Jan 30, 2010

Gul Panag takes on COAS

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."

And further:

    "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.

Also read 'Divide to Rule' and 'Country Divided'.

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???????????

Jan 16, 2010


Access to information is essential in a democracy to enable its citizen to make responsible and informed choices. Free and unbiased media is an essential element that ensures the same.

Plethora of news channels vying with each other to sensationalise trivia in order to capture the lion's share of viewership in a fiercely competitive media market can at times be unhealthy. At the same time, media championing the cause of the weak, the poor and the aggrieved is always welcome. Two recent developments catch one's attention. First one being the DGP(Retd) Rathore case and the second, the Sukna Land Scam which involves cases against four top Indian Army Generals.

While in the former case, it is apparent that the DGP got away, way too lightly, ostensibly due to lacunae in the Penal Code wherein punishment for child molestation is disproportionately limited and not commensurate with the gravity of the offence. Media attention has now ensured that Mr Rathore cannot breathe easy for a long time to come, as a number of fresh charges are likely to be levelled against him including abetment of suicide. Fresh investigations by the CBI are in the offing as opposed to those by the state Police with whom, Mr Rathore being a former DGP could have had some clout.

In the latter case, however, media seems to have made a mountain of a molehill. Is the media attack on the Army Chief for being soft on his close aides justified? An NOC (No objection certificate) for some private construction was given........... big deal man................oh come off it folks, most of us don't even know, what an NOC is and what the implications of an NOC being issued are. Many a politician and other public servants have gotten away with far more. However that cannot be any justification for lenient action against men in uniform. Media reports suggest that the Court of Inquiry recommended dismissal of Lt Gen Awadhesh Prakash. How can a government officer be dismissed summarily, for heaven's sake. The only authority which can affect a dismissal to my knowledge is a court of law, whether military or otherwise. A court of inquiry has no locus
standi to recommend dismissal of an Army jawan, leave alone a General.

Obviously the media has got it wrong here. The men in uniform here are apparently paying a price for being just that, men in uniform (expected to be a cut above the rest in honesty and integrity). And I wonder why defence analysts and commentators are not bringing this out. Journalists must not only bring out the facts of the case, but it is also incumbent on them to give the viewers and readers the correct perspective. And that in this particular case does not appear to be happening. Yes a number of cases of corruption have surfaced against Armed Forces personnel, but to be fair, they have all been dealt with swiftly and judiciously.

The judicial process, ideally cannot and should not be swayed or affected by media pressure.

Jan 1, 2010


It is the first day of the year. Almost seems like yesterday, that we heard our flamboyant late PM, Rajiv Gandhi's vision of taking the country into 21st century................. lo and behold, nine tenths of a decade in Ikkeeswin sadi(21st Century)
is already over. Does time fly? It does, it seems, at supersonic jet speed. Late Mr Gandhi, would not be turning in his grave, at the state of affairs in his beloved country, for indeed we have made rapid progress. While Rajiv had envisaged every home with a TV antenna jutting out of its roof, we have done one better in having now, most homes with Cable TV connection or DTH receivers. While he wanted to see telephones in all homes (remember Sam Pitroda of C-DOT), even a ricksaw wallah has multiple cell phones. Economic liberalisation has borne fruit and we have telephone calls at the rate of a Post Card.

There still are a number of grey areas, like rural development, unemployment, rising corruption, terrorism, sectarian violence, rise in Maoist Insurgency, Climate change ...................and a whole lot more. Nevertheless our achievements have been noteworthy, to say the least. Imagine, who would have thought 25 years ago that representatives of our country would take centre stage, in an international summit on an issue of grave concern to the world at large. No prizes for guessing, that I allude to the Copenhagen Summit.

There are countless websites, TV channels, magazines et al, giving us how 2009, has been. Why do they not do some crystal gazing and foretell what the coming year/s might be like. Do I want to be different and take a shot .................

My guess is that the next major challenge for India is going to be the Maoist Insurgency, (read my earlier post) and like with the rest of the world in the energy climate era, controlling climate change. Maoist Insurgency seems to have engulfed a fairly large portion of the country already. Now that the world is still in the grip of the worst recession in many decades, unemployed youth are susceptible to fall prey to the lure of extortion money and the glamour of the gun. It is better than sitting at home and feeling like a burden on all and sundry. Public service infrastructure in most major cities is being tested to the limit, with ever increasing migration from rural to urban areas. Unless the authorities take a real hard look at what needs to be done and act on it in right earnest, problems like the Mumbai water crisis are going to become a routine affair. Decongestion of major cities is the only solution, as infrastructure cannot keep pace with growing population and associated problems. And to that end, making newer and smaller states may not be a bad idea.

I cannot but think and shudder at how our future generations are going to cope with the multitude of challenges that are bound to confront them. With the short sightedness of our politicians, the future seems bleak indeed. All of us in our individual capacities and collectively think seriously about the future of our children and contribute towards making this world a better and more peaceful place to live in.

In 2010 and beyond, let us resolve to do just that. Need I say how? I am sure, all of us, are aware of how responsible citizens of the world ought to act and behave to prevent further damage to our environment and civilization.