Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kasab's trial has become a mockery

The appointment of and subsequent withdrawal of Anjali Waghmare to defend Ajmal Amir Kasab is yet another mockery of an episode in the case. Anjali withdrew after the self styled protectors of peace and culture the Shiv Sainiks pelted stones at her building and shouted slogans against her. In December Dinesh Mota had been selected to represent Kasab but he withdrew at the last minute citing personal ethics.

Anjali Waghmare was to represent Kasab the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks as he could not appoint a lawyer by himself as he did not have the money to do so. By the law of the land in India every accused has the right of a fair trail and thus the court appointed a lawyer. Considering the amount of international attention in the case a speedy and fair trial needs to be done.

True there are lots of emotions with regard to this case. A terrorist who has claimed the lives of hundreds cannot be mercifully treated at any cost. But what is the Shiv Sena up against? What is it that they exactly want? Should Kasab be hanged without a trial? Are we a banana republic which hangs people from electric poles? Sorry we are not even if the Shiv Sainiks believe.

The case can have a speedy trial and considering the amount of evidence gathered against Kasab and his personal confession. Nailing him in the court should not be a tough job. If the Shiv Sena wants Kasab be sent to the gallows why don't they approach the court room instead of protesting outside the house of the lawyer who is appointed to represent Kasab.

True Kasab has waged a war against the nation and has to be strongly punished and if required sent to the gallows. But for all this to happen he has to be in the court room and face a fair trial to which many insane groups have opposition. We are different from our Talibanised neighbour and it will be in the best interest of the nation that we always remain so.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Prime Ministerial debate in India?

The 15th General Elections promises to be the most interesting since the days of the Emergency. It might throw up some of the most surprising results which is making even the best of pundits take time make their predictions. Now LK Advani has added more flavour it it by inviting Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi for a national Prime Ministerial debate.

We have all seen the US Presidential debate last year when Barack Obama and John McCain presented their future policies and programs on television watched by millions of Americans and people in other parts of the world. It is awesome to see such debates as a candidate had to know his country like the back of his hand or else he will make a fool out of himself.

Now the question is weather such a debate is possible in India? The answer is a big 'NO' with the current state of politics in the country. L K Advani and Mahmohan Singh might consider themselves to be the only Prime Ministerial candidate but people like Mayawati, Sharad Pawar, Jayalalitha, HD Dewe Gowda, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Prakash Karat and many others also fancy their chances. Now bringing all these people for a Prime Ministerial debate on the same stage will be no different from a Lok Sabha session.

What LK Advani has suggested is definitely forward looking and should be a thing of the future but in a multi-party system with as many PM candidate as regional parties it is easier said than done. Also many of our regional party leaders are not aware of the India that exist outside their sphere of influence. It will be pretty difficult for a Mayawati to talk about development in North East or for a Jayalalitha to feel about the problems being faced by farmers in Maharashtra.

It was a very smart move by LK Advani to call Manmohan Singh for a Prime Ministerial debate. Firstly he has projected a very forward looking image of himself to the youth of this country. Secondly as far as oratory and argumentative skills are concerned Advani is far ahead of Mahmohan Singh. We all know McCain on stage was no match for Obama when it came to debates and looked like a poor competitor. Thus in such a debate Advani will come out as the winner.

In this elections such a debate seem quite unlikely. But Advani's idea is forward looking in nature and should be considered seriously for the future elections both at the state as well as the centre. After all the common man would love to see their politicians brush up their knowledge of the country before coming on the small screen for such debates.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Definition of Secularism in India

Secularism is defined as a doctrine that rejects religion and religious considerations. The Congress manifesto for the upcoming General Elections says it will bring in reservations for the Muslims in educational institutions and jobs. Now isn't the promise that the Congress is making based on 'religious consideration'? Can the oldest party then claim itself to be secular.

The Congress has always branded the BJP as a communal party. Had the BJP's election manifesto had promise of reservation for the Hindus this would have been branded as a communal agenda by the saffron brigade. How can the Congress brand a certain party as communal when it is itself playing with the religious card for what is simply known as 'vote bank politics'.

