Mar 29, 2010

Death of an Ideology

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

Maoist Menace

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?

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Mar 10, 2010

In Search of Lost Glory : Indian Hockey

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

Daggers Drawn :Tharoor & Media

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.
There are many more such instances, but the above is sufficient to bring home the point. Obviously all this was done with a view to secure international pressure on our western neighbour. And how would that pressure have been possible without one or more of these countries acting as interlocutors with 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?