Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Home Minister calls it quits

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Shivraj Patil has finally called it quits from the Home Ministry in a desperate move to save some face for the UPA government. This government has time and again proved itself incompetent to ensure basic security to the people of this country. The question that arises now is what took him so long when his CV in the last four and half years was nothing to write home about. Is it because the life of a person killed in the street was not worth the same as those killed in Taj? Was it because this time there was a lot of pressure from people like the Tatas calling for the head of Shivraj Patil? Whatever be the reason the worst occupant of the North Block has finally become sane enough to leave it.

India today needs a person with a strong political resolve to helm the affairs of the country rather than a 'good person' which our Prime Minister might be. It is not surprising that he cabinet is full with a bunch of people called the 'Gandhi loyalist' (Pranab Mukherjee, Shivraj Patil, Priyaranjan Das Munshi, A K Anthony) who are the most inefficient souls in this nation. Is it not a mockery of democracy that our Prime Minister and his Defence Minister have never managed to win an election ever in their lives? Mind it they are nominated members of the Upper House in the Parliament.

It is highly surprising that this government is still not talking about bringing in tough laws which will give our security forces some teeth to fight terror. Have they set a benchmark of some lives which have to be lost before a law such as POTA has to be re-enacted? I wonder when there is so much recession in the market and corporate world is talking about layoffs why is no such thing happening with our babus in white. These people have mastered the art of mud-slinging at each other and it is their only claim to fame.

The US, Israel and most other developed countries have their Defence Ministries or whatever they call it being headed by people with a military background. But none of our ministers have had combat experience in their life. How can they understand what facing a bullet or manning the borders from Tawang to Siachen is? Will an engineer be allowed to be the chief surgeon of a hospital or a PHD in history head the team that is working on Chandrayan II. The answer can be expected from a toddler whose milk teeth have barely fallen.

As Govinda chants in his famous song ‘It happens only in India’ such things can honestly happen only in the largest democracy in the world. We are living in an ‘Unsafe India’ and its time we realise and elect our leaders after some thinking. Not voting is not a solution to the problem as many of us think it to be. If we do not vote we have no right to blame the politicians in power. We have to take collective responsibility to have a ‘Better India’ and a ‘Safe India’


Saturday, November 29, 2008

War Over – Time for Politics

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The Mumbai carnage has finally come to an end and all the terrorists have been neutralised. Our politicians finally have the time to take a dig at each other and settle scores. While the BJP will be targeting the Congress calling it 'soft on terror', the Manmohan Singh government will try to safe guard its vote banks at the cost of the lives of each Indian. Our Prime Minister and his highly talented Home Minister Shivraj Patil seem to be the most helpless souls on the planet today.

Our Prime Minister will now be thinking of ways to safeguard the rights of Ajmal the terrorist nabbed much like they victoriously did for Mohammad Afzal Guru convicted in the Parliament attack case. It is ironical that they did this when their own lives was at stake in the temple of Indian democracy. They will leave no stone unturned in dishonouring the men in uniform who do not care about their own lives when I-N-D-I-A is in question.

Even dangerous are certain breed of politicians like Amar Singh and Mamata Banerjee who will soon term this entire operation by our brave soldiers as a false encounter much like they did in the Batla house case. If they cannot salute the martyrdom of a hero like Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma they have no right to dishonour his sacrifice for the sake of his motherland. How many times has Mr Amar Singh run into bullets himself to understand what an encounter is?

And how can we forget the hypocrisy of people like Arundhuti Roy who is silent in all this. Why did she not condemn the attacks on Mumbai when she shouted for the independence of Kashmir? Is she suffering from a sore throat or she is not in touch with the current affairs? She would have championed the cause of the terrorists had they been caught alive by our security forces. Just because we are a democratic nation with freedom of speech granted to us we have no right to go insane while we speak.

The easiest thing for us to do is to point a finger at Pakistan. Well its true they were the perpetrators of this bloodbath but what about the traitors sitting inside the border. Why aren't our security forces given teeth to fight these terror modules spread across the country. Why aren't they being armed with laws not just guns to take on the mindless urban terrorism we are witnessing for some years now. Would the Israelis and the Americans responded in the same way as we are doing had they been attacked?

Hemant Karkare, Gajendra Singh, Sandeep Unnikrishnan,, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar, Shashank Shinde, Prakash More, B Durgunde, Tukaram Ombale, A R Chitte, Vijay Khandekar, M C Chaudhary, Yogesh Patil, Jaywant Patil, Ambadas Pawar and Balwant Bhosale are not just names they are bravehearts who sacrificed their lives for the country. They been let down by a weak political class which wants to preach peace to murderers.

