Monday, October 12, 2009

Mumbai vs Bombay: We The People - NDTV

Mumbai vs BombayIt was really sad to see the kind of discussion that was going on, on the show. It seemed that Bombay (yes, it sounds really awesome) was a city in Peter Pan's wonderland where Alice and for that matter, Batman could also reside. I could not see anything being said for development of the city that Bombay is. We talk about making Bombay a world-class city. Where, may I ask, is the will to pursue that dream? It surely is not a concrete idea, just a dream.I understand that we, the Indians, would put Don Quixote to shame, given the chance. But bickering about what name a city should have, what kind of people can live in the city and what rights must they have, would not get us anywhere. Going by what I have said, ghettoisation, if not annihilation (how Raj would have wished for it), is what this would lead to.
A labourer from eastern UP or Bihar leaves his home to find a job in a city where the natives consider it demeaning to perform hard labour. The high-rises that Bombay's skyline is witness to, have the 'migrant's' sweat plastered all over them.I would draw a parallel to the situation in Bihar in times of Lalu Prasad Yadav with the current political situation in Maharashtra. Lalu Prasad Yadav realised, quite cunningly though, that as long as the average voter is illiterate and intellectually challenged, they will vote for theatrics and aura. On a similar note, the Shiv Sena and the MNS (Congress enjoying the spoils from the side-line) are stoking fire that exists due to incompetence, to a certain extent, of the native Maharashtrian. It is easy to add fuel to fire by raking up regional jingoism, but it doesn't change the situation on the ground. You tell a person that they will get a job, although not qualified for that job, if they beat up migrants. Why in the whole wide world would they make an effort to improve upon their skills?

At the end of the day, Raj Thackeray has to travel on Bombay's roads in his SUV with his English medium educated children conversing in German. But this is nothing new. We have seen such things earlier, and we would continue to see them in the future as well. But one thing has stood the test of time across the world. A migrant would work twice as efficiently as a native because he has to build a life in the new environment. A migrant is the pillar on whose shoulders great cities and nations have been built and would continue to be built. People like Raj Thackeray would just give an impetus to move the business and life out of a city to another city. That would be the zenith of their existence and sadly, the death of the city that was once alive.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Maoist Issue

The television screens have scorched and the newspapers bled in ink with the 'Maoist Menace' that has gripped the Indian state as a whole and West Bengal in particular. There has been widespread violence and the Maoists have shown that they are tough customers to deal with.

Their plank for this bloody agitation and revolution is that the Indian state has failed its people in deep forests that are inhabited by the tribals. This surely is a dark reality that the state machinery has been made to come face-to-face with. But the question is : What would be achieved by taking the path of violence?

A little introspection into the modus operandi of the Maoist 'revolutionaries' would show that ideology and practice are two poles apart for them. They might swear by the Communist ideology, but they also swear by the campaign of terror and bloodshed.

Who is to blame for this situation?
The Indian Union has distinctly divided affairs of the state in the State List, that encompasses the duties of individual state governments, and the Central List, which encompasses the key responsibility areas of the Central Government.

The West Bengal government falls flat on counts of no development and pathetic living conditions that have existed in these tribal areas for long. The development of these areas is the responsibility of the state government and with 32 years of rule, if the WB government can't provide even basic sanitation to the natives, their moral right to continue in office ceases to exist.

Are there any alternatives?
There don't seem to be, at least any viable ones. The arch rival of the rulers of WB is the Trinamool Congress. This party is headed by a woman by the name of Mamata Bannerjee. She also happens to be the Railway Minister at the Centre. It is a strange situation that the people of WB would be confronted with in the upcoming assembly elections. On one side is a government that has done its best to retain WB in a time warp where that last 32 years have just gone by, without any one's knowledge.
On the other side is TC, whose leader swears by anti-SEZ ideas. She seems completely bankrupt when it comes to ideas about development issues and poverty alleviation, just like the incumbents.

But I guess Didi, as Mamata Banerjee is called by her followers, would bring TC to power in WB in the coming assembly elections. The electorate have seen the worst. For them any change would be for the good, as the worst is what they are living in.

