Friday, February 26, 2010

Leaving Bangalore.....

“Kabhi Palko Main Aaso Hai
Kabhi Lab Pe Shikayat Hai
Magar Ai Zindigi Phir Bhi
Mughe Tughse Mohabbat Hai”

The lyrics from the Kishore Kumar's song kind of define my feelings at the moment as I leave Bangalore. I am going to Calcutta where I always wanted to go but this busy and bustling city has been my home for the past two and half years. “You can't get everything in life” they say and it holds true for me as I leave this city tomorrow. The idea doesn't seem to sink that all that is a part of my everyday life now will be a thing of the past within a few days.

It was almost two and half years back on 28th August 2007 that I had stepped foot on the Silicon Valley of India. Coming from a small town almost 3000 kms away I had very few friends here and hardly knew anybody in this happening city. But somehow this city welcomed me. It is a feeling hard to define but here I was in the most vibrant city of India and yet didn't feel out of place. The roads were bust but they didn't scare me, the buildings were tall but they didn't dwarf me.

When I moved from the hotel to the PG, I felt more at home as I was in the company of many like me who had come to make a career, those who were already well established and a few who had a few stories to tell. Slowly I became friends with many of them and soon started the process of interviews. After failing to clear some interviews, I came to truth with this city when a guy in the PG told me “Yeh Bangalore hai beta, yaha pe sirf kaam bolta hai” (This is Bangalore, only work speaks here).

Looking back, I cannot think of a better statement that can define this city. In less than 48 hours I will be gone from this city, if not for ever but professionally I presume. Here people have taught me the true meaning of professionalism and how to set standards just not for the nation but for the globe. The real cosmopolitan nature of this city allows the best of people in the country to work together and no wonder this city has become a 'verb' for industry leaders around the world.

I can't just digest the idea that I won't seen the Forum Mall daily with all the beautiful women around! The Anna Sambar and dinner in the Andhra Mess at night will be a piece of nostalgia in my life. I will miss the comfort of travelling in the Volvos around the city. But above all I will miss the people I lived with, I worked with. Guys, you are the ones who have made life special for me in this city and I will take those memories and cherish them throughout my life.

I may leave Bangalore but Bangalore won't leave me!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Indian economy to grow at 8 percent?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

For all those who are concerned about facts and figures the Indian economy will grow by 8% in the upcoming financial year. Well that's what the Government believes and that's what President Prathiba Patil said while addressing the joint session of the Parliament ahead of the Budget Session of the parliament. President Patil also said that providing relief to 'aam admi' from high food prices will be her government's top priority.

This might bring in cheers to many faces but the question arises in whether this growth in totality making India a better country. On one hand we are striving to become one of the superpowers in the world while on the other we have the largest number of people living below the poverty line anywhere in the world. Our figures on poverty are even worst that some of the Sub-Saharan nations according to many international agencies.

Our basic health care system especially in the rural areas is in a pathetic condition. This is quite an irony for a country which is becoming a destination for 'health tourism.' Does the growth in the GDP mean anything to these deprived people? Can the growth in the GDP rate or the sensex douse the hunger in a common man's life? How much of the GDP is the government willing to pump into the Social Sector to narrow the gap between India and Bharat.

The rise of the left wing extremism in the last decade has been a slap on the face of the nation which was going gaga over the country's economic growth. Government and various non-governmental organisations woke up to the apathy of people in these backward areas only after these people had been brain-washed by the Left Wing terror groups. The results are for all of us to see and Left Wing terror seems to be more threatening than the militancy in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East.

Do these figures mean anything to even a middle class Indian? The effective inflation on the ground is almost double than what the government claims it to be. This ironically in a period when India hasn't fully emerged from the financial meltdown. So has our economy and GRD growth practically made our life better or is it mere statistics?


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

India has to take 'Red Terror' seriously

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh acknowledged it as the “biggest threat to the nation” but the Centre and the States seem to be nowhere serious to dealing with Red Terror. The Maoist unleashed their terror again when they attacked the camp of Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) of West Bengal Police in the Maoist dominated area of Silda. The attack left 24 policemen dead and the rest highly demoralised.