I regret for the tone of my blog but like many in this country I too have reached a saturation point. We have to act now or we are yet to see the worst. As a common Indian I pray for the souls of the people who have fallen victims to this massacre. I salute the courage and the sacrifice of our security forces who once again saved the day for India.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai under siege; Where is Raj Thackrey?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

As I pen this blog the encounter between the terrorists and security forces continues in Mumbai. A man who seems to be nowhere in the picture is MNS honcho Mr Raj Thackrey the self styled 'Saviour of Mumbai'. The entire country is rejoicing the freeing of each hostage and mourning each death. The MNS chief and his followers may not like to believe but every house in Bihar and UP is waiting to hear the news of the final terrorist to be shot down.

It is surprising that the government had to call in the army and the NSG commandos for this crisis situation. They should have just made a call to Raj and he would have led the operation himself. After all he is willing to do anything for the sake of 'his' Mumbai. He would have openly challenged the terrorist to target him as he regularly challenges the government to arrest him. After all the terrorists have hit the biggest landmark of 'his' city Mumbai.

He is not afraid of sacrificing his life for 'his' city. How dare they entire 'his' city without his consent. His followers who have battle trained themselves for months thrashing the taxi drivers and vandalising the shops were better prepared to take on the terrorist than the NSG commandos. If the MNS could not manage the hostage situation (though its highly unlikely) Raj could have just made a call to his estranged uncle after all they are on the same side when it comes to the cause of Mumbai.

Raj might be maintaining a count of the number of Biharis and people from UP in the army and among the NSG commandos who are fighting for 'his' city. How could they have entered Mumbai and fought his war for the city of Mumbai. How is that 80% reservation was not given to the locals fighting the crisis situation in their Mumbai. Its grave injustice that has been done by the government. After all the sons of soil deserved to take on the terrorists.

Raj might be thinking about a PIL against the Government for using the 'Bhaiyaas' in fighting the terror in 'his' city thereby polluting it. Wake up Raj its high time you wake up, we are a nation and united by a common string I-N-D-I-A. The threat of terrorism looms over our head each day and people sitting across the borders and inside it planning to strike us make no distinction between a Marathi manoos like you are, the bhaiyaas whom you threaten or a Bengali like me who writes this blog.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

When will the government act?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The situation is now under control”
The guilty will be severely punished”
No body can shake the resolve of this nation against terrorism”

Sounds cliché right? Well these are the comments that our Home Minister has made after each of the recent terror strike across the country. Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Delhi, Malegaon, Agartala, Guwahati and now the financial heart of the country Mumbai, we have been hit in each and every corner of the country. The government has however only been a silent spectator. It is not completely wrong to term the present government to be 'soft on terror'.

Shivraj Patil has emerged to be the biggest embarrassment to the Centre and its allies. He was the same man who was at his loudest opposing POTO (Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance) when it was tabled in the Parliament in 2002 by the NDA government. He had termed it as a 'draconian law' which will be used against a certain section of the people. Mr Patil's voice has seen a considerable decline in decibels, why not he has been the dictionary meaning of failure in the North Block.

It is highly surprising that despite frequent terror attacks the government at the centre is reluctant to bring in tough laws. Is the political embarrassment of bringing back POTA dearer to them than the innocent lives being lost around the the country? Are they waiting for another Parliament attack where some MPs are killed or a civil war to break when citizens loose faith the state machinery to provide them security.

The militancy in Punjab was crushed under the leadership of chief minister Beant Singh and Punjab police DGP KPS Gill. Same was the fate of the Naxalite moment in West Bengal when the then chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray stood against it. These are shining example of how militant moments can be crushed when the security forces are backed by strong political resolve. The need of the hour is such strong character in the Home Ministry not the person who currently occupies it.

The armed forces in this country are paralysed by the outdated laws and the people who champion the cause of Human Rights. Some of these laws were drafted when Britishers were still helming the affairs of the country. It will not surprise many that most of the Anti- terror laws are drafted by the bureaucrats with very little participation from the armed forces, the end users of these laws.

It took the United States of America just one 9/11 to draft US Patriot Act (Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) arming its security forces with teeth to fight against terrorism. The law allows them to make pre-emptive strikes anywhere in the world if there is a threat to US or its citizens. We do not need to go out of the Indian territory but at least fight the barbarians within the geographical boundaries of India.

Enough of appeasement and vote bank politics have been done now its the time for the 'babus in white' to act. If the government is still unable to curb terrorism and provide security to its citizens, it should perhaps outsource the Home Ministry to a country like Israel which will definitely do a better job in dealing with such situation.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Terrorism and the Indian army

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Many would say the arrest of a few army man in the blasts in Malegaon has dented the image of the Indian Army. The accusation is something the most secular institution of the country would have never liked to have. But an incident of this scale cannot tarnish the image of a force where honour runs in its veins.

Despite of being million strong force the army has not interfered in the democratic functioning of the country where as our neighbouring countries have faced the brunt of their soldiers. They did not sit for a strike when their pay demands were not accepted by the bureaucrats. They did not shy away from the bullets in Kargil when the enemy was sitting at the top. The respects it commands is such that in times of need we remember God or the Indian Army.

