Friday, June 20, 2008

Weisz not Knighley

The Pune Times today carried a front page article on whether Keira Knightley is apt to essay Elize Doolittle in the remake of My Fair Lady. There were a load of views from everybody & nobody about how she is apt.
I personally have no doubt that she will be to pull of the early Eliza, but I have my doubts whether she will be able to match the grace that Audrey Hepburn exhibited as the revamped Ms. Doolittle. In my opinion, the actress who could come close to looking as graceful & as beautiful as Audrey Hepburn would be Rachel Weisz. That is one classical beauty.

The people polled are off as far other remakes too are concerned. Some suggest names like Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie or Drew Barrymore for Mary Poppins! Even Meg Ryan is considered, which I believe may not be too off. But I am biased here.
The only choice that seemed apt was Julia Roberts for Maria in The Sound of Music. As usual, it is Taran Adarsh who comes closest to being bang on.

Having said all of that, I think it is also important to consider that the makers are masters of showbiz & they know their jobs. Therefore, if they've picked Keira, they've probably done so with good reason.

Now that I've said both things, in the final analysis, does this post matter at all? I guess not! :-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

he's at it again...

This man just refuses to straighten out like the proverbial dog's tail.
He's at that old game again: If you can't argue with them, shatter their credibility by any means possible.
So in a soft-hindutva stance, shourie took on the Father of the Indian Constitution, in an abashed attempt to undermine Dr. Ambedkar's credibility among unsuspecting youth both upper & lower caste. What he doesn't realize of course is that his attempts are fairly see through.

Notice how he expresses his scant respect even for Mahatma Gandhi. He deliberately italicizes the ji suffix, so that it reads Gandhiji! He does the same with Satyagrah, but doesn't do the same with either Lokmanya, Swami or Sri. his bias comes out strongly here & gives us reason to further doubt his credibility.

As I have said before, this man is a danger to the fabric of unity that our nation is trying to maintain. He is not to be trusted & not to be taken seriously in this era.
And I sincerely hope history remembers him as the overtly biased, rabble rouser that he is, instead of the scholar-historian that some entities with vested interests HILARIOUSLY try & package him as.

Apparently I am not too much off the mark. I am not the only one that sees through him & is unafraid to call a spade a spade. Here are some links to what other people are saying about shourie; including respected historians like Ramchandra Guha:
The first link above (an essay by Guha 1) is a specially good analysis.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

deconstructing arun shourie

This led to this, and now we're here! What started it all was this article by the rabble rouser this post seeks to analyze.

Let us begin by refuting shourie's article point by point:

There are many reasons why someone would mock anyone else's "secular credentials". From the simple of jealousy that stems from feeling inferior in comparision, to the more sinister attempt to influence by the power of suggestion. What is important to note is that the latter stems from an insecurity of losing one's identity. Anyway, mocking a virtue doesn't make it any less of a virtue.

shourie's tendency to ramble makes it difficult to deal with his essay point by point. If you read it you will appreciate the effort I had to make to stay on track.

Hindutva in it's current form is not different from the Taliban's brand of Islam or for that matter any other totalitarian, violent approach.

shourie's meandered about for miles before finally summarizing that Hinduism gives it's followers the Violence go ahead. Yet he keeps referring to a difference that he doesn't seem to demonstrate clearly. Actually Mohammed too gave his followers the battle go ahead when there was no other way out. So there is similarity in the teachings. But shourie is no expert on either religion & must not be taken seriously. People devote entire lives to the study of religion, yet do not overcome the very basic language & contextual barriers so intrinsic to an in-depth understanding of any literature in a foreign language, let alone religion!

shourie is actually an expert at manipulation. He paints a picture of an India ruled savagely by non-Hindu rulers for thousands of years! He very conveniently forgets that across North & South India, the rulers were primarily Hindu by religion. Even under Mughal rule, there were Hindu Kings in other parts of the country. As for savagery, I suppose the savagery of battle in the Mahabharat, at Kalinga, and the patricide that Hindu kings (how I hate myself for having to use this term!) indulged in are meant to be forgotten because of the fact that they happened on what he considers "his side". As for the peaceful, unifying rule of Akbar, the progress in art & culture that India still lays claim to, that needs to be kept a well hidden secret. Typical RSS-BJP type misrepresentation of facts, doctoring of history & propaganda! Not expected of an arun shourie, but what the hell, the man's human!

