Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hot Technologies of 2010

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Which is the most popular English word for 2009? Don't be surprised if it turns out to be twitter. Yes, that is the impact the micro-blogging site Twitter has had on our lives in the last year. The start of the decade belonged to email which gradually gave way to messenger in the middle of the decade. The last two years had belonged to the Social Networking phenomena andn 2009 definitely belonged to Twitter. From celebrities to sports person and from businessmen to politicians all took to Twitter. Overnight it became a status symbol as popularity was being judged by the number of followers in Twitter.

Twitter certainly created the greatest noise in the year and the testimony to it's success is the fact that it did in a year when Microsoft came out with its latest OS Windows 7. Microsoft usually becomes the talk of the town but this year it was Twitter all around. But now as the year draws to a close people have a question in mind. If 2009 belonged to Twitter what will be the buzz word in 2010? There have been quite a few announcements of products and technologies which will be launched in the first year if the new decade. Some of the technologies to look forward in 2010 are:

Google Chrome OS
Nobody has taken Microsoft in its own den but the search engine giant seems to be in a mood to take the big daddy of technology head on. The Google Chrome Operating System is scheduled to be launched in the second half of 2010. The operating system is being designed from the ground up to run on the Chrome web browser on netbooks. Google says the software architecture will basically be the current Chrome browser running inside a new windowing system on top of the good old Linux kernel. This literally means that the web will be be the Operating System.

The search engine giant also claims that application will be develop by the users on the web. For example an user would run a text processing application from the web instead of his system. Chrome OS will be lightweight and fast just like the browser itself. Google wants to cash in on the fact that most people do not have the practical use for a heavy operating system and cloud computing will be a buzz word in the coming year. Although Chrome OS cannot be year termed as a 'Windows Killer' but coming from the Google it cannot be brushed under the carpet as well.

Apple iPhone 4G
If you thought iPhone 3G is ahead of its competitors Apple is planning to improve upon its current sensation and launch iPhone 4G in the summer of 2010. The iPhone 4G will come inbuilt with GPS navigation, 32GB of on-board storage, and a removable battery a feature which many iPhone users have wanted to see since the launch of the phone in 2007. The camera of the phone has also been upgraded to a 5 MP over the 2 or 3.2 MP camera found in previous iPhone models.

One of the features that the iPhone 4G is expected to come with is RFID or Radio-frequency identification which will be improved into what is being called as Near Field Communication. NFC is a communication method which can be used to bank payment over the mobile. Credit card companies are now looking for payment solutions for adding contactless payment cards to any mobile phone. After inserting the a storage card a user's phone can be linked to bank accounts and used in mobile payment.


Internet TV
Although the concept is old it hasn't quite picked up in the way it should have. 2010 might just prove to be a path breaking year for internet TV. By the year end majority of people watching television in the developed world will have signals via the Internet. Hulu, Boxee, Apple TV and Netflix are some of the pioneers in this field. In developing countries like India and China this trend is picking up. As the internet connections get faster in these countries there will be huge demands for television over the internet platform.

A paradigm shift with Internet TV will be the option to archive our favourite programmes which will work similar to any other medium of online storage. Accessing television on the internet has never been so simple, due to this usability of streaming services . Internet TV will also come with strict controlling measures similar to the ones on our normal television.


Cloud Computing
It has been a buzz word for quite some time and Cloud Computing may not just be one of the most popular terms for the coming year but for the coming decade. In cloud computing data and applications which currently reside on our desktops and laptops will instead be stored in the servers or the cloud. This will make our data accessible from anywhere in the globe and also enable collaboration and distribution.

The cloud movement will see a major leap forward in the first half of 2010 with the launch of Office Web Apps, free online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote released in tandem with Microsoft Office 2010. This is quite a revolutionary concept considering the fact that it comes from a company which runs more that 90% of the world's computers. Google's Chrome OS which will launch in the first half of the year will be giant step towards Cloud Computing.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Terror threat to Commonwealth Games 2010

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

As if under preparation of venues for the Commonwealth Games 2010 wasn't enough, now a terror threat looms over the fate of the games. Indian Olympic Association which is sending jitters across the nation with its delay in preparations now has to look freshly into the terror threats. There have been rumours that English team might pull-out of the games citing specific intelligence inputs of a possible terror strike during the games.

Now the question is how serious is this threat? From a larger perspective looking at the global scenario, terror strikes are as common as national flags across countries and continents. The Indian Sub-Continent might be the hot bed of terror but there is no guarantee that London, Madrid and New York have full proof security system running. Post 26/11 the Indian security forces have been on high alert and statistics show nothing major has happened in the past 13 months.

It would be quite impractical to think that the government will be taking any chances with the security of the athletes and the officials during the mega sporting event. There have been major terror threats on all major sporting events in the last decade and the Commonwealth Games should not be seen in isolation. Equating the Indian security situation with that of Pakistan can be a grave mistake because Pakistan seems to be in a bigger mess than the one it wanted India to be in.

Coming back to the question of the English team pulling out of the tournament, well our colonial masters haven't come out of their hangover although it has been 60 years since our independence. The English cricket team touring India has always had their complaints about bumpy roads, bad food, poor amenities at the airports and the distance between the venues. Grow up guys you no longer call the shots in global affairs.

The English teams needs to be reminded that long before terrorism erupted in the sub-continent entire Britain especially London was being bombed by the IRA (Irish Republican Army) but did that mean sports came to a halt in England during those times? Did the Indian cricket and the other sports team pullout of events citing terror threats? Every place in the world is equally safe and post 9/11 that has been proved time and again.

For the Brits who feel India is a unsafe place to travel, there is some information. No planes slammed and destroyed any buildings in India. There have no blasts inside any metro station in India (even though we have only two running in Kolkata and Delhi). Nobody has managed to bursts crackers inside any plane that has taken off from India. Never were liquid explosives recovered from any plane over the Indian airspace.

Security is indeed the most important issue that the Indian Government will look into for the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Making too much fuss about it and having a colonial mindset isn't going to help the games anyways.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Will Ruchika Girhotra get justice?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


As the government gears up to reopen the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case after huge public outcry some questions linger; Will Ruchika Girhotra get justice finally? Will Haryana DGP S P S Rathore finally get the punishment he deserves? Will all those involved in the case from cops to policeman be charged? What about Ruchika's school the Sacred Heart Convent which might have been the final nail in the coffin? Will all those responsible be brought to book?

Although there is a huge public outcry at the moment, there is very little expected out of the case as Rathore will be most likely be tried for molestation and not murder although he crime was murderous. What will the maximum sentence that he will get for this, a few years behind the bars at the maimum. Even if a verdict is delivered against him he will surely approach the higher court and getting a bail is a matter of few minutes and few thousand rupees.

There was huge hue and cry about the Nitish Katara, Jessica Lal and Priyadarshani Mattoo cases. Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav who had been awarded life sentence in the Nitish Katara case have appealed in the Supreme Court. Jessica Lal's murderer walks out on a parole and is spotted watching a cricket match. Santosh Singh who raped and murdered Priyadarshani Mattoo has been awarded death sentense but he too has appealed to the Supreme Court.

Can we say that justice has been delivered in the above cases? The family and friends of the victim have just been able to take the case from one court to the other technically. Why is the Supreme Court of India sitting over the judgement? Backlog of cases will be cited a reason but if it is so we need drastic measures to make sure that there is no backlog. We have been talking to Law reforms, what are those reforms and what are they?

