Friday, April 30, 2010

And yet, we shall talk!

On February 26, 2010, the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan met in New Delhi. As has been the trend, India gave 3 dossiers to Pakistan and then said that the next round of talks will happen after Pakistan responds to them. And Pakistan hasn't yet responded to them. True to our stand, the secretaries did not meet. But hey, we never said the Prime Ministers will not meet right? So, in Thimpu this week, the Prime Ministers of both the countries met. Infact, they even went for a stroll, at the "insistence" of the summit leaders. (by the way,If you are wondering what Summit - the SAARC summit. Wouldn't blame you for forgetting that, given the fact that SAARC has been reduced to this bilateral farce long ago! )

Anyways, post the "stroll" and then a one-on-one meeting, it was decided that the dialogue process will be put
back on track. A cursory (and not even careful) reading of the news reports clearly tells us there are no specifics that have been decided as of yet. What will the two countries talk about? Siddarth Varadarajan "analyses" that "...but the Manmohan Singh government will need more than mere words in order to convince sceptics at home.". What is very conveiniently forgotten is that the Prime Minister himself is not convinced, so where does the option arise to convince "sceptics" at home?

We have not been told what action has been taken by Pakistan. Frequently, we hear the Home Minister, the External Affairs Minister, and the Defence Minister say they are not at all satisfied with what Pakistan has done. Yet, the Prime Minister does not care for these sentiments. He seems to be trying hard to please the world community, that he is ready to leave a legacy of peace behind him, no matter how many times we are attacked. The sense of urgency the Prime Minister is showing to get talks back on track is plain baffling. And more importantly, the reasons cited (if any) are totally misleading. The only lesson that we seem to have learnt from the
Sharm-el-Sheikh summit is that there will no joint statements after the two PM's meet.

Pakistan now knows that happen what may, we will continue to give dossiers. And then we will talk. It doesn't matter if any action has been taken on the Dossier. Talks will happen, and it is always a win-win situation for Pak at the world stage.

Nothing changed after the Feb. 26th meeting; nothing changed from the time Chidambaram,
recently, publicly rebuked the High Commisioner of Pakistan; nothing changed from the last time A.K.Anthony told us that there are 42 training camps across the LoC, training for we all know what; Hell, nothing changed from the last time, I wrote this letter to the Prime Minister. Every single point is valid today too. Yet, we shall talk.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trysts with MSM - Part 5

MSM stands for Main Stream Media :)

Bhupendra Chaubey, Chief of National Bureau of CNN-IBN and I had a discussion (which was not carried to its logical conclusion though).

He starts with these:

Opposition walks out of Parliament without voting on the finance bill, Historic as they had walked out during the budget speech as well

Opposition says this government is against the common man, Dont think Sushma Swaraj has quite understood the new Indian middle class

Sindoor, Mangalsootra and Saari with a sharp tongue was good when it first made a mark, Not anymore

I ask him back these:

since it looks like you understood the Indian middle class... can u enlighten us more on their needs?

u don't cover a bit on how well the entire opposition participated in the debate,but go gaga over the walk out. Explain pls?

He replies back:

Walkouts is a parliamentarian tool available to opposition to lodge protest.

I continue with my questions:

huh? how does that answer my question? Why was Parl not covered when substantial debates took place?

also, is it fair to expect that BJP talks about education and employment during a discussion on Finance Bill?

NDA introduced SSA and Golden Quadrilateral ( edu and infrastructure).

He replies:

Talk about everything, I was just giving a few examples. But this is negative politics, hence my objections

My questions continue :)

Don't you think it is worth commending that the entire opposition took part in the debate for 2 days?

Isn't that worth reporting? Isn't that what actually matters? Walk outs matter, or debates matter?

my point is that the opposition debated on finance bill. Isn't that worth commending and reporting?Isnt that +ve

As usual, one line reply from him :D

Then vote on it as well na

And it concludes with my two points ( because I guess he had to leave at this point of time)

ok, but let's harp on the good things that happened in LS too... how fair is it for you to ignore it?

if you report only walk out and talk about it as all negative, that is the wrong perception you are giving.

