Monday, November 24, 2008

Shameless bias!

Sometimes I really wonder if these pseudo journos do not fear losing their credibility. They have carefully crafted a veneer of a neutral commentator but in most of their articles, their bias screams out!

Take the case of Anil Dharker. This is the same chappie who magically created those “three clear days” between February 28 to March 1, 2002 during the Gujarat riots. Now the same guy has written a piece dripping with hatred and sarcasm and full of half truths and lies!

Let us see the depths to which these guys go!

So, finally, L K Advani has got off the fence. After keeping quiet on the Malegaon blast case for a couple of weeks, and letting Raj Nath Singh do the talking, he has now come out in support of "Sadhvi" Pragya. A tiger can’t hide its stripes for too long, and this particular tiger's stripes have always been a deep saffron which show through whatever robes he is wearing at the moment.

Look at how the Sadhvi has been put into quotes, Advani has been described as a tiger who hides his stripes and how saffron has been treated as something to be despised!

The robes he is displaying now is of prime minister-in-waiting. That's what he donned when he played host to the captains of industry last week, an elder statesman in thoughtful dialogue with leading industrialists about the state of the nation. And then emerged Mr Hyde, railing and ranting at the government for "torturing" Pragya. The basis of his allegations? Pragya said so. (A little aside here: the 'Sadhvi' has not claimed she was subjected to physical torture, just that she was verbally abused and mentally tortured. What does she expect in an investigation into terror and killing of people? Soothing music? Scented agarbattis? Polite requests to tell the truth?)

Sadhvi Pragya’s affidavit vividly describes the manner in which the ATS ordered her disciple to lash her with a belt. Yet Dharker sees no physical torture in that! After all, she is only a Hindu!

Now the Chief Monster of the Gujarat violence, Narendra Modi, is saying that the government is maligning the Indian army because a serving officer is alleged to be the mastermind of the Malegaon blasts and possibly the explosion in the Samjhauta Express. Bal Thackeray too has been part of this chorus: "Countless Sadhvis will stand up to safeguard the interests of the Hindu community" is one of his less inflammatory statements. He also talks of "brilliant military officials" who have been "maligned on mere suspicion of having plotted bomb blasts" and "Efficient police officials who took on terrorists have been brought to disrepute by the Anti-Terrorist Squad".

So, Narendra Modi is a Chief Monster!

And the Samjhauta blasts charge continues to stick even after the ATS, which had leveled the charges in the first place, has itself retracted them!

The combined message of all this is clear: "No Hindu can be guilty of terrorism. No Hindu military officer can be guilty of terrorism. No Hindu policeman can be guilty of terrorism." There is an implied sub-text here which goes like this: "Any Muslim held for questioning in a terrorism enquiry has to be guilty because he is a Muslim. If a 'suspect' is questioned, then released because there is no evidence against him, it's okay to torture him because he is a Muslim".

Can’t the same accusation be made against the pseudo-secular breed like Dharker? Wouldn’t they have written breast beating pieces if some Muslim terrorism accused had leveled charges of torture in custody?

Does this sound crude and extreme? Yes, it is crude and extreme but that in effect is what these gentlemen are saying. Remember poor Khwaja Yunus? Arrested for the Ghatkopar bombing (a charge which has never been proved), he was killed in police custody by former police officer Sachin Vaze and three constables. So says the Maharashtra CID. Vaze is now out on bail awaiting trial. So what happens to him? Why, the Shiv Sena welcomes him into its fold (presumably he is Thackeray's 'efficient police official').

So Khwaja Yunus is “poor”? But Sadhvi Pragya is evil! Why? Oh, don’t look too far for answers – just look at their respective religion!

And what about the young Muslim men who were arrested in Andhra Pradesh on suspicion of terrorism? They were kept in detention for months, tortured by the police, then finally released because they were innocent (a fact acknowledged by the Andhra government which has now said sorry and announced a compensation package for them).