Why should we call ourselves the largest democracy of the world when we cannot deliver justice on time? Why should people approach the court and the police when they are victims of a crime? A criminal case in India takes an average of 5-10 years from a lower court to a High Court verdict. This is enough to demoralise a victim or his family. Every case in India should come with a time frame and if the schedule time is extended there should be a valid reason to it. Media outcry and public outbursts won't be of any help in the law is not in its place.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Richest cricket board, poorest management

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Indian teams about a few years back could not manage to win Test matches abroad. The solution could have been making them practice on pitches like the one we saw yesterday at the Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi. Jokes apart it was a slap on the face of the Board of Control for Cricket in India or the BCCI when an international match had to be called off unplayable wicket conditions. This was however not the first time BCCI has had to abandon a match, interestingly exactly 12 years ago on Christmas day a match between India and Sri Lanka had to be called off in Indore for the same reason.

How was it that no one in the BCCI's pitches technical committee noticed the danger in forcing an international match on a newly laid pitch. What was in the groundsman's mind when he left live patches of grass in the good length area which were acting as launch pads for the killer deliveries. Was he trying to give the bowlers to feel some ease after the thrashing they have far got in the series. An U-13 cricketer knows that ball shoots up upon landing on grass and stays low on bald patches. How did the groundsman at the ground and pitches technical committee ignore this?

Yesterday's abandoned one day international was another example how the richest cricket board in the world has poorest management skills. The members of the pitch and ground committee of the DDCA resigned taking moral responsibility which is more of a show as the same people will make into the association very soon. Delhi is one of the most important grounds in the country and will host a few World Cup matches in 2011. Are these the kind of pitches we would like international teams to play on during the mega event?

One of the fundamental problems with the BCCI has been it's accountability. Being the richest cricket board due to the crazy fan following seems to be it's only claim to fame. It has become a favourite pastime for the politicians in the country to run the BCCI and all the other state cricket associations. Where are our former players who definitely know cricket more than the Arun Jaitleys and the Sharad Pawars? Why doesn't the BCCI hire professional people to lay pitches across the country, it's cash flow statement would envy many business houses in India?

It is really sad that cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble who have given their heart and soul to Indian cricket will never find their way into the administration because they do not have political lobby. Many might say that administration is a specialised thing and the legends of the game do not have any administrative experience. The question is what experience do the Jaitleys and the Pawars have?

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ruchika's school deserves punishment

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


The news of Haryana DGP S P S Rathore getting a term of six months for molesting Ruchika Girhotra and leading her to suicide has shocked the nation. More shocking is the fact that Ruchika was rusticated from her school the Sacred Heart Convent School ostensibly because she didn't pay her school fees. The school authorities did not even give her and her family any notice before taking this step shattering an already demoralised girl.

This trauma was too much for Ruchika to bear who was already reliving the bad memories of molestation as her entire family was being harassed by the police. The reason she had dared to raise complaint against a top cop. A teenager who was a budding tennis player and might have earned laurels for state and the nation was poisoned to death by the society with her school playing a pivotal role.

The last thing a girl would have wanted was to be harassed by her own school. This finally led her to the extreme step in her life. A motherless child might have taken her teachers as her mother but what did these people do, dump her out of the school? This makes Ruchika's case even painful than others we have seen in the recent years. In most of those cases colleges and institutions have stood by the victim but that wasn't the case with Ruchika.

This needs to be investigated as to why no notice was issued to her before she was rusticated from the school without being served any notice. Was there Rathore behind all these? A person who could get Ruchika's bother arrested on false charges and harassed her entire family might have easily lobbied with people to get her rusticated from the school. A molester who can become a DGP can do anything in this country.

Now in case the school authorities are found guilty what will their punishment be? 6 days or two weeks of imprisonment? That should be ok if the molester who leads a girl to commit suicide is handed six months imprisonment on top of which he gets a bail in six minutes. Justice delayed is justice denied, where was the justice delivered in any case? Wonder if the mediaeval ways of punishment in Gulf countries is better than our great judiciary. We believe in killing crime and not criminals but the truth is we do neither.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Centre should remain firm on Telengana

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Telengana, What Telengana? That seems to be exactly what the UPA Government's stand is merely two weeks after it decided to bring a resolution in the State Assembly for the creation of a separate state of Telengana. Union Home Minister who on December 9 had announced passing of a resolution in the Andhra assembly said that there was no consensus in the state about the issue and thus any hasty decision wasn't possible. This ensured that the pro-Telengana groups have resorted to violence in the name of statehood. K Chandrasekhara Rao's who earlier sat on a fast has sent out a warning to the Centre not to cheat the people of the Telengana region.

Now many may accuse Chindambaram and the Centre for back-stabbing KCR but what choice does the Home Minister have? There are equal protests in the rest of Andhra for a united Andhra Pradesh. Does the aspirations of the people of Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema region hold no significance in the matter of dividing a state? Can KCR who has failed to politically represent the people be considered as a true leader of the Telengana region? Isn't he accountable for the incidents of violence happening in Hyderabad? Can he just dismiss the damage of Public Property as sentiments of the people? If he blackmailed the Centre by sitting on a fast, Centre had every right to counter his diplomacy.

Granting Telengana statehood is not at all in the interest of the Nation at this point of time. While close to a dozen statehood demands in the air Telengana's creation can lead to chaos in the nation. Already there is trouble brewing in the hills of Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal and there are demands for Bundelkhand, Bhojpur, Saurastha, Harit Pradesh, Mithilanchal, Greater Cooch Behar, Vidarbha, Bodoland, Maru Pradesh, Karbi Anglong, Garoland and Coorg. So should we keep on dividing states so that people like KCR can become Chief Minister?

A new state comes at a huge price and considering the backwardness we have in rural India any amount of Tax Money wasted on the whims and fantasies of leaders like KCR is a crime. What has he done for the Telengana region in all these years being a representative of the people. If Telengana is backward it is because of the inefficiency of politicians like him not the Centre and the region being a part of a larger state. Far reaching development should be prioritised over smaller states.

The Centre should thus remain firm on the issue of the creation of any new state. Does that mean new states cannot be created at all? No, they can be but through political process. If the State Assembly passes a bill on the bifurcation and trifurcation of any states, new states should be created but not just merely by sitting on a dharna or a fast unto death. If the Centre budges once it will have to do it again. An integrated India is a far more important than the life of politicians like KCR.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's D for Disinvestment

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


After weeks of yo-yo the Indian markets showed some upsurge. The reason well the Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee spelled 'D for Disinvestment'. The Sensex witnessed spectacular rally post the Finance Minister's comments on 9–10% GDP growth prediction in the coming years. The Sensex added a whopping 539 points to yesterday's close. The Nifty wasn't far behind rallied over 158 points resulting in it being the strongest day in the last two months or 35 trading sessions.

Pranab Mukherkjee said that the Centre was seriously looking into the issue of Disinvestment of certain Public Sector Employees. With no Left Hand Drive at the centre the government has put divestment programme on fast track. It is keen to push through the follow-on public offer of state-owned NMDC (National Mineral Development Corporation) this fiscal and aims to divest 8.38% stake followed by Engineers India's (EIL). Another state owned company, Hindustan Copper and Power Grid will go for public issue next financial year, the management says.

Pranab will surely have hurt the Left loyalist in his home state when he uttered the word Disinvestment. But again West Bengal is no model to follow or is it? When it comes to the industrial sector West Bengal is a perfect example of what not to do. If the patrons of Communism are against Disinvestment what is the shining example they have on their hand to show? Which Government body in West Bengal or Tripura can be taken a shining example of Left's governance?

The Government wants to invest on the social sector and unlike it needs to raise capital for this mission. So disinvestment of Public Sector Units is the best possible option that the government has on it's hand. This Disinvestment will raise capital for the growth of the India especially rural India as per the vision of the government. The government will still hold controlling stakes in these organizations so the question of them totally going into the private hands doesn't arise.

