Monday, August 27, 2007

Revisiting India's endless misery

Where are the hosannas to Hyderabad’s 'spirit'? Last heard, life went on as usual in the city that many consider as a new face of modern India. Nameless faceless people were blown apart on their trip to a Chaat House. Yes, in India you cannot even go out to have a 'samosa' or a 'vaada pav' without having to fear being blown up. After injuring and killing close to a 100 people, it has been reported that bombs have been found in close to 19 different places in the city. God forbid if even a few of them had gone off the extent of tragedy it would have caused.

I am not sure if the police setup in Hyderabad (like everywhere else) was sleeping when people went about devising and implementing such heinous plans. The usual routine of blaming everybody in the world but for oneself has begun and the Indian State has begun its favorite merry-go-round routine. Last heard not one person has been arrested, charges filed or punished for the macabre blasts that resulted in a massacre on the local trains of Bombay a year back. Yeah apprehending the real culprits does not serve a purpose... does it?

The trivializing of this gruesome tragedy has already begun in our (not worth a paisa) Indian media. The much vaunted Rajdeep Sardesai's CNN-IBN, the types that bleat elaborately and loudest when some Muslim is arrested in Australia helped the cause of the victims and the enormity of the tragedy with a song routine singing praise of Hyderabad. God damn cheesy...Can it get any worse? But yeah, in the selective amnesia that routinely envelops India media, the life of nameless Indians (may I say Hindus) does not affect the larger scheme of things. Where are all those usual 'liberal' suspects, the Arundathi Roy's, and Shabana Azmi's, Mahesh Bhatt's etc who routinely put on a face of victim hood when it suits them only to turn the other way around when it does not? Not one word of condemnation, a word of sympathy for the victims. I guess its too much to ask for all of this in their otherwise busy schedule.

Why the heck don’t we see serious journalists, looking to find what the heck is going on in our country. What are the countless channels in India who swing around with cameras at even petty house hold fights doing at this moment of a national tragedy?I am pretty sure people in India would be more than interested in seeing the perpetrators of such tragedy brought to justice. Why can’t our intrinsically dumb but intelligent sounding liberal elite of India ever learn a lesson or two from the West on how to protect the national interest? India has seen better days when it comes to serious investigative journalism. I can only think of a Ramnath Goenka and the fabled ‘Indian Express’ of yore to think of a time when journalists actually fought for a worthy cause. It’s downright pathetic that the stupid Indian public consumes the worthless drivel that gets dished out in the name of news and entertainment.

The shameless tamasha that goes around a.k.a the Government of India continues to chug along as Indians are getting blown all around. If one needed any more proof for this, a latest report ranks India as the second (yes second) in a list of countries affected by terrorism only after Iraq...
I only wish we had an Olympic event for this category... At least we can aim for a gold and puff our chest in pride. So much for the peaceful land of an emerging "superpower" called India...

India continues to devalue and demean the lives of its citizens at its own peril... There is nothing 'spirited' about people being killed and life not being valued. It’s a farce that is being played out and its time we as Indians let go of this ‘I don’t give a damn as long as I am not killed’ attitude. My prayers go out to each and every one of those faceless nameless Indians who have been killed for no fault of theirs except for being born in this hypocritical land called India.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Thank You, Prime Minster!

Indian leadership hardly inspires confidence; leave alone offer scope for accolades. In the midst of mediocrity that has been a hall mark of Indian leaders, there was one leader India chooses to forget conveniently. He goes by the name P.V. Narasimha Rao, hardly a man, going by Indian conventional wisdom be termed as a great leader. But as I look back, he indeed was the Chanakya of India, who skillfully maneuvered to various degrees of success the minefield that is India and its myriad problems.

Narasimha Rao was one of the most erudite individuals to ever to have occupied the highest post of the land. As one of my previous posts noted, Rao was the architect of India's vaunted economic reforms (not that insipid economist called Manmohan Singh), the fruits of which we now all enjoy today. He skillfully navigated the temple of Indian Fabian socialism that is the Parliament as he went about liberalizing the economy and challenging the status quo, a task rarely accomplished by an Indian leader since Independence. Viewed in the context of the additional handicap of leading the Congress and India without a 'Gandhi' surname Narasimha Rao’s achievements acquire an additional halo. His other strategic achievements for India, while far less appreciated but as important were his opening up of ties with Israel. Indian governments since (the moron) Nehru have had this skewed world view when it comes to the Middle East and Israel- Palestine problem. With a patently absurd view of secularism, eyes on the local minority vote bank and a holier than thou moralist stance, India needlessly treated Israel like a pariah. Rao once again challenged the status quo as he opened bilateral relations, the import of which struck us during the Kargil war, when Israel was the one of the few nations that helped us in the time of need.

