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?


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

So little sugar in the Parliament!

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The first day when the school re-opens it is seldom that children involve themselves in fights but for some vague our Parliamentarians just seem to worst that school kids. The first day of the winter session started but our MPs instead of greeting each other after long break from quarrels but they seemed to be back to the 'Normal Parliamentary Business' within minutes. The first war for this session began over sugar prices, our leaders certainly lack a little bit of sweetness.

The day began with thousands of Indian farmers protesting low state-controlled sugar cane prices. This It was an testimony to the fact that the UPA government hasn't lived up to its 'Aam Aadmi' campaign. The fresh slogan for the Congress seems to have become 'Khaas Aadmi'. Post Lok Sabha Elections in May the 'Aam Aadmi' government seems to have shying away from the rural growth that it has so often proudly talked about.

The government is not only facing the heat of the Opposition parties on the issue but also has to face the wrath of some of the its allies. The Opposition (irrespective of political parties) which has always made a mountain out of a mole in any Parliamentary session sees its victory in disruption of session. It is anybody's guess when was the last time an entire Parliament Session went through without any meaningless disruption.

If Parliament is the platform for the people's representatives to debate the policies of the government why do they want it to be disrupted. Why do they want to target each other through election rallies or the media rather than getting involved in quality debates in the parliament. The reason is simple, screaming needs no logical arguments but debate does. It is known fact that most of the 'people's representative' don't know a thing about the nation.

India have learned to live with the poor quality of its politicians thanks to its attitude of turning away from politics. But it would definitely like its representative to behave in a more dignified manner in the house when lot's of cameras are capturing every second of the session and broadcasting it live. A good solution to all these could be mixing a extra spoon of sugar into the tea, coffee or the fruit juices served to our Parliamentarians. Oops! This time the debate is on sugar itself.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Women pilots to fly fighters in IAF?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

A lot is being said about President Pratibha Devisingh Patil's scheduled ceremonial flight in a Sukhoi-30MKI. Being the supreme commander of the armed forces in the country our President wants to lay a precedent like her predecessor APJ Abdul Kalam did. But honestly it seems quite an absurd thing in a country where women are still not allowed to sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet. What message does the President or the Indian Air Force wants to send to the nation. Ceremonial flights and forward base visits seldom boost the moral of soldiers

Although women are allowed to fly transport aircrafts and helicopters they are yet to sit in the supersonic jets. Women not being allowed to enter the combat forces has been more due to cultural reasons than anything else. Although we have had the legends of Razia Sultana and Rani Laxmi Bai we are yet to come in terms with Indian women being involved in combat. The bar on it is not illogical though with a huge chance of women being exposed to grave threats like being taken a Prisoner of War if they get into combat roles.

IAF vice chief Air Marshal P K Barbora said that women fighter pilots in the future might have to avoid getting pregnant during their flying career of 10-15 years. This will soon snowball into a major controversy with Women Rights Groups making a issue out of it. But is what P K Barbora saying absolutely wrong? The IAF spends over 12 crore to train a pilot and this spread over a period of 10-15 years that would me almost a crore a year for a pilot. A medical leave of close to one year will mean a loss of Rs 1 crore of tax payer's money. Now does that amount seems insignificant to any individual?

Now, many people might argue that the IAF is talking away the right to freedom from women if they are inducted into the fighter wings. It may be so but women who choose to go into specialised combat wings might have to make this much sacrifice. All male fighter pilots are required to report to the duty immediately when a crisis arises, similar will be the case with women pilots when ever they are inducted into the fighter wings.

So if women are determined to join the Indian Air Force's fighter wing they should be prepared to make such sacrifices in their personal lives. After all, IAF fighter wing is a specialised job not an employment generation scheme.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thrash is BACK!!!

By: Abhishek Sen

When the first thrash movement had taken the metal world by storm, I was coming up to be the same age as many fans of the new wave of thrash are now. Mind you, I'm only 23 but I missed out on enjoying the first wave of thrash as, by the time I was old enough to really get into it, the world had become obsessed with grunge and metal was very difficult to come by (I stay in Shillong, India. Metal is difficult to come by anyways). The point is, Thrash Metal never died, it just vanished into the underground until the tides turned once again, which they obviously have done now.

