Indians getting drunk on Twitter

Perhaps a Modi regimen (no drinking allowed) will be good for executives like Gurbaksh Chahal and Rakesh Agarwal. Note to R.A. – stay away from Twitter if you cant handle technology after having imbibed a peg or two, and stop making up silly excuses if you cant handle the truth.

backlash is predictable. Alex Cutter: Between the roaming
gangs of rapists in India, that Indian CEO guy who was beating his girlfriend,
and this Indian guy — what’s going on with Indian guys?
Agrawal is no longer with the company. Treat everyone with respect. No excuses.
PayPal has zero tolerance,” the company tweeted on Saturday. Agarwal had joined
Paypal around two months ago as its global strategy head.

Earlier, he sent out a number of tweets, slamming his
co-workers. The language and (lack of) grammar in the tweets hinted that he was
probably drunk when he wrote them. The tweets were later deleted but not before
some Twitter users took screenshots.

In one tweet, Agarwal said, “Christina Smedley is a
useless. Piece of sh*t.” In another he noted, “Duck you Smedley you
useless. Middle manager.” Smedley is vice president of global
communication at PayPal.

In one more tweet, he wanted someone named Don Christmas to
be fired. “People who should be fire from Paypal Don Christmas a pool a

Agarwal was apparently at a jazz festival in New Orleans
when he made these tweets. Later, he realised what happened and tried to do
damage control. He blamed the tweets on a new phone he was testing.

“Last night I was using a new phone that I bought
because I wanted to test experiences on android. Those messages were meant for
a colleague,” tweeted Agarwal. “Note to self: don’t test a new phone
when sleep deprived after working your ass off for 20 hours a day while on
According to Agarwal’s website, he “is a product and
marketing strategist who has spent 15 years working in web and mobile media.
His areas of expertise include social networks, local, commerce, payments and
mobile technologies.”

Earlier in March in a guest post on VentureBeat, Agarwal
explained why he was joining PayPal. Among several reasons, he listed his
desire to find smart co-workers. “There’s the old joke about what you
should do if you find out you’re the smartest guy in the room: Find a new room.
I’ve always placed a premium on companies and roles where I can learn from
those around me (and they can learn from me),” he wrote.

Two months later, it looks like neither Agarwal found his
co-workers smarter than him, nor PayPal found him smart enough to be a part of
the company.

Agarwal is second NRI executive to be fired this week for
improper behaviour. A few days ago Gurbaksh Chahal, who founded RadiumOne, was
fired by the company board over allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend.

Audrey Hepburn presents Satyajit Ray

Today is the 85th birthday of Audrey Hepburn and Google is celebrating the most beautiful, gracious lady that we can remember.

It was 1992 and both Hepburn was dying from cancer (she passed away in 1993) and Satyajit Ray was also in his death-bed (he died 24 days later on 23 April). The Academy honored Ray with an honorary Lifetime Oscar award and he requested that his favorite actress present it to him (virtually). It is an emotional moment …even after all these (22) years.

Academy Awards   
Honorary Award 
To Satyajit Ray, in recognition of
his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures,
and of his
profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible
influence on filmmakers and audiences
the world. (accepted on tape from Calcutta, India) 
Audrey Hepburn 
& Venue:
March 30, 1992; Dorothy
Chandler Pavilion

SATYAJIT RAY: Well, it’s an extraordinary experience for me to be here tonight to
receive this magnificent award; certainly the best achievement of my
movie-making career. When I was a small, small school boy, I was
terribly interested in the cinema. Became a film fan, wrote to Deanna
Durbin. Got a reply, was delighted. Wrote to Ginger Rogers, didn’t get
a reply. Then of course, I got interested in the cinema as an art
form, and I wrote a twelve-page letter to Billy Wilder after seeing
“Double Indemnity.” He didn’t reply either. 

Well, there you are. I
have learned everything I’ve learned about the craft of cinema from the
making of American films.
I’ve been watching American films very
carefully over the years and I loved them for what they entertain, and
then later loved them for what they taught. So, I express my gratitude
to the American cinema, to the motion picture association who have given
me this award and who have made me feel so proud.
Thank you very, very

Google has celebrated Audrey Hepburn’s 85th birthday with a pink doodle.

The Breakfast at Tiffany’s star – and fashion icon – became a big screen legend during Hollywood’s so-called ‘Golden Age.’

was born on May 4th 1929 in Brussels to a British father and Dutch
aristocrat mother, before moving to London in 1948 to continue training
as a ballet dancer.