Under the leadership of K.P.S Gill and Beant Singh, Narasimha Rao lead what was India's most telling and crushing blow to organized state sponsored terrorism in Punjab. He literally saved the Indian Union from dismemberment. His intelligent and strategically significant dealings with India's neighbors including China, his belief in the Indian State and his single minded focus on strengthening it without any fuss makes him a leader par-excellence.

Narasimha Rao's no-nonsense way of looking after the interests of the Indian nation state is worth comparing to the various ways Indian governments in the past and present have handled such issues. Indian leaders have generally frittered away their (rare) successes and looked incapable of changing the status-quo in a positive way. Manmohan Singh could well learn a less or two from his earlier master in ways of managing India and looking after its interests without bending over backwards to play up to the gallery (both foreign and local).

The image of Narasimha Rao as portrayed by India’s English language media does no justice to his contributions to the Indian state. Indian media have this starry eyed look when it comes to the fake Gandhi family and its "achievements". Even to this day, when a certified college dropout like Rahul Gandhi (he does not have a single worthwhile degree) gets on stage and mouths inanities, or when a Priyanka Vadra rattles of nonsense our media is cast spell bound. Contrast this to the actual achievements of Rao, his ill-treatment by Congress 'netas' both inside and outside power and by the English language media, we have an idea of how unsung a hero this man was. Critics of Rao, (which our liberal media is full off) tar him with the usual brush of the Babri demolition, JMM scam etc while silently overlooking similar but more significant follies of our ‘great’ leaders of yesterday and today. The low points of his tenure pale into insignificance when looked in comparison to the successes he achieved for the Indian nation state. No Indian leader actually left the office with a proud legacy, a string of achievements that pan many generations and yet go unheralded the way this diminutive man was. This post is my small way of saying 'Thank You' to a really great soul!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cricket as a Cult

Hmm.. there we go again.. a billion shattered dreams, a millions bucks down the drain, not to miss the wasted time, energy and effort that goes into following Indian cricket. India's instantaneous exit from World Cup Circa2007 has a familiar sense of deja vu. As an angry and dejected fan, I ask myself why do i follow this sport and this team. Even a minimal application of common sense would indicate, that Indian cricket is destined to doom. Managed by one of the world's richest and most corrupt set of people, played by 11 demi gods, followed by a billion passionate fans, fed by an unending stream of dollars and shadowed by the murky world of match fixing, Indian cricket is a blot in the name of professional sports. I don't see any other place in the world where so much love and money is showered on a bunch of 11 inept individuals. But still, an Indian cricket fan (including me) always never misses an opportunity to follow the travails of this team...Is it mere patriotism, love of the game or nostalgia that pushes me into doing this.. I stop to ponder .. why?

It then dawned on me.. that Indian cricket is very much akin to a cult...I have seen many cults in my life and i have fair sense of how they work...You have many intelligent educated and normal people, who after becomin a part of the cult become inured to logic and sense. They follow this 'guru's' and his many pithies to the dot. Cult members are notorious for losing their sense of reasoning and are prone to acting weird.. They keep donating their hard earned millions to this cult for few moments of supposed bliss..Yes I proclaim Indians are member of this massive cult called Cricket!!..Why you may ask!

Take a deep breath and look at it objectively ..As members of this cult , we are bound by our sense of loyalty to keep following the shenanigans of this team as the BCCI gorges on millions of our $$$ that we throw at them. Just like in any others cult, there is a very minimal sense of responsibility that enjoins the cult heads.Just like many of the 'guru's' supposed 'wisdom's' which are nothing more than inanities passed of as 'truths', we can very soon expect some pathetic cosmetic changes (sacking the coach, captain, shuffling the team etc) only to be fooled into believing that they are fundamental changes for a bright future. Like many of the cult heads who perform miracles once in a while (e.g conjuring holy ash from thin air) to keep up the morale of their supporters (a.k.a financiers)..we can soon see Indian team go about winning an one odd game in a far away land to keep up the spirits of its billion followers!..

Being a member of a false cults is a very dangerous failing for a human mind..Since the mind atrophies and is is in a perennial state of dysfunction, its hard for the human mind to come out of its ill effects.. In many ways false cults are very much like narcotics.. They destroy the mind, body and soul and at the same time providing temporary and instant gratification..

