Nov 19, 2010
Nov 14, 2010
Oct 1, 2010
Sep 11, 2010
It was indeed a heroic effort on the part of the Indo – Pak pair in the finals of the US Open men’s doubles finals yesterday. The intensity of the finals was nothing short of breathtaking, with electric reflexes, booming serves, great anticipation and precise coordination. Bopanna – Qureshi were obviously not intimidated or over awed by their much more accomplished opponents. while the former were playing in their first grand slam finals, the latter were the holders of eight major titles. the hallmark of the match was the fact that none of the two teams could break their opponent’s serve even once. As it turned out, the outcome was decided in the Russian Roulette of tie breakers in both sets. However, as the match statistics would reveal, there was hardly anything to choose between the two teams.
The spinoff of the Indo – Pak duo’s partnership was that, at least for some time it made Indian and Pakstani fans in New York forget their animosity and join hands to cheer the team. Much as media and certain individuals, hail the partnership as a step towards improving relations between India and Pakistan, it is nothing more than a partnership of convenience. And in any event it would take much more than a tennis partnership to propel the two countries towards peace and friendship.
Notwithstanding the same, let us hope that Indo Pak express, as they are fondly called, continue to do well and give us that elusive opportunity to rejoice in sporting excellence by our countrymen, particularly in a sport other than cricket.
Wishing the Indo – Pak Express much greater success and glory in times to come.
Sep 4, 2010
However who is to say that others including Indian cricketers are not involved in match fixing. Leading Indian cricketers like Navjot Sidhu, Azharudding, Jadeja, Prabhakar ……………have been accused of it in the past and its difficult to imagine that the current lot would be any better. And so would be the case with cricketers of other countries. A leading Indian bookie has alleged that India Sri Lanka Rajkot ODI was fixed.
The fact of the matter is that match fixing accusations are extremely difficult to prove and in almost any sport, it is next to impossible to differentiate between the real and fake. Sports like Wrestling, the WWE variety are known to be rigged, but still are hugely popular. Davydenko, a tennis player who has been in the world top 10 for close to a decade was accused of fixing. Is Davydenko, who is a multimillionaire, short of money.
Was it not Gandhi who said, “There is enough in the world for everyone’s needs, but not enough in the world for one man’s greed.”
Mohammad Amir (centre) and Mohammad Asif (back) arrive at the Pakistan High Commission.
Aug 8, 2010
I just read Shobhaa De's take on the CWG controversy. I have to say, she can put things in the correct perspective in the most succinct and satirical manner.
The sheer scale of corruption is mind boggling. Lalu Yadav and Babu Lal Marandi must be green with envy, to see Mr Kalmadi and gang laughing all the way to the bank. And what's more, shamelessly on every other news channel, refusing to take moral responsibility and stepping down. They are probably looking at hosting the Asiad next, to fill up the coffers of those other distant relatives who got left out this time.
But what are Manmohan and Sonia doing? Looking the other way, or have they got cotton in their ears? Or have they, like Mr Mani Shankar Iyer, after stirring up the hornet's nest, decided to go the Gandhian way, "Bura mat dekho, Bura mat suno............?"
With cases of corruption, the likes of which have never been dreamt of, tumbling out of the woodwork every other day, it seems we are trying to showcase not our economic progress but our progress in promoting corruption in the most ingenuous of ways. Our phlegmatic Prime Minister is however, not weathered by ordinary storms. Despite a 'Leaky CWG stadia, Scourge of Naxalism, double digit inflation, Natural calamity in Leh, Kashmir valley on edge.......' our PM is invisible. Like they say in Hindi, "unke kaanon me joon tak nahi reng rahi." He is only seen in foreign capitals, meeting heads of other states or in Parliament, where his sleepy gaze is visible but his sing song, barely audible, hardly comprehensible voice is conspicuous by its absence.
Wake up Mr PM get a hold of things, lest History should blame you for showcasing our incompetence to the world.
Aug 1, 2010
With only two months left for the commencement of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, preparations as reported by the media seem to suggest that we might be headed for a major embarrassment. News channels are replete with reports of poor venue preparations, sub standard work and most of all, corruption. And to our great horror, a senior political leader from the ruling party came out with a shocking statement recently, almost wishing for the games to go awry. Of course, the statement was a little tongue in cheek which the TV anchors conveniently chose to ignore.
Should it not be the bounden duty of all Indians to do their bit, for the success of the games? The way some of these news channels, 'Times Now' in particular, are going hell for leather after the Games Organising Committee, seems outrageous. Is this the right moment for such journalism, with only a few weeks left for the games to begin? I am all for accountability, rooting out corruption, transparency.............. But going after anyone and everyone who has got anything to do with CWG Delhi, at a time when the opening ceremony is just round the corner may not be such a great idea. By all means media is well within its rights to expose corruption, fraud, malpractice........................ but at times, for a change, 'discretion ought to be the better part of valour'.
News channels going berserk reporting a minor injury to a young diver in SP Mukherjee Aquatics stadium seemed weird. Oh come on guys, it was just a bruise. And the current war of words between Mr Kalmadi and the Indian High Commission in UK makes us the laughing stock for the world. At the end of the day, thanks to the media onslaught, an event that should have been a matter of pride for us, ........................, even if successful might inevitably leave us with a bad taste in the mouth.
