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Fai ho to aisa

First the basics. When a person is called for a conference anywhere in the world who is supposed to pay for his travel and lodging? Well, the organizers of the conference. Who else? Therefore, to that extent there is nothing wrong with people like Dileep Padgaonkar, Justice Sachar and many others attending such all expenses paid conferences. But that is only on the face of it. Things take an entirely different turn when it comes to light that those expenses were paid by the notorious Pak spy agency, ISI. Most of these journos including Padgaonkar have very clearly said that they were not aware of ISI's involvement with Fai's Kashmiri American Council(KAC) which organized these conferences. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Preordained incompetence

My name is ABC and I'm a terrorist, according to your language. What you people do not understand is that my organisation XYZ Freedom Movement is fighting for a cause, freedom from Indian occupation, and this is a war going on. As in any war there will be some casualities. Many of my brothers and sisters have lost their lives too. So what the hell are you Indians complaining about? You'd better learn to live with this because you cannot stop us. Your elitist Prime Minister in waiting has himself said so. He knows that your security apparatus is weak and we too know that. There are 'opportunities' in India which are just waiting to be exploited.

How caste census can improve our lives?

"They took pictures. They showed me on TV. But do you think they will help my son find a job?" said Budhrai Debbrama, a tribal from Tripura who was the first man out of 1.2 billion people to be surveyed in the just begun first caste census in independent India. Off course the officials did not have any answer to his question. But I do. And the answer is both a yes and a no. Yes, because this census has the potential to be a game changer for the poor and No because in it's current manifestation it can only prove to be a game changer for our politicians.

Fuel price hike: Bad politics and bad economics

"I'm sandwiched between economists and populists" said Jaipal Reddy, our union minister for oil and natural gas, about the recent price hike of diesel, kerosene and LPG. Wrong statement, if you ask me. Actually, he's sandwiched between bad economists and bad populists(read politicians). And that's because the recent price hikes in fuel are a result of both, bad economics and bad politics. If you ask me to define the primary job of our govt it can be done in one single statement- To bring down the cost of living and to raise the standard of living of it's citizens. But this decision by our govt seems to be doing the exact opposite- To raise the cost of living and lower the standard of living of it's citizens.

Should PM be under purview of Lokpal or not?

If we were to leave the PM outside the Lokpal's ambit what stops the ministers from each and every ministry from getting the approval of PM before awarding every major contract to anyone? Believe you me this will happen. Every ministry will get their files endorsed by PM and thereafter Lokpal can do nothing. And this will be one perfect way of circumventing the Lokpal. As you can see, it'll defeat the very purpose of having a Lokpal.

Commoner be damned

Before Baba Ramdev started his fast, Congress started on a very positive note by trying to reach out to him and engage him in a proper dialogue. Baba Ramdev too did the correct thing by meeting with all the emissaries of the govt and talked to them even before he began his fast and later on as well. The negotiations carried on with many assurances being given and letters/drafts being exchanged. But in the end, it all went horribly wrong. The govt and Baba Ramdev failed to reach a meeting ground, but this was something which was not acceptable to the govt at all. It was like an arrogant king who had tried to come down from his high pedestal to pursuade a commoner to stop protesting but when the commoner did not agree, the king took it as a personal affront and ordered his soldiers to throw out the commoner, the commoner and his demands be damned.

Can someone define 'minority' please?

Though the issue of giving reservations to minorities in education and jobs may still be justified to some extent I really cannot see why they need to be given special treatment in criminal cases, be it by them or against them. A crime is a crime. Why should the victim's or for that matter, the criminal's religion have any bearing on the process of law or the amount of punishment to be meted out? If religion is the rallying point for the state to dish out punishment to perpetrators then how different is it from the motive behind the crimes committed by these very perpetrators. By extension therefore, in such a scenario how different will the state itself be from those criminals who kill in the name of religion? Wouldn't we as a secular nation flout the basic criteria of any secular civil society or is it that we're now becoming nonsecular though in the opposite sense?

Scrap IPL? Naah!!

I think we need to call up Geoffrey Boycott's mum from heavens for our tour of West Indies. We all know she can bat and who knows she could well be a good captain too. And that's because after Gautam Gambhir's shoulder injury we don't really have an opener to open innings with Murali Vijay. Mind you, Geoff Boycott too was an opener so his mum may just be able to do some justice to this slot.

Ignore Jairam Ramesh's comments at your own peril

Jairam Ramesh is the alumni of the best engineering college in this country, IIT Mumbai. He may have done his BTech way back in 1975 but I'd credit him with still knowing enough to have said what he did. But the question is not exactly of Jairam Ramesh's knowledge of our institutes because you only have to look up the list of world's best colleges to see that even IIT Mumbai comes in only at number 187 in the world. The rest of our IITs are ranked much lower. Even countries like South Korea, Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel, Taiwan, Singapore have many colleges which are ranked much above our IITs. And don't worry about China. They have more than half a dozen institutes which are better than our IITs. Like I said, other countries in this world have recognized the importance of quality of education and research and are indeed doing much more than us. Pertinent to mention that in this ranking that I spoke of, the students of IIT Mumbai have themselves given their own faculty just 39 marks out of 100. You can make your own decisions now.

Shall we cut their umbilical cord, just like that?

It is not an exaggeration to say that a farmer has his umbilical cord attached to his piece of land, however small or large the land may be. This is the cord which feeds not just the farmer but his entire family as well. This is the same umbilical cord which is supposed to be their lifeline for all times to come. If for some reason our govt needs to cut this cord from this family it needs to ensure that it has created adequate life support systems for these people BEFORE it cuts this cord. Unfortunately, the current protests are symptomatic to a situation wherein the umbilical cord has been cut without catering for an adequate life support system with the result that most of these landless farmers are now facing a slow and painful extermination. These protests are manifestations of a dying human being asking for help. Hope our powers that be realize this. AMEN!!!

What are the options?

She had it all, anything and everything which you can think of. A loving husband, a handsome son, a powerful doting father, thousands of followers and millions to splurge. She had more than what 95% of humanity only saw in movies and in dreams. But it wasn't enough. Yes, for some it never is. They say that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. They're right. It does and it has, in this case too. Before the Radia tapes came out you could never imagine that the suave, graceful woman who always had a smile on her face could be a part of the national loot of 1.76 lakh crores, money which could've been used by our govt to bring millions of our citizens out of poverty. In hindsight, that smile was at the cost of these very poor people, who ironically, had put her in that position of power in the first place.

Have our voters proved Anna Hazare wrong?