Why is that the Congress party doesn't plan to call for reservation for other religious minorities like the Christians (2.3%), the Sikhs (1.9%), the Buddhist (1.1%) or the Jains (0.4%). The reason is simple these communities hardly have influence over substantial number of Lok Sabha seats unlike the Muslims. Are small minorities not minorities enough to be eligible for reservation like the so called 'largest minority community' in India is?

With 13.4% population and influence in close to 120 odd Lok Sabha seats Muslims are a cash cow for the Congress. Add to it the illegal migrants from Bangladesh in Assam and West Bengal and the Congress has got its arithmetic right with the reservation promise. For years the Congress has claimed to be the guardian of secularism in the country. Then why did the worst riots take place before not just the BJP but even the Jana Sangh had come to existence as a political force?

It is a true fact that the Muslims are backward in most social parameters. Their upliftment is necessary for the development of the nation as a whole. The root cause of their backwardness need to be studied and policy for change formulated accordingly. But their development cannot be at the cost of denying some eligible candidates job or a seat in educational institutions.

Secularism stands not just to allow someone to practice and preach his own religion but also not to make policies based on religious consideration. In this case the Congress has to understand secularism before branding others political parties as communal.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Its Gandhi v/s Gandhi

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Its Gandhi versus the Gandhi now with Priyanka Gandhi slamming Varun Gandhi for his alleged anti-Muslim comments. She said that Varun's comments were unfortunate and stood against what their family had lived and died for. She even went on to advise Varun to read the Bhagwat Gita and understand what real Hinduism means.

Priyanka's comments came as a surprise to many as the two strings of the Gandhi family who are divided by politics are not known to flash at each other in front of the media. Many argue Priyanka's comments have come in the heat of the upcoming elections. She has signalled that she has no soft corner for her estranged cousin and she could be critical of him in front of the media.

The rivalry between the two strings of Indira Gandhi's family goes back to the 80's. Rajiv Gandhi's relationship with his younger brother Sanjay was on the rocks till Sanjay's death in 1980. Rajiv blamed Sanjay for much of Indira's political woes. Sanjay who was considered to be Indira's political heir had almost become a dictator in the Congress party much to the dismay of his mother.

Sanjay's wife Meneka Gandhi never got along well with Indira and Sonia and was known to have constant rifts with them. The rift increased after Sanjay Gandhi's accidental death in a plane crash when Meneka felt she was being marginalised within the family. Indira finally showed Meneka the door in February 1982 when their rift had become national headlines and it was unbearable any longer.

Meneka exited from the Congress party and Indira showed her fondness for her elder daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi. Meneka subsequently joined the Janata Dal and also served as a Minister of Environment. She fought and won elections as an independent candidate in 1996 and 1998. It was during the 2004 elections that she won from BJP ticket.

Now as Sonia projects Rahul as her political heir and the future Prime Minister of the country, Meneka would like to have the same kind of treatment for her son Varun who is not any lesser Gandhi. Varun's recent outburst were more focused of stamping his authority in politics than anything else. BJP backing Varun means that not just in this election but in the future too the two string of India's first political family will be pitted against each other.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lalit Modi has no right to blame the Govt.

After weeks of drama surrounding the security of the second edition of the Indian Premiere League the verdict is finally out. Indian Premiere League is moving out of the country in its second season or in simple words IPL is become NR-IPL read Non Resident Indian Premiere League. Cricket's biggest money spinner tournament will most likely head to England its country of birth.

The shocker of a statement came from Lalit Modi, the Chairman and Commissioner of Indian Premier League when he accused the government of forcing the BCCI to move the tournament out of India. He accused the Home Minister P Chidabaram of not trying enough to provide security to the tournament which clashes with forthcoming General Elections.

It is a pretty well known thing that the acquisitions are more political than cricketing in nature. Modi is very close to the former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Sindhia and thus will not miss any chance to hit back at the Congress Party. The entire issue had become political with non-Congress ruled states giving a go ahead to the security during the tournament.