The Government's laxity towards dealing with the Maoist problem can be understood from the fact that
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and his Jharkhand counterpart Shibu Soren remained absent from the meeting chaired by P. Chidambaram of the Maoist affected states. This strikes which comes less than two weeks after that attack is an egg on the face of our politicians who don't seem to foresee the gravity of the situation.

All the States and their law enforcement agencies have different mechanism to fight the Maoists who strike with the same ferocity in all the affected regions. Some states believe in combat operations while others believe in sitting for talks with the left wing terrorists. The Maoist are taking advantage of this muddiness in the corridors of power and striking at will causing rampage in tribal belts in turn causing embarrassment to the Government.

Another striking feature of the Maoist attacks is the manner in which they execute it where the security forces are always taken by surprise. No where are the security forces suffering this many casualties as they are in Maoist affected heartland of India. The casualty rate of the security forces is alarmingly high when compared to that of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and the various North Eastern states.

It is high time that the Centre and the State formulate a concrete plan to deal with the Maoist in the affected areas. Raising a special force to deal with the problem on lines of the Rashtriya Rifles which has been a potent forces in fighting militancy in J&K. Such a forces should be under the Centre like the RR is and not be a used according to the wimps and fancies of the political parties ruling various states in the Maoist affected region.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Pune Blast: Should India talk to Pakistan?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Valentine's Day is celebrated by lover around the world but a blast on it even in Pune has made sure that India and Pakistan will have to go a long way to fall in love with each other. Just when both the countries has seemed to have buried the skeleton on the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the blasts in Pune has threatened to jeopardise the entire process of resumption of talks between the two nuclear armed sub-continental giants.

It is too early to conclude a Pakistani hand behind the blasts in Pune but going by the terror activities that have taken place in India in the last couple of years the Pakistani angle cannot be overlooked. Behind every major terror strike in India there has been a fundamentalist group sponsored by the notorious Pakistani spy agency the ISI. The latest attack is being linked to Pakistani Lashkar-e-Toiba and it's offspring Indian Mujahideen.

Pakistan on it's part has condemned the bomb blast in Pune with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani hoping for a meaningful dialogue with India. But isn't this the Pakistani stand after every attack that takes place in India? Pakistan claims itself to be a victim of terror, but who was behind the creation of all these terrorists groups? Pakistan is paying price for it's own actions, why should India have to face burden of it's transgress?

New Delhi will be hurt as well as sceptical over the issue, hurt as it has proposed resumptions of talks and sceptical as talks cannot happen in the backdrop of blasts taking place. The Central Government for now is playing safe on the issue as it doesn't want the opposition get a chance to nail it ahead of the budget session of the Parliament. An incident like the Pune blast leaves India with no choice but to dis-engage any dialogue process with Pakistan.

Pakistan on it's part might blame stateless actors to have carried the blasts but post 26/11 it has done little to improve relationship with India. Although people like Hafeez Sayeed were taken into custody after the Mumbai attack, they were let free once the matter cooled down. This has left India with very little scope to start the peace process with Pakistan again. The questions which looms in everybody's mind is should India sit for talks with Pakistan?


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Let "me" Sleep

By: Ratnadeep Deb

Its 4 am.And here I sit. I sit through the cries and screams..through the shrieks and whines..and through the bigots and fagots..through the suppressed and oppressors..through the penury and the plenary..through the acerbic and sublime..through the vandalisms and the indignation...through the burnings and flames and killings..through the madness and awe. My gut's on fire.My brain's on an overdrive.And I sit.Right through it. Doing nothing.In silence.....listening to the crickets and frogs,jealous and defeated.Bowed before the 'MAN".Hope,there's hope.....someone cries out inside.What does that make me??An insomniac,a roseate optimist.....a deplorable sycophant,a sissy...or just the ideal,state-of-art common man who sits through all????

