Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Observe the BJP & Enjoy the Pop Corn!

The irony is killing me!

Just a couple of months ago LK Advani was running for his much desire PMship on a 'Strong, Decisive Leader' campaign.

Now look at his meek, helpless countenance as he helplessly lords over his rapidly imploding party.

Of course, I'm totally enjoying the show. With pop corn too.

I have no intentions of reading Jaswant Singh's book. (Neither does Modi or Sushma Swaraj or any BJP leader except perhaps Advani, for that matter)

But the book HAS been able to rip apart the charade of PURPOSE in a directionless party that doesn't know if it ought to be a leader of a rapidly modernizing India, or a slave to a discredited narrow dogma...[Continue Reading]

Saturday, February 14, 2009


So here it is.

I am finally taking a break from blogging. I'd promised on the Mutiny that I would make a clean break; it took longer then expected but it's here.

Will come back once, the fingers, wrists, forearms, elbows, shoulders & mind permits. If I don't go now, will lose all of these! :-D

Friday, February 13, 2009

On criticism...

I've spoken about the nastiness of criticism or being critical. Forget the unpleasantness, the idea of making someone feel bad about themselves or their work/art etc. is bad. We have no right to make one of God's children feel bad about themselves. So reason yes, but never criticise.

That is one of the reasons why I don't want to criticise SRK (or anyone else) anymore. That is the reason why I would rather review a film/book/album that critique it.

Here are 1 & 2 links to what I've said about criticism earlier.

And here is what "Sacred Space", TOI's pride has to say about Criticism. (Substitute Churchill's use of "criticism" with feedback. He was a politician, not a corporate citizen)

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticise me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.
~William A Ward

I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man's self-respect is a sin.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
~Winston Churchill

Any fool can criticise, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
~Dale Carnegie

Three-quarters of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world would finish if people were to put on the shoes of their adversaries and understood their points of view.
~M K Gandhi

I hope to emulate what one of my idols preached.

On Agassi, other tennis snippets & a tennis joke

My Tennis fascination started when I was 15. We were asked to pick a sport & make a scrapbook on it for a class project. Cricket got taken instantly, not that I cared much for it then, but I didn't know what else to do. Mom suggested that I look at Tennis as an option. So I browsed through magazine after magazine, article after article, cut out picture after picture & by the time my scrapbook was finished, I was a die-hard Tennis fan.

My initial favourite was Ivan Lendl, the # 1 player at that time. And next to him I liked rising young star Andre Agassi best! When Lendl retired, Agassi took his place as my firm favourite.

It wasn't only Agassi's frosted hair & good looks, pop-idol persona that made one his fan. It was his exciting brand of tennis, and the "appetite he generated for combat" that made fans flock to watch him play!

His initial career was a bit of a disappointment, but by the time his body gave up on him, he had won 8 Grand Slam Titles, a Career Grand Slam, and an Olympic Gold Medal, and earned his place among the Tennis Greats. That he did so in an era dominated by Sampras is commendable. (If it wasn't for Pete Sampras, Andre would've had the Grand Slam record.) That he did so at an age that most players retired was even more amazing! The man ate, breathed & lived Tennis!

He left an indelilable impression not only on fans, but also on the tennis stars of today.

When I watch Tsonga play or Nadal play, I'm reminded of Agassi.
The blistering groundstrokes, the shots that kiss the lines, the angles, the passing shots, the confidence-crushing forehand winners, all remind me of Agassi!

And I'm not the only one who says it. I'm so glad that what I thought is corroborated by Michael Stich.

And this year's Aussie Open semi-finalist knocked out last year's finalist Tsonga (who last year knocked out this year's eventual winner Nadal!), Verdasco, who grew up idolising Andre, sought his advice & reaped the benefits!

Nadal is like a newer, improved, left-handed version of Agassi. A much stronger serve, Agassi's groundstrokes & passing shots, Chang's legs & his very own mental toughness! I'm an out an out Federer fan, but I will grudgingly admit that Rafa has earned the title of the best tennis player in the World at the moment. He dominates Roger's game & he dominates his mind. Roger is at sea against Rafa. Not that King Roger will not find a way to beat Rafa. I believe he soon will, but it is a tribute to Rafael Nadal that he has pushed Roger Federer where no man even thought possible! It is only fitting that Rafa's greatness is acknowledged on account of his domination of Roger.

As Rafa himself said, Roger will get his 14 Grand Slams, possibly more as others say. It may not have happened at the Aussie Open, but there are 3 more Slams to go. Rafael will of course VAMOS for the Grand Slam 2009 & while it is a superhuman task to achieve, if there is one guy in recent Tennis memory who realistically stands a chance of doing it, it is Nadal! And at 22, with 6 Grand Slam titles already, there's no knowing what number he might end up with!!!

That Roger Federer is the Greatest ever will only be in dispute for a few more years at best. He will settle that with his 15th Grand Slam title. Then we'll start looking at Nadal's expanding trophy shelf. Very exciting times for men's Tennis! It could be even more exciting if 2 guys who have the game to dominate these 2 could get their acts together, but it seems unlikely that they will ever have the mental edge that these two possess. I'm talking about the unbeatable brand of Tennis that Marat Safin & Jo-Wilifried Tsonga are capable of playing!

Interesting times for Indian Tennis too! Sania Mirza wins her first Grand Slam title-tte. GREAT show from her & Bhupati! Now to see how she translates the confidence into Singles victories!
And Yuki Bhamri! Yet another Junior Grand Slam win! Boy to watch out for!
Interesting times indeed!

Observation & Question:

When Marcos Baghdatis plays at the Aussie Open, throngs of Australian fans of Greek & Cypriot origin cheer for him, wave flags of his country.
When Nadal plays, Aussies of Spanish origin wave Spanish flags. Ditto for Fedex. Swiss face paint & flags!
Thankfully no ball-tokre types live in Australia!

My Original Tennis Joke:
When Serena Williams plays at the net, her butt is still at the baseline! THAT's called Court Coverage! ;-D

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Media & some other thoughts...

I've criticised the media rather harshly in the past, even referring to the word as profane.

I've called some of them biased, some of them over the top & some sometimes slightly opinionated, I've questioned Pune Mirror, and decided that some of them (I mean the TOI here) had indeed sold their souls. And all of rightly so I believe.

Recently I was thinking about the awakening that we've witnessed in the masses recently. My uncle in far off Calcutta is doing his bit, awakened by the 26/11 attack on Bombay. Friends from Pune to Paris are doing something. Practically everyone is trying to say or do something to change the situation or the attitude to the sitation.

There's a campaign afoot to dress pramod muthalik up in lacy pink lingerie. They better wax his black ass before they do that, if they want it look anything like Beyonce's! The campaign has touched an instant chord with the masses & netizens alike. People are sending pink chaddis, suggesting wearing them on the steering wheels of their Mercedeses, others are blogging about it in a newer, fresher, more welcome vein! Scroll right down to the last widget on the right side this blog for more details.