Yes, that's the real question. Have our voters proved Anna Hazare wrong? Was he right in saying that voters can be bought and power can be purchased? Well, yes and no. Though voters can still be bought but it may not be enough for parties to enable them to purchase their way to power. Tamil Nadu and West Bengal elections in particular have shown what our voters can do when they get energized. The real question, however, is- Do the primary stake holders really want to energize our voters? Well, a really good guess would be an emphatic NO. If you want to know the reasons check out my post Why is Congress against compulsory voting?. And this may well get amplified in coming elections in UP, Punjab etc.

Whose demons should we fight?

Everyone has to deal with his or her own demons on their own. No one can do it for them. America also has to and is indeed fighting it's demons, somewhat successfully. Pakistan is only putting up a facade of fighting it's demons whereas they're not. India, sadly, is neither fighting it's demons nor putting up a facade of trying to. Instead, we're trying to fight Pak's demons to try and resolve their internal contradictions by efforts like Aman Ki Asha or reaching out to Kayani, efforts which are doomed to fail.

Did Pakistan know about American plans?

Alongwith the fact that 02nd of May being the day when Osama Bin Laden has been killed, this is also the day of theories of how did all this happen. Everyone seems to be having one. So here's mine.

Where is Anna Hazare's movement going?

Do I support Anna Hazare? Not really or rather not completely. Do I want the committee on Lokpal Bill to successfully bring out a draft Lokpal Bill? Off course yes. Who doesn't? And like I'd said in my earlier post Do we support Anna Hazare? I want them to bring out a draft bill in which the Lokpal is fair, just and accountable as well. And even after having reservations about Anna himself do I want him to continue in Lokpal Committee? Well, yes. Similarly, if there are some reservations about Prashant and/or Shanti Bhushan do I want them also to continue on this panel? Well, if I can support Anna's presence in the panel it is quite obvious that I'd not have too many reservations about lesser mortals like Bhushans. Well, now are these two stands of mine contradictory to each other? Most definitely not.

Do Indo-Pak ties depend upon Afridi?

When Dhoni took on Afridi's men in the World Cup semi final at Mohali there were two full captains and two half captains who were at play. The two full captains were obviously Dhoni and Afridi with Manmohan Singh and Geelani being the two half captains. I say half because none of these two are in control of their respective govts with each having various strings pulling them in different directions. In fact, many of you may even disagree with my assumption of these guys being half PMs. But for the sake of our discussion lets keep it at least at half, if it keeps these two happy, so to speak.

Have we just witnessed a historic change?

If you see the results of assembly elections of 2006 in Tamil Nadu you'll find that on an average a candidate was assured of his or her victory if he or she managed to get just 60-70,000 votes with an average number of voters in any constituency being 200,000. Anything above this and you could be absolutely confident of winning. Out of this, lets assume that a candidate decided to buy 50,000 votes. The rest he or she may assume would as it is vote for him or her. Taking an average price per vote to be 500 the total money required by him or her would come to anything between 4-5 crores, including other miscellaneous expenses. And if you want to win more than half of 234 assembly seats the total amount required by the party for just this purpose would come to more than 600-700 crores. And that is the amount of money which would guarantee a major political party/alliance like the DMK-Congress or AIADMK+ the seat of power in the state. And therefore, out of these two alliances which one do you feel has the resources to muster up this kind of cash?

Shall we support Anna Hazare?

While there is no doubt that Anna Hazare has worked successfully as a social activist for decades, but if reports are to be believed, he too is not above board himself. Firstly, after having served just eight years in the Indian army as a driver they say that he's still getting his pension while the minimum military service required for anyone to be eligible for pension is fifteen years. Those of you who doubt my claim can check this screenshot from Anna Hazare's own website where he himself says that he joined the army in 1963. If you read the entire text of his own biography he takes pains to explain that he had to serve the required fifteen years to earn his pension. But nowhere does he say when he quit the army. He also does not say that he started work in his village in Ralegan Sidhi in 1975, which still makes it only 12 years from his date of joining the army. And it is a known fact that he did start his work in his village in Ralegan Sidhi in 1975. Quite possibly he left the army much before 1975 but is getting his pension nonetheless.

Need to carry on the good work

Amidst all the euphoria it'd be pertinent to take note of the difference in this team vis-a-vis the team of 2007. It was more or less the same team though it was Dravid who was the captain in 2007. So what was different this time around? Well, apart from Dhoni's captaincy, again in my opinion, it was Gary Kirsten who has made a huge difference in the way this team has shaped up. It is because of him that our team is a physically fit well knit unit. Mind you, our fielding had at least saved 20-30 runs if not more. Also, the way he was carried around the field on shoulders by the team members after the match showed how much faith our players have in him.

My father's Ram beta

On the face of it this visit of mine to Babina may seem like any normal visit of a sister going to meet his brother but it was much more than just that. It was a visit to witness the realization of a long cherished dream of my father, for whom my brother Chintu was always the Ram beta. And quite understandably more so after the death of my second brother Sonu in an accident on 01 Jan 1993. My father, a die hard fauji, had striven all his life to provide for his family within the limited means that the army provided at that time.

Is Sonia going back to Italy?

MMS- Madam, Wikileaks has leaked an American cable which says that Satish Sharma (Sat Sharm) distributed money to MPs through Nachiketa Kapur (Nach Kap) during the trust vote in 2008. Sonia- But that is correct. We did give them some money. MMS- Correct? Is that all that you have to say? Is it correct that such a cable was written and has been leaked too? Sonia- Now that's not correct. MMS- What is not correct? Writing of the cable or leakage of it?

Should UN intervene in Libya?

Let's be clear about one thing that if somehow Gaddafi does manage to survive the current crisis this kind of opportunity will not come again in the near future in Libya. Just in case if he's allowed to go on he'll crush all opposition so badly that they'll not dare to stand up against him again. And given the way things are in Libya, do any of you out there really believe that Gaddafi's days are numbered? Does it look like he will leave as easily as Hosni Mubarak did, without a very bloody and bitter fight? May be he will leave eventually, but as things stand today we are nowhere close to that situation.


The recent near split between Congress and DMK initially seemed like a perfect case of rats abandoning a sinking ship. And who was the rat and who was the ship? Well, in Tamil Nadu after the 2G and Kalaignar TV scams it was DMK which was the ship and in the center after millions of scams including the 2G it was Congress which was the ship. But then, all the rats came back and the ships have just about managed to survive, though only for the moment.!!!!

Where is the integrity of Caeser's wife?

