Archive for 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012

Can Sonia Gandhi Beat Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar?

If 1.3 billion people of India, one fifth of the world population, have one common weakness it is their infatuation for the game of Cricket and Sachin Tendulkar is its icon and 'Little Master'. You hit Sachin, you hit the underbelly of India; you get Sachin and you win the battle in India.
By getting Sachin Tendulkar on her side, Sonia Gandhi, the president of the National congress party is proving that she has mastered the hitting style and technique of Sachin Tendulkar and can deftly deliver her own sixes in the game of Indian Politics.

Twitter / @MildlyClassic: Ok if you really want to # ... via kwout

By offering Sachin Tendulkar a seat in 'Rajya Sabha', the upper house of the Indian parliament, Sonia and her Congress party managers have virtually 'stolen thunder' from their arch rival, the Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) who would have loved to have him as their own MP.
The BJP is virtually crying out "Damn them! They will not let our play run, but they steal our thunder." In fact what the BJP legislator Madhav Bhandari said had a taste of sour grapes:
"As a fan of Tendulkar, I will welcome this move, but as an observer of politics, it will be like keeping him away from his biggest passion - cricket. I also see this as a trick to keep Tendulkar from a Bharat Ratna (an award of honour)."
The political game of war of words have escalated in to a war on twitter with a trending hashtag#unfollowsachin which was allegedly created by members of BJP, gaining a lot of tweets criticising Sachin Tendulkar and supporting him, which however seems to have backfired.

By accepting the offer from Sonia Gandhi, Sachin has proved to his distracters and supporters alike that his achievement as a master blaster of cricket is as much the manifestation of a brilliant mind as it is in seizing a rare honour and opportunity bestowed up on him by destiny.
Even though the decision to nominate Sachin to the Rajya Sabha seems to have been taken much before, around the time he scored his 100th century in international cricket in a match in Bangladesh, where Sonia Gandhi really scores is in the timing and speed with which she has taken the country by surprise by securing the support of its national icon.
The timing and announcement has in fact come as a huge and successful distraction and diversion from the new revelations on the Bofors Gun deal scandal, by the Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom which the BJP and the opposition tried to capitalise on both in parliament and outside, with new demands for investigation against Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress party.
If Sachin Tendulkar, who along with his wife was invited by Sonia and gave his acceptance, was the biggest catch and new asset to the ailing party in need of new blood and leadership, Sonia Gandhi's choice and nomination of another Indian Icon movie idol, Rekha is no less a master stroke.
Such is the beauty and personality of Rekha, a star of yester years, that this new MP will no doubt ensure the attendance and good behaviour of all her party members and even the opposition in the house whenever it will be in session in the future.
Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi is surely mastering the art of getting the pulse of India her mother in law of Indira Gandhi was a master of.

Whatever Happened To Satya Sai Baba - The Man Who Was God?

Isn't it really amazing how the 20th century media could make ordinary mortals in to Gods and dispatch them to oblivion in the 21st century?
Millions of people around the world perhaps came to believe through the modern media and the internet that Satya Sai Baba of India was God himself.
Though he died only a year ago, the Baba has virtually disappeared from the world media, and from the minds and memory of most people who came to know about him, with hardly any mention even on the anniversary of his death.
Is it the media who should be really blamed for this forgetful ignoring of a Guru who had over 6 million followers when he died?
After all Jesus Christ and Gautham Buddha who are also credited with miracles and teachings, were not forgotten but loved, revered, remembered and worshipped for thousands of years before the advent of modern communications.
It is not surprising that no one, including the leading News papers, magazines and TV around the world want to remember or bring back the memory of Satya Sai Baba despite the $9 Billion assets he amassed during his life of 84 years, some of which he had spent on various charitable projects.
Despite the huge followings and philanthropic work, there was something not very honest and straightforward about this Godman who declared himself to be God and whose life was "dogged by controversy including allegations, never proven, of sexual abuse and charlatanism" as per a BBC report.
Whether he was God or not, at the minimum, he knew exactly what lead to the massacre of several young people in his Ashram one night and the serious allegations of sexual abuse brought out in the BBC report of 2004.
Satya Sai Baba chose to leave the earth by not leaving clear answers and an aura of suspicion and doubt in place of divinity. No God has ever survived in human memory with such questionablecredentials.
Perhaps this is the biggest reason why no one, including millions who believed in him, wants to talk about or remember Satya Sai Baba despite the numerous good causes he has supported with his immense wealth.
If his life and intentions were questionable even when he was alive, the intentions and behaviour of his relations and close people who have inherited the Trust with the immense wealth has done nothing to instil devotion and confidence in the Godman after his death.
Instead, they have only raised serious questions about their own integrity and intentions which has lead to public demand for take over and administration of the trust by the government.
Millions of his followers desperately want him to return to earth as Prema Sai before they lose their faith completely even as the fame and prosperity he brought to his village Putta Parthi seems to dwindle fast.