Government needs to raise funds for the Social Sector and disinvestment is the best possible option. Those against disinvestment are not against but are against the fact that employees in these PSU's might need to become more accountable. If Left opposes Disinvestment will i support more taxes on the Aam Aadmi as capital has to be raised by the government? It's high the left sees politics in logic than in ideology. Unlike a common myth the Government just cannot print bundles of money so we should support D for Disinvestment.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ruchika's case is a slap on India's face

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Judiciary is considered one pillar on which Indian democracy stands but time and again we see how fragile this pillar is. Time and again our judiciary has set bad precedents, be in in the case of Priyadarshini Mattoo, Nitish Katara or the Jessica Lal case. The latest in the series of bad presidents is the case of Ruchika Girhotra where former Haryana DGP S P S Rathore who molested the teenager and forced her in committing suicide roams freely in the streets and smiles to the camera.

14 year old Ruchika Girhotra a budding tennis players was molested by Rathore in 1900 when he was the President of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association. Ruchika who was initially reluctant to file a case did it after a lot of hesitation. Thereafter her entire family was harnessed by the police and her brother was arrested in some false car theft case. This compelled the family to sideline the case and subsequently led to Ruchika committing suicide in 1993

19 years later this criminal the judiciary has finally Rathore found guilty. The punishment is so severe that it can send chills down spine! Believe it or not Rathore has been sentenced for six long months by the court. If that joke was not enough to amuse you Rathore got a bail in just 10 minutes to deliver a slap on the face of Indian judiciary. The law also felt that whopping fine of Rs. 1000 imposed on him will send out a message to the society!

Is the price of a young girl's life compelled to commit suicide by a man just six months? How is it that Rathore a criminal who committed that crime in police uniform and escape justice for 19 years was rewarded with promotion after promotion? Why is it that no action was taken against the police which pressurised and threatened Ruchika's family. Why should any Indian citizen approach the court or the police if this is what criminal justice system in India delivers?

Why is it that the lower courts in India aren't able to deliver speedy justice? If the system of the justice system isn't good enough to nail criminals why isn't it being replaced? Why is it that no time frame is set for any case to end? Where is the accountability factor in our justice system. Even if Rathore was punished Ruchika wouldn't become alive again. The courts could at least have given some solace to a grieving family. Should we be proud Indians?

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Kasab's court case better than 3 Idiots

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


If you plan to catch up Aamir Khan's 3 Idiots this Christmas to entertain yourself, well you might just have a better option and the bonus is its comes absolutely free. Ajmal Kasab's is no less than a Bollywood entertainer. The main accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case has denied all charges against him. He accused the Mumbai police of inflicted injuries on him in the custody after putting him under the influence of anaesthesia.

If India's 'national guest' for our most 'friendly nations' is to be believed he has never touched an AK-47 let alone kill people on 26/11. He also denied that he was present at the Chhatrapthi Shivaji Terminus or at the Cama Hospital during the Nov 2008 attacks. He said that he came to India with a valid passport and visa by Samjhauta express. He also said that Pakistan-born American terror suspect David Headley was among 4 FBI agents who questioned him.

Kasab's biggest joke that would even make Raju Shrivastav jump off his seat was that he had come to Mumbai to try his luck in Bollywood. Terrorist or not Kasab certainly has superb acting skills. The man who wanted to meet Amitabh Bachchan after his arrest surely can be nominated for the next Filmfare Award in the open category. The courtroom has become a stage for Kasab and people attending it, his audience.

But wait, the reason he is able to be an actor is because the Indian law permits him. Hasn't he made enough mockery of us in the past one year that we are still continuing with this joke. The death of their dear ones on 26/11 might not have hurt the family member of the victims as much as this mockery of a trial is hurting. What does India want to prove to the world with this trial? What message does it sent to the perpetrators of terror in India?

Now what does our judiciary do? Most probably they will give the benefit of doubt to Kasab to ensure that he is not being framed in the case. They might also pardon him on the lack of evidence. If he is given a death sentence an appeal for this will be made in the Higher Courts which will upheld it. A mercy petition for pardoning him will go to the President and it will rot at the Rashtrapati Bhawan like many others.

Wonder why ASI Tukaram Omble had sacrificed his life taking direct shots to capture the terrorist alive? Why should the security forces in the future risk their lives to capture terrorists alive? The criminal justice system is based on the 'Ram Raj' days where was we live in the time of 'Yam Raj.' Our criminal justice system seems to be too good to deliver justice. No wonder why people do not believe in approaching courts.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Advani finally hangs his boots

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


In politics there parties centred around individuals and parties centred around values. In Bharatiya Janata Party’s case the party is a mix of both. Rising from the ashes of Jan Sangh in just three decades BJP rose to become a potent opposition to the Congress. Two individuals Lal Krishna Advani and Atal Behari Vajpayee built this party to ashes to give the nation an alternative to the Congress. The grand old party of Indian politics in absence of any stiff challenge had become arrogant and patronised corruption and sycophancy for decades turning into an unaccountable political force.

Indira Gandhi’s call for National Emergency displayed this arrogance. This surely was the lowest point of Indian Democracy. Here is where the genesis of the BJP was sown in Advani and Vajpayee serving jail terms. From mere two seats in the 1984 Lok Sabha polls, to 80 odd in 1989 and emerging as the single largest party in 1996 and two more elections thereafter, the Atal-Advani duo defied many odds in Indian politics and ran a full term for the first non-Congress government at the centre.

If Vajpayee was the front face of the party having more mass appeal, Advani organizational skills were magnificent. Nobody can deny the fact that it was Advani gave life to the Sangathan. While Vajpayee ran the government, it was Advani with the support of the late Pramod Mahajan ran the party and brought the Saffron swing in the country in the earlier part of the decade winning State elections as far as states like Nagaland despite being branded a Hindutwa centric party.
Be it for his several Rath Yatras and the Ayodhya moment, Advani had also been branded as a communal leader but event the Congress can be held responsible for slaughtering the Sikhs in 1984. The notion that BJP’s rises and that of Advani’s were just based on the Hindutva is wrong. The country tired of Congress’ functioning needed an option and the BJP provided that. BJP pushed the Indian politics to the next level of competition in turn even pushing the Congress.

Advani’s greatest legacy will remain making the BJP the most Democratic Party from within unlike any other party in India barring the Left. BJP as a party doesn’t have unchallenged Presidents running the show for decades. It is not a party that worships Prince and Princess like the Congress and most regional parties around the country do. Bloodline is not adored in the BJP unlike the other parties which have turned into modern day monarchy in the disguise of being democratically elected.

Advani might not have achieved his vision of Raam Rajya (doesn’t necessarily mean a Hindu rule but a more efficient administration) but he will surely go down in the history as a leader who gave more vibrancy to the Indian politics by giving the people of this country an alternative to choose from. It is now up to leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to lead the party in years to come and take it to the pinnacle as Atal and Advani had done.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Lalu faked Railways profit

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


In what could scare Satyam's Ramalinga Raju, former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad might have forged accounting procedure to show profits during his five years tenure. The only difference is unlike Raju, Indian politics' most celebrated icon did not land up in jail and did not fill his personal accounts, or did he? For now we give benefit of doubt to the former Bihar Chief Minister although his name figured in the multi-crore fodder scam famous in India as 'chara ghotala'

He was hailed as the most efficient Railway minister India had in its history. From starting kulhars (earthen pot) to delivering lectures at the top B schools in India and around the world Lalu was the star of the UPA-I government. He had claimed a cash surplus of nearly Rs 90,000 crore during his tenure. He took pride in claiming he had managed to turn around the same Indian Railways which experts said was heading towards financial disaster.