Oh, and the question of the Maoists. The Central government has declared them as a terrorist organization. They enjoy the same status as that of LeT and LTTE. The rulers of WB have, surprisingly, voiced their concerns against this action. Talk about proactively quashing peace!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chaos in the Hills

This week it was the turn of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in Darjeeling to go for a show of strength by making the lives of the masses miserable through their ‘weapon’ of bandh.
In the past week, we have seen the same sort of game being played in Rajasthan, diametrically opposite to Darjeeling on the map of India. And the commonality of the issues comes out in form of the general people, who want to live their life peacefully, being forced to suffer at the hands of a few.Coming back to Darjeeling, for quite some time now, there has been unrest among the Gorkha majority in this place. They have been demanding a separate state for the Gorkha speaking majority.

The question that arises every time the demand for a state arises on the lines of linguistic majority is, what if every linguistic group starts demanding the same for their people. We know that dialect changes every 5 kms in India. Won’t that mean that there should be states of the size of a 100 square miles or something of that sort? And would they be states or Ghettos?It is an example of the state machinery acting impotent to put to rest the growing view that a few in the society can get anything that pleases their whims and fancies, just by getting on the roads and wreaking havoc.

The GJM had called for a day long bandh which was metamorphosed by them into an indefinite one. The result was an exodus of summer revelers from the popular hill station. I ask the GJM leaders, where would they get money to run Gurkhaland (the name proposed for the new state), if the kill the Golden Goose, tourism, with their own hands? But that would be beyond the levels of comprehension of the few who want to taste the power.

In Rajasthan and in Darjeeling, we have come across the Nation being held hostage to the whims of a few socially challenged people.If the same Governments are made to face a position like Kandahar, I bet they would be ready to wait and watch, and then sell the Nation to the devil, the terrorists in this case. Seems, no one has the guts to counter such issues, because if they do, they end up sacrificing the vote bank.

Sorry and pathetic state of affairs.

Friday, June 13, 2008

MBA Students convicted for Murder

I was bewildered to read about the case of two MBA students, Aditi Sharma and Praveen Khandelwal, being convicted for the murder of Aditi's former lover. I feel sorry for the parents of the deceased, Udit Bharati, who was killed by the duo out of the former's opposition to the accused duo's relationship.
It shows how deep the moral degradation has reached in the society! We are talking about young men and women who were studying to get a better job, a better life. Liaisons and relationships do culminate during the college years, and they die down as well. There is bound to be resentment from one party if they feel that they have been taken for a ride or something of that sorts.

But to do away with that person is a cowardly act of the severest nature. You are talking about a person's life. You are not merely hitting him or bashing him up, you are killing him. Finito!
Did the killer duo ever think of what Udit's family would go through, after they get to know that their son is dead? Did Praveen try to put himself in Udit's shoes and think for a moment for the poor chap's family?

To lace the prasad that Udit was given, with poison, is murder in cold blood!
A life sentence is a lease of life that the accused have got that they don't deserve.

My heartfelt feelings go out to the father who had to cremate his son. The mother whose sobs won't ever end. To the family of a young man, who wanted to do something good with his life, but could not take the ups and downs of a relationship at the face of it. The guy who must have had a vision for his life.

I do not know who Udit was, nor the killers. But as a human being, as a young man, as someone who loves his family and is loved by his family, I feel terrible to have read such a display of hatred and cadaverous emotions.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Myanmar Junta - Living in a World of their own

The recent wreaks of nature lead to catastrophic results in Myanmar (Burma) and China.
The former bore the brunt of one of the worst storms in the region's history, and the latter had a part of its heavily territory reduced to ground by way of an earthquake. But the similarity ends there, a gruesome one, however.

The Chinese showed exemplary disaster management skills and several thousands of troops were mobilized to the effected areas in order to provide the much necessary relief supplies. The troops helped in evacuation and the engineers along with the troops worked hard hours for over a week, recently, to prevent another disaster that loomed to drown several hundreds of people owing the formation of a 'quake lake'. (A quake lake is a lake kind of formation that comes into existence when the debris from landslides prevents the flow of a river further downstream, and water keeps seeping in from the upper course of the river).

The Chinese even accepted offers of help from other countries in the rescue and rebuilding mission. We have to bring to fore the fact that the Chinese do not allow much foreign participation in internal matters. But the situation demanded that the help must be accepted to ease the pain and agony of those who have lost everything. Home. Family. Children. All they have is a strong will power to survive.

