Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Anna Hazare Showing Political Colours

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Just a few weeks back the entire nation was under the grip of the Anna moment. His fast was being telecast live 24 hours a day. The popularity of his 21st century Satyagraha was so much so that Dhoni and his men getting drubbed 4-0 in a Test Series in England didn’t invite any attention! But against the script Anna Hazare who was being see next to Mahatma Gandhi and Jaiprakash Narayan has put a wrong foot. Now the man who has become the face of the fight against corruption has put his stamp on a non-Congress, non-BJP government at the centre.

As a free citizen of a free country he is entitled to freedom of speech and has got as much political rights as any of us. But he was being seen as the great crusader behind whom high flying IT professionals as well as the roadside cart puller stood together. Why on earth did he make such an immature statement? Now this entire statement will be seen as a political conspiracy by those belonging to the two main parties in India and those supporting them. Can Anna Hazare say that all those who joined him in the crusade were non-Congress and non-BJP people? Who is Anna to decide whom do we vote for?

He seems to be over optimistic about a non-Congress and non-BJP government and says he would support clean leaders. Now considering the true picture where very few people would have such kind of an image Anna might lend support to a M Karunanidhi, Sharad Pawar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, J Jayalalitha, Mayawati or even an illiterate Rabri Devi. Are these namesthe ones we would see as our Prime Minister? I would still vouch for a Mamohan Singh, Arun Jaitley or LK Advani. Poor job Anna, you let us all down :(


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dhoni Moment of Truth in Captaincy Has Arrived

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee
Life does come a full circle. Just four months back, MS Dhoni was the man of the moment having won India its World Cup after 28 years but the superhero of modern times has been facing the wrath of the people after three back-to-back test defeats. It’s been close to four years since MS Dhoni took helm of Indian cricket in the inaugural T-20 World Cup in South Africa and started with a bang by winning the tournament. He had a dream run ever since, taking the team to No.1 Test rankings and winning the World Cup in April this year. You could also add two back-to-back IPL wins in that kitty for the Chennai Super Kings. He led his side with a Midas touch and was being touted as a captain who could do no wrong. Old and young all would admire Dhoni and the former legends went gaga about the boy from Jharkhand.

Three humiliating defeats in Lords, Trent Bridge and Edgebaston and there are questions being raised on his leadership skills if Team India rightly deserved the No. 1 spot in cricket’s purest version. A team may lose matches back-to-back but the manner in which India surrendered like ‘school boys’ as Sunny Gavaskar rightly said does call for some hard questions. Hasn’t the No. 1 spot been debated ever since Team India achieved it? And why not, they haven’t yet won a series in Australia or South Africa and are currently making a mockery of themselves in England. The rankings improved due to regular home series wins and drawn overseas tours. Unlike the West Indies in the 80s or the Aussies of the past decade, they haven’t demolished the opponents in their own den. They haven’t instilled fear in the eyes of the opposition and wrapped up test matches in four days. They crawled to a 1-0 win over a depleted Windies side which won’t fare well even in a Duleep Trophy match.

Too much has been made about Dhoni and the No. 1 spot with people failing to acknowledge the contribution of Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble who acted as the lynchpin at different intervals to scale this height. Sourav started the process about a decade back, Rahul stabilized it and Anil Kumble gave it the final push. When has Dhoni proved himself as a Test batsman, wicketkeeper or captain? To be honest Dhoni inherited a balanced team and his only test before this series came in South Africa where he managed a draw after losing the first test. The New Zealand series win cannot be rated too high as the Kiwis are themselves finding it hard to get the combination right. So the England tour was the moment of truth in Dhoni’s captaincy and it lies in tatters at the moment.

Dhoni has personally missed a milestone of turning into a legend from being just a good captain. They say a player or a team hasn’t achieved anything in the game, unless they have impressed the English crowd. Many might term this as arrogance but the English have always been arrogant about their cricket. And why not, no one can deny they are the home of cricket and have preserved it in the purest form. Nowhere in the world do you get such knowledgeable crowds as you do at Lords or Edgbaston. Suited man in the twilight of their lives applauding good cricket, that’s what a test match in England is all about. Some of the spectators rightly deserve the right to criticize you as they have seen the best of the Gavaskars, the Richards, the Borders, the Chapels, the Warnes and the Khans over decades.  And Dhoni has failed to impress them with his wicket keeping which has been sloppy, batting which looks frazzled and lack luster captaincy.