Lalit Modi has more business interests to protect than think of what the fans will miss. IPL is no Olympic where humanity is celebrated no prize money is given. IPL is the biggest money making tournament in modern day cricket. So Mr. Modi has is simply focused in protecting the business interest of the BCCI and its franchisees.

True being a die hard cricket fan many of us are hurt with the tournament going out of India. But we cannot allow insanity to rule over out minds. The General Elections are far more important for the country than the Indian Premiere League. Mr. Lalit Modi has to understand this and not let the prospects of business losses rule over his mind.

What if an untoward incident like Lahore happens, won't Mr Modi blame the Government? The government has done the right thing in accepting ground realities that it won't be able to provide full proof security to IPL. It is better not to have the tournament than to have it with compromised security measures. We can't put the life of the domestic as well as the international cricketers at stake like our neighbouring country had done in the recent past.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Nano finally ignites its engines

After lots of hurdles and roadblocks both corporate and political the Tata Nano finally has pushed the fuel into the ignition cylinder. The world's cheapest car and one of modern India's engineering marvel will finally be seen on the roads. Had it not been for some insane politics the car popularly rechristened as the 'Lakhtakia' would have been five months old now. But as they say “better late than never”.

Tata Nano was the talk of the town during the 79th Geneva Motor Show. It attracted more people than the Bentleys, the Audis, the Rolls Royaces could. The giants had to bow in front of the cheapest car from a so called 'Third World Country.' Many automobile enthusiasts have compared it to Henry Ford's legendary Model T which had revolutionised America.

Tata Nano has to be hailed as the greatest engineering marvel to have come out of India since its independence. Coming from the most respected corporate house in India it is a perfect example of 'extreme engineering.' It may not surprise many that Tata Motors has filed in as many as 17 patents for the different components which had to be custom made for the Nano.

The concept was thought to be impossible by most automotive giants around the world. Many had raised doubts on the feasibility of the project. Corporates rivals even went on to ridicule the project saying the Tatas will add an extra wheel to an auto-rickshaw and call it a car. Tatas have silenced all of them and the same people who had ridiculed Ratan Tata and his men are working on their own version of the 'People's Car'. Bajaj Auto has even displayed its prototype in the Delhi Auto Expo.

If corporate rivalry was not enough there was some insane politics played out against the project under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee. Her prolonged agitation made sure Tata Nano had to exit Singur in West Bengal and find a new home in Sanand, Gujarat. The meant launch date had to be postponed by five months and Tata group incurred loses upto Rs. 1500 Crores.

In spite of the loses the Tatas stuck to their price of one lakh and once again proved why do Indians still swear by the name of Tata. In the end Ratan Tata and his men have stood against time and delivered what they had promised. March 23, 2009 will go down as a historic date not only in India's automotive history but in the automotive history of the world.


Friday, March 20, 2009

National Parties; What National Parties?

The kind permutation and combination that the political parties are doing this election season can give the top mathematician a run for their money. Parties are looking to get the maximum share of seats even disappointing their allies to a certain extent. The two national parties BJP and the Congress suddenly seem yo have no control over their allies and it is the regional parties who are calling the shots.

If BJD ditched the BJP at the last moment in Orissa it was the turn of RJD and the LJP to do the same to Congress in Bihar. In West Bengal Sonia Gandhi had to bow down before Mamata Banerjee's demands. NCP is troubling Congress by demanding the post of the Prime Minister for Sharad Pawar even before the EVM's have buzzed.

The Congress and the BJP have been left to biting their nails in most of the states where they have alliances with the regional parties. The situation is slightly better for the BJP as it has got less regional allies with parties like the TDP, National Conference, TMC, LJP and the AIADMK not a part of the coalition anymore. On the other hand Congress has too many heads to please while allotting its seats.

Now for the BJP and the Congress a lot will depend on the states where it fights the polls on its own. These are the very places where both the parties will have to cash on if any of them want to stake a claim to forming the next government at the centre. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh will prove to be crucial if the Congress or the BJP wants to see itself forming a government at the centre.