So there is corruption, money laundering, sub standard work, leaky stadia................... etc. What was one to expect anyway? Corruption in India is all pervasive. So what does one do? Outsource preparations to China? Indian contractors have probably never seen quality. Forced to race against time due to political, procedural and bureaucratic delays all around, it is a wonder, that venues are nearing completion in the first place. Money laundering............... If media was to be believed, there was near credible evidence of money laundering against the likes of Rajiv Gandhi, a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth. So what can be expected out of lesser mortals?
A look at the time line of the preparations for the CWG makes one thing clear. The organisers did not seem to have the slightest idea of how to go about it. Nor did they have a sense of urgency. To that extent, one would have to agree with Mani Shankar Iyer, "Hosting these games is a huge mistake". But the clock cannot be turned back now. And we must put our best foot forward.
RISE IN SUPPORT OF CWG 2010. Jai Hind.
Jul 25, 2010
Jul 17, 2010
Jul 11, 2010
The world has been abuzz with Soccer related news for some time now. Besides football related news, there have been a few Bizarre and Weird peices of news as well. Here is a sampling of the same:
- FIFA refuses to use technology as an aid for Refereeing decisions, but does a volte face.in the wake of referee's wrong goal decisions during the league stages.
- Predictions by Octopus Paul being followed the world over.
- And now the latest in the series : UAE Fatwa Declares Innocuous Vuvuzelas un-Islamic. (Don't they have better things to do?)
Jul 7, 2010
How long are we to succumb to Maoist pressure? The frequent call for Bandh by Maoists is taking a toll on lives of ordinary citizens yet again, not to mention the Bandh by opposition parties. Seven trains have been cancelled or diverted in Jharkhand today. This is the third Bandh called by Maoists within a month. Another Bandh has already been called on 13 – 14 Jul.
It has been a few months now, since the brutal and barbaric Dantewada massacre. And in the meanwhile, another massacre in Chattisgarh recently has been apparently unable to shake the Govt out of its slumber. It seems to be taking them forever to decide how to tackle the menace(to use Army or not, to use Air power or not). The state machinery is not showing any signs whatsoever of cracking down on the Red Brigade. As brought out earlier on this blog, the Maoists are nothing but a bunch of self serving rogues. The Maoist struggle if it can be called that, is not against the Govt's apathy towards development in tribal areas or any other conceived injustice towards them any more. It is all about, extortion, power and money. No development is possible in Maoist infested areas, as such efforts are thwarted by the Maoists themselves. They gobble up the lion's share of funds allotted through extortion from govt officials and contractors.
Time is running out for us. If the problem is not dealt with an Iron hand immediately, a Sri Lanka like situation is imminent where the LTTE had built a state within a state. Maoists in India unfortunately are not confined to a contiguous portion of the country which can be blockaded, surrounded and attacked. It is gong to be much more difficult for us. In fact, it already is. Maoists are holding the state to ransom with impunity at will as and when they want. While the country is burning, is the Govt fiddling?.
Jul 3, 2010
Netherlands, the underdogs turned out to be the winners in Wednesday's Quarter Finals. They now have a fair chance not only to make it to the finals but win it too. In the semis against Uruguay, the team in Orange are surely the favourites. Holland has been unfortunate in the last couple of decades not to have reached the finals of World cup. Despite the likes of Rijkard, Lothar Mathaes, Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten, Nistelroy, Marc Overmars, Patrick Kluivert etc. The flying Dutchmen could not get their hands on the Jules Rimet Trophy. They have of course been runners up twice in a row in 1974 and 1978.
One cannot but feel sorry for Ghana, to have suffered the cruellest of defeats. The match produced two breath taking goals in regulation play, one each from both teams. One would surely not like to be in Asamoah Gyan's shoes. The memory of this match could haunt him for the rest of his life. With his missed penalty in the dying minutes of the game came crashing down the hopes of an entire continent, which had the backing of none other than Nelson Mandela.
Tonight's action in Cape Town promises to be another cracker.
Jun 26, 2010
After a longish hiatus I am back to blogging times. A lot of water has flown into the Indian Ocean from our rivers and a lot has happened in the country. Of which there has been hardly anything to cheer about, but a lot of bad news...................... from IPLgate, Dantewada ............ Gyaneshwari Express, the Bhopal verdict................
The Bhopal verdict! Was it shocking? Mr Anderson got away! What a shame. But why the hullaballoo now? Has the fact that Mr Anderson is safely tucked away in some small town in the US for the last 25 years, suddenly come to light? Has the fact that the charges were diluted, not been known for decades? Why the hullaballoo now?
Yes, there is news of some new evidence, of the then Govt's connivance to facilitate the Gora Saab's flight across seven seas, never to return. Sadly, it is difficult to believe that all this could have happened, without the then PM(Mr Clean?) being in the know of things. Arjun Singh and the rest of them were too small a fry to have done so much on their own, given the magnitude of the calamity that was Bhopal. Now the ludicrous face saving farce of a drama to suggest that the case against the accused is not yet closed and the extradition of the butcher of Bhopal not a closed chapter. Another agonising wait of decades(??) for the Group of Incompetent Ministers to suggest some concrete steps ........................ at least till the time the octogenarian Mr Anderson departs for his heavenly abode. Sorry, but unfortunately, there is no extradition treaty with the celestial kingdom of Hell to get Mr Anderson back to India to stand trial. Too bad!!!!