On the contrary, not far south of China is Myanmar. The country has been under military rule since 1962. The thought of democracy stinks of rebellion to the ruling generals. The fact that the country was ravaged by e devastating storm did not deter the Generals to hold a referendum to give legitimacy to the new Constitution that they have proposed. We need to pause and ponder for a moment. We are talking about holding a referendum in a country at a time when there are rotting corpses littering the highways and over 1.5 million people with nothing over their head and no food in their already famished bellies. we are talking about a catastrophe that has just resulted in instant deaths for almost 45000 people. And what do the Generals decide, instead of the relief effort, hold a bloody referendum!
It is an international crime in my eyes to deny the possibility of survival to a human being. The Generals declined any help from the international community. They wanted to show the world that they are a great nation and can take care of themselves. Grow up for God's sake! You are living in 21st century! There are people dying, YOUR people.

The thorn of the matter is the ideology that has been bred into the Generals over time. The fact that they have access to the riches that an ordinary Myanmarese can't even dream of, is attributed to the hold they have over everything. Media liberties are curtailed. There is a reign of terror. No one can rise against the 'JUNTA'. The leader of the Myanmarese government is Senior General Than Shwe. A person who appears to be there for the masses, but the opulent wedding of his daughter brought the reality out in the open.

Have a look at this You Tube clip that shows the Senior General's daughter's wedding reception.
The world has to get rid of people like Than Shwe. They are a blot on the face of the world. There have been an estimated 60000 deaths as a result of the shoddy handling of the relief efforts following Cyclone Nargis.
There has to be accountability and there has to someone to take responsibility for the horrendous way the situation was handled.
Than Shwe told the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon : This is the most candid talk I have had with anyone from the outside world.
Wow! No wonder he gave such a statement. The statement reflects the mindset of that person, who considers Myanmar to be a separate entity. Not part of the global village we live in. Well, he didn't complete his high school studies, but that's a different story, isn't it?
And lastly, one of the few countries who have diplomatic relations with Myanmar is India. No comment from the Indian Government on the poor handling of the situation in Myanmar.
India's Foreign policy. What's that? Anyone heard of it?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Its a Gujjar on the Street!

I had thought that I would not be bashing the 'Gujjar cause' sometime in the near future, but well, what can I do! The circumstances won't just let me sit and watch like a dumb-ass!
So in total media glare (its more like a reality show these days on the TV than journalism. Hmmm, journalism....think that sort of a thing existed), the wrath of the Gujjar was unleashed in National Capital Region (NCR) today. There were disruptions for hours owing to the glorified demonstrations taking place all over the place.

Trains. Vehicular traffic. Grocery supplies. Sanity. Everything just stopped in their steps.

Why? Because the Gujjar was angry that he was not down the social ladder and that he was better placed in the social heirarchy! I would term it as 'insanity of the worst kind'. What were they trying to prove by stopping the movement of trains and blocking roads? As if they had not created enough problems already!
Let's just outline the reasons why the Gujjar youth, or reverently called as 'Gujjar ka chhora' by few, was on the street on a weekday, creating a whole lot of havoc more than the Left's stand on the Nuclear Issue (a post on that would be here soon!)?
Was it to, let me recollect, agitate against the decision to prevent them from sliding down the social ladder? Or was it to come on live TV? Or was it to just kill time destroying something, rather than sitting obscurely in a village under a tree?
Why wasn't the Gujjar youth in a college or a school, studying?
Why wasn't he preparing for an examination for a job?
Why wasn't he putting in efforts to clear one of the entrance examinations to get into a prestigious place of learning?
You know why?
Simple. RESERVATION. Who the hell needs to study for a job, or for a place in a great place of learning, or even who needs education, when you can get all of that by scoring a mere 30%, as seats are going to be RESERVED for you?!
What if people from other castes and tribes come out on streets every other day, demanding RESERVATIONS? A long summer break, eh?!
One one hand is this naked dance of high-handedness and bullying and on the other side is a man who is hell bent to make a mockery of the whole official machinery and the integrity of the country! Where are we heading to?
When such questions arise, we turn to the armed forces and the armed forces personnel.

But here in Rajasthan, we have an ex-serviceman, a Colonel (Colonel Kirori Singh Bainsla, for the uninitiated) for God's sake, leading a bunch of people as if he were waging a war against someone! You protected the borders of the country to prevent the intrusion from our external enemies, and today, you are the reason that people are not able to go back to their homes, they are not getting essential supplies, and there is chaos wherever you see!
An officer is a gentleman for life!

Is it a battle zone or a society that we want to live in?

