Sunday, December 24, 2006

And the Indian of the Year is ....

Actually I am a little confused and ready to be termed a cynic but really I want to know what you think about this.Could anyone of you please help me understand exactly why Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai are nominated for all the 'Indian of the Year' awards, every year? And if Amitabh Bachchan is not the Indian of the Year then he is 'Urban Indian of the Year' (NDTV, 2005). And even though Sania Mirza's rankings slip from 30s to 60s (she is 66th currently) she gets nominated for Indian/Sportsperson of the Year.

Actually what is the criteria for these awards? Being famous and earning enough through brand endorsements to last you a lifetime? Being in the news for any reason, just because you are a celebrity and breaking-news hungry media will fall head over heals to give you a coverage to keep it's news scrawlers rolling? Or simply because the real Indians who make the difference in the lives of many and deserve to be honoured, don't do a good job in increasing the TRP or readership counts?

NDTV's nominees of 'Indian of the Year 2006' include Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Aamir Khan, Sanjay Dutt (named as Munnabhai, perhaps they found it a little inconvenient to find their winner behind the bars under Arms Act!), Sania Mirza apart from Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, two other regular fixtures of the list since UPA came to power. I actually wrote them a mail saying them whether they really mean to honour the people and are true to these awards or this is just another gimmick to grab eyeballs by showing an 'Exclusive' with the high profile celebrity. To their credit they had named Kiran Desai (Winner, ManBooker Prize 2006), Arvind Kejrival (Magasasay Award winner and ardent supporter of Right to Information), C.L. Mattu (father of Priyadarshini Mattoo, for fighting for justice in her daughter's case) and Late Major Manish Pitambre (sacrificed his life fighting terrorists in J&K). But honestly I really don't believe any of these people will win. I don't have any doubts on sensibilities of Indian people but the fact is that we often vote for our idols rather the deserving winners. And hence are these awards not reduced to nothing more than popularity contests?

And risking your raised brows, is it somehow related to these celebs' fattenning paypacket from their modelling careers? Isn't a 14 point headline on frontpage (or a half-hour-special on primetime) announcing Amitabh Bachchan as 'Indian of the Year', a very good idea for PR? A win-win for both winner and the channel?

The Week and Outlook give their awards to a truly deserving person whose name you won't have heard ever before but that person would have made difference for his society and community. These awards are not based on reader's polls but decided by the editorial staff. Many others are also heroes from all the walks of life are also featured in these pages.

So I return to my original question, why are the celebrities nominated for such headline-creating-honours irrespective of their not so creditable achievements?

My Indian of the Year? Prof. R.P. Singh (VC, Lucknow University) for taking a step forward in the direction of cleansing higher education in UP. I wish him good luck and all success in 2007.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hyderabad Diary: Traditions in a Modern City

Sabarimala Sojourn: If you are in Hyderabad (or anywhere in South India) and you see your boss wearing all blacks (and I don't mean 'The Matrix' attire), an ordinary full sleave shirt and a simple pant and barefooted, don't passout! He has no plans of going to any asylum nor is he mourning, he is just planning a trip to the shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Sabrimala.

He will call you 'Swami' and you will have to do the same, call him 'Swami'. He will be having only one meal a day that would have been cooked by himself or by someother Swami. He won't be clipping nails, or shaving or even going for a haircut. And all this for at least 41 days! So if you thought that you could go to Sabrimala for a picnic, just dump that idea.

Every year millions of devotees throng to this famous and recently controversial shrine where entry of women between 10 and 50 years is banned because it is said Lord Ayyappa was a 'brahmachari'. Nothing against Him but I won't ever want to get a glimpse of a God whose 'Purohits' have such a sexist mindset.

City Lights: Reliance Industries started their retail foray by launching Reliance Fresh stores in Hyderabad. The company plans to open 40 stores in Hyderabad of which 17 are operational. One of them is just across the road from my apartment.

The city also boasts of India's first specialized convention center (the company calls it South Asia's best, I don't vouch for that) Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) developed by a joint venture between Dubai's Emaar Properties and Andhra Pradesh Investment Infrastructure Corporation. A new airport is coming up. This year's Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas and visit of US President also added to the high profile of the city.

I think Hyderabad has a significant edge over its South Indian counterparts like Chennai, Bangalore and Trivendram. There is no political/linguistic chauvenism like Chennai, no infrastructure bottle necks like Bangalore and no labor problems like Trivendram. Though uneven development of state and Telangana issue are definite party poopers. Just hoping that Government manages to sustain the development, not only of the city but also of whole state.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Life in a hidden city

Allahabad is one of the best places to grow up ,if you want to see and understand India's middle and lower middle class society wihout the glasses provided by bullish management gurus betting big on these millions of people for their ability to act as 'consumers', and from a viewpoint that is unmatched for clarity. After all you will be one of those millions, whom you want to understand.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been a part of this middle class madness. This city hosts thousands of boys aged 15-35 coming from districts of eastern UP and Bihar (Many others go to Varanasi), who study in various government colleges/University/Coaching centers preparing for medical/engineering/administrative services/clerical services and whatever else you have! Most of these boys come from villages and their family's occupation is farming. The money is scarce and watching a movie, sitting on the front benches, on a ticket of 10 Rs. is sort of a luxury. The usual mode of recreation is a walk with friends on the banks of Gangaji and a cup of tea at the local 'hotel' in the evenings. The single room is shared by two or three (even four at times!) guys and it acts as living room, kitchen, bedroom and most importantly study room!

But there is something else as well. The discussion on any topic, be it India's stance in the World Economic Forum or any physics numerical question from Irodov raises an intensity of discussion that is as captivating as it is motivating. An electric emergency light or an inverter is an unaffordable luxury and hence candles or kerosene lamps are the sole support for late night studies that are mandatory to offset the time spent in cooking, cleaning and other daily chores.

The life is tough and it is this tough life that gives you a tough mindset. The viewpoints that you take here during these discussions are almost guaranteed to last a lifetime. The values, principles and ideals (how muchsoever outdated and laughed-at these words may be in urban lingo) are imprinted firmly in your mind. The scarcities force you to live a simple life and resist the temptations. Every success has got an idol and a sense of giving back to the society from where it has emerged and every failure is comforted with a precedent.