Hacks have always said that fashions in music are cyclic and thus we have been vindicated with the whole 80s retro movement that has been boring the fuck off of many people for a while now. Pretty much the only bit of this movement has been the resurgence in interest in old school thrash metal. While the denim and patches may be new facsimiles of the originals, the enthusiasm is the same as it ever was.

Here was a movement that eschewed image in favour of riffs and an atmosphere of excitement, and while many thrash bands just wanted to party, there were even more that had a genuine message, be it social, political or otherwise. It was a movement in which musicians were pushed to the limits of their skills, or conversely, just having as much fun as possible through making a GREAT BIG NOISE. Thrash was exciting. That's the thing. It was EXCITING. Remembering classic albums by Forbidden, Kreator, Exodus, Onslaught, Over Kill, Testament and all the others fills many metalheads with nostalgia, while those same albums are inspiring a brand new generation of synchronised headbangers to come up with the ultimate pit anthems.

Thanks to bands like Municipal Waste, Evile, Gama Bomb and their peers the excitement is back, the spirit of those early years is back and they are also pointing new fans at the classic masters of the genre.

Here are a few bands you might wanna check out :

Evile :
Slayer's aggression+Metallica's leadership and Anthrax's writing talent+Speed derived from Venom and Mötorhead = You get a debut (Enter The Grave), which is as significant to new thrash what Kill 'em All was to old thrash.
Must Hear : "Thrasher"
"Enter the Grave

Municipal Waste :
The result of S.O.D. and D.R.I. and the answer to our prayers. Crossover and speed metal at it's finest. Municipal has led the Thrash Wagon for quite a while now.
Must Hear : "The Art of Partying"
Hazardous Mutation

Gama Bomb :

As relevent to the current scene as Anthrax were to the old school. Their love of Comics, Zombie Flicks & their sense of humor shine through their blistering brand of thrash concocted in Ireland. Major Plus Point - Awesome Singer ala Joey Belladonna.
Must Hear : "Zombie Brew".
Citizen Brain

Bonded by Blood :

"First gate of Hell. Is where I first Fell. Searching for Eternal Life". This generation's Exodus, who, infact are so inspired by the legends, that they have named the band after the legendary Exodus' debut album. This is your basic thrash.
Must Hear : "Immortal Life".
Feed the Beast

Toxic Holocaust :
With Song titles like "Wild Dogs","Blood Feedback & Distortion" & "Endless Massacre", one man band, Joel Grind can definately put the money where the mouth is. The Megadeth of New Wave of Thrash Metal.
Must Hear : "Wild Dogs"

Abhishek Sen is a 'Metal Fan' ever since I have known him since our childhood. He is currently working as a RJ in Shilliong and regularly posts on his blog The Scene


Monday, November 16, 2009

Is Thackrey Marathi-Indian or a Indian-Marathi?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

It is not too often that Indian cricketers indulge themselves into politics and controversial matters. So when Sachin Tendulkar was asked about the language row he honestly said "Mumbai belongs to India. I am a Maharashtrian and am extremely proud to proud of that, but I am an Indian first." It did not come as a surprise to many when Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray to slam the Master Blaster for being a Indian first and then a Maharashtrian.

This is not only is a sad incident as a person like Sachin Teldulkar is drawing criticism for being a nationalist but shows the kind of muddiness in which Shiv Sena plays its politics. According to Thackrey who considers himself as the 'great saviour of Marathi culture', Sachin has committed the heinous crime of claiming himself to be a Indian-Marathi rather than a Marathi-Indian. Mr. Thackrey may not be aware of this but Sachin is a pan-Indian hero.

Bal Thackeray "When Marathis shed their blood for Mumbai you weren't even born, you have been run out on the Marathi pitch," he added. True Sachin wasn't even born when Shiv Sena patronised regionalism as its core value in politics. But the Godfather of Maharashtra politics has also forgotten that he wasn't even born when people people Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Rajguru among others shed their blood for the cause of the nation and not for their state.