People in India are doing something about the things that bother them. It's not enough yet, but it is a start. And we only need more people to keep joining in to bring about that change!

I believe that it is our Media whom we malign (often with just cause) that we have to thank for this awakening.
So we can criticize the excessive coverage of 26/11, the horror stories, the strong opinions being voiced.
We can accuse the media of being sensationalist (& we won't be wrong); but one thing we will have to give them, however much we don't like it, & that is the fact that their sensational, excessive, opinionated coverage has been able to awaken us out of our lethargy!

My dear friend TB seems to be missing this positive aspect of the Pink Chaddi Campaign & the media in general. (Edit: Oops! As usual, that comment has mysteriously disappeared! Trailblazer, any clue of what happened to the comment?)

Are you forgetting my dear friend that there was a karni sena who had indulged in nonsense sometime last year over the release of Jodha-Akbar. What happened to them? Is that karni a hero? He appeared on NDTV & everything. Does anyone remember him?? And what do you expect people (media are people too) to do when faced with these idiots? Keep quiet? Haven't we done that for far too long? It's much better than retaliatory violence, or long drawn PIL's or having to watch his goons pillage pub after pub. The people are standing up to a goon, without taking the law in their hands. It's a saluteworthy move! It's not enough, but it's a start!

And in case you missed it, this initiative too comes from someone who is associated with your favourite magazine Tehelka! :-) (do visit it & read through their "Vendors of Anarchy" piece to change your opinion.) Nisha Susan, more power to you!
You may also want to see what VS Naipaul has to say about Tarun Tejpal's latest novel.

So time to say it, however grudgingly... Indian Media, take a bow!


Continuing from our earlier discussions on war & capital punishment, I'd like to leave you with a few thoughts that appeared in an article in Verve:

Acharya Suryoday Surishwarji & Acharya Rajratna Surishwarji Maharaj of the Amichand Pannalal Adeshwar Jain Temple, Walkeshwar, Bombay, say that:
"Religion ordains that we should make our enemies our friends. A hundred guilty people can go free, but one innocent person must not die.
Politics or Governance demands that we finish off all our enemies. A hundred innocent people can die, but one guilty person shouldn't go free."

Hopefully you get the difference between governing human beings & living as human beings.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The REAL %@$#@^&$!!!

I'd spoken earlier about prices of groceries & real estate not coming down, despite inflation having come down wonderfully well.

The basic reason is obvious to everyone: Greed. One of the Seven Deadly Sins. If only these guys were devout enough... but their god is made of bank note paper.

Let's focus, for now, on the real estate prices joke that we've witnessed for the past few years.

One can understand the scarcity of space in Bombay & it's status as India's premier city, therefore one can understand rising prices there. But not to the degree that they rose to!

Beyond a point, the fault lies with people who're willing to buy at whatever rate is being quoted. The fault lies with the so-called investor (I prefer to call them gamblers), and the unawakened customer. They should just refuse to buy beyond a price point!

The first category doesn't do that (despite them not needing the damn houses at all!) because they're greedy gamblers. They want to speculate on rising prices, in order to sell to the next idiot who is willing to buy it at a substantially higher price, either out of more greed, or because the idiot is a customer who needs a house to live in, but doesn't understand the logic of not giving in to the seller's price!

The unawakened customer is the one that I seek to address through this post.
Jaago Graahak Jaago!
The money is YOURS! Unless buying a house is an absolute necessity (& to understand necessity, please put yourselves in the shoes of a homeless person who sleeps on the cold footpath!), don't part with the money at a rate that doesn't make sense!
The problem is that today we have access to loans. The bank is willing to give us money. So we make the mistake of believing that we have the money, we can afford it! THAT is not your money!
Imagine if banks weren't handing out loans. What would we have done? Looked at our meagre bank balance & postponed buying of a house till we had enough. And when we had enough, we'd just look for options that fit our budget.
With no one spending easy money in the real estate sector, the sector would behave itself! We wouldn't see the kind of imagined pricing that we see today!

I have a few suggestions, apart from the one above & the link above:

1. Start a non-profit, non-aligned, price regulation body. It can be a real-estate consumer rights NGO, that will survey every locality in every town & publish what the buying rate should be.
And no awakened consumer should buy above this recommended rate!
To ensure incorruptability, a panel (of 12?) should decide the prices instead of 1 or 2 people.

2. With price control in the real estate market, it will also become a less lucrative investment for goons, the underworld etc. A cleaner industry, with less arm twisting, less black money, more transparency is what we will get!

Reader thoughts solicited.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Poet in me (Part 2)

Inspired again. By Hitch Writer this time. (Am I doing sequels or what?)

Beware of Idle pursuits on Sunday...
Lest they set the tone for Monday! :-D

And since you like rhyming so much,
I'll leave you with some rhymes, free verse & such.

This piece of random rhyming from Zig,
Will make you break into a jig!

My poetry, I know, stinks like poo,
But it serves the purpose it sets out to! ;-)

You want better poetry? You'll find it here.
It'll make you gasp, it'll make you cheer!

But if you want verse that'll AWAKEN,
Go here! You'll find yourself SHAKEN!!!

Kya qhayaal hai?

rooTha dost...

Somehow Trailblazer has got it into his head that I am waging some kind of a blog-war against him.

Upset by the reactions to one of his recent posts, he has enabled comment moderation (which he should have had on in the first place!), though his doing so & his reasons for doing so now are indicative of his very young age.

Anyway, he's a guy I very much like. And this is to tell him (in response to his"Saturday, February 7, 2009 12:02:00 AM PST" comment):


- I logged into Google Adsense & blocked the 2 offending URL's that were being advertised on my blog.
Total Boycott of the offending people! Freedom Movement style! :-)

- I know you hate them as much. I've stated that in my earlier comment.

- One last thing to think about:

Yes Pakistan is in deep trouble. Political assassinations, corrupt leaders, areas under the strong influence of the Taliban.
Yes their cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad are racked by bomb blasts.
But don't people bravely carry on in those cities like they do in ours? Aren't their cricketers playing cricket happily, corrupt businessmen doing business happily as well?

Now consider India: Political assassinations, corrupt leaders (like the one in the ads), areas under strong influence of taliban like bodies (gujarat, orissa, karnataka?)
Bombay, Delhi, Jaipur carry on bravely despite bomb blasts. Our cricketers play cricket & corrupt businessmen conduct business.

What is the difference really? Are we really that different?

Just think for a moment. When we say America (or pakistan) has immense social issues, aren't those statements as generic as the one against India that you are protesting?

PS: Good latest post. And fantastic twitter link on the upper right hand side of your blog! :-) :-)
Keep writing.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Andhe ho kya...???

So Simon Beaufoy can see the development from one visit to another in Bombay. Can't find the darn link (please submit if you find it, Wiki style!), but it talks about the new flyovers & skyscrapers that keep coming up in Bombay everytime he visits!