As far as PJ Thomas is concerned the real question which we need answers for is that why the hell did Congress invest so much political capital on someone as inconsequential as him. I mean what was the big deal about Thomas which made them put at stake the credibility of an already beleaguered PM and the Congress party as a whole? Even if we assume that Manmohan Singh indeed only committed a 'legal error', as Abhishek Manu Singhvi would like us to believe, why wasn't Thomas removed as CVC even after a case had been filed in Supreme Court against this appointment which carried on for months? If this was only a 'legal error' which was not corrected for months on end, the chief of law ministry Veerappa Moily needs to go home before Thomas. But let me tell you that there is much more than what meets the eye. Things don't work that way and Congress is not so stupid to forsake their own PM for someone like PJ Thomas.

Will Kasab ever be hanged?

Since both Kasab and Afzal Guru are Muslims, Congress is unlikely to carry out their sentences because of their fear of losing Muslim votes. It is for this reason that I say that even if Kashmir issue gets resolved or even if Pakistan gets badly embroiled in a civil war which may result in it's implosion Kasab and Afzal Guru may not be executed by Congress for whom Muslims are nothing but just a vote bank. However, the story may change if and only if Congress goes out of power in India. And therefore I'm quite sure that both Kasab and Afzal Guru are praying that this govt lasts it's full term and comes to power again in 2014, something which seems quite unlikely from the situation Congress is in today.

Has there been an underhand deal?

The recent controversy over LK Advani's supposed 'apology' to Sonia Gandhi with regard to BJP's allegations of Gandhi family having Swiss bank accounts has indeed stirred up a hornet's nest. It was actually quite amazing what a storm even a three line letter can create. And surprising too, to say the very least. For all of us the way it has been tom tommed in the media has been quite a shocker. At a time when Congress is neck deep in dirty scams erupting left, right and center, what else do you expect a headline like- ADVANI APOLOGIZES TO SONIA to achieve! I mean, my initial reaction was like- Did Advani pass a lewd comment on Sonia for which he was apologizing? It was only after reading the whole thing that I realized that it was possibly much worse.

What was the aim of PM's press conference?

The Congress party and Sonia Gandhi have to understand one basic fact that whenever the next elections take place Manmohan Singh will not be facing the electorate but Congress will. Manmohan Singh as an individual is quite unlikely to get them extra votes but he sure can make them lose votes by his inaction and by saying that it is the coalition which is to be blamed for this mess. It is for this reason that just projecting him as a clean PM would not do a world of good to either themselves or India as a whole. No one wants to see an honest but powerless PM and not many are interested in his clean image either. What people want to see is action on the ground. Take corrective action and the rest will happen. In fact I'll go to the extent of saying that if they want to last the full term they need to act now.

Real issues behind Vastanvi's criticism

The recent controversy over Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, head of Darul Uloom Deoband, over his remarks on the kind of progress Muslims are making in Gujarat hit headlines with a gusto that is generally associated with any Hindu versus Muslim issue, and unfortunately it was made out to be one. Just that that for Hindu read Narendra Modi. What Vastanvi had said was that Muslims had indeed benefited from the progress being made by Gujarat. This statement by him was interpreted by many hardliners including another Deoband member Arshad Madani and Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi 'Saheb', as Barkha Dutt loves to refer to him and who is a fundamentalist to boot, as being equivalent to giving a clean chit to Narendra Modi and his policies of all round development of Gujarat and it's citizens, or even being a BJP's agent. And the entire debate in all the main stream news media centered around this very interpretation of the issue.

Regime change: At your own risk

Do you guys know where the Main Battle Tank (MBT) M1A1 Abrams of US army are manufactured? No, they're not made in US any more. They're made in Egypt now. All those tanks that you see in Tahrir Square in Egypt on all the news channels are these very M1A1 Abrams manufactured in Egypt. Not just this, Egypt also produces many other important weapons and equipment which are used by American forces. And all this is done under a license from Americans under their own supervision. Pertinent to mention that all these facilities have come up under Hosni Mubarak's watch in the last two decades. As you can see, the Americans had reposed a lot of faith in a despot who has ruled Egypt with an iron hand.

Is this asking for too much?

This is the story of a retired Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) Sub NM Mullick of Indian army who has been denied his pension for more than eighteen months now. No, this is not to say that all retirees from the Indian army are being denied their pensions or they are being harassed unnecessarily but yes, there are quite a few who are facing this problem. And you'll see why.

Jhanda uncha rahe hamara

This one is a master stroke by BJP. No doubt about it. They laid a trap and every political party has fallen head over heals into it. Either which way you look at it BJP is a clear winner. And why not? It is all about symbolism after all. If separatists can hoist Pak flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar then why can't BJP hoist the Tiranga at that place? Pertinent to mention that none of the other political parties including the Congress and National Conference said or did anything when separatists from Hurriyat hoisted the Pak flag as recently as just a few months ago. But now if BJP wants to hoist our tricolor at that place they have a problem.

When Pakistan implodes......

With the recent killing of Salman Taseer by his security guard Mumtaz Qadri over his (Taseer's) views on blasphemy laws in Pakistan and the kind of support the murderer has got within the country the question is increasingly becoming of 'WHEN' Pakistan implodes rather than 'IF' Pakistan implodes. The manner in which all tolerant voices are being neutralized alongwith the fact that radicals are now de-facto running the country it would be pretty naive and outright stupid to believe anything else. The only question that now remains is- WHEN?

Hindu radicalization- Who is to blame?

The question is why have some Hindus resorted to violence of this kind, if at all. What makes them make bombs and kill innocent people? Is it because of fear from Muslims or is it revenge, or both? Or is it that they do not have faith in the powers that be to address this issue? And the answer to that question is- Primarily since our govt has not been able to effectively neutralize Islamic terrorists, homegrown or otherwise, because of their inherent inefficiencies mixed with their policies of minority appeasement, these people possibly decided to take matters in their own hands.

Give Telengana but.......

The five member Srikrishna committee which was formed on February 3, 2010, has not endorsed the demand for Telengana. On the contrary, it has favored status quo, based on several factors. The question is- What were the guidelines for this committee? Was it supposed to give it's opinion based on sentiments of the people or was it supposed to give recommendations based on how the region can be governed best administratively? Going by the options given by them and especially the most favored option, it clearly shows that sentiments of the people have been given a clear miss by this commission. Why? Well, that's at best a moot question now. I'd even go the extent of saying that it was naivety on our part to have expected anything else.

BJP should prepare for mid term polls

The current situation wherein Congress is engulfed in scams is a golden opportunity for the BJP to make major political gains. If it lets the situation pass or even if it keeps waiting for the Budget session of parliament it'll be too late. Like I mentioned in my post Is BJP drifting away? politics has to be a continuous affair. Every situation, every new revelation in these scams has to be exploited for political mileage. If even from this situation where Congress is absolutely down in the dumps BJP does not manage to come to power it'll be an absolute shame on their inherent capabilities.

