Sunday, February 28, 2010

That's all, your honour!: Feb.21-27

1. Ok, first tell me this. Look at this letter by M.F.Hussain to The Hindu, stating that he has been offered the citizenship of Qatar. Now, what is a horse doing in that letter? :D Just beats me! Anyway, most of the media went berserk after seeing this letter. As is always their wont, they started asking question like "Has India failed M.F" etc, without even looking at the whole thing objectively. M.F.Hussein left the country fearing arrest and not violence. His house was attacked in 1998 and he left the country only in 2006. There were many court cases against him, and it was pretty ample clear that he was going to get arrested for hurting religious sentiments of millions of people. He did not just paint the hindu gods and godess in nude, he painted them nude in compromising and unthinkable positions. It is ridiculous that anyone would want to defend his art as freedom of expression. What M.F. has done is to totally misuse his freedom, nothing less, nothing more. And then he says he wants to relinquish the citizenship(fearing arrest, maybe?), and our media calls it our national shame??? It just beats me, your honour!

2. Maoist leader Koteswarao calls up media and offers a 72 day ceasefire to the government. This offer was given on Feb.22. The ceasefire would start on Feb. 25 and would be valid for 72 days till May 7. May 7th is when Parliament's budget session ends. May 7th is when the ceasefire offer ends. CNN-IBN said that Mamta Banerjee negotiated with Maoists, and therefore it the end date made a lot of sense! And here's where our Home Minister, P.Chidambaram gave her the twist. He announced next day that he did not receive anything official from the Maoists, and asked them to fax their offer to the Home Ministry. He said that he did not want any if's and but's, and gave them the number to fax their offer to. The Maoists then say that they will read the Home Minister's statement in newspapers on Feb.24th and then fax him the offer. Wait, they don't stop there. Koteswarao then gives his cell phone number and asks the Home Minister to call him at 5pm on Feb.25th! First thing is that they haven't faxed the offer yet, and then they ask the Home Minister to call them! By the way, the fax never came, and Home Minister just rubbished off the claim by Maoists! He also blamed a section of media for creating this confusion, and ofcourse our media reported very little of that statement! Obviously - how can the media do any wrong, your honour? :D

3. 13th and 26th seems to be the favorite days of terrorists. On the 26th, terrorists attacked guest houses which house Indian embassy staffers. 9 of the 17 killed are Indians. This is the fourth time that we have been targetted there. President Praitbha Patil, in an extraordinary gesture, went to the airport to receive the bodies of those who lost their lives to cowardly terrorists.

4. This year was a first for both the Railway and General Budgets. Both were unanimously voted as being the West Bengal Railway Budget and the West Bengal General Budget! That's all, your honour!

అదన్నమాట!: ఫిబ్రవరి 21-27

ఈ వారం పెద్దగా చెప్పుకోదగ్గ విశేషాలు ఏమి లేవు.

కేసీఆర్ గారు ఏమో ఇప్పుడు అప్పుడే రాజీనామా చెయ్యరు అంట. ఎందుకు ఏమిటి అని అడగద్దు. అదీ అంతే! అయన చెయ్యకపోతే విజయశాంతి గారు ఎందుకు చేస్తారు అండి మరి ? ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా, రాజీనామా చేసిన పన్నెండు ఎమ్యెల్యేలు మళ్ళి పోటి కి దిగుతారు అంట ... వాళ్ళని ఏకగ్రీవంగా ఎన్నుకోవాలి అంట! రాజీనామా చెయ్యడం ఎందుకు ? మళ్ళి అసెంబ్లీ లోకి రావడానికి పోటి చెయ్యడం ఎందుకు అండి? అసలు ఇది ఏమి అన్యాయం అండి? ప్రజల సొమ్ము అంటే ఇంత చులకన అయ్యిపోయింద ఈ నాయకులకి ? ఏకగ్రీవంగా అస్సలు ఉండకూడదు. పోటి ఉండాలి. ఈ తీఆరఎస్ ఎమ్యెల్యేలు దారున్గా ఓడిపోవాలి. అదీ నా కోరిక. కొంచం కూడా సిగ్గు లేకుండా పోతుంది వీళ్ళకి. ఇంతోటి దానికి రాజీనామాలు చేసి పడవలు త్యాగం చేసాం అని చెప్పుడ్కోవడం ఎందుకు ?!

ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా, బడ్జట్ సమావేశాలు కొంచం ప్రశాంతంగా సాగుతునాయి. చర్చలు జరుగుతునాయి అసెంబ్లీ లో. ఈ తెరాసా ఎమ్యెల్యేలు లేకపోతె ఇంత ప్రసాంతంగా ఉంటుంది అని ముందే తెలిసి ఉంటె బాగుండేది ! రోశయ్య గారు ఏమో తొమ్మిది గంటలు ఉచిత విద్యుత్ ఇప్పుడు అప్పుడే సాధ్యం కాదు అని చెప్పేశారు. ఇదే మాట యైఎసార్ కూడా అప్పుడు చెపారు, మళ్ళి ఇప్పుడు రోశయ్య గారు అదే మాట చెప్పారు.

రాజ్య సభ కి ఎన్నికలు దగ్గర పడుతున్నాయి. మన రాష్ట్రం లో ఆరు సీట్లు కి ఎన్నికలు. ఇందులో రెండు తెదేప కి, నాలుగు కాంగ్రెస్స్ కి వెళ్తాయి. కాని చిరంజీవి గారు కాంగ్రెస్స్ తో మంతనాలు జరుపుతున్నారు అంట, అల్లు అరవింద్ ని రాజ్య సభ కి పంపడానికి. ఇది ఒక్క దరిద్రం మిగిలింది ఆ పార్టీ కి ... అదీ కూడా పూర్తీ చేస్తే బాగుంటది అని ఈ ఆలోచన వచ్చింది ఏమో చిరంజీవి కి !