Widely considered to be the world’s most
beautiful women ever, Hepburn rose to film stardom after appearing in
several British movies.

She won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a
BAFTA for her lead role in Roman Holiday (1953) and starred in other
classics, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and My Fair Lady

She won a record three BAFTA awards for Best British Actress in a Leading Role.
appeared in fewer acting roles in later life, devoting much of her time
to working with UNICEF on good causes in the developing world.

She died in Switzerland aged 63 in 1993 after a battle with cancer.


Chicom cannons take aim in (Chinese) Jerusalem

As the backlash grows in Beijing (Christianity’s
growth… “too excessive and too haphazard”
), multiple
churches destroyed in (Chinese) Jerusalem.

The Chicoms will not be deterred by weak minded protests but why not hit them where it really hurts? It
is surely the case that the persecution of Christians in China is
multiple times as compared to Muslims in Palestine
(the first and most
important issue is freedom of worship). Even a visit by Ariel Sharon to the Western Wall was supposed to have been the trigger for the second Intifada.

Why not the people of the book(s) join and launch a BDS-II against China? They
can also think of a BDS-III against India if Modi comes too power. An
ever expanding BDS regime can be considered similar to the NATO expansion
movement in Eastern Europe (the results will be just as bloody). But
at least the faithful will live in hope that one day they will rule
heaven as well as all corners of the (yet to be civilized) earth.

A City known as China’s Jerusalem has had its holy statues depicting
biblical scenes destroyed, removed or “hidden” by authorities, adding to
fears of a renewed offensive against Christianity and drawing
comparisons with the Cultural Revolution.

About 50 government workers sealed off Wenzhou’s Longgang Hill, a
site of Roman Catholic pilgrimage, and used bricks to “hide” statues
portraying moments from the Passion of Christ, including the

Statues of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, each weighing up
to five tons, were “bricked around to hide them from public view” while
cranes were used to remove other holy statues and tablets from the park.

“All other religious decoration was demolished,” reported UCA news, a news agency covering Catholic issues in Asia. “About 100 Catholics who came to watch the removals were blocked at
the entrance,” said one witness, who asked not to be named because of
“security concerns”.

“Some who managed to sneak in sang hymns and prayed while watching. Some could not hold back their tears.

“The authorities’ behaviour is reminiscent of the smashing of church
property during the Cultural Revolution,” another member of the city’s
Catholic community told UCA News’s Chinese-language service.

The removals, news of which emerged Wednesday, took place on
Saturday, 48 hours, before government demolition teams razed a
Protestant church in the same city.

Wenzhou’s Sanjiang church became a symbol of resistance to the Communist Party’s draconian religious policies in early April.

Thousands of Christians formed a human shield around the place of
worship after plans to demolish it were announced, but the building was
eventually levelled on Monday evening.

Christians accuse Communist Party leaders in Zhejiang province of
attempting to slow their faith’s rapid growth by destroying churches
deemed too “conspicuous”.

They believe the “anti-church” campaign reflects Beijing’s extreme
discomfort with the rapid spread of Christianity in China, which one
leading academic recently predicted could have the largest Christian
congregation in the world by 2030.

A list compiled by Christian activists and shown to The Daily
Telegraph this week names more than 20 churches that are facing or have
already suffered some form of demolition work.

Officials deny the demolitions are an attack on Christianity,
claiming their campaign is aimed at illegal constructions “including
factories and Buddhist temples”.

However, in an internal address to party officials earlier this year,
a senior Communist official in Zhejiang complained that Christianity’s
growth had been “too excessive and too haphazard”.

A document purportedly issued last December by Communist Party
officials in Taizhou, another city in Zhejiang province, also appeared
to suggest that Christian churches were being singled out.

Local communist leaders should take “rapid actions” against illegal
buildings, “especially the Christian sites privately established without
proper paperwork or approval,” said the directive, which was obtained
by China Aid, a US-based Christian rights group. The demolition of
“Christian gathering sites” and nunneries are listed as key priorities.

Authorities this week indicated that the campaign was likely to
continue, promising to “aggressively push on with the demolition of
illegal buildings,” the state-controlled Zhejiang Daily reported.

The motive for what appeared to be a “widening crackdown” was unknown
but “an increasingly violent stand-off between authorities and the
Church” was taking place, UCA News reported.