Basically, this discussion should be seen in the context of the letter I wrote to the President of the Editors Guild on the reporting pattern on Parliament. For two days, MP's from all parties debated extensively on the Finance bill, and not one channel found it fit to report that. NDTV found the news that Shashi Tharoor has unfollowed Lalit Modi on twitter worth reporting, but not the details of the debate that went on in Parliament! And today, we had the National Bureau Chief of CNN-IBN extremely "worried" about a mere walk-out when a substantial debate took place for a full two days. Talk about giving importance to form over content!

Monday, April 26, 2010

That's all, your honour!: Apr 18-24

1. On February 7th, 2010, the Prime Minister emphatically declared that the worst is over with respect to food inflation. We are nearing April end, and hey guess what - inflation is still hovering around the same 17.5%. On what basis has the PM made that statement? What is the time frame he was talking about then? No one will bother to ask these questions, for the PM is a "honest" and "decent" man. The spiralling food prices are of a major concern, and when the BJP organised a massive rally against price rise in New Delhi this week - guess what sections of the media were worried about - traffic jams caused in Delhi because of this! No discussions of why the food inflation is still increasing. No discussion on the stagnant economic policies of the government. Or for that matter, not even a discussion on how this rally might have been a political show of strength by the new BJP President, Mr. Nitin Gadkari. No live coverage of the event. Nothing. They talked about traffic jam on a single day. Not that you people don't know, but this same media never talked about traffic jams when the "eternal opposition leader" Shri Rahul Gandhi went about travelling in Mumbai, or for that matter in other parts of the country. Any press conference of Shri Rahul Gandhi, or any public speech is ALWAYS carried live by these same news channels. But, a rally on price rise in the capital lead to traffic jams is what concerns us.

2. Post the Dantewada massacre, more rhetoric flowed from intellectuals. The same old crap - need development, gain confidence etc etc. While the intellectuals were dishing out this shit, guess what the Naxals have been doing. They attacked 5 CRPF camps in Dantewada, and also blew up a couple of mobile towers in Orissa. Why blow up a mobile tower? Because a mobile tower means better connectivity. Better connectivity means better development, which the Maoists are dead against. But hey, let's listen to the intellectuals, for without them, where would this country be?

3. And finally to the farce that EVERY single media channel has been covering for almost EVERY single minute this whole week. The IPL fiasco. So Shashi Tharoor resigned. And then the Congress started it's witch hunt (as is its wont). All the offices of IPL teams were raided. Lalit Modi was questioned. And then the big bosses of BCCI started leaking details about Lalit Modi's scams. NDTV's "sources" covered all possibilities, gave us multiple permutations and combinations of what can happen, passed them off as analysis. Some court cases etc also came into picture, some tax evasion issues came into the picture, some benami investors came into the picture, blah blah......yawwwnnnn. Lalit Modi might go as the IPL commissioner, but NOTHING will change. BCCI is a headstrong private organisation, and it will do nothing at all to change any of its functioning ways. Lalit Modi is just being expended because he took panga with Shashi Tharoor. And Shashi Tharoor pontificated
yet again on twitter - " my resignation leads to real reform, it will be worthwhile." Yeah right, you kept quiet when you knew about it, and now this! haa! That's all, your honour!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

8th Letter to Editors Guild: Coverage of Parliament

Dear Sirs,

For the past three days, members of Lok Sabha have rasied questions/discussed on topics such as supply of food grains; on promotion of commercial farming; on Somali pirates attacking our ships; on disappearances of people in police custody; on a 4 crore scam in Bihar; on the non-inclusion of Bhojpuri in the official language list; fires in farms because of the heat; on water sharing disputes; missing Indian in Afghanistan; declining ground water table; about Kendriya Vidyalaya; of the cyclone in West Bengal and Bihar; on oil spill's near our shores affecting the livelihood of fishermen; on farm credit; on oil and gas blocks.

Also longer discussions were held on Grants for Railway Ministry and the National Green Tribunal Bill. I did not know about the National Green Tribunal Bill until I heard the discussion. Now, if you are wondering that I got all this information from our media channels/newspapers - you are grossly mistaken. I had the good fortune of having found some time during office hours to listen into the live webcast on Lok Sabha website.