A myth unveiled- by Saurabh Vashisht

Maintenance is the uncanny duty of a husband but is it a right of a wife? In modern times, when there are perverted meanings available in our psyche, do we really understand the core meaning of it? Generally, in a matrimonial setup, maintenance comprises of necessaries like food, shelter etc. Is the right to avail these necessaries higher or the duty to provide it is more important? To understand, we have to see it retrospectively and not prospectively. We have to examine our ancient customs which gave this duty to husband and subsequent right to wife. Also with due regard to the law we have to establish its legality in the light of those customs. It is only a custom, in personal law, which is given approval by the statute and then it forms the law.

The curious case of Binayak Sen

There is little doubt about the fact that Sen had close links with Maoists. This was amply clear from his more than twenty meetings with jailed Maoist leader Piyush Guha. For the same reason of having close links with Maoists, among others, Arundhati Roy too should be behind bars. To give you another example, had there been any evidence of any mainstream BJP leader having met Sadhvi Pragya Thakur even once before the Malegaon blasts, the very same media who're today supporting Sen would've cried hoarse tom toming Hindu terror in mainstream politics. Hypocrisy, isn't it?

Pappu can't speak .....

Guest- Can I have a cup of coffee please? Host- Forget about the coffee my snacks are not ready yet. As you can well imagine, if as a host your mind is pre-occupied with the preparation of snacks you possibly cannot help your guests. Something similar has happened to Rahul Gandhi whose heart and soul seems to be filled with his ambition of being the PM and his fear that only the Sangh Pariwar can prevent him from realizing that dream. I say Sangh Pariwar instead of Hindu radical groups which Rahul alluded to because that's exactly what he meant, not just some misguided Hindu fundamentalists who are no more than a handful as of now. Otherwise, any sane politician of a stature of Rahul Gandhi when asked about LeT would reply about the threat posed by LeT not Hindu radicals. And off course, he could not have used the words Sangh Pariwar which would've included the BJP and RSS and which in turn would've given his fears away to Tim Roemer.

Pat down row: Our misplaced priorities

Forget about what the American security officials did to our govt functionaries at their airports, we ourselves have double standards at our own airports when it comes to a physical check up of passengers, even on domestic flights. Till not so long ago even service chiefs of our defense forces were not spared from physical frisking. Even today my husband who is an officer in the Indian army has to go through these checks every time he boards a plane, and he does it without complaining, I might add. What to talk of an officer of the army we even had a case of our ex president APJ Abdul Kalam being frisked at Delhi airport in Jul last year. All this while people like Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra, who do not hold any official status, are exempted from such checks. And therefore, before we start pointing fingers at Americans we first need to get our own house in order. The VIP culture in India is so deep rooted in our psyche that it blinds us completely because of which we do not see reason.

Why is Wikileaks wrong?

According to Wikileaks, Pak's army is obsessed with India and Indian army. They know that conventionally they're no match for us. And therefore they're producing nukes and supporting terrorists. Saudi Arabia too is sponsoring terror groups operating in India. China is also indirectly helping Pak based terror groups and Narendra Modi was one of their targets after 26/11. Hillary Clinton thinks that we are 'self appointed front runners' for UNSC seat and America does not know how to stop Pakistan from supporting terrorists. WOW! Fantastic! Can we all laugh now?

Who is the cleanest one?

It's all a question of demand and supply. There is a demand for power brokers and lobbyists and therefore there are people who do this job. To give a hypothetical example, if a company like Tatas wants to make an SEZ which has a lot of financial implications, it'll be a broker who'll first do the ground work about the probability of making that a reality, in consultation with politicians and bureaucrats, and then give a feedback to Tatas. Based on this feedback Tatas may then write a letter to the concerned ministry. Even after this the broker will keep a track of the file as to where it is, who has remarked what on that letter and which palms are required to be greased to what extent and likewise, till the time the file gets cleared.

What are the lessons from Bihar?

Rahul Gandhi was born at the wrong time. He should've been born at least ten years earlier than he did because then his statements against JD(U) - BJP alliance of them having a running fault line in their ideology would've probably got him some votes. In this age and time plain rhetoric does not work anymore. Over the years people have become wiser. They just don't get carried away by politicians who only make hollow promises. Remember Lallu's statement of making roads of Bihar better than Hema Malini's cheeks? I'm sure it is not just Hema Malini but even people of Bihar who must be laughing at the irony because the roads are indeed becoming like her cheeks but it was not Lallu who did it but Nitish.

Are we Indians corrupt as a race?

First things first, let us be very clear that any case of corruption which comes to light is more often that not because someone has not got his cut or part of the loot. If things are indeed leaked to the media by someone it is mostly because of the same reason. I have no doubt about this basic fact in my mind. And neither should you. Therefore, the scams which have come out in recent days are just the tip of the iceberg. There are millions of other cases which have never been discovered and never will be. For example, a certificate to change the land use from agricultural to commercial comes at a huge price tag of crores of rupees depending upon the location. Similarly, govt contracts too are mostly given for a predetermined price for powers that be. In govt contracts the audit authorities may not find anything amiss because mostly they are awarded to legitimate winners. The legitimate winners in turn give the predetermined share to power holders. The companies do not have an option of not giving the bribe because if they don't their contract will firstly be canceled on some technicality (believe me, there are millions of possibilities in execution of any contract that it's the easiest thing to do) and worse they'll not be given any contracts in the future as well. That's the norm. If you do not believe me ask any govt servant.

Defining Indo-US partnership

As the president of United States of America what is the first thing that Barrack Obama was expected to do when he landed in India? In my opinion, the first thing he should've done was CONNECT WITH THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY. That's no brainer. Indians are sentimental people. We love to see westerners come and strike a cord with us. And once westerners do that Indians fall head over heels for them. Well Obama did connect with the people, but it was not Indians he connected to begin with. He tried to connect with Americans by reiterating a fact that 54,000 jobs have been created for them within a few hours of his landing in India. Well, if he indeed wanted to do this he should've come here BEFORE THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS IN AMERICA AND NOT AFTER. Poor staff work. In fact very poor staff work.

Dolly Bindra for Congress?

If there is one person whom I'd love to join Congress It's Dolly Bindra of Bigg Boss4 because she is the one who can speak against the captain of the house. In fact she only speaks against the captain. And there is no one in the Congress today who can speak against their captain, Sonia Gandhi. What to talk of speaking against the captain, no one in the Congress today has the gumption to even speak about relevant issues which are undermining the status of the party as a major coalition partner in the govt at the center.

Who is Adarsh?