But even more shocking to me is the fact that we have agreed to resume talks with our western neighbours. How many times do we need to be stabbed in the back to realise that it is futile to talk to Pakistan. Much as I would have liked to believe, there cannot be an 'Aman ki Asha'. Ostracising all countries that sponsor terrorism is the only way. Being next door neighbours and the worst affected, ought we not to lead the way in severing all ties with rogue states like Pakistan?
Apr 7, 2010
Yesterday's massacre is an open declaration of War. As has been pointed out in some of the earlier posts on this blog, time for the menace to be nipped in the bud is long gone. Brute Force is required, and it is now or never. Do we want, or can we afford long drawn counter Maoist operations which carry on for decades, like counter insurgency in Kashmir and the North Eastern states?
What is most painful to see is the so called National debate on prime time television on whether yesterday's massacre was justified and what hereafter. Should this be even open to debate? It is appalling to see learned and prominent personalities, still espousing the cause of Maoists.
Maoist sympathisers should all be sent to Cuba, to take a look at ground realities in a Communist state. The very concept failed with the collapse of the Soviet bloc. How then can a modern and progressive democracy like ours even allow left parties to flourish? They must be banned and their assets frozen. It is with their covert support, that the Naxalites could amass the kind of firepower which has now enabled them to hold the state to ransom.
Most sincere condolences to the families of the deceased in yesterday's tragedy.
Photo : Courtesy bbc.com
Apr 3, 2010
Shoaib Malik, Sania Mirza's fiancé is alleged to have got married to an Indian girl on Telephone.
Have you ever heard of a more ingenuous use of this device?
A Hyderabadi couple has sent Shoaib a legal notice. But which court would try Shoaib? Indian or Pakistani. Trial in an Indian court would necessitate extradition from Pakistan and an Indian couple from Hyderabad can't file a suit in Pakistan. So what is the legal notice in aid of? Publicity?
Photo courtesy : anitparmar.com
Mar 29, 2010
Kanu Sanyal, one of the troika of leaders who founded the Naxalite movement, committed suicide recently purportedly due to disenchantment with Maoist violence that has gripped West Bengal and large parts of India. All leftist movements start out with lofty ideals of an egalitarian society, but end up in hypocrisy, greed, corruption self service................ Why?
What these movements ignore, is the fact that humans by nature are lazy, greedy and selfish. Most human inventions beginning with the wheel are by products of human laziness. The only person comes to mind who was above greed and ambition was 'Gautam Buddha'. Even Mother Teresa and the mission she founded, "Sisters of Charity" have an ulterior motive......... 'Spread of Christianity'. Whereas leftist ideology seeks to make a kind of human being which is not driven by ambition. This goes against the very grain of human nature and is bound to fail. This fact has been aptly validated by the collapse of the Communist bloc in the nineties. Why, one might ask, if it was bound to fail, did it survive till the nineties? Only because of tyrannical and despotic dictators at the helm beginning with Stalin.
Maoists in India aim to overthrow the Indian Govt by 2050. What audaciousness? Now that they have tasted Power(that flows from the barrel of the gun) and easy extortion money which brings with it luxuries that poverty stricken peasants could only dream about, surely ideals of a Utopian society have taken a back seat. Now, "it's all about money and power". Alas the rustic folks that make up the ranks of Maoists are too naive to see through the deceit.
Surely development is required in the Moist infested belts, and hopefully the string of attacks by Maoists would prompt the powers that be into action. But it is a slow process. In the meantime the monster of Maoism needs to be crushed by brute force. Is Operation Green Hunt potent enough or will it be a repeat of LTTE vs Sri Lanka Army?
Mar 23, 2010
A blast on the rail track near Gaya in Bihar almost ended up in a disaster, when seven coaches of the Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani express derailed 22 Mar. Media furore was limited only because there were no casualties. Had there been some, all TV channels would have been vying with each other to find faults in our governance with a slew of experts from treasury and opposition benches trading charges against each other.
The vast expanse of our rail tracks, prevents railway authorities from patrolling the tracks or carrying out inspections frequently enough to prevent sabotage altogether. There have been numerous such incidents over the past six months. But fortunately no serious damage to life or property has occurred. It is however, only a matter of time, before some calamity befalls, Indian railways which would jolt Govt agencies out of their slumber and force them to take serious prophylactic measures to prevent such acts by Maoists. It is a tall order, tackling Maoists as has been shown by Maoists in Nepal. Unless some concretes steps are taken right away, we are likely to get embroiled in the most serious internal security challenge in History. More we delay, the more difficult it is going to get. Are Ms Mamata Banerjee and Mr P Chidambaram up to the challenge?
Also read : http://maverickindianmusings.blogspot.com/2010/02/terror-from-within-and-without_22.html
Mar 10, 2010
India's World cup campaign started with a bang but ended with a creep. One has to feel for Indian Hockey, which has been struggling to regain its lost glory of yesteryears for decades now. But alas without public support and Govt funding.