It is very difficult to expect Mr. Bal Thackeray, his son Uddhav Thackeray or his estranged nephew Raj Thackeray to understand what the concept of Union of India is. When was the last time any of them got a warm hero's welcome in any place outside their state. But Sachin Tendulkar has been cheered by millions wherever he has gone. People go crazy about this man irrespective of whether it is Calcutta, Bombay or Chennai.

The reason for this is very simple he has over the years given millions of Indians a reason to smile unlike the Thackerays who have caused pain to so many by encouraging riots, hooliganism and killings. People have stood hours in heat to get a glimpse of Sachin not for a free bottle of alcohol or a 50 Rs note at the end of the day but for love they have for him. Bal Thackeray is too insane to even realise it.

The defeat in the electiosn should have been a wake up call for Mr. Thackeray but politicians seldom learns lesson. The entire nation is proud of Maharashtra for producing an icon like Sachin Tendulkar. On the other hand its anybody's guess how many Marathis would be proud of the Thackerays


Saturday, November 14, 2009

A tribute to Sachin from a 'non-fan'

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Life most other Indians of my age I grew up watching Sachin Tendulkar bat, blast and break records but unlike most I was never a big fan of the Master Blaster. Somehow I liked the sweet timing of Saeed Anwar, the classy backlift of Brian Lara and the crisis combating skills of Steve Waugh. Among all of them Anwar was my favourite as I always loved the ease with which he played. Not being Sachin's fan had another advantage which I later discovered as it put me in a rare and elite club among my peers.

Anwar is not in news any more, Lara may be busy enjoying Caribbean sunset and Steve Waugh is busy with charity work but the Master Blaster still pads up for India. Today I stand up to salute the man not because of the two decades he has survived in this sport especially being in India (We know more about cricket than the Britishers know about English) but for the fact that all his decisions and moves have been under public scrutiny. (Had we put our politicians through the same process we could have been a different nation.)

One thing that surely separates Sachin from many other great cricketers of his generation is his school boyish eagerness to learn and ability to change his game. Over the years Sachin has regularly changed his game according to the changes that have taken place in the game and some due to the injuries he suffered. From a flamboyant hard hitting batsman of 90s, Sachin is one of the most calm and composed cricketers of modern era.

Sachin's biggest asset has been his balance, be it on the back foot or on the front foot Sachin looks comfortable. He plays the cuts, pulls, drives and glances with equal ease. He may not have been blessed with the elegant foot work of Rahul Dravid or the timing of Saeed Anwar but he makes batting look easy with his simple balanced approach to the game. Even when completely out of of form Sachin never struggled on the 22 yard strip.

The gentleman approach with which Sachin plays reinstates the fact that cricket is perhaps still a 'Gentleman's Game.' Sachin is the like a holy book to anybody who wants to study a cricketer. In 20 years Sachin has come a long way from a young boy whom mothers across the country wanted to adore to being the biggest ambassador of the game. The manner in which he played against Australia we can surely see him for another two or three seasons.

Sachin, although you were never my favourite batsman and I'm not your biggest fan but thanks for giving me and millions around the world two decades of classic cricket!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

A grand cricket match from the past...

By: Arnab Deb

The sun is out, a beautiful morning in Shillong. Such beautiful days in Shillong are rare in Shillong during summer as it always keeps on raining here. Moreover the day is Sunday, which meant after breakfast there is going to be a cricket game somewhere in any of the colony in the society we lived. A call comes from outside around 9 am. Outside the window it is one of my best friend Subhadeep aka Panna calling out. I had to go to him in a hidden manner as it was the time to study. My father is busy reading newspaper, mother in the kitchen making breakfast and my elder brother busy studying.. Subhadeep has come up with news we have got a match in one of the colony with our arch rival, and on bet is a ball worth Rs 5. A Rs 5 then, was big amount for us. The match is supposedly to begin at 10 am. I completed my rest of the study for the morning, took a fast breakfast wore a cap and started to move out, while going out a sound came from behind, my mother is saying get back home before 1 pm or there would be trouble for you. Time was the biggest problem then as none of us had any watch. I went to another of my best friend’s place Debojit and called him out, he comes out hurriedly and says 2 mins, need to finish my breakfast.