200 not out...

Sachin Tendulkar became the first man in ODI history to hit a double century. He remained not out at 200, at the end of 50 overs. Superlatives are not enough to describe the innings, and I am in no way qualified to even write 1% as beautifully as he played (read cricinfo for some really nice articles). Will just list out some facts about this innings. Figure out for yourself, why #sachin is god!

1. In 2962 ODI's this is the first time, 200 has been scored.
2. He took 147 balls to score 200. Amazing team player, number of balls show how well he rotated the strike
3. 25 fours, 3 sixes
4. 81 singles
5. No by runner. That's right, no by runner in the entire innings.
6. And lastly, this is how he reacted after reaching the milestone. No fist pumping, no chesting thumping. Just this.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Salman Bashir - The Dude!

Yaawwnnn. This is how practically every journalist who was the press conference of the Forieign Secretary of Pakistan felt last evening. Any question was invariably answered to test the patience limits of all those present there. And more importantly, the tone, the language and the content of his answers was just so despicable that one started wondering as to why we are even talking to Pakistan.

Yesterday was when the two foreign secretaries met in New Delhi (for something like, to give peace a chance, blah blah). After the meeting, the Indian foreign secretary met the press, and took some questions. All answers were on expected lines. We discussed terror, they did bring up Kashmir and we stated our positions etc etc. So far so good.

At around 5:40pm, the Pakistan Foreign Secretary, Mr Salman Bashir (hereinafter referred to as the Dude!), started addressing his press conference. And all pieces slowly started falling apart. The Dude tells us not to lecture Pakistan. When asked about the dosseirs, the Dude tells us they want concrete proof and not "literature". And then the Dude goes on to lecture us on how the talks should be held, and how we are being unreasonable in talking about only terror, and how Kashmir is the core issue blah blah...yaawwwnnnn. The Dude then tells us that their country has seen 1000's of Mumbai and how their country is also a victim of terror. Never mind that the Dude forgot that terror was of their own making, and that they are trapped in the grave that they have dug!

Hey, if you think the Dude was only serious and had no sense of humour, then you are mistaken my friend. With a wry smile, our Dude tells us "We know that all is not well". What a humour, man...what a humour. Also, the Dude also tells that our Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, is a man of vision. The Dude used our country to tell us how we should be handling terror related issues and he also reminded us that his country is a also a victim of terror. The Dude spoke like a politician, and rubbed tonnes of salt on our wounds. This prompted some "sources" to tell CNN-IBN that India is not desperate for talks; the Dude has been briefed by the army; 85% of the talks concentrated on terror; that the Dude's country is not serious about dealing with terrorists.

And so ended the farce called Indo-Pak talks.

No future date has been set, but common sense suggests that we hold off till action is taken against the 33 new names of the conspirators we gave to them in the 3 new dossiers yesterday. However, the big question is - at the higher echelons of the government, will common sense prevail?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Simplistic and unrealistic ...

Leader is a bad movie. Period. If you want to read why I think it is bad, please proceed further. If you don't agree with my view, or if you think this is a "honest" film or you are a die hard Shekar Kammula fan, please don't bother reading this any further.

To put it in plain and simple terms, the post of CM was made a mockery in this movie. Right from the scene where the hero "appoints" a small time guy who bribed his father with 10 crores ( and what's with the false emotion of this character .. he looks poor and says he collected that 10 crores by sweating it out - please give us a break!) as his secretary, the only way the movie was going was downhill. In this movie, a reporter can get to sneak into the office of the hero while he is talking to his "assistant" about his plan to become CM... and then offers the hero not to break the news only if he agrees to marry her after becoming CM!

After throwing around a lot of money and buying the legislators, the hero becomes the CM only to be faced with the issue of appointing his nemesis as the Home Minister. Guess what, the Home Minister arranges for the killing of the hero (who is now the CM) just a day into his term! Bullets are fired at the CM, and the screen shows "interval" as the CM collapses. Within 10 days of an incumbent CM purpotedly killed by Naxalites, there is an attempt to kill the new CM by none other than the Home Minister of the state! If you think it can't get any more bizzare, wait for the second half. You will just be bowled over.

There is a bomb blast in the city, the CM visits it immediately (breaking his romantic conversation with his girl friend), and while going back says sorry to the GF for not informing her before leaving! And then decides to propose to her the very next day. Really Sekhar? This is the kind of committment you wanted to show in a future "leader"? Accepted that the hero was trying to marry the heroine so as to get the support of her father, but just after a bomb blast? Really Sekhar? And even the meeting with the Home Minister later is shown is such poor light.

The entire movie does NOT show one single cabinet meeting. The CM only has the chief secretary, the chief security officer and this assistant guy in all meetings. Why will the CSO be involved in politcal manuevering too?? It just beats me. There are only two assembly scenes, and both involve the CM introducing just one bill. It is practically impossible that any CM in any state will have such a simple agenda.

The CM never goes into town and meets people. His travel plans are awry. And how can any leader have a single point agenda? This CM's single point agenda is to recover all the black money in the state. He wants to raise Rs. 1 lakh crore and then spend the same for the welfare of the people. Until then, there is no policy, there is no meeting with people, there is no other agenda in the assembly too. Is this something that is really possible? And is this something that people really want? Just weed out corruption and everything can wait? Really Sekhar?