Not one of these topics were shown as news/breaking news on any ofthe channels. Not one of the news channels mentioned about the discussion on the National Green Tribunal Bill. Hitherto unknown MP's were brilliantly articulating many points over the past three days, and some channels were obssesed with the flair with which Shashi Tharoor spoke in the Parliament.

It is impossible to believe that TV channels could not find a 5 minute slot in the entire day, to cover the delibarations in Parliament. It is impossible to believe that newspapers couldn't find atleast half a page space to cover the deliberations in Parliament. While it is media's freedom to playback the same tape about an issue day long, doesn't it also become its responsibility to show what's happening in the Parliament?

I have tweeted as much as I could about the proceedings, but unfortunately my reach is miniscule compared to the reach the media has. As much as we love to be cynical about how our MP's disappoint us, don't they deserve better space when they actually perform as mandated by the constitution? Can the Editors Guild frame guidelines on this matter?

PS: As I write this, Lok Sabha is now discussion Demands for grants to Rural Affairs Ministry.

S. Sudhir Kumar

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Look who's talking!

For the past few days, all the news that we have been hearing on TV is about IPL. This "source" told that, that "source" revealed this blah blah, etc etc. All other issues were simply kept aside. And then today, we have two people who say the following on twitter.

The first is from Barkha Dutt, Group Editor of NDTV
"maybe because the depths of dirt in the IPL seem so out of reach to public scrutiny, its beginning to wear me out. Time to move on?"

The second is from Sagarika Ghose, Senior Editor, CNN-IBN
"Must confess, increasingly underwhelmed by IPL. price rise, maoism, PM meets Lula, medvedev. Yet Lalit modi dominating mindspace!"

These guilt trips by people who are best placed to choose what to cover and for how long, have become very frequent increasingly. And then they blame us for complaining that TV media is becoming a drab. Need we really say anything more? :D

Sunday, April 18, 2010

That's all, your honour!: Apr 11-17

1. On saturday, there were two blasts outside the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore, just minutes before the IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers. A third bomb was also found and diffused. These bombs were timed to go off at 8pm, but obviously 2 of them went off much before that. 17 people have been injured, and there are no casaulities. Preliminary inquiries have revealed that the explosive used is Ammonium Nitrate. Alert folks on twitter have pointed out that Naxalites have stolen a truck carrying Ammonium Nitrate about a month back in Gadchiroli. But police later ruled out the Naxalite theory. Also, this might be a way to distract public attention from the IPL fiasco going on right now. Well, they don't seem to have succeeded fully though, for the media is trying to balance both the blasts and the Tharoor saga! The match was delayed by an hour, but was played fully. This is a serious breach of security, but we might never know who did it, as is the case most of the times.

2. Eyjafjallajokull. No, I am not abusing you. And no, it is not some random keys that I typed! That is the name of the glacier on which a volcano erupted in Iceland. And what happened next? Practically all, yes ALL, airports in Europe have been shut down! Why? The ash that is emanating from this volcano is travelling
towards Europe, because of some wind drift, and hence flying aircrafts has become practically impossible. Post the second world war, this is the most massive shutdown of airports in Europe ever. Tens of thousands of people are stranded everywhere, and airport authorities are having a hard time managing the airports. And the crisis is likely to continue to for another 5 days. This might be the biggest crisis the industry ever faced, and that too because of Eyjafjallajokull! Now, beat that!

3. ISRO tried to launch GSLV with its own cryogenic engine this week. Approximately 500 seconds into the flight, the cryogenic engine failed to ignite and the launch vehicle fell into the Bay of Bengal. This was the first time we were launching with our own cryogenic engine. It took ISRO 17 years to develop the engine. Though we have had an history of the first flights failing, this one came as a shock because of the extensive testing that has been done on the ground. ISRO has now announced that it will try to launch the GSLV with our own cryogenic engine in about a year's time. Good luck to them!

4. A cyclone devastated West Bengal this week. 120 peopl died, and about 1 lakh people were displaced. Guess who covered this news - BBC. That's right - not NDTV, not IBN, not TIMES NOW. But BBC! Fellow netizen has
written a letter to the Editors Guild on the same. It is a real shame that such news get drowned in seemingly trivial "news".