For people like Lalu Prasad and Mamata Banerjee the logic is very simple, these pre-poll alliance may become meaningless after the results are declared and with more seats in their own kitty they can dictate terms in the next coalition government. Also the emergence of the Third Front has made sure that the fight this time will be tripartite. For the BJP and the Congress this election will be more about holding their ground as national parties.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Congress cannot sit in Meghalaya opposition

A problem with a political party running a government for too long is it cannot bear sitting in the opposition. As for the Congress party which has almost had a unchallenged run is most of the North Eastern states since independence it 'cannot not be' in power in North East. It has finally been successful in toppling the NCP led Donkupar Roy government in Meghalaya and bringing in President's Rule in the state thus pushing it into political uncertainty.

If horse trading was the business mantra of the world the Congress leaders from Meghalaya could have been tycoons in the trade. It had just been a year since Donkupar Roy had taken over as the Chief Minister of the state. But for the DD Lapang led Congress party this was something which could not be digested. How could the Hand sit in the opposition?

The people of Meghalaya haven't forgotten the how DD Lapang had ousted Mr JD Rhymbai from the post of the Chief Minister in the last government. The result of the 'joke of a poll' which was held to select between Rymbhai and Lapang as the leader never came out. May be Madam Sonia Gandhi did not have enough time to see the mandate of her party leaders in Meghalaya. In the oldest party of the largest democracy in the world autocracy is the word.

For the power hungry Congress the Donkupar Roy led government had done many wrong. It wanted to bring in much needed development and investment to the state. It wanted to increase the productivity of the otherwise lazy state government employees by asking them to work on Saturdays. The biggest of all mistakes was to dream of of running a non-Congress government in the state. All these cannot be done in a state where the hand has acted like a handkerchief on most of the occasions.

Be it the Naga peace talks, the illegal migration of people from Bangladesh the Congress has always taken an anti-people stand. It was during the so called communal NDA rule that the Naga peace talks moved forward. The Congress brought the IMDT Act to increase their vote bank and promote infiltration to the extent of posing a threat to the entire region. So people should think which way they want to cast their vote when they have to do it next time.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The lesser known Gandhis

Varun Gandhi's communally sensitive speech has done one thing for sure brought back attention to the lesser known Gandhi family tree. People have suddenly recollected that there is more to the Gandhi family other than Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka. The almost forgotten Gandhi has emerged from nowhere by giving a communally sensitive speech.

Political loyalty is more important than blood ties when your last name is Gandhi in India. Otherwise the son of Meneka Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi should have inherited as much political legacy as his cousin Rahul has. Had his father not died a tragic death he could have had the “future Prime Minister of India” tag on him which his cousin Rahul proudly carries.

For a section of people who still feel Sonia Gandhi is an outsider Meheka and Varun are the real Gandhis. Varun for them is the true torch bearer of a political legacy starting from Motilal Nehru. It is ironical that for the numerous sycophants in the Congress who are 'Gandhi Loyalists', Varun Gandhi is non-existent. These are the same people who would chop off their finger if Sanjay Gandhi had asked them to do so in his hay days.

In his recent speech Varun has shown some sparks of his father Sanjay Gandhi. Rajiv's younger brother was very strong leader in his own right. He had brought the Congress under his control so much so that at one point of time he was more powerful than his mother. It is another fact that conspiracy theorists have always said he was killed by his own mother who feared loosing control over her party to him.

Till the other day Varun was thought to be just another leader living under his mother's shadow. But his recent speech has not only surprised the opposition but his party leaders too. Was it an all out attempt to stamp his authority in this elections? Or was Varun trying to project himself as none lesser than his cousin Rahul? Does he want a share of the princely treatment meted out to Rahul?