The resignation scene of the CM is so funny that one could easily roll on the floor laughing. An entire election is just covered in one song, and the media is shown as going gaga over this. Accepted that it is difficult to cover such a subject in under 3 hours, but there are just so many non sensical scenes in this movie, that if we had really well researched sensible scenes instead of them, it just would have made more sense.

My entire complaint against this movie would have been invalid if someone like K. Raghavendra Rao or E.V.V. Satyanarayana made this film! Coming from Sekhar Kammula, and us being constantly reminded that this movie wants us to show how a "leader" should be, such blatant disregard for basic research is simply appalling. This movie is totally misleading the viewers in its wrongful potrayal of the entire political class and the comic potrayal of the post of the CM. It is utterly simplistic and totally unrealistic.

The likes of Sekhar Kammula have set a nice trend of making meaningful/entertaining movies. Making such movies which mislead the young people today is not what is expected from him.

Monday, February 22, 2010

అదన్నమాట! : ఫిబ్రవరి 14-20

1. ఆంధ్రుల అభిమాన హాస్య నటుడు శ్రీ కేసీఆర్ గారి రాజీనామా ని లోక్ సభ స్పెఅకేర్ తిరస్కరించారు అంట ! రూల్స్ ప్రకారం రాయాల్సిన రీతి లో మన నాయకుడు రాయలేదు అంట! ఇంత కన్నా హాస్యాస్పదమైన విషయం ఇంకేమైనా ఉంటుందా అండి?? ఈయన గారు ఇప్పటికే ఒక లక్ష సార్లు రాజీనామా చేసారు, ఆయినా సరే పద్దతి ప్రకారం చెయ్యకపోవడం అనేది సిగ్గు చేటు. అందుకే ఆయనకి ఆంధ్రుల అభిమాన హాస్య నటుడు అని బిరుదు ఇచి మరి సత్కరిస్తునాను :)

2. "ఉస్మానియా లో పరిస్థితి ఉద్రిక్తం " అనే హెడ్లైన్ చూసి చూసి విసుగు వస్తుంది. ఇంక ఏమి జరగక ముందే వార్త చానల్స్ ఇలా రాసేస్తునాయి. రెండు రోజులకి ఒక సారి ఇలాంటి హడ్లిన్ ఇవ్వకపోతే చాలా మందికి నిద్ర పట్టదు ఏమో. పోలిసీలు మాత్రం ఎంత అని ఓపిక పడతారు అండి ? మాట్లాడితే ఏదో ఒక సమావేశం అంటారు. అసెంబ్లీ ని ముట్టడి చేస్తాం అంటారు. పోలిసీలు నిద్ర పోవాల అండి వీళ్ళు ముట్టడి చేస్తుంటే? ఎవరో యాదయ్య అంట ... ఎం సాదించాడు అండి ఆత్మా హత్య చేసుకుని ? అసలు ఇది పద్దతెన? మళ్ళి ఉస్మానియా లో ఉన్న విద్యార్థులు చెలరేగిపోరు అని గ్యారంటీ ఎంటండి ? క్రిందటి వారం కూడా ఇంతే... కాని ఆ రోజు నిజంగానే పోలిసీలు పెట్రేగిపోయారు. మీడియా వలలన్నీ రక్షణ కవచమ లాగ కూడా వాడుకునారు అంట. అదీ కూడా సిగ్గు చేతే ? కాని ఇలా విద్యార్థులు పేరు చెప్పి ఉస్మానియా లో జరుగుతున్న అరచాకలకి అంతం పలికే సమయం వచ్చింది. ఆత్మా హత్యలు చేసుకుని సాదించేది ఏమి లేదు.

3. ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా, అంకెల గారేడి తో ఉన్న లక్ష రూపాయల బడ్జట్ ని ముఖ్యమంత్రి రోశయ్య గారు ప్రవేశపెట్టారు. టి ఆర్ ఎస్ పార్టి ఎమఎలఎల రాజీనామాలను స్పెఅకేర్ గారు ఆమోదించారు. వారు లేని సభ కొంచం సజావు గా సాగిపోతుంది ఇప్పుడు ! కాంగ్రెస్స్ ఎమ్యెల్యేలు ఎవ్వరు రాజీనామాలు చెయ్యలేదు. తెదేపా వారు రాజీనామాలు రాసారు. ఆ పాత్రలని జేఏసీ కి చెందినా కొదందారం కి ఇచ్చారు. వాటితో అయన ఏమి చేసుకుంటాడు అండి? ఏంటో వీళ్ళ తీరు తెన్నూ .. ఎప్పటికి ఎవ్వడికి అర్ధం కాదు ! అడనమాట!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