The country lay shocked in disbelief as to how one of the worst Chief Ministers the country had ever seen overnight transformed into one of the best Central Ministers. The cosmetic changes in the stations and coaches and less delays for trains earned Lalu praise from across the nation. Many of his worst critics were left speechless as he increased profits while reducing fares. An economist like Amartya Sen would have had to scratch his head to find the co-relation.

When maverick Mamata Banerjee took over the ministry many were skeptical about her methods of functioning. After delivering many goodies to Bengal, Mamata has come out with a white paper which questions Lalu's tall claims. The report which was tabled in the parliament claims that changes were made in the accounting procedures during her predecessor's tenure to show some questionable cash surpluses, which were also not stacked away but spent.

This might open a Pandora's Box for the government as Lalu was so highly praised that his feat became case studies at the Harvard Business School and the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad. It is still questionable how much of Mamata's claims are true but most of Lalu's claims seemed unbelievable too. Since Lalu is still an ally of the Congress a lot of things might have been considered before tabling this report which suggests more authenticity.

Just a little over a year left for the West Bengal polls Mamata doesn't want to be seen as an inefficient minister carrying the lies of her predecessor. Her claims might turn out to be true as the last thing Mamata Banerjee could be associated is with Corruption. Lalu's act once again shows how low politics in this country can go. It is understandable that he fooled the Aam Aadmi but how did he manage to fool geniuses from the IIMs and Harvard?

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Should we allow mercy killing?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Should we or should we not?
The debate has started again after the recent case of Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug came into light. Social activist Pinki Virani is fighting for 'mercy death' of a rape victim who has been in a vegetative state for 36 years. Aruna who was working as a nurse in Mumbai's KEM hospital, was sexually assaulted and sodomised in Nov 1973 by a ward boy. The rapist strangulated the then 24-year old Aruna with a dog chain cutting off blood supply to her brain, leaving her blind, paralysed and speechless.

The law of the land in India does not allow Euthanasia, or mercy killing. It may be recalled that in 2004 Andhra Pradesh High Court today rejected an appeal by the mother of a 24-year-old patient seeking mercy death for her son K. Venkatesh so that she could donate his organs. The former chess champion was on life support system and the disease had no cure, according to his doctors. Venkatesh finally died after a futile wait for the courts to accept his plea for euthanasia. There have been high profile case of Euthanasia including freedom fighter Veer Savarkar and English king George V.

Mercy killing is banned in India as this can be grossly misused by people. Considering the fact that we are still a country of lawlessness allowing Euthanasia might open doors for legalised murders. But time and again cases emerge where mercy killing seems to be the most merciful act. For 36 years now, Aruna has been kept alive by the hospital staff who have force fed her crushed food. It is a painful and completely useless life she is passing through.

As the debate rages on her lawyers question the very Article 21 (Right to Life) of the constitution which is being seen as a major road block to allowing Euthanasia. Article 21 ensures right with dignity but isn't keeping a woman in persistent vegetative state by force feeding a violation of one's dignity. The Supreme Court is now hearing a plea on her behalf from Virani who is seeking direction for Aruna's life to be ended.

Is making Euthanasia legal the solution? No, certainly not as this can be grossly misused. The Government can set up expert panels at state level which include medical practitioners and legal experts to take decision on cases of Euthanasia. Considering cases like that of Aruna's mercy killing seems to be a better thing that mercilessly keeping a human being alive and making him of her go through all the sufferings.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

16th December: A day India has forgotten

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Ask any youth the significance of December 16 and you are most likely not to get any answer. It is not surprising considering many in the MTV generation have confusion regarding the Independence and the Republic Days. 16th December is celebrated as Vijay Diwas commemorating India's great victory over Pakistan in 1971 War. The day holds significance as it was the day Bangladesh came into existence 38 years ago, emerging out of a genocide.

Vijay Diwas has been reduced to an ordinary day with some official ceremonies in the India Gate, Fort Williams in Kolkata and some defense establishments across the country. The post liberalisation era Indians might not realise that 4000 Indian soldiers laid down their lives for the liberation of Bangladesh from the oppressing Pakistani Army. It may also interest a few that the 90000 Pakistani soldiers surrendering to India was the highest since the Second World War.

This victory should be remembered with pride as India defied all odds to win the war. It was a war thrown upon India and not one India chose. The scores of East Pakistani refugee fleeing the genocide and taking shelter in India had left Indira Gandhi with no option but to use the military. Indira mobilised the support of the entire Western European nations in India's resolve to bring to an end the genocide that was going on in then East Pakistan.

Our present best friend America was threatening us and President Richard Nixon had even mobilised aircraft carrier USS Enterprises in the Bay of Bengal. Thanks to Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev, India could ignore the US threat. In 13 days Indian Army, Navy and Air Force with the help of Mukti Bahini achieved which many Western military commanders said would take months. On December 16 Pakistani commander Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi surrendered before Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Arora with 90000 troops ending the war and which led to the formation of People's Republic of Bangladesh.

A lot of politics has been played over the Vijay Diwas which is regarded as Indira Gandhi's finest hour as Prime Minister. BJP which was in power post the Kargil conflict took away the shine from this day and giving more significance to the Kargil Vijay Diwas on July 26th when to celebrate India's victory in the Kargil war when India successfully took command of the high outposts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders.

It is a sad thing to see Indians forget their days of military significance. In the west people still commemorate significant days to honour heroes who have laid down their lives for the sake of their motherland. From movies to rock music and from food to dressing, we have copied so much from the West, why is it that we could not adopt a few good qualities like respecting our heroes?

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

T20s have pushed One Day Internationals

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


After scoring 414 runs in an ODI how many teams would have feared loosing. Not that it hasn't been done before (remember Australia-South Africa, Wanderers) but 414 ought to be a match winning score even in the flattest of the batting surface. But Sri Lanka gave a scare to India when they almost surpassed India's mammoth 414, to fall shot by just three runs in the end. People at Rajkot would have got a bonus on their money worth having witnessed 825 runs scored in a ODI in 100 overs.

Welcome to the new age cricket where run a ball cannot guarantee a victory. It was just about a decade back that 300 would be a winning score in an ODI. Then came the era when 300-350 came within reach. T20 cricket had pushed the envelop further and no target seems to be insurmountable. Batsman have become more aggressive with their batting and with a power play available in the death overs the bowlers are left to their mercy.

In today's India-Lanka match 23 sixes were score which a decade ago could be the total number in a 5 match series. Add to that 83 hits to the fence a whopping 470 runs came in boundaries which is more than half the runs of the two scores taken together. Both the teams having come out of two high scoring T20 games were in murderous mood and there was no mercy for the bowlers. Any bowler giving away run a ball would have been proud of himself.

One more thing which T20 cricket has done is with the shot selection of the batsman. Not too long ago most of the batsman other than a (Jayasuriya, Afridi or Sehwag) would loft a good length ball for a six. But in the last two years fast bowlers being hit over their head has become a very common sight. No longer are captains relaxed of sixes not being hit when their quickies are bowling. Grounds haven't become smaller, just that the batsman have started loving the air more than the ground.

Having said all this, there is a negative side to this as well as the classical cricketers will die a slow death in the ODIs too like the T20s. Batsman like Rahul Dravid and Damien Martyn who used to steer their teams off bad situations would not be sought after commodity. Teams would like to pick more slam bang cricketers than the classical batsman. Is this better for the game? Is this better for the bowlers? What next 500.....A few years is maybe all that is needed to know these answers.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Tiger Woods would have loved to be in India

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


“Just another day in the life of a tiger”
that's the tag line the Accenture ads used to come with and for the last six years the ace golfer was the face of the Global consulting, outsourcing and technology company were inseparable. But the event of the last two weeks had meant that not only has Tiger's personal life has become the most sought after gossip in the Western Media. A man who was regarded a legendary sportsman has been brought down by the paparazzi in a matter of just two weeks.

