Monday, October 31, 2005

Indians, Diwali and the Messageboard Mystery


How should Delhi tackle terrorism?28 message(s)

Will Sachin's return lift the Indian team's performance?128 message(s)

That Messageboard was from NDTV at around 5:40 PM, today! The stark contrast in the number of messages that the two topics have evoked should come as no surprise; but it definitely reflects the state of affairs in India. Or, does it?
Sachin's return is definitely great news in India. But terrorism doesn't seem to have moved people much. Would Indians care more about cricket than what they care about the lives of Indians themselves? Or is it just that there is too much of terrorism and violence these days that they have failed to evoke the response that they should? But then, there are too many matches being played these days, as well! Or, perhaps, I'm reading too much into a mere coincidence! What if it had to do about the scale to which people are affected personally by the two issues? Could it be a statement of the priorities of the needs of mankind in general, or of Indians in particular?
I wish I knew what this snapshot says of India! Whatever it means, Im sure we are capable of condemning terrorism, adoring cricketers and enjoying Diwali crackers, all at once! Wishing every Indian a great Diwali!!!
In Picture: A Diwali Rangoli

Sunday, October 30, 2005

To the Terrorist

The bereaved are moaning the dead and governments are condemning you. Forces are in full swing to get you to books. I pity that you have achieved nothing, bombing places and shooting civilians all these years!
People did want a respite from the flurry of natural disasters - but no one wanted it in the form of the bombs you blasted. Initial reports of the blasts in Delhi hinted at a toll of 20, and it has risen to 65 now.

Forget the numbers; the loss of a single life would mean the end of the world to a lot of people. What confounds me is the absolute lack of logic behind your brutal deeds. What ends could be achieved by killing people who are in no way related to the issues that drive you towards such attacks? If you are from any religious group, the dead could be of your own religion. If you are part of any organisation that supports our rival nation, the dead could very well have meant the world to someone in the very country you support - the two countries are still related by blood.

If, at this moment, you feel proud that you have succeeded in your mission, take heed of this - any school-going kid could have done what you have. No police force can guarantee absolute law and order. If you want to plant a bomb somewhere, in some damned place in this vast country, you definitely can. No big deal about that! But the fact is that violence is only counter-productive. And the truth is that you have wasted your ability to conceive of and execute plans in carrying out such attacks, which you could otherwise have spent in working out solutions to your problems.
True, you have your own reasons to justify your actions. In a crowded world filled with black hearts, any innocent passer by could be victimised by circumstances - as you might have been. Your cry for justice was never strong enough to be heard, let alone be responded to - and you decided to have your voice heard. But hitting back with violence only proliferates crimes in a vicious circle, never solves the issues at hand. What you have done this day is to add to the enormous amount of grievances that people hold. The victim of today's attack will be the militant of tomorrow. And when he decides to plant those bombs in a market place where he himself would never know who would walk into, you might realise that among the dead lie someone whom you hold close to your heart.
If you have a reason, come out in the open and fight for it! If you have convictions in your cause, you will have the world backing you. Hitting from behind the veils makes you a weakling and a loser, who has no idea how to reach his destination.
If violence is the solution, the world would be free of problems now!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Earthquake: The Aftermath

Slowly but surely, the Earthquake is being relegated further down the News. Events keep happening around the globe and people get on with their lives - people who have not been directely affected by the tragedy, that is.
For those whose lives have been touched by the tremors, their journey into hell has just begun. One report identifies them as prospective suppliers of body parts. The UN has appealed for funds and a more sensitive response to the disaster; the difference between "Pledges" and "Commitment" is the same as that between life and death, it says. In a separate report, India and Pakistan are yet to work out the modalities of opening up of the LoC to facilitate easier movement across the borders. And, General Musharraf is concerned of exposure of his "Troops and facilities" (possibly translated into some other term) in PoK. Put all these together, it's a perfect mess out there.
As the victims blame their Government for lack of will in the rehabilitation efforts, the General seems to have rated his own Government's performance as ranging between "Good and very good"!

Friday, October 28, 2005

The show goes on: Kashmir

My first post on this issue tried to choose the right perspective. The second post had almost lost the hope on its probability. I tried to elaborate on the reasoning behind my stand in a post in my other blog. Then, there was a ray of hope when I found a few others who shared a similar concern.
The issue is laid to rest here, with all due respects to our ruling class. After spending so many valuable hours deliberating whether to turn into saints or to remain mere mortals, the Congress High Command has given in to earthly desires. Or perhaps, it is the mature realisation of the fact that people die when their fates dictate so, and not much can be done about it. Or it could even be the ultimate enlightenment that it's not just politics but is the very definition of mankind to act its roles out and be an integral part of the divine scheme, rather than try to act God, saving lives! Mortals remain mortals, saints remain saints and . . . the show goes on . . .