A visitor to Pune can gawk at the spanking new, Excellent road from the airport Kalyani Nagar, or at the changed face of Baner (the 4 lane roads on each side, the bences on the ample sidewalk, the promenade) in just 12 months!!!
The Commonwealth Youth games have indeed given the city, specially the roads & the railway station a facelift!

But our media, businessmen & celebrities seem to have a very selective view of development.

They can't seem to give vilasrao deshmukh any credit for Bombay & Pune, nor can they talk about this man in their newspapers or interviews. Don't they read good newspapers or good blogs???
A few questions:
There were terror attacks on Jaipur & Ahmedabad as well as Bombay...
  • Why were vasundhara raje & her Home Minister not asked to resign?
  • Why were modi & his Home Minister not asked to resign?
  • Why did only vilarao deshmukh & patil have to resign?
  • Does it point to a difference in the attitude of the parties in question?


Have added a new blog to my list of preferred reads!

It's a pleasure to read him. If you want enlightenment, go visit his blogs.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Maine kahaa thHa naa!!! Part 2

It feels GOOD to be CORRECT!

Looks like I'm not the only one exposing the lies. I've provided data, anecdotes & analysis, linked to reports; I've linked to leading newspapers saying the same thing.

I'm just SO thrilled that I'm not the only one! Churumuri, Mr. Gupta, Ms. Banerji etc. are saying exactly the same thing...! May your tribe increase!

Dipankar Gupta & Ranjona Banerji both point out (as I too have, I'm in august company!) how gujarat was always a prospering state, full of industrious business-minded folk; and how modi's is just a despicable PR attempt to take all the credit for himself! (Of course there'll be the usual small-minded, uninformed, biased, ignoble, ignorable folk who will call them all kinds of names, like opportunistic, leftist etc.; in the process revealing nothing except their own intellectual vacuity.)

Telling indictment of:
  • modi's dishonesty
  • people's gullibility or obdurate refusal to acknowledge the truth
  • people in PR

Am also fairly disappointed with Symbiosis Institute of Mass. Comm. & Pune Mirror.

SIMC invited modi for a talk. What could he have to offer to mass comm students...? a man who cannot even communicate in the preferred language of the audience was seeking to address? anyway... he lied to them about the development that he didn't bring about in gujju-land. And Pune Mirror dutifully gave him full coverage.

The next day Anand Patwardhan spoke at the seminar. Now here's a documentary film-maker, with the credentials to talk to audio-visual mass. comm. students! At the end of his talk, one terribly misguided youth (& there are enough of that type going around since times immemorial) stood up & asked him whether he couldn't see the development that modi had brought about. The moderator stepped in to say that Mr. Patwardhan didn't need to answer that question as it didn't have anything to do with documentary film making; but Mr. Patwardhan insisted that he wanted to. He told the student (& others) that he wished he was present yesterday, or modi today, because he would've told him in no uncertain terms that he wouldn't ever vote for mr. modi's blood-stained hands.

Did Pune Mirror cover this the next day? Nope. I don't recall seeing it. Why Pune Mirror? Why?

Also see: Maine Kaha Tha Na (Part 1)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Remembering Mahatma Gandhi on Martyr's Day

I'm not going to go down the usual route of enumerating what this Great Soul (Mahatma) did for our Country. Those are commonly known & easily obtainable facts. He isn't called The Father of the Nation for nothing.

Instead, I am going to focus on the impact that Mahatma Gandhi has had on the World at large.
The commonly known facts are of course that Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King Jr., to South African pro-equality giant Nelson Mandela, to current US Prez Obama, to Albert Einstien (& so many others that a whole post can be dedicated to his famous fans) were all impressed by this great man & his thoughts.

And it's not just the famous & the old that celebrate his life & what he stood for. It's the young, today's youth, youth across the World that celebrates this man & tries to live by what he taught.
Take a look at the 2 links here:

1. A Hundred Years of Non Violent Resistance
2. The Poster

And it's not just individuals, but also some of the World's supreme organizations who acknowledge his Contribution in Eminently Befitting ways. You can also go through a short list of other International tributes here.

And until the Nobel Committee makes up it's mind, we should just celebrate the recognitions above & the ones below:
The Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize
The Gandhi Peace Award

I have a hunch...
In India good men, saints, kings etc., with the passage of enough time, tend to be designated as avtaars or revered as great saints. Gandhiji is almost already among the latter category. With his frequent readings of & understanding of the Bhagwad Gita, and his Vaishnava Jana, he may in a few centuries be worshipped as yet another avtaar of Vishnu.
I do not subscribe to this kind of a tribute as it goes against the Truth that Gandhiji stood for, but from most Indians who do subscribe to these theories, a more fitting tribute cannot be imagined.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Purely Random thoughts...

1. I was talking to my driver on route to work. He let on that he was trained on a truck. He was a "cleaner" for 5 years, and the driver normally coaches the cleaner in due time. As we've all seen in Hindi movies, the cleaner (or qhallaasi?) addresses the truck driver (in our thriving on stereotyping movies, usually a Sardarji) with the loving Urdu epithet "Ustad"! I'd of course forgetten this, as they don't make trucking movies any more. So I asked him what was it that the cleaner calls the driver... Master, Guru...? He said, "Ustad". Meaning Teacher or Guru. And this is common across India apparently. Whether it's a Punjabi trucker or a UP-ite or Rajasthani or Maharashtrian, they ALL use Ustad! That is what India used to be before people got extremist about language, culture etc. Glimpses of what India's core was about (& hopefully will remain) gladden the heart.

2. So Simon Beaufoy can see the development from one visit to another in Bombay. Can't find the darn link (please submit if you find it, Wiki style!), but it talks about the new flyovers & skyscrapers that keep coming up in Bombay everytime he visits! A visitor to Pune can gawk at the spanking new, Excellent road from the airport Kalyani Nagar, or at the changed face of Baner in just 12 months!!! The Commonwealth Youth games have indeed given the city, specially the roads & the railway station a facelift! But our media, businessmen & celebrities seem to have a very selective view of development. They can't seem to give vilasrao deshmukh any credit for Bombay & Pune, nor can they talk about this man in their newspapers or interviews. Don't they read good newspapers or good blogs??? That zinta chick I used to like. Thought she was all gracious & forgiving. And definitely not on coke as the idle malacious gossip seemed to suggest, but now I'm unsure man...! I wonder what Ness' granny would think of her...!

3. Pune Times main page feature yesterday: braveheart srk undergoes surgery again! Err... Is afsana ahmed even aware of the number of surgeries that Sachin Tendulkar or other sportspersons have undergone? What is this insistence on featuring one particular person, or one particular field till the reader is sick of him/it? Is this the fair, unbiased, thought provoking journalism they set out to do...?