One question rings out...Why did man INVENT fairy tales??Why fantasy for the practical always inventing and thinking man.What necessitated this challenge to his manhood?Bet they weren't necessary.Still,its all flesh and blood,isn't why can't fairy tales be true.But then,ain't we flesh and blood.Or just hungry and thirsty for flesh and blood?.Why is the color of blood the most catchy and enduring;why did blood have to be of that color,the color man identifies most easily?God's honest bungling...maybe.People turn out to be blue-green color blind.But not red.Ain't red,green and blue the three essential basic colors???Why did the almighty have to leave out red from the color blindness loop???Or did god want us to spill that essential fluid and revel over it,and not miss out on the fun,the arousal,the joy... because of bullcrap COLORBLINDNESS.Why did man invent hunting as a pasttime??Would it be coz of the joyous thrill,the enigmatic libido spilt blood invokes?? We refer our genetic and genealogical comrades as BLOOD RELATIVES??What's that supposed to mean...more often den not,u dun f***in even share the same antigen but for a obscure 25-75% probability...WTF?

We never say genetically related or related by descendancy...which for that matter holds conditionless. Its always related by BLOOD..when sharing the same blood group can have as good a chance as converting a free-kick or an IIM call.Why has blood definitively been the epitome and teh pedestal on which human pedigree has flustered and relationships identified??Have we been programmed for this crazy infatuation for blood?I guess the answer's YES and hence I will no longer condemn killings,mass pogroms,homicide,fratricide or even terrorism for that matter.All performed by brethrens, an essential genetic need.Its just us, isn't it?

I sit.Still.Reclined.Nauseated.Puzzled.I sit and watch.maybe helpless..maybe not.But i sit...juxtaposed between the multiverses....swearing,abusing,slandering manhood.Shame on u Osama,go to hell Dawood,Die the thackereys,you dun deserve to live Taliban,fck u Nazis.....Alas!Besmirching humanity.I cry foul,I feel the same pangs of disdain and discomfort.In the abstract.But I sit...and sit.I sit and watch as Australians kill us for we are brown.Chinese and Pakistanis want coz we draw a line to their dissent.The maoists and naxalites want us coz we want to spend our cash,on ourselves.The Thackerey's want us coz we dun believe in regionalism nd fiefdom.I just sit and watch.

I thank god.For the earth has no heart.Its experienced in dealing with its illness..been here 4.5 billion years.Its seen a lot...meteor strikes,solar flares,acid rains,plate tectonics,continental drifts,asteroid strikes,earthquakes,volcanoes,tsunamis,hurricanes,maybe black holes,comets,novas....and it will treat itself off the human problem soon.Shrug'em off like a bag full of fleas...and gone we will be.Just like that.for the better.Until then....I wanna sleep.

Abhishek Sen is a 'Metal Fan' ever since I have known him since our childhood. He is currently working as a RJ in Shilliong and regularly posts on his blog ChaiBiskoot Tango


Saturday, February 13, 2010

India and Pakistan to date again!

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Over the last few year India and Pakistan have behaved like lovers whose relationship can hit the rocks any time. Come February 25 and bot the sides will engage in secretary level talks. This will be the first since the Mumbai attacks in 2008 when Pakistan backed and trained terrorists created a carnage in Mumbai. The attack had claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people and also some top cops of the Mumbai police.

Both the countries hope to take the Composite Dialogue Process forward in the coming months so that peace could prevail in the sub-continent. Both the sides might also talk on the Kashmir issue which has been the greatest bone of contention for the two countries over the last six decades. The US has been trying hard to get India and Pakistan on the table so that it can have more mobilisation from the Pakistani troops in the Pak-Afghan border to take on the Taliban.

Pakistan on it's part has been trying hard to draw the sympathy of the international community by claiming itself to be a victim of terror. True it may be, but the question also arises who were the perpetrators of terror in the first place? Who were the people behind arming and training people for terror activities for the last two decades first in Jammu & Kashmir and then the rest of India? Why is a Pakistan hand always behind all terror activities in India.

It is Pakistan and it's dreaded intelligence agency the ISI that has over the years controlled the terror activities in India. Although they are now facing the wrath of these murderous monsters that they have created there is not an iota of restrain in it's anti-India activities. Infiltration across the border has been high since the start of the year and ceasefire violations from the Pakistani side has been on a high. Can Pakistan explain all that?