From a extra marital affair, the paparazzi made sure that Woods woke up to one new affair every morning. Although Tiger has accepted to adultery it is not quite sure how many of those stories are actually true? This particular incident once again showed how bad 'Yellow Journalism' can become. It shows the fact that in a highly developed society privacy is a rare commodity. Paparazzi stories sometimes become the USP of certain publications which from media perspective is a sad thing.

This incident had also given us a insight into the mentality of the western world. The people in the developed countries not having to worry about the basics of life are more interested in knowing about the wrongs in other people's lives. In developing countries like India. Politics, recession and weather report still matter to people as they don't have the shield against any of them. Celebrities in India might just part India's development doesn't come with the free gift of paparazzi.

It's quite a good thing that in India celebrities are still getting to enjoy a personal life of their own and not being chased by shutter bugs around the world. Indian celebrities aren't still worried about what they would read about themselves in the next morning's tabloids. There are no websites targeting particular celebrities like they have in the western media. Indian media is still by and large responsible as compared to our western counterparts.

What Tiger Woods might be wrong but the was media treated this issue was even graver. They not only blew up the issue but made sure there was very little left for Tiger Woods after the incident. With endorsement deal going always and his golf career at stake for ones Tiger would have hated being in a developed society. A third world country would have given him more space to deal with the issue in a manner he would have liked to.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

KCR falls into Congress' trap

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The announcement of resolution for state of Telengana in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Wednesday night brought cheers in the among the Telengana Rastriya Samiti supporters and made sure that TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao broke his fast unto death after 11 days. Chidambaram's announcement after the Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister himself ensured that KCR broke his fast and relieved the centre and the State of a huge embarrassment.

At dawn the situation turned completely different and ensured that TRS supporters had celebrated much in advance and Telengana dream was a long way to go. Leaders from the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema region started a campaign of mass resignation making KCR's moment look a thing of the past. With a new problem in place the Union Government has now decided to go slow on the creation of a separate state of Telengana.

Congress might have again played a political master-stroke on the issue. It's announcement made sure that KCR stop his game of blackmail after having tasted defeat in the Assembly and Lok Sabha Polls. KCR even if he sits for a second fast won't be able to garner the same attention and moreover there might be counter fast for a united Andhra. KCR has played into the hands of the Congress again as like he had done before the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

K Chandrasekhar Rao is not a mass leader and his 11 day tryst might go down as the biggest achievement of his political career. He lost the plot but believing in the Congress party's promise. It may not be a surprise if the mass resignation by the Congress MLAs was a pre planned action by the party to counter KCR's rising popularity. Politically KCR has very little chance of flexing his muscles politically in the State Assembly having only 12 seats in the 293 member house.

What ever the strategy of the Congress party is it is to be appreciated as giving away Telengana would have resulted unrest in the entire country. Gorkhaland, Bundelkhand, Bhojpur, Saurastha, Harit Pradesh, Mithilanchal, Greater Cooch Behar, Vidarbha, Bodoland, Maru Pradesh, Karbi Anglong, Garoland and Coorg already in demand, Telengana's statehood would lead to complete chaos in the country.

In the end KCR might emerge as a hero among the people of the Telengana region but he is yet to become a smart politician.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Andhra divided: What next?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


What Telengana Rastriya Samiti chief K Chandrasekhar Rao could not do in eight years of politics, he did it with eleven days of fast virtually blackmailing the Centre at point blank range. The Congress which rules both the Centre and the State had to finally give up. After a high level meeting chaired by the Prime Minister himself, Home Minister P Chidambaram declared that a resolution would be passed in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly for the creation of separate state of Telengana.

KCR will now be hailed as a hero in the Telengana region from creation of the new state by means of 'Gandhian Way of Protest.' Although his party workers vandalised the entire city of Hyderabad and other parts of Andhra it will be hailed as a great achievement by TRS. All the vandalism would be blamed on 'fringe elements' who took advantage of the law and order problem. This explanation might have even forced Gandhi to take up arms.

Many would wonder why Telengana moment gained so much prominence. Leaders from Telengana created a notion that the region's backwardness was due to it being a part of the larger state where leaders usually came from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema region. Now the question is wasn't Telengana sending leaders to the Lok Sabha and the Assembly? What were these representatives doing all these years? Will a new state with the same inefficient leadership yield results?

By giving into such a demand has the Centre set a right precedent? This is the question that many are asking. Will sitting on 'fast unto death' now become a means to blackmail the government. It is another fact that in the last 100 years only two people Jatin Das and Potti Sreeramulu have died after fasting, so many of our leaders have done nothing but great PR campaigns sitting on fast unto death. Karunanidhi registered his name in Guinness Book for the shortest fast lasting six and half hours.

There are already demands for Gorkhaland, Bundelkhand, Bhojpur, Saurastha, Harit Pradesh, Mithilanchal, Greater Cooch Behar, Vidarbha, Bodoland, Karbi Anglong, Garoland and Coorg. Will this lead to further agitation and chaos in the nation? The recent small state experiments with Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Uttarakhand have failed with Chattisgarh becoming famous for Naxalism while Jharkhan's greatest claim to fame beingMadhu Koda.

Linguistic states was a blunder with leaders of the country made at its birth, as there seems to be no end to division. Centre's action of Telengana might have just sown the seeds of more violent uprisings.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rahul Gandhi in Prime Ministerial mode?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Nobody has any doubt that Rahul Gandhi will be the Prime Minister of this country thanks to his surname even if there are more competent people in the Congress ranks. But the Gandhi scion already seems to be in Prime Ministerial mode. He is regularly bunking classes (read Parliamentary sessions) in trying to reach out to the people or taking the austerity drive to next level travelling in the train and causing the exchequer more for the extra security arrangements and shattered window panes of the Shatabdi Express!

Two years back while campaigning in the Deoband area RahulGandhi had declared that if a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family had been in politics, the Babri Masjid would not have been demolished. Rahul might have forgotten that it was his party which was helming the country and it is quite absurd of the entire Congress leadership to sideline PV Narasimha Rao now that he is no longer alive to defend himself on the issue. The Liberhan Commission report criticises Rao's non-action leading to the demolition.

He might have been too young to know that his father Rajiv Gandhi set the ball rolling for the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Do his comments mean that other than a Gandhi nobody can be a truly secular leader. We already have seen the secular conduct of another Gandhi (Varun Gandhi). Rahul should be aware of the fact that the country has acknowledged the fact that it has become a democratic kingdom where a particular family can call the shots any time. This is a reality India knows and thus Rahul shouldn't waste his time in reminding the nation about this.

In the latest of his people contact Rahul Gandhi has asked the women to join politics saying that 50% of the population (that figure is wrong) should take active part in politics. Has Rahul forgotten that his party fielded the least number of women candidates on an average during the recent Lok Sabha polls. May be it is high time the Congress General Secretary address these issue in front of his party rather than use these catchy lines in his PR exercise.

Rahul Gandhi seems to be on a dry run (for all those who do not know the meaning of the term its a synonym to rehearsal or testing) for the top job in the country. He might prove to be India's best Prime Minister but he should at times restrain himself from making political statements which will come back hard.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sovereignty versus Statehood

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


The last few days have seen these two words 'Sovereignty' and 'Statehood' have been on front pages of the newspapers across the country. If sovereignty was the word in Assam with the arrest of ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, statehood buzzed in the Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh after TRS (Telengana Rastriya Samity) chief K Chandrasekhara Rao sat on a fast unto death. Both the issue have troubled the Centre and their respective state governments for decades now.

