Friday, May 28, 2010

Time to root for CPM in West Bengal... !

Today in a major tragedy, more than 100 people died and many hundreds more injured in a train accident which was a result of sabotage by the Maoists in Bengal. The incident threw up several important issues for us all to be aware of and vote properly when the next elections are due in Bengal. It is very easy to sympathize with the goal of getting rid of CPM as the supreme target and lose sight of the fact that Mamata Bannerjee is equally dangerous to the state and to the nation.

The Maoists, are now sufficiently well armed and well spread that they are threatening the unity and integrity of the nation and waging war from within. The usual NDTV intellectual brigade is harping on development as the solution out of this. Consider the following acts by Maoists:
1. By killing civilians travelling in buses and trains what are they trying to prove
2. By blasting cell phone towers, they inconvenience rural folks who are the greatest beneficiaries of the cell phone revolution happening in India.
3. By blasting and destroying pucca government schools what are they achieving. This is especially worrisome, as the Maoists are not worried about the threat of Christian missionary schools in their tribal belt, which is also used by the security forces.

The agenda here is to render the Indian state impotent, subvert democracy and achieve sedition. They are getting moral support from missionaries and several Missionary inspired NGOs. It is no coincidence that their schools and building are untouched by Maoists, who see great threat in letting a government school exist in the same street. This leads me to suspect, that missionaries want to use the Maoists to further the conversion agenda thereby altering demography irrevocably. We all know that Atheism and secularism always degenerates into anti-hinduism in India !!

Now, CPM, which belonged to the Naxal parivar was in bed with the Maoists not so long ago, now Mamata is proving to be a better partner in bed for Maoists, so they have now started biting the hand that fed them. CPM, is chastened and is regretting their decisions of the past, in this area. Mamata is shamelessly furthering the Maoist cause, thwarting tough action against them in the cabinet and going so far as to say that there are NO Maoists in Bengal !! Even today, after incontrovertible evidence that 1.5 feet of track was cut out, the minister was blabbering about bombs and terrorist groups and not one word on the Maoists.

If anyone comes up with Maoist support, it is not good for the country. Already, with the moron called Shibu Soren in Jharkhand we have already seen tacit support to the Maoists go up. Similarly in Bengal if Mamata comes to power with Maoists, with Bangladesh also more than willing to support insurgent groups one shudders to think what would happen to this great nation.

For one who firmly believes that “If Left has any role in India’s future, then India has NO future left”, it is a shame for me to admit that I would have to prefer CPM in Bengal over Didi… who is firmly in the Maoist camp. It is high time, the PM dismissed her from the cabinet and confined to the dustbin of politics in Bengal by cutting off the alliance with her. Without congress she is dead in Bengal, period. Any one listening in UPA ?

God help us..

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Existential Dilemma – Air India strike..

I hope many of you noticed the earth shattering that happened in Indian business circles. No it is not our growth story. First time in the history of Air India, the management actually terminated employees for discipline related issues. Yes, sit down take a breath; good things do happen in life. Finally, the government realized that the slight tingling in the back was actually the spine; it realized that to a limited extent in this case. I hope and pray when the next strike happens, it shouldn’t be too long, and the government really cleans out dead wood which is most of the employees of this behemoth.

Like typical government entities, the employees of this airline have become a self-perpetuating pool of folks, who firmly believe that the airline exists only for their jobs and not to service customers.

What is all the more shocking is the reason for the present strike. AI wanted aircraft urgently flown into the gulf to bring in families of the recent crash that happened at Mangalore. Somehow, AIs engineering staff weren’t available and it got the permission by getting it certified by engineers of another airline, nothing illegal. That is it, all hell broke loose with engineers resorting to flash strike and a more than willing happy family of unions joining the strike and ground the airline to a halt. Instead of the thanking the other engineers who took care of an emergency for them, all this was resorted to. Pay and other unrelated items, for which other strike notices are pending were all rolled into one and flash strike started.

Usually, there is a compliant judiciary which has always put the interest of socialistic employment goals ahead of customer welfare. Not this time, the Delhi HC in a remarkable display of spine, termed the strike as illegal, though the Bombay HC didn’t!