It is a known fact that India and Pakistan have to co-exits with each other and so isolation from each other isn't a solution. But a bigger truth is there needs to be conducive environment for talks. India took a bus to Lahore it got back Kargil, it started talking it got back Parliament attack and after the composite dialogue process started it got Mumbai as a gift. Now that India wants to talk to Pakistan again let us hope the terror torn nation behaves sensibly.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

From US to India with 'Terror'

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

David Coleman Headley might have been the first major US national to be caught exporting terror to India but he certainly wasn't the last. A US national was detained on terror charges at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi by the joint team of Delhi Police and Intelligence Bureau. The suspect identified as Winston Marshall was arrested when he was about to board the New York bound, Qatar Airways from Doha, based on a tip-off from the Intelligence Bureau.

David Coleman Headley being the mastermind of the 26/11 attacks in India had come as a shocker for the Indian security agencies after his arrest in the United States. Headley who has his roots in Pakistan was a regular visitor to India and had carried out recce for the attacks in Mumbai. Not only that he had associations with many socialites in India who seemed to have been completely unaware of motives behind visiting India.

There was a myth that the American security system could be bypasses by anybody in the world. That myth was shattered when the World Trade Centre came down and Pentagon was attacked on September 11, 2001. There was another myth that US security screening is full-proof and with David Coleman Headley and Winston Marshall now, this myth will also get shattered. This serves as a wake up call for the Indian security forces.

India has to learn that America has become the new path for terrorists to enter India due to out third-world mentality which hasn't been erased although as a country we have had decent achievements America has itself been a victim of terrorism, it's another fact that many would say it propagated terror and made the world a much dangerous place buy going hammer and tongs on Afghanistan in the name of wiping out the Taliban.

The greatest lesson that Indian security agencies have to learn from the Headley and Marshall case it that terrorism need not necessarily enter Indian through it's borders with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. It can come and strike even from the most developed of the nations. It is high time we get over myths and assumptions and be serious with our security apparatus. As they says it is better to 'prepare and prevent', than 'repair and repent.'


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Secular Govt. announces reservation on religion!

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

In India there are two types of government, one which claim themselves to be secular and the second which try to defend themselves to be secular. The Left parties by far have had the best record in keeping politics away from religion. But the Left Front Government in West Bengal has surprised everyone when it reserved 10% of all Government jobs for Muslim. To escape the clutches of the constitution which doesn't allow any reservation based on religion they have added the backward clause to it's order. Thus by law creamy Muslims will not be beneficiary to this.

The Left parties have accused all the major political parties in India including the Congress and the BJP of being communal. But this time with an election defeat in sight the Left Front Government seems to be trying it's best to reach out to the Muslims. It is quite a surprise that the Government has woken up to the backwardness of the community only after it deserted them in the Lok Sabha polls and the by-election to the State Legislature.

The Left Front's decision seems more out of desperation as it's bete noire Mamata Banerjee has promised similar reservation for the Muslims when voted to power. With the party's dwindling support which has become evident with the result of all the polls that have happened in the recent past, the Left seems to be trying to buy some oxygen ahead of the 2011 assembly elections. Muslims have traditionally been a strong support base for the Left and the party had taken them for granted but with the drubbing it got in the Lok Sabha polls the Left feels the need to win back upon the Muslims.

Left Front also wants to reiterate the fact that it still holds power at the Writer's Building. From industry captains to common people everyone seems to look into Mamata Banerjee as the next leader in the state. Her popularity and authority seems to be more than that of Left although Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee still holds the CM's chair. Does such a reservation police help in enhancing the secular image of the nation. That topic is seriously debatable?


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

India's 'Bombay' is Shiv Sena's 'Mumbai'

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

In the past two decades many Indian cities and town were renamed to 'Indianise and Localise' them. The grand old Calcutta became Kolkata, Madras turned Chennai, Thivandrum became Thiruvananthapuram, Baroda became Vadodara and Bangalore was rechristened as Bengaluru. All these cities even after the renaming retained their original identity and calling them by their erstwhile name is no crime. But this hasn't been the case with Bombay opps! Mumbai which according to some of its political groups isn't allowed to retain anything from Bombay.