The two causes are similar to each other in many ways but have two different methods. If one is being fought politically the other has been under the shadow of the guns. If Statehood has a solution under the preview of the Indian constitution the word Sovereignty will only elongate armed battle between the security forces and the militants. But vandalism, damage to public property and trouble to the Aam Aadmi is common between the two.

ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa's surrender (read arrest) in Bangladesh refreshed the word 'sovereignty' in the minds of the people of India especially Assam. Rajkhowa who directly or indirectly responsible for killing 15000 people and extorting crores of money felt offended to have handcuffs on his hands. A teenager in Assam knows sovereignty from India is both impossible and unnecessary but the militant leaders would not bow.

Can Rajkhowa give an explanation to the people who lost their loved ones in blasts and killings? What would he tell the youth of the state who are jobless as years of terrorism has meant that Assam missed investments in the Liberalisation era. What would he tell thousands of young jobless man who gave their lives under the notion of winning independence for the state where their leaders lived luxurious lives in a neighbouring country running business ranging from shipping, hotel to media.

Coming to the issue of Telengana, there is a notion in India that smaller states and Statehood can chase away all the miseries. Jarkhand, Chattisgarh have proved us something opposite. Has Mr K Chandrasekhara Rao raised the issue of development of the Telengana region, No. The reason he and the TRS thinks the best solution is to get a state. Do what next? It won't be surprising if the TRS has no answers to that.

The Centre is already instituting a team to look into the mater of the Telengana and is planning for a all party debate for the separate statehood. Soon school children in India might have to learn the name of one more state. As far as Assam's sovereignty issue is concerned there won't be any solution to the issue. After all terrorism is one of easiest ways to make money. ULFA has made crores of rupees this way and it cares very little for the people of Assam.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

We are finally No. 1

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


The Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi had once said in the 1940s that there are some good aspects of British culture that India should retain post Independence and Cricket was one of them. Almost seven decades later the Lok Sabha (amidst the controversial Librehean Commission Report) congratulated the team and the players of the victorious Indian cricket team for becoming the No. 1 Test team. This shows Cricket is just more than a game in India. Although Hockey remains our national game on papers, Cricket is a part of our popular culture now.

This is for the first time since ICC introduced the ranking system in the last decade. Looking back at the five day version of the game prior to the ranking system many might argue that Indian teams of the past might have come close to being the numero uno star especially Kapil's devils of 1986 season. But technically it is for the first time in 77 years since making out Test debut in 1932 under the leadership of C. K. Nayudu we are the best Test side in the world.

This has been possible due to some superb cricket played by India in the last 18 months where they delivered splendid performance in Australia, New Zealand and West Indies. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Ganbhir, Yuvraj Singh, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Zaheer Khan all fired at different instance to win matches for India. Unlike T20, Test cricket test the patience of cricketers and it is not for boys (expect if you are a Sachin) but for men.

The reason this team under the leadership of MS Dhoni now and Anil Kumble in the recent past has been because the players have come up with match winning and match saving performances. The only sad part in this jubilant time was the absence of Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble in the team. After all many of the victories in the last two years wouldn't have been possible without these two giants. Indian cricket fans will never forget that it was under Sourav that Indian cricketers started looking at the eyes of the opposition.

As the nation celebrates there is criticism already and it has come form expected quarters. The Australian media slammed India's ranking saying that Team India isn't playing against stronger oppositions. The questions is did they slam Mathew Hayden when he scored 380 against Zimbabwe to hold the highest test score for a brief period? It is difficult for the egoistic Aussies to see some other team at the top and themselves slipping to the third position after being No. 1 for almost the entire decade.

The tough task starts here for MSD and his men considering they have to now retain the spot by keeping up the performance. Although we glorify the batsman Test cricket is all about bowling as you can only win when you take 20 wickets we finally seem to be having an army of speed stars who can take 20 wickets abroad (batsmen can just draw a test match!) Its now that the team's real character will be tested as it is much easier to aim targets set by others than make your own targets.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Obama sings Bush's war song

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

There was a certain section of American society which believed Barack Obama would undo some of the mistakes done by his predecessor George W Bush and bring back American soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. But now it seems Uncle Sam is going the same way as Bush did and deploying 30000 more troops in war torn Afghanistan. Somebody rightly said American foreign policy remains the same irrespective of who resides at the White House.

In his speech Obama said that being the commander in chief is calling for more troop deployment as it was in America's national interests (wonder which part of the world doesn't fall under America's national interest). He also promised that within 18 months American our troops will start to go back home. The only deviation that Obama has made from Bush was to set a deadline for troop pull-out. This is less to do with his foreign policy and more to with his oratory skills.

In the eight years since the United States began bombing Afghanistan in retaliation for the attacks of 9/11 perpetrated by Osama bin Laden more than 1,500 men and women of the coalition forces, mostly American, have given their lives to help create a stable, friendly government there. Now Obama is no mood to continue with two fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq especially Afghanistan as America sees not much economic benefits there.

If anybody though America was planning to stay in Afghanistan longer and thus was deploying the troops, than they are grossly mistaken. America is desperate to leave Afghanistan and wants to create a terror free time window to excuse itself from the terror hot bed. It has given up on the hope of capturing Osama bin Laden and trying him the way it tried Saddam Hussain. The increase in the number of troops is to create a temporarily peacefully Afghanistan to pave a way for America's burst escape.

The only bone of contention for America lies in the fact that Pakistan is collapsing as a state and America cannot deny its contribution to the lawlessness. It hit a bee hive and things went horribly wrong , Pakistan no longer seems to be under control of Islamabad. What makes situation scary for America is Pakistan is a nuclear state and in case its nuclear arsenal falls in the hands of the fundamentalist America would be chosen as a target over India!

For now, the American game plan is simple escape Afghanistan as soon as a possible and let the region boil and burn much like the way they did after the 1989 pull out of the Soviet army. Eight years of Hamid Karzai government hasn't really been able to take over from the Taliban and it not being backed by US Troops only signals a doomsday situation. In all this the biggest victims would be countries like India which will have to directly bear the brunt of terrorism. Had Mr Bush nit made that famous on-liner “We are at war” and launched 'war on terror' the world might have been a safer place.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

India should use Rajkhowa to finish ULFA

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The United Liberation Front of Assam or the ULFA suffered a major blow with the arrest of chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa in Bangladesh. Apurba Barooah, the publicity in-charge of the outfit is also said to have been nabbed. Both these leaders will now be handed over to India as Bangladeshi Prime Minister is keen on not allowing her country's soil to be used for anti-India terror activities. Hasina is returning favours to India after New Delhi was rumoured to have offered to rescue her when there was a military coup led by BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) earlier this year.

Bangladesh had shown its intent recently when it had handed over two other senior leaders Foreign Secretary Sasha Choudhury and Finance Secretary Chitraban Hazarika. Rajkhowa arrest also means that the ULFA is only left with Commander-in-Chief Paresh Baruah among its founders. Its General Secretary Anup Chetia is in the custody of Bangladesh while Vice-Chairman Pradip Gogoi and ideologue Bhimkanta Borgohain are in Indian custody. ULFA which has been fighting for a sovereign Assam for the past three decades stands at its weakest with the leadership crisis.

India has to be very careful and diplomatic while dealing with Arabinda Rajkhowa as he was known to be interested in talks with New Delhi. Rajkhowa was known to be in a rift with Paresh Baruah over the issue. Indian authorities should realise that Rajkhowa is the only person who could challenge Baruah's authority in the ULFA. Instead of making him languish in the jail as has been in the case with Pradip Gogoi and many other leaders Indian government should think about ending the Assam crisis.