This is an India, so vibrant, so visible and yet so hidden from the world. After all this India does not play any role in the game of billions for the management Gurus.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The toughest question ever!

The train from Mumbai to Lucknow was choc-a-bloc, and despite having a reservation, Nakul and I had to adjust with three others sharing the berth with us. The day had just started and conversation was about to.

And it did and predictably veered to the familiar territory: politics and ultimately terrorism. In India, commuters won't discuss about politics only if they are daily passengers, commuting a couple of hours in the morning and back in the evening.

Apart from these guys, who discuss ONLY about schedule of trains and how they could/could not catch a particular train ("Saadhe saat waali passenger" or "Paune Aath waali local") and what others do in these cases. Rest of India keeps itself busy in cursing its politicians and worrying about Government's soft policy on terrorism.

And so my co-travellers did and I didn't. (Actually I was trying to think how to sit next to the girl sitting next to window. Don't get me wrong, all I wanted was to be close to window to take the photos!) And when I got rid of this issue (Got the desired seat) I started listening to what these people were talking.

The talks were about Mohammad Afzal and why he should be hanged, rather why is there even a question rising about his pardon. About how all Muslims are abetting terrorism in the country and that Uniform Civil Code is only way of stopping the politics of minority appeasement. About how we needed laws like TADA and POTA. And about lot many other things.

I just remembered reading columns of Vir Sangvi and Karan Thapar in Hindustan Times on this issue. And I just read one by Barkha Dutt. And all of these say the same thing: Howmuch ever we hate to admit it, hanging Afzal is not such a simple issue and hanging him will make a martyr of a murderer. And with people like Yaseen Malik and his compatriots of Hurriyat, this is not
exactly a fantasy.

All these journos admitted that they don't have any answer to question of whether Afzal should be hanged or not. If hanging him makes him a martyr, then not hanging him paints India as being soft towards terror. Barkha Datt raises a good point that if we had real perpetrators of crime, maybe then Afzal would have been a small fish and not been awarded a life sentence. But since actual culprits are either dead (the terrorists who actually attacked the parliament) or unreachable (LeT big bosses) and since we need someone to hang, it is Afzal!

Valid it may be, but useless in solving the mystry posed by question.

Don't know what will be fate of this man. I am not actually worried about him either, but I am really bothered about the fate of my country. I don't want it to bleed anymore. I don't want anymore 11/7.

I want the daily passengers to keep on discussing about train schedules!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hyderabad Diary: Traffic tremors and Biryani jolts

The traffic nightmare: When I landed up in Hyderabad about 8 months back, I used to leave in the morning, with a prayer on lips and hope in the heart that I will be able to survive city's traffic and come back alive.Thankfully things are not any worse now. the fear has gone from the heart, but wading through traffic is still a nightmare.

Hyderabadis lack even the basic sense of commuting as far as road travel is concerned. Many a times, traffic jams here are caused due to utter stupidity of divers and the ultimate desire of 'Need for Speed'. Large numbers of auto drivers, who are equally reckless (and play very loud Himesh Rshamiya numbers), do not help the conditions. To give the devil his due, AP Traffic Police is pretty efficient, though I feel they could be more strict and would do well to regulate city autorickshaws.

Funniest sight: An APSRTC bus trying to sneak away on HiTec City crossroads.

Biryani delights: Times Of India, Hyderabad (perhaps the only newpaper in the world which doesn't have an editorial page and uses its editorials as fillers!) is conducting a contest in which readers will vote for their favorite Biryani joint.

Hyderabad is famous for its Biryani, both veg. and nonveg. I won't be exaggerating, if I say that it is one of the symbols of the city along with Charminar. Almost all the anglo-hindi movies based in Hyderabad (e.g. Hyderabad Blues (HB) and HB2 or 'The Angrez') feature songs about Hyderabad and Biryani finds its place of pride in them. Andhra Pradesh's tourism sites too mention Biryani very prominently. For recipes you can Google it out.

I have been trying to get a piece of this culinary culture by trying to relish veg. Biryani across the city restaurants. Though this has had an impressive impact on my weight and paunch, anything for the sake of serving society!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A realization and an apology!

The euphoria about 'Gandhigiri' had initially turned me off!

I am one of those who firmly believe that media has got yet another buzzword to fill the bulletins and telecast 'specials' about.

And as I have understood over the years that there is no buzzword more powerful than that given by a superhit movie. Afterall it's a win-win scenario. The movie rises above its reel life and aquires a halo as we are force-fed the fact that movie has its significance in real life as well. And as we watch the news channel mesmerised by the movie and at times the stars who are appearing on news channels as much as (well almost!) movies, someone counting the channel TRP grins wider.

The euphoria about 'Gandhigiri' had initially turned me off. Initially!

But now I have realized that I am getting a clearer picture of whole issue.

As much the news channels and their analysts claim that Gandhi has been reinvented by the movie 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' and 'Gandhigiri' is going to reinforce his values among society, I believe:

1) The sudden spurt of news and 'impacts' of Gandhigiri are not actually new: Any news about demonstration against injustice which was a drab 'aandolan' or 'protest' till the other day is now presented with a chuckle as an instance of 'Gandhigiri'. Is Satyagraha new to this country? For any protest Indians take the tried and tested path of peaceful protests (read sloganeering which occasionally gets violent!) or civil disobedience which is nothing but strike. Candle marches started by 'Rang De Basanti' is just another variant of peaceful protests. So isn't any 'Gandhigiri' headline, about protests, is not just a way to grab eyeballs? (I was very much tempted to use Gandhigiri in title for this blog also!)

2) Media has got a very unidimensional view of Gandhi's policies: Was Gandhi only about non-violence? I agree that preaching non-violence and propagating its virtues in the world was the core of his ideology and that this is most relevant in today's world divided on numerous lines. But what about his ideas about truth, honesty and religious tolerance? Are these values too outdated to be even considered? Then why do these values seem to be untouched by 'Gandhigiri' movement?

Perhaps this is the time to glorify these values as well.