The rest come to the venue right on time as specified by Subhadeep. Communication was not through phone but our greatest communicator was Subhadeep who was the most enthusiastic among us when it comes to play cricket. The other team reaches there too at time. Gossips and teasing flow after that. Our captain always was Debojit. The toss is made and we won, immediately we decide to bat first. Our opener Sandeep and Joy. Sandeep was nicknamed as Jayasuriya, the greatest hitter among us and joy a very stylish and mature batsman. Our ground was the street, as grounds in Shillong are hard to get and moreover there was problem with the locals. Each team comprises of at most 6-7 players and the rules set that if the ball crosses the boundary of any house nearby in air was declared as out. So we had very limited place to hit shots, only way was to hit it as straight as you can. Opponents are busy making strategies, and there opening bowler was someone new. Back then we were a very hard team to beat, so every other team used to outsource players from some other team. Before the match started we had to wait for a moment as a car was coming through, at last the match started and Sandeep hits a ground shot and scampers for a run.

Both side of the street has a small nallah so getting run was easy normally; problem was the ball gets black form the waste that flows through the nallah. Joy comes to the crease and again hits a ground shot. The best part was the umpire had to be from batting side so getting leg before was never in the question and No-balls and wides were easy to come by. Subhadeep got busy with a sports magazine learning some trick how to ball some in swingers. Others are talking about something or the other. Peoples staying in the colony always created problem as they moved in and out from the colony quite frequently being Sunday. Suddenly Sandeep hits a straight shot and it is four. Claps all round and some pieces of advice also flow in. Sandeep again tries the same shot and gets out by hitting the ball in one of the house there. Disappointed Sandeep comes back and I go in next. Delay was part of our matches as it was hard to retrieve the ball from the nearby house. People staying there did not understand the importance of cricket match, they were more concerned for there gardens.

Match resumes after a gap, I hit a shot and take a run, joy playing fantastic from the other side, we were cruising along and at a score of 35, when I get run out. Next comes in Subhadeep or Debojit as on their mood. At the end we end up with a good score of 55 after 10 over and the match was on as we had some very good bowlers starting with our captain he was pretty fast bowler at his age like Sohaib Akhtar, and the other end Subhadeep our all-rounder like Klusener. Debojit started the first over and first bowl he bowled almost got him a wicket, the opponent was already starting to feel the pressure. That over they could score only two runs, next over was of Subhadeep; he had a long run-up and was a very steady bowler though slower in speed as compared to Debojit. His over did not give any run at all. Debojit bowled the following over and took his first wicket. The opponent were already starting to lose their calm and started shouting over there fellow mates on their mistakes. I came after 5th over to bowl some medium paced bowls and took a wicket or 2. We won the match very comfortably and were very happy, the opponents were very depressed and handed us a new ball as a trophy. Cricket was very important so was the winning, it was a matter of pride. Whenever we walked in the colony in the evening we knew we were the self acclaimed best among the other teams.

They left the street we did not. We stayed back to discuss a bit of match best points. The ball was given to Sandeep as the other 6 has already been taken by each one of us. We decided we will meet again in the evening around 4 pm. I had to run back home as had no idea of the time. When I reached home, I was 15 mins late, mother was busy talking with neighbour so was saved from her scolding, then took a quick bath and was ready for a fantastic Sunday lunch, my mother is a great cook and the food was really yummm!!.

Though, after lunch I was forced by mother to sleep, which I really hated, always acted like I was sleeping while keeping a constant watch over the wall clock. Just when it was quarter to 4 I sprang up from bed wore a dress and went out to hang out with my buddies. Throughout the evening we just talked of the morning match and then went back to our respective home around 6:30 pm. Life is never constant for any 2 days and so I understood the next day as I had school and had to attend some boring lectures. Unluckily it was raining too. So would end up all soggy in the class I knew it. But even those lectures were fun with friends. Life is very tough to live alone, we all need friends to make the life colourful and eventful. So that someday you will end up writing such a article remembering those days. Nostalgic childhood days. None of us went on to become a cricketer, but the memories of those days are something which neither time can return it back nor any amount of money can buy. Innocence was a attribute of each and every child, maybe something which growing up in a small city like Shillong gifts you. Life was in word “fun” and cricket the string which bonded us together.