5. And finally we will talk about this Shashi Tharoor mess! It is actually quite simple. Shashi Tharoor gave his "blessings" and "encouragement" to Rendezvous (pronounced as Ron-de-voo - oof, this English !) Sports, which won the bid for Kochi team. IPL Commisioner Lalit Modi reveals later that this consortium provided 5 % sweat equity to a lady called Sunanda Pushkar. As of today's market value, that 5% translates to 50-70 crores! Now, who is Sunanda Pushkar? She is reportedly the lady Shashi Tharoor is planning to marry! And so now all hell broke lose! Tharoor has been accused of impropeity, and massive pressure has been mounting on him to resign. He releases
this statement, and accuses Lalit Modi of trying to scuttle the bid for the Kochi team. Now, that is a very serious allegation - IPL commiosioner trying to be biased. So now my question is very simple. Leave aside all that ethical, impropeitary stuff. As someone who wants to bring in a change into the system, did Shashi Tharoor officially complain to the IPL governing Council on Lalit Modi's attempts? If not, why? That's all, your honour!

అదన్నమాట! : ఏప్రిల్ 11-17

1 . మంత్రి పదవి ఆసవాహులందరికి నిరాశే మిగిలింది ! ముఖ్య మంత్రి రోశయ్య గారు ఈ వారం రాజధాని కి వెళ్లి మేడం గారి చేత మంత్రి వర్గ విస్తరణకు అనుమతించమని కోరడానికి వెళ్ళరు. మేడం గారు మరి ఎందు చేతనో అనుమతి ఇవ్వలేదు ! దీనితో అయ్యా గారు వెనక్కి వచ్చేసారు మరి! ఇక్కడ ఏమో చాలా మంది ఏం ఎల్ యేలు బాగా ఆసలు పెంచుకున్నారు. ఇక ఇప్పట్లో రోశయ్య గారు ఉన్న మంత్రులతోనే సరిపెట్టుకోవాల్సి వస్తుంది మరి !

2 . జగనన్న ఈ వారం కూడా తన ఓదార్పు యాత్ర ని కొనసాగిస్తున్నారు. ఖమ్మం జిల్లా లో పర్యటించారు. సాక్షి టీవీ కి మరే ఇతర వార్తఃలు చూపించే అవసరం కనబడటం లేదు కూడా! ఓదార్పు యాత్ర లో భాగంగా అయన మధ్యలో చిన్న చిన్న సభలని ఉద్దేశించి కూడా మాట్లాడుతున్నారు. యైఎసార్ లాగ మాట్లాడదాము అని ప్రయత్నిస్తున్నారు. అయన మర్చిపోతుంది ఏంటంటే ఒకరి లాగ మాట్లాడినంత మాత్రాన్న వోట్లు పడవని !

3 . ఆంధ్రుల అభిమాన హాస్య నటుడు శ్రీ కేసీఆర్ గారు ఒక పది మంది తో కలిసి ఈ వారం డిల్లి లో శ్రీ కృష్ణ కమిషన్ ను కలిసారు. కలిసి బయట వచ్చి, వెనకబాటు గురుంచి మేము తెలంగాణా అడగటం లేదు, ఆత్మా గౌరవం గురుంచి అడుగుతున్నాము ! ఇవ్వకపోతే, చాలా దారుణాలు జరుగుతాయి అని హేచ్చారించాము అని చెప్పుకువచ్చారు. అదీ అన్నమాట సంగతి - అయన ఇంకా అదే పదజాలం, అదే దురుస్తనం ప్రద్సిస్తున్నారు. మన దేశం కాబట్టి చెల్లిపోతుంది ఇది అంతా!!

4 . ఎట్టకేలకు సానియా మిర్జా పెళ్లి అయ్యిపోయింది అండి. ఇంకా ఇప్పటికైనా టీవీ వాళ్ళు ఆ గోల ఆపుతారు అన్న ఆనందం ఎక్కువ ఉంది చాలా మందిలో! అదన్నమాట!