In India, cricket has often been described as a 'religion'. I disagree with that analogy, simply because, in the Indian context religion allows a fair amount of course correction, responsibility and there is a basic dharma that holds it all.. In cricket, the fundamental aspect of Karma has been thrown out of the window and is illogical by every account. No professional sport, works the way Indian cricket does. I do not buy the argument that an Indian loves his cricket any more than a Brazilian loves his football or an American his NFL..Yet Indian cricket lacks any of the features that is a hallmark of a multi million dollar professional sport..

As i deliberate on Indian cricket and its failings, I am trying to get my mind out of this game for good and to get out of its deleterious effects. I know this is easier said than done, since I have spent a larger portion of my life following this game with a passion that I now regret deeply. Its hard to discard the thread that defines in many ways who I am as a man, but Indian cricket as it is being played now and will be in the foreseeable future does not deserve my time or money. Its time to jump off the cult...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

India arrives on the world stage - A cliché ah!! :-)

Enough column inches and air time have been spent on this singular event; post independent India's biggest acquisition! The venerated Indian behemoth of Tata's purchase of the hoary steel giant British Steel a.k.a Corus has all the trappings of a Bollywood movie; the poetic justice of David actually winning over a Goliath. The Indian air waves are filled with with the slights and insults the founders of Tata had to endure during the colonial days, the snippets about white man's cockiness, nuggets on colonial British arrogance and the perseverance of Jamshedji Tata as he went about creating Tata Steel. This corporate take over could well mark the true arrival of India's answer to GE, Citigroup etc. The Tata business house has an illustrious past, a past enriched with integrity, honesty and values (a rare breed in the hurly burly world of Indian business).As we raise toast to this high stakes acquisition, it is easy to fall prey to nationalistic feelings.

This article is not about the economics of this acquisition, the value of the buy, the nature of fundamentals regarding steel industry. This is not about whether Tata, seemingly over reached itself in the short term with debts in its bid to buy a company much larger in size. This is not about profits, losses or even about the intricacies of the business risk. Its about the attitude, it’s about India and Indians beginning to lose their essentially III world mentality about their place in this world. It’s about the ability to think big and execute. It’s something more profound than this acquisition. To me this purchase symbolizes the acquisition of something more valuable than Corus Inc, it’s the acquisition of self-confidence by a country and its business. An attribute that is infinitely more expensive than $13 billion and that had been lost on Indians for quite some time .

But India is a wounded civilization, destroyed and trampled by hordes of invaders from far corners of the globe. British imperialism destroyed the nation, making an economic powerhouse that was India to nothing more than a half ragged 3rd world nation. The idea of India and poverty became so intertwined that Indians and the rest of the world could be pardoned if they thought they were synonyms.

The scar of British imperialism was so deep, that the very idea that India contributed to more than 30% of the world's GDP before the Europeans arrived seemed like a mythical fairy tale. Indians were so used to tales of poverty, hunger and sickness...

India for more than three quarters of the last millennia India was the envy of the world's eyes, the source of knowledge, the fountainhead of great philosophies and host to incredible achievements in science, technology and social systems. Everybody from Mark Twain to Albert Einstein attest to this fact. But it was so systematically destroyed or negated that post independent India never really got off its feet. India lumbered through a majority of it post independent days mired in pathetic laws and shackled by red-tape.

The 21st century may be the time that the cycle turns full circle and India regains its rightful place in the comity of nations. It’s never too late to be great!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Shilpa Shetty - Please stop crying on TV!

I could not control my laughter when Shilpa Shetty's brilliant publicity garnering exercise went into top gear over the last weekend. Shilpa Shetty, who till the other day was nothing more than a beautiful Bollywood also ran, suddenly shot into world wide fame, because of apparent "racist" abuse on 'Big Brother' on Channel 4 in UK.

Oh My God!!.. what a sin! India started its familiar crying holier than thou act.. accusing Brits of racism..and claiming to be wronged by the whites. Some of the complaints that were supposedly "racial" included:-

1.Shilpa Shetty wants to be white. - Just like any other Indian I guess. Given a chance every Indian out there would buy a "fairness cream" to become white.. so what the hell is her problem. Racism is India's worst kept secret !

2. Shilpa Shetty is a fake :- If that were not true she would not have been an Indian actress :-)

3. Indians eat with their hands. - yeah so what..What is there to feel offended by it. Thats the way we are..

so on and so forth..

