Saturday, January 24, 2009

Exit sign boards and toll sign boards on Indian expressways/highways

People who have travelled outside India to USA, Canada, European countries, China, Japan would have seen huge exit boards indicating where which exit will take the driver. In India, it was unimaginable until Golden Quadrilateral became a reality. Today, I post some of these pics showing exit boards on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and Delhi-Noida expressway. Enjoy the sign boards. Also, watch out for bright LED display boards for Smart Tag users to get automatic toll deductions from devices, like SUNPASS in Florida, USA.

One could not have imagined before Golden Quadrilateral, sign boards of the ones below would be visible on Indian roads, esp the part wherein distances are displayed in kilometers and that too in 1000's . Observe the images carefully: (All photos from

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Updates on expressways and new highways

Ambala Chandigarh expressway

Exactly a decade ago, going from Ambala to Chandigarh was a nightmare. This was because the road was just single lane and there was no divider in between. The single lane coupled with very high traffic made driving a hell. The common news was an accident every day. For more, read this news article.

The expressway was handed over to GMR Group in early 2006. In Dec 2008, the expressway was inaugurated. IT IS of course signal free. The most accident prone points were Zirakpur Traffic Point, the crossing near Dhillon factory, road divider point near the Dera Bassi Police station and all T-points of roads leading to villages. The expressway is tolled road and is 4 laned with clear dividers, and there is a 12 lane toll plaza. Apart from these, all traffic points have flyovers which will avoid traffic congestion on a single road. Now, this 35 km stretch is much easy to cover and can be done in 30 minutes.

Delhi-Panipat 6 lane expressway (built by L&T)

Beautiful roads on Karnataka Maharashtra border (part of Golden Quadrilateral)

Photos courtesy:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The unending drama by Pakistan

If anybody is carefully watching the drama enacted by Pakistan, one would say that Pakistan has emerged as the best actor on the world stage. This drama by Pakistan -that of denial of everything that happened in Mumbai is far worse than Ekta Kapoor serial plots. At least in Ekta's serials, one can easily predict what the drama is and where the story is going to go. In case of Pakistan, it's the same story and has become predictable over the years, but there is no twist which is the highpoint of Ekta's serials.

Just observe the events. One day Pakistan says that people who committed the Mumbai carnage were "non-state" actors. Then they admit that Kasab is a "Pakistani". Then the PM of Pakistan denies this charge, but the National Security Advisor is sacked for his comments on Kasab. Pakistan says it can't hand over the terrorists as they don't have any extradition treaty with India. The next day they say they don't have any terrorists but it is itself being targetted by some external people. This claim is the most illogical, non sensical one I have ever heard. One day they say they have received evidence from India. The other day officials deny they ever received one. Our country is seen very lightly by them. This is the same country whose PM once called the Indian delegation as "Hindu dogs". It is the same Bhutto who once said, "Pakistan will wage a 1000 year war with India to get Kashmir". So, despite this we should forgive and forget everything.

Now, I ask myself, this country, every reader of this article -" How long can we keep forgetting and forgiving Pakistan?". They infiltrated our country, attacked us thrice, launched guerilla warfares, caused bloodshed in Kashmir and many more. My problem is not with the people of Pakistan, but the army, ISI and the government which always has been anti-Indian. Pakistan never learns any lesson. It is the same Pakistan which traded with China and gave away some portion of our Kashmir to China. Yet, we forgave Pakistan and yet many Indians want to forgive Pakistan.

So, if Pakistan is weak, have Indian leaders been tough? All the greatest PM's starting from Nehru to Indira Gandhi and from Vajpayee to Manmohan Singh have been committing strategic blunders with respect to Pakistan. India occupied the territory which Pakistan invaded, but Nehru went on to call the UN. He followed the policy of autonomy to Kashmir. The country still needs an answer - "Why should KAshmir be treated differently from the other 27 states? Is it just because it has Muslim majority?" If India is indeed secular, why apply such a logic?

It was in 1965 when Lal Bahadur Shastri asked troops to occupy PoK and we occupied quite a lot of area such as Haji Pir and Tithwal areas. But on the negotiation table ,Shastri was forced to give up that land at Tashkent. In 1971 Indira Gandhi asked troops to occupy PoK again and over 5000 sqkm area was captured. Everyone thought Indira can never compromise. She did compromise and gave up the claim over that area. Then Mr. Vajpayee. He too failed this country by not asking the army to cross LoC. There is unanimous agreement across all political parties that PoK is an illegal area occupied by Pakistan and it has to be given to India. Why not take that step which is right for us?