Friday, April 16, 2010

My experiments with Photography - Part 5

At one point yesterday in a team picnic, I didn't know what else to click, so went about with some obscure ideas! And ofcourse, choosing the best amongst the worst and presenting it here :D

Sunday, April 11, 2010

That's all, Your Honour!:April 4-10

1. Post the massacre of 76 jawans in Dantewada, Home Minister P. Chidambaram accepted that the buck stopped at this desk. It was also later learnt that he offered to resign in the wake of this disaster, and it was rejected by the Prime Minister. On a recent visit to West Bengal, PC made a statement that the "buck stops with the CM". The CM of West Bengal asked PC to mind his language since "buck" is considered a slang. And when this massacre happened, obviously many people questioned as to where the buck will stop now given that CRPF jawans were killed. Semantics apart, what this massacre has revealed, irrespective of where the "buck stops", is that there are huge gaping holes in our security apparatus. Lack of planning, lack of recruitment, lack of vision, lack of co-operation etc are just so evident that it is frustrating to note soldiers have to sacrifice their lives for such ridiculous reasons. To be brutally frank, it is difficult to find a replacement for PC. The BJP said it right - we don't want you to resign. We want to you to perform.

By the way, Barkha Dutt hosts a show called "The Buck Stops Here" weekdays night at 10pm on NDTV. Coincidentally, on her shows, the buck seldom stops (multiple panelists for any issue and the buck is just passed), but the man who picked up that phrase finally agreed that the buck stopped at his desk!

2. A worker in a Delhi market cut a piece of scrap, and guess what happened then? A radioactive material Cobalt leaked!!! Yes, you read it right. This scrap was supposed to have been imported (why we import scrap, I have no clue!); which means that there has been a serious security lapse somewhere because this radioactive isotope is something we are supposed to keep track of! 6 people have been hospitalised, and most probably a couple of them are serious (suspected bone marrow). A good report on the repurcusions of the whole issue is here.

3. Finally the curfew in the old city of Hyderabad has been lifted! After a full 12 days. A small breakthrough also has
been achieved when the police arrested 3 youth for murdering 3 people during these riots. All thos conspiracy theories will now be forgotten. All those enquiries will never end now, and the political parties will be back to their bickerings, whilst the common man still lives in the danger of another such riot happening.

4. Justice Dinakaran has been asked to head the Sikkim High Court. Quite expectedly, the Sikkim bar association has already started its protest against treating it as a dumping ground. Wondering what is so great about it? Justice Dinakaran was Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, when he was accused of large scale corruption in some land deals in his home state of Tamil Nadu. The case went upto an Supreme Court (SC) collegium, which "advised" him to go on long leave. Note it, the advise was only to go on leave. And our Justice Dinakaran apparently did not want to go on leave. Karnataka lawyers already protested multiple times demanding his removal. A tainted Chief Justice is the last thing any justice system anywhere in the world would want, but hey - what is the brilliant idea that SC comes up with? Send him to Sikkim. That's all, your honour! (literally :D).

అదన్నమాట!: ఏప్రిల్ 4-10

ఎట్టకేలకు హైదరాబాద్ పాత బస్తి లో విధించిన కర్ఫ్యూ ని ఎత్తివేశారు. కిందటి వారం లో ఈ అల్లర్లు అంతా ఒక పక్క ప్రణాళిక తో జరిగిన్నాయి అని, దీని వెనక ఎవరిదో చెయ్యి ఉంది అని చాలా మంది చెప్పారు. ఎవరెవరో నిందలు వేసుకున్నారు. కాని ఇప్పుడు మళ్ళి ఆ వ్శాయలు మీద ఎవ్వర్రు మాట్లాడడం లేదు. కథ కంచికి మనం ఇంటికి అన్నట్టు పరస్పరం నిన్డుచుకున్న రాజకీయ నాయకులు అంతా ఇప్పుడు ఏమి మాట్లాడడం లేదు. అంతే లెండి - మళ్ళి ఇంకో గొడవ అయ్యి సామాన్యుడు బాధ పడే వరకు వీళ్ళు మళ్ళి కనిపించరు కదా!