As a cricketer Dhoni didn’t burst into the scene with talent written all over him unlike a Yuvraj Singh or a Zaheer Khan. He was an ordinary keeper who could hit the ball hard. But his rise as a cricketer has been phenomenal and in mere eight seasons from his debut has been nothing short of a Bollywood script. His fame only rivals that of Sachin Tendulkar’s in the team though he is nowhere near the master in terms of his talent or record. To start with he was never an orthodox wicket keeper. He seldom had his fingers pointing towards the ground which coaching manuals will tell you to do. His batting flourished with time but once he took over the captaincy he created a shell around himself which has done more harm to the team than good. He lost his flamboyancy and started becoming a run accumulator. He doesn’t alarm the opposition with his batting anymore which has been a downside to Indian cricket in the recent years.

Having said all that, Dhoni still remains Team India’s best bet at captaincy and he certainly isn’t outdone completely. He still can knight himself in England by bouncing back in the series. Perhaps he has to lose a bit of his calmness and be more involved in the game. He has to become more proactive as a captain and work on his field placements. He needs to talk to his bowlers often which he seldom does on the field. Bowlers like Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and Sreeshant need some support and encouragement when things are not going their way. They aren’t in the same league as a Zaheer Khan who has enough experience to know what to do. This team has it all that is required to defeat the English. It only needs to apply its skills to the potential and Dhoni needs to lead them from the front and not push from the back especially when the team has its back to the wall.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Real Fast unto Death Doesn't Count In India

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee
Picture this – April 27, 2009 then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi sits on a fast unto death demanding a ceasefire in Sri Lanka when the security forces of the island nation had press the kill button against the LTTE. It lasted for 6 hours!  November 29, 2009 Telangna Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrashekhara Rao sits on a fast unto death demanding a separate state of Telengana. Eleven days into it he breaks his fast thanks to the Centre’s diplomacy. June 4, 2011, Baba Ramdev sits on a fast unto death to bring back all the black money to India. Nine days into it he breaks the fast on Sri Sri Ravi Sankar’s call. Now of these people near death and Karunanidhi does what 90% Indians do every day keeping a gap of 6 hours or more between meals.

Now picture this – An unknown sadhu Swami Nigamananda goes for a fast unto death and dies in a Haridwar hospital on the 76th day. He was fasting to save the holy Ganga. He was demanding immediate stopping of quarrying in Ganga and shifting of Himalaya stone crusher from Kumbh mela area. Although this brave crusader’s battle raged over three months very little was done to save his life. And why should the district administration act? Afterall he was no Ramdev or Karunanidhi and his genuine cause could not be tolerated by the land mafia, the corrupt politicians in our country. And why about our 24X7 news channels, they couldn’t for a single story on this man as they were busy covering Ramdev’s circus.

Swami Nigamananda joins the list of Jatindranath Das and Potti Sreeramulu both of who had fasted and died for the cause they believed in. Jatindranath or Jatin Das as he was fondly known fasted in Lahore Jail along with Bhagat Singh and other freedom fighters and was protesting agisnt the poor treatment received by Indian political prisoners from the British administration. He passed away after 63 days into his strike. Potti Sreeramulu died after 82 days of fasting demanding for the creation of Andhra Pradesh with Madras (now Chennai) as the capital. Jawaharlal Nehru’s government did little to save this man who had also fought for the independence of the nation.

Who is to be blamed for the death of Swami Nigamananda? To be honest he died as he was nobody and the government and the masses of this country cared little for this man. What is the cost of an ordinary India’s life? Where was Rahul Gandhi as he is ntrying to create a superman like image for himself taking up the cause of ordinary Indians? Why Manmohan Singh government wasn’t aware of this man’s fast? Why the Uttarakhand state machinery lend an ear to this man’s fight? The reason – he was an ‘aam aadmi’ and no Baba Ramdev and meant too little for anyone in the corridors of power.