Did LK Advani, prime minister-in-waiting, whose heart bleeds for 'Sadhvi ' Pragya, say anything about these terrible human rights abuses? He hasn't, has he? You will not find a sane person in this country who will justify the despicable acts of the Muslim terrorists who have bombed and killed our countrymen. They deserve no sympathy and they deserve no leniency in the punishment they will get. But the same impartial standards should apply to Hindu terrorists as well. In the end a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist; there is no such thing as a Hindu terrorist or a Muslim terrorist.

So convenient to say that you do not justify acts by Muslim terrorists – but you will do everything to make sure that suspects are not apprehended and investigated!

If the Hindutva brigade tries to justify their Malegaon and Samjhauta Express bombings on the basis of retaliation, that's a dangerous route to take; Muslim youth are being indoctrinated to avenge Babri Masjid and Gujarat; Indira Gandhi was killed by Sikhs. Rajiv Gandhi by the Tamils in revenge too.

The Samjhauta Express lie continues – and will continue till eternity – once they have tasted blood, these suckers will not let go!

Where do we go from here? Into a black hole for sure. It's a shame that Messrs Rajnath, Advani and Modi can't see that.

Such shameless bias, and yet they are called in for TV discussions as neutral commentators! What irony!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Does CEC mean Congress Election Commissioner?

The Chief Election Commissioner (as also the Election Commissioners) of the country is privy to a lot of information on political parties and the election process and has tremendous powers to use or misuse this. In a situation where there is a neck to neck fight between two major political formations, a slight tweaking of a ruling or decision can tilt the scales in one way or the other.

Therefore, it is important that the post of the Chief Election Commissioner is occupied by a person who is not only unbiased and neutral, but also conveys this attitude through his behaviour, words and policies.

However, some of our “respectable” ex-CECs have some question marks on their head, based on their post-retirement careers.

Take the case of Mr. M.S. Gill. Yes, insiders always knew that he was a Congress stooge, but the man kept a neutral face on the outside. God alone knows how many decisions and policy matters he must have tweaked in order to aid the Congress. Of course, post-retirement he has joined the Congress and was well rewarded for his services during his tenure as the CEC with a plum ministry job.

Even as Sports Minister, there was no hint of any neutrality that might have creeped in during his years as a “neutral” CEC. After the sharpshooter, Abhinav Bindra, won the Gold medal at the Beijing Olympics this year, the ex-CEC was so crass in his anti-BJP approach (having shed all pretense of neutrality which he was showing during his CEC years), that he advised the sportsman to visit only Sonia and not Advani.

If one stooge was not enough, now we have the famous James Michael Lyngdoh, who was the CEC during the 2004 General Elections which gave the Congress a slight edge and led to the formation of the present disastrous UPA. His activism during the Gujarat polls of 2002 (after the riots) and his run-in with the BJP loudmouths is well known. We also know how the usual suspects rushed to his defence at that time. While he maintained a straight face when he was accused of being a “Congress agent”, what was startling was his sharing of the dais with Rahul Gandhi at Amritsar on 18th November.

Finally all doubts have been put to rest. Whether he formally joins the party or not, only time will tell. But where his loyalties lie, we all know. Tell me, as a supposedly neutral ex-CEC, would he be willing to share the dais with say, Advani?

And last but not the least, don’t we all know the background of incumbent Election Commissioner, Navin Chawla, whom the Congress is banking upon to see it through in the forthcoming General Elections?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another anti-Hindu article

Ranjona Banerji, who keeps showing up on the DNA off and on, infuriates me no end. In her latest article, she spews venom on her pet-hate - "Hindutvawadis".

The article is full of holes - which I have tried to rebut below (my comments in saffron colour). I have also emailed the same to her so that she can see some flaws in her thinking. I hope she doesnt treat it as hate-mail since I have only responded in her own language.
History is not an excuse for Carnage!

It is true that Mahmood of Ghazni arrived in India and went through the land with sword and fire. He also raided the Somnath Temple many times. There. I said it.