Adarsh Housing Society, the project of building a multi story apartments in the heart of Mumbai was a perfect example of harmonious functioning of various arms of the govt along with the civil society. The defense forces who supposedly owned the land, the civil builder and contractor who implemented the project, the babus and netas who cleared the project, all worked in perfect harmony with each other to ensure that the project was cleared and completed at the earliest. WOW!! So very heartening.

Arundhati Roy: Flavor of the season

Some of you guys may be forgiven for believing that Roy has her heart in the right place. After all she's been championing the cause of oppressed tribals in the past. And this time too she's only saying what millions of Kashmiris are saying and asking for. But it's not her heart that I've a problem with. It's her head which is working against the nation which I've got a problem with. She doesn't seem to like anything that India as a nation represents. She allies with Naxals who have openly denounced the Indian constitution. She calls India 'a colonizing power' and in no uncertain terms says that Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. I'm sure she has similar sympathetic views towards other secessionists in the country including Khalistanis sitting in Canada and Pakistan. As you can see her idea of India as a nation state is flawed.

'KEEP' it clean

Well, calling a keep a 'KEEP' is wrong, according to our additional solicitor general Indira Jaising, though the Supreme Court does not really think so. Jaising says that use of this kind of language is derogatory to a woman in the 21st century. Well, she may have a point. The word does sound derogatory, as derogatory as this relationship itself is, as some might say. In normal parlance 'KEEP' would pass of as a slang, something like a THULLA/PANDU (slang for police constables) or FUCHHA (slang for freshers in college). So now that SC is indeed using slangs will they also be referring to policemen as THULLAS or PANDUS? I don't really think so. So why 'KEEP'? Why should SC use such words while there are other ways to describe a woman who finds herself in such a predicament.

CWG 2010: Gain or loss?

All right, CWG is finally over, without any more embarrassments. And we also doubled our medal tally to boot. GREAT!!!!! Not to forget that our PM has also instituted an inquiry into allegations of corruption for CWG projects. So far so good. So what are we supposed to do now? Rejoice over a job well done or just sit back and bask in the glory or what? Well, nothing can be farther from the truth. Nobody can relax. In fact, nobody can afford to relax

Karnataka: Who has lost face?

The imbroglio in Karnataka has proved beyond doubt that we are still a very fragile democracy with an even more fragile polity. None of the stakeholders in the state can be said to have acted in the manner that is ethically correct and praiseworthy. Ethics in politics, do I hear you say? Well, never mind the ethics. That's not something which they give two hoots about in any case. But apart from the question of ethics there are a few other issues which have emerged quite clearly.

Is BJP drifting away?

BJP needs to seriously take note of the fact that there was a difference of just 2% votes which resulted in their sitting in opposition and Congress in the treasury benches. While Congress may seem to be down and out at the moment, you cannot fault them for being stupid, because they are not. In fact they are very smart. They know if BJP continues the way it is doing now they do not have anything to fear about. In their heart of hearts they are dead sure that BJP will never be able to bridge this gap of 2%. Moreover, trust them to come up with an immensely popular scheme like the Rs 75,000 crore farm loan waiver for farmers just six months or so before the elections, by virtue of which they could further seal their victory. And people, don't be surprised, this is the truth, which you can check out in my post WHY IS CONGRESS AGAINST COMPULSORY VOTING?

Ayodhya verdict: Time to move on?

An issue which merits consideration over here is that though the courts have not referred to the 1992 demolition in their judgment, it is completely in order to question whether we could've got the same verdict had the masjid still been standing on this piece of land? Frankly, I do not think so because I really cannot imagine the courts saying that the domes should be pulled down and the area be given to Hindus. As unfortunate as it may seem to be, but the demolition had in more ways than one paved the way for this judgment. Therefore, very unfortunately again, a lot of people may now feel that, in that sense, this may have more or less legitimized the destruction.

Ayodhya: Mosque or temple?

What are the courts supposed to provide as verdict in Ramjanmabhoomi/Babri Masjid dispute? Is it justice that they're supposed to provide? Well, who needs justice? Yes, nobody needs justice, you and me included. What we need is to have a decision which is correct, for the nation. A decision which can be used to build bridges between the two communities is what is the need of the hour. Unfortunately, the courts and judiciary are not the right forum for such issues because faith is a matter of hearts, and courts do not have any jurisdiction over hearts, yours and mine included.

House for Mr Khan?

A few days back CNN IBN aired what they called a 'sting operation', A HOUSE FOR MR KHAN wherein they said that it was very difficult for Muslims to get a house in major cities of the country. Be it Hindus, Sikhs or Christians, no one would let out their house to a Muslim family. Fair enough, I agree that it is not so easy for them to get a house in a non Muslim society. But can you really blame these people who do not give their houses to Muslims? Is it their fault that today they do not trust people from Muslim community? Are they to be blamed if they're concerned about safety and security of their families and kids? Who is really responsible for creating this mistrust?

Nine point program for Kashmir

If you ask the people of Kashmir, their call for 'azadi' is not to be really taken at face value. Yes, there are some who would want to break off but the voice of 'azadi' is more to garner attention than anything else. According to Mehbooba Mufti, when women come to her house to meet her asking for jobs and if she's not at home, they start shouting slogans of 'azadi'. It is this feeling which is all pervasive- If you want attention, ask for 'azadi'. And it is used for everything, from no water in taps to electricity failure to death of a protester. It is this very sentiment of the youth which has been exploited by Hurriyat.

Outsourcing: PAIN is coming, for Americans?

It is a known fact that protectionism doesn’t work. Take the example of India, which only started growing when it opened it’s markets to foreign companies. It not only started growing at a frantic pace but ensured that domestic companies competed with multi nationals. And today it is a win win situation for both. I guess Barrack Obama hasn’t really read Thomas Friedman’s bestseller THE WORLD IS FLAT where he says that today’s so closely interconnected world is a place which is flat, implying that it’s a level playing field. According to him, anyone who does not understand this basic fact is doing it at his own peril. India is fast learning it and America is fast unlearning it.

Does God exist?

Well, if you believe Stephen Hawking our universe came into being out of nothing. He clearly states that God did not create this universe. It was GRAVITY which did. Therefore by extension, if God did not create this universe he possibly couldn't be controlling it. Also, since all of us are living in this universe which is not controlled by God, if you believe Stephen Hawking, he possibly could not have created us either. Or in other words what Hawking is implying is that there is no God at all. Or worse, GRAVITY is the new God, again if you believe Hawking that is.