Four Catholics were beaten and injured by government officials in
Wenzhou last week when an argument broke out during the forced
demolition of a church, the news agency claimed.



Travel warning: Saudi Arabia

Please exercise caution while visiting the land of all-MERSi-full camels and people who act all-too-familiar with the camels.This is just like SARS which came from close proximity of humans to pig/birds in China.

Actually there are no known cures for MERS…..yet, so a complete travel ban is warranted. As if one needed an excuse for not visiting Saudi Arabia.

Saudi health authorities announced on Saturday two new
deaths from the MERS coronavirus, raising to 109 the number of fatalities since
the disease appeared in the kingdom in September 2012. 

A 25-year-old man has
died in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah and a woman of 69, who suffered from
tuberculosis and anaemia, died in Mecca, also western Saudi Arabia, the health
ministry said. At the same time, 35 new cases of the severe respiratory disease
have been recorded, raising the number of sufferers in the Gulf state over the
past two years to 396,
the world’s highest tally. 
Yesterday, US health
officials said the first case of MERS has been confirmed in the United States.
person infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is
a health care provider who had travelled to Riyadh for work, they said. 
last week, Egypt recorded its first infection after a person who arrived from Saudi
Arabia tested positive. 
Public concern in Saudi Arabia over the spread of MERS
has mounted after the resignation of at least four doctors
at Jeddah’s King
Fahd Hospital who refused to treat patients for fear of infection. 
research has suggested that camels are a likely source of the virus. 
considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the Sars virus that
erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.
are no vaccines or antiviral treatments for MERS, a disease with a mortality
rate of more than 40 per cent that experts are still struggling to understand.

Along a stretch of rust-belt suburbia in Indiana, the Community
Hospital in Munster
now claims the dubious distinction of being the
first U.S. facility to admit a patient with the deadly Middle East
Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

U.S. state and federal health officials confirmed the first American
case of the virus on Friday. The patient, a male healthcare worker, had
travelled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and began exhibiting symptoms upon
his return to the United States, they said.

Separately, Saudi officials on Saturday said the rate of infections
was on the rise in the country, where MERS was first discovered in 2012.
The total number of cases in the kingdom is 396, of whom more than a
quarter have died.

The MERS patient had traveled via a British Airways flight on April
24 from Riyadh to London, changing planes at Heathrow airport to fly to
Chicago. From there, he boarded a bus to Indiana. Munster, which is
close to Indiana’s border with Illinois, is about a 45-minute drive from
downtown Chicago.

Health officials in Britain were contacting any passengers who may
have sat next to the patient. U.S. health authorities stressed the case
represents a very low risk to the public.

But concerns remain, given how little is know about the way MERS is
spread, other than it can be transmitted between people who are in close
contact. That has made healthcare workers particularly susceptible to
falling ill with the MERS virus, for which there is no treatment.

But citing “an abundance of caution,” Indiana health officials urged
people who had visited the hospital’s Emergency Department between 6:30
p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on April 28,
the night the MERS patient was admitted,
to watch for symptoms such as cough, fever and shortness of breath.



Army in Bodo-land (31 dead, 1000x flee homes)

This is indeed one amazingly diverse country, in Kashmir the army protects Hindu pilgrims from being murdered by Punjabi jihadists and in Axom the army protects Bangladeshi migrants from getting killed by Bodo millitants.

The problem supposedly is that muslim migrants voted for the non-Bodo candidate and the attacks on the family of four year old Taslima Khatun and others are to ensure that people will not repeat the same “mistake” again. But here is a larger question: if these people are truly migrants, who issued voting cards for them? All parties have taken advantage of the plight of migrants, they get ration cards etc in return for the promise of votes. And one day the “natives” decide that enough is enough and go for the kill. This is sadly the story of the North-East.

It is also important to remember that this picture has acquired an unnecessary religious color (in the press and by the politicians). In Tripura it is the Hindu Bangladeshis who have displaced tribals from their land and are facing attacks in response (though not on the scale in Axom).

Modi is on record stating that after the elections all Bangladeshis must pack up and leave. All secular politicians from Omar Abdullah to Mamata Banerjee are (justifiably) outraged. But ultimately this wedge issue will work in the same way as all others- unite non-muslims against muslims. The polarization also works in both directions, muslims in Mumbai feel free to run riot out of sympathy with their Bangladeshi compatriots. And we are back to having the army protect the Taslima Khatuns from terrorists everywhere.
Bodoland People’s Front leader said, “Everything was fine till April 23.
We were assured that we would get about 80% Muslim votes in the third
phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Kokrajhar on April 24.
But all
Muslim votes went in favour of Naba Kumar Sarania alias Heera Sarania.”

