Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee

Odisha Bandh called by BJD. Photo- By Ashok Panda


Politics of Bandh and Hartal

Odisha suffered another hartal on 18 September. Called by the ruling BJD (Biju Janata Dal) it was against the surging rise of petroleum products, even when the rate at the International market is low, less than half at which it is being sold in India. Every political party has a right to protest against a decision and mobilise people’s support to their cause. But gradually what we are witnessing is the increase of violence. Every bandh or hartal (as the Court gets harsh on bandh, the political parties are using the word hartal, though on the ground both are the same) called by any political party on any issue- provides opportunity to the lumpen elements to unleash a terror raaj. If the party calling the hartal happens to be the ruling one- then, the scale of violence is upped.

This is happening everywhere, in almost all states across the country. All political parties (and increasing socio-cultural organisations too) are resorting to it.

We are no longer a peaceful country. Non-violence has gone for a toss. The political parties, almost all of them, unfortunately, overtly or covertly giving credence to the violence mongers either by supporting the marauding mob or by not taking steps to stop the reign of violence.

Gold Prices

Gold prices are increasing in India though the sales have reduced as the government has made it compulsory for consumers to furnish KYC (Know Your Customer) information when they buy gold worth Rs 50,000 or more.  This seems like a paradox.

Gold prices usually increase as the economic growth nose dives and people want to invest in secure options. This jacks up the price. However, there is a different reason for the sales to dip. People with money do not want to attract the attention of the tax men by buying gold worth more than Rs 50,000 as they have to submit KYC. As Economic Times report dated 21 Sept. says, that the gold sales have almost halved since last month. The festive season of Dussehra and Dhanteras (from late September to mid Novermber) accounts for as much as 60 per cent of India’s annual gold sales.

Gold has been a valuable and highly sought-after precious metal for coinage, jewelry, and other arts since long before the beginning of recorded history. A total of 165,000 tonnes of gold have been mined in human history, until the end of 2009. The world consumption of new gold produced is about 50% in jewelry, 40% in investments, and 10% in industry.

India is the world’s largest single consumer of gold, as Indians buy about 25% of the world’s gold, purchasing approximately 800 tonnes of gold every year, mostly for jewelry.

Space Hotel

First a note of caution: I got the following information from an e-mail forward. So no guarantee on its credibility. Now, the information: A Russian company by the name of Orbital Technologies plans to build the world’s first space hotel as a commercial alternative to the International Space Station. The hotel which is officially called Commercial Space Station will orbit at a height of some 350 kilometers above the earth and will have room for seven guests in four cabins with the most incredible views you’re likely to get out of a window.

Passengers will be taken aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. While floating above the earth, guests will be able to watch TV and surf the internet. In the gravity free space cabins guests will have the option to sleep either vertically or horizontally. Washing will be done with wet-wipes, and toilets will use flowing air to move waste through the system and waste water will be recycled and filtered along with the air. Food prepared on earth will be freeze dried before being carried to the hotel. Also alcohol will be strictly prohibited.

A five-day package, not including the two day trip in both directions aboard a Soyuz rocket, will cost close to a million dollars. Orbital Technologies says that the design and development of the space station is underway, and it is expected to launch in 2018.

After going through this I am thinking: is there a need to go to this space hotel. If you want to sleep horizontally or vertically- go and live in a Mumbai chawl or Surat slum, where fifteen people live in a 8×10 feet room. If you want recycled air and water, go live in Talcher, where air and water pollution forces people to recycle it anyway. If you want to remain without bath- you can do that here on earth; many of us do.

Why go up there just to have a view of the earth, where you live.


Tailpiece 1: Rich

Human beings get rich as they grow old; silver in hair, gold in teeth, sugar in blood, precious stones in kidney and never ending supply of gas.

(Courtesy: Kitty Mukherjee)

Tailpiece-2: Early to Bed

Early to bed and early to rise makes ur girlfriend go out with other guys.

(Courtesy: Ngathingpei Khayi)


(Courtesy: Social Media Post)


A journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, a Central Odisha hilly town. He also writes fiction. [email protected]

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