Padman – The Real Story of How He Shot to Fame by Selling Shame

Mythri Speaks

“If we want to give our daughters Sanitary Pads, we’d much rather buy the good quality ones available in the market. What do you think we are…….trying to get rid of some cheap stuff by dumping it on our girls?”

These words came from angry mothers of girls from a government school in rural Karnataka. The year was 2010. The “cheap stuff” in question was free Sanitary Napkins distributed through Rotary, made from a low-cost Sanitary Napkin manufacturing machine. The machine was the one set up by a person called Muruganathan, at Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru. The person who facilitated this free distribution was me. That was my first and last stint at distributing Sanitary Pads or any other menstrual product in villages.

Like many an arrogant social worker, I too began my work in this space 8 years ago assuming that I know better than the women in…

View original post 1,276 more words


1971 War | India + Soviet Union Vs. USA & China


Before 1971, Bangladesh used to be a part of Pakistan as East Pakistan. According to Najam Sethi, a well respected and honored journalist from Pakistan, East Pakistan always complained that they received less development funds and less attention from the West Pakistan (Punjabi) dominating government. Bengalis in East Pakistan also resisted the adoption of Urdu as the state language. The revenue from export, whether it was from the Cotton of West Pakistan or Jute of East Pakistan, was handled mainly by West Pakistan. Lastly, in an election conducted just some months before the war, the victory was gained by the East Pakistani leader and still he was not given the power, thus fueling the movement in East Pakistan.

Pakistani army started its operation in East Pakistan to contain the movement and anger among the Bengalis. It is reported that the army was involved in mass killing of public and mass rape of women. India was aware of this and was only waiting for a trigger to start the war. India started receiving huge number of refugees which became unmanageable, pushing it to intervene in the situation. The situation soon attracted the attention of many other countries. Thus the war later was not only between India and Pakistan, but many countries were involved in 1971 Indo Pakistani war (War of Liberation of Bangladesh) directly or indirectly.

In May, Indira Gandhi wrote to Nixon about the ‘carnage in East Bengal’ and the flood of refugees, burdening India. After L K Jha (then the Indian ambassador to US) had warned Kissinger that India might have to send back some of the refugees as guerrillas, Nixon commented, ‘By God, we will cut off economic aid [to India].’

A few days later, when the US president said ‘the goddamn Indians’ were preparing for another war, Kissinger retorted ‘they are the most aggressive goddamn people around.

US and China Connection, A Little Known Fact (All Excerpts and Sources from 929 page long Volume XI of the Foreign Relations of the United States)

US sympathized with Pakistan, because of various reasons. Among them two reasons were that: firstly, Pakistan belonged to American led military Pact, CENTO and SEATO; secondly, US believed any victory of India will be considered as the expansion of Soviet influence in the parts gained by India with the victory, as it was believed to be a pro Soviet nation, even though they were non aligned.

In a telegram sent (famously know as the Blood Telegram) to US Secretary of State Will Roger, on March 28, 1971, the staff of the US consulate in Dhaka complained, ‘Our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy. Our government has failed to denounce atrocities. Our government has failed to take forceful measures to protect its citizens while at the same time bending over backwards to placate the West Pakistan dominated government… We, as professional public servants express our dissent with current policy and fervently hope that our true and lasting interests here can be defined and our policies redirected in order to salvage our nation’s position as a moral leader of the free world.’

This brought China in the picture. US needed help from China and the messenger was Pakistan. US approached China very secretly on this issue, who was more than welcoming as it believed that their relations with US could improve from this onward.

During the second week of July, 1971, Kissinger arrived in Beijing, where he heard the words by then Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai: “In our opinion, if India continues on its present course in disregard of world opinion, it will continue to go on recklessly. We, however, support the stand of Pakistan. This is known to the world. If they [the Indians] are bent on provoking such a situation, then we cannot sit idly by.’ On this, Kissinger responded that China should know that the US also backs Pakistan on this issue.

Indira Gandhi, the Indian prime minister in those times decided to tour most of the Western capitals to prove Indian stand and gain support and sympathy for the Bengalis of East Pakistan. On November 4th and 5th she met Nixon in Washington. Nixon straight forwardly told her that a new war in the subcontinent was out of the question.

The next day, Nixon and Kissinger assessed the situation. Kissinger told Nixon: ‘The Indians are bastards anyway. They are plotting a war.’