Being born and brought up in North East and my mother having served in Assam Rifles I have seen the men in olive green from close quarters. I have seen these man far away from their homes braving the chilly weather in the hills. These soldiers face enemies on two fronts, the terrorist with the Kalashnikovs and the so called NGOs who champion the cause of Human Rights violation. Where do these people disappear when an army man is killed.

For long the political establishment in this country has taken the soldiers for granted. They have been posted in the trouble torn areas and have become a political football between the Centre and the state especially when it came to J&K and the North East. On one hand they are fighting the militants and on the other some insane souls in the society who always ignore the hardships faced by the soldiers posted so far away from home. What is expected of an armed force which hears Anti-India slogans on a day to day basis?

What has happened in Malegaon might just be the tip of the ice-berg. Let us hope that it was an isolated incident and only a handful people have been involved in it. Instead of playing politics over the issue a thorough ground check needs to be done in the military system. A soldier should be treated as a 'civilian in uniform' who is likely to be influenced by the incidents in the areas he serves in. His should not be expected to be an non-reactive material who just follows orders.

Our government should look into protecting the rights of our soldiers rather than that of the anti nationals and their families which it has been doing so far. It will be an unimaginable catastrophe if someday the million strong armed force goes mad in this country. The army has to be treated as a part of the society not something outside it as it takes lot of heart to be a soldier in this country.


Monday, November 24, 2008

When will Calcutta rise again?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

This is a question which strikes all the inhabitants of Calcutta (I prefer calling it by the old name due to its glorious past) and everyone who has a direct or indirect connection with 'City of Joy'.
Such was the aura of Bengal in general and Calcutta that freedom fighter Gopalkrishna Gokhke had once famously said “What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.” But to be honest Calcutta cannot afford to sing praises of its past and regret its present for too long.

First hit by partition, then by naxalism and finally by vision less politics for decades Calcutta became an irreverent city in the context of the Indian nation. We Bengalis might argue against this being a very emotional community but the truth is we are not among the places people go gaga about anymore in India. It is true Bengalis are still doing well (mostly outside Bengal) but Bengal as a brand has failed miserably in the last 50 years.

When Tatas came to Bengal the the people suddenly saw a sense of hope in the cultural capital of India. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was being seen as a developmental leader trying to revive the state from the slump and driving it out of the 'Black Hole' in which it has been for decades. But for a leader and her demands the Tatas walked out of Bengal and with it crushed the dreams of many both within the state and outside it.

Many people were planning to re-migrate to 'desher mati' once decent career opportunities were available in Calcutta. They were eyeing Tata Nano to be a turning point in Calcutta's history. I had a bet of Rs 100 with one of my friends from Calcutta during the heights of Singur protest. He said Tatas would not leave after investing so much money while I insisted Tatas won't do business in a war like situation. This was one bet I would have been happy to loose.

The IT business which is the buzz word in the country has at the most kissed Kolkata when compared to cities like Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Gurgaon leave aside the Silicon Valley of India Bangalore. This is pretty disappointing considering Bengalis or people from West Bengal comprise are one of the largest work force in terms of head count in this industry.

Another industry which has eluded Calcutta is the BPO sector. It surprises me as Calcutta is one of the most cost effective cities in the country a must for the BPO business. Add to it the huge number of BPO executives from the region especially North East this business would have flourished in Calcutta. But unfortunately apart from a few major BPOs the city has seen negligible job opportunities being created by the calling business.

A SWAT analysis of the state needs to be done immediately to bring in some much development to the state which is crying for it. The present chief minister seems to be the best man helming the affairs of the state right now. Hopefully people sitting in the opposite bench will realise and take a lesson from the grave mistake that they have committed in the recent past. Its a dream of many that 'City of Joy' also becomes 'City of Opportunities'


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The biggest slogan of Indian socialism was Roti Kapda aur Makaan. Nehru and most of his successors followed this mantra and tried to guarantee this to every citizens of the country. It was so inspiring that the ever patriot Bollywood star Manoj Kumar penned, directed and produced a
movie with the same title. Post liberalisation with the opening up of the Indian economy many would have felt that the mantra would be changed but rather the definition has changed.

The concept of Roti has been replaced with burgers at McDonald's, crispy chicken pieces at KFC, coffee in CCD and Barista. Eating at restaurants and food joints is no longer a luxury but has become a weekend ritual for many. There are many people living in the urban areas who are solely surviving on so called 'junk food'. The present generation of Indians are finally munching throughout the day unlike our predecessor who were used to two meals a day and in many cases could not even afford that.

As far as Kapda is concerned all the international brands are here and the textile and the accessories industry is doing brisk business. From Armanis to Milano we are donning everything money can buy. The neighbourhood tailor is running out of business as getting clothes stitched is thought to be a trend of the licence raj era. Men no longer shy away from buying good clothes. Having just one pair of shoes is unthinkable now which was a norm not too long ago. The good old Bata has been pushed to a corner and using its products is considered 'uncool'

Finally the big one shelter or Makaan once considered 'sar chupane ki jagah' (a place to hide your head) today is all about space and style. Retired employees built their house in the post retirement phase and kept themselves engaged. With bank loans every middle aged Indian is buying a shoe box (read Flats) is some corner of a metro. Fitted with the latest gadgets and household equipments we no longer shy away from paying a price for luxury.