ఇది ఇలా ఉండగా, మన జగనన్న "ఓదార్పు" అనే ఒక కార్యక్రమంకి నాంది పలికారు. ఈయన గారు దివంగత యైఎసార్ మృతి చెందినా వార్త తెలిసి చనిపోయిన వాళ్ళ ఇంటికి వెళ్తారు అంట. మొత్తం 88 ఫ్యమిలిస్ ని కలుస్తారు అంట. మీకు చెప్పాల్సిన అవసరం లేదు అనుకుంట, సాక్షి టీవీ ఈ పర్యటనకి ఎంత ప్రాధాన్యం ఇస్తుందో.

మన తెలుగు చానల్స్ ఎంత నీచానికి దిగాజరగాలవో ఒక్క సారి సానియా మిర్జా వివాహం మీద వారు ఇస్తున్న వార్తలు చూస్తే అర్ధం అవుతుంది. రోజు రోజుకి చిరాకు వచేస్తుంది వీళ్ళు చూపించే కధనాలను చూస్తుంటే ! ఆమె పెళ్లి ఎప్పుడు అయ్యిపోతుంద అన్న కుతుహులం ఎక్కువ అయ్యిపోయింది మాలో !

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To the 76 brave men ...

76 brave men died yesterday. All I want to do is salute them for their sacrifice. I know it is no consolation to the families. It is of no consequence to them too, that the nation feels their pain. I feel helpless too, but this is the only thing I can do right now - Remember them. And the hundreds of many such brave souls who died fighting a war that the government refuses to call a war.

While the government expertly
analyses the situation;and while unadulterated rhetoric is mouthed off; while english media journalists have no qualms in still engaging with the romanticizers of Naxalism/Maosim/whatever shit it is called - 76 families lost their breadwinners in the most gory fashion. These families deserve answers, not debates. Who is responsible for the latest attack? Trust me, no ONE will be held responsible. No ONE will be sacked, punished or even touched. And when the next attack happens, the same analysis, the same rhetoric, the same "debate", and we will move on.

Well meaning people have suggested the
way forward (infact each time there is an attack, many well meaning suggestions came out), but lack of "political will" apparently is putting brake on implementation. Yet, the families will never get their answer. I salute these soldiers, for they placed nation above self and that to my mind is the greatest sacrifice. The saddest part - it might go in vain :(

PS: This link has poigant stories.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

That's all, Your Honour!:Mar.28-Apr.3

1. Believe it or not, 25 police stations under the old city of Hyderabad are STILL under curfew. That's right - one week after the riots started, 5 days after curfew was first imposed, after more than 300 people were arrested - the curfew is still on! It was relaxed for a couple of hours on thursday, saturday and sunday. Day time curfew will be lifted on Monday. Please note however that the entire curfew is not being relaxed. Are the Hyderabad Police being over cautious? Or is there real danger lurking around? This report in The Hindu is the best summary of how and why these riots started. Sakshi had a banner headline talking about the possible role of ISI ! Ordinarily wouldn't take Sakshi seriously, but then given that both the Home Minister and also the advisor to government on security are both very close to Jagan, story might have some credence. 3 people were killed during the riots. 2 died during the curfew, because they were not able to get medical care. All 5 of them had NOTHING to do with the riots. When curfew was relaxed, one litre of milk was sold at Rs.50-100! One Kg of vegetables were sold at Rs.50/-! And if you reside outside and have no clue about these facts - that's because the national media decided to concentrate and prioritize the other "most important" thing happening in Hyderabad - Sania Mirza's wedding with Shoiab Mallik (former captain of Pak Cricket Team). That's right - national media gave top priority to the wedding news over the riots and curfew situation in 1/3rd of the city of Hyderabad. And guess what - 3 days into the news, the media asks "us" why "we" want to intrude so much in personal lives. Dudes - go look in the mirror, will you? :D