For Indian hockey, the Gold medal in 1980, Moscow Olympics was the last hurrah! That victory however, wasn't quite as sweet, as the Olympics were conducted in the shadow of half the world boycotting them, including arch rivals Pakistan. It also happened to be the only victory for Indians on artificial surface.
Will India ever regain its lost glory? Will it ever, even come close to dominating the sport? Much to my own dismay, the answer to both the questions is an unequivocal, NO. There is no choice but to accept it.
The sport acquired a totally different dimension in early eighties. It coincided with the Europeans taking up Hockey seriously, the introduction of artificial Turf as a playing surface as opposed to natural grass and a much larger number of nations taking up the sport. Till the seventies the sport was lacking in popularity worldwide, only a handful of countries played the game. Most of the dominant nations in the sport were members of the British Empire. This included India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, England. Other nations have come to the forefront in more recent times to make the game a truly worldwide sport. It would therefore be fair to assume that the competition during Indian Hockey's golden years was not quite as tough as it is today.
With its lack of popularity(pitted as it is against Cricket), the kind of funding it receives, the dismal level of player satisfaction, sheer lack of incentives to Hockey players, it seems inconceivable that the revival of the game is at all possible. Tribal belts of Jharkhand and Orissa, which are famous for producing some of the finest hockey players, are gradually drifting away from the sport. Similar is the case with Punjab. Lack of adequate infrastructure in terms of astro turf stadia, being prohibitively expensive, will continue to plague Indian Hockey. Our players who learn to play on natural surfaces will not be able to compete on artificial surface, given the huge difference in style, technique and pace required on Astro turf.
But, the biggest barrier to India's success in Hockey is 'Cricket', which has become a multi billion dollar industry and continues to grow in popularity by the day. For more on this read earlier post on this blog, 'Cricket and the Olympic medal'.
The current season has seen Hockey in India dipping to fresh lows, with unprecedented player protests and revolt. But the worst is probably not over, with latest allegations (at the time of writing this post) of match fixing in the India – Pak match.
Is Indian Hockey in its death throes?
Mar 3, 2010
Mr Shashi Tharoor must have rubbed the media the wrong way some time or the other. For, how else would the media get after him for some innocuous tweets? The latest one is on his statement in Riyadh, and the interpretation of the word 'Interlocutor'. As Mr Tharoor pointed out, An interlocutor is someone you speak to, nothing more. See for yourself here.
So much ado over an innocuous tweet? As if India has never made use of international interlocution? Let me put the record straight here.
- The Kargil war / skirmish, ended due to pressure from Uncle Sam.
- Post 26/11, international pressure forced Pakistan to take action against certain individuals and organisations on India's behest.
- The 26/11 dossier was submitted to the The New York Times, and was
shared with a number of other countries, notably US, UK and Israel. Besides, copies were given to members of Security council and G-8, in order to mount diplomatic pressure on Pakistan.
The FBI collaborated with Indian investigators, collected evidence and took it to Pakistan. Much more than interlocution, wouldn't you say? Much closer to 'mediation' I would imagine.
So why all the fuss? Where we have ministers of the calibre of Laloo, Rabri, Mulayam............for a change we have an erudite minister who can carry himself well, can speak well, can write well, is well read, ................. and appears to be well meaning. Why can't we let him be, for God's sake?
Feb 28, 2010
Amitabh Bachhan has won top honours yet again in the 55th Filmfare Awards. Is there any Bollywood movie award that the ageing actor is yet to win? Probably not. The achievements of greats of yester years like Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra.............pale into insignificance when juxtaposed with those of Bacchan senior. However, the appetite for achievement of the Sean Connery of Bollywood (as some people call him) seems far from over. His performances in 'Black', 'Sarkar'.....................and now 'Paa' bear testimony to the fact that the fire in his belly refuses to die down. While most of his contemporaries...........Shashi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Rajesh Khanna ............... and so on, have long since disappeared into oblivion, it is 'Never say Die' for India's first Megastar.
What more is the sexagenarian chasing? Fame, Glory, Achievement, or is it just more Money. Surely money is not something that is far removed from his mind, given his endorsements which continue to grow, his intermittent stints on the small screen as game show host, where he is reported to be charging astronomical sums and of course his acting career which continues to go from strength to strength.
A few of his actions though, seemed incongruous with his personality recently, when he used his position of a TV show anchor(Big Boss 3) to promote not only his film 'Paa', but also his son's debut as a game show host on the small screen 'Bingo'. With all due respect to the great man, The Big B commands a larger than life image, his actions therefore, appeared quite ordinary and not in keeping with his persona.
Coming back to what I was discussing, if it were not money that Amitji is after, what is it? Surely it cannot be Filmfare Awards. The great man's absence from the Awards ceremony, where Vidya Balan accepted the award on his behalf, speaks of the importance that this award holds for him. Bagging such awards for him would probably be just passé. I have no clue. What seems clear though is that he is in no mood to retire any time soon.
What the Big B should be looking for, in that case, is awards on the international stage, in particular the OSCAR. No Bollywood (or should we call it Mollywood, lest Raj Thakeray should get offended) movie so far has ever won an Oscar. 'Mother India', 'Salaam Bombay' and 'Lagaan' are the only ones that have been nominated. Wonder if it would be pertinent to mention here that none of these was a Bacchan starrer.