The pressure increased in East Pakistan, which attracted Indian attention. Indians were preparing for war and were concentrated on the Eastern front. To divert the pressure, on December 3, in the dark of night, even before India could attack East Pakistan, Pakistan opened western front and air raided six Indian Airfields in Kashmir and Punjab.

The CIA reported to the US President that Indian Prime Minister believes that the Chinese will never intervene militarily in North India, and thus, any action from China would be a surprise for India and Indian military might collapse in tensed situation caused by fighting in three different fronts (East, North and West).

Hearing this, on December 9, Nixon decided to send the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise into the Bay of Bengal to threaten India. The plan was to Surround India from all four sides and force them to retreat and leave East Pakistan.

On December 10, Nixon instructed Kissinger to ask the Chinese to move some troops toward the Indian frontier. ‘Threaten to move forces or move them, Henry, that’s what they must do now.’ China feared any action on India might attract Soviet aggression. At this, US assured China that any action taken by Soviet Union will be countered by US to protect China.

Britain and Soviet Confrontation Confidential – The Commander of the Military Intelligence Service Gen. Pyotr Ivashutin.

“The Soviet Intelligence has reported that the English operative connection has come nearer to territorial India, water led by an aircraft carrier “Eagle” [On December 10]. For helping friendly India, Soviet government has directed a group of ships under the command of admiral V. Kruglyakov.”

Vladimir Kruglyakov, the former (1970-1975) Commander of the 10th Operative Battle Group (Pacific Fleet) remembers:

“I was ordered by the Chief Commander to track the British Navy’s advancement, I positioned our battleships in the Bay of Bengal and watched for the British carrier “Eagle”.

But Soviet Union didn’t have enough force to resist if they encountered the British Carrier. Therefore, to support the existing Soviet fleet in the Bay of Bengal, Soviet cruisers, destroyers and nuclear submarines, equipped with anti ship missiles, were sent from Vladivostok.

In reaction English Navy retreated and went South to Madagascar.

Soon the news of American carrier Enterprise and USS Tripoli’s advancement towards Indian water came.

V. Kruglyakov “ I had obtained the order from the commander-in-chief not to allow the advancement of the American fleet to the military bases of India”

In an interview to a Russian TV programme after his retirement, Admiral Kruglyakov, who commanded the Pacific Fleet from 1970 to 1975, recalled that Moscow ordered the Russian ships to prevent the Americans and British from getting closer to “Indian military objects”. The genial Kruglyakov added: “The Chief Commander’s order was that our submarines should surface when the Americans appear. It was done to demonstrate to them that we had nuclear submarines in the Indian Ocean. So when our subs surfaced, they recognized us. In the way of the American Navy stood the Soviet cruisers, destroyers and atomic submarines equipped with anti-ship missiles. We encircled them and trained our missiles at the Enterprise. We blocked them and did not allow them to close in on Karachi, Chittagong or Dhaka.”

The Soviet ships had small range rockets (only upto 300 KM). Therefore, to hold the opponent under the range, commanders ran risks of going as near to the enemy as possible.

“The Chief Commander had ordered me to lift the submarines and bring them to the surface so that it can be pictured by the American spy satellites or can be seen by the American Navy!’ It was done to demonstrate, that we had all the needed things in Indian Ocean, including the nuclear submarines. I had lifted them, and they recognized it. Then, we intercepted the American communication. The commander of the Carrier Battle Group was then the counter-admiral Dimon Gordon. He sent the report to the 7th American Fleet Commander: ‘Sir, we are too late. There are Russian nuclear submarines here, and a big collection of battleships’.

Americans returned and couldn’t do anything. Soviet Union had also threatened China that, if they ever opened a front against India on its border, they will receive a tough response from North.

The war ended with the surrender of Pakistani army as they missed American help due to quick Russians who blocked both America and China from preventing India to advance. With this, a new country named Bangladesh was formed, which was recognized by the whole world and by Pakistan in the following year with Shimla Agreement.

Article compiled and curated by RareBrewer

Curse of the Buddha

Year 2248 AD

The Dragon, as the ancients called China fondly, was beheaded. Fujian province was in ruins. Quanzhou city, was the epicenter of devastation. People liberation army was washed off in the aftermath of war. A distant bark of Devil; the sniffer dog was a haunt in the dust. Somehow, he survived to tell the story.

Year 2239 AD

it all started with greed. While the Dragon survived the nuclear holocaust, PLA (People Liberation Army) ensured round the clock curfew in all major cities. The commercial trade was stalled. With no export, economy was dwindling. Survival overpowered ambition. In the midst of clockwork, one of the begotten historians’ decided to exploit the curfew. Driven by his madness, he decided it’s time to unearth the forgotten treasure.