He forgets conveniently that India has been primarily Hindu ruled, except for the Mughal period. Even in modern day India, no Muslim/Christian/Jewish/Parsi/Jain/Buddhist/Sikh/etc political party has come to power. The rulers have been Hindus. But wait... these aren't shourie's Hindus.. these are the despicable secular Hindus; the kind that have caused the downfall of the great Hindu state of India! The ones who're better dead than alive! Which is what explains why people like Gandhiji, Indira, Rajiv etc. kept getting assassinated, while their leaders continue to die of old age!

shourie's fogginess vis a vis the Palestinian-Arab religions as he puts it (he could just have used the generally accepted term Abrahamic!) is evident in his "exclusivist" statement! The truth is that Christianity recognizes Moses as a prophet, and Islam acknowledges both Moses & Jesus as preceding prophets. If he'd have read the Quran, he'd have known that Adam, Abraham, Noah and many others are also acknowledged as prophets.

Forget reading the Quran, even if he'd watched "The Message", he'd have learnt that the early Muslims took shelter with Christian kings of neighbouring areas. This shelter was granted to them when verses from the Quran were recited, clearly proving Jesus to be a prophet of both religions!

But shourie doesn't want you to know that! Assuming that he knows that himself, that is!

shourie also skilfully tries to dodge the Khajuraho question in response to the MF Husain argument. If it was OK for artisans to depict Gods & Goddesses in naked, thrusting glory then! on temple walls if you please! how come it isn't OK for Husain to depict them thus in his paintings?

Instead he tries to turn the argument to Husain's never having painted the "icons of Islam". He knows only too well that there are no icons in Islam. It is forbidden to paint or sculpt the prophet or his family lest Islam's message too gets lost among another idol worshipping mass of humanity!

At this point it is wholly clear that shourie's piece is not meant for the discerning reader. It is unmitigatedly targeted at further inciting newly English literate RSS sympathisers. It is a dangerous piece of writing & in an ideal scenario shourie would be in jail for acting against the interests of peace in our country! What is surprising is that the Indian Express chose not to see it like that!

More examples of his attempts to incite are here:

What does shourie mean by "serve as a warning to all who keep pushing Hindus around"? WHO is pushing Hindus around in a country where they're the dominant majority???

Or by "... Gandhiji’s incontestable greatness and the fact that it was so evidently rooted in his devotion to our religion... "? Our religion? Is he talking from a Hindu standpoint here? Or is he insinuating that the religion of India is Hinduism?

It doesn't matter. He is talking rubbish!

Now on to the deconstruction that I spoke of.

arun shourie was probably one of India's bravest journalists. All this happened while I was very young, but I have updated myself on shourie through that (often unreliable) source called Wikipedia.

shourie was with the Indian Express. A newspaper I respect. It was unafraid to speak the truth, it set benchmarks in investigative, truth-be-told journalism; what journalism should be. shourie was during his time with them, probably the biggest exponent of these values. so what happened then? how did he become the malicious rumour mongering arun shourie of today?

Well.. it so happened that the I.E. & shourie took on the ruling Congress party at that time & won a few crucial rounds. It was a laudable effort, they even succeeded in forcing AR Antulay's resignation on corruption charges! Unfortunately, they became victims of a witch-hunt, once the Congress came back to power, post the emergency debacle. Interestingly, the party that had briefly replaced them failed miserably.

I am inclined to believe that I.E. & shourie had no vested interests in their campaign, and that what followed was very unfair.

The pressure on I.E.'s owners it is said, forced them to give shourie the sack. You can imagine how traumatizing that must have been for an honest, eager journalist!

They didn't just take his job away from him. They took his career away from him!

I believe that something inside shourie snapped. he began hating everything that the Congress stood for. Even things like secularism!

he went from truthful journalist to shameless rumour monger!

I believe that for shourie, it isn't about national or even Hindu interest. It is about personal vendetta.

What he doesn't realize is that by becoming what he has, he let that handful of crooked elements in the Congress party win! he has become a caricature of what he once was, he has lost his credibility, he has let his detractors win. They wanted to finish him off. And they have succeeded.

Attempted Crosspost

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Monsoon hits Pune...!

Ah...! The fresh, clean, crisp air. The clean streets, the washed trees (as my Mom calls them), the fewer people on the roads... WONDERFUL!!!

I need to get drenched! On the outside as well as the inside!!! ;-)

There was lightning & loooouuuuuuud claps of thunder as well. I felt fresh just looking at it!

Today's day...

Originally posted on May 18th. Edited today. See bottom of post.