Match Fixing: It's a cultural thing

Okay, of all the TV networks which one was the best debate on match fixing? Well, for me it was the one on Times Now where our dear old Bishen Singh Bedi appeared half drunk. At first it seemed like I was mistaken but when he started talking I was more than convinced that he was indeed three or four drinks down, at least. A couple of drinks more and I'm sure Bedi would've told Arnab Goswami," Oye, Chadd Yaar. Tainu Kee? Aye koi nai gall thodi hai. Salon se ho raya hega. CHEERS!!" or words to that effect. But you can't really blame Bedi for this. What do you expect people to be doing at nine in the evening? Good people work through the day and party in the evenings. Don't they? For that matter, Farouq Engineer who was speaking from Manchester, UK where it was around four thirty in the evening, was seen having a huge cup of coffee (or at least that's my guess) because you are supposed to have coffee at that time.

Can we measure up to China?

Do you guys know why we have military exchange programs with any country? Well, we have such programs with those countries with whom we envisage a scenario where our troops would be operating together to achieve a common goal. That is the reason we have such programs with US, UK, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia and a host of other countries with whom we have good diplomatic relations. If that be the case, then why do we have such an exchange with China? What are the scenarios where we think we would be working alongside Chinese troops? To reduce tension in South China Sea or Sea of Japan? Quite obviously, I really do not think that a such a scenario would present itself anytime soon in future. Then why do we need to have these programs?

Is salary hike for MPs justified?

Do you know why Lalu Yadav was asking for Rs 80,001 as basic salary for MPs? No, it's got nothing to do with the salary of cabinet secretary as was being widely reported in the media. You see, if you have nine kids you need that kind of money to run your household. Don't you? OK, I know that was a poor joke. Nonetheless, I find myself agreeing with Lalu Yadav for reasons which I feel are worth talking about.

Ground Zero mosque: 7 reality checks

There is nothing against the law in America which prohibits anyone from building a mosque or an Islamic center, if you please, anywhere in America. That's a known fact. But that's just the law. There is much more to it than just the law. There was a 9/11 attack in which nearly 3000 Americans died and it cannot be just wished away. To say that an Islamic Center close to the site of attack will help in bridging gaps between the two communities is just too far off from the practical realities on ground.

Independence day speech: compulsions of silence?

So it was independence day, once again. Like all independence days I tuned in to hear what our PM had to say today. But I need not have because his speech was so boring, repetitive and ridiculous that I nearly fell asleep. And it was only eight in the morning. In fact this speech was quite appropriate for the last year, the year before that, the year before before that year and quite likely for the next year, the next to next year and may be even for next to next to next year.

Tactical shift in Kashmir policy?

All of a sudden in the last couple of weeks the entire policy or attitude, if you please, of every Tom, Dick and Harry including the govt of India on Kashmir and Kashmiris has undergone a drastic change. Now everyone is talking about the feelings of Kashmiris which has led them to resort to violence in the valley. Even media personalities like Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai and Meghnad Desai (sitting in London) are constantly espousing their cause through regular tweets and columns in various newspapers. In fact Lord Desai even said that all stake holders must dilute their positions in order to reach an amicable solution.

Diplomacy: Are we missing the bus?

When David Cameron, the British premier, was in India he said what all Indians wanted to hear, "Pakistan must stop exporting terror." When Zardari met him recently in London just days after this statement, the communique which came out after the meeting had no relation to his previous statement made in India. Not surprisingly, it said what Pakistanis wanted to hear, that terror must be fought decisively and blah blah blah. When Barrack Obama meets Manmohan Singh he refers to him as a 'good man' which is music to any Indian's ears but when he meets Zardari or Geelani the words that come out are that America and Pakistan have pledged to fight terror to it's end or words to that effect. There is hardly any reference to Indian concerns, though there is some lip service separately by their foreign office just to keep the Indians in good humour.

CWG: Just get it over with

If our nationalistic fervor comes to the fore and we get emotional while we watch patiotic movies like Border or during an Indo-Pak cricket match, let us not fool ourselves by believing that we are patriotic because we are not. Those are only momentary feelings which lie subdued inside us and get stirred up when we are in these situations. Normally, the over riding feeling inside all of us is I, me, myself and how to make more money, legally or illegally. That's the bottom line. Period. Those of you who are feeling offended or are feeling bad by this statement may have a reason to, I agree. But that's the whole aim- to make all of of us feel bad about the kind of people we actually are. And we all need to be ashamed of it. By the way, our general attitude is not CHALTA HAI, as people like to put it. It is more like BHAD ME JAI!!!!!

BJP: What next?

Out of hundreds of allegations of fake encounter deaths why is the focus of our entire nation on Sohrabuddin and Amit Shah? Is it because a fake encounter of a Muslim is a different story than that of a Hindu? And that too because it happened in Narendra Modi's Gujarat? Why is the CBI investigating only this case and not so many others where the guilty are quite likely from the Congress party? What about numerous allegations of fake encounters in Andhra Pradesh? What about the prosecution of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar in Sikh riots case? What about Ottavio Quattrochi?

Ten reasons why we do not workout

Every Tom, Dick and Harry in this world knows that working out is important but if you count the number of people you know who workout on a daily basis or even regularly you'd be amazed to see that there are hardly any. If you have more than ten of your acquaintances/relatives/colleagues who make it to that list you are a lucky one. And no, please do not count those who go for walks regularly because walking the way people do is more like a stroll than anything else and let me add that it doesn't do a world of good either. Imagine, not even ten people in your entire list of all those people whom you know workout on a regular basis! But the important question is - ARE YOU IN THAT LIST OR NOT?

Indo-Pak talks: Pak 1 India 0

Rajdeep Sardesai says, "I thought SM Krishna acted with great dignity. He may not be the ideal foreign minister, but atleast he's a gentleman". Sardesai is not alone. All our media personalities including Barkha Dutt and Arnab Goswami are kind of hailing SM Krishna as if he was a great statesman who was in complete control of things in Islamabad and that his not doing some tough talking was an achievement in itself. In my view they're all mistaken, SM Krishna included. In my view by not retorting SM Krishna and in the bargain Dr Manmohan Singh has made us a laughing stock of the world, particularly in the Muslim world. I too was so very wrong when I wrote this post Indo-Pak talks: A goalless draw wherein I said that results were known to us before the talks started and that this would end in a draw. Sadly, it has not ended in a draw. Its 1-0 in favor of Pakistan. Yes, we lost, once again.