I think it is about time to set that record straight. Though the Big B is not a producer, just an actor, maybe he could put his energies into something that would ensure his place in History for posterity. Is the Big B, or anyone else in Bollywood up to the challenge? One person who i my humble opinion might have it in him, is Shekhar Kapoor. Time to do another 'Masoom', Mr Kapoor.
A very Happy and Colourful Holi to all readers.
Feb 27, 2010
Having spent more than two hours reading the analysis of the Budget in Economic Times, I am no closer to figuring out whether to cheer or to moan. I was amazed at the number of opinions, from the financial analysts, stock brokers to political columnists et al. So I thought I would chip in with my two pennies worth(if it is worth even that).
So here goes. While the IT relief is surely welcome(albeit small), the fuel price hike is more than enough to compensate for the savings affected and possibly add to the already spiralling inflation. That pretty much is the long and short of it.
However, the behaviour of our parliamentarians is nothing short of appalling. The entire opposition rather than debating the budget, walked out en bloc in the middle of the Budget Speech. Even worse, it turns out that while the Gujrat Budget was being presented, the opposition, in this case led by Congress, decided to boycott it altogether.
Will the Indian Politicians ever improve?
Further reading: http://www.financialexpress.com/news/column-an-oily-walkout/584917/
Feb 22, 2010
13 Feb 2010 : Bomb blast in Koregaon Park, Pune. 15 dead (at last count), 60 injured and counting.
14 Feb 2010 : A huge cache of explosives, including 200 kilograms of ammonium nitrate and 600 detonators, seized by Gujarat Police from Vapi in Valsad District.
15 Feb 2010 : Massacre of 24 security personnel of the Eastern Frontier Rifles at Silda, West Midnapore, WB.
17 Feb 2010 : 12 villagers including a child slaughtered and several abducted in Phulwari Karasi village in Jamui Distt, Bihar.
20 Feb 2010 : Jharkhand official Prashant Kumar Layek was released by the Maoists evening after being kept in captivity for nearly six days. The state government is said to have paid the Maoists Rs 30 lakh and promised to free 14 Maoist suspects from jail in exchange for the release of the BDO.
Threat to the country stems not only from across its borders, but also from within the country. Which of these two threats is more potent? Threat from within, or the one from without?
Maoist Threat. 26/11, probably being a one off case, fatalities due to terrorist strikes have been lesser in number than fatalities due to Maoist violence over the last few years. PM Manmohan Singh has termed this menace the gravest internal security threat. Data regarding Maoist violence can be accessed here. Assessments of the threat posed by Maoists in various States can be read here.
It appears that the Govt, particularly the state governments have either not fully comprehended the threat from Maoists or are turning a blind eye to them for vested interests. While Mr P Chidambaram(PC) has shown some seriousness, albeit not enough by a long measure, the same alacrity is hardly apparent from CMs of Jharkhand, Bihar and some other states. Some of them made it convenient to miss the meeting of CMs called by PC recently to review Maoist situation. Soren has agreed to free wanted Maoists from prison to secure the release of an abducted BDO, thus not only bolstering the morale of these thugs, but also setting a precedent, which will severely dent the tempo of anti-Maoist operations throughout the country. Cabinet Minister, Mamata Banerjee, is opposed to police action against Maoists in WB. The Trinamool Congress is long suspected of being backed by Maoists in rural West Bengal. The sheer helplessness of the state against Maoists, who are running a parallel govt in certain rural areas is simply appalling.
Danger signs are there for all but the blind to see (in blood Red). We are well past the stage of nipping this serious challenge in the bud. Time for action is now, or never. Criminal excesses against hapless citizens cannot be tolerated. The full weight of state's resources must be brought to bear against this Insurgency, before the entire country is engulfed in Maoist violence and the Army, rather than guarding against external aggression, gets sucked into battling its own countrymen. It is about time we stopped mollycoddling these rogues and started hunting them down. The theory propounded by some(including the Bihar CM) that Maoist violence can be controlled with development is most fallacious. Maoists themselves are a hindrance to development, as can be seen by the number of times they have blown up rail tracks, schools, cell phone towers etc. Tribal welfare is an issue that Maoists use only to woo simple, gullible and rustic unemployed youth to join their ranks. Once power and money corrupts them absolutely, welfare and development cease to be an issue. As Brian Tracy eloquently points out in his audio series 'Laws of Achievement', all humans are inherently selfish.
External Threat: The threat from Terror, sponsored by our so called (by some) Responsible neighbours is concerned, a lot has been said about it both in print and electronic media. Measures are at hand, though moving through bureaucratic quagmire at the speed of lumbering elephants. A lot needs to be done and hopefully is being done. But what is a matter of concern is that while acts of terror like the Pune blast hog a lot of limelight, the media seems to be shy of giving similar coverage to Maoist violence. One reason that comes to mind is that while Maoist violence takes place predominantly in rural areas as against terrorist acts which are almost always in urban areas. It is more difficult and riskier for media to reach some of these rural areas.