How obliging!

The only problem is that Ghazni died in 1030 AD.


This does not affect me personally, so it is not that kind of a problem. The problem is that I find myself unable to understand the logic that connects his excesses to explain why it is somehow okay for Muslims to be burnt to death in Andhra Pradesh in 2008.

Probably the same logic that people like you use while justifying reservations with the argument that the OBCs were discriminated against for thousands of years.

And so, now, I feel the wrath of the “majority community” or the Hindutva brigade, in other words. “Do you have the guts to write about Muslims being terrorists?” All right, here you are: There are Muslims who are terrorists and terrorists who are Muslim.

Okay, now that you have said it, can you pinpoint exactly which Muslim is a terrorist? If you can’t, why don’t you allow security forces to do their job without screeching about “human rights” at the slightest hint of an innocent person getting called for interrogation? Obviously, since the terrorists do not come with the brand written on their forehead, there are bound to be some investigations done before going directly and picking up the right man!

Could you please now tell me the logic that connects some Muslims being terrorists to a family of six Muslims being burnt to death in Bhainsa, Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh? The fight in Bhainsa was something to do with Dassera versus Eid celebrations. Now I get it.

So you got it? It was nothing to do with terrorism. That fight might have been due to some routine logistic related issue which unfortunately got blown out of proportion? Why do you guys jump at the slightest provocation to pounce on Hindutva?

When Hindus and Muslims collide, the Muslims get burnt to death because Mahmood of Ghazni ransacked Somnath several times between 1024 to 1026, because Muslims in pre-Independent India partitioned the country and because Kashmiri pandits were driven out of Kashmir by militancy — also by Muslims.

What a pack of lies! When Hindus and Muslims collide, it is NOT JUST MUSLIMS WHO DIE, EVEN HINDUS DIE! Let us get that fact cleared first! You guys conveniently ignore the number of Hindus who die in each communal riot!

Secondly, isn’t it true that India was partitioned by Muslims and the Kashmiri pandits were driven out from Kashmir by Muslims. What are the Hindus supposed to do, according to you? Write more anti-Hindu articles in DNA like you do?

And I’m supposed to believe that all this justifies, in no uncertain terms, that 2000 Muslims were brutally killed in Gujarat in 2002? Oh, now I know what I’m going to hear: who threw the first stone? If Godhra had not happened and the rest of the Hindutva rant.

Oh, how convenient, once again! When it was Mahmood Ghazni, you want to forget it. When it was Godhra being the “first stone”, you want to ignore! No history lessons here! But when terrorist attack after terrorist attack takes place, you want to blame the insecurity among Muslim youth on account of the 2002 Gujarat riots! History in full force here! How nice!

Well, how about this? What happened in Godhra is not clear, the recent report of the Nanavati commission notwithstanding.

Why? Just because he has exonerated your pet hate figure? Justice Nanavati is not a Modi-stooge. He was appointed by the Supreme Court of India. If you want to disregard the Supreme Court Judge, it only shows your respect for the judiciary! If you guys are so sure that Modi did it, why haven’t you been able to put him behind bars yet? Isn’t the Teesta Setalvad – Harsh Mander- Prof Bandukwala – Anu Aga – Nandita Das – brigade strong enough, not to mention all the international big bucks and lobbyists at the US, who have successfully blocked Modi’s visa for so many years?

Worse, how do the deaths of 59 people — horrible though they were — justify large-scale rioting and the deaths of 2000 people who had nothing to do with the Godhra attack?

Probably, just like you guys justify every terrorist attack since 2002 and blame it on the 2002 Gujarat riots! You want us to forget Mahmood of Ghazni, but you will not let Muslims forget Babri Masjid demolition!

And even stranger, why did the Hindutva parties, so ready to stand up and fight when their cock-eyed version of Hinduism is attacked, do nothing to help the victims of the Godhra attack?

What do you really know about what has been done? Any proof?