Today's been a little more packed than other days, despite it being a Sunday. Friends dropped in from Bombay (awfully nice of them!) and that made this Sunday a trifle less lazy!

From the moment I glanced at the papers this morning, I've meaning to write this post. Take a look at the day's headlines:
India tells China off on Sikkim! Great going India! Celebrate this instead of that rubbish called ipl!
Gurgaon techie held for posting derogatory messages against Sonia Gandhi on Orkut! WOW! I'm THRILLED TO BITS! The last time a student was arrested for bad mouthing modi, it didn't cause too much of a flutter. I'm waiting to see what happens this time. Wonder if there'll be any word from the Mutiny on this one.
Railway Porter No. 6362 at Kanpur Central is learning how to read, write! More power to Laloo I say! Laloo for PM!!! If people (I don't even wanna call them that!) are considering advani's name, I think Laloo is by far a better bet! Laloo daudega! Biharis will be safe in Bombay too!!!
Binayak Sen wins the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health & Human Rights! Great news! Another feather in India's cap! And a slap in the face for the bjp govt. in Chattisgarh! Yahoo!

One of my friends from Bombay, a Bihari Brahmin girl with no evinced Congress leanings was relating stories of how the right-wing extremists were putting up propaganda on websites and emails about how Sonia was the daughter of the Mafia and how she'd been planted at Cambridge to rijhao Rajiv Gandhi. The Mafia's idea apparently was to get access to effect deals like Bofors! WOW! What a story! Why can't these nobodies stop obsessing over the Nehru-Gandhi family?
She had more to add on the rss. Apparently a few years back, they sangh parivar stripped a woman in public in Gujarat because she was in jeans, offending Indian culture. These are the people you want in power? They strip women, they kill people from other religions. I can only hope there is truth in the saying, "Vinaash kaale, Viprit budhdhi"!
I went to Landmark in the evening, where the first book on your left as you step out of the lift is "The men who killed Gandhi". I pushed back my nausea and leafed through it. It seems to be an account of the events that led a bunch of mentally ill men to plan the assassination of "The Father of the Nation", an over 80 year old man, one whose ideas for India differentiated us on the global map from other countries. The book ends with a photo of the killer and a line that says something to this effect: "... a hero to the millions who believe that he was right in killing Gandhi"!
I am aghast at how such books do not face censorship in India. Are we taking this tolerant attitude, this freedom of speech thing too far? Are we going to allow a generation of youngsters who do not know the truth to read this crap, and believe that Gandhiji deserved to be shot & that that despicable low-life who shot him was a hero??? Like I've said before, History is fair! The likes of fawkes, hitler, booth, oswald & godse will always be remembered as cold-blooded, mentally ill men, but despite that, this book is taking things too far. I'd say give it a miss. The writer doesn't deserve any reading. May he too be remembered as a traitor!

It's been a long day...

June 3rd edit: One commenter said that he's glad that we don't burn effigies like is done on Guy Fawkes Day in the UK. Actually this is a brilliant idea. In India we burn effigies of living politicians as a mark of protest (among more vile things). Nothing should stop us from burning an effigy of godse every 30th January. We will call it the Indian Guy Fawkes Day! We will commemorate the sad loss of India's Greatest Son at the hands of a cold blooded murderer. Who wants to popularize this? Let's start with communities on Orkut & Facebook! We can even request the Brits to burn 2 effigies every Guy Fawkes Day, one of godse added! And we can return the favour by burning a Guy Fawkes effigy! We're in the Commonwealth after all!
I want to understand what godse would've done had he still been around? Would he have denounced raj thakarey for destroying India's unity? No... wait a minute... He didn't murder Gandhiji in the nation's interest. He murdered Gandhiji in the "Hindu" interest.
Even then, would he have publicly chided raj for destroying "Hindu" unity, by targeting "Hindus" from UP & Bihar? No... I don't think so. He would've sided with his state in all probability. So why exactly did The Father of My Nation, a peace loving man, get murdered (& maligned these days) while these rascals get away with murder & are considered demi-Gods?
I think we deserve every bit of trouble that comes to India. If we can't stand up & speak out against what is wrong, if we don't want to do anything about it, if we want to defend murderers & racists, we deserve all this trouble. I can see a civil war coming. With vested interests outside of India feeding on our lack of unity, I can definitely see it coming! Unless we wake up fast. Unless we denounce all these small time crooks & tell them that you cannot tear us Indians apart!