Monday, June 13, 2011

The Great Indian Tamasha

By: Reetasri Bhattacharjee

India knows its drama. The land has had many traditional forms of theaters be it in the forms of tamasha, jatra, nautanki or something else. Every part of the country has its own form of drama. Thanks to the Indian media and our very special politicians (and may I add the resurgent civil society groups?), there is never any dearth of drama in this country. I recently overheard a young boy telling that if you want entertainment watch the Hindi news channels! Probably nothing else describes the condition better.

The recent insurgence to fight against corruption has only heightened the drama. When Anna Hazare declared his resolution to fast, no one took him seriously. But within 24 hours, the real tamasha unfolded and immediately it became a media circus. I don’t want to go into the details of what happened. Too much has been said and written about the entire event. I will suffice by saying that everyone was entertained in process and probably the real fight against corruption got a true impetus.

However, if this wasn’t enough, came our very own yoga guru who changed the way Indians ate, drank, slept, etc in the last decade. He has taken it to himself now that if Hazare can fight against corruption almost single-handedly, he too can rake up an issue and fight it similarly. So came the issue of black money and our yoga guru becomes the self-appointed crusader for the ‘aam aadmi’.

Now this event has real drama. Usually it is said that films are inspired from real-life. But here is one exception where the opposite happened. A real-life event apparently seemed out of a film. Here I am mentioning Aamir Khan’s Peepli Live. The events of 4th June are a case in this regard. After midnight when the police attacked the sleeping crowd pof the Ramlila Maidan, one could literally feel the poor news channel crew hurriedly waking up to capture the events of a live tamasha. The shots that are now repeatedly shown on the channels are shaky (as was the case in the film), you could really feel the journalists and camera crew fighting to get the best shots. However, like in the film, the protagonist manages to escape from all this cacophony unseen. Can you believe 10,000 or more policemen, hordes of mediapersons did not see a single person escape!! And if this wasn’t enough, the very next day Baba Ramdev is seen wearing a salwar kameez in which he had apparently disguised himself to escape briefing the media about what had happened!! Now I say, beat this!! Impossible.

As I write this, the Baba’s condition is detoriating, the UPA is up in arms to protest the fight, the Sangh Parivar is dancing its way to support the Baba’s cause and there doesn’t seem to be a end to all this soon. As this drama continues, we the poor ‘aam aadmi’ can simply stay glued to our TV sets to see the tamasha unfold further. Who knows tomorrow, the Congress and Baba may declare to be long lost brothers!!!

This blog has been contributed by Reetasri Bhattacharjee a dear friend of mine. She is a regular blogger on blogspot and maintains the blog My Passing Moments


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

News Editors Reviving Colonial Hangover

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Browse through any of the mainstream dailies in India or watch an hour long news program and you are bound to be served with the hot recipe – the marriage of William Arthur Philip Louis or Prince William and Kate Middleton. This seems to be the most sought after and important story for most of our media honchos. From what would they wear on their wedding day to who are included in the guest list, most of us in India already know it all. The marriage is supposed to be one of the biggest since the marriage of William’s parents Prince Charles and late Princess Diana. Corruption, Elections and IPL – all seem to have taken a back seat till the royal couple walk down the aisle.

Obamas missing the list of invitees, the prince of Bahrain declining the royal invitation, what are the protocols to be followed by the guests during the marriage – we are being bombarded day in and day out. What for? Is it the most important thing that concerns our lives or will we learn to have some self-respect for ourselves and not bow down to the white man. I wonder if Rahul Gandhi’s marriage if and when it takes place will have the same kind of craze in India let alone the entire world. It this marriage more important than the Lok Pal bill? Or the elections happening in five Indian states.

