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.