That's all, your honour!: Feb14-20

1. What will you do, if you get an intelligence report, saying that a group of 35 naxals (I know they are now called Maoists, but I don't care for the nomenclature) have assembled within a 4-5km radius of a camp inhabited by Jawans? You will alert them. What did the West Bengal Government do? It waited to see if the next intelligence report will give them the exact place and time of their next strike. And so while they waited, what happened? This group of Naxals went and attacked the camp, where the Jawans were caught unawares; killed 24 of them; injured seven more; took away all the guns; burnt the place; and then planted landmines along the road to this camp in Silda, West Bengal. Some very good investigative reporting by CNN-IBN has also revealed that the intelligence report was recieved not just on the previous day of the attack but also at 2:30pm on the day of the attack (the camp was attacked at around 6pm). The investigation also revealed that 3-4 lady naxals disguised themselves as prostitutes and first approached the camp. Jawans did get distracted, and what followed was bloodbath. And then Chidambaram asks why the "intellectuals" still support the Naxals. And it was then that NDTV picked up this attack story as its main topic and led many many discussions on this same topic "Is it time to stop romanticising Naxals"? It was time, longggg time ago... you only woke up after PC questioned it! All outraged, right (meaning correct, not right-wing) thinking persons in this country have abhorred violence whatever name it took. It doesn't take multiple debates on NDTV to confirm this elementary fact. The offer to talk to them is still open says PC, but they have to lay down their weapons. Their condition (yes, they have the nerve to put conditions too) is that the state has to stop it's attrocities on people. huh? Dude, just buzz off, ok? You have a freaking problem with the system and want to fight it, we dare you to contest elections. Hiding under a mask and killing innocent people is just cowardice. Shame on you.

2. And then there is Pakistan which is apparently "unhappy" that we are not willing to restart the composite dialogue with them! From where do these people get the nerve to demand things? India will talk about only thing for now - what the hell have you been doing to control terror camps in your country. That's all we will talk about. If you want to talk about the revenues generated by that sick film MNIK, fine then. You talk, we won't even bother to listen. Already there is deep divide amongst the top most executives of the government on whether we should talk or not, and Pakistan wants us to talk about trade and commerce among other things. yeah right! Speaking of the divide, from the many reports coming out this week, it was very clear that only the Prime Minister wants to talk and no one in the government is very keen on this initiative. Who cares, for our PM is a decent and honest person; it is totally unfair of us to even demand him to atleast address the nation and ask why this shift in stance.

3. KCR is a not just a funny man, but unfit to the core too. Not that you don't know that fact, but something that happened this week just reiterated it. This guy has resigned some zillion times before and yet can't it right ever! His latest resignation was rejected by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha on grounds that it was not in the proper format. hahahahahaha..comon dude, get it right just once in your life! Speaking of resignations, AP Assembly Speaker accepted the resignation of all the TRS MLA's, plus he also accepted 1 BJP MLA and 1 TDP MLA's resignations. He must have thought - good riddance! Very conveiniently, he said he needs more time for accepting 2 congress MLA's resignations. And ofcourse, the High Command reigned them in, and dudes have withdrawn their resignations. Anyways, KCR is the greatest. That's all, your honour!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The ABC of media..

I was attempting to write about the disgusting manner in which the electronic national english media (especially NDTV) put aside all burning issues and made the SRK-SS tussle the only news for more than a fortnight. And P. Sainath wrote about it in today's Hindu in the best possible way one can ever think of writing. It is a must read for all.

Must read.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

That's all, your honour!: Feb 7-13

1. Just a week after the JuD chief publicly declared that Pune is one of their targets, there was a bomb blast in Pune! This is very similar to the Gokul Chat bomb blast in Hyderabad 3 years ago. The target was the famous German Bakery in Pune. 9 people have died and 60 of them have been injured.This was just 200 yards away from the Osho ashram. And Osho Ashram is one of the places that David Headley recce'd ! All this information was just coming out yesterday after the bomb blast! The centre has announced that intelligence was passed onto the Maharashtra government about Pune being a possible terror target, but as always the deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra says the intel was not specific! Yeah right, they should have given the door number, time and method of execution so that these buggers could have acted.

It is very clear that the political leadership of the state has utterly failed in assesing the intel reports. The Home Minister of Maharashtra, R.R.Patil has again hopelessly failed in protecting the lives of citizens. What just stopped the government from alerting all popular places in Pune of a possible attack, when a mainstream newspaper published such crucial information? And finally to ignore the complete diversion of police force towards the security of a film as a possible cause cannot be ruled out, howmuch ever a famous journo from NDTV lives in self denial.

2. Another sad incident that occured this week was that 17 jawans were killed in two avalanches in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 300 were trapped and succesfully rescued too.

3. Finally the terms of the Justice Sri Krishna Committee have been
released. Just after reading the first term, it was very clear that the committee will study the need for Telangana instead of when to grant Telangana! Just the first term was enough for the activitsts of Telangana to mouth off and then call for another bandh! TRS announced immediate resignations. Thankfully, congress and TDP leaders are treading a little carefully on this matter. For now, all that I know is that there is more violence in store!

4. A full 3 weeks after India proposed talks to Pakistan, the "great neighbour" has accepted the offer. Please note that they "accepted" after 3 weeks. All along, they sat on our head to talk, and when we propose, they take 3 weeks. Hey, but that's ok. We will swallow all their rhetoric, insults and hate mongering. For our PM is decent and he can do no wrong.

5. Have consciously avoided writing about the way media crawled this whole of last week, vis-a-vis many issues, for it merits a separate blog piece! Next week :). That's all, your honour!