Our intelligence setup needs to be spruced up and our citizens need to be more vigilant. Take the case of Pune, 13/2. We had prior information of impending strike in the vicinity of Osho Ashram. So? What would you expect, gun toting security personnel standing guard outside German Bakery and frightening all customers away? For how long? The intelligence report was many months old. And if they did stand guard, another target could have been chosen. After all German bakery was not the only hangout being frequented by foreigners, there are scores of them in Koregaon Park. Yes, the Pakis, if it was them, (probably yes) chose their timing well. They attacked when the police were busy guarding multiplexes. But then, wasn't that required as well? Should we just let the Sena goons have free citizens dancing to their tune all the time? (Read earlier posts here and here)
My point is simple, a generic input about impending terror strike in a city is not enough to prevent terrorist strikes altogether. In Iraq, the Americnas are using Guns, tanks, heptrs, aircraft, UAVs and what have you............. and with the intelligence reports from CIA. Have they been able to prevent all attacks on US citizens? It is only a matter of time before Al Qaeda strikes again. They almost did, a few weeks back.
Our Govt is vigilant, so this is the first terror strike since 26/11. However there is always room for improvement. As they say, sky is the limit. Ordinary citizens have responsibility as well. Are we vigilant enough ourselves? How is it that an unclaimed bag kept lying under the table in a crowded Cafe, without arousing suspicion?
Verdict : I am not for a moment suggesting that external terrorist threats are less important or that anti terrorist measures taken by the Govt are adequate, but it does appear to me that the threat from the Red Brigade deserves much greater attention than being given currently.
Feb 20, 2010
Feb 13, 2010
The roar of the tiger turned into a whimper by the end of the day yesterday. Tiger and cub were left fuming and licking their wounds post successive debacles viz Rahul Gandhi's visit and now MNIK. Left with very few options to save face, they have now resorted to foul mouthing all and sundry in the Sena's daily newspaper 'Saamna'.
Credit is due to all who ensured the release of the movie, beginning with the CM, Mr Chavan, all celebrities including Home Minsiter RR Patil for having led the audience into theatres, SRK and Karan Johar for refusing to apologise to Sena, but above all to Mumbaikars who dared the Sena to challenge them.
However, this is only a psychological victory for the state, as it had turned out to be a prestige issue for both parties. The entire Police force of Mumbai and more besides can hardly be committed to ensure the safe release of a movie or for successful conduct of any other event on a regular basis. If it is a movie today, tomorrow it could be a play, a sports event.......................
The state has to look for resource effective and time efficient ways of tackling such issues and prevent recurrence of such incidents. Whatever the issue, civil liberties and freedom in a democracy cannot be allowed to be held to ransom in this manner.
So much hoopla over release of a film is unprecedented. The spin off, as opposed to the perception that Sena's call to boycott the movie would have an adverse effect on its box office collections, is certain to be the other way round. And that was evident from the response to the movie on opening day. After all our TV channels have dwelled on little else in the past week.
The cause of the Ho – Hungama of course is Cricket, do read my take on it at 'Cricket and the Olympic medal'. And the non inclusion of Pak cricketers in bidding for IPL - III here.
Feb 12, 2010
Photo : A Shiv Sena party activist vandalises a poster of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan's new film "My Name is Khan" in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Mumbai, last week, has been a battle zone. Shiv Sena vs Govt of Maharashtra. First round seems to have gone to the Sena. Chief Minister Chavan with moral support of the congress led govt in the centre, decided to take the Sena by the horns this time. However, the bull turned out to be stronger than expected. What must come as a moral victory for the Sena, theatre owners succumbed to fear from the Sena rather than rely on the state for protection and decided against screening of the much talked about offering from Karan Johar, 'My name is Khan'. And that, despite the Mumbai Police having rounded up and detained Sena goons in thousands as a prophylactic measure. Understandably so, one would imagine, as Mr Chavan was going around arresting small time Sena goons, rather than going for fountain head.
Why, one ought to ask was Uddhav Thakeray not arrested for fomenting trouble, disturbing the peace of the city? Who calls the shots in Mumbai, the legally elected Govt or the Sena?
This unfortunate development, besides being a huge embarrassment both for the state and the congress led govt in the centre, would give a shot in the arm to rogue elements. They can threaten the peace and tranquillity of Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra with impunity, as if they were running a parallel govt.
Time to wake up !!!!! Mr Chavan, the show must go on. There still are a few hours left for theatres to open for the day. All may not yet be lost. Mr Chidambaram, we hope you are watching.
In an unrelated development yesterday, the self styled champion of Indian culture, Pramod Muthalik of Sri Ram Sene had his face blackened for threatening action against errant couples found celebrating Valentine's day. That is music to our ears(not that I care a whole lot for Valentine's day, but I do care for freedom).
Feb 9, 2010
Question : What is the full name of Obama?
Answer: Obama bin Laden!!
That must qualify as the 'Howler of the Year'. By the way, this was not an answer elicited from any five or ten year old child....................they would surely have known better. It came from one of the contestants of the new TV reality show, 'Rahul Dulhaniya le Jaayega'.
Take a look at some of the other answers from the contestants (all answers came from different contestants), who have been selected after a reasonably rigourous process not from India alone but from overseas as well (NRIs). So claim the producers of the show.
Question: Name the three brothers of Ram.
Answer: Laxman, Bharat and Sahadev.
Question: Where is Nagaland?
Question: Who wrote Mahabharat?
Makes one wonder what kind of selection process led to such knowledgeable contestants being chosen, doesn't it.
