Sunday, November 22, 2009

Parochial hatred

Bal Thackerey, the lunatic running the Shiv Sena, has now started a vitriolic campaign against Sachin Tendulkar just because he had the audacity to say that he was a proud Maharashtrian but he is an Indian first.

It's surprising how offensive that line was to the man who once had ambitions to be the Prime Minister of the country, but I'm sure if there was a position for Prime Minister of Maharashtra he would have gladly chosen the latter.

I wonder when the shiv sainiks were busy protecting the "local population" from the big bad muslims during the mumbai riots of 1993; they actually enquired of the people being killed on whether they were maharashtrians or not. Maybe he is trying to score points over his nephew's MNS party to be the sole voice of the "proud maharashtrian". Well, when the MNS started their anti-south indian stance in mumbai a few months back, I'm sure they didnt bother finding out as well that the person that was burnt alive in nashik was actually a maharashtrian.

The MNS and Shiv Sena are unfortunately two sides of the same bad coin. They can attack anyone they wish without any concern for the law of the land as they know that the "true Maharashtrians" in the police, judiciary and executive will protect them. The rot is endemic and you don't have to search far to find the main protagonist.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The old and the new

On the 25th anniversary of Indira Gandhi's assassination, her daughter in law and congress party leader Sonia Gandhi tried to remind the party of how she still embodies the spirit of the late leader.

Apparently Sonia Gandhi still visits the former prime minister's residence and occasionally prepares her bed. I'm not quite sure if the current congress leader suffers some sort of delusional psychotic bouts, but if all she wants to do convince the party's base that she is the right leader, she has nothing to worry.

  • The congress party still endorses sycophancy with the inner decision making group filled with yes-men.
  • The congress party continues to practice dynastic politics where the current leadership's only claim to fame lie with their illustrious parents.
  • The congress party still apparently fights for the rights of minorities even though they view them as nothing but a big cattle herd of a vote bank.

So Mrs. Gandhi, do not worry. Indira has not been forgotten, the old congress party is alive and well.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Peace on earth

One of the most interesting news that last week brought us was President Obama being conferred the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now the Nobel awards have always been suspect considering Mahatma Gandhi (the face of non-violence) never won the peace prize even though he was nominated for five years. The committee continued the hard to understand selection process considering that President Obama might have served for just a couple of weeks as President when the nominations for this year's prize were due.

The noble committee did clarify that the award wasn't meant for past achievements but more for future aspirations. I'm not sure if they made the announcement right before or after the White House refused to meet this century's face of non-violence, the Dalai Lama. I guess future peace efforts should be encouraged as long as they do not offend the holders of your government's treasury bonds.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why not me?

Yesterday was India's Independence day and most of us got up to the news of Shah Rukh Khan (a slightly effiminate indian film actor) being detained for 2 hours at Newark airport as his last name came up on a special watch list. Ironically he is promoting a movie based on racial profiling.

Considering he is the second big wig to be flagged by security in recent times (the first being former president APJ Abdul Kalam Azad), the media back home is going all berserk on how innocent indians are being profiled everywhere and how India should adopt the "brazilian model" that is subject US citizens similarly to the treatment received by Indians. All this sounds great and I do hope india does adopts the policy of reciprocity, but I've been troubled and one question still haunts.

"Why wasn't it me?"

Now this may sound like an absurd question, but this might have been the most important moment of my life. I see myself as an armchair critic, prefering the comfort of my couch to register protest instead of actually putting plans into action. And that is why that question keeps resonating in my mind ... why wasn't it me. I could have played the racial card to the tee, thrown my hands up in disgust and turned my back to the US.

Maybe I'm not brown enough (I attest to the fact that I'm definitely on the darker side of the brown scale), maybe not muslim enough (well cant really do much there, I find too many faults in that religion to want to convert) or maybe not gay enough. Is the dont ask dont tell policy working against me?