In the recent years there have been enough indications that many of the militants in the ULFA ranks are interested in giving up arms. In 2008 ULFA leaders Mrinal Hazarika and Jiten Dutta of the A and C companies of ULFA declared unilateral ceasefire in order to pressurise the top brass of ULFA to sit on negotiation table with the Government of India. But the top brass of ULFA expelled the leaders upon which rift developed between Rajkhowa and Paresh Baruah.

This is now a god send opportunity for the Indian authorities to finish the armed struggle in Assam through negotiations with the outfit paving the way for its carders to lay down their arms. New Delhi along with Guwahati should make full use of this opportunity to finish the problem diplomatically as military operations haven't yielded fruitful results as terrorists use foreign territory to carry out their operations. New Delhi should also keep in mind that it is very rarely that Dhaka extends such an olive branch to India. It should act fast before there is a change of guard in Dhaka.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Netas run short of attendance!

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Indian Parliament has become used to seeing lows than highs in the last two decades. If screaming, mud slinging and indecent behaviour wasn't enough our Netas seem to be busy perfecting a new art that of 'Mass Bunking.' Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar resembled a frustrated teacher when she called out the names of 34 MPs who had submitted questions for the question hour and all of them were found to be absent. The event was so frustrating that the Speaker adjourned the House and later regretted the absence of such a large number of members.

Now lets imagine what explanation could our Netas give for falling short of attendance. Some would definitely had got a very important call from their Parliamentary constituencies. Some would have been reading in the Parliament library adding some more value to their intellect. The blame could also go on Mamata Banerjee as the menu in the Parliament canteen is said to have bettered ever since the new government took charge. Since IRCTC maintains the canteen and a good menu might have lead more to wastage of business hours, Mamata might have to take a share blame!

Meira Kumari has planned to call for an all party meeting and asked for answers from her disobedient MPs. One could be to get a leave application from their parents or local guardians. It will be easiest for Varun Gandhi to do so as mummy is always around. Another could be to say that parents/guardians are 'out of station.' The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry could introduce a 'roll call' system for our Netas and Meira Kumar will have to do the honours not once by twice in a day even if she doesn't like it. If these Netas still fall short of attendance they shouldn't be allowed to sit for the next exam oops! Lok Sabha polls.

But hang on, isn't it unfair on our part to expect our Netas to sit in the Parliament obediently considering many of them would have never done it in their entire lives. Many of our Netas never went to the middle school and those who reached the college would have only enrolled their names and been active only in political parties. So, intellect and obedience are too much to expect from most of our elected representatives. There are many Netas who open their mouth once in five years and during the tenure of a house occupy back benches and remain silent.

Why are we making a fuss about these MPs missing. The parliament runs because a handful of our leaders take part in debates. The rest fill the 535 benches as they don't have what it takes to be in a Parliament. What is so bad even if these brainless souls stay out of the house at least there is less chance of the house getting disrupted. Well, Meira Kumari might just need a stick in her hand alas corporal punishment has been banned in India.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Kasab is bored, needs a new lawyer

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Ajmal Kasab's court case seems to be better than the scripts of most of the Bollywood thrillers we are coming across these days. Even the ace Bollywood director Mahmohan Desai would have bowed down to the twists and turns in the case. As the nation observed the first anniversary of the brutal 26/11 killings in Mumbai there was a question looming around as to why has a verdict not been delivered in Kasab's case? Isn't our judicial system strong enough to nail a terrorists?

In another of those Bollywood like twists Abbas Kazmi the defence lawyer representing the 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab has been sacked. The reason cited by the judge is 'non-cooperation', wonder what that means in a open and shut case? This after Kazmi had said that he did not care about affidavits of witnesses filed by the prosecution. Now a hardcore terrorist's lawyer seems to have learnt a trait from his world renowned client.

Now there will be a huge buzz as to who the next lawyer would be in this case. What will follow is pretty much known, court will ask for some lawyers to take up the case. After much reluctance a name or two will come up following which political parties like the Shiv Sena and the MNS will stone the house of these lawyers forcing them to call it quits. The court will then be forced to appoint a lawyer on their own for a few more episodes. Wonder if Kasab is getting bored with all this?

Even if Kasab gets a death sentence, it will be challenged in the Supreme Court which will mean a few more anniversaries will pass by causing agony to the families of the martyrs and victims and regular embarrassment to Pakistan! Supreme Court will upheld the judgement which will then land up in President's court for mercy petition much like in the case of Mohammad Afzal Guru and Nalini. Rashtrapati Bhavan will have one more case to sit on hoping for IC 814 like hijack to relieve them of some pressure.

The question that the Aam Aadmi (Mango People) ask is why can't we have justice delivered? Why should we still have faith in the criminal justice system of the country? US terminated Saddam Hussain as soon as a single death sentence was pronounced upon him. All the other cases on him are being tried in absentia. It is understandable that India's 'peace loving attitude' doesn't allow it to take on terrorist in foreign soil but it should definitely allow us to deliver a strong verdict in a case like 26/11. Is this the rule of the law and democracy that we need to be proud of?

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Are we really safe?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


As we observe the first anniversary of the 26/11 attack one question which is there in everybody's mind is are we safe? Can we hope that a 26/11 like attack won't happen again? These are questions which perhaps have no answers. Although the government has taken some measures to deal with such a terror scenario it has done very little to prevent 26/11 like incidents. The situation on the ground still remains a worrying factor for the society.

Although we have sent several dossiers to Pakistan what has that resulted in? Has the infiltration in J&K come down, or has Pakistan taken any concrete measures to deal with the handlers of 26/11 other than displaying mere tokenism? What makes our Prime Minister sign a joint declarations with a country which is fighting a proxy war against us? Why is it that we don't attempt to neutralise terrorists like Hafeez Sayeed thus taking the war to the conspirators of attacks against us?

The heroics of our NSG men during the attack meant that most of the states immediately demanded NSG hubs for their states. The civil society sees this as a full proof measure for their security. We couldn't be more wrong in our assumption. NSG is a reactive force and acts whenever there is a crisis situation. So they don't prevent a fiyadeen attack or a bomb blast in a busy market area. Secondly NSG being a highly skilled force small in number will only be called out during major operations.

It is the local police and the intelligence network that has to be strengthened. It is easier said that done as India has one of the worst police to people ratio in the world. Add to it the fact that most of these men are not armed (forget the term poorly armed) fighting terrorist becomes an impossible task. It isn't surprising that regularly being made to do ornamental duty around the politicians and bureaucrats, many of our policeman aren't fit to fight terror any more.

The civil society also has to take up responsibility of making the nation secure. How many of us really don't mind getting frisked? Isn't that for our own security? Are we willing to shed a little bit of our 'Fundamental Rights' which can go a long way in making our country secure? Why can't we think of citizen policing like it is practised many modern nations. Do we verify the identity of individuals before renting them a house or selling them a vehicle? Are we playing our part correctly?

We have to take strong measures to make our nation safe. The absence of a major attack isn't a concrete proof that our internal security system is in place. All of us see a completely different picture when we walk onto the streets and don't feel secured. As someone rightly put it we are safe till the next attack. So, lets not sleep till something worst that 26/11 happens.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Should we include Kasab in 26/11 remembrance?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Time flies they say and it indeed does. It has been one year since India witnessed the worst case of urban terror. The Government started the ball rolling by sacking ministers and trying to convince the international community of Pakistan's involvement in the attack. It also initiated Ajmal Kasab's trial which has seen more drama than Ekta Kapoor could ever imagine. The Centre also sent dossiers to Pakistan which always came back with more questions than answers.

The civil society was not too far left behind and India's Aam Aadmis and not so Aam Admins took a oath to fight the corrupt and inefficient polity in the country. Media promised not to let the matter of internal security get brushed under the carpet. Bollywood planned to show the heroics of the Indian soldiers through the celluloid. Too many promises and and too less results. Have we really been able to change things in the past one year?