The first one of course is a howler that I am not likely to forget in a long time. Like the judges on the show, I could not help laughing my guts out. I happened to catch this stuff by pure accident, while surfing channels. I am yet to watch a single episode of the show, but its highlights were being aired on Star News, one of the news channels which specialise in covering bollywoood and tinseltown.
These Reality shows which have hit the Indian TV space in hordes, are not only entertaining audiences with their weird and bizarre contents, they also seem to have given some of these News starved 24 X 7 News channels something to cover. So if you happened to have missed some episodes of your favourite Reality show, fikar not, you can always catch the highlights on some or the other News channel.
Feb 6, 2010
The country has been witness to the verbal slugfest between the Thakerays and Rahul Gandhi and another one with Shahrukh Khan. And we have probably not seen the last of it.
Non Marathis have had to bear the brunt of verbal abuse, threats and at times violent attacks for many years now. Despite efforts from central leadership, media activism, etc. divisive politics ceases to end. The war of words continues to grow bitter. (Read earlier post 'Divide to Rule' here)
While freedom of speech is a fundamental right, the Shiv Sena and the MNS challenge the very constitution which bestows upon all its citizen, the right to choose their place of work, residence etc. Should it then not be against the law for the likes of Raj, Uddhav Thakeray and the rest of them to stir up such regional and linguistic passions in people, by making inflammatory speeches and statements?
In order to preserve the unity (what is left of it) the need of the hour, is to enact a law, if there is not one already, making it unlawful for parties like the Sena and MNS from carrying on with their ante North Indian errrrrrrr........... ante rest of India campaign. Or, if there is a law already, the same to be enforced and implemented. Haven't we had enough of hate mongering?
Feb 1, 2010
Looking at Leander Paes playing doubles tennis, one cannot but admire this ageless wonder who along with Mahesh Bhupathi has been keeping the Indian flag flying high for almost two decades through his exploits on the Tennis circuit. Mahesh and Leander have been at the forefront of ATP tennis doubles for almost two decades now, and are showing no signs of fatigue.
Contagious enthusiasm, electric reflexes, never say die attitude, remarkable anticipation, superb athleticism................. On the Tennis court Leander Paes is pure magic.
What a shame that Leander and Mahesh who began their doubles tennis career as partners, one of the most formidable pair parted ways. The bitterness, acrimony and discord amidst which they parted, was particularly distressing. However, individually both these great players have been doing us proud.
Leander Paes :
11 Grand Slam doubles titles (6 men's and 5 mixed) from 21 finals.
41 ATP men's doubles titles.
1 ATP singles title.
Mahesh Bhupathi :
11 Grand Slam titles (4 men's and 7 mixed) from 19 finals.
45 ATP doubles titles.
Leander though steals a march over Mahesh through his contribution in Davis Cup Singles and the Olympic Bronze medal (Athens).
Leander Paes of India and Cara Black of Zimbabwe pose with the championship trophy after their mixed doubles final match against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia and Jaroslav Levinsky of the Czech Republic.
Heartiest Congratulations to Leander on his victory in the Mixed doubles event at Australian Open 2010, which follows a similar feat by the all Indian duo of Mahesh and Sania Mirza in 2009. Wish them much greater glory in times to come.
Jan 30, 2010
Well ! Well! Well! Look what we have here now. The Panags strike back.
Remember, Lt Gen HS Panag, who succeeded Gen Deepak Kapoor as the GOC-in-C Northern Command, was prematurely posted out to Central Command much to the chagrin of the former. Media reports at the time suggested that the move was a result of certain inquiries instituted by Lt Gen Panag, (who carried the reputation of being an honest and upright officer) on dubious procurements during Gen Kapoor's tenure as the GOC-in-C. Well maybe Lt Gen Panag should have taken a voluntary exit at the time rather than succumb to what he perceived as unwarranted pressure from the COAS and MOD??????? That could and would have been seen to be in line with his reputation. He met the Defence Minister too in this connection remember. Link.
Now that Gen Kapoor has got egg all over his face having been forced to act against his alleged buddy, Gul chose to get even with her dad's tormentor through her tweets which read:
" I would protect someone if I had something to fear from disclosure. Two, if I am an accomplice. And three, if I am spineless. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) is sadly all three."
"That's a first. MOD had to step in as Chief of Army Staff continued his stand of trying to protect the said generals. Now WHY was he protecting them? COAS saving his buddy's neck as he is in all likelihood equally dirty"
By the way, Lt Gen Panag has a thing or two to tweet on the subject as well.
Most Interesting and amusing.
Jan 28, 2010
Having given my take on the game of cricket, India's fixation with the game and how it is affecting the country's performance in other sport, I made it evident that I am no cricket fan. However, cricket being a national pastime in India, one cannot stay totally insulated from the goings on in the cricketing world. A lot has lately been said about the IPL row. In the melee of allegations and counter allegations however, it is difficult to pin point responsibility for the slip shod manner in which the auction was handled. What is certain and obvious though is that, there was certainly something fishy. Indeed the Pakistani cricketers have reason to feel aggrieved and offended. The incident in fact was threatening to derail bilateral relations between India and Pakistan which are already under severe strain post 26/11.