2. 8 years after the bill was first passed by Parliament, the Right to Education bill became law this week. Now if you are wondering why it took 8 years, according to learned friends on twitter, it is because all states have to come on board and also finance commission has to work with all states to decide on how to split the funding between the centre and the state. According to this act now, all children aged 6-14 years have a fundamental right to free and compulsory education. Governments will have to take all steps to ensure that no child in this age group is deprived of education. The law also talks about infrastructure, teacher-student ratio etc too. However, the most worrying factor is this: Private schools have to reserve 25% of seats to "poor" students in the neighbourhood. These kids will have to be taken into class 1 without any entrance test. The government's concentration should have been on developing infrastructure, and recruiting more teachers. Or maybe a better model of Public-Private pratnership. Teachers need special training to deal with poor students. The students require special training keeping in view their upbringing etc. It still beats me why this government is so hell bent on reservations as such. The good aspect so far is that this bill has not yet been tom-tomed as Sonia/Rahul's vision. Well, it's just a matter of time before that happens!

3. Like most of us predicted last week, Sonia Gandhi emerged unscathed from the Amitabh Bachchan controversy. Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari compared Modi to Dawood. Tiwari questioned Amitabh what his stance on Modi's role is. After spewing venom from the very dias he addresses press conferences as the spokesperson of Congress, one day we hear Prannoy Roy telling us that his sources say "Sonia doesn't know about this". hahaha, true Didn't we all see it coming. The next day, we are told that Sonia Gandhi has asked spokespersons not to speak about Amitabh anymore. The media lapped it up, saying Sonia has basically asked the likes ot Tiwari to keep quiet and she disapproved of their methods to display their loyalty towards "the family". The second part of the previous statement was the ultimate analysis of some of the "intellectuals" in the media. Sonia Gandhi did not know. We sooo believe it! By the way, later in the week, Abhishek Singhvi says this - "Mr Amitabh Bachchan has not been elected by the people of Gujarat to be the brand ambassador of tourism". I heard it and then fainted :D!. I rest my case!

4. Your honour, this has got to be THE news of the week. Pakistan has asked for a red corner notice on Ajmal Kasab. A red corner noticed is issued to a fugituve, one who has not been caught and is at large. Ajmal Kasab is caught, and safe in an Indian jail. And Pakistan has "issued a notice" for a captured terrorist. That's all, your honour!

అదన్నమాట! : మార్చి 28 - ఏప్రిల్ 3

హైదరాబాద్ లోని పాత బస్తి కర్ఫ్యూ ఇంకా కొనసాగుతుంది. గత రెండు రోజులు గా రెండు మూడు గంటలు కర్ఫ్యూ ని సడలించిన, పరిస్థితులు ఇంకా మామూలు అవ్వడానికి ఒకటి రెండు రోజులు పడుతుంది. ఈ వారం లో ముగ్గురు అల్లర్లు వాళ్ళ చనిపోయారు. ముగ్గురికి ఈ అల్లరలతో ఎటువంటి సంభందం లేదు. వీరు చావు కి ఎవరిదీ అండి బాధ్యత? కర్ఫ్యూ విధించిన తరువాత వైద్య సహాయం అందాకా ఇద్దరు మృతి చెందారు. వీరి చావు కి ఎవరిదీ అండి బాధ్యత? గురువారం కర్ఫ్యూ సదలించినప్పుడు లీటర్ పాలు ని వంద రూపాయలకి అమ్మారు. సామాన్యుడి నడ్డి విరిచారు. దీనికి ఎవడిది బాధ్యత? రోజు కూలి చేసుకునే వాళ్ళకి ఆదాయం లేకుండా పోయింది. దీనికి ఎవడిది బాధ్యత? తగ్గిపోతుంది అనుకున్న వాళ్ళ ప్రతిష్ట ని పెంచుకోవడానికి ఎమైయెం పార్టి వాళ్ళు ఒక పండగకి మొత్తం ఆకు పచ్చ జెండాలు పెట్టారు. ఆ జెండాలను పీకి హనుమాన్ జయంతి కోసం హిందువులు ఆరంజ్ జెండాలు పాతారు. దీంతో మొదలు ఆయినా గొడవ, చినికి చినికి వాన అయ్యింది. అయితే అదీ వాన గా మారడానికి కారణం మాత్రం చాలా పెద్ద పధకమే అని చెప్తునారు. సాక్షి ఏమో పాకిస్తాన్ ఐఎసై కుట్ర ఉంది అని చెప్తుంది. కాంగ్రెస్స్ లో ఒక వర్గం ఏమో రోశయ్య ని దింపడానికి వేరే వర్గం పన్నిన పధకం అని చెప్తుంది. భిజేపీ వాళ్ళు ఏమో ఇది కేవలం ఎమైయెం వాళ్ళు పన్నిన పధకం అని చెప్తునారు. తెరాసా వాళ్ళు ఏమో తెలంగాణా వ్యతిరేకుల పని అని చెప్తున్నారు. ఎవడి పధకం అయితే ఏంటి అండి? కష్టపడేది, నష్టపడేది సామాన్యుడే. వాడి ఘోష ఎవడు పట్టించుకుంటాడు చెప్పండి ?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Selective History...