4. Slap spin specialist Harbhajan Singh gets a Padma Shri!!! Abhinav Bindra does a little better, but remarks that it was strange that fellow Olympic medallists Vijender Singh & Sushil Kumar were left out of the list! I've lamented the lack of a list revision/error correction mechanism, the lack of transparency with respect to the selection process before. Is there a fixed quota or something per discipline/per year? Strange... very strange...

5. Mediocrity: I've been conditioned not the like that term. By writers, leaders, thinkers, philosophers, corporate citizens, share market billionaires, by the media & training firms that survive around the lives of such people... So when I look around me & find mediocrity being celebrated instead of excellence, it bothers me. From our popular film awards to our television shows, to people like ashutosh winning bigg boss, from among almost equally unworthy housemates... mediocrity today is all pervasive. The question I want to ask myself (& hoping you can answer for me) is this:

Is Not Celebrating Mediocrity an (our much maligned in India today) Elitist argument?
Is celebrating the perceived utter mediocrity of guys like srk & ashutosh, a more Pro-Equality, Anti-Perfectionism argument? And thus more worthy?

I think so, but I also like the push for Excellence. Does the winning argument in the Universe centre around Balance? Bloody tightrope man!

If we brand perfectionism or the constant pursuit of excellence as elitist or even ruthlessly capitalist, and correctly ascribe the relentless pressure felt by perceived non-perfect people such as those who are obese, dark or academically or fiscally average, to it; does that make a more moderate, tolerant approach better? One that has place for not just the fittest, but the fattest as well? Can this argument be extended to socialism & much maligned communism as well? What about Seva Cafe's brand of freecycling? (Link needed, kindly provide)

I would like the brains of Annie, NativeIndian, Sagarone, IHM, Trailblazer, Yaamyn, CAT, Animesh, Nimmy, @lankr1ta, PhoenixRitu to try & answer these questions for me please.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Prayer to God

I write about an abundant variety of topics. One thing however that doesn't get it's due is my relationship with God. I don't what the reasons for this are. Maybe I've always considered it very personal; maybe I hadn't come to terms fully with my relationship with God, but it's been in my mind to post about this for some time.

i'm not very regular, and the following conversation is a roughly 99% accurate draft of what i say to Him. i hereby share with you my rather irregular prayer to God:

Dear God,

Thank You for the blessings that you have bestowed upon my family & me. Thank you for keeping us safe, secure, healthy & happy. Thank You for all the small & big things (like family, friends, a job etc.) that make our daily lives happy.

i ask You to bless my family & me, with long lives that are fiscally, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually... fit, secure, safe, healthy & happy.

i ask you to bless our close & far relatives, friends, the whole world, and indeed all of Your Creation, in the very same way.

i ask you to heal my aches & pains (that i have developed from excessive typing on the keyboard).
(Sometimes i pray for God to help friends & relatives find good jobs when they're looking, sometimes i ask to not be critical of others, to be patient with them, sometimes for something else, but the main prayer remains largely as it's been produced here.)

Dear God, i humbly thank You, my all powerful, merciful, only benefactor, and ask you to grant me my wishes & prayer come true.


I'd also like to quote a few prayers & hymns that I identify with, that I sometimes draw inspiration from & use in my prayers:
  • St. Francis' "Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace" (School prayer which I only began to understand recently)
  • Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, sabko sanmati de Bhagwan
  • Abide with me
  • The Namaaz
  • The Spirituality section & The Speaking Tree (one of the rare good things in TOI), which exposes me to quotes from Buddha, Guru Nanak, Kabir, Gandhiji, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar among others.

i send this prayer out into our World, so that God heals us all, cures us of hatred, sows us with love & bestows peace upon all, even those we criticize or don't agree with.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Statuette time!!! ;-)

OK! Time for the 2nd edition of the annual 1conoclast's World Peace Award!

Last year, when the award was instituted, there was only one award & therefore only one winner. This year, we have expanded the list of categories in order to recognize netizens in other areas as well.

It's tough to pick a winner for the topline Award from among fellow Crusaders for Peace, but that being such an oxymoron, I'll have to look for people whose style & tone, in addition to their message, resonates with the call for Peace! It is with humility & great joy that I submit this tribute to my fellow netizens.

Here goes...

The 1conoclast's World Peace Award 2008 is a tie (It's not a joint award & therefore no comparisions are to be drawn with last year's shared Nobel Peace Prize!) and it goes to:

Indian Home Maker & Milind Kher!!!

IHM's reader's will be familiar with her gentle tone & consistent pro-Peace, pro-equality stance. For her collected posts, each calling for understanding & tolerance, for saying yes to non-violence, the Award is hers this year!
Milind Kher's comments all around this blog are an indication of the inclusiveness, tolerance & wisdom he is being recognized for! Here is a sample of his comments.
The other close contenders were Mohib, Sridhar (Search for "Sridhar on November 12th, 2008 8:11 pm" here), Sudie (sample here again), Knownturf, QuirkyIndian and Yaamyn. All spoke for Peace and I doff my hat to all of them!
The Citizens for Peace Blog 1 & 2 remains an Inspiration to bloggers like me.

The new categories this year (& the winners therein) are:

1conoclast's Funniest Humour Collection Award 2008 goes to:

1conoclast's Best Original Humour Award 2008 goes to:

A few other categories, to be taken in the Razzie spirit are:

1conoclast's Award for Excessive Comment Moderation 2008 goes to:
Indian Home Maker again!

1conoclast's Award for Selective Viewpoint 2008 goes to:
(Also wins under the categories of Carefully Selected Comment Deletion & Consistently Inconsistent)

1conoclast's Award for "Let's Hope they remains Centred (Please see definition 2 here)" 2008:
goes to two young minds with great potential...
Trailblazer. He is intelligent, young, passionate, informed, tolerant, inclusive among other good things. Their slight tendency to favour war, capital punishment, and give general consideration to right-wing propaganda are worrying traits; traits I hope will disappear with imminent maturity, but more on account of their desire to look for truth & sense in things.
& Kislay for pretty much the same reasons.

Thank you all for your lovely posts, comments & thoughts. They make the blogosphere a nicer place to inhabit.
  1. If someone is a good artist, can they please design a better statuette for next year's Awards?
  2. Is this selection by a Jury of peers (me!) a good way to do this or would people prefer to vote? Can someone suggest a reliable voting widget?

Monday, January 26, 2009


They said he wanted to, so they went ahead, forged alliances, put in effort & did it!!!

The curtain lifts on this noteworthy initiative on this our 60th Republic Day, and the 2 month anniversary on the deplorable attacks on our beloved Bombay.

So all those who said, they wanted to do something... it's time. To ask questions. To NEVER FORGET!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

a few questions for Vinodji (& his friends)

A great deal of thought, restraint & re-wording has gone into this post (& it's title).
After a lot of reading him, one part of my brain says that he means no malintent, that he's just differently motivated. Another part of me has come to the (possibly premature) conclusion that the gentleman in question has questionable motives. I guess I'll just leave that to be answered by him.