Finally, it's time for an apology. To a man who could have made his way in history had he lived a little longer. A politician who resigned from the post of railway minister after a train accident claiming it was his responsibility. A Prime Minister who lead India from the front during a war and belied his physique with his governance.

There was no mention of Lal Bahadur Shastri's birthday on Oct 2nd, even in the news scrollers of news channels. Afterall there is no 'Shatrigiri' in any movie!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Why is Oscar a 'Paheli' for us?

There was a very lively discussion on NDTV 24*7 about 'Whether India sends its best films for Oscar Awards' yesterday (21st September). Hosted by Sonia Singh, the panel had Prasoon Joshi (who needs no more introduction, but for those who don't know still, he is the guy behind 'Thanda matlab CocaCola', Creative Director (South and South-East Asia) McCann Ericsson and lyricist of 'Rang De Basanti'), Vinod Pandey (producer, director and head of the Jury that selected 'Paheli' as India's entry last year!) and Saibal Chaterjee (journalist and film critic).

Vinod Pandey looked almost embarrassed and apologetic as almost everyone asked him why was 'Paheli' sent as India's official entry. He mumbled something about film being 'seeped in Indian ethos' which nobody accepted. Joshi made a very important point to which I agree completely: Our film industry is still not sure whether it wants an Oscar or not. On one hand seniors like Amitabh Bachchan say that we don't need an Oscar and on the other we send our films with a lot of pomp (within India ofcourse, in the west nobody even knows about it!). The result: consider these gems:

  • In 2003, no film was sent.
  • In 2002, 'Devdas' was sent when according to critics there were better non-Hindi (I don't liking 'regional' word) films in the fray.
  • In 1998, India sent 'Jeans'. The reason, producer Ashok Amritraj was leading the selection committee. (Contrast this with 'Paheli', when Amol Palekar resigned from the National Award committee since his film was a contender.)
  • In 1991, 'Aagantuk' was the national award winner, 'Lamhe' was the Filmfare awardee yet India sent RK Films' Rishi Kapoor starrer 'Henna'!!

Another thing that I noted was that all the top contenders for this year's entry are Hindi films only, even if it means having a crap like 'Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna'.

There is a need of having a broader look at 'Indian' cinema and select the best and for God's sake keep vested interests out of this. Otherwise nobody is stopping us from sending movies and expecting some miracle to happen! We have got plenty of experience of this.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

High education, Low politics

Every other week there happens some thing or other that says that more the things change, more they remain same. The places may vary, the faces may change but the shock value, the insensitivity stays unchanged.

As if Jessica Lal, Neetish Katara or Priyadarshini Mattoo tragedies were not enough, Ujjain shot up for its claim to shame with murder of Professor Sabharwal of Madhav Singh College. Having spent my teen life in Allahabad where student politics in the University is as vicious as it gets, the violence in campus is nothing new for me. Indeed it was surprising if there was no news of bomb explosions or firing in campus or rampage in academic blocks didn't appear in newspapers for a month! (I am not aware of the scenario nowdays)

But this is something that I never heard.

On 26th August, members of BJP's student wing Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) threatened and ultimately beat Prof. H.S. Sabharwal to death. He was 62 and barely 6 months from his retirement. Eyewitnesses claim that Police did nothing except watching and they claim that this is not for the first time, the 'students' have misbehaved with teaching (or non-teaching) staff. Though for the first time they have killed someone. As I am writing this, ABVP leaders have surrendered but they have been charged with 'manhandling' instead of murder.Not that this is surprising. The complaint itself was lodged after intense pressure from media and opposition while Police kept on claiming lack of eyewitnesses till the librarian came on-camera and claimed that he has already appeared before Police.

This incident may come like a shock to many but this is just another example of lawlessness creeping in universities in the garb of student politics. In Delhi, victory in Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) election is supposed to be an indicator of victory in state elections. And needless to say that every candidate flays the rules set by election commission for an upper limit on expenditure. Those who claim that it is not possible to contest elections on shoe-string budget lie. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) does that every year.

Political parties and student unions cried blood when Election Commission suggested an upper limit of 23 (or 25) years on contesting University elections. So you don't need to be Sherlock to understand the real motive of those contesting University elections. Crime is creeping in politics at its 'grassroots' level.

It's high time that someone cleans this mess.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Peace, Propaganda & The Promised Land

I think you too have got a mail comparing Indian and Israeli responses to attacks on them. Though I have replied to that mail with appropriate reasons, this video presents the other side of the story. Watch it, how the hunters are posing as hunted and this massive PR machinery is churning out complete lies.
The text below is courtesy Google Video.

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others--work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.
Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how--through the use of language, framing and context--the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied terrorities appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel's PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics.

Friday, August 04, 2006

It's hot outside. We'll go on strike!

What is surprising in this demand? It's too hot and I don't feel like working so why am I being 'forced' to work?
What? How dare you suggest that I face a pay-cut for not working? It is my birth right to have a government job and even greater right to protest and go on strike for every will and whim of mine and since Left Front is in Government, no Government can dare to ban strike.
Supreme Court? Oh come on man, we Indians have a habit of flouting the orders of the court. It begins at highest level of Governance, when parliament amends constitution to go around every ruling of Supreme Court it doesn't like (read: comes in the way of its votebank politics) and continues to lowest level of judiciary when almost everyone (district administration,police,goons and any one who can) laughs at the order of district courts. So who cares if Supreme Court says anything about strikes. We will do whatever we like.
Am I serious about this issue? What else do you think, I am joking here? Well this is not the issue of my coming strike on 17th and 18th August. Now as you know I am an AAI employee and since we don't often get a chance to go on strike we just wanted to ensure that people of the country don't forget me and other unions don't laugh at us.
Yes, the issue is same old one. The airport privatization. Now we ourselves don't exactly know what are we doing it for, since Government had agreed to most of our demands of retaining most of our staff even after GMR and GVK had taken over the airports. But still as our union leader said "''We will be protesting against AAI employees being pushed to new joint venture companies which have been formed to modernise Delhi and Mumbai airports".
Yes, even I was thinking about that. We have known this for past three months that we are going to be employees of new joint venture. But just think about this, we have to start with the new management on a high note na!
Oh, don't give me that crap about inconvenience to public. Is this our fault that public starts expecting international standards from us? Public has to face inconvenience whenever someone strikes, so why single us out? We will do what we have to.
Ok. It's been nice talking to you. Inquilab Zindabad!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An evening with Tiwi art

This saturday I went to an art exhibition. Ami was absolutely adamant about going but I convinced him somehow and after having savoured one vegetable biryani each (he ate a paneer paratha as well!), which ensured that our stomachs were more than full, we took an auto for State Gallery of Fine Arts. We had reached Jubilee Hills when I realized that we have come a bit too far, and the Gallery must be some way back. And after a call to Neelima and a nice 1 km walk, we reached the impressive Art Gallery.