Being the marriage of one of the most powerful dynasties in the world this has gathered the imagination of millions of people in the world. We in India are not too far behind thanks to people who decide what news we read and watch. The colonial hangover is so much so in the minds of our editors that it seems the marriage is taking place in the third Delhi Durbar and Prince William would be the next ‘Emperor of India’ much like his great grandfather George VI. Come on guys the title was abolished 63 years ago by the Britons themselves. For heaven’s sake let these guys get married and live a happy life, they do deserve some privacy as a young couple.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Did Apple Copy Samsung?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee
There is a famous saying in Hindi ‘Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Daate’ or simply (the thief accuses the cop) but something similar seems to have happened between Apple Inc. and Samsung. And hey! The bone of contention is nothing other than the famous iPhone. Shhhhhhh! but there are rumours that Apple copied its famous iPhone design from Samsung. This might hurt the diehard Apple fans as the phone has a cult following across the world and thought to be a piece of style statement.

The funny part in this entire story is that it was Apple which had initially filed a lawsuit against Samsung over patent and trade dress infringements. It had accused Samsung of copying the iPhone while making its F700. But as it has turned out the Samsung F700 was displayed a good one year ahead of the iPhone’s launch in 2007. Although the phone wasn’t anything close to the iPhone in terms of looks, but a pioneer is a pioneer any day.

Why Samsung faltered with F700? The simple answer was it never considered Apple to be a competition and was busy taking on Motorola and Nokia and developing traditional eight button or 10 button navigation phones. F700 series and other smartphones were in the backburner till the launch of the iPhone. Once iPhone hit the market, Samsung pushed the productions of F700 but it only half ready and couldn’t take on the iPhone even though it had some features which we see on iPhone 3GS.

Some questions lay unanswered. If Apple did copy why did it risk its reputation and file a lawsuit against Samsung? If Samsung did develop it first why didn’t it raise a cry once iPhone made its debut into the market? The answer might lie with LG as it was the first manufacturer which had filed a complaint against Apple for copying designs of its Prada. Now we all know how much of dirty games goes on behind these amazing gadgets.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Who is better: Dhoni or Ganguly?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee
Over the last few years numerous comparisons has been drawn between Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni and their captaincy. The World Cup win has raged the argument even further with some suggesting that Dhoni is the best captain India has ever had. After all he has achieved the No. 1 ranking in tests and ODIs and also has a T20 World Cup under his belt. On the other side the diehard fans of ‘Dada’ still swear by his man management and knack of spotting talent. It was under his captaincy that Indian team started to realise themselves as world beaters.
MS Dhoni

Comparing the two would be comparing between a man who loads a gun and one who fires in a combat situation. Ganguly took captaincy in the midst of the match fixing scandal when no one else wanted the job. He inherited a team which didn’t mind surrendering to the opposition where loosing was a norm. Things like wining a Test match on a green top in Australia, South Africa or England was unheard of those days. Dhoni took the team to the next level where he converted a group of match winners to a champion side

To start with Dhoni, he has been one of the best strategists that India has ever had in the last two decades. He goes more by his calculative moves which have worked wonders for him so far. His decision to play Ashish Nehra in the semi-finals versus Pakistan or promote himself ahead of Yuvraj Singh in the final have been brilliant. He is calm on the field which has earned him the title of ‘Captain Cool’, pressure and nervousness are something which don’t seem to exist in his dictionary. He is candid and doesn’t believe in making politically correct statements which has earned him tremendous respect among his teammates with half the side more experienced than him. 
Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly on the other hand was more of an instinctive captain. He backed young cricketers unlike any of his predessors. Legend has it that he fought with the board to have Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh in the squad. Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Dhoni himself are a result of Ganguly’s vision of promoting match winners and supporting them to the core. He didn’t mind being in the bad books of the board and the cricketing fraternity as long as his team won the mnatches. He matched fire with fire and eye with eye when it came to playing tough oppositions like Australia and South Africa. Who can forget how he made a mockery of Steve Waugh’s mental disintegration tactics in the 2001 series.

Honestly it is absurd to compare two individuals who did not compete on the same platform with similar  team composition. One built the team laid the foundation whereas the other glorified it with his own skills.  It would be better to see this as a whole process which was started by Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni taking it to its pinnacle.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tata Motors Might Return to Singur?