I ask the Indian media, people and politicians - why do you have to call 26/11 as India' s 9/11. Are the Mumbai train bombings of 2006, Mumbai blasts of 1993 not as tragic as 9/11? How can we as people be so forgiving in nature? It is too much to forgive people who are not fit to be forgiven. Is Indian life so cheap that someone can come and take it and we still want peace? We still should pursue the weak policy of peace. Forget these incidents, can you forget 1947, 1965, 1971, 1989, the burning of charare-mosque of Kashmir, brutal killings of Sikhs in 1999-2000. Should we keep forgetting all these and always think of peace?

The Indian government of today led by Manmohan Singh has put India to shame by sharing and handing over evidence to Pakistan. Pakistan will see the evidence, pick out the clues and have them recorded/stored so that they don't repeat these mistakes the next time they attack us. It indirectly means that handing over of the evidence is going to make them even better planners the next time so that they don't leave any clues.

Read this interesting article by a former diplomat, G. Parthasarthy (who was also Indian Ambassador to Pakistan who saw Dawook Ibrahim in Pakistan).

So, what are India's next options? According to me, India must cut off water supply to them, violate all water treaties, stop all trade, stop exporting anything to Pakistan, strip Pakistan of its "Most favoured nation" status, build up pressure on US to ask Pakistan to hand over terrorists )Pak has a treaty with US) to them so that India can get them via the extradition treaty India has with US (Will US do this? No way), revoke cultural and sports ties, stop the existing confidence building measures.

Will Pakistan ever learn from all these steps? No.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How India must be showcased in EPCOT

This is how I imagine India stall in EPCOT must be showcased: More can be added later. Suggestions/comments welcome.

At the entrance, there will be Asoka pillar with our emblem on top of it. Also, quotes about India by various past and present great celebrities will be put up. The building will have a gopuram, mosque dome, gurduwara dome and church tower. On either sides would be Mahavira and Buddha. As soon as you enter you will see pictures of Harappan cities. Then the Vedic age photos/archaeological remains. Then some interesting inventions and discoveries of Gupta Age, Mauryan age and how Alexander was defeated by Indians will be shown. Our progress in science and technology even before Greeks and Romans would be on display. Then, the invasion of Muslim rulers, the structures they built will be shown. The Indian empire which extended from Iran till Java will be shown in terms of maps.

Then the last part would be the display/showcase of British India. In between, videos of cave paintings of Ajanta, Ellors, Badami etc and the majestic temples of TamilNadu and Karnatka will be continuously played.

There will be a section called Indian life. There the first thing that will be on display is a board showing "WELCOME TO INDIA" and this will be written in 16 different main languages. Then you will see dolls with different costumes put on it (Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, telugu, Tamil etc). Like the Chinese one has a showcase of 500/1000 small warrior idols, we can have small dolls with those costumes. The various dances will be displayed in pictures. For this, pictures of popular celebrity depicting each type of dance will be put up.

In the food section, you will have sweets (Rasgulla, Jamoon, jalebi, Mysore Pak, Obattu, Kheer, etc), Namkeen (from all parts), Idli, dosa, Roti, Baingan Bartha, Sarson Ka Saag and many more delicacies will be offered.

In the store/shopping section, you will have sarees, chudidars, kurtas, different spices, handicrafts, emboridery dresses, jewellery etc will be shown (like the Chinese section has it today).

The 360 degree film will be a direct copy of Indian history which is showcased in Delhi's Akshardham.

Then there will be a "PRESENT" section where Indian achievements since Independence will be showcased. Our breakthroughs in biotechnology, IT, thorium research, defence, science and technology will be on display. Our military, navy capabilities will be shown. The success of Bollywood industry will also be on display with various celebrities talking about India. Also, will show how home grown software companies are changing lives of rural India especially the success of e-Choupal will be shown. Golden Quadrilateral roads will be shown in terms of videos/photos etc. Our growing automobile industry showcasing Nano and our textile industry will be displayed either as a photo album or a video on a screen. Also, the world class Delhi Metro which even London wants to replicate will be shown.