The management, after clearance from Maatha Sonia, showed spine as well and started dismissing people. Now, there is going to be a strike protesting against the dismissals, which were a result of an illegal strike call. But somehow, this time I am not holding my breath. Proper notices etc. have been given, so avoid Air India like a plague.

It is high time that the government shut down this behemoth and sold of the asset piece meal we might actually get some return on the thousands of crores we have sunk into this cesspool of an airline… It is not even worth it to privatize this airline and try to preserve even one job of the existing employee pool, period.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Announcing Indian Cinema, Internationally -- Really ?

I happened to watch “Kites” movie with my family and have been regretting that decision ever since. The movie was uniformly bad from all aspects, be it story, screen play or acting. I was particularly intrigued by this movie, because this was touted as the one that would announce the arrival of Indian Cinema to the world ! Well, if that were truly the case the global audience is likely to have as much of a favorable opinion on Indian Cinema as a Global traveler would have about Air India. I feel, that Air India actually has a better shot !

We watched the “hindi” version, which is just a technicality as most of the movie is was in English and Spanish. English seems to be the lingua franca of the mall multiplex crowd and the NDTV driven media has a whole review/reporting system which rates movies purely from this perspective. The story when written on the back of a bus ticket will actually have significant space left. Most of the time the characters are silent so no need for any major dialog writing as well. What would have been a very smooth and linearly edited story, is chopped because the “intellectual director” (== Anurag Basu) felt the need for a flashback style.

I for the life of me can’t understand why any producer would want to risk his/her hard earned money with this moron. All his prior efforts including “Gangster” were all traumatizing and some were as bad as Shyam Benegal – Adoor Gopalakrishnan genre ! You know the type of filmmakers, who feel that movie is for intelelctuals, only if the audience can't understand them. He is presently directing a movie called "Silence" hopefully that will be end of career for him !

Hrithik Roshan has taken care of his image only from physical appearance perspective with 10 packs and by spending more on waxing than Kangana and Barbara combined ! This movie if looked at critically is missing pieces for a smooth flow throughout, worst in the action scenes. If Barbara Mori is anywhere near a highlight for Mexican cinema, then god help Mexican Audiences. The same story set as that of a love story between say a Hindi guy and a Telugu gal with languages etc. mattering that much in being incomprehensible to each other would have had a better effect and probably cost lot less for Rakesh Roshan.

Typically for Roshan family productions, Rajesh Roshan excels himself movie after movie - in music, not this one. He seems have dug a hole deep for himself. Barbara Mori is as much of an actress as I am in producing a movie. Wait a minute, I feel actually I will have a better shot ! She is there in the movie, for her bosom and ability to shed clothes and as she is instant recognition candidate for the white skin obsessed Indian media, which would not have given the movie the time of day, if say Priyanka Chopra had played the part. Or worse, “someone from the south” had been the heroine.

Rakesh Roshan needs to get back to his roots for success, focusing on family oriented movies like Krish etc. Hrithik, needs to learn to act, period. Barbara Mori, actually makes Kangana Ranaut look like a Nun, if you can imagine that.

Fittingly, at the end Hero deep dives -- to be with his lover in the deep sea, thankfully his career nosedived before that and probably cushioned his fall as well.

Waste of time, money and everything else you can afford.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why no one is crying out for Javed Akthar ?

Javed Akthar, the famous poet who has given is numerous movies like Don as part of the Salim-Javed duo and also several soulful songs including the “Radha Kaise Na Jale” in Lagaan, had to march into local police station and had to request security to protect him from folks who had given death threats. Javed is a self-appointed (pseudo) secularist, who is a regular on NDTV shows etc. So I was curious as to why the media is not fighting for his cause as fiercely it did in the case of MF Hussain. Not a peep from Hindu as well!!

Javed had criticized religious extremists for reinforcing medieval practices, keeping out women as a whole from the workforce and banning existing women workers from their jobs, threatening the employers as well. He lamented that these decrees are keeping the society medieval and from modernity. In fact, in my mind, it was a truly secular act from Javed. The extremists rebelled now he became the subject of decrees, death threats were issued and he had to seek protection.