Life has indeed changed and people like me who were the last to witness one channel television era have seen the drastic change. The definition of our Roti Kapda Aur Makaan might have changed but happiness still seems to elude us.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Internet Footprint: A must in modern age

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The other day one of my friend said “Buddy today if I type my name in Goolge and there is no relevant result, I don't exist”. I was stunned at his remark not because I agreed with him completely but because I could not disagree either.
At home sitting alone in the dark I was continuously thinking about my friend's comment. Was he saying something which is completely an urban phenomena or his profession in the IT sector was compelling him to make such a statement.

Internet has indeed changed our live and internet footprints are considered as status symbol among the youth. Blogging has become an added qualification on your CV and having web albums a must in everyday life. It may sound illogical to many who still haven't typed a key in the keyboard but ask a teenager and he might have lost count of number of social networking sites he is a member in, or the numerous email ids that he has created.

I remember my first brush with the internet in the year 99 when I walked into a cyber cafe in Shillong to create an email id. Surfing at 24kbs speed was a norm then whereas 512 kbps is considered slow by many today. The next day with lot of pride I went to school and announced to my group of friends about the internet experience. It was an huge achievement for me, why not after all I was the proud owner of an email id.

Today its difficult to survive without internet. I start my day reading the local newspaper from my city from its website. One of the greatest advantage with internet is it is not bounded by geographical boundaries but rather technical boundaries and the later being easier to bridge. It is a medium which allows people to express their opinion to potentially every internet user in the world which was not possible with the earlier mediums of communication.

Its not just a fast growing medium but a fast changing medium too. There was a time when internet users were going gaga over Yahoo Messenger and other chat rooms. Now it is the time to socially network, blog and upload videos. Internet has empowered every user to be a broadcaster on his own terms. Statics have shown every three out of four individual under the age of 20 prefer internet over television.

Critics would argue on the ill effects of internet as a medium for communication citing things like pornography and violence. Even television was termed as the Idiot-Box but has merged into our daily lives. Same with internet it has just hit the tip of the ice berg especially in a country like India and its growth can only grow north. Honestly for any individual or organisation it is indeed necessary to be in Google or any other search engine to exist in the world today.


Monday, November 17, 2008

A khaini addict's internet adventure

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

My friend Suraj (name changed on request) is one of those typical Indians who can live without anything but tobacco. He enjoys his khaini wherever he goes, be it in the streets of Bangalore of 30000 feet above the ground in the lavatory of a plane. The simple fellow's grey mater transmits and receives signals faster when a pinch of khaini is under his tongue.

Like most other tobacco addicted person in our great nation he is brand loyal and would not ditch his brand at any cost. He gets his month long supplies from Tamil Nadu as his brand Ganesh Khaini is not available in Karnataka. So every month he has one more reason to go home other than seeing his parents and get his monthly dose of Ganesh.

Recently he came across the website of Ganesh Khaini and like a crazy kid running after a rolling ball he took tour of the entire website. Being one of those workers in the ever frustrating IT industry he even went to do a quick technological review of the entire website. In the end he wrote a short mail complaining the unavailability of their brand in Karnataka.

Next day Suraj got a call from Ganesh Khaini's corporate office in New Delhi and he could very well feel excitement in the person's voice calling him. It may have been the first mail in their email id from a customer and certainly the first from an engineer (as if uneducated people write mails) and they were more than happy to resolve their loyal customers query.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Indian military finally shows its might

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Indian Navy launched a commando attack against pirates in the Gulf of Aden last Tuesday and rescued the merchant vessel MV Jag Arnev from the pirates. Indian Naval Ship INS Tabar armed with helicopters foiled the attack and saved the tanker from being hijacked. This was symbolic
as the fifth largest Navy in the world had finally shown its might.

India is a military might by the sheer numbers of our armed forces considering we have the third largest Army, fourth largest Air Force, fifth largest Navy and second largest Paramilitary Force in the world. In spite of all this we hardly have flexed our muscle in international affairs barring those under the United Nations. Diplomatically it might have put India as a highly respected state in world affair but militarily our neighbours have taken undue advantage of this.

Be it the incident in Bangladesh's intruding Indian village of Pyrdiwah in Meghalaya in 2001 or the Indian army not crossing the LOC during the Kargil war. Indian people have always felt their security forces have their hands tied down. Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan are giving shelter to Indian terrorist outfits. These countries for long have taken us for granted and feel India will never use its military might against them.

This attitude of ours has cost us dearly as far as the internal security is concerned. Most of the failed democracies around us have to be dealt with firm resolve and if required military power. The military leaders who actually control these countries have no respect for democracy or peace talks. As these people are not elected leaders of their country they have little or no accountability towards their people and thus trying to negotiate with them is at times absurd.