Vinodji, I am aware that criticism is not nice (& I am therefore making an attempt to not criticize but attempt a criticism of your writing). I have also always been aware that your stance may just be the mirror image of mine, and in all probability I could be reading you wrong. If this is indeed the case, bachcha samajh ke maaf kar deejiyega. I only want some questions answered & iron out certain inconsistencies. I maintain that you serve as unique a purpose in the political world & in the Universe as I presume to.


Positives first:

1. Vinodji, you argue against the caste system, against a situation where one's
station in life was determined solely on that basis
It would follow that you wouldn't hold anyone's birth against them, but in another comment you go on to do just that! Stung by Sagarone's bringing up the loss of life & suffering endured by certain people, you half-chiding him say:
please let us not talk of the suffering of the 'royals' in pursuit of power.
Others have suffered much more. Besides, the country has suffered probably even
more due to the many Himalayan blunders they have made. Their offspring have a
right to rule?
That's very inconsistent: Holding someone's birth against them?

2. Vinodji, your posts frequently celebrate a selective view of India & a select band of Indians. And lament certain issues that the country faces. Self admittedly you write about issues that energise you sufficiently. As a blogger you have the right to choose what you want to address through your posts.

Surprisingly, when your stance is challenged, your response is at complete variance from the energised or polite Vinod we know. When I challenged your attempt to cover-up Gandhiji's assassination by hindutva groups, you completely avoided coming back with an answer. Fair enough; maybe it didn't energise you sufficiently.

But that is precisely my point! Covering up Gandhiji's assassination & the sinister forces behind it, energises you sufficiently, but not coming back with an explanation as to what you meant by putting it like that???

And for those who may want to suggest that you chose not to get into a spat, they may want to ask you why you deleted a comment of yours where you referred to me as being in possession of a jehadi mentality. Very polite I'm sure.

That's inconsitency # 2.

Now for the opportunity areas:

3. Vinodji... your friends like Amit here are in a different league altogether. I may call you differently motivated, but I will never question your intellect. I may question where you choose to use it, but I won't deny it's existence. At least you know what you're talking about when you utter the word *elected*! Commenters called Amit are one of a kind it would seem!!! ;-)
Amit questions my respect for a Western education when he's already answered his own question by his erroneous reading of my nickname. A Western education & were meant for people like you Amit. Here's a comment that's still awaiting your response.
And another gem from mayawati awaits your response (point # 2) here.
Do you have it in you to answer these points? I didn't think so...

That's inconsistency # 3: Running down fellow Indians solely because they're scions, while lamenting the lack of respect to other fellow Indians. Inconsistency or Double Standards? Or just plain Stupidity?

4. An apparent anti-Congress fixation (point 5 here) makes you do some bizzare things Vinodji. Such as constantly railing against the likes of Rahul Gandhi for his belonging to a certain dynasty, for no fault of his except birth (see point 1 above).
So while you will alternate between mocking Omar's candidature and referring to him as the best of the lot (inconstency again?), you will never utter a kind word about Rahul. Maybe I am reading this fixation incompletely... It's probably an anti-Congress fixation with anti-Nehru-Gandhi-Mania.

Can you, Vinodji, not see that scions like Vasundhara Raje & Varun Gandhi were given tickets by your beloved bjp? Can you not bring that up in an attempt to appear fair?
Does that not energise you enough?

5. Should your being a blatant apologist for modi1, 2 tell me a little more about you? Maybe your attempted cover-up of hindutva's involvement in the cowardly killing of The Father of The Nation should tell me more...?

Your comment here gives me faith Vinodji that I am reading you wrong. That you don't have any malintent. But then your preceding comments & posts & the points I raised in # 6 above cause much damage to that faith, and need to be addressed.
I'm totally with you that no man should be indicted purely on the basis of reports & reporting. We have a judicial system & that must find someone guilty before we pronounce them guilty!
I don't want an apology. I don't want his ouster. I want you to answer these questions:
  • Why is the Justice process getting delayed for the 2002 gujarat riots case?
  • Why haven't the real perpetrators not being brought to book yet?
  • Why does the man ("with the blistering pace" as you so fondly put it) not do enough to speed up Justice? Why does he not quickly restore my faith in my country???
  • Why does he not ACT, so that Indians of any community can feel safe visiting a state in our own country???
Do you have answers Vinodji?
PS: You may want to pay attention to the fact what I've pointed out here... Was the 2007 guj. assembly election closer than we think?

The TRUTH seems to be POURING OUT!!!

Woke up this morning to a very pleasant sight in the papers.

The Indian Express reported that Report by own Govt punctures modi's Gujarat hype.
The newspaper says:
"A state government document accessed by 'The Indian Express' says that out of
the proposed total investment of Rs 633,829.9 crore during the VGGIS melas of
2003, 2005 and 2007, only Rs 130,354.36 crore materialised. This works
out to 20.5 per cent, as against the 61 per cent modi
. But for even this rate, all of some Rs 1,030 crore worth of
projects, which the document says are still at a “planning stage”, have to

It also says:
While Modi projected 25 lakh new jobs from the over 8,500 MoUs signed during the
fourth VGGIS last fortnight, the document indicates that Gujarat actually got
just 12.3 per cent of the 13,23,452 jobs promised in the 760 MoUs signed during
the three VGGIS from 2003

Haven't I always maintained that it was all a lie, a sham, a PR exercise waiting to be exposed?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inflation anyone...?

Last year, there was a lot of ho-hulla about rising inflation.

the bjp & their followers went overboard with joy & gave soundbyte after soundbyte to the media.

Dr. Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram & Montek Singh Ahluwalia all quietly said that this was a temporary phenomenon, affected by inflated oil prices; and that it would come down shortly.

A downtrend has been in place almost since the day they said this. I can't hear even one voice praising this! I think it makes sense for me to at least applaud the bjp (& it's supporters') hypocrisy. They're making such an effort, being so consistent... Great show guys! Keep it up!

Dr. Singh, Mr. Chidambaram, Mr. Ahluwalia... Congratulations! You're doing a fine job sirs!

One question remains though... why despite inflation being so low are the prices of fruit & veggies still so high???
Or worse, why aren't real estate prices being lowered by the developers?
More on that in a separate post!

Will I, Won't I?

Watching Obama Inaugration yesterday, almost brought tears to my eyes.
Here was the burden of America's slave-trade history, it's civil war, it's assassinations of men like Lincoln & King Jr., being lifted. A moment not only for black people to celebrate, but also for white, yellow, brown & red people.
And to watch black & white people hold up Obama banners, Change banners & jumping for joy at the ceremony, simultaneously moistened my eyes, but lifted a weight off my chest.

