Saturday, September 11, 2004

With ministers like these....

"Patil does explaining to Sonia, quite a bit," says Pradeep Kaushal in The Indian Express (September 11, 2004 at 0205 hours). Shivraj Patil is colorless even as lacklustre politicians go. His earlier stints as MoS Science and Tech, and then Speaker were consistently devoid of any highlights whatsoever. He is as close you can get to a real life Major Major Major (the Catch 22 character). His appointment as Home Minister after his defeat in the LS polls has the hard to miss stamp of the Congress khichdi cabinet - one which is drawn up by people who have never been out of Lutyens Delhi, with an undistinguished understanding of India, economics, politics and everything else, who prize personal loyalty and servitude over everything else. Not surprisingly his tenure as Home Minister has been disastrous and promises to only get worse. It is true that during LKA's time the Northeast wasn't exactly settled. The borders continued to be soft admitting all sorts of vermin. But whatever their faults, NDA accepted the reality of neglect and tried their best to make new friends and build new relationships with the people at large. This government hasn't gotten used to the fact that the days of the Northeast politicians paying obeisance to New Delhi is over. They may be Congressmen in name but intend to do everything to fight for their share of the federal pie, dissidence be damned. In all this you have an incompetent like Shivraj Patil? Need we say more?

Friday, September 10, 2004

The real fundamentalists

A fine piece once again from Swapan. Dr.Singh's credentials are beyond reproach. He is a socialist of sorts having been influenced by the Fabians. Back home he surely must have imbibed the deeply uncompromising welfarist ideals of ourt own socialists, JP, Achyut Patwardhan, Lohia and many others. These socialists to a person had nothing but contempt for the commies aka Lal Langotis. During the Quit India movement the socialists went underground while the commies functioned as stooges and informers of the colonial administration. while many Congressmen being non-violent types were treated with some softness, the socialists being more active types suffered badly. The socialists never forgave the commies for their betrayal. JP himself was no fawning admirer of Stalin and Mao unlike some of the deranged "peoples' leaders" of the commies cheered and applauded while 10s of millions perished and were put to death in "workers' paradises". HKS Surjeet that comedian after a visit to Romania a few months before the fall of Ceausescu returned singing the praises of the socialist paradise of Europe. This when the dictator on his last legs was still forciblyrelocating entire villages.
Dr.Man Mohan Singh is not some cheapjack like Irfan Habib who churns out ideology dressed up as history. This is a courageous man who despite some hardened beliefs dared to change India for the better. The words of a true intellectual like Dr.Singh are worth listening to any day over the protestations of a commissar like Irfan Habib. Shame on The Hindu (what's new?) for ducking the issue entirely.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Gondogol ache! Felu-babu!

Omkar-da good work on this one. The Census data on West Bengal on closer examination paints a depressing picture of the state better known as Waste Bengal. That clown Ashok Mitra must pay attention to matters closer to home rather than fool around with things he knows not (which is just about everything other than those things he was trained to do many years ago). A detailed examination of the stats are called for.

Vijai Bhava! Vijayasimha!

Vijai Singh has made it to the No.1 slot. Congrats! How far the UP/Bihar Bhaiyya has come. Shipped to the PAcific, Indian Ocean, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean to work as indentured labor, the community has put its past aside and risen to make the best of what it has. I know little about Vijai's family or his early days. But this seems to be a story of pure grit. Making it to the No.1 slot without the many advantages Americans, Europeans, South Africans enjoy - talent farming, sports scholarships (Stanford), the value of their currency, the superior training system, the remunerative nature of sport etc., is outstanding. Vijai thanks for remebering your roots in India. But also remember what President Kalam told NRIs earlier this year. You are welcome to visit India always but your first loyalties must lie with the country whose passport you carry.