These are the questions only Varun will be able to answer but his statement may have achieved what he intended to. His name will definitely figure in all the future election rallies this season. His party will project him as the real Gandhi and the messiah of Hindutva and the Congress and its allies will brand him a communal leader.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Women leaders are more dictatorial

Mayawati is eyeing the post of the Prime Minister in the upcoming General Elections. She is not alone a whole bunch of women leaders promise to make an impact in the upcoming elections. Madam Sonia leads the oldest party in India. Mamata Banerjee is playing pressure politics with Sonia and her party. Down South Jayalalitha plans to defeat DMK in the coming polls. Women leaders are calling shots this election season in India.

Isn't it ironical that the West which has always championed the cause of equality amongst women has been very orthodox when it came to putting a women for top job in a country. Other than Margaret Thatcher the former Prime Minister of United Kingdom the West has hardly anything to show when it comes to being ruled by the fairer sex.

On the contrary the so called Third World nations of the Indian subcontinent have shown good examples of empowerment of women if not in daily lives at least in politics. Starting with Sirimavo Bandaranaike in Sri Lanka in 1960 all the countries in the region have been ruled by the fairer sex. Be it Indira Gandhi in India, Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Chandrika Kumaratunga in Sri Lanka or Sheikh Hasina and Khalida Zia in Bangladesh women have time and again helmed the politics in the region.

Coming back to the context of women leaders in India have been more dictatorial than there male counterparts when it came to controlling their parties. Right from the time of Indira Gandhi to present day people like Sonia Gandhis, Mayawatis, Jayalalithas and the Mamata Banerjees are the last word in their party.

Can anyone name a few leaders from the BSP, TMC or the AIADMK who can match eye with these leaders? The truth is leaders like Mayawati, Jayalalitha and Mamata Banerjee don't like and don't have a second leader in their party who can raise a voice against the. These very people who promise us democracy all round the year do not even have an election process to select the leader of their parties. They promise to run democracy with the methods of autocracy.

It is the same country where women are fighting over equality and from home to the corporate world they have to prove themselves everyday. On the other hand there are leaders whose ego won't let them bow before anyone. Isn't India a land of irony?


Monday, March 16, 2009

Maya wants to spread her 'Mayajal'

Mayawati's decision to fight the election on her own has left many amazed. More so with her claim to form a Non-NDA and Non-UPA government on her own. This definitely has to be the boldest statement for the election season. She might have the largest state in India under her control with 80 seats to the Lok Sabha but to challenge the two national parties is quite amazing.

If we go by the last Lok Sabha polls Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party has won a mere 19 seats while rival Samajwadi Party got 35 out of the 80 seats. But a lot of water has flown down the Ganges since then and Mayawati registered a historic win in the last Assembly election winning an absolute majority in the house and being the first leader to do so in almost two decades.

By challenging the BJP and the Congress and playing pressure politics with the Third Front, Maya is keeping everyone guessing. The question arises is what is behind her confidence or overconfidence? In the best case scenario she can win a maximum 80 seats in UP which seems highly unlikely. Other than UP her party has hardly has not raised its head in any other state.

Mayawati is trying to woo the voters with what became popularly known as 'Social Engineering' during the last UP Polls. She has shed her image of an anti-upper cast leader and has included the upper cast people among her ranks. This worked wonders for her in the last elections. She has however not forgotten to champion the cause of dalits making sure they see her as their sole leader.

Mayawati also plans to cash in on Samajwadi Party's Muslim votes after siding with the Congress in the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. Muslims who have always been loyal to the SP suddenly have a feeling they have been bertrayed by the SP. Since they can't side with the BJP under any circumstance, Maywati seems to have emerged as their only saviour. They vote share might turn the table in UP this time.

Mayawati will be the biggest challenge to the Third Front. She is one leader they cannot ignore, neither can they work with. Even before the polls have started she has expressed her interest in the Prime Minister's chair. Her rise or fall might be the most interesting story in the upcoming General Elections. It remains to be seen if Mayawati can weave her Mayajal around 7th Race Course Road.


Saturday, March 14, 2009


Dictionary says it is “the event of dying or departure from life.” But in the true meaning of life is it so simple? As someone rightly put is there is no bigger reality than death. It is one thing no living creature has been able to conquer and everyone needs to bow down before it someday. Its the end of many relationships and start of everlasting memories.