How am I, so totally unconnected with the race issues of America, affected in such a manner by yesterday's historic event?
I know extreme-patriot, regionalist cynics will scoff and throw pseudo-nationalist jingoism my way, like, first become Indian, then anything else. I've never limited myself within any boundaries, or conformed, and I'm not about to do it now. I'm a human being first; and I identify with human issues everywhere!

Obama too spoke of a new World order. Of inclusiveness, of handshakes, of prosperity across the World! Indicating a sea-change in spoken approach to the USA's foreign policy.

I'm wondering if I can become India's Obama... Like him, I'm of mixed ethnicity, I'm exposed to multiple cultures. Like him, I'm well-educated. And well-brought-up. And passionate (about social, national, and world causes). And Inclusive! And I look up to Lincoln & Gandhiji. And I'm good-looking as well. I'm not yet 35. And I'm a fairly good orator as well.

The only problem is that I've let myself go a bit over the past few years. I haven't paid much attention to personal grooming, physical fitness, bowel movements, and have practically abandoned all manners.
I don't think I will be able to last an entire ceremonial day without farting out loud.
If I can overcome that one fact, I think I stand a fairly good chance!
And so does everyone else like me. So there is hope for our future. The only thing is we must believe in ourselves. And be the CHANGE we want to see! Even if it is as small as not farting out loud in public!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

The TRUTH about gujarat's "development"

There's more to it than meets the eye. Heard of this one before?
Or of, scratch the surface, digging deeper for the truth etc.?

Apparently, we're all content to believe what suits us. I'm not. And therefore here's my little expose of truth about gujarat's so called good governance & development.

What comprises good governance? I've heard terms like corruption free state etc. being thrown about. I quote here from a random search on the web:
“Good governance” is a relatively new term that is often used to describe the desired objective of a nation-state’s political development. The principles of good governance, however, are not new. Good governance is, in short, anti-corruption whereas authority and its institutions are accountable, effective and efficient, participatory, transparent, responsive, consensus-oriented, and equitable. These are the major characteristics of good governance as outlined by the United Nations.
The World Leaders at the 2005 World Summit concluded that good governance is integral to economic growth, the eradication of poverty and hunger, and sustainable development. The views of all oppressed groups, including women, youth and the poor, must be heard and considered by governing bodies because they will be the ones most negatively affected if good governance is not achieved.

Or you could refer to Wiki. Says almost the same thing.

NOW tell me whether the state of gujarat qualifies for the good governance that it is touted to provide?
  • Bootlegging (the illegal liquour trade) is rampant despite Prohibition being in force. There's one example of Corruption!
  • Transparency too seems to have become a victim, pointing towards a dishonest, corrupt Gujarat administration.
  • And there goes Equitable!
  • 6 years after the 2002 riots in the state, we're still wondering whether the perpetrators will be brought to book. There go all claims of an effective & efficient, accountable, transparent, Executive & Judiciary in the state!
Is THIS what Good Governance stands for???

I will present whatever facts & figures I have here:
  • I grew up in Rajasthan & we regularly drove into Gujarat to visit Ambaji or Palanpur or en route to Bombay. On my first trip as a 9 year old, being excited about driving into a "new State", I remember asking one of the local uncles in the minibus, "Uncle, Gujarat kab aayega?". And Uncle replied, "Jab iss bus ki khidkiyaan khad-khad bajne band ho jayengi toh samajh lena Gujarat aa gaya!", in an obvious reference to the condition of roads in Gujarat. That was 1984. modi or the bjp weren't in power then. How then is this modi responsible for the excellent roads in Gujarat?
  • Reliance set up Petro in Gujarat. Half the Pharma companies are in Gujarat. And this too has been happening for as long as any of us can remember. Gujarat has always been a prosperous state. It's been among the top contributors to India's GDP for longer than this man has been in power. HOW then does he get credit for developing Gujarat???
  • And I'm not the only one pointing this out! If you don't want to take my word for it, I'm fairly certain that you will take Dr. Manmohan Singh's word for it. Even if you're not a fan of his (which makes you very, very strange!), you can't deny that the man isn't given to lying in public! Read the 4th para from top here! And onwards of course. :-)
  • Do you know of the 489 farmers who committed suicide in Gujarat over a 4 year period? Is this the development that we are celebrating in Gujarat??? vilasrao deshmukh deservedly drew flak for farmer suicides in Maharashtra. Why not narendra modi???
  • Take a look at the per capita income gross state domestic product figures in this table that I obtained from the planning commission website. A smaller state like Goa has TWICE the per capita GDSP income of Gujarat!!! Goa registered an improvement of 21% in 2004-2005! Jharkhand was at 35%! When then is only the Gujarat CM in the news & not Goa's CM??? Or Haryana's which is also close in the averages? There has to be a reason! Essentially PR. Presumably to cloud the 2002 sentiment? Good job on the PR though! Have to hand them that! Mooh mein Raam/development, bagal mein churi!
That's all I have for tonight! Will be back with more later if the readers want to know.

Here are a few more links that you may want to browse through in order to decide on what really gets the bjp it's vote in gujarat. These are from around the time of the last assembly elections in gujarat. (last section, last few paras)

So was their unfortunate 2007 victory:
a) Due to the immense polarization of the electorate (of which 89% are Hindus)?
b) Was the election closer than we think?

Oh! And if it's possible to tag someone on a post of this nature, I'd like to tag Sagarone, Trailblazer, Kislay and Vinod Sharma.

Questions for ratan, sunil & anil

Good Afternoon ratan, sunil & anil.

Nice to see that you put shareholder interest above everything else. You're in it to make money. That's what your chosen field is, that's your area of expertise is. Ethics, Equality, Social Issues are an SEP (Somebody Else's Problem). If they were your primary motivators, you'd have been in Baba Amte/Medha Patkar/Teesta Setalvad's place, right? And yes... Corporate Social Responsibility can be taken care of by financing a few education/technical training institutes & a few research grants. Everybody wins right?

WRONG! I disagree. You have displayed a gutlessness, a spinelessness that will spawn businessmen jokes the way America has lawyer jokes! (Can someone contribute a few good ones?) And ensured that you will not be remembered as a few good men.
You have further cemented the belief that businessmen are hard-nosed, cut-throat and not to be relied on. It's a telling comment on our money-minded society that only Ramalingam Raju is drawing flak for having poor moral fibre.

I'm not the only one who disagrees of course. Rahul Bajaj & Jamshed Godrej disagree with you.
Anjan & Zig disagree. IHM disagrees.