Sarania, a reformed ULFA militant, was supported by non-Bodos, who are
opposed to the creation of Bodoland state as demanded by Bodo groups. 

India deployed
troops Assam on Saturday after 31 Muslims were gunned down in three days
of what police said were attacks by tribal militants who resent the
presence of immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

The unrest in the tea-growing
state comes towards the end of a marathon election across India that has
heightened ethnic and religious divisions and which the Hindu
nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks set to win.

forces found the bodies of nine people with bullet wounds on Saturday,
six of them women and children, the third day of violence that police
have blamed on Bodo tribesmen attacking Muslim settlers as punishment
for opposing their candidate in the election to the Indian parliament.

Bodo people are followers of the local Bathouist religion.

are scared to live in our village, unless security is provided by the
government,” said Anwar Islam, a Muslim who had come to buy food in
Barama, a town about 30 km (20 miles) from the villages in the Baksa
district where the violence erupted on Thursday and Friday.

said men armed with rifles had come to his village, Masalpur, on
bicycles and had then fired indiscriminately and set huts on fire.

representatives say many of the Muslims in Assam are illegal immigrants
from Bangladesh who encroach on ancestral Bodo lands. In 2012, clashes
erupted in which dozens of people were killed and 400,000 fled their

candidates, including the BJP’s Narendra Modi, the front-runner for
prime minister, have been calling for tighter border controls.

Modi said last week that
illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in the nearby state of West Bengal
should have their “bags packed” in case he came to power, accusing the
state government of being too soft.

should have been more responsible in his utterances,”
said Sabyasachi
Basu Roy Chowdhury, a political science professor at Rabindra Bharati
University in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal.
words can be very damaging since, even if we consider that Bangladeshis
are living here illegally, there is a question of human rights too.”

in convoys of trucks mounted with rifles were patrolling on Saturday in
Baksa district, where some of the attacks took place.

covered with white sheets were laid out in a row at a police outpost on
the edge of Barama for identification by relatives.

Muslims were staying together in big groups, villagers visiting the
market in Barama said. Security forces found three children hiding in
forests near the border with China.

Bodo region faces what residents say is a tight race between a Bodo and
a non-tribal candidate. A policeman was killed during the voting when
the region went to the polls on April 24.



“Are you Priyanka?”

Priyanka Robert Vadra is the first beti (and sister of local MP, the first beta) and the voters dont even know who she is and what she looks like. The ultimate low-information voter, or is it? If a VIP constituency lacks power after 65 years of independence it will not come as a surprise that voters remain indifferent to VIP appeal.

We are ambivalent about the overall outcome in this general elections but not so about specific cases. It is our fervent wish that in the coming ballot in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi (INC) loses from Amethi, and so does Sonia Gandhi (INC- Rae Bareilly), Varun Gandhi (BJP- Sultanpur) and Narendra Modi (BJP- Varanasi). This is the only time the voters can deliver a bloody nose and it is high time they do so in a very powerful and symbolic manner.
the Ramlila grounds in Nasirabad, the weekly vegetable market is on.
Clad in sneakers, salwar-kurta and a BJP cap, Anu Chaudhary, the state
chief of BJP’s women’s unit in Haryana, distributes campaign material
and pamphlets to vegetable vendors. “You have a right to development. If
Amethi is a VIP constituency, question the vote-seekers on how your
lives have improved,” she says. People hear her out. Then someone asks,
“Are you Priyanka?”

Hours later with a generator powering the
mike, in the same grounds, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra talks about the Gandhis
bringing electricity to Amethi. The mike fails several times and people
complain. “In this area, electricity supply is nearly non-existent.
She’s talking about educational institutions but we do not have an
inter-college,” Mohd Iqbal, a fruit vendor said. Priyanka acknowledges
that there are complaints but says it was the opposition that foiled
attempts to bring power.

In Gauriganj, the headquarters of
Amethi district, senior administrative officials are discussing the
latest entrant into Amethi’s political fray, BJP’s Smriti Irani. At
least a few times, she is referred to as Tulsi, TV’s most popular bahu, a
role Irani played about eight years ago before she entered politics.

