health sector(second largest expenditure by indians by 2050)and to rely on entrepreneurship.

Mr Mudgal focussed on the "shifting paradigms in our times "where development has become a RIGHT .He called for JANKARI, NIGRANI and BHAGIDARI from this vibrant youth where the democracy has transformed itself from the electoral to a participating one .He also emphasised on youth's services to bridge the gap between the rural and urban population and opportunity to monetarily gain from these opportunities lying ahead.
The best part was the last part when the responsible and active young students put forth their doubts,asked critical questions ,interacted and indulged in out-of -box thinking with the eminent panels.Equally enthusiastic was the panel who shared their expertise,knowledge and experiences with us while satisfying our inquisitive minds.Another interesting part of the session was that politician bashing,media criticism and blaming the system and government for everything was strictly prohibited.

At the end i would like to say a big congratulations and hearty thanks to leaders for tomorrow (not-for-profit youth leadership movement mainly working in college campuses),their founder
Mr. Binoy Job ,national president Ms. Anchal Dhar and the whole lft team who behind the scenes worked very hard to make this event a grand success .Special mention to my friend Mr. Chaahat Khattar who sent the invite almost 1 and half months ago so that i can attend such a wonderful event and be part of change.At the end i would like to say i m a PROUD member of lft .keep up the good work guys.


About Me

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A journalism Student with specific interests in Politics and Sports.