Why did the father of some of the victims of S6 of the Sabarmati Express come out and attack the Narendra Modi government for itsindifference?

What is the difference here? Arent victims of all terrorist attacks always grumbling that the Government has not done enough for them? Nothing new here! The point is larger!

No, we’re not allowed to talk about all that. We’re not allowed to talk about the recent brutal and disgusting attacks on Christians and Muslims by Hindutva mobs, because by doing so, we are being anti-Hindu.

As if you will stop talking! The point is that the Christian attacks in Orissa are not really being orchestrated by the Hindutvavadis in the form of the Bajrang Dal, but is actually a inter-tribal rivalry between the Kandhas and the Pandas. Of course, you will ignore this fact as it will blow your propoganda to smithereens!

This insult is so bad, that we must, to avoid it, ignore all the atrocities done by the Sangh Parivar. That way, we become good Hindus, even if we have never read the Bhagvad Gita or believe in karma or the transmigration of souls.

Oh no! We become good Hindus by running down other Hindus who protest against terrorism, forcible conversions and vote-bank minority politics!

All that stuff is not Hinduism. Hinduism is whatever Praveen Togadia or some random illiterate says at any point in time.

Yes, Dr.Praveen Togadia is illiterate, but Ranjona Banerji is perfectly qualified to speak on behalf of all Hindus!

Hindus, incidentally, according to this Hindutva theory, only believe in Hindutva and only feel disgusted when Hindus die.

Not at all! In fact, as per the Hindutva theory, Hindus feel disgusted when anyone dies. It is only pseudo-secular leaders who feel disgusted only when non-Hindus die. For e.g. when Churches are attacked in India and European countries make noises, our PM says that this is a shame! But when Hindu temples are burnt in Malaysia, our PM says that this is an internal issue of Malaysia!

However, they do not feel so bad when lower caste Hindus die and that is why there were no Hindutva-led riots when members of the Bhotmange family of Khailanji were massacred. They were Dalits. Hindutva does not know what to do with Dalits.

It has now been proved that the Bhotmange massacre has nothing to with caste, it was a fight between two families blown out of proportion! By the way, the perpetrators of this ghastly crimes were not upper caste Hindus but OBCs, a fact which is cleverly concealed by the pseudo-secular Hindu-hating media!

The question which Hindutva does not answer is what about those of us — regardless of our faiths or the faiths we were born into or the faiths we may have acquired ourselves — who object to what is going on because we are Indians, who owe allegiance to the Republic of India first?

You can owe allegiance to the Republic of India without ignoring the atrocities on Hindus, cant you? Why must you tolerate Islamic terrorism? Why must you tolerate forcible conversions by Christians? Why must you tolerate pseudo-secular politicians saying that minorities have the first right to resources in India?

Or those of us who think killing is wrong, regardless of whether it is by Hindus or Muslims or Christians or anybody?

Yes, why do you exclude us, the Hindutvawadi’s from this tribe? Even we do not want killing!

Indians who do not narrowly limit our definition of ourselves to instructions from a political party? Indians who are willing to discuss our faults and limitations and not mistake that discussion for one more assault by Mahmood of Ghazni (dead since 1030)?

Political parties or their ideologies would flourish only if they articulate a feeling of a sizeable section of the populace! Nobody can take people for a ride!

George Santayana said that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. What could you say to those who distort their history or never understood it in the first place?

Where is the distortion? Why do you want to deny that Islamic rulers have for centuries plundered India and subjugated Hindus? Why do you want to deny the Goa inquisition? I can understand minorities trying to denigrate Hindutva because it makes them insecure about all the goodies given by them in the form of reservations and other dole-outs by pseudo-secular governments. But whats in it for so-called Hindus like you to wish that Hindus remain subjugated forever? What is the benefit for you? I have asked this question to so many of your tribe, no one has been able to answer this!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

When its Maya, anything goes!