The Indian security forces have for too long been tied down by the political establishment which has championed the cause of peace around the world. This has resulted in India having the highest number of terror attach casualties after Iraq and Afghanistan. True we should not become a military junta but we cannot for ever ignore the terror threats to our country in the name of peace and diplomacy.

We do not need to become like the United States and fight war on foreign soils thousands of miles from home but identify our threats around us and neutralise them. It is high time we stand up and try to flex our muscles not for dominating our neighbours but to ensure a terror free India. Otherwise its no point acquiring an aircraft carrier, hundreds of fighter planes and thousands of battle tanks when every Indian citizen faces threat in his everyday life.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Hiring and Firing now in India!

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

With every event in the globe some phrases become popular. Be it 'War on Terror' after 9/11 or 'Big Bang' on the ongoing scientific experiment. The global recession has resulted in the phrase 'Hiring and Firing' become a talk of the town. In India we are hearing it for the first
time in such a massive scale. Till only a few months back most of us considered this term to be very 'American'.

What has happened to the Indian economy is like a tyre burst at a speed of 80 kmph when we were used to speed limit of 40 kmph till a few year ago. Non only did we panic in such a situation but in being so left the accelerator and the brakes on their own. To add to the woes the steering wheel was not used to steer the car out of danger but rather as an object to hold on to.

Over the last five years the economy was on a rise and the service sector grew rapidly. Jobs were not scarce anymore and the metros attracted people like a magnet. Most of the industries hired people not on their present requirement but on the projected requirement for the future. How could they have ignored the basic fact of the economy that after rise for a considerable period there is due to be a slump is a question to be asked. When the largest economy in the world US slowed down with its financial institutions failing the repercussions were felt in India.

Most of the people in the IT, ITES, Aviation and Real Estate sectors have a sword hanging over their heads if not actually but psychologically due to the never ending rumours in all the organisations. The employers may be talking of a lay off like in US but they are missing one basic point here the huge cultural and the economic difference between US and India.

US being a individualistic society has most of the workers fending for themselves where as in India the census proves every worker feeds a family of four. Also the citizens in US are covered under the Social Security net where as in India theses concepts are almost non existent. So firing an employee in India is not as easy as in US because the effects will be enormous here.

The immediate solution for the employers should be to cut costs wherever possible be it even in small fractions as it will promote a cost cutting culture. They have to overhaul the entire functioning to increase the productivity. In the long run they should make sure that unbelievable pay hikes and perks should not be given it times of boom rather a better safety net should be created for darker days. If required more people should be hired on contracts so as to counter such slowdowns as the people on contracts will do financial planning for the doom days in advance.

Its the responsibility of both the employees and the employers to come out of this depression without hurting each other. Hiring and firing does not seem too feasible in India and the corporates should not resort to such an act.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Calcutta calling

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The City of Joy as it is called has something special and that is 'character'. Unlike many other big cities in India Calcutta or Kolkata has not turned materialistic and still has a humane side to it. Its a underdeveloped city by its potential owing to many reasons but its a city where people are still happy and have time to smile. I might sound
bias being a Bong but the truth is many of my non-Bengali friends who have been there second my opinion.

I realise it more being in a plastic city like Bangalore. As a by product of the IT revolution the smile in a person's face has been programmed. People are too much engrossed in looking high up that they are having pain in their neck. Success here does not give time to relax and enjoy but puts across another gold in life. In doing so an entire generation is missing out on the beauty of life. The positive side is Kolkata is somewhat isolated from this syndrome.

Being born in the lush green hills of Shillong an annul visit to Kolkata during the winters was what I always looked forward to. It was time to see so many things like trains, planes and cycle rickshaws which were not seen in my 'Scotland of the East'. The numerous earthen pots of misti doi and rosogollas never could satisfy me. The slow moving trams and the hand pulled carts symbolised a city which is trying to hold on to its glorious past.

A paradigm shift happened to my love for this city when I started growing up and did not see Kolkata offering me much opportunities. Soon the 'City of Joy' seemed too doomed to offer me anything. I tried Delhi but could not find my solace there and now Bangalore has taught me interesting lessons as to why we are still lagging behind in comparison to other cities.

This city will only grow when the best of its brains work here rather than migrating to other parts of the country. True there are may factors resulting in this brain drain but we seem to over worship other places and look down upon out own. An entire overhaul needs to be done with our everyday thinking as India is changing fast and our glorious past needs to reflect in our present and golden future.

People think me to be a fool when I talk of working in Kolkata. They always reason it with the kind of salary Kolkata pays. But I value the quality of life and not its price may be because of my upbringing in beautiful Shillong. A smile on my parent's face is more valuable to me than a luxurious bungalow. I want to move to Kolkata and work there. I cannot be a General in the city's growth but can definitely be a foot soldier.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

East: The Internet Shadow Area

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Wyndham Lewis coined the term 'Global Village' and the world has indeed become a village where many things have neared if not physically but definitely psychologically. Gone are the days when to get a copy of foreign newspaper people had to wait for two days; internet now delivers the world in our finger tips. No other country has perhaps cashed on the internet revolution like India has done but the irony is that the Eastern and the North Eastern part of the country has been left far behind. We have fallen in a 'Internet Shadow Area'

The reasons are many both political as well as psychological. One of the major reasons Internet hasn't spread in the region is because it has been considered to be rocket science by many. They have thought it to be too tough to handle. That is far from what is true as research has time and again shown that it is more difficult to create a Word document than to surf the net.