అదన్నమాట! : ఫిబ్రవరి 7-13

క్రిందటి వారం వ్రాయడం కుదరలేదు. రెండు వారాలకి కలిపి ఇప్పుడు చర్చిద్దాము. కేంద్ర ప్రబుత్వం ఎట్టకేలకు రాష్ట్రం లో జరుగుతున్న పరిణామాలని కూలంకుషంగా అధ్యనయం చెయ్యడానికి కమిటి వేసింది. జస్టిస్స్ శ్రీకృష్ణ ఈ కమిటి కి సారధ్యం వహిస్తారు. కమిటి ప్రకటించిన వారం కి గాను ఆ కమిటి పరిధి లోకి వచ్చే అంశాలని కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వం ప్రకటించలేదు. తీరా ప్రకటించాక చూస్తే తెలంగాణా నేతలు ఖంగు తిన్నారు! తెలంగాణా ఏర్పాటు అసలు అవసరమా కాదా అనే విషయం అధ్యయనం చెయ్యడానికి ఈ కమిటి వేసినట్టు సుస్పష్టం అయ్యింది. ఇంక మన తెరాసా నాయకుడు ఎందుకు ఊరుకుంటారు ? ఇది ఒక దిక్కు లేని కమిటి అని తేల్చి చెపారు. రాజీనామాలు చేస్తాము అని మళ్ళి ప్రగల్భాలు పలికారు. రెండు రోజులు ఆగి రాజీనామాలు చేసారు కూడా. అయితే కాంగ్రెస్స్ మరియు తెలుగు దేశం నాయకులూ మాత్రం కొంచం ఆచి తూచి అడుగులు వేస్తున్నారు. కమిటి ని డిసంబర్ 31 లోపల నివేదిక సమర్పించామని కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వం ఆదేశించింది. ఈ పది నెలలు కమిటి కి సహకరించి నివేదిక చూసి అప్పుడు మళ్ళి ఉద్యమ బాట పడితే మెరుగగు గా ఉంటది ఏమో అని వీళ్ళ ఆలోచన. అరాచకానికి దిగకుండా ప్రజాస్వామ్య పద్దతి లో వెళ్ళాలి అని చాలా మంది నేతలు ఆలోచిస్తున్నారు. నిజం చెప్పాలి అంటే అదే మంచి ఆలోచన, కాని వీల్లేదు ఉద్యమం పేరుతో అరాచకం కి దిగాలి అని కొన్ని శక్తులు పూనుకుంటే అసలకే మోసం వస్తుంది . పై పెచ్చు మన రొసైహ్ గారి ప్రభుత్వం ఎంత నిస్సహాయం గా ఉంటాదో మన అందరికి తెలిసిందే కదా. రేపటి నుంచి బడ్జెట్ సమావేశాలు కూడా అఆరంభం అవుతున్నాయి. పది మంది కాంగ్రెస్స్ ఎమ్యెల్యేలు రాజీనామా చేసిన ప్రభుత్వం ఉండదు ! మరి ఈ వరం లో ఎలాంటి పరిణామాలు చోటు చేసుకుంటాయో వేచి చూడాలి మరి ! అదన్నమాట!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The eternal opposition leader...

If an outsider who is not conversant with the politics of our country comes and listens to Rahul Gandhi speak, I guarantee you that he will go back with the feeling that RG is an opposition leader waiting and wanting to usher in the much needed change in today’s world. I wouldn’t blame the outsider at all, for Rahul Gandhi very conveniently separates his party from the government when wrong things happen, and with the largesse of our national media, he has been pretty successful at that.

Just take a look at
this video, if you think I am exaggerating. This is the video where he is talking to students in Mumbai. The answer to every single question is either the system is at fault or because “you” are not plunging into politics. Take for example his highly intellectual comparision of us being asked to be in the “final year” of the college for ever. I still don’t get what that has to do with our education system being a “closed” one. Is he implying that our education system is as ridiculous as one not being allowed to graduate? And pray what exactly is stopping his government from “opening” up the system?

Follow any of his press conferences. He tries to behave like a teacher, assuming that the audience is naïve and tries to simplify things. I have no problem in trying to explain in simple terms, but when they border on absurdity to ridicule, shouldn’t we be questioning him more rigourously?

The very system he berates so much has been nurtured by his family and party for decades. The open system he so openly prophecies was possible because of members outside his family. Doesn’t anyone find it curious that he eulogizes the very people that kept it closed and totally + blatantly ignores those who opened it up?

Sadly, these are questions that we should not ask the Prince. Why? Because we are just satisfied that he is talking to the students. The content of his speech does NOT matter. What matters is that he spoke, that’s it. It does NOT matter that he does not know what the right to education bill does, he does NOT know about IAEA (when the whole N-deal thing nearly bought the government down). All that matters is that he is “charming” and young girls “love him”. I am not saying these words, the media itself said them.

Pick up any crucial national issue, and the understanding of CNN-IBN’s “Indian politician of the year” is peripheral at best. And here’s the best part. Rahul Gandhi’s speeches, ALL of them, sound like that of an eternal opposition leader. “System is bad”, “Delivery mechanisms are bad”, “No youth in politics” etc.

Guess what? His party was in power from 2004 onwards (I am discounting all those years “he” was not in politics). In these 5 ½ years, has anyone dared to question Rahul Gandhi, what “he” has done to change the “system”? What has “he” done to usher in the much needed “openness” in the system? What exactly stopped in from starting in a fresh revolution? What exactly has “he” done to make Amethi a world class constituency? Does Amethi stand out as an example for other MP’s to follow?

Oops, sorry. I cannot and should not ask these questions to the Prince because:
a. I will be termed intolerant.
b. I will be termed right-wing (whatever that means) and
c. I might be termed as being from the “opposition” party!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pleasant read today..