When somebody like Sushama Swaraj makes allegations about the UPA's involvement in the blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad as a conspiracy to divert attention from the cash-for-votes scandal, the mainstream media castigates her and treats her like a madwoman. Even BJP-friendly blogs caution her on shooting of her mouth on far-fetched possibilities.

However, when a Mayawati screams in her rally that "she fears a conspiracy by the Congress and the BJP to imprison her or get her killed with the assistance of a terrorist group or Naxalite organisation", we all lap it up happily. After all she is a Dalit-ki-beti, so hence she has to be a Prime Minister material, no questions asked!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Flawed histrionics and Swift Rejoinder

I was a bit taken aback by the stupendous applause given by the mainstream media to the high-pitched but gravely flawed speech by Omar Abdullah in the confidence vote debate. The speech is described as "passionate" and so on.

Honestly speaking, the tone and substance of the speech conveyed a very different opinion about the man from what I carried all these years.

I was all set to make a point-by-point rebuttal but Dr. Saurav Basu did my job better than I could have ever expected. So, here you go! Thank you, Dr. Basu for that splendid job. Sorry for taking the liberty to provide a link on my blog to your article. I am not a member on Sulekha, so I cannot make any comments there.

Monday, July 28, 2008

POTA or Abracadabra?

Terrorist attacks come and go and we are back to the same tapes being replayed. The BJP has once again demanded the revival of POTA, while the PM has rejected Mr. Advani’s appeal. His logic is, “The attacks on parliament and Akshardham temple took place when Pota was in force. There is no dearth of laws in the country to deal with terrorism”.

Oh Mr. PM, is it? But the fact is none of those laws seem to be having any impact. For the record, the attack on Parliament took place on December 13, 2001 and the POTA was notified only on 28.03.2002.

Even this apart, no law is magic that you enact it and lo! The terrorist attacks stop. If the PM thinks like this, something is seriously wrong with his intelligence. Or is it that he thinks we are all stupid?

Laws like POTA need to be in place for a long period of time, they have to be implemented with a single minded determination to weed out terrorists, sleeper cells, informers, etc. This will take some time, it will involve some excesses, but it will be far less than the number of innocent lives lost in terrorist attacks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fatwa against terror: Naive or Stupid?

I cannot understand if these people are naive or stupid or too clever by half!
Some Muslim gent or organisation has to just murmur "Religion of Peace" and these cheerleaders begin their act from the sidelines. They begin their blah-blah about how this peaceful religion is being tarnished by Sangh Parivar elements and so on. And Mr. Dharker goes to the extent of lamenting that the fatwa has not been well publicised. This, despite the leftist newspaper Hindu saying this.
Arre baba, even if there is this so-called "fatwa against terror", do you think it will make even an iota of difference in the agenda of the terrorists? Whom are we fooling?

Is this allowed?

  • Since the image above is not clear, I will reproduce the text of the ad here:
    Getting equipped for a better future.
    Government of India offers free coaching and allied schemes to candidates belonging to minorty communities.
    If you are a student, belonging to the Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist or Zoroastrain (Parsi) communities, notified as minority communities under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, you are eligible to apply for the coaching programme.
    For entrance admission test of technical/ professional courses such as engineering, law, medical, management, information technology, etc.
    Competitive examinations for recruitment to services under the Central and State government including police/ security forces, public sector enterprises, railways, banks etc.
    Coaching for jobs in the private sector, such as information technology, airlines, BPO, hospitality etc.
    Remedial coaching at undergraduate and post-graduate levels to improve academic knowledge and enable the student to complete the course successfully,
    100% financial assistance will be provided to the selected coaching/ training institutes and the institutes imparting remedial tuition.
    Candidates must possess the requisite educational qualification for admission to the desired course/ recruitment examination.
    The annual income of the parents or guardian of the beneficiay should not exceed Rs.2.50 lakhs from all sources.

    This is a superb initiative. Providing the additional assistance to poor students who are on the fringes of higher education is a noble step and will help elevate the general level of educational literacy by giving just the nudge required.