Dental procedure is a pain

Dentists have a way of making you uncomfortable. Otherwise it is customary for other surgeons to reassure their patients before a surgery with something like, "You won't feel a thing" or words to that effect but not dentists. And I've no idea why. Yeah, they do smile and welcome you initially but after they have done your check up if they deduce that a surgery is required to extract your teeth or some such procedure is necessary, the next thing they do is make a very long face and very seriously start writing on the patient's slip without bothering to tell the patient what the hell is wrong with them, while the patient himself or herself is fidgeting like crazy in that stupid dental chair, quite scared to ask the doctor anything. After he has finished writing he looks up and says, "We have to extract your teeth and it is going to be a little painful. But don't worry. We'll give you local anesthesia". And no, they do not quantify 'little'. They also never tell you that 'little' is only applicable till the time the local anesthesia thing is working. After that, you are on your own.

To bandh or not to bandh

Look at it any which way you want, it is only the man on the street who is hurt, on one hand by rising prices and on the other by political parties enforcing a bandh. And that's the irony of it all. The call for bandh to highlight the problems of the common man itself poses many problems to the man on the street. BJP president Nitin Gadkari says, "What else can we do in a democracy?" Well, a very valid question for sure. But then why was the bandh not so effectively enforced in non UPA ruled states? Is inflation and fuel price hike not an issue in opposition ruled states? If not then why the double standards? Unless, the aim was to punish the voters of these states for having voted for UPA?

Kashmir protests: Go after Hurriyat

The scenario in Kashmir has changed a lot in the last few years. In the 90s the extremists first began by claiming certain areas like Pattan as being liberated. When those areas were reclaimed by security forces the extremists started planting bombs in the valley. This stage too got over after security forces eliminated most of them. The extremists then resorted to throwing hand grenades at the forces or employing youths for this purpose and running away. Today even that stage is behind us. Now we have the stone pelters again employed by extremists who create chaos and provoke security forces into opening fire. Though these young buys (some of them are as young as nine-ten year olds) do not realize it but this is exactly what the extremists want. They want the security forces to open fire in which a few civilians get killed so that they can then exploit this anger to organize protests and create further chaos.

Where is the Lokpal Bill?

Who is a Lokpal? If thats tough here's another one, who is a Lokayukta? Well, Lokpal is supposed to be an ombudsman at the center who can look into irregularities by govt officials/politicians and give redressal to grievances of citizens. Lokayukta is supposed to be one in the states with the same functions. Thats the theoretical answer. The practical answer is that there is no Lokpal at the center. There are Lokayukta in some states, seventeen to be precise, but they are mostly toothless, with hardly any powers. And here is a shocker.

Indo Pak Talks: Goalless draw

There is no difference in the way things were before 26/11 and now. Nothing has changed for Pak. America is still giving them money and arms as they were earlier. India is still making those same ridiculous noises that we were making before 26/11. And Pakistan too is giving the same replies to all these disconcerting noises. In manner of speaking, Pakistan has more spunks than us. They can tell Americans to hop. We can't. We can do only one thing- BEG. And beggars can't be choosers. So it is Pakistan which chooses what it has to do and America which chooses what kind of attention, if any, they must pay to our begging.

Oil price hike: rude shock

While there is no doubt that the subsidy which the govt will now save be to the tune of Rs 30,000 crores which can be used for other useful purposes but there is much more to it than just that. For starters, didn't the govt make more than Rs 30,000 crores extra than it had anticipated in 3G spectrum sale just recently? If they did they surely had more than enough for their current planned expenditures for this fiscal. Then why the hurry to decontrol petrol prices? Secondly, when the inflation starts to zoom up again won't it become incumbent upon the Reserve Bank of India to hike interest rates which they have been postponing for some time now? And that implies that all kinds of loans including home loans will be costlier, again having a direct bearing on you and me. Thirdly, to believe that the oil corporate lobby did not have anything to do with this decision is also rather pedestrian. There can be little doubt about that.

Income Tax howler

Here's a shocker for you guys. A fashion designer is now an artist, at least for the purpose of income tax. This is the ruling of Bombay High Court in respect of Tarun Tahiliani on his Rs 83.9 lakhs income from foreign sources in 2000. That's because according to Section 80 RR of IT Act of 1961 a resident of India who is either an author, playright, musician, actor, artist or even a sports person is eligible for exemption to the tune of 75% of his income from foreign sources. Well, if that's the law, you can't really blame the courts for saying that a fashion designer also needs to be considered as an artist, though some of us wouldn't really agree with that either.

Bhopal gas tragedy: Am I unpatriotic?

According to Manish Tewari, spokesperson of Congress party, I'm an unpatriotic person because I believe that Rajiv Gandhi indeed had a lot to do with Warren Anderson's release and subsequent escape from India. Well, if calling a spade a spade is being unpatriotic, I am indeed unpatriotic. For that matter, I'm sure quite a few Indians would be unpatriotic by that analogy. And here's the irony. While I'm unpatriotic for believing that Anderson could not have escaped without Rajiv Gandhi's knowledge or quite possibly orders, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, another spokesperson of Congress who fought on behalf of Dow Chemicals to absolve the company from all legal and moral responsibilities towards Bhopal gas victims, is a patriotic person. Well, of course he is. Anyone and everyone from Congress is patriotic.

Disaster Managment: Part III

To begin with let us first appreciate one basic fact which is of paramount importance in our country, and that is that we still have to learn how to care for lives of each and every Indian citizen. Unlike the western nations who have made this aspect as the most important issue for themselves we are yet to do so. For our authorities, particularly the police, the life of an ordinary citizen is so cheap because of which the citizen too in turn cares two hoots about the country and it's laws. As far as our police is concerned, an ordinary citizen in fact dreads to go to them for redressal of their problems. And that's because of the attitude of the police which is ridiculous to say the least. Whatever we might say the fact is that it's got a lot to do with the amount of workload that they have and the pay our police personnel get. As they say- when you give peanuts you only get monkeys.

Politics of compulsion

I cannot but help sympathize with the people of West Bengal. They are stuck between the devil and the deep sea, with CPM being the deep sea. Whenever Mamata comes to power I'm dead sure that she will not allow any security operations against Maoists to take place in West Bengal implying that whenever operations against them are launched from other states the Maoists will seek refuge in this state. And that can mean only one thing for India in general and West Bengal in particular- DANGER. And that's the reason why I call CPM the deep sea and Mamata the devil. Another implication of this very foreseeable future is that full scale operations against Maoists need to start right now and that too from the direction of West Bengal to wipe out each and every member and sympathizer of Maoists in this state before the assembly polls are held there.

Politics of Naxalism: Open letter to Prime Minister

Mr Prime Minister, My name is Sush Jaitly, a citizen of your country, and I'm literally weeping at this point of time. In my hands is a picture of a small girl Shirin whose lifeless body is being pulled out of the train wreckage in Sardhia. Her twin sister Shamim too is dead and so are her parents. This was a first train ride for the seven year olds, and the last. I only hope that the kids did not suffer too much before they died. Sir, if this is not heart wrenching nothing can be? Sir, do you know who the murderers of these kids are? No, it's not just the Maoists. In my opinion these kids have been killed by you along with P Chidamabaram, Mamata Bannerjee, Digvijay Singh, Arundhati Roy, Budhadeb Bhattacharya, Lalu Yadav and all those politicians who care two hoots for our lives.