Today I have personally lost someone very close to me my grandmother. Like all children I had played in her lap. She was the one who would bring me back form school during my nursery days. She would narrate the numerous events in her life to me everyday. Crossing 90 years in her life she had nothing much to live for but relationships and love seldom dies.

It was just last week that I bid her goodbye to her and her partying words were “Pray to God that he gives me some space in his feet.” Its only been 8 days since she had said that to me for the last time in her life. Seeing her suffering I had prayed that she gets relief soon. But today I have a feeling of emptiness, something which was there till yesterday will no more be there with me.

The room now will be empty with the old lady sitting in the bed gone forever. Never in my life again will I be able to hear her voice again. Never will those old hands bless me for my well being. No one will ever ask me those funny questions related to job and career like she did. The only thing I am left with are her memories which I will cherish all my life.

For the doctor she was just another patient, for the cremation ground staff she was just another name in their register of dead bodies being cremated everyday. But for me she was someone close to me, someone who nurtured me when my mother was away from work. As a human body exists the world nothing much changes just that world is one life less and one mind less....


Friday, March 13, 2009

The wanna be Prime Ministers

What's common between H D Deve Gowda, Prakash Karat, Chandrababu Naidu, Mayawati and J Jayalalitha? Well all of them fancy their chances of becoming the 18th Prime Minister of India. The upcoming General Elections is slowly becoming one of most unpredictable ones in the recent history and might throw surprising results. Regional parties thrive on such unpredictability.

Janata Dal-Secular, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Forward Bloc, Telugu Desam Party, AIADMK, Telangana Rashtra Samiti and the Bahujan Samaj Party have come together and formed what is known as the Third Front (non-NDA and non-UPA) to bring in much needed stability to the nation.

Let us assume a scenario in which the Third Front emerges ahead of the Congress led UPA and BJP led NDA. Now the question arises who becomes the Prime Minister? The solution lies in how we played cricket in our childhood. Whoever brings the bat becomes the captain and thus whoever brings in the maximum number of seats to the Parliament becomes the Prime Minister.

There is however a dangerous side to such a coalition with so many small parties. The person helming the government will be under tremendous pressure as breaking such a coalition will be very easy. Also the fact that the castists, the leftists and the regionalists come together policy formation in such a government might be tougher than sending a man to the moon.

The people of the country have a bitter experience with the United Front government (1996-1998). The coalition then comprised of most of the parties which have formed the Third Front this time. Such coalitions raise doubts over their stability as there is no clear leader unlike the NDA or the UPA. Most of the parties in such a coalition are divided by cast equation and language.

Both the BJP and Congress seem to be finding it tough to keep their allies together who are not missing any opportunity to blackmail them. In a Third Front lead scenario many of these allies might switch sides to grab a share of power at the Centre. Indian Democracy seems to going through its toughest election ever and a feeling of uncertainty looms over the nation.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Virender Sehwag – The No Nonsense Cricketer

The game of cricket has always had colourful and flamboyant characters. It is these characters who defy logic and bring in the audience to the ground and hook people to the television sets. Virender Sehwag is certainly one man whose batting can make the spectators stick to their seat. His explosive batting is always a treat to watch and is worth miles travelling for.

Viru entered international cricket with tag “Najafgarh ka Tendulkar”. Today he doesn't need that tag anymore as Virender Sehwag is a name enough to give sleepless nights to the opposition bowlers. He is one of the most gifted cricketers in the today's game. His hand eye coordination certainly has not match at the moment in world cricket.

Sehwag is absolutely a 'no nonsense' cricketer who believes in converting the bad ball into boundaries and good ones into singles and two's. The mass murderer of opposition attack, he doesn't indulge in verbal duals with the opposition lets his bat do the talking or rather dictating. From the Aussies to the Kiwis to the Pakistanis all the teams have had a taste of his explosive batting.