    The only catch is the ministry that is doing all this! It is the Ministry of Minority Affairs!!!

    Now what beats me is that why should the religion of the recipients of this largesse matter? There are such disadvantaged poor students belonging to all religion who would benefit greatly from the scheme. So, by granting this only to minorities, doesn't this become a form of discrimination on the basis of religion? Is education a matter which should be treated like this?

    Isn't every citizen entitled to equal opportunities in education regardless of their religious beliefs?

    Does the Constitution allow such form of discrimination?

    Is there any other country in this world which discriminates against their majority community in this way?

Hillary loses!

I don't know exactly why... I just cannot pinpoint it.... but the man who won the Democratic primaries to secure the Presidential nomination JUST GIVES ME THE CREEPS!!!

Am I being racist or what? I don't think so. An African-American for President would have normally gladdened my heart, but something about this man is not fitting right!

How I wish it was the lady who I could have been rooting for in November! I don't know whether, as some say, it was THIS MAN, who caused her loss!

In any case, with the Democratic nomination sealed, I just hope that John Mc..whatever wins the Presidential elections in November!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Redeemer of the Marathi maanus?

I was interested in finding out the reactions of bloggers to Raj Thackeray's onslaught on “para-prantiya” परप्रन्तिया (pronounced in Marathi) which means “people from outside the state of Maharashtra”. But to my dismay, the event seems to have been ignored or at best, given a passing mention in the blogosphere.

What Raj is doing is not new. Neither is it unique to Maharashtra alone. Awakening the linguistic identity of a populace and instilling a sense of injustice and hurt pride in them is the easiest way to get ahead in Indian politics.

About two years ago, Raj Thackeray had separated from the Shiv Sena because he saw no meaningful future for his political career in the party as Thackeray Sr had thrown his weight behind his own son, Uddhav. At that time, the tone of his politics was progressive and pragmatic. There was no rhetoric which the Sena was famous for nor was there pandering to the linguistic or religious sentiments of people. After the initial hoopla about how the emergence of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena could affect future elections, everyone seemed to forget about the man. A small local election ensued and the MNS had a poor showing. A large number of MNS workers who had come in from the Sena were contemplating a return. With his back to the wall, our hero had no other option but to take refuge in the oldest and sure-fire strategy to win a votebank for himself.

Having said this, the “Marathi maanus” propaganda is neither without basis nor has it failed to evoke strong support among the locals, particularly in the larger cities like Mumbai. The ever-increasing influx from other states is getting a bit tiresome. There is a feeling among the locals that the outsiders bring in their own alien culture and never make any attempts to harmonise themselves with the local ones. There is also the sentiment that the outsiders look at say, Mumbai, just as a place to milk and make money and then go back to their roots in their home states. These feelings are not unjustified. Particularly if you look at the UP-Biharis, who are currently the target of the MNS, these have increasingly begun to assert their presence in the state. The “chat puja” which is largely a North Indian festival may have been celebrated in Mumbai for many years. But of late, the event has started attracting huge money and hype. The celebration of the UP diwas was totally uncalled for. Worse, the UP-Biharis are finding influence with the local politicians who are finding their sheer numbers a convenient vote bank. The increasing clout is represented by the cabinet minister Kripashankar Singh, who is from UP, but now a minister in Maharashtra.

Amitabh Bachchan’s fans may cringe at the MNS chief’s diatribe against the superstar. However, Raj uses the Big B only as an example to prove his point. Despite having made a name for himself after staying in Maharashtra for so many years, the Big B has become an ambassador for UP. Which means what? That the Big B has his roots in UP! This must be true for most of the other Upites. If you have roots in one state, you will never ever want to assimilate in the ethos of your adopted state.