Though we hardly meet each other because of staying in big cities of India which are very distant from each other. But those memories are something which we still share and inevitably inseparable. When we look at our national cricket team players, I feel the biggest thing that they are missing is the fun of playing the game. They seem to be in high pressure always and more bothered about the endorsement. I feel maybe its because winning a match for us was a passion and for them it’s a profession. In whatever case this is still a game if you don’t enjoy it you cant win it either.

This blog depicting one of those thrilling days of our childhood has been contributed by my childhood friend (langotia yaar) Arnab Deb. He is currently working as a CDM & Carbon Trading Executive with ENERGY INFRATECH PVT. LTD. in New Delhi.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Men in Blue dishonoured in Honour Series

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

What was being touted as the honour series between India and Australia has ended unfavourably for the home side. Aussies clinching the series 4-2 with the last ODI being washed out in Mumbai. Seeing the results one might think that the Men in Blue have fallen flat but that is far from true. India did not loose the series because they were second to the Aussies when it came to cricketing skills but certainly have a lot to learn from the Aussies about holding their nerves.

Two of the four matches that the Aussies won went into the final over where Indian batsman failed to win over their nervousness and excitement. In the first ODI at Vadodara, Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar brought India within striking distance of victory after which Harbhajan played a rash and unnecessary stroke and handed over the match to the Aussies. Being the second senior most player in the team Bhajji should have seen the team through.

Defeat in the fourth ODI at Hyderabad will hurt the Indian cricketers and their fans for ever. The world witnessed a one of the best ever ODI innings by Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar who mesmerised the crowd. In the end his 175 proved to be not enough to guide his team home to a herculean 350 in what would have been the second highest run chase by any team. In the end the Men in Blue felt short by 3 runs with the entire lower order crumbling like a pack of cards.

Virender Sehwag proved to one of the biggest culprit of the series getting out to rash strokes in almost all the matches. Cricket is not just about sixes and four even if Viru thinks it that way. Praveen Kumar turned out to be the biggest find for India and showed he could become a quality all rounder if his batting skills are little worked on. Praveen's performance and Sachin's gem of an innings were the only highlights for India.

In the end the series ended with a defeat that many Indian fans would not have expected. The Aussies side which was hit by string of injuries kept their basics right and clinched the series. The difference between the two teams in the end turned out to be rash strokes and unnecessary run outs in both of which the Indians were far ahead of the Aussies. Hope the Men in Blue regroup soon and give a good show against the Sri Lankans in their next dual.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bengal doesn't want any more 'Red Lights'

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev had once said political parties should not be in power for too long as it has adverse effect on the system. It won't need a man the knowledge of rocket science to understand that the Left Fort is crumbling in West Bengal. The Left Front which seemed inevitable just about a year back seems to be falling like a pack of cards. The Big Daddy of Left Front, the CMI(M) seems to have completely lost the confidence of the people it has ruled over for 30 years.

The Winds of Change which started blowing with the Left's defeat in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year seems to have turned into a storm. After loosing subsequent Lok Sabha, Panchayat and Municipal polls all across the state the Left Front has seen its worst in the recently concluded by-election for the assembly. Off the 10 seats that went for polls the LF managed to win just one seat that too coming from a smaller constituent of the LF, the Forward Block. CPI(M) the largest constituent of the LF tasted dust in all the five assembly constituencies that it had contested.

Although Trinamool Congress is making huge grounds in the state a its entire success cannot be attributed to its leaders. It is rather the anti-Left sentiment among the people of the state that is slowly cutting the arteries of support that the Left has enjoyed for more than three decades since taking on power in 1977. People who had started believing Left was inevitable in West Bengal are suddenly seeing a ray of hope to overthrow the party which has prevented the state's development for decades.

The Left rule in the last three decades has pushed the state backward when compared to the growth rate of other states in the country. Once the most industrialised province in the country turned backward as the government has failed to create enough jobs in the urban and semi-urban areas of the state. Calcutta which was once a British pride and one of the premier cites of the world was turned into a metro which is behind many state capitals in the country.