When would the Indian Government at the Centre and the Governments at the State level have the balls to provide reservation in jobs and educational institutions, just ON THE BASIS OF THEIR ECONOMIC SITUATION?
Have we sunk so deep in the dirty and obnoxious quagmire of vote-bank-politics, that we have forgot what a civil society needs for development? The answer today is yes. And it will be the same for centuries to come if the undeserving get the resources meant for the deserving.
There will be many such agitations and there will be many such disruptions if the very basis of the reservation (it was a noble idea to start with. Refer the Constitution of India for that) is distorted to favor a few, instead of the ones who really need it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mr. Raj 'Zealot' Thackeray

A few days back I was watching a CBS documentary, 'Hitler - The Rise of Evil'. I was astonished by the anger and hate he had against the Jews. He would spit venom against the Jews whenever he got the chance to. The reason stated was : The Jews were taking away all the jobs and contaminating the social scene in Germany.
But to draw analogies would be wrong, even excessively stupid in terms of current affairs in India.

Mr. Thackeray is a zealot. A person presumably very driven by the love for Maharashtra and its people and its language. Its a different story altogether that his kids would not even dare to study in a native language medium school (marathi medium school in this case). But that can be forgiven, because the next generation of netas has to be above the masses, then only would they be netas, right?

So Mr. Thackeray has taken a liking to blast anything and everything that is remotely related to UP and Bihar. He states that the people from other states are different, because they are also nourishing anti UP-Bihar sentiments. If the 'messiah' of the masses just throws a glance to the progress that HIS ( It is the state of a billion people, called Indians, which the messiah has somehow forgot ) state has made, it is because of the cheap labor that the Eastern UP and Bihar belt provides in terms of factory workers and laborers. It is very easy to rouse the sentiments of a populace which is more than ready to bash anyone who is doing better that them financially and socially.
The sad thing is that this feeling of xenophobia is being bred into the blood of the people at the grass root level. They are being lured to a theory which is far moved from the realities of life. Roti. Kapda. Makaan.
Never in any of his venomous speeches, has Mr. Thackeray mentioned even a word about development or the measures that he would take in order to make the lives better of the people who were listening to him. All he does is spew venom and garner applause.
The people of Maharashtra should be proud of the legacy that they have. Shivaji is revered not only in Maharashtra, but the world over. The people need to realise that they belong to a country...INDIA. The allegiance that they have, should be first to the country and then to the state.
By instigating violence against the 'migrants' and driving them away from their workplaces would be a step further towards disintegration of the country. Who would need Pakistan or Bangladesh when we have our own brigade of people who are out to divide the country from within! The enemies of the nation would just sip on a cold beer and bask in the stupidity of the Indians.

The Marathis are learned people and hold high posts in academic institutions like IITs and in corporate world. They value education. What if each and every one of them is driven out from their place of dwelling and sent to Maharashtra?
And Mr Thackeray has got problems with 'migrant students' coming to the colleges in Pune! If this is not a propensity towards 'showing the finger' to the very basic founding principles of the Indian society and the Indian Republic, then what is it? Reminds me of Partition!
I fail to understand why people want to create enmity and differences between otherwise peacefully coexisting communities? For a few votes? That's it?

Sardar Patel would have chosen to relinquish his Indian citizenship, rather than being called a citizen of a country where the rule book is thrown into the bin and spit upon such blatantly!

The Desire to have a 'Reserved' tag

Just a week before the anniversary of the 'Gujjar' agitation to demand reservation in the state of Rajasthan the Gujjars have set the ball rolling, yet again. Their 'Robin Hood', Col. Bainsla has led them onto the streets and the gang has wreaked havoc yet again.
But why did they have to do all that? RESERVATION is the word.
Now if we just introspect, we have reserved seats in buses and trains for the elderly and the differently abled. In short, for those who are incapable to perform their daily duties and ablutions on their own. How the Gujjars in Rajasthan qualify for reservation is beyond my understanding.
The Constitution of India provided for reservation for the backward classes to ensure they come at par with the better endowed, over time. The Supreme Court ruling has reiterated the same in spirit and conduct, by excluding the Creamy Layer of OBCs from getting the benefits of reservation.
The fact that the Rajasthan government under Vasundhara Raje Scindia had diverted funds in excess of 230 crores to the 6 districts with Gujjar majority has been brushed aside with the omnipresent zeal to get 'reservation'!

Since when has becoming reserved become a prestige issue? And since when has it become legitimate to ask for reservation by crippling the transport network and the economy?

It all stems from the quagmire that the masses have been entrenched into. Reservation means easy jobs and easy money at the cost of those who work hard to clinch the same government seat or job, for the most. It sounds preposterous to go over and burn trucks and create a whole lot of ruckus just to prove that you are in need of some desperate monetary help and social upliftment. But doesn't a fit person, holding crutches just to garner support, appear to be an impostor?