As Raj Thackeray in his May 3rd carefully drafted speech outlined, language chauvinists from all states are guilty of poisoning minds. Many of the arguments put forward by him are not easy to refute. He read out a statement attributed to Sonia’s partner in govt, Anbumani Ramadoss, who has warned Dravidians against Rajnikant’s attempts to come into the centerstage of TN politics. This, despite, Rajnikant (who is a Maharashtrian) has completely transformed himself into a Tamilian and is a hero to the locals there.

We know of language chauvinists in other states like Andhra, Karnataka etc.

We also know how it is difficult, nay impossible, to have a comfortable stay in capital cities of states if you cannot follow the local language – try living in Chennai without knowing Tamil or in Kolkata without knowing Bengali. The lingua franca in offices is not English, it is the local language. But in Mumbai, you need not really know Marathi. Hindi is good enough. That shows the liberal attitude of Maharashtrians. It is this liberal attitude which politicos like Raj Thackeray is trying to change for his electoral gains. You can fault him for his crudeness and foul language, but you cannot bar him legally, as Home Minister RR Patil has recently found out. Then, politicians cannot be given moral sermons too. So how does one stop him?

Not easy. In a country where states are drawn on linguistic basis (a Nehru legacy), we must be prepared for hardening of such identity differentiation. Only if you redraw the states on some other basis, will the language identity be dented. To take the poison out of Raj’s bite, we have to first take away the luxury that chauvinists from other states have.

Then, and only then, can we look at Raj Thackeray in the eye and tell him to shut up!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Going backward and forward

What is the cause of backwardness? What is the need to entitle backward castes for reservations?

Is it because they have some “inferior” traits passed on through their genes?
If yes, then should backward caste children who have been adopted by forward caste parents be entitled to the reservations? And vice versa, should forward caste children who have been adopted by backward caste parents be excluded?

If no, is it that the environment in which they live makes them backward?
(Then in the reverse of the earlier point, what about the adopted children?)

Is it because their parents may not be educated?
(Then, should the criteria for determining backwardness be the “non-education” of parents, rather than the caste?)

Coming to reservations, I hear often that reservations are required because the backward castes have been oppressed for centuries. Is there any proof that any of MY forefathers have oppressed them?

Even if there is, should I be subject to punishment because of what my forefathers may have done?

I have read that in those days when the caste system was more pronounced, there were four varnas – brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya, sudra – each having their specific functions to perform. In my limited knowledge on the subject, Brahmins were supposed to be the scholars, the kshatriyas were the warriors, the vaishyas were the merchants and the sudras were the service providers to the other three.

By virtue of pursuing these functions over generations, these castes must have acquired certain traits – talking generally –, which are required for effective performance. For instance, making sweeping generalizations, Brahmins may have acquired a scholarly bent of mind, the kshatriyas may have acquired aggression, sportsman skills, etc. the vaishyas may have acquired business acumen and guile. What about the sudras? Well, is there nothing desirable about them that is worth acquiring. So they have to be uplifted through reservations?

Alright, but are “scholastic skills” the only traits desirable in these days? Shouldn’t then Brahmins be given reservation in sports and businesses? Or Kshatriyas be given reservations in education and businesses? Or vaishyas be given reservations in education and sports?

If it is indeed genes which cause backwardness, then how many generations would it take for a particular family to evolve itself out of backwardness?

Or then, is it the environment?

While equal access and opportunity of education to all is certainly a noble objective, do we want everyone to be educated equally? Is that scenario possible?

Shouldn’t individual abilities determine the level upto which a person can be educated? If everyone is educated to the same level, would that mean that there will be nobody available for doing the so-called “lower level” jobs? Is that scenario acceptable to us?

Or, is it that people (regardless of their caste) would still be available to do the “lower level” jobs, albeit being more educated and hence having more aspirations, but forced to do them due to sheer market forces (demand and supply of jobs)? Would that be a happier situation for these people?

I am not even going to the more common-sense issues of what is the use of having reservations at post graduate level when the ones that really require upliftment do not have access to even primary education.

So, are there any reasonable answers to any of these questions?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ugly side of on-field aggression

Will we ever see this scene again?