What separates Virender Sehwag from other contemporary hitters like Shahid Afridi and Andrew Symonds is that he not bogged down by the conditions. There is not a single country where Viru hasn't scored runs and scored them at a brisk pace. He is not a tiger on dusty subcontinent tracks and a lamb in the bouncy pitches elsewhere but constant in all kinds of condition. He know only one brand of cricket i.e. explosive.

Initially branded as a One Day cricketer Viru surprised everyone with his batting skills in Test cricket . He has scored heavily as an opener and laid the platform for most of India's test wins in the last decade. He is in the elite club of Sir Donald Bradman and Brian Charles Lara to have crossed the triple hundred mark twice in test cricket.

In spite of all these achievement Sehwag remains a humble cricketer still playing with the same attitude that brought him to international cricket. To define him in short we can call him The No Nonsense Cricketer.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pakistan set for another military rule

If the events of the last two weeks are anything to go by we can for sure say that the government in Pakistan seems to be nowhere in control of the country. First the attack on the Sri Lankan team questioning the security of foreign nationals and now the tussle for power between President Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif leading to street protest makes Pakistan look like a hell's kitchen.

The General Ashraf Kiyani led Pakistani Army is keeping a close watch on these events. America is trying to broker a deal between the two leaders in the interest of keeping powers (at least officially) in the hand of a civilian government. But such a deal seems to be a distant dream and Pakistan seems to heading towards another military regime.

The problem between a military takeover now and the one that happened under the leadership of General Musharraf in 1999 is that Pakistani Army no longer controls Pakistan. The sixth largest army in the world has recently signed a deal with the what they call the 'Good Taliban' paving way for imposing Islamic law, or Sharia in North West Frontier Province, including the Swat Valley. The army was so stretched in the war that it finally gave up.

The International community is living in constant fear of extremist elements getting access to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Pakistan has become the most dangerous place on the planet and analysts believe it will be the the spot from where the next major military conflict in the world will start. The Pakistani Army and the Government have lost grip over the monster they created to fight the Russians and the Indians.

It is not very surprising that in the last 62 years since its independence and separation from India none of the governments has ever been voted out. Every time it is the 'men in khaki' that have called shots in Pakistan. The hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by Genaral Zia-ul-Haq is a testimony to the fact that it is a difficult if not impossible task to have democracy in Pakistan.

From India's perspective a military government will not be bad as it will be the centre of power unlike the present civilian government. We should also not forget the fact that relationship between the two countries were pretty good when General Musharraf was in power As for India we have to live with a neighbour which is a synonym to political instability.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Certain things never change

Recently I had the privilege (or rather ill fate) of flying in India Airlines aka Indian aka Air India from Kolkata to Bangalore. When I went for checking in I was amazed to see that out of the eight counters only one was manned. Most of the other private Airlines around had at least half of their check in counters busy and catering to the passengers.

Since passengers for two flights were checking in there was a long queue which made the old man sitting in the counter loose his patience. To ease out his job he requested his colleague sitting idle to cater to the passengers of one of the flights. In a rude manner she replied that she was not supposed to be working and was sitting there just to relax. She had a “I am doing charity” kind of an attitude written all over her face.

Her reply was not a shocker to many as people are used to such attitudes from many of Government and the PSU sector employees. But what was surprising was that this lady hadn't learnt anything from the women half her age working around her with a smile (even if fake) on their face. Stupidity and poor work culture personified these sort of employees are a shame not just to their employers but to the entire nation.

The lady who can surely be among the Top 10 Ugly Looking Ground Crew in India was feeling proud of her act. She did not have the looks or legs which will make a man want to stay in the queue for long and keep starring at her. Men in India would not mind doing that all day if they were made to stare at the air-hostesses of most of the airlines other than the state owned one.

Behind her were the check-in counters of the Low Cost Carrier' IndiGo where pretty looking girls were catering to all the passengers with a smile. If not anything else they were making sure that the passenger doesn't cruse himself for flying with their airlines. As for Air India many people have many different stories to tell but the fact remains a passenger deserves some amount of comfort when he pays for a 'Full Service Airline' ticket.


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