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee 

Politics and business are never done emotionally. People with high ego usually do not end up being good politicians and businessman. Nobody is a permanent foe or a friend and it is more about flowing with the tide than to be sitting on the shore and waiting for an uncertain future. In a political hotbed like West Bengal where the future looks uncertain most of the players both in the industry and politics are playing their card safe. One of them is Tata Motors, yes the same company which was forced out of Singur by Mamata Banerjee and her supporters over the issue of unwilling farmers refusing to part with their land and take compensation from the government.

Many had expected this to be a final nail in the coffin for Mamata who had hurt the industrial aspiration of the state and dented the image of the state for ever. But what followed next was the rise of a firebrand leader whose political career seemed doomed after the 2006 Assembly Elections in West Bengal. The rise has been so much so that most of the industry captains are taking note of this and feel they might have to meet her in Writers from May onwards. The preset occupants the Left have closely guarded the red paint of the building for the last three and half decades.

Surprisingly Tata Motors has been renewing the lease of the plot at Singur which once promised to be the Detroit of India for production of the Wonder Car. While many wonder why Tata is still holding the land there are conspiracy theories emerging of Tata returning to Singur once the next government occupies the Writers. This might be a far fetched theory but who know in an uncertain state every possibility is worth a debate. Let us look at some of the parties which have stakes in this Singur plot.

The Farmers: They have been the biggest losers of this entire controversy. The once fertile land is no longer fit for agriculture due to the heavy construction work which took place. The closing down of the plant shattered the hopes of youth who might have got direct employment. The politicians have also gone back to Kolkata and the people here are left with virtually nothing. The only hope for these people is the coming up of an industry on the plot be it the Tatas or anybody.

Left Front: This was their flagship project which would have struck back their anti-industry image and made Buddhadeb the pied piper of Bengal. Alas, the same Leftists tactics of using force over the people cost them this opportunity. Their 260 versus 30 logic failed and the party succumbed to the same medicine which it had used for decades. Their first mistake was to acquire fertile land when barren land was available not too far away. Secondly the arrogance to suppress people of the area with their carders and having a shady compensation package for the farmers. They were left egg faced when Trinamool Congress won the Hooghly Lok Sabha which comprises Singur in the 2009 Elections.

Trinamool Congress: You can blame Mamata for this entire agitation but by pure politics it was a master stroke. Her once doomed political career got a new lease of life and she is almost certain to capture the Red Fort which many through insurmountable over the years. Singur through remains a bad patch in her CV if pragmatically assessed. But her dreams of taking the railway industry to Singur will help her get rid of some sins. To be honest neither she nor no one in her party might have ever imagined the Tatas to walk off. They were more prepared for negotiations which would have given her political mileage. But once in Writers she will have much more control over the affairs of the state and who knows might be able to turn Singur into an industrial hub which the Left only did in papers. If she can bring back the Tatas she has cast the final nail in the coffin for Left.

Tata Motors: Well they are perhaps playing the smartest game among all. Their Nano has failed to ignite the aspirations of the nation and Sanand plant is far away from meeting their target. In such a case going back to Singur won't be stupid as this will save them time and streamline distribution from two plants one in east and another in the west. With the Finance Ministry in Pranab Mukherjee's hand negotiations in the highest corridors of power isn't unlikely. Tatas have less to loose and more to gain from this deal in a state where they already hold large business interest. The problem was never with the Tata plant but the ancillary units attached with it. A little bit of political bargain can do it between the Tatas and Mamata Banerjee if she makes it to Writers after the elections can happen. It's no wonder that Tata is still holding on to the plot not to tease Mamata for sure as Tatas aren’t know for such brick bickering but they really do mean business.