So I'm going to put my money where my mouth is. In fact I've already started.
  1. When I want an Internet connection, I'm not going for the broadband services your companies provide. I will look for an alternative. BSNL, MTNL, Hathway etc!
  2. I will switch cellphone providers from airtel to Vodafone, BSNL etc., but tata, airtel or reliance are not getting any of my business!
  3. My cousin was looking to buy a second-hand indigo. He asked me for advice. I dutifully pointed out to him that tata cars are after the first 2 years, high on maintenance, and their service centres have probably no idea of what customer satisfaction means. I also pointed out of course that ratan tata was the same man who was seen hugging narendrabhai. Ever seen him hug a customer?
  4. I will buy sunglasses from Life (a less expensive, but equally stylish brand carried by Shoppers Stop) instead of fastrack.
  5. And I would rather throw away good money on a Tissot than on your watches!!!
  6. I've anyway switched to Saffola Salt (pending Mr. Mariwala's views of course), and if necessary will make my own!!!
  7. Needless to say, no more shopping at westside.
  8. And if I'm looking to move to a set top box, it'll be DISH TV for me.
One parting question for you guys: Despite all the hugging, would you offer a non-English speaking, non-internationally acceptable, possibly partisan candidate with a dubious secular record, a job in any of your companies?

Such hypocrisy.... tsk tsk...



Friday, January 16, 2009

I guess it's up to me... :-)

... to speak the truth, and to present an equally balanced view of Indian politics.
Because certain other bloggers on the Indian political scene will not have the grace or the guts to bring these two news items up.

1. Emulating (whether purposefully or inadvertently) the Father of The Nation, young Indian political hope (some say, & I'm not inclined not to disagree) Rahul Gandhi & British Foreign Secy. David Miliband, stayed overnight in a Dalit woman's hut. Rahul was aiding Miliband in his mission to discover rural India.
The only question in my mind is why the trust didn't leave the mattresses & pillows behind for the poor woman. They could've done that.
Kudos yet again to the Indian Express for it's brave unbiased reporting.

The bjp of course played crybaby as usual. They take the word opposition rather seriously, don't they?

2. mayawati in her birthday speech called the bjp rashtra-virodhi (anti-national)! It's something I thought only I called them? How do I have anything in common with mayawati...? Is this a universal truth? Something that everyone knows? ;-)

I'm wondering why the unabashedly mayawati & bjp-fan-blog, india retold has chosen to remain mum on this tricky issue... hai koi jawab bhai...?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Disappointment & Hope-II

While the existence of one non-blinker-wearing blogger gives one hope that openly partisan apologists for murderers aren't the only people populating my country, the decidedly premature celebrations of the aforesaid apologists is a sad occurence.

Why do I use words like blinkers, partisan, premature etc., one may ask.

Let's see why:

  • If you can see faults in everyone else, but not in narendra modi, it isn't because you're blind. You're just partisan or wearing blinkers. Please forgive the Raja Bhoj-gangu teli (respectively) analogy, but how else can one find faults with Dr. Manmohan Singh yet not give him his due for bringing India to where it is today economically, yet be totally forgiving of modi's complicity/inaction during the 2002 riots?

  • How easily they forget the earlier toast of IT, AP, certain sections in the press, Chandrababu Naidu (apparently the longest serving CM/CEO of Andhra Pradesh)! This is why I say premature.

  • They don't even have all the facts at hand, yet they celebrate! Good Governance did I hear? I guess offering security & a dignified living to it's citizens isn't part of good governance... No Corruption did I hear? I guess they don't know the real truth. Maybe they can compare PCI stats with other states before they rejoice prematurely? Do they actually believe no one else is watching? That no one else knows? That no one else will speak up? That the voices will not gather momentum? Blind? Nay... Blinkers!

  • And for every ratan tata, sunil mittal & anil ambani, there is a rahul bajaj & Jamshedji Godrej to take into account! Hopefully the media is only keeping modi alive in public memory, so that the voices for him to be brought to justice become louder & louder!

  • And how does the backing of those industry-wallas (with the obvious vested interest of making more money) hold good at all? Since when are industrialists as a group known for rectitude or ethics? They're known for protecting their own interests!

  • Now this bit is purely conjecture, but anil ambani is close to Amar Singh, and he may only have backed modi in public to further widen the rift (vajpayee-advani-shekhawat-modi-rss factions) within the bjp! (Gleeful Grin!)
And since vinod sharma has taken to hurriedly deleting every comment that I put up on his posts, I'm refuting some more of his silly claims here:

1st reply:
Right Time???

He was on Karan Thapar's show & walked out when asked to express regret? Was that not an appropriate time?

He's just milking the sentiment of those hindus who're extremist. And similarly with the money that comes in. Forgotten so soon why sonal shah was embroiled in so much controversy? The funds come from hindutva sympathisers living abroad.

2nd reply:
You wish Vinod.... The recurring skirmishes/riots in India doesn't suggest that we're a different people.

3rd reply:

There is no unhealthy obsession with 2002. The obsession with 1984 still continues till today.Both you & vinod have brought it up in this form & others do all the time. It isn't forgotten. Nor should it be.
Nor should 2002 be forgotten.
And just because we weren't able to fix problems in the past is no excuse to not cry out for justice now!
That's all one is saying.

And can you please stop berating the English media? They're the one's who raise the cry for justice. Read this Tehelka piece.

OPEN your eyes!!!

The other 2 pieces of rubbish that vinod claims in the latest post on his bog...
at a scorching pace that even now seems impossible in any state except

**** has become the beacon that has illuminated the truth that an honest,
competent and visionary leader

Joke of the century vinod!!! Really good one!!! LOL!!! And I thought phoenixritu was the funniest blogger I knew!!! :-D

I really hope you went through the links to the PCI GDSP pdf & the prohibition news article, that I provided above. This making false claims vinodji... tsk tsk... aapko shobha nahi deta...

Stop being an apologist for modi. Otherwise people will remember you like they remember hitler supporters. Heard of the slur "nazi"?

Related Post

Please look forward to 2 posts, one on the Janus-facedness of modi supporters
& the other that analyses the truth about gujarat.

So is the bjp good for anything at all...?

Let us examine that statement.

I have always maintainted that there is use for everything in this World. Purpose, Good, whatever you may want to call it. I have however been extremely hard pressed to see it with the lot this post is about.

I am of course not the first one to condemn them for their gadzillion faults. IHM recently did it, and rather eloquently too; Yaamyn's masterpiece cannot be forgotten even if one tried; & I've done it before, and on more than one ocassion (this one is power-packed with fact-filled links!).
I'm restricting the list of critics to unknown bloggers for now. If we go into the realm of well-known voices who have condemned , their actions or their ideology, this post will start to read like the Who's Who of India & the World! ;-)

So why not the bjp? The answers to that are simple. And many!

1st: Ideology. The bjp is the political front of the rss. All of them are essentially bound together, NOT by a love for the Indian Constitution, but by the ideology of hindutva propounded by savarkar, a little-known freedom-fighter of dubious renown; and therefore bound together by partisan respect for the underachieving savarkar, who's other claim to infamy is allegedly conspiring to kill the Father of the Nation, Gandhiji. This anti-national, contrary to our constitutional values ideology is what drives them. Surely they can't be considered candidates for governing a country as great as ours...?