Banking on the river

Of late, the news has literally be flooded with rains - both in India and in the other parts of the world. Mumbai was afloat for a while (wonder what happened to all those war cries about banning plastics once and for all); now, its the turn of the Southern States. Both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been experiencing incessant rains for the past few hours.
However, nature seems to be driving a key note home this year. The Cauvery water sharing issue has been haunting the two states for years, featuring occassional suicides and riots. Farmers are the most affected; commentators used to be in full flow, the movie industry jumped into the fray and the politicians enjoyed the show - this was one issue they could rely on, one that would take the public eye off them, while helping them fill their ballot boxes with water. But this year, its the floods! I'm sure people on both sides of the border would be busy searching for someone to blame for the deluge!
What the situation would be next year, is anyone's guess. And the fact remains that Indians have been ruling the country for all these years and have proved themselves incapable of solving one issue that has cost lives, year after year!
In Picture: Political Fodder.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Blog Quake Day - 26 October

Desi Pundit has announced Blog Quake Day on Wednesday, 26 October 2005!
Folks at Desipundit have taken the effort to do more out of Blogs - one that could go a long way in saving that life, in wiping that tear, of those devastated by the Earthquakes of 8 October 2005. They have posted this list of organisations which are involved in the relief efforts on the ground. The effort also features calls for all blogs to post a message about Blog Quake Day, creating an awareness of the relief efforts and directing readers to websites of organisations that are involved in the rehabilitation works.
Hope to see more of such activities that realise the power of blogs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

History in the making: Bihar

Lalu has made history! He has decided to take the age-old political culture by storm. This is an eye-opener for every critic of politics; and a pay-back for every cynic! In one move, Lalu has set to silence all his detractors!
Yes, of all the promises ever made, of all the assurances ever given out, this is one election promise that we can be sure of. Lalu will stand by his word. "Some officials are conspiring against the RJD. Let the government be formed .I will take all of them to task", Laluji has promised. Well, you can take my word for it - because, not satisfied at being an indelible part of Indian history, Lalu has decided to write history himself. The first ever election promise that would be delivered to every letter and every spirit of it, deep down to the minute detail, explicit or implicit.
The Election Commission and the rest of India has been lucky enough to witness History in the making!

The Master is Back

Would a blog that says "India" and "News" on its head not be incomplete if it doesn't have the word "Sachin" in it! Of course, it would be pathetically so! Welcome back, Sachin!!!
And the master has made a statement of sorts. His strokes had the stamp of a genius. It does make one wonder how often has he missed out on the three digit figure, but does that really matter? Be it the sizzling Sehwag or the Mr Perfect Dravid, none of those would give the relish of the thumping straight drive and the elegance in the covers! The Indian team does have a better look with his name at the top. Welcome Sachin, and keep going!!!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Your order, please?

The Mettur dam has been receiving record inflows - 200,000 cusecs - which seems the maximum in more than four decades! Rivers have already been flooded and people have been advised to move to safety. Alerts have been issued.
Surprisingly (or rather, not surprisingly), I hear that a Television Channel has been repeatedly announcing that the Chief Minister 'ordered' the rescue operations, the Chief Minister 'ordered' the helicopters to fly in , the Chief Minister has 'ordered' to issue flood alerts . . . and the 'order menu' goes on and on and on! This is surprising because these are things to be done as a matter of course and not to be ordered as if it's some order to bomb an enemy at war (unless the authorities in question are totally dumb that they have no clue what to do in, well, any event). This is not surprising however, because there is nothing new about it; any reasonably good activity by Government bodies in the State is, normally, 'ordered' by the Chief Minister. I wonder why the Chief Minister has not yet 'ordered' the waters to stop in its flow and take a 'U' turn in its course; it's just a matter of time, perhaps.

Analyse this!

The interview at Rediff with Mr Hafiz Saeed has shown the Earthquakes and the relief efforts in a different light from what is normally being projected in the media. The discussion focuses on the issue from the point of view of the jihadis.
The interview clearly identifies the 'real' causes behind the earthquake and how future catastrophies could be precipitated by further irresponsible behaviour by the rulers and women. It shows the subtle distinction between approaching for aid and accepting aid that comes their way and also how certain countries should never be approached for aid even in times of disaster, as instructed by the Almighty. Further, it rules out the presence of any militant in Kashmir, as it categorically shows that all who are present in the region are just social workers. The interview even undermines the intentions of India in offering assistance. It demonstrates how the opening up of the LoC could devastate Pakistan worse than the devastations from the tremors themselves. Finally, it puts forth a solid argument as to why Kashmir and the whole of Kashmir must belong to the country which suits it 'geographically'.