The sacked ministers are back and international community is tired of India's complaints. Kasab's case has turned into a drama and Pakistan feels 26/11 is too old an issue to talk about. The civil society is back minding its own business and media has god some more interesting topic to increase its TRP. Bollywood is unable to figure out how to put an item number in a 26/11 patriotic movie and unless it does it there can be no movie on 26/11.

One week prior to the anniversary we all come alive. From candle light processions to observing silence we will all relive 26/11 and then digest it once again. What kind of criminal justice system do we have in this country when we can't bring a terrorist like Kasab to justice. Isn't it the biggest joke among the enemies of India? We are ready to get slaughtered but we are not ready to hard decisions and are keeping a man like Kasab alive causing agony to the family members of those killed.

One solution perhaps could be to bring out Kasab and make him a part of our 26/11 remembrance. Our judicial system could not punish him perhaps the helplessness in the eyes of the Aam Aadmi might make him remorse for the act of madness he carried on a year ago. What if Kasab stars regretting his act and wants to turn a saint and go to Pakistan to preach non-violence. This could perhaps help us prevent a few more terror attacks in India.

If this sounds sarcasm then the only solution for the government is to do deliver justice to the families of the 26/11 victims.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Political hypocrisy over Liberhan Commission report

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


No sooner did the story of the leak of the reports of Liberhan Commission come out in the open both houses of the Parliament turned into political war zones filled with chaos and mud slinging. The report which took only17 years! to come had indicted the entire top brass of the BJP including former PM AB Vajpayee, LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and then UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh. It also includes the name of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Ashok Singhal and Pravin Togadia, RSS chief KS Sudarshan.

Now, we would believe that this was enough for the Congress let UPA to nail the fragile BJP but no it is the Congress which has gone into the defensive. Reason, if Babri Masjid came down Congress was indirectly party to it. It allowed all the events leading to the December 6, 1992 event as it did not want to hurt the sentiments of the Hindus. The Congress' secular image fell victim to its vote bank politics as no national political party at heights of Ayodhya moment would have wanted to distance itself from the Hindus.

The Liberhan report also questions the action (or the lack of it) taken by of then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao. Many of his critics say that Narasimha Rao was a party to the demolition by turning a blind eye on the issue despite strong intelligence reports. True he should have taken some strong measures to prevent this but can any of his critics explain what those measures could have been. Trying to stop 1500000 fanatic religious men by force would have created a Indian version of the Tiananmen Square. A blood bath in Ayodhya would have definitely shaken the pillars of India. Narasimha perhaps took a bad but wise decision.

No political party in this country, certainly not the Congress has it's hands clean on the issue. If the Congress feels it has enough ammunition in the report to go for a kill on the BJP, it should do it. But if it puts its steps forward worried about the reaction of the Hindus (which it is definitely doing) it should not call itself to be a secular party. Secularism doesn't mean appeasing the minority in the foreground and making moves based on the mindset of the majority in the background.

It is not very surprising to see most of the BJP leaders having no remorse over the demolition of the Babri Masjid. After all this party grew from the ashes of the Ayodhya moment. Venturing outside the Hindutva territory has proved to be a catastrophe for the BJP since the 2004 polls where they were wiped out from their stronghold. BJP realises its existence lies in remaining a Hindu right wing party rather than taking a Centrist approach like the Congress.

Irony lies in the fact that it took 17 years for Liberhan Commission to prepare a report where most of the things stated could have been stated 17 days after the incident. The political leadership of both the government and the opposition should settle the issue outside the Parliament. In the Parliament it doesn't seem this issue will settle down in another 17 years.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Shave India: Did we hear it correct?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Over the last weekend I happened to watch a Gillette ad where a guy sporting a stubble in a multiplex was being pulled up for not being clean shaven. What's more he was being interrogated by the ad crew who insist they were invited by his girlfriend. Welcome to Gillette's 'Shave India Campaign.' After the Lead India and Teach India campaigns were initiated to transform this nation the American safety razors manufacturing giant thought it would be nice to first transform Indian men's face.

The Gillette Shave India Campaign site reads “Women from various cities across the country have decided to come out of their man's shadows. They have joined forces to form an active change group called W.A.L.S. - women against lazy stubble. These women, joined by glamorous leading ladies like Neha Dhupia, Minissha Lamba and Mugdha Godse, have a single point agenda - to get their man to shave and come clean! If they are doing so much to look after themselves, it's time men responded too!”

Now the question arises from when did American corporates think about bettering the lives of Indians? Procter & Gamble the owners of Gillette seemed to have come out with one of the most unique business ideas to drive their men's toiletries arm by targeting Indian men's stubble. It wasn't difficult for them to get some 'beauty without brains' to stand behind it. Wonder why didn't they choose Afghanistan or some middle eastern nation as it would have made more business sense. Perhaps those countries have fewer 'beauty without brains' to stand behind such a campaign.

Coming back to our very own women against lazy stubble, all men in this country would have just one question. What if we did the same thing to you? Asked you to wear only women's outfit? Wouldn't that become a invasion into one's freedom? Wouldn't that bring in all the Women's Rights Activist up in arms against the people who launch such a campaign. Spare poor souls like us as we do not have a Men's Right Activists to fight for us!

Our 'beauty without brains' falling for such campaign is on as they make a lot of moolah for it but what about a common Indian woman, she stands to gain nothing from it. What joy will it give her to force husband/ beau or friend into such a thing? So high time we stop acting as fools and falling for such advertising campaigns. As for men, boycotting Gillette for a month might make the company realise where it stands. The irony of the campaign is that even if all women in India join Gillette's campaign, they still can't ensure great sales!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Shiv Sena defaming 'Marathi Manoos'

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee


Shiv Sena and its estranged cousin Maharashtra Navnirman Sena are leaving no stone unturned in defaming the Marathi Manoos. Both the parties which boldly claim to be saviour of the Marathi culture and guardians of the Marathi Manoos are only bringing a bad name to the Marathis. Although it might be a politically incorrect statement to make but a hard fact is politically correct statements seldom reflect true picture of a society.

Two decades of terrorism in Kashmir has meant that a Kashmiri cricketer travelling to Bangalore to play a match is seen with suspicion. Years of agitations in North Eastern states has compounded to a problem where many Indians feel that all North Easterners are anti-nationals. These kind of biases are wrong but the hard truth is that they form very easily, more dangerously they are hard to erase. Shiv Sena and MNS's regular acts of vandalism might create such a bias for the 'Marathi Manoos'

The latest in the series of hooliganism is the attack on the CNN-IBN offices in Mumbai and Pune. The reason; Shiv Sena members could digest the criticism that they got from the media after their Godfather Bal Thackerey was clean bowled trying to slam the biggest living Marathi icon Sachin Tendulkar. Where was Sena and the MNS when Mumbai was being attacked that journalist braved their lives reporting the incident. Were these goons scared to hit the streets then?

If this menace is not taken care of soon that day might come soon when an average Marathi migrating to any other state might face hostility. Any migrant is vulnerable and so are the Marathis who migrate out of Maharashtra. God forbidden if a Marathi faces hostility outside his state a large share of the blame will have to go to people like Thackreys who have played the politics of divide for decades now. Today this brand of politics is becoming more militant.

Now what does an average Marathi do? Shuns away from such divisive politics that is being played by these hooligans. They have cut on the support base of such political parties who choose language and regionalism over development and prosperity. This election results have shown that people of the state have stood up against the politics of violence played over the 'Marathi Manoos'. So Marathis should raise up a strong statement against this to make sure that the entire community is not defamed.

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