The people of the state have had enough of this and three decades has been too much of a time for a single party in power to think of doing any development in the state. If the writing on the wall proves to be correct Left is on its way out from the Writer's Building in West Bengal. Will the transition from a Left Hand Drive to a Right Hand Drive be smooth and better, this only time will tell. But for now Left seems to closing on its expiry date.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Had Tendulkar scored another 3 runs...

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Sultan of swing Wasim Akram had once said if somebody could get Sachin Tendulkar out and India needed 15 runs to win, a determined team could defeat India. Yesterday's match versus the Aussies gave us a glimpse of the 'Vintage Tendulkar' and also 'Vintage India.' In the early 90's Indian batting line up was considered Tendulkar and ten others. The horrors of the past visited us once again as Tendulkar's best One Day knock went in vain as India fell short by just 3 runs after Australia has set them a mamoth target of 350 to chase.

Critics had always argued that Tendulkar lacked the ability to finish things off and perhaps even a marathon innings of 175 wasn't just enough to get his team home. Having played 47 overs and just played one rash stroke in which he perished the 36 year old master couldn't have done anything else. The two consecutive sixes of Nathan Hauritz dancing down the track reminded of the assault he had launched on Shane Warne in during their 1998 tour to India. He had changed his game due to his back pain but yesterday he seemed to have forgotten it all.

The balance with which he played the game had class written all over it. Even 350 looked chasable considering the way Sachin was timing the ball. The flicks, square drives, sweeps and the nudges all were going well for Tendulkar. But he was done by the lack of support from the other end as the despite contributing 50% of the runs alone, Sachin could not find a able partner other than Suresh Raina to take India to a win. India just snatched the defeat from the jaws victory.

Virender Sehwag proved once again that he might have 90% of Tedulkar's shot but doesn't have 10% of his temperament. Gautam Gambhir played a nothing shot to commit suicide. Had only Yuvraj Singh played a shot on that ball he wouldn't have got out. Dhoni might consider himself unlucky to be done by a brilliant catch. Suresh Raina supported Tendulkar well but played a irresponsible shot when it wasn't required at all. Ravinder Jadeja would have to learn to live rather than being suicidal on the crease. Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar could not help India's cause either. Nobody expected much of Munaf Patel and Ashish Nehra.

Australia once again proved that when it comes to holding their nerves they are second to none in the world. Perhaps the only question many Indian cricket fans will ask in the coming weeks is what else could have Sachin done? An honest answer would perhaps scored 3 more runs but the fact remains it script wasn't written in India's favour. India may win again and level out the series but such a loss riding on a brilliant innings leaves a regret forever.

Cricket once again prove that no individual was bigger than the game. One of the finest One Day innings that fan would ever see went for a loosing cause. At times the game also has an element of luck associated with it. Or else what explains the fact that a player like Joginder Sharma has a world cup win written over his back while 20 years of brilliance by the Master hasn't been enough. Hat's off to you ST it was a delight to watch you yesterday.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The British left six decades too early

By: Ankit Arora

The British left in 1947, and they left too soon. We celebrate Independence Day, but another six decades of dependence as Great Britain’s colony would have been good for us.

Mumbai’s Sea Link bridge took 10 years to make, cost Rs1,600 crore.For Rs50, it carries drivers across the Mahim Bay from Bandra to Worli’s Seaface. The bridge is designed to shorten the drive from north Mumbai suburbs to the city’s south, where the business district is. Once the driver gets off the bridge at Worli, however, he cannot continue south.And there are many infrastructural problems relating to how the exit from the link has been designed.

Indians don’t fully understand modern infrastructure because we have made no contribution to its advance, though we can purchase its designs. For us a bridge is an independent thing. Its environment is a different thing.

Our response to terror attacks is to add a security layer to five-star hotels. The idea of controlling the environment rather than the venue, the idea of a system and its process is alien, and difficult. We can learn about this, but we have nobody to teach us.