Maybe if someone with any sort of power reads this blog, please put my name in the list of people of "special interest". I want to feel angry, dont rob me of my outrage!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Life goes on

The last few weeks, I've been going back and forth on the real importance of a person. How much effect does a person really have on another, and how easily life goes on with or without that person in their lives.

Around the time I started blogging, we had two major incidents in the indian political scene regarding the killings of Satyendra Dubey and Manjunath Shanmugam (linky). There was a big hue and cry at the time, the media covering it 24/7 and all sorts of online petitions to ask for justice. Its been about 4 years since then and precious little has been achieved.

Indians have generally a myopic vision of life, constantly trumpeting about how Pakistan is a failed state, even though the trifecta of judiciary, politicians and the police have all but failed the people. The fourth estate, the media, has all but forgotten the incident. After all we wont have too many advertisers keen on sponsoring shows which keep harping on the past.

So in the end maybe nothing really matters. Except for a select few, no one really matters.

The words of Mark Knopfler from Brothers in Arms

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Some day youll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And youll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
Ive watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

Theres so many different worlds
So many differents suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the suns gone to hell
And the moons riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But its written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
Were fools to make war
On our brothers in arms

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A long way to go

India took steps this weekend to be the 127th country in the world to decriminalize gay sex. As expected the ruling hasn't gone down well with the muslim groups and right wing hindu groups.

Considering the debate here in America has been about legality of gay marriage, it shows how much road we have to travel to reach the stage of being a mature society. At the very least it gives the law enforcement much lesser sweeping power to police what goes inside a bedroom and treat homosexuals to a different level of personal rights. The law though might not change the current indian society's perception to homosexuality anytime soon.

Islam does look down on homosexuality (to my knowledge), but I'm not really sure on Hinduism's view on it. Hindu mythology has quite of few characters of the "third gender", so the very act of being homosexual has been observed from centuries. It will be interesting to see if now the real debates do start and whether the indian communities will be more welcoming of people unlike themselves instead of ostracizing them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Another one joins the race

Today threw a few more surprises in the lok sabha election run-up. Varun Gandhi was found guilty of inciting communal hatred and Sashi Tharoor put his hat in the race.

Every election, we have a few surprises where celebrities jostle with the 30 or so convicted criminals representing the indian masses. What real policies have Govinda, Jayapradha, Vinod Khanna or Navjot Singh Siddhu implemented.

How desperate are we for new leaders that now Md. Azharuddin, Sanjay Dutt and Amisha Patel are also considered front runners in their respective constituencies. Has the indian middle class completely turned its back on the election cycle that we have to rely on a convicted match fixer, an actor having overt ties to the underworld and an actress who wasn't good at her main profession.

Unfortunately with leaders like Md. Shahabuddin, Varun Gandi, Narendra Modi and the unsufferable Thackerey's these new wannabes, with no real desire to work for the very people they might end up representing, might still be the better choice

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Do No Evil

2009 January, USA: MSN money released a list of most recommended stocks for 2009. Monsanto, an american based multinational company concentrating in agricultural and biotechnology fields, topped some of the lists to beat the market.

2009 January, Vidarbha, India: 12 more farmers committed suicide unable to cope with debt and crop failures bringing the count to over 2000 in the last couple of years.

The number of farmers having a failed crop isn't new to an agriculture bases country like India. However the cases in the central india have grown exponentially after the entry of this huge multinational company to India.

Monsanto promised the launch of genetically modified cotton to ease a lot of agricultural problems. After the introduction of BT cotton, monsanto has monopolized trade practices forcing farmers to buy this genetically modified cotton which is unfit to be regrown from the seeds of the current crop as well as being twice or more as expensive as the previous versions of cotton being grown.

With the american anti trade practicses supporting the dumping of heavily government subsidized american cotton on the world trade market, the price of cotton has plummetted. This has trapped poor farmers in the cyclical debt ridden cycle of buying expensive BT cotton seeds annually from monsanto's various affiliations in India as well as forcing farmers to stop using the older organic fertilizers.

It's nice living by the motto of 'Do No Evil', but it is also nice not to profit from Evil.