We were in a bit hurry because it was 6 now and the exhibition is open till only 7. Let me be honest at this point, I had almost no idea about the subject, the artists or origin of the paintings. Not that it would have made much difference had I known these things, but still!

The exhibition titled 'Kiripuranjee: Contemporary Art from Tiwi Islands' has been brought to India by Art Bank, an initiative of Australian Government.The exhibition features paintings from three major art centres of the Tiwi Islands. The word 'Tiwi' means 'we people' (I thought, maybe Ashutosh Gowarikar could have titled 'Swades : We the people' as 'Swades: Tiwi')

Tiwi Islands are located in the north of Australia, separated from mainland by Clarence Strait. There are two main islands that form Tiwi, Melville Island and Bathurst Island, separated from each other by Apsley Strait.

I had carried my camera, but we were pretty sure that we won't be allowed to shoot, so it came as a great surprise when guard in exhibition hall allowed me to take pictures.

If you haven't, you can see the pictures here

Traditional Tiwi art uses only four colors: black (obtained from charcoal), white (from lime), yellow (from iron oxide) and red (by burning iron oxide). New artists generate more colours like blue or gray or maroon by mixing these colors. Some others use paints. Similarly variety is seen in case of painting brushes. So if older generation uses chewed twigs or body painting brushes, new artists use modern painting brushes.

Most of the paintings featured were on paper but baskets made of tree barks called 'tunga' were also featured. Painted tungas are used in religious rituals as well as daily lives.

What fascinated me most were the 'female' spears called 'Puruntatameri'. I couldn't understand that why these 7 ft. (approx) tall, ironwood spears were classified 'female'!

It was a really good experience. By the way, I am going there again next week. Wanna join me?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The World Is A Small Place

The world is such a small place, we keep on being reminded and we keep on forgetting!

The latest reminder comes in form of Israel-Lebanon conflict which has claimed hundreds of lives, the majority being on the Lebanese side. The rights and wrongs are being discussed, will be discussed and after sometime (hopefully) this war will end. But by then how much would be lost!

And the reason I have been jolted out of my blissful ignorance of the grimness of war, is that somewhere my country is being affected. According to a BBC report, about 12000 Indians live in Lebanon thus making us one of the largest communities in the country. Only 700 are being evacuated. I don't know the complications of this matter. I don't know who has decided this number. What I know (courtesy a report on that many families are being torn apart due to this. Some members have to be left behind in the war torn country, being promised further distruction, while others have to leave however unwillingly!

Till today I never cared a damn about this issue. The feed headlines gave enough news for me to bother. But now I understand. Lives are lives. Pain is pain. Sufferring is sufferring.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The spirit is lacking

The latest topic of discussion in Indian media, specially English, is about Mumbai's 'spirit' and 'resilience'. As usual after the frenzy of terrible blasts, the media was back next day with spirited stories about Mumbaikars' resilience and how the city's spirits are not subdued in spite of the heavy losses, and I am not talking about monetary losses. These are the losses that no one would be able to compensate for!

But Mumbaikars themselves raised their voices against this nonsense about these often misused words which give easy excuses to those responsible for not doing their duties properly. Honestly I don't have any opinion or even a first hand knowledge about Mumbai's now world famous spirit and resilience but I read a blog which said that all this hype about resilient Mumbai glorifies the growing insensitivity towards fellow human beings. Do Mumbaikars have an option of not going to work next day? Ten others are standing in the line to claim the job you may have got after going through grind.

So now our media has started the discussion (or is that an introspection?) about how true are the claims about spirit and resilience. I don't know what direction these discussions will take, but if I am less than hopeful there is a reason.

Though I give media its due credit for what they do in times of crisis (Media people are first to reach any secluded spot after any natural disaster, where Government Officials reach days or weeks later) and bring to us the miseries of people, but it is the insensitivity with which they carry out their jobs that makes me anguished.

After every tragedy, senior editors of news channels, in their personal columns or discussions express their views about how media should respect the dead and privacy of the kins. That dead bodies should not be shown, specially when they are in bad shapes. But when the next tragedy takes place, the only thing that remains to be respected and considered is TRP. Forgotten are tall claims and considerations. Once again mikes are being thrust in the faces of wailing relatives for sound bites. Once again death is commercialised and it doesn't help if this in-your-face violence is telecast with a sad music in background!

Some of the editors are candid enough to accept that their own people are not practicing what he himself was preaching. But honesty only won't do! This is the time media shows some spirit.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Salaam Bombay : Letter from Mumbaikar

(I got this in a forward, but as most forwards are ultemately deleted, I wanted to preserve it. Because this open letter to the terrorists and those behind them, shows the undomitable spirit of Mumbai and its people.)

Dear Terrorist,

Even if you are not reading this we don't care. Time and again you tried to disturb us and disrupt our life - killing innocent civilians by planting bombs in trains, buses and cars. You have tried hard to bring death and destruction, cause panic and fear and create communal disharmony but everytime you were disgustingly unsuccessful. Do you know how we pass our life in Mumbai? How much it takes for us to earn that single rupee? If you wanted to give us a shock then we are sorry to say that you failed miserably in your ulterior motives. Better look elsewere, not here.