I might have got a bit harsh on the issue, but to ask for reservation, in my opinion is not dignified in any manner. And more so, when there is not racial or social discrimination against the tribe in concern, like the other less privileged ones.

The burning trucks on the national highway. Blood spilled all over the place. Chaos reigning high.
Had the same effort been put to good and constructive work, the things would have been entirely different.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Current Affairs - India and the World

We are on Technorati!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I must say, this weekend turned out to be a real good one for Bangalore. First, it gets a spanking new airport, which should conform to world standards to justify the 2500 crore spent on the first phase of the infrastructure development. We've heard a lot about the connectivity problem, so I won't delve into it. But would love to ask the well-heeled industry people who are lobbying against the new airport on grounds of poor connectivity......Where were you for the past 6 years that it took the airport to come into shape? Don't you think that the same pro activeness shown now could have brought about a whole sea of change had it been taken up a year in advance? But that's a different story for a different day, isn't it?
So where was I? Yes, the new airport!
Well, there were 'teething troubles', for sure. Reports of no power, baggage claim taking aeons and the likes.It sure shouldn't have been there as we are now in a process of building an India based on 'First Time Right' quality standards. More so apt to Bangalore, considering the fact that the economy of the city, and that of the state to a certain extent, depends on the IT/BT sector. These two sectors are always 'striving hard' to achieve 'First Time Right' quality standards. And just adding to the point of the airport being out of city limits, the Suwarnabhumi Airport at Bangkok is 25 kms from downtown Bangkok.
It's pure economics. Cheap land. More possibilities to expand. And the city stays quiet.
So, coming back to the new airport. It surely has more conveyor belts for International Arrivals and Departures (the HAL one had just ONE belt). So that is nothing to worry about now. Three lounges and a host of luxuries to splurge on. It just isn't easy to go 100% trouble free when going live with an airport. It's a huge task, for God's sake! Take the example to the new Hong Kong International Airport which was commissioned in July 1998. Quoting from Wikipedia : " For three to five months after its opening, it suffered various severe organisational, mechanical, and technical problems that almost crippled the airport. At one time, the government reopened the cargo terminal at Kai Tak Airport (name of the old airport) to handle freight traffic due to a breakdown at the new cargo terminal, named Super Terminal One (ST1), however after six months the airport started to operate normally."
I just hope the airport comes up to international standards and the travellers too rise up to international standards and stop spitting in corners at their leisure at the airport. They surprisingly become very American or European once they land in the US or Europe and despise the act of spitting in the open, as if they had never done so!

Coming to the second good news would be the total wipe-out of JD(S) in the recently help assembly elections. Just for statistics' sake, here is the final seat count:
BJP : 110
Congress : 80
JD(S) : 28
Others : 6
Discussion on the whole 'Dance of Democracy' ( I love this term!) would be a totally different blog story, maybe a series of them! So, why the elation at elimination of JD(S)?Well, how long do people think they can fool the masses?!! You fight with your dad and create a political drama. And then you join hands with him to create, what else, another political drama! To witness the way JD(S) withdrew support from BJP reminded me of kids in class I. One kid likes candy, but he had promised in front of the Headmaster that he would share it with his friend after he has had his share of the candy. But the kid just can't get his hands off the candy, and doesn't give the other half to the other kid, as promised. what ensues is a kiddish bickering over issues, and before you know, the candy is out of reach for both the kids! It was just amazing to see old men squabble like kids, and that too on National television.

So now Mr. Yeddy is going to be sworn in as the CM of Karnataka. The BJP has finally been able to form a government of it's own in South India, in the backyard of a calamity-stricken populace that JD(S) is.Now all the people of Karnataka are hoping is that BJP delivers on the promises that it had made, or it's going to be a long holiday for the BJP in Karnataka, as far as working as the Government is concerned.

And why does the blog read Bangalored?
It's because I witnessed something, none less than a miracle, on the road today. Taking a U-turn at Sony World junction today (the amber traffic signal lights blinking), an oncoming car driver actually stopped and gestured to the young couple on a bike, right in front of me, to take the turn before the car. And that was a polite gesture! I mean, I thought people were getting more and more rash and road-rage-enthusiasts. But this was such a great relief! I can't forget the car driver's face. Calm as a llama. All of us become like him, and voila! No traffic woes! But that's a Utopian concept that I have put forth!