Disaster management: Part II

The bus was not supposed to meet with an accident. Ramakant Nagre, whose nephew was getting married was traveling with his wife and two children alongwith his entire clan of forty odd people. The marriage party in the bus had been in a very cheerful and joyous mood till just a few moments ago. When they started from their homes in Beed for Aurangabad he had never imagined even in his wildest dreams that the journey would turn out to be so nightmarish that it would destroy his entire life. But it did. Just ten kms from Beed the driver lost control of the bus and it collided with a huge tempo coming from the opposite side, and tumbled. His wife now lay unconscious next to him, injured with blood coming out from her head. He looked around for his children. Both the four year old son and his two year old daughter had been thrown away from their seats. They were crying and seemed really scared. He could even see his daughter bleeding from her right hand. He tried to reach out for them but his right leg was stuck under the twisted seat. He couldn't move. He could hear the other passengers screaming for help. Their shrieks and cries filled the air. It was confusion all around. He looked at his wife. She looked pale. He checked her heart beat. Yes, he could hear a faint sound. He checked her breath. Yes, she was breathing, although it seemed very labored. He cried.

What's your caste?

Which caste are you from? Are you a Jat? Or are you a Brahmin? Or a Gujjar? Or are you an SC/ST? More importantly, are you ashamed of your caste? I'm a Brahmin and I'm not ashamed of it. You may say that since Brahmins are considered to be the upper caste I don't have to be ashamed. May be, but let me tell you that I'm not exactly proud of being one either. I just happen to be a Brahmin. It's not my achievement and it's not my fault either. And I very sincerely believe that keeping the manner in which I was brought up the same (I'm referring to the financial status of my parents which was lower middle class) I would've been the same person that I'm today even if I was born in a different caste.

Should same gotra marriages be made illegal?

If khap panchayats have their way same gotra marriages should be made illegal. If indeed this amendment goes through, same gotra marriage between two Hindus will be illegal whereas marriage between a Hindu and a Muslim/Christian/Jew or a person of any other faith would be perfectly legal. Or by that analogy inter religion marriages will also need to be made illegal. And that includes the one between Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi (OOOOPS!!!). By extension it will also imply that marriages between a Christian and Muslim or between individuals belonging to any two different non Hindu religions will also need to be made illegal.

Disaster management: more questions than answers

Disaster relief is basically a function of the state govts. The central govt can only facilitate this activity. And therefore it is incumbent upon the various state govts to put in place a mechanism to deal with any and every eventuality. The Disaster Management Act of 2005 lays down several guidelines for the central, state and district administrations to follow. After five years of the policy having been enacted it is now time to see if all the parameters as laid down by the govt have been met or not. Unfortunately, I'm not a govt functionary who can answer queries. I'm just a citizen of this country in search of answers. Also, it is not the purpose of this website to produce answers for every question that this country is faced with. The aim of this website is to ask the right questions and that's what I intend to do today. Here they are.

Why aren't we talking about Ketan Desai?

We all know that Ketan Desai, President of Medical Council of India, has indeed been arrested for corruption. What most of us don't really know is the amount of recovery made by authorities so far from him. Hold your breath folks. The amount recovered from him is Rs 1800 crore in cash and 1500 kgs of gold. HOLY CRAP!!!! 1800 CRORES and 1500 KGS OF GOLD!!! You can imagine the scale of corruption perpetrated by Ketan Desai. While all our news channels got besotted with Lalit Modi for allegedly having accepted 80 million dollars ie roughly Rs 350 crores but it pales in comparison to what this guy has made, and still no one feels like talking about it!!.

Your spirituality in your face

During the last few years the number of channels on our TV have increased to a level where we have lost count of them. With the channels going 24X7 there was a big inflow of all kinds of programs. Most channels had some kind of fitness related programs in the morning. Some channels had some swamis or babas delivering sermons, singing bhajans or even some gurus teaching yoga. Something on every channel for everybody's taste. I realized that all of a sudden every one wanted to catch our attentions. Our eyeballs were suddenly becoming very important. On the spiritual front not just the number of programs but even the number of channels exploded like never before. And some of them were rather too blunt and in your face. Your spirituality was being thrust on you. To my bewilderment I found my mom and after marriage my mom-in-law listen to these discourses and bhajans pretty regularly, something which I found rather difficult to get myself to do on a daily basis. And they were not the only ones doing this. Gullible as we are, I found millions of Indians across every town, city and state following some religious preacher or the other. It was as if the Hindu society was being divided all over again. And this time it was based on babas and swamis.

Will 2010 be any different than 2009?

Twenty ten sounds so much better than two thousand and nine. Thank god for small mercies. But while all the newspapers and television channels gloss over the year gone by very few have spoken about the challenges that lie ahead of us. Apart from recapitulating the happenings of 2009 I feel it would be in order to take stock of things as they are today and prepare ourselves for the challenges that face the world. Let's check out the three major issues one by one.

Loosing my religion

At some point or the other each one of us must have asked these questions to oneself: Is my religion the correct one to follow? Why are there so many religions in this world with each one 'seemingly' out to destroy the others? Which one of these is the best? Why was I born in the religion that I was? If indeed there is one God then why are there so many different faiths which give vastly different interpretations to the truths of life? Why did God let this happen, if there is indeed a God?

Should live in relationships be legal?

Maharashtra is ahead of our times it seems. Or may be the rest of us are still living in the dark ages. And that's because we still feel that living in is not exactly the right thing to do. Making it legal will only encourage people to indulge in it. And we can all blame Maharashtra for this.


    You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that such large outpourings of support for Anna Hazare is basically a demand for a phone number, viz 101, which they can call up to register their complaint against neighborhood pandu havaldaar or the municipality clerk who ask for money to do their legitimate jobs. They want a number which is accessible to each and every one so that action is taken against offenders based on their complaint. Though everyone has heard of 2G scam, CWG scam, Adarsh scam etc etc (list is too long for this write up), yet they do not really associate much with it because most of these scams talk about astronomical amounts of money which they cannot relate with. They may have heard of 1.76 lakh crores which was lost in 2G scam but they relate more to that thousand bucks which goes out of their own pockets to corrupt babus and policemen. And if Congress cannot see this basic simple all pervasive demand all I can say is that they're downright stupid and naive. .....

    August 22 2011     Read More [8]...

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