We are not Hindus and Muslims or Gujaratis and Marathis or Punjabis and Bengaliies. Nor do we distinguish ourselves as owners or workers, govt. employees or private employees. WE ARE MUMBAIKERS (Bombay-ites, if you like). We will not allow you to disrupt our life like this. On the last few occassions when you struck (including the 7 deadly blasts in a single day killing over 250 people and injuring 500+ in 1993), we went to work next day in full strength. This time we cleared everything within a few hours and were back to normal - the vendors placing their next order, businessmen finalizing the next deals and the office workers rushing to catch the next train. (Yes the same train you targetted)

Fathom this: Within 3 hours of the blasts, long queues of blood donating volunteers were seen outside various hospital, where most of the injured were admitted. By 12 midnight, the hospital had to issue a notification that blood banks were full and they didn't require any more blood. The next day, attendance at schools and office was close to 100%, trains & buses were packed to the brim, the crowds were back.The city has simply dusted itself off and moved one - perhaps with greater vigour.

We are Mumbaikers and we live like brothers in times like this. So, do not dare to threaten us with your crackers. The spirit of Mumbai is very strong and can not be harmed.
Please forward this to others. U never know, by chance it may come to hands of a terrorist in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq and he can then read this message which is specially meant for him!!!

With Love,From the people of Mumbai (Bombay)

(Impressed? Tell what you have to say about THE Mumbai. Leave your comment below. If you are in Mumbai and need/want to help visit

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why we don't need an IIFA?

I don't remember the exact words in that article, but what it meant was that rather than going to foreign industry leaders and governments to invite them for exploring investment opportunities in their state, it would be better if our chief ministers, ministers and beaurocrats set their own house in order. With broken down (or non-existent) roads, illusive power supply and administration and law and order situation in disarray in most of the states, there is virtually no infratstructure that would attract any kind of investment from businesses within the country, forget the foreigners burning their fingers!I agreed completely with the views expressed in the article. The rule is very simple and very logical. Before hard selling the brand you have to build it. That's precisely what Chandrababu Naidu did to Andhra Pradesh.

Guess why I remembered this old story. I read a couple of new ones about (albeit grandeously titled) International India Film Academy (IIFA) Awards. IIFA Awards are held every year in a foreign country, usually in a high profile city. Starting in year 2000 in London, IIFA has been hosted by Sun City (South Africa), Genting Highlands Resorts (Malaysia), Johannesberg (South Africa), Singapore, Amsterdam (Netherlands) and latest version was held in Dubai. The official website claims to have given a boost to the host's tourism and 'promoted the business of Indian Cinema and provided it an impetus'. Well may be in terms of overseas distribution IIFA has done its bit but what else?

What is big deal in conducting another-of-the-zillion award functions that we Indians have to suffer? (I guess you have heard that Rakesh Roshan tried to get 'Kaho Na Pyaar Hai' a place in Guiness Book of World Records for highest number of awards it won! Thankfully Guiness Book brushed his claim away) There was a Filmfare (however controversial it was, it had some respect) and then came Screen-Videocon, Hero Honda-Stardust, Lux-Zee and others I don't even remember the names of. Each award is associated with a corporate and is telecast on a particular channel and you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to understand that every award is just another 'event' for these TRP-hungry channels rather than celebrating Indian Cinema and honouring it's real talent. And very honestly presence of Amitabh Bachchan (he is the brand ambassador of IIFA) does very little to differentiate IIFA Awards from others (and if you care to visit and read about them, the award ceremony is the highest and only thing they seem to talk about).

Excuse me if you think I am being a cynic, IIFA does some good things like 'showcasing best of Indian Cinema', what I want to convey is that do these execises in foreign lands bring Indian Cinema the real prestige it deserves? Till a few years ago no one had heard about Chinese Cinema. It took only a 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' to change the global outlook towards them. I don't know if Chinese, Japanese or Koreans organize any annual award ceremonies in other countries to popularize their movies. Then why the world's largest film industry has to?

Now can you relate this scenario to one I mentioned in the beginning? Rather than going abroad singing and dancing (we have enough of that already, no?), should we not try to bring in a little more originality in our movies (favorite of every award jury, 'Black' has been 'inspired' from Krzysztof Kieslowski's 'Blue').

I agree that many of our film makers are doing good but frankly I believe that one of our movies winning an Oscar (or even a series of nominations) will do us more good than all the IIFA ceremonies put together! And may be Mahesh Bhatt is not interested in Oscar (with the kind of movies he is involved with now, he can't win it anyway!), I will be very happy and very proud that day.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Finally something to cheer about!

Neha mailed to ask me if I had followed an NDTV story about "children getting ill and not enough facilities being there...again irony being the chief minister himself is a qualified doctor", and since I am working hard to earn a tag of 'Media Basher', she added "thought u might be interested to know, coz the media brought a worthy issue in front of ppl as compared to rakhi sawant and mika's kiss issue."I told her that I didn't see this particular story and that NDTV is a saner channel than others but I wasn't sure that media would have left such a 'juicy' story as Ms. Sawant-Mr. Mika liplock! My suspicions proved right when I read the article of Poonam Saxena in Hindustan Times (June 17th).

But NDTV has got its chest-thumping moment and mercifully without any sting operation!

Their story of DPS Dwarka refusing admission to CBSE High School topper Garima Godara on the pretexts of a) her spoken-english being not good enough and b) her not fitting the required social profile for the students, attracted not only sharp protests from all quarters, but also made the school revrse its own decision. Delhi Government constituted an enquiry and Garima was offerred admission with scholarship from another DPS branch. (Ironically Chairman of DPS Board is another Congressman, Salman Khursheed!) Many other schools offerred her adimission and scholarship as well. And Garima and her parents ensured that their reply get as befitting as it could be! They refused the DPS offer and decided to continue with present school only.

The worst aspect of this issue is that school made a mockery of merit. If DPS wants its seats to be reserved for the kids of politicians,beaurocrats and businessmen (in other only for rich and influential) then they can put that before us! (Though everyone knows that only rich can afford their fee, but then Garima's family sold their land for her education, so in a way they might have thought they were rich enough!)

This was only one instance of a deserving candidate being turned down by an institution, which got caught on camera. And it exposed the real admission policy of the school. Let's hope that greater public awareness and closer government scrutiny will ensure that other so called 'reputed institutes' consider only merit as the selection criteria.

Congratulations Garima. Thank you NDTV.

Also read: The English Divide by Barkha Dutt (Managing Editor, NDTV 24x7)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Life mein Twist!