Last section, will be "FUTURE" showing how India is poised to grow at an extremely good rate and the undying enterprenral spirit which is far better than China will be shown in terms of number of Indians successful in billionaries list (both in India and abroad)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Why India has been missed out of Epcot World Showcase

Has anyone ever visited the World Showcase part of EPCOT theme park in Orlando, Florida? If yes, I wonder how many Indians felt the need to showcase India and why it is missing? Anybody may feel biased about my opinion and question why India must be showcased? I can say only one thing - "The world is incomplete and non-existent without India and indian history which is responsible for so many inventions and discoveries because of which the world is running today"

Have the people who conceived this idea of world showcase forgot who invented zero? It is the Indians. Their theme parks which are controlled by machines can't work if they can't understand zero. It is we who had formidable armies and the best navies in the world at one point. It is India which once was invincible by Alexander the great. It is we who created Ayurveda. It is the only country in the world which had gold, diamonds, silver, perl etc in huge quantities that they were used to decorate palaces whenever they were in excess. It is India where Nalanda University attracted 1000's of students across the world to come and study. It is the first known university where so many subjects were being offered. It is the wealth of India which attracted the British. Such is the fame and name India carries and I wonder how it was forgotten.

As I was watching the 360 degree film in the China (world showcase), I began to wonder what if India was really having a place here. Before that, I saw the movies of France, USA, Canada and China. It was only China which had a perfect presentation. They showcased not only how rich their history is but also how they are gradually becoming a developed world. The main goal was to convince the audience that China is the best example of a country where there is a balanced blend of the past and the present and has the best potential to become a developed country like USA. I feel India is surely a similar example.

Let's forget for a moment that in many sectors China is way ahead of India. Yet India is a country the world and the world history can never forget. Why only past? India is the second fastest growing economy and that being a present fact is also a strong reason why it should be showcased in EPCOT if it truly has to be called "WORLD SHOWCASE". It is also true that Greece and Egypt are missing. These two countries have equally rich history and all ingredients to be represented here.

When I was listening to the Chinese - they described several things and I started comapring with India solely for the reason that Chinese and Indians have some of the best inventions and discoveries and were contemporaries for centuries. The world owes a lot to these two countries.
Let's see some similarities. I took these based on what was presented in the movie.

They talked about gobi desert. We have the Thar desert. They have the giant Himalayas and we too have them. They have the mighty Yangse River while we have the mighty Ganges (of course, Yamuna, Cauveri etc). The narrator was saying that anyone who can swim in Yangse can fight the Gods. In our case, anyone whose ashes are immersed in Ganges reaches heaven. If they have the Great Wall, we have the mighty and majestic temples of TamilNadu. We have the beautiful Taj, and the world famous Hampi, Halebid, Badami, Aihole, Pattadkal, Ajanta, Ellora. and hundreds of others each a unique masterpiece. Find out one example in the world which can match these latter ones in style and richness. They are unique. All these are wonders of the world.

The movie talked about Chinese arts, dances and music. Can anyone find Carnatic and Hindustani anywhere in the world? Can anyone find dances like Bharatnatyam, Kuchupidi, Manipuri etc. elsewhere? Nowhere. They are unique. So many musical instruments were made and played in India. Can anyone forget Kautilya's Arthashastra which is a masterpiece like the Sun zu's (Chinese) "The Art of War". Both talk of military strategies with the help of which one can easily defeat enemies.

With respect to traditions, Indians still towers the world. Countless number of rituals each with its own significance ( of course, some of them still are superstitious) are practised by people in our country. The same festival is celebrated differently in different parts of india. Can we think of a country where 16 main languages exist? I really can't think of any other than ours. How can one forget India is the birthplace of Jainism, Buddhism, hinduism. How can one forget Mahatma Gandhi, Chandragupta Maurya, Asoka, Vikramidtya, Harshavardhana, Raja Raja Chola, Krishnadevaraya, Shah Jahan, Akbar etc. ?

The movie also mentioned about Chinese silk and unique dresses they wear. Can anyone think of a country where sarees were worn from the BC era? Is there any country where one can find different types of dresses in different parts? It is India.

How can we also ignore the fact that India is rising not because of government but despite the government? We are the largest democracy and for centuries our country existed(in terms of empire) from Iran till Java. How can one forget the fact that rarely one can find a country that was so difficult to be defeated in the 19th century as much as India by the Britishes because of the strong unity that bound us.

All these questions are not for a reader, but to the people who conceived and executed the idea of the WORLD SHOWCASE in Orlando? My final word to them - "You are fooling the world by showing WORLD SHOWCASE without showing India, Egypt and Greece."