“Her arrival created quite a stir in the initial days. As a celebrity, she drew large crowds,” says one of them. Traveling more than 200km every day, Irani has stationed herself in
Amethi since early April and plans to stay till May 7, polling day.

With the help of the Sangh Parivar, Irani has begun sharing space with
Priyanka in drawing room discussions over politics. Nudging the real
contestant – Rahul Gandhi – out of the picture, people say Amethi’s 2014
electoral battle is all about the real beti versus the reel bahu.

The beti invokes all that the first family has done for the people of
Amethi in the many decades it has ruled; the bahu harps on everything
else they could have done, but didn’t.
Both are using more than just
celebrity-hood and charm to strengthen their election campaigns. In
Irani’s case, she has craftily kept the old Jan Sangh hands close,
knowing they can help her build her base. In a more personal gesture,
Irani applies tilak to every supporter who goes out campaigning for her.
Anu Chaudhary, the Haryana unit volunteer, said, “Our focus is on
making personal contact with people. We’re touching villages the Gandhis
have not visited even once in all these years.”

As Irani goes
on a mission to bring down a 40-year dynastic rule, Priyanka is hard at
work trying to fortify it. Spending 15 hours daily campaigning, she’s
been on door-to-door visits, addressed corner meetings and made
unscheduled halts at villages.



The real scam is the fake (pro-poor) image

South Bengal goes to elections just as the Saradha chit fund scam is exploding in the face of Mamata “Didi” Banerjee. Millions of poor were robbed, and the daku-in-chief Sudipta Sen cultivated favors with the one (wo)man ruling party by buying Didi’s paintings for a few crores. A most ingenious way to rob Peter to pay Paul.

What makes the hypocrisy so glaring is that this is the same lady who is supposedly fighting 24/7 for the poor. She refused to raise train fares and caused the Indian railways to nearly collapse from a lack of funds. As Chief Minister of Bengal she refuses to raise bus fares, so much so that bus owners have reduced frequency and even stopped plying their vehicles. In the absence of buses, poor people have  to pay ten times the cost and travel by auto-rickshaws (who are often non-cooperative and rude). It is difficult to believe that even Communists were not so moronic.

Those training guns against the UPA-II for a
series of scams — 2G, Coalgate, the Commonwealth Games — may find it
amusing but in Bengal, the Rs 2,400-crore Saradha Ponzi muddle looms larger
than the other scams. Mamata Banerjee’s “honest” brand image has
taken a beating
in the last two phases of the LS polls spread over 23
constituencies in south Bengal where the “twin flowers”, the TMC symbol,
have a monopoly.

On Friday, a group of Saradha victims were
beaten up, allegedly by Trinamool supporters, when they blocked railway tracks
at Garia station.

“The government has cheated us. It
promised us compensation. But we are yet to get it,” said an injured Bijoy
Sapui. Ashim Chatterjee, a former Naxal leader who is now the president of the
Chit Fund Sufferers’ Association, lodged a complaint with the police.  The
Saradha story is not just about a Ponzi bubble that burst a year ago,
devastating 18 lakh people who had parked their money in the schemes. Bengal
had had a similar experience in 1980, when the chit fund Sanchayita Investments
mopped up more than Rs 120 crore from small depositors, only to shut shop

But the recent Saradha scam has drawn into
its vortex a host of individuals and institutions — from senior politicians and
bureaucrats to football clubs, Tollywood and even the media, where some of the
ill-gotten money was sunk.

The embers of resentment were fanned by BJP’s
Narendra Modi during his campaign in Bengal. While Congress president Sonia
Gandhi had earlier harped on the loot by the Saradha Group and the alleged
inaction by the state, Modi touched a nerve because he hinted that
politicians had directly benefited from the Saradha money. Modi didn’t name the
Saradha Group, but he hit the right notes by raising an obvious question:
“Who bought Mamata Banerjee’s paintings for Rs 1.8 crore?”
boss Sudipta Sen, now in custody, muddied the waters further by coming up with
a rebuttal: “I didn’t buy Mamata’s paintings. I don’t know who bought
them,” Sen said.

Taking a cue from Modi, former CPM minister
Gautam Deb hit the TMC chief where it hurt the most. Deb revealed the
income-tax returns filed by Trinamool that show that the party earned Rs 2.53
crore by selling Mamata’s paintings in the 2012-13 fiscal.
“How could
then Mamata give Rs 3.93 crore to party mouthpiece ‘Jago Bangla’ in the 2011-12
fiscal?” Deb asked.