Throw Him Out!!!

If you expected this news to be of a tenant who has not paid his rents over a period, you're off the mark. The Supreme Court has just asked the concerned officials to throw Mr Buta Singh out - yes, that Buta Singh whom we all know for his objective decision making - of the Government Quarters in New Delhi.
In one of the strongly worded remarks, the SC has also listed the names of a few other prominent people who have misused their positions in power when it came to (over)staying in Government Residences. The SC is one of the few institutions that has not got infected with politics and is capable of shaking things up, reminding people of their respective rightful positions. It definitely is one of the 'Wonders of India'!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Citizens Appeal in National Interest

It left the feel of a fresh breeze - the fact that there is some concern among the citizens about the rehabilitation works still pending to be done in Kashmir was refreshing indeed. And the concern has translated into action, when societies and public personalities have got together to appeal to the Congress Leadership to let the PDP continue in power in Kashmir.

I have tried to elaborate, in my other blog, on why it is important to think beyond politics at this hour. While all signs point towards the 'Power sharing agreement' being honoured, it remains to be seen if better sense would prevail and the Parties would act in the National Interest.

Credits to a passionate film-maker

I wanted to know more about Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who has been awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2004; Rediff had his interview handy. One could easily see his class from his responses to the questions posed. Here is someone who lives just for the sake of life, when commercialism haunts the overwhelming majority of the world. He seems to be relishing every part of what he does.
"I don't think of it as 'only' nine films. Anyway, I don't have to satisfy anyone with numbers; I prefer to work this way." he remarks, of his 9 films over a span of 31 years. And he doesn't seek to belittle the others in the trade. He is optimistic of the future of film-making and is realistic on his prescriptions towards improving the scopes for good movies. Above all, he has a purpose behind his actions. If someone deserved recognition, this man did!

Don't mess with them!

Some people have a knack of creating a mess of their own situations. And I expected this to happen to Mani Shankar Iyer, our Union Petroleum Minister, when he suggested that women offset the hike in petrol prices by cutting down on their saree purchases and movie trips - this remark, when the festive season is just round the corner!
Oh yeah, he did lash out later at the Television channel for beaming an 'abridged' version of his interview - but the fact remains that he did utter those words. Earlier, it was an actress who pushed the women of Tamil Nadu over the brinks with her off-hand remark about virgins - or rather, the lack of them. These days, when someone who's been watching regional channels visualises the women of a particular state, he would dream up of not one but a whole group of them, on the streets, in broad day light, with slippers and broom sticks held high in the air, shouting slogans against some well-known personalities. No, I do not want to be specific as to which state I'm talking of - I wouldn't enjoy watching scenes of my effigy being burnt, in Regional News Channels.

Power Play in Kashmir - Part 2

"Reality sucks" said someone. I'm sure he would not have been in politics, but a mere onlooker of the game. The stage is set for the Transfer of Power in Kashmir next month. "The agreement on sharing of power between the two coalition partners is a gentleman's agreement and it would be kept" says Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Chief Minister of J&K.
I had some hope in my previous post on this issue that the folks in power might ultimately see sense, considering the list of 'Things to do' in Kashmir, on the wake of the tremors. They have proved yet again that wise people never have high hopes on politicians. The Chief Minister is on his way to Delhi to hold meetings on the modalities on power transfer. Yes, he will definitely be strutting on a few corpses on his way out.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Casualties of Politics

In one of my previous posts, I had exulted at the welcome decision to throw the LoC open. However, the decision seems to be well on its way towards outliving its purpose - and action is yet to be taken. And action, here, refers to the numerous discussions that are still to be held regarding the modalities of making it happen. It's already two weeks now, since the deadly earthquake struck.
This is a solid example of what a really bad relationship between nations can do, in the hour of desperation and emergency. As days pass by, it's distinctly possible that a decision on the LoC would be taken too late and the only implication of the move then would mean a more porous border, more complaints of infiltration and a further degrade in relationships between the two neighbours. The announcements regarding LoC may prove to be merely sensational; it might mean nothing at all to the dead and the dying.

Power Play in Kashmir

Speculation is in the air regarding the scheduled transfer of power in Kashmir. Coalition politics is a funny game that has scant regard for public opinion. Afterall, no one really bothers to get a vote on whether people would want a coalition government or not; that degree of sophistication is still beyond the affordability of the Nation.
The purpose of elected bodies is to serve the population using all possible means - at least, that is the theory. So, the importance of 2nd November, 2005, should be seen in the light of the very idea behind elections. Would a change of power at this critical moment be benificial to the public or would it aggravate the present situation? Should an agreement between two political parties be given any importance at all, when thousands lie out there in the cold, in misery, in pain? Politics is what the parties are always indulged in - why not think of something different, this time?