There is a joke which runs around the financial capital of India, What is the gravest crime you can commit in the 'Maximum City'? The answer call it 'BOMBAY'. The Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena can take anything but can't tolerate anybody dishonouring their 'MUMBAI' by referring to it by it's old name. A second joke runs around the city that the Thackeray are willing to pardon Ajbam Kasab as he had referred to the city as 'MUMBAI' but not anybody from any part in India if he refers to it has if he refers to it has 'BOMBAY'

From howling abuses to instigating violence Sena and MNS can go to any extent to protect the honour of 'MUMBAI.' Both the parties have mastered the art of street violence and threatening people in the name of Marathi pride and protecting India's culture. When Pakistanis and Australians come to play in India they take mantle of being nationalists but when a poor taxi driver comes from UP or Bihar they protect the rights of the Marathi Manoos. Both these parties seem to be engulfed in confusion as to whom do they really represent!

When Sachin Tendulkar said he was an Indian first and a Marathi next, this upset 'Sarkar' aka Bal Thackeray and he slashed out a Sachin. When industrialist Mukesh Ambani said Mumbai is for all Indians he had to face the ire of the Sena. The latest victim is Shahrukh Khan who supported Pakistani players for the third season of the IPL. The Shiv Sena has asked him to settle down in Lahore for his comments. Isn't it a joke that this party and it's estranged by-product the MNS claim to represent the Marathi Manoos?

The snubbing that both MNS and the Shiv Sena got both in the Parliament and Assembly elections has shown that the ordinary Marathis have lost their faith in the two parties. MNS was a result of Bal Thackeray's bias towards his son Uddhav Thackeray over his politically sound and capable nephew Raj Thackeray. Had Bal Thackeray not bee so bias there would have been some less violence and vandalism in the streets as both the parties seem to be competing over it. Do Marathis consider them as greater Marathi icons than somebody called a Sachin Tendulkar?

'Bombay' or 'Mumbai' who cares, as long as the city provides opportunities to thousands of people


Monday, February 8, 2010

Rang De Basanti in Rathore's case?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

What happens when there is delay in justice, the society creates more criminals. This was proved once again today when a youth attacked former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore today in Chandigarh court premises. The 24-year-old youth was a student of National Institute of Design (NID). The youth identified as Utsav Sharma was pursuing post-graduate diploma in animation and film design from National Institute of Design and had no direct relations to the case.

The 68-year-old Rathore is accused in the molestation of Ruchika Girhotra. Rathore had molested the girl 19 years ago after which she was led to suicide after her family members were harassed by Rathore and his men when they filed a complaint with the police. Rathore also got Ruchika rusticated from her school for non-payment of fees which finally led Ruchika to the extreme step of ending her own life.

14 year old Ruchika Girhotra a budding tennis players was molested by Rathore in 1900 when he was the President of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association. Ruchika who was initially reluctant to files a case did it after a lot of hesitation. Her entire family was harnessed by the police and her brother was arrested in some false car theft case. This compelled the family to sideline the case and subsequently led to Ruchika committing suicide in 1993.

Rathore with his political and bureaucratic influence had almost escaped punishment until there was huge hue and cry in the media which led the government to initiate re-opening of the case and also filing of fresh FIRs. Now the question arises what action does the system take against the youth who took this extreme step against Rathore? Or should the question rather be, who made the youth take such an extreme step?

Ruchika Girhotra's case is a example of how the powerful can do crime and escape punishment bending the laws. The entire police and the judiciary was found sleeping in this case involving a highly decorated cop who used and abused his position causing pain and agony to the Girhotra family. Why was the administration including the CBI sleeping over the case? Had it not been for his 'smile and wave, Rahtore could have escaped punishment.