Scene 1:
"This MMTS is a good thing yaar. Within half an hour and for just 5 Rs. we can reach Necklace Road directly. It's so much better than bus."
"Ya, we can come here, every weekend. Have an icecream and roam around and then be back in time!"

Scene 2:
"My relatives are leaving their flat after a month or two. We can shift to that one, it is cheaper and has markets nearby. Only problem is that it's a little far."
"OK , we shall consider it."

Scene 3:
"My project is getting over in september. I think we can try for a transfer to Delhi then."
"Yeah, I too will try for Delhi.Then we can go together."

And then comes THE monday!

"Abhishek, did you get any mail from MATC ?"
"No, what's the matter ?"
"They are transferring everyone who is unbillable to Mumbai!"
"What! Really??"

...and then

"Hi Abhishek, I got transferred to Mumbai!"
"Oh! So bad."
"What about you?"
"I have no news. No one in my team got any mail from MATC."

but next day.....

"I want four people to volunteer for going to Mumbai."
"What? No one wants to go?
"Ok. I want to go."
"And me too."
"Good. You all can decide who are the other two, and tell me."

No more trips to Necklace road. No more plans of shifting to relatives' house. No more plans to try for transfers to Delhi!

Life just got snapped!

Goodbye Hyderabad. Hello Mumbai.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

India. Is That Really Bharat?

(I really don't know whether I want you to read this blog till the end or not. Ofcourse I want you to, but if you don't, then you prove my arguement correct.)

I am writing this blog on the day when the news of Rahul Mahajan's possible arrest is headline of all the newspapers and all the 24-hr news channels. Almost every media outlet packaged this tragedy in most 'informative' (read attractive) and we were forced to know each and every thing about toxicology and effect of drugs like cocaine and heroine on different parts of human body, that apart from hearing from Mahajan's family, friends, doctors, servants, neighbours and God knows who else! You will agree that this is nothing new. We have witnessed this mass-hysteria in media at the time of Amitabh Bachchan's illness as well.

I don't have anything against Mr. Bachchan and Mr. Mahajan as well. The question I want to ask is, why has media, or for that matter, policy and decision makers, very easily and very effectively as well, sidelined the other India. The 80% India that doesn't goto Malls for shopping, doesn't flaunt designer labels, doesn't fly in low-cost (or high-cost) airlines. I am not pointing finger towards Government, I am accusing media of not giving the real issues their due share in mind space.

Did you know that in about 9000 farmers have committed suicide in this decade (between 2001-2002 and 2005-2006) in four states namely Kerala,Karnata,Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. (More facts and figures on this issue). Worst affected are the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. So when Chandrababu Naidu Government was busy developing Hyderabad into Cyberabad (and really his effort is visible in the city and I am thankful to him for this), and previous Congress and later BJP-Sena Governments in Maharashtra doing effectively nothing to Mumbai (except making it ready to be deluged in coming years), the poor farmers were getting burdened by insane agricultural policies and corruption (Read an example of this).

The agricultural sector, once the leader in growth indices of GDP, has grown this year by 3.4%, thankfully much above last year's 0.9%! But these dismal figures are over shadowed by Services sector (9.4% growth) and Business News channel watching corporateizens are happier than ever before! Only time the rural India is considered, is when it is acting as a market.

Did you know about Plachimada? This small village in Kerala, once with abundant ground water is now facing not only water shortage, but is almost disowned by its own Government. Coca Cola has got a huge plant here and it has not only sucked its water (with pipes running deep upto 750-1000 feet) but also given in return a very poisonous sledge that is killing the villagers slowly. There have been protests in USA against Coca Cola's such exploitative policies, but state Government is on the side of Coke and supporting the plant fully! Why has media not covered this issue?

But why only media, look around yourself, you will see this disparity everywhere! In Hyderabad, most parts of the city are sufferring severe water crisis (Ameerpet gets water for 1 hour,every two days!) but come to Hitec City and Madhapur area, the grass on the dividers and 'HUDA Zen Parks' is as green as possible, courtesy daily watering by HUDA water tankers!

The reason I think is that most of these issues lack what journalist call as 'news value'. There is not much scope for drama and bytes that will grab the eyeballs. These poor farmers or villagers are no celebrities. There won't be a spurt in TRP by covering these issues. And honestly do we really care if such a news comes up?

We all are failing our country. The Bharat that is very different from India.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The results are out...

So after the tense exam season, even more tense result season is here. And you will admit that the nervousness, tension and high drama are at their respective peaks in the metros.
Partly due to the higher career consciousness and cut-throat competition between students. Partly due to the social structure in these cities where the educational institute (school/college) and academic standing of their ward is yet another addition to ever expanding criteria for status war between the high and mighty. And partly due to yet another example of the media hypocricy!
The editors, associate editors, sub-editors, assistant editors and other gazillion editors of every newspaper and news channel will write reams and speak terrabytes of crap to convince us that exam pressure is ruining the youth in our country and that education should be rescued from this vicious circle. But come the result season and they will be out there with full force covering this phenomenon as if country's next 100 years are going to depend on these results only. With so much media coverage and glare of cameras who won't feel the pressure. On one hand the media is making the exams a high pressure activity and on the other hand crying foul. Perhaps the reason enough that 90s are just not sufficient anymore.
I was also a CBSE student, an average student in a middle class city of Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad. I scored 82 and 83 percent marks in 10th and 12th Board exams respectively. You may say I was mediocre (I won't mind if you rate me lower!) but I was satisfied, and so were my parents. Later I felt that competitive angst in my father's words but that was not related in any manner with my results in these exams.
But ofcourse life was easier in those days. After all CBSE results were never publicised much in local papers and even with UP Board results everyone played cool! One had to wait, sometimes whole day, to get the results newspaper, with vendor charging upto 10 Rs. if your number was there and nothing if you had ducked!
But the times have changed. The information just got faster, the competition tougher, the pressure more severe and since all other aspects of schooling and education have changed (some even lost their innocence and reached adulthood!) maybe it was natural path for the results to follow.
Congratulations to everyone who just stepped outside the school finally.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Great Indian Robbery

Let me clear at the very outset, I HAD great respect for the PM, Manmohan Singh. I believed and trusted the CEO-Chairman relationship between him and Mrs. Gandhi. I thought that even though he is not a great statesman like Vajpayee, atleast he is professional who knows that he has to deliver and deliver within certain timeframe. He started well, and even though his boat was occasionally rocked by Left, the duo managed to sail smoothly.