We still not have realised the power of internet as an advertising tool. It is one the cheapest form of advertisement with a long shelf life. Here too we have failed ourselves. Take the websites of any educational institute or organisation in the region we will find that they are appear to be poor when compared similar sites in any part of the country. And even most newspapers of the region have their websites running on obsolete internet technology.

Working for internet portal for over a year I have realised the actual power of internet. Take a small example a regional newspaper which publishes for small geographical reader. Now its reach is limited to that particular region. With internet someone sitting at opposite end of the planet can have access the same news in real time. All other forms of media print, television and radio have their geographical limitations but no such law applies to the internet media.

Internet is a very powerful tool which can do wonders and being the fastest growing form of media we cannot afford to ignore it for too long. Staying in the internet shadow area has thrown us back by many years. We need to stand up and question ourselves for how long will we love to live in this isolation which is not only technological.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The kangaroos have been finally tamed

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

It was the most text book test series Indian cricket has witnessed in the last two decades. The young guns and the seniors both came to the party and gave death blows to the Aussies when needed. Other than a small scare in Bangalore the visitors looked very 'un-Australian' throughout the series. Ironically even in their game of mental disintegration and sledging they were outsmarted by this Indian team which was ready to give it back to them.

The just concluded India Australia series will go down in the cricket folklore as one of the biggest turning points in modern cricket's history. The kangaroos have never looked this vulnerable in the last decade as they looked in
this series. Never have they been out batted, out bowled and out thought in the entire series and it seems Australia's 'new school of cricket' needs some more polishing. Ricky Ponting's final comments that they were chasing their tails in most part of the series said it all.

The Australians are on a virtual decline. In the last 12 months wherever they have played India they have looked vulnerable. Dhoni's man had stunned them in the ODI series down under right after the controversial Test series. They had won the test series not owing to better cricket they played but some horrible umpiring that the world has ever seen. Their bowling looks toothless without Glen McGrath and batting somewhat shaky after Adam Gilchrist called it quits.

Indian cricket is on its rise and looks to have the most promising bunch of talent. In MS Dhoni we have a aggressive yet calm leader. The batting looks formidable with Virendar Sehwag, Gautam Ghambir, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman and Dhoni himself. Zaheer Khan is bowling his heart out and Harbhajan Singh will lead the spin department with Amit Mishra. Ishant Sharma seems to be the find of the decade for the team. Sourav Ganguly who started the ball rolling for Indian cricket will go out a happy man. In his last test match he must have foreseen this team holding the numero uno position in future.

It has been a red letter series for India where they have announced to the world who is going to dominate the world cricket from now on. They only need to be more consistent with their performance and not get complacent after this victory. Its not only the Indians who will remember this series but other cricketing nations will remember this too. One of the most dominating cricketing empires seems to be in its fall and another on the rise.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Last day at the office for the leader

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Nagpur 10 November 2008 might be an ordinary day for most people around but for Indian cricket fans it will be the last day at the office for their most respected leader. Sourav Ganguly hung up his boots in a Don Bradman like
fashion scoring a duck in his last test match. The man who always led from the front and was never shy of looking at the eyes of the opposition ended his glorious journey here.

In contemporary cricket perhaps nobody else's career is worth a better movie script than Sourav's. The ups and the down, the controversies and the criticisms, the dropping and the comebacks, Dada has seen it all. Too many armchair experts have regularly handed out sentence to his career time and again. The real pundits of the game admire and envy Ganguly's contribution to Indian cricket. Dada brought in the new aggressive face to Indian cricket and created the Ganguly school of cricket.

The modern Indian cricket can be divided into two eras the pre Ganguly captaincy era and the Ganguly captaincy era and after that. In the former phase Indian team were the greatest ambassadors of the game and too much of a gentleman in a game which had considerably roughed up. Dada turned around the tide and made sure Indians were of the same metal as anyone else. Under Ganguly we learnt winning abroad and not just on the desert like dusty Indian tracks.

His critics argued that Sourav Ganguly will not retire and like to play for ever but he proved them wrong by becoming the first senior to seek retirement. Ganguly is a true example of determination, self belief and hard work. A man who turned the odds when pushed to the wall and believed in himself when no one else did. The comeback that he made in South Africa is the best in the history of Indian cricket and perhaps one of the best in international cricket too.

The biggest legacy the Dada leaves behind are the Virender Sehwags, Zaheer Khans, Yuvraj Singhs and the Harbhajan Singhs. He created champions by backing them and often fighting for them against the super intelligent selectors. The respect that he commanded from these guys was a testimony to his leadership qualities. MS Dhoni's handing over the leadership to Ganguly in the last part of the Nagpur test match was a tribute to the man who taught India the art of captaincy.

