Thursday, June 28, 2007

In the news...., Then...., Now....,

A few years back, I could not wait to get hold of the day's newspaper as soon as I woke up. There used to be some news that took you by surprise, that made you sit back and take notice, that at times even shook you. There was the element of uncertainty and unpredictability and a healthy dose of freshness in news, be it political, sports or glamour.

One summer morning in '98, the newspapers screamed proudly of India going nuclear. It is a great feeling, atleast for me, to get up in the morning to realize that your country is among the nuclear-armed nations. Today, you only get to hear that, a nuclear-deal that no-one has so far comprehended, is either in a state of deadlock or that there is 'considerable progress in talks'.

And on another morning, the country's defence minister says, "China is our number one enemy". How many times do you hear such courageous statements, such brazen, or shall I say overt, declarations of enmity? Now, despite a very hostile neighborhood where one is witnessing a coup, the other a civil war and another engaged in a 'Who-will-shoot-the-President" contest,we are told that we are having 'normal' ties with all these countries. Such outrageous falsity!

Much before, IT raids brought out news of unaccounted money hidden, reportedly, in toilets of one former Minister. It was something that made us angry in disgust and at the same time laugh at such ingenuity. Discoveries of unaccounted money these days do not evoke such reactions because the hide-black-money techniques that have come out these days lack such novelty. Infact these headlines haardly catch any attention as it would be like, "IT Department conducts raids across the country; Crores of money unearthed". Come on, it's like saying, "Software industry across the country developed software. Some of them had bugs".

And sports. This has become even worse. Its one area today which doesn't need the help of astrologers. Least expected to win World Cups, a team like Sri Lanka overwhelmed everyone in that '96 world cup. Today, even Mandira Bedi or Ruby Bhatia can say that Australia will be the winner and say that with an air of certainty that would have stunned Nostradamus. So cricket news too will not carry with it any freshness or unpredictability except of course when India plays teams like Bangladesh and lose. Or shall we say even that was not an upset?

Well cricket is not the only game. There is tennis too that has started to follow a pattern. The only difference here is you should replace Australian team with a single individual called Roger Federer. Mindblowing tennis he plays, but again, in the process he too is killing the element of uncertainty that forms an important characteristic of any game. India's contribution here is Sania Mirza. She wins first round and loses second of, invariably, every grand slam tournament.

The other major part of a newspaper is glamour news. The story here is probably not as bad as the other two. There was the Shipa Shetty's 'Big Brother' drama, target-Richard-Gere-for-kissing-in-public episode, 'wardrobe-malfunction' at one of the fashion shows, to mention a few. Such variety! But it's the latest one, Abhi-Ash wedding, that's killing the variety here too. From six months before the wedding till this day, that is more than 2 months after they tied the nuptial knot, it seems every newspaper has reserved one reporter for keeping track of them wherever they go.

Well, you can go on and on about this. Then even this post becomes as monotonous as the news assuming this is not the case now. So, dear reader, I shall end this here and bid you good bye for now.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Presidential Comedy

Call it my political bias or my liking to political satire. But for me, the UPA government at the centre is a sort of comedy that unfolds everyday on the national stage. The battle for India's next President is an example of that. The ruling party put up some names on the 'Presidential candidates list'. Based on the loyalty to the Family, one name, that of Shivraj Patil remained, and it was announced by the party 'leadership' that he would be their candidate and all the others who want to vote should vote for him. But their own allies rejected his candidature, (apparently because he was communal since he did not oppose the installation of Veer Savarkar, who according to the secular zeitgeist was a lunatic-right-wing-divisive-sectarian-fanatic, statue at some point in the not too distant past). An embarassed Congress blinked.

In an earlier era, it would have probably passed a terse legislation saying "Shivraj Patil is our President". But now it called all the allies for a meeting. But this too failed to evolve a consensus on a 'strong secular' candidate who can take on the evil empire of communalism. That the President need not have to take up such a challenging albeit sacred job is another matter. Then the Party and its allies resorted to a brainstorming session where everyone called out a random name. Surprise, surprise, surprise. The name of a certain Pratibha Patil's sounded like that of a person with impeccable secular credentials. 'Who is she?' questioned some at the meeting. 'Whoever, but she sounds secular' came the reply. Media-men were waiting outside. Before announcing to the world this new found secular warhorse, one more test was pending. That was the loyalty-to-the-Family test. This too the new secular warrior passed. And a virtue was also made out of this choice that was a result of elimination and chaos. The world was informed that the UPA, in it's commitment to women empowerment, has decided to field an as yet unknown woman loyal to the Family as their Presidential nominee. And everyone was happy for the moment.

But brainstorming doesn't always work. Pratibha Patel, after becoming the person anointed to contest the Presidential race, made a statement, that said, “We had the concept of purdah to protect women from Mughal invaders. So, they stayed indoors and were veiled, ” Such a statement was anathema to secular thought. It was not at all befitting for a person of such unquestionable secular stature. But the Party and its allies would not admit so openly(which they would have surely done had it come from the communal camp) as she was after all their candidate. Now news reports say she is being asked to apologize and once again become purified enough to fight sectarian-communal forces. A Presidential candidate apologizing to please her political masters so that she can enjoy the pleasures of Raisina Hill isn't really a comedy that this nation can afford though.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Ee ondu adhBhuta aadipraasava odi, aadipraaasada madaveridaaga banda ee aadiprasa.

KarunaaDali kaaliTTu, kapaTaaTTahaasadi kannaDava khanDisuvaru, klaibhyaadhama khooLa kunnigaLu! Kasturi kannaDada kampanriyada kaNNiruva kuruDarivaru! KannaDaambe! keLalaarenee karkasha kahaLe. KaapaaDu!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Me, GuruWrites, India

Today I turned 23. Around a month back this blog turned one. And just over a couple of months from now, this proud nation of ours, celebrates six decades of freedom. kaalachakra heege uruLtirutte. Adakke innen kelsa illade iro kaaraNa. Heege heLta nanna ee eraDu maatugaLanna mugistini. Jai Hind. Jai Karnataka.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Power of committees

The Gujjar-Meena confrontation is off, atleast for the moment. Rajasthan Government and Gujjar leadership have found a solution. It took one week of violence, loss of precious lives, destruction of properties, blocked highways, stranded tourists at railway stations and bus terminals and many many hours of negotiations to arrive at this solution. And what's this solution arrived at such great cost? A 'three-member high-power committee headed by a retired High Court judge to examine the community's demand for ST status'.

When the said committee submits its report, there will be some more 'negotiations'. And then another 'solution will be hammered out'. And that will be the formation of another high-powered committee, most probably a six member committee, involving people from different backgrounds like ex-cricketers, judges, cine stars, environmentalists, maths teachers(as they are strong in numbers) etc 'to look more deeply into this matter'. And that will probably be given six months time frame. By the time that committee submits its report, the whole issue would have been forgotten. And hence the problem solved.

Dear readers, the moral of this story is that, in India, committees are powerful. They can solve any problem, be they social, political, economic or religious. O Committee, in this country, thou art really powerful!