Things started going in rough weather : privatization drive nearly died down, infrastructure development activities started lagging and halted routinely, agricultural sector continued to be ignored, terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir and Naxalite activities in almost whole India continued unabated (when Government was busy giving us statistics over how these activities have come down actually) , prices rose like Sensex does (the only difference is that prices never crash like hell). But the government continued its honeymoon period! Left Parties were blamed for anything and everything! I still respected the PM!

But instances in past one month or so, have made me rethink. First the increased quota issue. I think that PM in his heart knows that this move is going to set India back by a decade atleast, in the field of higher education and technology areas. But he is helpless. He can't muster up courage to speak up against his own partymen and colleagues and the leaders (do they deserve to be called leaders actually?) of his coalition supporters. He must have been in a fix becuase his own very special men in National Knowledge Commission have resigned over this issue!

And to be very honest, this is one of the reasons I don't respect him anymore. I had envisioned him as a visionary. A real technocrat who has the understandings of things. I understand that it is the politics that is making him do these things, but I think he would have won more supporters had he initiated a debate over need and efficacy of the reservation. He could even have become a "martyr" like Mrs. Gandhi! But maybe it's too demanding. After all you don't get to become PM of India everyday.

Second is his behavior in Kashmir Round Table conference. Hurriyat Conference openly insulted him and all Indians by first demanding a high level talk and then refusing to attend it, calling the senior political leaders there 'a group of Hypocrites'. I understand that at times you should keep quiet for the sake of diplomacy but I can't support that PM says 'We hope Hurriyat will join us at the right time'! Sorry Boss.That's plain spine-less behavior.

Now you get why I said in the beginning, I HAD respect for the PM,Manmohan Singh.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Rang Dala Basanti!

See the photos of Police Tyranny in Mumbai

I had watched Rang De Basanti (now more popularly known as RDB) in the latter half of my ILP in Bhubaneswar. And though I had loved the movie I had maintained a strong opinion that almost complete second half of the movie was superficial and director and writers had taken too much creative freedom. No police force, under no matter how much political pressure, can just march up and mercilessly beat up silent protestors, no matter how much publicity they are garnering. This was what I thought. Till 13th May ofcourse!

On this day, young medical students protesting against increased reservation for backward classes in premier higher educational institutes, were beaten by Mumbai Police using batons, lathis and water cannons!

Since then the protests have engulfed almost whole country. Today (20th May) Delhi is hosting a massive rally in which people from all walks of life are participating (The striking students and doctors had the Delhi police by surprise when they ended their rally by singing the national anthem, forcing them to join in themselves.) Tomorrow such a protest march is scheduled in Pune. Candle Protest Marches, silent dharnas, hunger-strikes. Nation is facing everything!
And something that almost everyone, including the protestors, the media and the fence-sitters, are talking about is the 'RDB Effect'! A news report talked about many protests in the recent past against issues like injustice in Jessica Lal murder case or police inactivity in Meher Bhargav murder case taking the RDB route. And now these anti-quota protests too seem to take a cue from the movie and its aggressive spirit acting as eye-openers.
Photo Courtesy CNN-IBN
But will WE (yes please count me also as one of those who support equality in opportunity) really succeed? Will the greedy politicians like Arjun Singh (read a very good article by Sheela Bhatt in respect the will of the nation or keep on harping the tune of caste politics in the name of 'social equality'? Will the Prime Minister make the mockery of National Knowledge Commission set up by himself or act what the country hoped he will when they voted him to power? Only time will tell.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The postcard just got faster!

As I was writing to Nakul about mailing, I suddenly remembered Amul Surabhi.
Every sunday 9pm Doordarshan National used to telecast this programme which was a potpourri of National Geographic Channel, Animal Plannet, Discovery Travel and Living and Doordarshan Bharti all rolled into a thoroughly enjoyable half-hour refresher course on the hidden (and known) aspects and facets of India and the world.
One day they were travelling to unknown jungles and islands and the other day they would be sitting in a crowded dhaba on the road from Delhi to Jaipur! The window to the world was never so multi-hued and never so simply presented. Who can forget Siddharth Kak and Renuka Shahane and the very Indian sets they would be sitting on!
Well this isn't why I remembered Surabhi suddenly! Last 10 minutes of the show was the quiz time and let me say, the prizes were really worth dieing for!! Fully paid trips to tourist destinations around the country with stay in luxurious hotels (I think these were in all the five weekly prizes) apart from gift hampers from tourism departments and related PSUs.
So every sunday we watched Surabhi and tried to send the answers on a postcard. Later when Surabhi started getting more than 5 lakh postcards per week almost routinely, Government introduced 'Competition Postcards' worth Rs. 6! Most of the times our replies (addressed postcards with answers written) were eventually swept away because they were not posted on time!
Today in the age of Instant Gratification, you have SMS to send in your answers, and coincidentally most of the services charge the same Rs 6 every SMS !!
The postcard just got faster!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Watching 'Pokiri'

I had said yes to my coming to 'Pokiri' with my telugu friends and colleagues and had decided to take it as another experience, but this confidence had started waning off when Kaycee told me that you won't understand a word!

So there was some jitteriness when I settled in my comfortable chair in PVR Hyderabad. There was a sense of deja vu. I remembered watching umpteen movies in Noida multiplexes. But almost everything had changed. The people I was watching movie were different, I didn’t know anything about the movie (normally I have pretty much information about any movie I go to watch) and most important I was not sure if I would be able to understand anything! Also, I had never watched any film in any PVR cinema, though we had planned to watch 'Swades' on Neelima's treat but it was just released and was sold out that Sunday.