2nd: They lack Foresight: When Dr. Manmohan Singh & PV Narsimha Rao were opening up India's economy, the perennially wet behind the ears bjp was yelling Swadeshi (a movement they ironically were not part of when it was first used against the British!). And when they came to power, eating humble pie, they simply carried on the implementation of Dr. Manmohan Singh's economic reforms. What does that make them...?

3rd: Hypocrites. As pointed out above. Also as was obvious to all discerning Indians, in the aftermath of the 26/11/2008 attaks on Bombay, despite their leader advani saying that they'd stand politically united against terror, they quickly did an about turn & happily went campaigning in the 5 states that were going to the Assembly polls. And of course, who can forget their soundbytes to the media? Thankfully an awakened Indian electorate & the indignant wife of martyred ATS chief Hemant Karkare, turned them down. What does that make them? Hypocrites AND Opportunistic!

4th: They breed, promote & defend marauders & murderers. A look at what their ideological allies have been up to in Khandmal & Karnataka in 2008, Gujarat in 2002, Ayodhya in 1992 will convince anyone not deliberately wearing blinkers.
They claim to be nationalists when the whole World recognizes them as facists, neo-zionists etc.
What nationalist, Constitutionally compliant, EC code compliant party would use temple building promises or distribute hate CD's(1) as part of their electoral strategy???
Yet another flagrant violation of the aforesaid code can be found here!
It's telling comment on how effete our Election Commission is. Or is our disinterested Judiciary/Executive to blame for not pulling the bjp up? But let me not shift the blame to our not so long an arm of the law, when in fact the real fault lies with these criminals!

5th: They're primarily anti-Congress. Also anti-secular. And anti-communist. Apart from THAT, they don't have any clear agenda for India's growth, development or place in the World order.
They're just blindly against anyone who denies them their Hindu-supremacist dream, and all their machinations & propaganda is targeted against them. So they & their followers have a limited number of hobbies: take open potshots at the so-called Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, and poorly-disguised ones at the likes of Gandhiji & Ambedkar.

So that brings us back to the questions we began this post with? Are they good for anything at all?
Contrary to what most people will think, I believe they are.
They serve a variety of purposes, but chiefly two:
  1. They make us aware of what evil is.
  2. They, with their mostly uncalled for, mostly inaccurate, but persistent criticism, help the Congress iron out the few flaws it has & get it's act together vis a vis their communication.
It prepares us, the citizens that they're supposed to be serving, to deal with their petty machinations.
And it helps the Congress emerge stronger & better equipped to govern India. A nation with a record for progressive, equitable thinking & living, demands that a party with similar people assist in governing it!

So there you have it. The bjp does serve an important two-fold purpose. It keeps us aware of the dangers of right-wing thinking, and it keeps India's sole hope for a sane mainstream political party, on it's toes. It's a job they do well (if we can call it that!) & they should be allowed to do that as long as they serve that purpose. Don't get me wrong! By no stretch of imagination are they a scrupulous bunch! They deserve to be hauled up everytime they break the law! But speaking strictly of politics, they enjoy opposing everything, and do so with single-minded dedication.
For those reasons & the ones mentioned above, they genuinely deserve to be in the opposition. They're apt for the job.
What would be interesting of course is to watch whether the other fringe/partisan/local players (like the sena) or other non-centred players (like the Left), take the battle to be the main opposition party, seriously enough or not.

You may have noted that I've softened my stance a little bit. I've gone from wishing the almost complete demise of the bjp to acknowledging that every voice in a democracy needs to be at least heard. And because of democratic considerations, I'm not only OK with the bjp's existence, I'm even glad! May they ALWAYS sit in the opposition!

There! That should make a few people happy! ;-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More against War: Guruspeak

OK. Enough ranting by us mere mortals on how to avoid war.

Let's hear what the Pundits have to say.

Thanks to CAT for the link to this wonderful piece.

And of course I derive a sense of satisfaction on discovering that my humble views on a solution-oriented approach have such illustrious proponents. Dr. Aumann, here's a fan!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rehman rules the Globe!


Another Indian achievement on the Global stage worth celebrating!
An achievement in the here & now!
An achievement by a soft-spoken, peace-loving Indian (as opposed to ranting pro-violence losers)!

Here's to a Genuine Winner! A Real World Beater!

Ab isko kehte hain India Shining! ;-)

Sagarone: Why NOT War


Your very eloquent & almost persuasive argument for war is dangerous. It has the potential to sway someone who feels strongly about the tension between the two countries.

I'd like to present some more views against, not just war with pakistan, but the very idea of war!
(You may or may not have read the plethora of reasons provided here earlier.)

I am not saying & will not say that war hasn't been an option advocated & practised by men with far greater intellect, stature, beliefs & of course compulsions. But isn't it time we evolved as a race? Discarded notions of the past & adopted newer, peaceful approaches to end conflict?

The basic premise of my argument is & will remain this: Resorting to violence as a solution is a baser instinct, it's the easy way out. It doesn't take much thinking, much restraint, much intellect to resort to violence. War therefore is not the best solution. It's only the obvious solution. If you can call it a solution, considering that it kills so many people, and creates more bitter enemity than existed earlier.
Did our war against pakistan in 1971 achieve anything? It killed our soldiers & theirs. And I bet more than a few civilians. And it gave pakistan more reason to hate us, plot against us, develop nuclear arsenal to use against us.
Did the war in Afghanistan or Iraq help? Or in the middle east? Have they solved anything yet? Or have they simply created a situation that constantly threatens to go from bad to worse?

I quote from bhupinder's comment on one of Annie's (as usual) eloquent posts:
Tank aage badhein ke peeche hatain
kokh dharti ki baanjh hoti haifateh ka jashn ho ki haar ka sog
zindagi mayyaton pe roti hai
jung toh khud masla hai ek

jung kya maslon ka hal degi

A few questions Sagarone:
Why are we so eager to go to war with pakistan? To avenge the lives of our countrymen? To avenge the attack on our territory? To defend our honour? To ensure that this is not repeated ever? Because there seems to be no other quick & easy way to bring the perpetrators to justice? I'm assuming that your answer is yes to all of those questions.
If that is so, consider the following scenarios:
In order to bring justice to our fellow Indians who perished, to ensure that it doesn't happen ever again, to bypass the long-drawn out politico-legal dancing that is supposed to deliver justice but doesn't, should we:

  1. Wage War against the Govt. of Gujarat?
  2. Wage War against the Govt. of Orissa?
If War is such a quick & easy solution to bring criminals to justice, why does it sound right in one situation & not in the other?

Like I said in my comment on your post earlier (points # 3, 4 & 5), we must look for a better solution, not go for the easier one. I hope I have sufficently demonstrated the fact that the easier one hasn't worked. If you're looking for a few centuries of power, maybe it'll work. But if you hope for mankind to live in peace on Earth, then as a solution, it has as much IQ as a Rambo or Terminator type of movie.