Curiously no editorials from Hindu. NDTV didn’t run day long specials on the shame of India etc. that it did for MF Hussain etc. Why ? Simply because, Javed Akthar criticized the “fatwas” issued by the Dar-Ul_Uloom in DeoBand, which banned muslim women from workplaces, where they would come face to face with non-family members, i.e. practically all employment. He criticized it as retrograde and as one that will take women back to medieval dark days…

The partiality and hypocrisy shown by the (pseudo) secular intellectuals/media and their bosses was sickening. It would be laughable, only if it weren’t so pathetically obvious…..

Poor, Javed Akthar, for once in his life he attempted to be a true secular. Now he has no choice but to go back to being the media darling (== pseudo secular) he was…. Imagine, if he had said something about the Shankaracharya in similar vein and if only Shriram Sene had issued him the death threat, we all would have found out the full strength of the media and government in dealing with this… Now there is dead silence and the usual intellectual culprits like (fake) Gandhis and Prannoy Roys aren’t uttering a word. Not to mention N Ram of Hindu….

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The census fraud

Well, it is time to talk about another intellectual in the cabinet Mr. P. Chidambaram. I want everyone to think about the opinion that comes to their mind when they think of PC. Intelligent, articulate, suave, smart etc. right ? Well would it surprise you to know that this man covered up Rs. 3000 crore fraud in which his party the TMC was solely responsible, when he was the finance minister. Similarly the utterances and roll backs on policies have benefited certain individuals who were playing the market ? Last, as home minister, he has embarked on a (pseudo) secular/intellectual scheme of building up the NPR, the national population register.

Here various definitions have been twisted, the citizenship act totally ignored and a disguised “census” operation is underway. In India typically the census is done every 10 years and based on that LS seats are allotted to various states, reserved constituencies are decided upon and rotated as well all based on this data. Though it has some unwelcome effects, such as the LS seats are largely being transferred to the Bihar/UP belt, where people are breeding like crazy. Similarly in the NorthEast, without breeding the population of Muslims is exploding not just in religious demography but in overall numbers as well to such an extent that even the Supreme Court expressed its anguish at the vote bank politics behind it.

Now, a lot was depending on the census a proper enumeration of religions and castes. We might argue that it is bad and that we are living in utopia etc. but that is hardly the truth. Religious Conversion is in full swing in the South of the country, similarly Bangladeshi Muslims are taking over WB and NE states. Demography is undergoing a serious change in the nation. At the minimum, the government deserves us all an answer to the extent of this change. What we do with that data is totally different matter altogether and is worthy of another separate article as well.

Now, instead of discharging its official duty the home minister comes up with an “intellectual” stance. We will just enumerate the population, which is defined as those that are living in India. Everybody is lining up appreciating the intelligent minister, of course NDTV brigade has gone on overdrive in their praise as well. What could possibly be wrong with this proposal ? Nothing superficially, but the devil lies in deep and it is obvious if you look at the data that is not being collected, caste enumeration and religious enumeration…

Why ? the courts in the past and even now have repeatedly asked, condemned the government for lack of data to decide the basis of reservation, which till now were only caste based and the Maatha Sonia Government is working overtime to make that religion based as well. If you want to continue this vote bank politics then the fact that some states have suffered changes in demography will have to be acknowledged. Also now court induced scrutiny will happen on how it happened? Similarly the government owes some answers to the SC on issues like “Which caste has moved out of the BC list because of reservation ?” “What is the basis for the %s that are presently in use ?” etc. How do you avoid answering them -- simple don’t enumerate them ! Similarly, when it is time for religion based reservation for vote banks, it would be really uncomfortable for the government to have that data….

There is also, another point of view that the population has increased amongst the backward sections of the society lot more than the earlier data and hence the lack of that data is a ploy by upper castes to keep them down from an entitlement perspective. Which is also quite a genuine concern that needs answers.

Instead of mounting an honest and detailed exercise, the home minister, through deviously worded statements and clever interpretations of the citizenship act, has embarked upon committing a giant fraud on the nation. It is time we realized this and evangelized it to all our friends to realize this.

We need an honest enumeration of the different demographic sections. Also most importantly who amongst them are Indian citizens…. It is precisely this data that this government is determined to hide….