Now I hope the press will not rake Vijai once more over the coals for his views on mixed golf championships, while they keep silent over "no-women allowed" golf courses.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Thanks Telegraph

This Weblog is fast becoming a washing board for The Telegraph. V.v. interesting article on the September 1 tamasha organised by the Bham Phront of Waste Bengal. From earlier reports it seems that this "peoples' rally" was not entirely trouble as usual for the people. Good work by Buddha-da. He seems to be able to keep the CPI-M thugs at bay quite effectively. His predecessor that mimic Marx and thugmeister was well known for his carefully honed expertise at managing goon squads, all acquired thru his days as a "labor lawyer" and then "labor leader". Respectable people do very often rely upon goons to enforce authority in political parties. The history of this sorry process in WB is waiting to be written. In 1989 when a bandh was organised to protest against the "anti people policies" of the government (of Rajiv Gandhi), some public sector firms thought of hosting their employees at work overnight to save them the trouble of walking miles and miles from home the next day (this was on August 31st). That night CPI(M) goons systematically fanned across Dalhousie Square walked up into offices and thrashed 100s of people. The Telegraph of course reported it. The Hindu that sanctimonious rag never heard of it!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Another one who doesn't get it

The Telegraph is unputdownable (a word coined by MJ Akbar) for a number of reasons. One of them has to do with the shoddy quality of some of its writers. Nivedita Menon a "professor of Political Science" in Delhi University is one of its worst. In this article she starts talking about Chandra Bhan's book - compilation of his articles of the last few years. She starts there. The rest of the article is about Nivedita's views on this and Nivedita's wisdom about that. What does the book contain? We are not any wiser at the end of it. Telegraph could have invited Chandra Bhan to write about his book or got somebody to review it. Why did it have to call a 2-bit hack who hasn't grown out of her "when I went to Shimla last summer" composition days? Nivedita does inform us a little. We learn that she is "anti-capitalist" - wonder what she is doing about it? And she expresses surprise at Chandra Bhan's proposed Dalit-Brahmin alliance and his dismissal of Kancha Illiah's Dalit-Bahujan proposed alliance. Kancha of course is that charlatan who makes an appearance at every hack meet. Chandra Bhan has no time for wannabe Dalit defenders considering Kancha is running the "Dalit flag" only because he it affords him a foot in the door given his mediocre and below par intellectual accomplishments. Kancha is certainly not in the same league as Drs. Radhakrishnan and Pandian of MIDS (not unless you are willing to suspend all rational evaluation).

But Nivedita wouldn't know all this would she. Because Chandra Bhan works with The Pioneer, New Delhi - and is the only Dalit journalist to be employed as an editor in any capacity by an English newspaper.

Here and there

Ashok Mitra a communist crank and crackpot never fails to amuse. This man's views were so far off the line that his own party the CPI(M) was constrained to throw his out of the government. Here is gassing away as usual. In what surely marks him out as a race-baiter, ignoramus, liar, fool and what have you he alleges that the US Olympic team owes its spectacular performance in the 2004 Olympics - as usual - to the performance of black atheltes - who unfortunately (according to him) continue to receive the short end of the stick. I don't know what planet this man lives on (or maybe he has already been committed?) The days when Jesse Owens labored in obscurity after his historic triumph at Berlin 1936 are long gone. The black salute at Mexico 1968 is far behind us. Surely Ashok Mitra did not miss out on those numerous US athletes black, white, brown, yellow etc (yes Anjana Bharadwaj) who joyously celebrated their medal victories draped in the Stars and Stripes? The idioy needs a reality check or maybe a lobotomy or lobal transplant would do?

Talking of China the man as usual waxes on about the great accomplishments and as always conveniently forgetting the Great Leap (Back)Forward, Let a 100 Flowers Bloom (Wither), The Cultural Revolution, each of which was accompanied by the extermination of millions and millions - about 30-60 million a record. The Chinese of course have no time for numbskulls like Mitra anymore. Ramadorai of TCS is an IT advisor to a Chinese provincial government and Suresh Krishna of TVS is busy setting up auto ancillary supply chains in the remote provinces of China. And yes China remembers those who have helped her in times of need. When Dr.Kotnis's family (Dr. Kotnis ki Amar Kahani by V. Shantaram) visited China a few years ago they were feted and treated like VIPs.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