The ugly incident of Harbhajan Singh slapping S. Sreesanth was the lowest that Indian cricket has come to. Performance pressures may have taken their toll on the hot headed sardar but that is no excuse to behave physically with an member of the opposing team, whatever the provocation may be.

This leads to a larger question. The IPL, which seeks to polarize the nation’s cricket fans according to their regional identities, may eventually be successful. However, one only hopes that this does not split the already fractured Indian cricket team.

In the midst of all the Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight riders, Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils and what have you, one must not forget that many of these players from different teams have to come together and play in a cohesive manner when they play for their country. Will that be possible when the chasms become so deep?

Like one commentator remarked, regional teams were always prevalent by virtue of the Ranji Trophy tournaments. However, the focus was not as sharp since the publicity as well as the money of the two situations are on completely different scales.

P.S. There is an attempt by many news discussion commentators as well as some sections of the public to give a sense of balance to the issue by saying that even Sreesanth is not a saint, pardon the pun! However, the rebuttal to that, as Navjot Singh Sidhu rightly and articulately put it, is that Sreesanth may be an aggressive player on the field, displays his aggression very crudely, shakes his jiggy after taking a wicket and so on… but that is part of the game attitude. That does not give anyone the right to box the guy! In any case, whatever the provocation by Sreesanth (I believe, he just said “Hard Luck” to Bhajji), this cannot be condoned!

Lets see where the matter goes!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

PC must go!

R. Jagannathan, who has an occasional column in the DNA, is a writer who I can relate to on many topics. One of them is his views on the economy.
I have always felt that the halo behind our current Finance Minister was preventing most rational observers from noticing the mess he was creating. But Jagannathan, in today's column, hits the nail on the head!

"During his tenure, the finance minister has presided over successive years of high growth. But the economy would have grown at close to this rate even if comrades Gurudas Dasgupta or AB Bardhan were finance minister instead of Chidambaram"
Read the rest of the column here:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Patriotism symbols

Last Sunday's "We the People" had Ms. Barkha Dutt arranging a group of cocky and opinionated speakers talking about how it was okay to burn the national flag or sit down when the national anthem was being played! And the only people to protest were predictably, a retired soldier and a BJP representative, Smriti Iraani! It was plain obvious to everyone where Ms. Dutt stood on this issue as she giggled at the smart aleck comments of the majority of the speakers while joining issue with Smriti!

What amazed me was the comment of one guest, none other than an "eminent" blogger, Amit Varma of India Uncut. He asked a strange question, "Can patriotism be enforced?" I wonder! So are you trying to say that patriotism is a matter of choice? Is it okay to say - fine, so you are not patriotic to India, I still love you? Its shocking that such things are even discussed. According to him, there should be no holy cows! I wonder if even the sentiments of the soldiers who die on the battlefield can be then debated?

And then there was a charade of the national anthem (of Bharat Bala) being played in the studio and everyone standing up. And predictably, a PYT started murmuring that she stood up only because of peer pressure otherwise she would have sat down. Her query, "If I sit down while the national anthem is being played, does that make me less patriotic?" Ok, I touch my parents feet when I take their leave. You might give them a smack on their face and say "That doesnt mean you love your parents more than I do mine?" So what can I say? Its a question of different styles of demonstrating the love and respect, I guess!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A fitting reply

Been extremely busy these days and all plans of regular blogging going awry!

Yet, I couldnt resist highlighting this brilliant reply given by the BJP to the CPI(M)'s "political resolution"

Over the last six decades since Independence Indian politics has become bi-polar and the chimera of the so-called Third Front is solely to frustrate the growth of the BJP and prevent it from coming to power. The people of India deserve better than an attempt to subvert the will of the masses through the formation of a Third Front. A hoisted political enterprise conceived in haste to subvert the true will of the people will never succeed. History has numerous lessons to teach.”

How very true!

If only the BJP could convert its ideas into action on the ground more effectively and forget all those internal squabblings by its leaders!