A million donors needed (registry for stem cells)

Garvit Goel is a lucky kid, he got a match for blood stem cells from a stranger and was saved from a life of pain. Wonderful news and hopefully more people will register with Datri (and the Tata Memorial registry) and qualify to save lives (too easy).

Given the complications caused in South Asia due to endogamy, health experts believe that at least half million donors required. NGOs should consider partnering with religious bodies (similar to the intervention for polio drops) to remove myths about stem cell donation (will cause pain and weakness in donors).

two-year-old Delhi boy suffering from thalassemia got a new lease of
life after a Bangalorean donated his blood stem cells to him.  
This is
the first reported case in India of a thalassemia patient receiving
blood stem cells from an unrelated donor.

Garvit Goel was
advised to go for a blood stem cell transplant a year ago. None of his
family members qualified to be potential donors. That’s when Sumeet
Mahjan (34), a software professional from MindTree, stepped in.

For Sumeet, the turning point came in 2011 when his colleague’s
11-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia. MindTree requested Datri,
an NGO working on networking stem cell donors to help people suffering
from blood disorders, to look for a potential donor. Datri conducted a
workshop and awareness campaign at MindTree to make techies aware of the
life-saving benefits of stem cell donation. The boy died, but the
sustained campaign ensured many registered their names for blood stem
cell donation.

“In January 2013, I was asked by Datri if I
could donate stem cells for a two-year-old thalassemia patient from
Delhi. I was chosen as a potential donor. After consulting Datri and the
doctors, I felt responsible and went ahead with donation,” Sumeet told

For five days Sumeet was given growth factor injections.
He then underwent a half day’s non-surgical procedure. “Garvit underwent
the unrelated peripheral blood stem cell transplant in April 2013 and
is now free from thalassemia and saved from the trouble of constant
blood transfusion. We need 3-5 million blood stem cells per kg of
recipient’s body weight. Over 150-200ml of blood was used,” says Dr
Dharma R Choudhary, director, BLK Super Specialty, New Delhi.

As per the rule book, the recipient’s details cannot be disclosed to the
donor till a year after the transplant. In March 2014, Sumeet met
Garvit in Delhi.

“I wanted to see him. After a year, I got the
chance. His parents were very humble and thankful. I was satisfied that
Garvit was healthy and normal like any other kid of his age,” says
Sumeet, himself a father of two. He was backed by his family.

Thalassemia is caused by variant or missing genes that affect the
production of haemoglobin. Nearly 12,000 babies are born in India every
year with this disorder. In fact, 10% of the world’s thalassemia
patients are from the Indian subcontinent, with 3-4% of them being

With very few
registered donors in India, the possibility of finding a genetically
matching donor for an Indian anywhere in the world is low. Datri Blood
Stem Cell Donors Registry is working towards creating a wide and diverse
database of potential donors who can be accessed by any patient, living
anywhere in the world, in need of life-saving blood stem cells.

Datri has facilitated 51 transplants.

there are four registries in India but only two are functional – DATRI, a
south India-based stem cell registry started in 2009 which has around
56,000 registered donors, and Marrow Donors Registry India at Tata
Memorial Hospital in Mumbai.

a result of evolutionary history, endogamy and consanguinity,
populations of the Indian subcontinent demonstrate high genetic
differentiation and extensive sub-structuring. Ancestry is unique to
India,” said Dr N.K. Mehra, head of Immunology and Immunogenetics at the
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

“Indian groups have inherited different proportions of ancestry from
the ancestral North Indians and the ancestral South Indians. Hence,
consistent with social history, northern regions show closer affinities
with Indo-European speaking populations of central Asia as compared to
those inhabiting southern regions.”

Mehra said the southern Indian population may have been derived from early colonizers arriving from Africa. “This genetic matching is difficult to find for an Indian donor,” he said.

transplant from a healthy unrelated donor replaces flawed stem cells
with healthy ones that can generate healthy red blood cells and cure
Thalassemia. The goal of the transplant is to rebuild the recipient’s
blood cells and immune system and cure the underlying ailment, and avoid
or obviate the need for frequent blood transfusions.