Year 1990: In Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, about 300 citizens of this country were killed just because the police shot down a gangster who happened to be a Muslim. There was curfew in the ENTIRE city of Hyderabad. I was a kid then, but still vividly remember the empty streets, roads and also the mad traffic rush to buy stuff when the curfew was relaxed. How many of us even know the name of the Chief Minister, leave alone remember it? The then Chief Minister Mr. Marri Chenna Reddy openly accused factions within Congress party of engineering these riots to unsettle him. Internal bickering cost 300 lives, devasted 1000's of life, disturbed peace in the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, and yet we never, NEVER hear of these riots anywhere in the media. Not one rioter was arrested, Chenna Reddy resigned as CM, but went on to become the Governor of Tamil Nadu some years later, and died in office.

Year 1983:
Nellie massacre in Assam.Official records itself indicate about 2000 Muslims were killed. Most of those killed were immigrants from Bangladesh. There was an agitation going on in Assam to expel these immigrants, but the Central government was keen having elections to tap this vote bank, and despite severe objections, went ahead and announced the elections. In terms of numbers, this is one of the biggest massacre, completely ignored by the state government. And hey, even I knew about this only in recent times after the advent of the superb information available on the Internet. Does anyone know the name of the Chief Minister of the state? And go figure out who the Prime Minister of the country was then.

How many of us know who the Chief Minister of Maharashtra was during the 1993 riots? How many of us know who the Home Minister of India was during 1984? These are just a couple of incidents of the many many riots that have happened in India.

Which brings me to my basic question. Who is responsible for the exclusive concentration of ANY riots related debate to center around 1984 ad 2002? Why is the media shying away from discussing in an impassionate way, ALL these riots/carnages etc. My stand on 2002, 1993, 1990,1989, 1984, 1983 1978 etc is the same, but if I demand equal justice in all cases, why am I being looked upon as someone with dubious political intentions?

Say for example, if I demand that the perpetrators of 1984 be punished on par with 2002 riots, why on earth is that argument twisted as if I am "justifying" the 2002 riots? Media blames Congress for 1984, Modi for 2002. Why can't it blame Rajiv and Modi, or the Congress and the BJP? How does my questioning of this distortion of the media, which has phenomenal reach to people of this country construed as a "justification" of the 2002 riots?

When questioned about the recent lak of coverage imediately after 2010 Hyderabad riots erupted, journos answer saying these are because of the political games. So, does that justify not covering them and discussing them?

Why is the discourse of the riots in India, the "reliving of ghosts" exclusively limited to the 1984 and 2002 riots alone? Don't the people of this country need to have maximum information at their disposal and then be allowed to come to their conclusion? Why is asking for a full account of history termed as being loony and a right winger?

Who is responsible for not putting a full stop to the devious methods many many cheap politicians used to fan thse emotions, and even continue to do it today? Why can't we debate and set in process a motion that will ensure rioters think twice before embarking on mass killing and destruction?Why has the judiciary been let off in the criticism so far? If we are willing to go back in history to study these occurences in depth, why are we stopping at 1984? Aren't all these topics worthy of debate, or will I be called names for even suggesting this?

Go ahead and blame Narendra Modi. It's your opinion, I won't contest it. But please extend that same courtesy to all those leaders mentioned above too. Please don't make the whole riots thing sound as a debate between 1984 and 2002. You are doing grave injustice by discussing selective history.

PS: A similar piece on the "C-word" is here.