It really felt very pleasant to read this page in the newspaper today. The Home Minister was praising the unity amongst all the heads of the states and UT's, irrespective of their political affliations. The opposition Chief Ministers also acknowledged the constructive role the Home Ministry was performing in dealing with the internal security situation. You can read the reports at the following links:

5th letter to Editor's Guild: Coverage of Bt. Brinjal

Acutally I just pasted the media section from this long post of mine on Bt Brinjal public forum, and sent it as a suggestion mail to the Editor's Guild. For the record, am pasting it here. Please click on the Editors Guild label below to access the other four letters.
Dear Sirs,

I was at the Bt Brinjal public forum in Hyderabad last Sunday. I wrote a detailed blog about my observations of the views and mood across the hall, Jairam's good moderating skills, and my comments on his comments. I have provided links for the CNN-IBN expose, the environment's ministry's primer etc.

I also wrote about my observations about how media could have better covered it too. Am pasting only the media part of it here. Hope you take it as a positive feedback while considering framing guidelines.

First major complaint. Jairam said that he was disappointed at the ways of expression of displeasure. TIMES NOW says this "Jairam Ramesh disappointed by dissent against Bt.Brinjal" !!! At no point did he say he was for or against Bt.Brinjal.
There were scores of cameras in the auditorium. All of them were just pointed to the dias. Seldom (or maybe at no point) were they turned around to capture the video of those concerned, patriotic citizens who made time to participate in this process. Most of the views were not even recorded, most of them not photographed. But the moment a group of people barged in shouting slogans, they were all over the place! The moment the session concluded, they were all over the dias (like a swarm of bees) surrounding the minister. What were they losing if they tried to film all those who were making their points? Wouldn't it have been great if bits of their arguments (both for and against) were telecast in the media, instead of just showing shouting protestors? Wouldn't it have set a fine example of journalism?I had a premonition from the morning that the media will just cover the protests part of it and nothing else. Were there protests at the event - yes. Were they an eyesore/earsore at times - yes. But for crying out loud, there was about a 2 1/2 hour discussion (and I was there for the latter half) at the auditorium on this issue and all we get from a reputed journalist by name Sagarika Ghose is this - "Bt Brinjal causing large scale protests. jairam ramesh needs to make a comprehensive statement". When infact he made as comprehensive a statement can get from that very dias!

If you wish to read about the different views expressed across the hall, please feel free to visit my blog here:

Best Regards,
S. Sudhir Kumar

Sunday, February 7, 2010

That's all, your honour!:Jan31-Feb6

1. What happens when an economist tries to control foriegn policy? Both of them get messed up! As is evident from what is happening in our country today. We have an economist Prime Minister who doesn't talk and act about price rise but is obssesed with Foriegn policy!

There is a very high probability that our Prime Minister will win a Nobel Peace Prize, for his untiring efforts to make peace with Pakistan and for his unwillingness to guage public opinion in the country. Just days after the Home Minister and the External Affairs Minister said that they are not satisfied with Pakistan's response, just days after that spooky arrogant Foriegn Minister of Pakistan, Qureshi called us "shy", news leaked out that our Foriegn Secretary has alread extended an invitation to talk to her counterpart. Here's the best part - Pakistan is yet to respond to this offer because they are not happy with the offer! So what does our establishment do? Sources from NDTV revealed that India has agreed to talk about Balochistan also, and will include terror in a big way in these talks! So, all that humbug about "bad drafting" during Sharm-el-Sheikh finally turned out to be bogus. But hey, our PM is decent, humble and an integral man, so let's not question his judgement. Please.

2. Shahrukh Khan owns an IPL team. His team, along with all other IPL teams did NOT buy any Pakistani players. Then, just because his movie is releasing, our hero projects his "holier than thou" attitude by saying that they should have been bought in the first place. Frankly, I didn't care about that statement, but what followed from his precious mind is what still disturbs me. He credits Pakistan to have been a "great neighbour", they have always been "good neighbours" but we have to take into account the times we are in. A "great neighbour" does not keep quiet when his home is being used to attack yours.A "great neighbour" will not spread hatred withing, just for the kick of it. And please spare me of this lecture that the civil society of Pakistan is not bad. There is not denying that fact, but sadly it is not they who control what the establishment in the "great neighbour" does. And the icing on the cake was our hero says he just said what every Indian should have. Shiv Sena's rhetoric and threat to violence is deplorable, just as TRS' is. They just chose the wrong way to oppose SRK, but what SRK said is completely unacceptable(atleast to me). To hell with his movie, whatever it's "name" is!

3. Wait, by the way, the Prime Minister has announced this week that the worst is over with respect to the food prices. If you think that means Sharad Pawar is resigning, you are mistaken! He actually says prices will go down, because we have good amounts of storage etc. When he says the worst is over, he actually doesn't mean it because check out next - food inflation will increase! It's just UPA's way of projecting that magnificient work has been done to bring the prices down.

4. Finally, a committee on Telangana was formed. Justice B.N.Srikrishna, the man famous for heading the commission to probe into the Mumbai riots of 1993, is heading this committee. There are 4 other members, none of whom are remotely concerned with the Telangana/United Andhra Struggle. They are academics, and therefor I need not say anything about it's composition! Let's not forget that the terms have not yet been decided..patience my dear friend, patience. That's the Chidambaram style!

5. Your honour, my apologies for not writing about Rahul Gandhi's "bravado" in Mumbai and the subsequent drooling by the media in general, NDTV in particular. But this space is not enough to express my feelings! A fresh blog post will appear soon...until then, tata! (click here)

6. And finally, in this piece, Hasan Suroor blames a well known Delhi based Journalist for hijacking the agenda of the Afghan Summit. NDTV's Barkha Dutt was there in London. She interviewed both S.M.Krishna, and S.M.Qureshi. It was on her show that Qureshi called us "shy". No, I am not saying she was the one Hasan is referring to, I am just saying what I saw on TV. I don't want to get sued. That's all, your honour!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

At the Bt Brinjal public forum...