UPA's first 100 days

TCA Srinvasa Raghavan has this take on the UPA's pro(re)gress in its 1st 100 days. Hard to disagree. We seem to be back to the days of tokenism best typified by the Nehruvian embrace of medicrity embellished with large doses of style, platitude, puffery and pomposity. With one shadow PM - who talks of her "inner voice" - remember what Ambedkar used to say of Gandhi's "inner voice"? - an upright scholar PM who is too nice to be tough - a capable rail mantri who if he desires can achieve much but has decided to spend his lifetime as a public entertainer, a senile external affairs minister, who's best accomplishment is that of being the Nehru khaandan's sincerest court jester, an Oxford commie now wallowing in oil, a finance minister who for the second time has inherited an 8% pa GDP and is doing his best to return it to a sedate 4% pa as he did six years before. I will stop there. That's enough woe for a day.

PayyoLi Express - PT Usha

Here'e Usha's take on Anju's leap. Ain't it sad that we Indians have learnt absolutely nothing after Kawaljit Sandhu, Usha and now Anju? How long will we have raw talent that is ignored or highlighted to embellish some moronic minister's ego? Sunil Dutt who is otherwise an honorable man every which way you look at it - said the most idiotic thing possible to India's Olympians at their send-off to Athens, "PErform well with the spirit of sacrifice towards the nation, remember the spirit of Sonia!"

Saturday, August 28, 2004

India's finest President ever

Kakkan, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Nath Pai, Gita Mukherjee, JP, Sucheta Kriplani, Muthulakshmi Reddy, Kamaraj - are all gone. If you want to know what it must have been like when they were around look at President Kalam. A rational, liberal, Indian traditional rooted in India's chaal, chalan and charitra, with an eye on the future fully understanding that while we can forget history we cannot ignore geography. Regardless of what has happened we must live together. That is what Gandhi understood and that is what Ambedkar too recognised.

Gandhi wanted the politician to be a public servant a person who wsa capable of making a living through a skill or profession, who would serve the people for free. Kalam is one such person. He has made a living as an ordinary lower middle class Madhavan and built up our only successful technological supply chain. He has won the affection, trust regard of 1000s of small town and large town boys and girls who has moulded into furture oriented engineers and scientists. He has made the best use of our indigenous institutions of learning and opened up opportunities to innumerable small technology shops. He earned his honours the hard way by being a successful technocrat who learnt to work the political system fairly, without sucking up or putting on pseudo-liberal airs as one of his predecessors has done. He is not a pompous ass who talks of social justice in the afternoon and is sipping his scotch and soda without fail that evening. He is not a made up man of the masses who after a lifetime of high living in the capitals of the world and India's finest residences wants to continue living the high life at sarkar expense in New Delhi and bilks the exchequer as usual.

If only we could have more Kalams and less of the other despicable variety.

So near yet so far

Anju Bobby George gave her best - but it wasn't good enough. But our hearts are with you Anju. Yours has been a lone battle for glory. While the aam janata has been with you all the while the neta and babus have as usual have shafted you. Given that you started late and had to make the brave choice of a career in track and field knowing fully well that the GoI and a cricket crazed public don't give a damn you persisted. You persisted even after you found that the facilities the government afforded you were behind the times. Still you kept at it. You got to see Mike Powell toward the tail end of the performance arc and have done the best possible. The former Sports Minister Uma Bharati made a vain boast of India making a pitch to host the Olympics! The citizenry held their laughter in check as they didn't want to choke in their guffaws. Now Uma Bharati has discovered a new passion - the Tiranga - and is now a guest of the Karnataka government. Does she remember that it was once her duty as Minister of Sports to see that you and otehr athletes got the best that India could give you? Does she remember you now or has she already forgotten you? Thru all this the only person from the political establishment who has seen fit to remember our athletes is as always President Kalam. In his I-Day speech he remembered you and your fellow athletes and offered you our best wishes. Anju if you can come close to a souped up Marion Jones it's great work. Marion comes from the US athletic system an awesome machine that is geared towards excellence from the grade-school level.

There's more happy news of our making it to the finals of the womens 4x400 m relay. Good work! Keep it up ladies. For a cricket crazy nation that doesn't even bother i you win or lose you are giving everything and more. Let's hope that you are the nucleus around which a future mass of talent develops.