The journey has ended and those glorious sixes will never be seen again. His fans will miss the waving of his shirt at Lords. The heavens will wave a sigh of relief as the man who has been the lord of the off side finally rests his bat. The fan in me would never have wanted this series to end but finally it does and in a very glorious 2-0 win for India against the mighty. Thanks a lot Dada you have given us millions of reasons to smile. You retire from the cricket field not from our hearts.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Dada does dadagiri in his last match

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Many people were after his head right from the time he made his debut. As the almighty would have scripted for him, Dada proved everybody wrong even in his last test match. The alleged him to be a selfish man who plays for money, found out every possible error in his batting style. The selectors ridiculously made him a part of the playing 11 as a 'bowling all-rounder' and and even went on to suggest he is in the team not because of his cricketing skills.

The classy 85 is an answer to all those souls who not only doubted this man but took every opportunity in humiliating him. The innings is an answer to one Aussie who tried to reform Indian cricket by dictating terms rather than working with the players. The innings is a remainder to all the selectors who failed to respect the contribution of the man when he was out of form and needed the board to back him most.

People who did not play one tenth the cricket played by Dada were calling for his head. Sorry for those who had earned their living by Ganguly bashing, they loose their means of livelihood with his retirement. The spy agents who would know anything Sourav said and did before Sourav himself have to search for a new client. If only we had learned to respect out heroes.....

When Sourav danced down the track to Krejza and lofted him for a massive six it was the last time cricket lovers would see this magnificent sight. This had been his trademark shot over the years and personified his elegant stroke play. He played a chance less innings with perfection with some classy shots on the off side of the wicket which over the years he had mastered. It is sad India's most successful southpaw did not get a deserving hundred on his last test match.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

The end of an era in Indian cricket

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

When Anil Kumble announced his retirement in Delhi one thing was sure, India's Awesome Five would never take the field together again. With Sourav Ganguly playing his last test match in Nagpur it is the end of an era in Indian cricket.
To get such quality players again will be tough and to get such players together in the same dressing room a herculean task.

In the last eight years Indian cricket has seen some of its most glorious moments. Gone are those days when we could win test matches only on dusty Indian tracks. It started under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly India began to look at the eye of the opposition. They rejected to bow down when opposition captains tried to mentally disintegrate them. If a abuse was throw at them they were prepared to return it with interest. If a football like nude body display was done, a fitting reply was given in the 'Mecca of Cricket'

Be it winning the Eden test after following on or defeating Australia at Adelaide during the 2003-04 tour, Indian cricket reached greater heights. These bunch of cricketers won the first test and one day series ever in Pakistan in early 2004. In Johannesburg in 2006 they made the South Africans do a Salsa on the pitch winning the first ever test there. Defeating the not so might West Indies in the island after a gap of 35 years was precious. The best was preserved for the might Aussies when Ricky Ponting's team was tamed in Perth considered to be the fastest pitch in the world.

It is only a mater of time when Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman will also call it a day. The most formidable batting line up will see the old war horses retire and new blokes taking their place. It will be a huge challenge for the young guns to settle into the big shoes. Having guys like these in the dressing room is not advantageous because of their cricketing skills but because how they mentally approach the game and conduct it on and off the field.

With Kumble joining the dressing room Nagpur, it will be one last sight of these legendary players together. Being a fan of the game many like me will never want this test to end. How can an Indian dressing room not have Sourav, Kumble and other seniors. But all good things have to come to an end and so will Sourav and Kumble's career. A win against the Aussies will be fitting tribute to the legacy of Sourav and Kumble. No one is bigger than the game and the game will find its new champions but legends do retire from the field not from the heart of their fans.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Blacks finally make it

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

On August 28, 1963 when Martin Luther King made the famous 'I have a dream' speech from the Lincoln Memorial, Washington he would have dreamt of a certain 4th November (US Time), 45 years later when history would be made. The day has finally come and a man of African-American descent has been elected as the President of the world's oldest democracy.
The day has taken tears, struggle and sacrifice of thousands of black African-Americans over the years.

Although they were accepted as equal citizens and granted all the rights by the law American Presidency was something that eluded them. Not anymore Barack Obama has become the 44th President of the United States of America and the first African-American to do so. Finally a Black American will be helming the affairs of the most powerful country in the world and in true sense helming the globe.

Barack Obama's win has portrayed the true nature of American democracy and proved to the world that ethnic minorities can climb up the ladder in America if they deserve it. It was a testimony to the liberal thinking Americans who did not let the skin colour come ahead of the candidate's potential. The whites and the blacks equally voted for the Harvard Law School graduate. Unfortunately for Vietnam veteran John McCain he was up against too good a candidate and was even undone by his running mate Sarah Palin a insane lady to the core.