I am only an expert at eating Brinjal and not too conversant with Bt Brinjal (:P) debate, and hence decided to make it to the open forum on Bt. Brinjal that was conducted by the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh (kudos to him for that). How I got to the venue is a lonng story that we will reserve for another day :), but the experience after getting to the venue and subsequent observations are what I will be writing here :)

The beauty of this program was that one could get to hear the opinions from really a wide range of people. Jairam called upon doctors, scientists, farmers, NGO's, govt. officials, retd.professors etc to express their opinion. Infact, he even called upon his most vocal critics, reminding people that he is doing so! :D

Views across the hall

There was this lady teacher from a village in Nalgonda district who came all the way here to try and see if she could talk to the minister. She explained in detail how farmers in and around her village took to Bt.Cotton ignoring the food crops they used to grow before. Now, Bt.Cotton apparently is not yielding the expected output, and the soil is no more fit to grow food crops. So,neither are they getting profits nor are they even able to grow food crops for themselves. Her point was that, therefore how are we confident that another Bt variety will not play havoc with lives of farmers?

Then there were these two ladies from different NGO's (one of them came all the way from Chennai), who bought up the issue of excessive child labour in areas where Bt.Cotton is grown. It is a serious issue, I agree, but I think they raised it at the wrong forum (well, given that Jairam is the only minister who is talking to the people, can't blame them for trying).

An interesting point was made by an elderly gentleman working for an NGO whose name I forgot :). He questioned the claims of some NGO's which were saying that Bt crops will kill people! He pointedly asked that when no death has been reported so far in any country that uses Bt crops, how on earth are the NGO's spreading such information. He then went on to say that his objection is to the fact that MNC's are pressurising and guiding us as to what to use for our crops. Such blatant transgression is what he is objecting to, and he ended by saying that if this continues, the day is not far off when it will be Chinese rice that will be sold under the Rs.2 a Kg scheme!

An agricultural scientist, Dharmendra (Jairam was joking that a scientist by the name Dharmendra is an interesting concept :) ) put up a strong argument for Bt crops in general. A retired professor from the Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University was also saying that Bt will improve the quality of vegetables, and in these times, quality is also important. Both arguments were greeted with whistles and claps by those supporting the Bt. crop!

A farmer was then called upon, and he was also reminded that though he was one of the main reasons for the ruckus in the first 30 minutes! Ohh I forgot to say - I was late for the event, and was told that I missed some fun in the initial 30 minutes! Apparently, the agitators were blaming that Monsanto has bought in farmers early in the morning in many buses and planted them inside the auditorium! Until Jairam pacified the agitators by first saying he will listen to everyone and also adopted a stern tone, the situation was not controlled!

Anyways, back to the farmer who detailed as to how proper procedures were not followed while approving the Bt. variety, how the mandatory tests were not conducted before arriving at the conclusion that Bt is safe (some others have also mentioned how even those minimum tests were carried out by stakeholders involved and not by neutral arbitrators). Ofcourse, there were whistles and applause for these arguments too. I must say, the farmer was an excellent orator. He actually began his speech by asking Jairam to first ask his wife to cook Bt at home!

There was also a broad consensus that the Brinjal crop is not in a crisis, and availability is not a problem today or in the near future.Infact, some were suggesting that pricing is a problem and that needs to be looked into.

Jairam asked the person sitting next to him, Mr. Vijay Kumar, on the dias to give his concluding arguments. Vijay Kumar has vast experience in promoting non-pesticidal management over the past 6 years (he is also Director of SERP) and he spoke about how about 6 lakh farmers over 15 lakh sq.kms have succesfully followed practices that eliminate use of pesticides. He was urging all farmers to practice more such methods as part of sustainable agriculture. I guess he was saying that if Bt Brinjal is being bought in to eliminate the need of pesticides, then we already do that without it!

Mood in the hall

There was clearly a huge polarisation in the hall. Both for and against citizens were quite voiceferous in support of their arguments. But there seems to be a general agreement all around that enough tests were not carried out to confirm the viablity and effects of this particular Bt.crop (confirmed by an expose by CNN-IBN
here). Most of them questioned as what the hurry was in trying to bring it to India, which I guess is a fair argument. What just is the need to set aside all prescribed rules and bring in the seed now?

Jairam's comments

Jairam did give a fair chance for many of them to speak. He listened to all opinions, and presented a very fine closing argument. His first and foremost announcement was that he will be cutting down on the mandate of Genetic Engineering Aprroval Committee (GEAC) by changing it to just an Assesment committee. It's mandate has to be limited to just assesing and not approving. He also said that he is not under any pressure from either the PM or PMO ( I didn't doubt that a bit, because it is the agricultural ministry that is pressurising him!). Infact, he said that he is under pressure from himself! And the best point he made is that it is unfair to polarise the debate. All those who oppose are not anti-national and all those who are for are not Monsanto agents! Jairam had to remind more than once that this debate was not about the future of GM crops in the country (though, in a way it was - yesterday it was Bt. Cotton, today Bt.Brinjal, tomorrow? :) )


I have this hunch that a decision has already been taken. I don't know if it is for or against, but I have a hunch that it has already been taken. The reason being that Jairam announced that the next session is in Bangalore on the 6th and he will announce his decision by the 10th. Now, are we to believe that all consultations will happen in 2-3 days and a decision arrived at? ;-)