No we are not discussing names here; but for the sake of reader’s ownership let’s call this historian, Mr. Chi. Chi was history professor in one of the major universities’ in Shanghai. Hailing from a small town, he daydreamt of the long forgotten lore his elder spoke of.
The folklore was all he had as a heritage. He had no parents. A cynical man, he had believed that every person is driven by a selfish motive, so no one befriended him. The only living soul he cared for, was an army sniffer dog; a blood hound he rescued during one of his expeditions in yester years. The hound he rescued was discovered by him in a very bad shape. Poor dog was a victim of battle in South China Sea, during a pirate invasion of a military vessel carrying U-238 containment; an isotope of Uranium.


Chi lived with devil, the hound in his tiny studio apartment he rented out in the suburb of Shanghai. It all started one balmy night, when the starry sky was confounded with charcoal dust from smoke chimneys. Chi was researching his old papers on Silk Route; the ancient trading route which forged a bridge between cultures, trade and alliances between the Eastern & the Western hemisphere. It was half past midnight, when the bell rang at the door of his tiny apartment.
Now, who might be at this ungodly hour will pay a visit? He thought. Upon checking (read sneaking), he discovered a drunk neighbor collapsed on the floor. Reluctantly, he ought to leave the neighbor on his own. Meanwhile, Devil lazed in its crib. Probably, just the wrong door; devil must have thought so as not to raise an alarm for its master.

Quickly, He got back to his desk and read the research paper again with utmost honesty. Long back he had discovered that the Silk Route served more than simple trade. Han dynasty, a millennium ago conducted some metaphysical activities during their journeys on Silk Route which resulted in eerie landscape. Oddly, no one was to question the motives as this was all on Royal command. But all this carried a huge cost to the Royal bank as conducting secret experiments meant stalling the commerce & national trade so as to keep the silk route to themselves. Especially, isolating the Quanzhou city. In the years to come, children were born with disabilities. The river ran dry and the luscious landscape went barren.

But who was to care?

The power of coin moved the capital to Fujian Province. Soon, upon realizing the extremity of disaster those secret experiments were causing, The Ruling dynasty decided to shut operation and close the gates of Silk Route for generations to come.

Greeks were the most offended. This was not a gesture they expected from the Chinese traders they dealt with for decades. Indians were skeptical but decided to wait for the opportune moment. After all, the biggest trading route, now closed was damaging economic relations between these countries and no one loved to go to sleep, empty stomach.

Time was miser, and everyone was in for an unexpected surprise.



Why & How


“With the afterglow of sunset, I decided it’s time I return home. The vast blanket of tarmac lay before me. I strode as the night grew upon me. I was as helpless with my thoughts just as when a writer pens down his first page. So much time and such a little yarn of thoughts I reckoned.

The mind was on the edge like the wilderness of the ocean shores; bleak and empty, yet disturbed.

Walking a few miles with uneasy feet, I was facing the crossroads. One of the tracks divulged for grave diggers of recent past; the other was carved for the desolated and the broken. No so difficult choice to make, Eh! Yet, I decided to rather camp at the crossroads. The inner world was in turmoil and i was falling out. Seeking a refuge in limbo seemed the apt choice.

The ramblings monologue came to an abrupt halt with silent footsteps approaching. It was getting boldly dark now and my feet were still sore. I ought to confront the mindless chatter of dry leaves and broken twigs. When i stood up to it, I was facing a midnight rider. He came to drop by a few melodies which i earned during my day. i bid him goodbye and sat to break bread with them in company.

Melodies; gentle and warm as they are, with a nuance they melted on my dry lips. Every bit of it was laced with distant, yet a radical persona of nostalgia. I felt my cheeks burning in the cold of my camp. I felt cheated by melodies. They stole the heat of numb and threw me back on the waves beating off the wild ocean shore.

To-&-Fro with many moons, I came to life. Like a new-born, I had memories afresh to make; a whole good lot of work to do, a new path to walk on. Somehow, my midnight travel had changed something inside of me. As a chiselled mark of honour on my skin, I wore my face as a scar. Without blame or grand betrayal, I managed somehow to become a stranger yet again (Ever heard of Déjà-Vu? That)

Probably with every pocket of light entering the empty pores of skin, there was a certain amount of kindness filling me in measured tones. In that moment, the world as a whole seemed a landscape of distraction. It dawned on me what I supposedly have been doing. I was to search for my home. (Before I forget to remind myself that home was not a physical place, it was the feeling I was longed for. I was one of those million searchers, yes.) I wanted all my attempts to escape, cease. I wanted to see someone who was whatever the bright moon has always meant and Sun has always sung of. I wanted the company of my woman to face the sunshine.