The British left in 1947, and they left too soon. We celebrate Independence Day, but another six decades of dependence as Great Britain’s colony would have been good for us. We could have learnt how to run cities. No harm in admitting what is obvious for all to see: We cannot even manage traffic.

Mumbai, not Hong Kong, would have been the centre for finance in Asia, instead of the second-rate city it has become since the British left.

Delhi would have more bits like the ones the British built, the only elegant parts of the city, just as British South Bombay is the only elegant part. Cities such as Surat and Ahmedabad and Hyderabad and Indore would have become civilized. Under English and Scottish bureaucrats, architecture, certainly civic architecture, would not be as ugly as it is.

Justice would mean something. Gandhi and Nehru repeatedly got arrested voluntarily because, correctly, they trusted British justice. Today’s politician resists arrest even though he may be innocent, because he’s liable to get stitched up, like Omar Abdullah.

What else would be better? Education, through the Macaulay plan.

Europeans, of course, told us who and what we were. After 3,000 years of illiteracy, we learnt of the existence of the Indus Valley civilization from John Marshall in 1924. The identity of our greatest emperor, Ashok (died 232 BC), whose lion capital is our emblem, whose wheel is on our flag, was revealed to us by James Prinsep 175 years ago.

Our Aryan ancestry (or fantasy) was gifted to us by William Jones in 1786, when he reported the link between Sanskrit, Ancient Greek and Latin. The barbarism of Muslims at Vijayanagar was revealed by Robert Sewell, when he translated the 16th century work of Fernaos Nunes and Domingos Paes. Between 1879 and 1894, Max Muller translated the entire Upanishad, Vedas and Dhammapada. This helped Vivekanand go lecture the Americans on India’s greatness at Chicago in 1893.

The great German tradition of Indology continues through men such as Heinrich von Stietencron, but a sustained engagement through colonial government would have resulted in more attention to Indian studies.

The British stuffed education down our throats like medicine, educating the first reformers, people such as Narmad Shankar who attended the Elphinstone Institute. Shankar compiled Gujarati’s first dictionary in 1873, but the native instinct was strong and he reverted to Vedic tribalism in the last decade of his life.

That is the cycle South Asians normally follow: illiteracy, awakening through contact with European culture, and then a belief in our superiority.

But our bombast is groundless. America’s First Amendment says that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. Article 19(1)(a) of our Constitution also gave us the absolute right to freedom of speech. Within one year, the government amended that, denying us that freedom—and wisely. That was because we cannot have freedom of speech in a country where you can get killed for what you say. Or start a riot.

Today our best minds accept colonization by migrating to nations where they cannot vote. But they go anyway, because they can succeed under the other man’s law, where the environment is better controlled than in the Indian city.

This blog has been contributed by Ankit Arora a friend of mine. He is a Software Engineer working with IBM. He regularlt writes in his blog Wanderer


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chidambaram giving legitimacy to Deoband's demand?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

National Song Vande Matatarm has been the centre of controversy for many years with some Muslim fundamentalists terming it as Anti-Muslim. But it might soon snowball into a major controversy with members of Jamiat-e-Ulem issuing a fatwa against India's national song Vande Mataram. The fatwa discourages Muslims from singing the national song as some of the verses of the song. The Muslim Law Board justified this decision saying that the Muslims cannot worship anyone other than God.

What has angered many Indians and is that Home Minister P Chidambaram attending the Deoband function where this resolution to oppose the National Song was adopted. It was quite a shock when the Home Minister clarified that he was not aware of the fact that such a controversial fatwa was going to be issued. What will sadden many Indians is that fact that the Government hasn't even criticized the issuing of such a fatwa.

Isn't this a slap on the face of our nation that a resolution against the National Song is passed at a function where the Home Minister makes a speech and the Government doesn't even condemn such an act. Is this the definition of secularism to the Congress party which has always termed its biggest opposition the BJP as communal? Does the Congress and the Government also feel that the call for banning of National Song and National Anthem doesn't deserve any criticism? Are these people any different from the Hindu right wing activists upon whom the Congress wants a ban to be clamped?