“The existence of a large variety of alleles and haplotypes (genetic
components), both unique and representative of other ethnic groups in
the Indian subcontinent, poses additional challenges in the
transplantation context, particularly with regard to hematopoietic stem
cell transplantation,” Mehra said.

after patients find suitable donors, there are low chances of the donor
turning up due to myths related to donation like pain and weakness,
doctors claimed.

For a
successful transplant, the donor and recipient should have a matching
set of genes known as Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA). At least one third
of patients have a chance of finding an identical set of HLAs within
their family while two-thirds are dependent on unrelated donors.





Meeting your lost brother (after 42 years)

Bangladesh vs. Pakistan.

Perhaps it was too painful for the author to acknowledge but to us the most significant comparison (and contrast) point is that while cricket is akin to religion in both countries, only in Pakistan, there is no international cricket (and will not be for a long, long time), thanks to the Taliban targeting the Sri Lankan team in 2009. Even in the age of television, for domestic cricket to thrive in Pakistan you need international matches. Else we shall see the slow-poisoned demise of what used to be one of the most formidable cricketing machines in the world.
time ago, I visited Bangladesh to see the T20 World Cup and meet my old
Bengali schoolmates from 55 years ago. We attended a PAF boarding
school in Sargodha, half of whose occupants had to be from East

Forty-five years after the last visit, (when one served
as a sub-divisional officer, SDO, equivalent to our assistant
commissioner, in Sylhet district), Dhaka is more crowded. The commuting
time from one part of the city to the other is in hours. Cycle rickshaws
still provide the bulk of the transport; apparently there are 11 lakh
rickshaws in Dhaka alone. One pleasant side effect is the non-existence
of motorbikes.

While the warmth and hospitality of old buddies was
profuse, there was a palpable embarrassment at the way we parted in
1971. They described their ordeal of repatriation from West Pakistan,
(some of them being officers in the Pakistan armed forces) in as soft
terms as possible. One listened with as much tact and sympathy as
possible. The feeling is difficult to describe. One felt like the member
of a family accused of murder, visiting the family of the aggrieved

Politics and detailed discussions on 1971 were avoided, in
order not to spoil the pleasant ambiance generated by the reunion. But
the execution of a prominent member of the Bangladesh Jamaat-i-Islami
and the sentencing to death of half a dozen others, being current
events, could not be kept out of discussion. The Pakistan high
commission in Dhaka was stormed by an angry crowd, protesting the
National Assembly resolution condemning the execution of the JI leader.

response of Bangladeshi friends was that it was insensitive on part of
the Pakistan government to pass judgement, without knowing the facts.
The feeling conveyed was that a few people would have to be punished
(read hanged) to heal the wounds of 1971.

After a few days, one
got the impression there was a war going on in Bangladesh, between
people who love India and people who dislike India. Those who dislike
India would rather be branded India-haters, rather than Pakistan
supporters, as that would reduce their credibility. ‘Lovers’ of India
are led by the Awami League while the party which opposes India is the
Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which would prefer to downplay any overt
connection with Pakistan.

The most surprising thing was that many
in the country do not even recognise Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the father
of the nation. Some in earnest sarcasm say that the actual father of
the nation is Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but then go on to say that Gen Ziaur
Rahman was the one who physically fought the Pakistan Army.

the constraints, Bangladesh has done much better than Pakistan. While
we have foreign exchange reserves of around $10bn after unexplained
gifts from friendly countries and kowtowing to the IMF, their reserves
are at $19bn.  

While the Pakistani rupee, after much jugglery, was
brought below 100 to the dollar, in Bangladesh the dollar is worth 78
taka. This is quite an indictment of our economic performance,
considering the taka was worth 50 paisa when we parted.

startling comparison is that while East Pakistan had more population
than West Pakistan in 1971, Bangladesh is now at 150 million, while we
are close to 190 million. So despite the predominant religious values in
the country, they have controlled their population. In Pakistan no one
is even talking about the crisis.

As for social indicators
monitored by international agencies measuring progress in health and
education etc., we are at least 25 positions lower in the country
rankings. So both financially and socially, Bangladesh seems to be
moving in the right direction, despite its chronic political crises.

Bangladesh was
geographically and ethnically so far away from Pakistan it would have
separated, if not in 1971 then a few years down the line. The only
regret is that the two brothers could have parted in a more civilised

Pakistan is still popular amongst the Bangladeshi masses,
but not with the government. The best way to restore the bond is to
resort to low-profile diplomacy with patience.