Indian Americans came out in support of the Democratic candidate for the first time in history as they were traditionally known to be Republican polarised. Many of Democratic bases were shattered by Obama's charismatic debates and arguments. The tumbling US economy and the failed military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq by the Bush administration made sure that the Republicans were not too popular with the common Americans any more.

Back home in India the pros and cons are being looked up in Obama's victory. Many are sceptical whether this will strain the Indo-US relations in the fields of nuclear power, military co-operation and economic sectors. True the relationship between the two countries have been the best under the administration of George Bush but it is too early to tag Barack Obama being bad for India. Its time to celebrate a victory over divisive mindset as we need to emulate this in our politics when efficiency of a politician should be voted over the surname he uses.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The biggest drama reaches its climax

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

There is a saying “when America votes the world watches” and going by the events in the last six months the phrase has lived upto its claim. Barack Obama, John McCain, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have become celebrities the world over. People pushed their local leaders to the back seat and started following the US Presidential elections
discussing the pros and cons of both the candidates. Sad but true most of these people will not have a say in who will be the next resident of the White House.

India has been keeping a close eye on the event and the media has done enough post mortem of whether McCain or Obama is better for us. The foreign experts and the media have scrutinised both the candidates and a general perception running in our country is Obama and his policies are anti-India. India. The greatest concern for Indian will be the fragile US economy which the next President will inherit.

Barack Obama seems most likely to be the 44th President of United States of America. His economic and military policies seem to be protective. He has taken up the cause of too much of outsourcing of jobs to countries like India. He is not wrong in doing so, he has to protect the interest of his own countryman many of whom are jobless as these jobs are outsourced to India. He has also raised questions against President Bush's aggressive military campaigns which have hardly yielded any results rather claimed thousands of American lives.

On the other hand the Vietnam veteran John McCain is not talking anything about policy shift and is expected to continue with Bush's policies if elected to the White House. From the Indian perspective he may be good in regards to the Indo-US nuclear deal and the Kashmir issue. Also the Indo-US relationship has never been better that during the presidency of Bush. McCain seems to have been undone by his running mate Sarah Palin possibly the most insane woman on earth today. Also he does not seem to be as good a orator as Barack Obama is and seemed like a no-contest for Obama during the debates.

Well all the debates and discussion, celebrity endorsement will finally yield results as the D Day has finally arrived and within the next 36 hours the world will know who will be in the most powerful seat on earth and helming the affairs of the entire globe. Be it the global markets or the various military commanders the world over everyone is keeping a close eye on the Obama v/s McCain tussle. Its unarguably the hottest seat on earth for humanity next only to god.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Jumbo makes his final landing

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

All good things have to come to an end they say so has Anil Kumble's glorious career. One of the most successful bowlers in the history of test cricket has finally called it a day. Cricket is often known as the 'Gentleman's Game'
and ironically there are a few present cricketers who believe in this but Jumbo as he is fondly called belongs to the rare gentleman club. If there was one word in the dictionary to describe this man it would have to be 'determination'.

Anil's decision to quit in the middle of the series has surprised many even within the team. But the kind of postmortem the media was doing of his performance was quite sad to see. True his performance was not up to the 'Kumble mark' but we do not produce match winners like him overnight. He had hinted at the start of the series about his retirement and perhaps Feroz Shah Kotla where he created history nine years ago was the perfect venue for Killer Kumble to bid adieu to cricket.

The Antigua Test of 2002 against the West Indies perhaps narrates the spirit of the man who played with a lion's heart. Despite having broken his jaw while batting and doctors having confirmed fracture a heavily bandaged Kumble took the field and bowled 14 overs. Legends of the game like Vivan Richards and Sunil Gavaskar admitted to never having seen a sight like that. Sachin Tendulkar acknowledged it being one moment he will never forget his entire life.

The Perfect 10 that he got against arch rivals Pakistan in Feroz Shah Kotla in 99 remains one of the greatest tails of Indian cricket. Killer Kumble rattled the Pakistani batting order from 101 for no loss to 207 all out in just 27 overs equalling Jim Laker's 33 year old record. In Aug 2007 he achieved another milestone by scoring his maiden test hundred against the English attach at Oval in the way becoming the first Indian batsman to score a century on the tour.

Kumble has always faced criticism for nor being able to turn the ball. The batsman the world over should thank their fate as if he would turn the ball sharply he would have run through batting orders. Anil was the Glen McGrath of spin bowling who did not let any batsman relax. It is foolish to imagine what McGrath would have achieved if he had the variety like Wasim Akram. Anil's strength was in his line and the tremendous bounce that he generated on dusty Indian wickets. He and Shane Warne revived the dying art of leg spin bowling in the 90s.

It is sad that injury and meaningless criticism has deprived Anil Kumble of a proper farewell test match. The Indian captain has played the game with dignity and could not have continued under the scrutiny of people whose cricketing knowledge is as good as their knowledge of Mars. Anil leaves behind a huge legacy to the game of cricket and it will take a lot of heart for the Amit Mishras and the Piyush Chawlas to step into his shoes. Well done Jumbo, thanks for your service to the 'Gentleman's Game'


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