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Maamis and how to deal with them

We all have seen “elders” in our families and how they believe in certain things -- follow things a certain way etc… More often than not, we don’t agree with their approaches, philosophy and issues that concern them. This article attempts to list some of these and then introspect around as to what we should do to end this “vicious” cycle of bitterness that exists between Gen X and Gen X+1 !

A lot of us are experiencing a resurgent India, one where you don’t have to book your Bajaj Scooter. Wait for a telephone line was more than 10 years and the most ridiculous of all – you needed “connections and influence” to get a HMT watch… How many of us remember that ? It happened during my lifetime as well. The generation before really went through some really tough and traumatic times. Right from medical care to essential food items, they had to rush in and invest everything in “Yearly supply” in Rice, DAL and even Tamarind !! The only enjoyment possible was occasional drama/dance and some movies. No television as well. This is a generation that has grown up without experiencing what entertainment should be. Their life revolved around home, marriage visits, occasional cinema and of course a Kacheri or two. The “job” -- for the men it was outside an women inside – the home, though nobody recognized the enormity of the job of a woman. She was branded as “housewife” with some not so glorifying assumptions about the person’s intellect if she were a “housewife”!

Make no mistake, this generation though it had no means “compared to the lifestyles of today” still gave the best of education and opportunities that were relevant to the times, be it Sanskrit classes or typewriting classes, they all were dutifully arranged and “employable” skills were built into you by this generation…

For some reason, men from this generation when they are “in laws” don’t exhibit the same bitterness as women do. Perhaps, the “downtrodden” nature of the housewife brand is playing a role here but women from this generation are particularly bitter about their life, there a few exceptions but they are just that – exceptions !

When a Maami is single you will find a constant game of one upmanship will begin. Whether you know the raasi for your nakshatram, the thiti for today, whether it is sukla paksham or not. Do you remember whether today is thiruvadhirai etc, to such an extent the life becomes a constant Quiz competition. Usually, the women of generation X+1 bear the brunt of this interaction. Unless we show understanding this vicious cycle of bitterness will continue…

Now, when two women of earlier generation meet, the competition moves to a totally differently level and usually exponentially harder for the woman of the newer generation. Both the oldies will have conversations which usually take the following form:

1. “Naangal Yellam …. நாங்கள் எல்லாம்” Will usually be the beginning of every alternate sentence, with how they used to do things differently, with a hidden jibe or two about how the women of today are doing inferior things. It really doesn’t matter how irrelevant or insignificant the whole thing it is, as long as there is a “Naangal Yellam Athai appadi thaan seivom” possibility anything is fair game!
2. There will be constant competition as to who is closer to Kanchi Acharya …
3. Worst, when two such maamis are there when you ask, what shall make for dinner or lunch, boy you have no idea of the trouble you are about to run into.
a. Usually, they will be deadlocked with each one waiting for the other to go first, be thankful if this happens to you, because actually it is the best response you can get…
b. One will start, “I don’t need much (எனக்கு ஜாஸ்தி வேண்டாம்)”, with the other doing better, “ I am still full with what I ate a week ago, nothing for me”. Finally the decision would be “Write Meal on a piece of paper, that is enough for me (நீ பேபர்ல சாப்பாடுன்னு எழுதி கொடுத்துடு, அது போதும்)”… level of degeneration, all of course with constant reminders as to how “I really don’t want to be imposing on anybody” (நான் யாருக்கும் பாரமாக இருக்க விரும்பலை). Of course, there is poetical exaggeration of how the whole thing goes, but you get the idea…
c. The icing on the cake, in such an interaction is -- it will be intense if the two maamis happen to be Sambandhis 
4. Usually when the husband and wife go together out whether it is for school program for your child, or a movie or whatever usually there is also constant frowning as to “Why both of you need to go ?”. Again, to them it will appear unusual, because of the relative vaccum (in such things) they have grown up with in their lives…

Now, we are all humans, so how do we break out of this vicious cycle, I dunno. We (myself & wife) have told my kids and given them a diary of such things that we hate when they happen to us. With a request that in the future when we become like this show this diary and ask us to course correct….

Any Ideas ? Hurry up, I am increasingly being called "Uncle" now :-(