However, with due apology to one and all, Pakistan being a rogue state, needs to be ostracised by the international community. And there is no better country than India to spearhead such a movement. Pakistan has been a state sponsor / exporter of terrorisms and a safe haven for terrorists for many decades now. We in India have borne the brunt of their terrorist machinations for far too long. All sincere efforts by India, the Lahore Bus Yatra, Agra summit, secretary level talks..................................Aman ki Aasha have borne no fruit............ Pakistan cannot be trusted anymore to change its attitude towards India. As brought out earlier on this blog, the humiliating dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971 has not been avenged, and till that happens (if it happens, which is most unlikely) Pakistan's attitude towards India is hardly likely to change.
We should have severed not only sporting ties but also diplomatic ties with Pakistan long ago. One can of course argue that sports must be kept away from politics, but no............. a country being ostracised, must be shunned internationally on all fora, sports included. Pakistanis, domestically have little to be proud of, being a part of a country that is slowly but surely heading towards anarchy and civil war. Cricket, Hockey and Squash are a few games in which Pakistan has fared reasonably well historically. In an otherwise dismal and gloomy environment, any success on the sporting arena, gives its people something to cheer about and take pride in. Even Parvez Musharraf in his book 'In the Line of Fire' took pride in the fact that the Pakis beat India in Delhi (only in a game of Cricket albeit) while he was watching, in Feroze Shah Kotla stadium. Of late many cricketing nations have been shying away from visiting Pakistan to play matches due to the prevalent security environment. It's reputation as a host for cricket matches was battered beyond redemption post the attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore(bold of the Lankans to have ventured to play in Pakistan in the first place). Thanks to the IPL controversy, rather than India refusing to send its players to Pakistan, they refused to send their Kabaddi team for a scheduled event, taking umbrage to the treatment of its cricketers by IPL. What cheek !!!!!!!!!! Start your own PPL guys and let us see how many international cricketers volunteer to play in it.
Now, the Indian Home Minister has spoken in conciliatory tones and the aggrieved Pak cricketers seem to be assuaged as well. Though Mr Chidambaram is well meaning, nothing good is going to come out of it all. The Pakistani state (not the cricketers) should have been left smarting and licking their wounds like they deserve................... Diplomatic and civil behaviour (with Pakistan) be damned.
Kudos! Mr Modi, you have done what the Indian government could not, but should have done..................... Ostracised Pak cricketers.
P.S. IPL controversy might have triggered the cease fire violations by Pak on the occasion of our Republic day.
Jan 25, 2010
Now the Gujrat High court has ruled that India does not have a National language. Link.
The ruling is another step towards division of the country. So far the privilege of promoting division on different lines was an exclusive preserve of the politicians. Now we have the judiciary joining its ranks. How one must wonder, can a court of law, which is supposed to be responsible only for interpretation of laws and pass judgement, give such a ruling. This should have been the domain of the executive, wouldn't you say?
However, such rulings irrespective of their legality are not healthy in a country as diverse as India, which is already divided on lines of language, culture, caste, religion etc. Every passing day in fact we have a new demand for further division. .........khand, ........land, ..........gana ............garh etc.
Jan 22, 2010
Thankfully and prudently, Mr Ashok Chavan has had to put his foot in his mouth over the matter of taxi permits to non Marathis. Needless to say, much to the chagrin of Mr Thakeray and gang. Surely Mr Chavan would have been rapped by the party high command. As brought out in the previous post, the Maharashtra Government decision to deny permits to non Marathis would have further threatened the unity of the country which already stands divided due to petty politics on grounds of language, religion, caste and whatever else one can think of. (Read earlier post 'Divide to Rule')
Jan 21, 2010
Racist attacks on Indians on foreign soil, which happen with amazing regularity, never cease to make news headlines alongside the cacophony of opinion, condemnation and outrage from the public, media and the Government. It is natural and justified. However these attacks on Indians are surely being justified by the local residents, or a fair proportion of them, be they in Australia, UK or the US. After all, migrant Indians are snatching the much needed jobs out of the hands of local residents, especially at a time when the world is grappling with the worst recession in almost a century. While the migrant Indians being attacked are not illegal, and their immigration has the approval of the concerned government, there is no international law or convention that assures or guarantees a person taking up a livelihood anywhere in the world irrespective of nationality.
On the other hand, in our very own 'aamchi Mumbai' the commercial capital of India, Maharashtra Government is about to make it compulsory for cabbies to be able to read, write and speak Marathi. And that, in addition to the requirement of being a domicile for at least fifteen years. A retrograde step for Indian democracy, wouldn't you say !! And till now we thought this kind of language was only spoken by the likes of Shiv Sena and MNS(read my earlier post 'Unity in Diversity'). The so called progressive political party with the likes of the young dynamic and charismatic leader Mr Rahul Gandhi are not above such petty and populist measures. Maharashtra or might I say India, is much worse than the Aussies. While the Aussies are attacking foreigners, Maharashtra is attacking its own countrymen. Worse, centre is letting it do so. While the Indian government is hardening its stance towards Australia, it is alarming that the centre or the central party leadership is mum on the subject. If anything, one of the party spokespersons Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi could be seen on TV lamely trying to justify the unjustifiable. Link
At this rate a few decades hence, migrants might require a work permit within the Indian Union. And ultimately, who knows, a fragmented India???????????