The step taken by the youth is definitely condemnable but hasn't the state machinery failed enough in this case to even question the intent of a youth in this case. Why are people being forced to go the Rang De Basanti way to get justice. This incident should not be just seen as an isolated case but from a larger perspective of people loosing the faith in the executive and the judiciary.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Amar Singh's Celebritywadi Party

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

If there was one place Amar Singh could be associated with it had to be Uttar Pradesh. A popular face in Mumbai he was more in the company of Bollywood celebrities and industrialists than mingling with politicians and party workers. Yet the celebrity politician was the General Secretary of the Samajwadi Party which claims to be believe in socialistic ideals. The irony lies in the fact that there was nothing Samajwadi about this man.

Amar Singh wasn't a mass leader who could convert speeches into votes. Mulayam Singh never even expected that from him. What made Aamr so important for Mulayam was the broker in him. Mulayam could win elections but not strike deals with the other political factions. Nor did Mulayam or any of the Samajwadi Party leaders have a stronghold in New Delhi. This is where Aamr Singh had become oxygen to Mulayam.

Any political party would envy the kind of celebrity fan following that Samajwadi Party had. From the Bachchan family to Jayapradha and from Mohmmad Azharuudin to Sanjay Dutt to Nafisa Ali, Aamr Singh brought in all the well known names among the Samajwadi Party ranks. It is no wonder Amar Singh spent most of his time attending parties in Mumbai and not bite dust in the rural heartlands of UP like other party leaders.

The most important of Amar Singh's responsibility was to bring in funds to the party and which he did efficiently due to his close contacts with the leading industrialists in the country. In the recent past Mulayam's son and brother have snubbed Amar Singh. It is believed that he wanted to call the shots since he was making sure the party ran by arranging funds in the first place. The Yadav family was in no mood to play second fiddle and thus had to show Mulayam the door.

For now Amar Singh seems to be playing his cards very carefully and sending fleer to many political parties. His close friend Amitabh Bachchan touring all the BJP ruled states might even be a sign that the saffron party is no longer untouchable for him. Or else he can form his own political party but he will definitely taste more success in Mumbai than in Uttar Pradesh. Who knows Celebritywadi Party may be on the cards!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Sena is no longer oxygen to BJP in Maharashtra

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

One of the longest surviving political alliances in India has hit the rocks. After standing the test of times for years BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the Shiv Sena find each other on different platforms. The Saffron brigade is divided over the issue of migrants from North India to Mumbai. The RSS which first opposed Sena's continues attack of the migrants has been joined by it's political face BJP. This was anticipated as the BJP President Nitin Gadkari has been an RSS strongman.

Shiv Sena which has always tried to champion the cause of the Marathi Manoos had stepped up it's anti-migrants (especially from Uttar Pradesh and Biharafter the defeat in the assembly elections. Shiv Sena which has been hurt by Raj Thackrey's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is trying it's best become the voice of the Marathi people who seem to have lost trust in them. Their recent moves seem to be of a desperate political forces trying to regain lost grounds.

BJP which has been a silent observer to Sena's wrath on the North Indian migrants over the years seems to have lost patience with Bal Thackrey and his party. BJP which is trying hard to regain political grounds in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of North India finds its alliance with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra a over-loaded baggage. The party now believes being a silent observer to Sena's politics may prove to be detrimental in the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh 2012.

BJP which is itself going for a complete overhaul with a new President wants to regain it's image as an alternative to the Congress at the centre. Bal Thackrey's militant regional politics doesn't fit the bill for the BJP any more. BJP which performed better in the Maharashtra assembly polls than the Shiv Sena don't consider Sena to be oxygen for it's survival in Maharashtra. Disassociation with Sena is a price the party is willing to pay to regain support in the North which had been it's traditional stronghold.

Considering the fact that the Congress and the NCP also took an anti-migrant stance with their recent decision on the Taxi permit, BJP is seeing this as a golden opportunity to be seen as the only voice for migrants in Maharashtra. Standing up for the migrants will also rid BJP from some of the sins committed by the Sena which it silently watched. Dumping Bal Thackrey's party may not be that bad a idea for the BJP in the long run and taking into consideration the national aspirations of the party.


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