Yechury issues 'Seshanitis' Warning!

CPI-M Politburo member, Mr Sitaram Yechuri, takes away the laurels for coining a new word - 'Seshanitis'. '-itis' goes with many words and means 'inflammation'. Wikipedia has a list of terms that contain '-itis' and may denote inflammation. However, do not expect 'Seshanitis' to be included under the category of 'inflammation' if and when Mr Yechuri contributes to Wikipedia. He doesn't talk of 'The Inflammation of Seshan' in this case. He merely expresses concern that the Election Commission may be infected with 'Seshanitis'.
With so much clarification going into his new 'term', a lot more would be required to explain how "a large deployment of force" would result in a "very low voter turnout"! He probably means that with so many men in uniforms at the polling stations, voters may be reluctant to go repeatedly to the booths to 'cast and recast' their votes, or they may not be able to send in their 'substitutes' to vote on their behalf, in case they feel too lazy to go to vote. But I'm sure he definitely would have a valid reason/ reasons behind his statement.

Friday, October 21, 2005

India needs you, Mr Murthy!

Narayana murthy is angry - and that's no good news for India. The problem with politicians is they don't restrict their perceived realms of power to politics alone. One doesn't need to be a genius or an IT professional (not that the two always go together) to know of the credentials of the persons involved. India has long stopped expecting contributions of any value from public servants; the least that is expected of them is to let such genuine citizens as Narayana murthy work for development and not prove to be stumbling blocks in their way.
Note: In my personal dictionary, a human being has to earn the title of a 'citizen'; offsprings of the species do not qualify to be one by default.
PS. Infosys has responded to the allegations.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bihar challenges Bollywood

Bihar is capable of inspiring quite a few directors in Indian Cinema with grand ideas. Scores of vehicles spewing dust all around, rushing in for nomination of papers; a minister moving from a helipad in a car without Registration and an unauthorised Rath in an election campaign - not to mention FIR's filed against (the wife of) a former Chief Minister. It definitely has all the ingredients of a high-voltage plot! And this Drama has been successfully on stage for the last few years and will be on for years to come, breaking all records! I bet no amount of filmy imagination can beat the splendour of the electric scenario out there.

'Show' of Strength

Right to protest is legitimate. But how one protests normally goes to portray the protestor's profile. The show by Ms. Banerjee must have been funny to watch - sneaking into the Hotel premises and raising slogans! Of course, one can not blame the organisers of the protest for its failure; the Rain Gods were just not co-operative. So, it seems like the next protest has already been finalised - against Varun Bhagwan for foiling the plans.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Great and the Interesting

Not many pieces of news have made me wow! But, this one did. Musharaf's offer to let the LoC open for help to pour in. That's the most sensible thing he ever did that would come to my mind when I think of the General (wonder why people call him 'President'). Whatever he is, what he has done now makes perfect sense.

Interesting: This one. The Election Commission does seem to have taken things seriously in Bihar. Normally, one would think this deserves to be classified under the 'Great' section rather than the 'Interesting'. But, it would definitely be interesting to see how many people have taken the Election Commission seriously. After all, no one would expect the Election Commissioners to handle the rifles themselves. They do have to depend on their chain of command - right, that chain of command that's made of an easy-to-corrupt machinery called humans. And this machinery operates in a high-pollution environment. Well, it's definitely interesting.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Elections, Fidayeen and Earthquakes

A day of high drama unfolds as elections get underway in Bihar. I haven't seen militants being interviewed at the eve of elections on any prior occassion, when they exude confidence that they would positively capture polling booths and no one can really do anything about it. (The rampage seems to have started already) Wish this confidence were found in statements by the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.
Fidayeen attack on the J&K Education Minister, Ghulam Nabi Lone, that cost him his life. Looks like the people would soon develop the maturity to view things in perspective - 50,000 plus have perished in the earth Quakes in Kashmir; now, we have one more! That sounds a lot simpler and makes matters a lot easier, doesn't it? Earth Quakes find no differences among high-security and low-security regions - and so do militants. Suicide bombing has become too common place; lets try out with this Fidayeen for some time.
Rediff reports that human beings are getting smarter by the day, in that they have developed ways to predict earth quakes. Great! Is it an invention that has been out this morning? Is that news for the public? Too bad if it's for the public; it would create doubts at best, panic and chaos at worst. What would I make out if today's particularly hot? Or if the flow in the rivers have changed today? Or if my radio or cell phone works smarter/ becomes more dumb that it normally is? If the scientific community finds something amazing and can predict things to come, let it put the information together and give out directions to the public in the form of Earth Quake Warnings - not loads of data and conflicting symptoms that would drive people crazy!