Media's role

First major complaint. Jairam said that he was disappointed at the ways of expression of displeasure. TIMES NOW says this "Jairam Ramesh disappointed by dissent against Bt.Brinjal" !!! At no point did he say he was for or against Bt.Brinjal. Anyways, what else could you expect from TIMES NOW? :D

There were scores of cameras in the auditorium. All of them were just pointed to the dias. Seldom (or maybe at no point) were they turned around to capture the video of those concerned, patriotic citizens who made time to participate in this process. Most of the views were not even recorded, most of them not photographed. But the moment a group of people barged in shouting slogans, they were all over the place! The moment the session concluded, they were all over the dias (like a swarm of bees) surrounding the minister. What were they losing if they tried to film all those who were making their points? Wouldn't it have been great if bits of their arguments (both for and against) were telecast in the media, instead of just showing shouting protestors? Wouldn't it have set a fine example of journalism?

I had a premonition from the morning that the media will just cover the protests part of it and nothing else. Were there protests at the event - yes. Were they an eyesore/earsore at times - yes. But for crying out loud, there was about a 2 1/2 hour discussion (and I was there for the latter half) at the auditorium on this issue and all we get from a reputed journalist by name Sagarika Ghose is this - "Bt Brinjal causing large scale protests. jairam ramesh needs to make a comprehensive statement". When infact he made as comprehensive a statement can get from that very dias!

Final say

It is quite clear that adequate testing was not done and that rules were flouted, obviously to favour seed companies. There is untold urgency in pushing through this by the Agricultural ministry, and thank god that the minister of Environment and Forests stood up to this. The debate in the society on this is quite polarised (but I must say that this is informed polarisation!) with both for and against groups holding onto their viewpoints strongly.

Quite frankly, I am sceptical about the argument that people would die if we consume Bt. Brinjal!. However, benefits and effects aside, when basic rules are flouted and basic tests are skipped, to make the sale easier, it just isn't worth to bring in Bt. Brinjal (or for that matter any product) into the market. Each Bt. product has to undergo all prescribed tests to get certified. Just because one Bt variety was a success doesn't mean that we fast track and flout rules of others!

On a lighter note, if Sharad Pawar is convinced so quickly based on report of experts committee, surely there is something fishy right? ;-)

For those interested on further reading, read the Ministry's comprehensive release here (26 pages, worth reading), the report of expert committee here (it is 105 pages long and I only glanced!), and a response by a scientist here. All these links are via @S_Sivakumar.

And also an article asking to give Bt.Brinjal a chance is here. (link via @barbarindian)

And finally a status list of GM crops waiting in the wings :) is here. (via colleagues at office)

PS: On february 10, Jairam Ramesh announced that there is a moratorium on Bt Brinjal until proper tests are completed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

“Rann” away from this!

The scene is oath taking ceremony of the Prime Minister of India.

The would-be Prime Minister arrives in an ambassador car with just 2-3 vehicles in a convoy. The oath taking is in an open ground. Rashtrapati Bhavan is nowhere to be seen. There is limited audience, one of whom is a big businessman. And the would-be Prime Minister is giving a bhashan before oath taking. And the people sitting on the stage are listening with rapt attention. One of them is shown in a Navy uniform, so we can safely assume that he is the Chief of Navy. And then the oath begins. Just when his name is read out, cell phones of all the audience start buzzing. Everyone gets up and leaves the place, for the SMS had incriminating evidence that he played a dangerous game to unseat the previous PM. And the oath taking ceremony is put on hold because people are leaving in a huff. And finally the would-be PM is shown leaving the place pushing around the crowd.

Now, if you think this scene is from a comedy movie, then sorry. This is just a sample of one scene in Rann, to exemplify the woefully shoddy research (or the lack of it) that went into the making of this movie. Now, I would not have a problem with the above scene if it came from an unknown stable. The above scene might have sounded hilarious too, if it were a Priyadardhan movie. But a movie that claimed to be a serious one, and that advertised itself as a dig at the media culture turns out to be as shoddy as this, it surely disappoints.

There is not one editorial meeting that is shown in the movie. All shows seem to air in the day time itself! The dialogues are superficial at best, peripheral at worst. Each scene seemed to be taken in undue haste and unexplained hurry. For crying out loud, they couldn't design one decent set for the TV shows!

The Chief Operating Officer of one major news channel leaks inside information to the rival channel. And they meet openly in a bar to exchange information and money. Until the COO tells Amitabh that the other channel already started their program, he does not know about it! I mean, how difficult it is for him not to know about that?

All decisions are taken by father and son. And then comes the son-in-law who is close to the leader of opposition, who in turn plots the downfall on the present PM with releasing just one CD. No one questions its authencity. It is aired, PM resigns, elections are called, and results are declared – all in maybe 2 minutes! And we happen to know that elections were held, because Amitabh says so in one line on his show!

If the movie was hyped up for its camera angles, background music or technical stuff (not that I liked any of them), then I wouldn't be complaining of the shoddy research and the rush that went into making of the scenes. Ram Gopal Varma took large pains to emphasize on the role of media etc through the bashan from Amitabh. In real life, he forgets that films are also media, and he needs to be responsible while presenting such stories. He cannot get away with wrongly showing the political system of the country and then claim it to be a matter of his opinion.

I know he doesn't care for criticism, but this time he just got his facts plain wrong. Avoid this movie, and you will lose nothing. Watch it, and chances are you will want to "Rann" away from it as soon as possible.