But this was a long time ago. I am yet as forlorn as a child lost in the woods, casting shadows on mythical beings. The search has become a lost vocabulary which could have expressed what I no longer can. Cut me open I say and let me bleed to see how beautiful I was from the inside;. You say you cut me open and see a dead man walking. And you stand here in front of me with a terrible guilt and ache to show for it.”

– N

You save a Dog. A Dog Saves You.


Lonely, is wrong. But for a lonely soul, there always will be a friend. When you seek for it.
Dogs. Pure blessings. pocketful of joy.

They have a difficult life. its a dog bite dog world. like ours. for some, life comes easy as it gets. while the others, are street born. in either case, they are sometimes, left abandoned on the streets. Immediate rescue and finding shelter becomes a necessity.
Adoption acts as rehabilitation of sorts, for both. Also like any barter exchange, adoption of a dog benefits both parties.
Initially, it’s an alien world you live in for a few minutes, getting acquainted. the first back-rub, and everything is merry in the world.

And ultimately, they’re going to find out everything: how you chew, how you sip, how you hum, how you dance, how you smell at every point of the day. the fact that most of your friends are shallow. That how you also hate vague noises, how you can’t seem to listen, how you get hyper when you travel, how certain things make you really happy, how you get cranky because you’re too stupid to remember to sleep, that how you have no ability to save receipts.

They’re going to know all of it; everything about you, they’re going to know. And still, they’re going to love you.

Inspired by – Pedigree’s “Feed the Good” campaign.

प्राण साहब को मेरी श्रद्धांजलि


प्राण साहब का निधन हो गया बीती रात । शोकाकुल हूँ थोड़ा सा । कल्पना की अमिट छाप से उन्होंने पता नहीं कितनों का बचपन संजोया था । महज़ ४ साल की उम्र से ही पता चल चुका था की कंप्यूटर नामक वस्तु होती है जिससे कहीं तेज चाचा जी का दिमाग चलता है , वहीँ साबू की डाइट को लेकर अचरज होता था । मुझे साबू ने सिखाया की बेसन के लड्डू कितने स्वादिष्ट होते हैं

और भी थे; रमन, चन्नी चाची, बिल्लू , पिंकी और न जाने क्या क्या । अब सिर्फ एक इच्छा थी की दिल्ली में रहते उनसे कभी मुलाक़ात हो जाए । साल बीत गए और अचानक प्राण जी भी देह त्याग दिए । समय छलिया होता है ।

आज भले ही दर्जनो पब्लिशिंग हाउसेस पनप गए हैं , जो हर तरह का मसाला परोसना चाहते हैं । एक प्राण थे ; जिनकी कॉमिक एक 4 साल का बच्चा हो या 84 साल के उम्रदराज़ व्यक्ति विशेष , हर कोई उतने ही चाव से पढ़ना पसंद करता था ।
जिस वक़्त उन्होंने कॉमिक की मुहीम छेड़ी थी, बहुत बड़ा रिस्क लिया था । गिनी चुनी पब्लिकेशन्स के कॉमिक प्रकाशित होते थे।

प्राण साहब का भरोसा, कला को नया आयाम देने में आखिरकार सक्षम रहा ।

P.S. –
Maurice Horn notes that Pran has been given the title of “Walt Disney of India” in The World Encyclopedia of Comics.[7] The Chacha Chaudhary strips find permanent place inInternational Museum of Cartoon Art, USA. -Wikipedia

The Legacy of Ganges Delta

The Ganges Delta (also known as the Ganges–Brahmaputra Delta,the Sunderbans Delta, or the Bengalla Delta) is a river delta in the South Asia region of Bengal, consisting of Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal, India.

It is the world’s largest delta, and empties into the Bay of Bengal. It is also one of the most fertile regions in the world, thus earning the nickname The Green Delta.
The delta stretches from the Hooghly River on the west to the Meghna River on the east. It is approximately 350 km (220 mi) across at the Bay of Bengal.

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and Haldia in India and Mongla and Chittagong in Bangladesh are the principal seaports on the delta.