The racist double whammy made what was till then a run down Channel 4 prgram and an also-ran Indian actress into a worldwide celebrity. The script then was followed to the 'T' when Indian politicians jumped into the debate in all their infinite wisdom.They were so close to turning this non event into a diplomatic incident and the Finance Minister of India (no less) stated that this incident would not affect British- Indian relations and business ties.It was a nice coincidence to see British PM in waiting Gordon Brown being in India at the same time and feverishly trying to defend British's openness (yeah rite:-) ).Thank God the Indian government did not think about recalling the British ambassdor on this..:-)

To liven things up there were the usual Indian suspects.. Bunch of people in Patna getting together on a roadside chowk, burning some effigies, chanting slogans and creating some audio video spectacle that got captured by everything from New York Times to NDTV.

The sheer hypocricy behind this public charade makes this incredibly funny and darn stupid. Why do Indians get worked up over such silly non issues. Why does some actress's, wilful participation in a television program for her 5 cents of fame and bucks affect our national identity and pysche. Why dont Indian people get worked up over real issues affecting our nation.As the current Congress government ruled by the imbecile called Manmohan Singh plays havoc with our national security, home affairs, education etc, nobody in India utters a damn word. The gruesome killings in Nithari already seem to find a place in the later pages of the newspapers and only an occasional mention on national news. Soon it will be forgotten only to be replaced by a weeping 'damsel in distress' on Channel 4 in a far away land..

Some things never change in stupid India..:(

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The 'greatness' of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh!

One of the greatest mysteries to me has been the 'greatness' associated with Mr.Manmohan Singh.He has been praised in economiums, flowery adjectives and hyperboles as something close to God sent from heaven. Looking at these, I can only feel sorry for our country that even normal people, somehow are so easily deemed 'great' if the media decides so...

Everybody seems to forget that till 1991, India never saw the 'greatness' of this man until he became the finance minister under Narasimha Rao. He 'liberalized' the economy it is said, but i am not sure if Manmohan can claim credit for the same. Indian bureaucrats as a rule abhor acting against the conventional wisdom and hence are not prone to becoming great leaders. Manmohan Singh was no different before he became Indias FM.Hence crediting him for going against the grain and liberalising the economy is a compliment gone too far. He was a dyed in the wool socialist. His moment of greatness fell on his lap when India came so close to defaulting on her payment and had to literally and figuratively sell the family silver (gold) to make up for it..Anybody in his shoes including Sitaram Yechury or Laloo Yadav would have been forced to open up the Indian economy since there were not many other options left. If at all anybody deserved the gratitude of the nation it was Mr.Narasimha Rao because as the PM and political point person he had to take the sail out of the winds of poltical oppostion and for the election losses.. Of course nobody gives a damn for him, because he was not one of those 'illustrious ' members of the Nehru-Gandhi clan..(well thats for another blog!)

Manmohan Singh is a simple, hardworking economist..(a number's guy).. India has abundance of such people. To attribute greatness to him and pardon for what has been utterly insipid and lacklustre leadership as the PM of India is a grave mistake on the part of Indian intellegenstia. We will rue this in the future. At the end of the day, he is an uncorrupt guy.. the tragedy of it being a rare quality in India is actually what makes him 'great'. The country has come to such a pass.

On the contrary his term as the prime minister has been a disaster at all fronts. He beats I..K Gujral and even the 'humble farmer' Deva Gowda by a mile in that. His foreign policy initiatives, including the peace moves with Pakistan , the so called 'nuclear agreement' with US and unbridled minorityism are something this country will rue for a long time to come. His lack of political authority and absence of any creative juices that accompany a great leader makes him the lamest and one of the most ineffctive prime minister's ever. While any administration have their bouts of failure and sucesses., this administration is singular in its complete lack of any new initiatives for the growth of the nation. Yet he never is blamed and basks in the limelight of being great.

Since the image of greatness has already been built around this man, our assinine media along with the middle class continues to believe with the shibboleth and our country continues to suffer immesuarably. I just hope we dont have any more such 'great' Prime minister in the future!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sup with this

For all those countless visitors !! to my blog wondering about the new look and feel...I am happy to inform you about my resolve to blog more often and the new layout is a part of the effort to revamp and streamline my thought and blog process!!! .. jus kiddin..:-)

I was just trying to fiddle around with the settings of my blog in my free time (i sometimes have tons of it) and this is what i ended up having...