Today I had chosen my seat carefully. On the left was Chaitanya and on the right was Aparna. No, no I had not taken extra care to be seated between girls on both sides, but so that both could tell me what was going on the screen, who was saying what and all the little tid-bits. And thanks to both, I could understand most of the movie. This is another thing that I didn't like the content! But now atleast I know how it feels to watch a movie in a language I don't know and of course spending 100 bucks on it!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Death of a Human Being

As I sit in my cubicle (on a saturday!) listening to songs on my friend's new Video iPod, not-so-comfortable thoughts haunt me. This week has been terrible, no not for me personally, but for the country as a whole, perhaps the world! Should I give you an account of tragedies in this week? OK, these are the ones that caught my attention:
  • Armenian Plane crashed killing 113 onboard.
  • Militants killed 35 people in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Bus fall into gorge in Uttaranchal killing all 21 passengers.

And apart from these, Pramod Mahajan and Naushad Ali left us.

You will say, what is new in this, accidents occur with regular and frightening frequency and people die, killed in these accidents, shot by their brothers or simply due to organ failures. You are right.

I am just surprised by my apathy! Why is that my heart doesn't cry for the victims' families? People who kept on waiting for their dear ones to come with the ill-fated plane or that bus, people whose families were butchered in front of their eyes?Why have I become so selfish? If those people are not my relatives or friends, I am not at all bothered!

Am I losing my humanity?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A tale of two states

Last week I watched two different news stories. First was about the election promises in Tamilnadu election on CNN-IBN and second was an NDTV story on children dying of hunger in Maharashtra.
Tamilnadu's electoral scenario revolves around the promises of freebies being doled out. So if we have one party offering rice at Rs. 2/kg then the other is ready with rice (why don't they offer any other grain?) at Rs. 1.75/kg. The report told that TN government is already paying Rs. 1200 crore as subsidy on cheap rice and if these promises are indeed carried out then state exchequer would be set back by another Rs. 630 crore! As if the rice wasn't lucrative enough, someone is promising to give color TVs to all families below poverty line. The reason: the poor would expand their knowledge beyond their village!!!!
I couldn't understand that why honest taxpayers have to pay for the outrageous promises made by the vote-hungry politicians?
The other story was both heart-rending and shocking. Scores of children have succumbed to the greed of corrupt beaurocrats and politicians. A number of tribal children have died because the ration that is supposed to reach the ration shops of their villages and sold at subsidized rates is being diverted to open market and the poor tribals can't afford it. Complete official machinery (beaurocrats, politicians and even doctors) tries to make us believe that the cause of deaths is disease or anything else, whereas everyone knows it is hunger and malnutrition.
I was just wondering that what a land of disparities this country is. Where will this greed lead us?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Congress and BJP vs Bhagwati Patidar and Aamir Khan

Finally Congress and BJP have got something common to burn effigies of. And it’s none other than film actor Aamir Khan! He has become the target of violent protests (Congress workers stopped screening of ‘Rang De Basanti’ in Vadodara, Gujrat) because he visited the protest site of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activists in Delhi.
But for once, forget these political activists. I was reading comments to a news item about Aamir’s visit and I was shocked that even some people think that he should not be supporting this ‘Blackmail’ and should remain out even if this was ‘a paid appearance’! Now I must clarify that I am no great fan of Aamir, just like his acting and support some of his views (including the ones he expressed about media).
I am unable to understand how can anyone term a rightful demand as blackmail? Those people are demanding only what even Supreme Court has directed governments to do. The fact that these people have to resort to protests to get their basic right is a matter of shame for the Governments and instead of rectifying their callousness they are painting the protestors as anti-development. Ideal case of shooting the messenger!
Aamir Khan’s visit ensured that the NBA protest keeps getting its due share of media attention, which was waning off slowly.
Congress and BJP can shake hands and burn effigies. Bhagwati Patidar is not listening!

Demanding right to live

We all are aware of the plight of Kashmiri Pundits. The natives of Jammu and Kashmir who were displaced due to terrorism in the valley in 1990s and then got nothing from any government except false promises and assurances. They lost their homes, their property and their land. They lost everything.
And the history is set to repeat itself. Not in Jammu and Kashmir but in the western part of country where many are going to be displaced simply because their own government is not interested in giving them an opportunity to live peacefully.
I am talking about thousands of people who are going to be displaced by Sardar Sarovar Project. The Government instead of following Supreme Court's order that first the affected people are given compensation and settled properly, is painting their valid demand as anti-development. Is asking for your right wrong? These people who gave their land to Government and agreed to leave everything for the sake of development (and I am not even talking about how viable this 'development project' is, considering the cost and dangers to ecology and environment involved) are now forced to take the path of protest to ask for something as basic as right to live!
And guess what, all our honorable PM can do is to appeal Ms. Patkar to end her hunger strike. Mr. PM, you are supposed to be a man of action. So why inaction in this case? After Supreme Court's verdict, even NBA has dropped demand for not increasing height of the dam; only thing they want is proper rehabilitation of dam victims. What is the problem in this? No development project should be allowed to plunge many others in the darkness of misery.
I appeal to the President and Prime Minister of India to ensure that people getting affected by this project are given proper benefits and they are rehabilitated properly. People of our own country must not be made to live like refugees in their own country.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Country / politics=0

Flashback to 1990s: Mandal Commission recommends reservations in jobs. Despite wide-spread anger and protests, V.P. Singh government passes the bill and India changes for ever.
Now back to 2006: Manmohan Singh government increases the reservation in educational institutes to 50% and introduces reservations in private sector jobs. India is nomore left to be changed!

The worst thing in this issue is that no political party is willing to initiate any discussion on the merits or demerits of the quota system and how it will affect the society. Time and again since Mandal-1 our sociologists and academecians have been saying that quota on the caste system is actually doing more harm to society and country than good. It is increasing the divide amongst castes, since people of unreserved castes look down to those getting benefits due to this system. And I am not saying anything about the quality of people coming in the prestigious institutes when quality is compromised.
BJP is only concerned about 'violation of EC guidelines'. So rest assured, the bill will be passed after the elections are over. It is another issue that only a few years ago, Atal Behari Vajpayee had raised the issue of doing away with caste based quotas. No party will oppose this, for the fear of being sidelined in the elections by the SC/ST/OBC voters. And if they are risking any violations of SC directives, an amendment in law will be made very swiftly.
I really can't understand why are these politicians so short sighted that they can't see the future of country, of so many people living in this country, beyond their short term political gains.