People Of West Bengal: In a country like India where majority of the population is below the age of 35 there is no alternative to industry. When you get a name like Tata investing in your state, you don't need to think twice. The people of the state are here to gain if Tata decides to bury the past and look at Singur from pure business point of view. For everyone Tatas relooking at the state will be high return on investment.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We have a Women's Day but no Poverty Day

 By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

From Google to card shops there is a huge buzz around that the world is celebrating International Woman's Day. Does that mean that all the other 364 days (365 in a leap year) belong to the men?  What is so special about the day that all the news channels and portals are carrying out big articles on women empowerment, women reservation and what not. If we go by the demand of some women rights organization 33% days of the year should be reserved as Woman's Day!

Women's Day
Logically we have a Teacher's day in India where we celebrate our teachers (gurus) once in a year and call them by names for the rest of the year. We have Children's Day and where sweets are distributed to the children although we top the list of countries when it comes to child labor. So in this context women in India shouldn't feel any pride in having a day designated to them. There is nothing there to be celebrated to have a day nominated for them in the calender year where only Greeting Card and Telecommunication companies make the profit.

It is quite ironical that in a country like India with one of the highest number of people living below the poverty line doesn't have a day dedicated to the Poor. Not a day dedicated to the farmers of this country. So what is the fuss about exchanging red roses and distributing Greeting Cards? Is this what Women empowerment means in India? Will celebrating a day help the cause of women in India? So women in India should get over the hype surrounding the day and pragmatically think if this celebration makes any sense


India Don't Look Tournament Favorites

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The Mahendra Singh Dhoni led Team India started as the favorites in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. But if the performance is anything to go by the team has seriously hurt its brand value. Drawing a match after scoring 330 plus runs  against England showed the weakness of the Indian bowling attach. In the match that followed versus Ireland the bowling has looked anything but impressive with Yuvraj Singh the most unlikely of bowlers getting five of the ten Irish men.

The lack of bowling resources at his disposal has made Dhoni looked clueless at times. Especially in the match against England there was not a single bowler who was stopping the singles and the boundaries when Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell were milking the bowling. Even if the Indian fans think cricket to be a game of sixes and fours flowing out of Sachin Tendulkar's bat it is not. If such fans needed one example the match versus England was one. A poor bowling attack never makes a team world champions.

A lot of doubt has been raised about the performance of Piyush Chawla. His selection had raised a few eyebrows but we all know that he is being backed by his captain. But Dhoni seems to be on a mission to prove that Chawla's selection was worth the deal. The only problem is the fact that in doing so he might have to throw a few matches here and there. A good captain should realise his mistake and not repeat them instead of persisting with his ego.

Till now the only two teams which have looked like favorites are the defending world champions Australia and maverick Pakistan under a maverick captain. Shahid Afridi seems to have discovered a master spinner in himself who seems to be causing a havoc among batsmen in this tournament. As far as the kangaroos are concerned no one should write this team off as they have held this trophy for the last 12 years and inmost of the times deservingly. India will have to overhaul itself in fielding and bowling to get over these giants. 


Monday, March 7, 2011

Never Opt For An Apple's Launch Product!

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

If you are one of those people in India who has missed Apple’s latest gizmo you have something on the offering. Just about a year after Apple iPad created buzz in the technology industry, Steve Job and his team are ready with the second avatar of the product. Apple has made the iPad2 faster, thinner, lighter, more powerful, and more versatile than the original iPad. What’s more it is priced at the same $499 as the model launched last year.

So just about a year’s wait has made the buyers get a faster, thinner and lighter product at the same price. So what’s the point in buying a product first up when you get a better one just about a year later? Off course it doesn’t apply to the techno geeks who love ripping apart a new product (virtually though) and writing about or those cool dudes who boast about having stood in queues to get hold of their Apple product. For a smart buyer a year’s wait seems to bring in a lot of bonuses.

This is not the first time this has happened with an Apple product. Since the launch of its revolutionary portable music player the iPod in 2001 we have seen six generations of the product rolling out. It has been even faster with the iPhone which has seen four avatars in since its launch four years ago. With every newer version Apple has something new to offer at the same price or even at substantially lower price.

P.S. If you are buyer and don’t have any eagerness to flaunt an iPad as yet, waiting for the third generations shouldn’t be stupid. One thing for sure you won’t have to wait for too long!


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