Our neighbour Pakistan had fuelled these fundamentalists and they are facing the music now. Their entire country is in danger of being run over by Taliban who would take back the society by a few hundred years with their interpretation of Islam. Do we want replica of such fundamentalism in India as well? The Government would encourage a counter fundamentalists group to rise with its policy of appeasement. Do they want a civil war like situation between the fundamentalist of different religion?

There have been demands for the British Queen to wear a Burkha. If the Government tries to remain silent and ignorant about the a day might come when Sonia Gandhi might be asked to wear a Burkha and Rahul Gandhi to sport a beard. The problem doesn't lie in the religious beliefs of the people but the fundamentalists who want to hijack the religion. The definition of Secularism should not mean that we compromise with the definition of Democracy.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is the Indian market going down again?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

For anybody who follows the Indian markets the last two weeks have be very disappointing. The dream run that both the BSE and NSE have had since the declaration of the Lok Sabha results seems to have ended. The index in the both the markets had been strongly rallying in the last seven months almost doubling from the lows that they had touched in March this year. The run was such that many were optimists believed that the sensex would cross the 21000 mark soon.

But the ever since Muhurat Day trading sensex has lost close to 1700-1800 points to come back to the 15K mark. The worrying factor has been that the indexes have close in red after most of the trading sessions in the past two weeks. The FII (foreign institutional investors) have once again been the reason for this recent jolt in the market. It is then no surprise that it was the FIIs which had taken our markets to 21000 and then brought it down crashing.

Reserve Bank of India's decision to keep long-term as well as short-term indicative rates at the current level despite rising inflation and inflationary pressure have also been met with grief in the market. The decision by many banks to increase the rates by January in order to align them with the Reserve Bank's key rates has also dented the hopes of some small investors. All this problems have compounded together to bring the markets against the run of play.

The problem with such a situation is that it might trigger panic selling on the part of the investors. This sort of panic selling proves to be very dangerous for the market as they are not governed by investment logic but more by rumours. We have seen similar situation with the Bombay Stock Exchange had gone down crashing from 21000 to 8000 points in a period of one and a half year. A lot of this was credited to panic selling by many investors.

The recent plunge in the markets might just be a market correction after growing by almost 10-15% per month since March but it can trigger panic which may further harm the market. Preventing investors (primarily small time) from getting into panic selling mode will be a challenge that the financial planners of this country will have to meet.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Govt. should raise a special anti-naxal force

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Although Naxalims has become the biggest internal security threat to the country the law enforcement agencies don't seem to be doing enough to curb their menace. Naxals are being fought on an disorganised platform with the various state police and the Central Reserve Police Force engaged in countering the Left. Although the special forces like the COBRA and Grey Hound have been able to deliver blows to the Naxals but the threat still looms over the Red Corridor.

Most of the attacks that the Naxals carry out are in the inter-state border, be it the Bengal-Orissa-Jharkhand border or the Chattisgarh-Maharashtra border. The Naxals take advantage of the fact that there is very less co-ordination between different state polices and at times even the area of jurisdiction isn't known clearly to the security forces. It is known fact that different law enforcement agencies are not known to function best in collaboration with each other. The Unified Command structure in North East and the Army-BSF structure in J&K never yielded much results.

On the other hand the raising of Rashtriya Rifles to counter terrorism in J&K and ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) to protect the China border has been a success. So the question is should the government raise a special force to counter Naxalism? Considering the gravity of the situation this seems to be the most logical call. Instead of raising more battalions of the CRPF, the Centre should contemplate raising a special force. This can be a very small forces as compared to the CRPF but it can be well trained.

All combat situations are different and battle grounds challenging. A force raised specially for this kind of combat and trained in guerilla warfare is a better solution that pushing the CRPF which is mainly trained to assist the state police and take care of the law and order problems. A central force with its own command structure spread across the Naxal infested states will ensure better coordination and intelligence sharing.

Centre needs to play a more commanding role in dealing with the problem. Different states should not be left to play politics with the issue and fight the Naxals with their own choice of intensity. The problem is a national one and it is hight time this is dealt with iron fist on one hand and with development on the other. Raising of Central Force to deal with the Naxals is an urgent call which the centre needs to address.


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