Sonia Gandhi - The Hapless Italian Anchor of The Enrica Lexie Affair.

It was  a question of when and not if the name of Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Indian National Congress party and one of the most powerful and influential women in the world as per the Forbes and Time Magazine lists, will be dragged in the messy affair of Enrica Lexie.

The inevitable has now happened and everyone is delivering their hidden punches saved since the Italian saga unfurled on the Indian shores, at the unfortunate widow of Rajiv Gandhi.

If Enrica Lexie was flying another flag, chances are it would have been released  and home and dry long time back. The problem is it is Italian like Sonia Gandhi was before she became an Indian citizen.

From the beginning, it was pretty clear that if Enrica Lexie, lured and forced to remain anchored at the Idyllic Port of Kochi in Kerala, a southern state of India, it was not the weight of its huge iron anchor but the immense political weight of the Indian political leader Sonia Gandhi was to be blamed. It was clear that any attempt favouring the Italians would be seen as orchestrated by the Italian born Sonia.
The reason is nothing but the Italian origin of Mrs Gandhi, and the paranoiac mindset of the Indian political system, still suffering from a sort of inferiority complex despite successfully test firing an inter continental ballistic missile.
The truth is, if the tragedy of the Titanic were to happen near the Kerala coast, the narrow minded politicians of Kerala, especially its ridiculous communists, would have made some political capital out of it before even thinking about sending a boat for the rescue. Since the Titanic was a British ship, there wouldn't have been any rescue attempt at all.
Things have hardly changed in a hundred years. They still must get some political mileage if they can, out of even the tragic death of the two poor fishermen who died in the incidence.
A lawyer representing the central government, under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi has argued, perhaps rightly, in the supreme court that the action of the State of Kerala in the whole affair was not legal as per international law.
This was sufficient for the politicians of Kerala to cry foul and raise accusations of an Italian conspiracy by the Italian born Sonia to favour Italy, something they were waiting to jump at all along.
It was clear that for the state government of Kerala headed by Sonia's congress party and facing a crucial by election, any attempt for a reasonable settlement would have lead to same accusations, which explain the stiff handling 'as per law of the land'.
You can't blame kerala's politicians not to know or understand the intricacies of International law. After all, international law doesn't apply to Kerala, deemed "God's Own Country" because no one is ever taught.
In any case, for many of Kerala's political leaders the closest to education was the time they spent under the roofs of its schools only to escape the occasional torrential rain. You really can't blame them for what they don't understand.
If anything, it is the captain of Enrica Lexie to be blamed for taking his ship in to this disaster zone. It is clear that he has no interest in History or current affairs and politics.
If he had any notion of the narrow political mentality and complex religious influence in the lives of the people of the beautiful state of Kerala, he would have been happy to welcome the Somali pirates he was trying to avoid, abord his ship instead of taking his ship anywhere near it.
At least the Italians now know what is meant by the English saying "between the devil and the deep sea".
Article first published as Sonia Gandhi - The Hapless Italian Anchor of The Enrica Lexie Affair on Technorati.

A Provocative Artistic Idea to Set a Taboo Right Which Has Gone Wrong.

Isn't it amazing that in the age of social web and on line media there still are widely unknown facts which can only be exposed by on ground art exhibitions? Like for example, the practice of mutilation of woman's genitalia 140 million African women are living with, for the sake of traditions.

One can argue that it is a matter for the people of Africa to decide. After all mutilation of other parts of human body like ears and lips to adorn colourful and over sized ornaments to enhance beauty is part of customs still practised by many African tribes.
The problem with the mutilation of female genitalia is that it is not the sort of thing you will discuss in a party or even on the social media. Unfortunately this meant its existence and even continuation of its practice in the African continent. Many of us in the rest of the world may consider it barbaric and something to be avoided as not necessary for health and beauty. The practice is especially worrying if it is done on children who can't decide for themselves, which is not clear.
So when Makode Aj Linde, a Swedish-African artist, decided to use the subject for a provocative work of art to be exhibited in the World Art Day held in Stockholm, he probably chose the subject right. Some thing wrong with African life which he hoped to correct by the public opinion he could generate to increase the awareness and the need for giving African women a say in the matter.
His intention to shock the world in to an awareness of the issue was clear from the caption he gave on his Facebook page for a picture of the exhibition.
Documentation from my female genital mutilation cake performance earlier today at stockholm moma. This is After getting my vagaga mutilated by the minister of culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth. Before cutting me up she whispered "Your life will be better after this" in my ear. -- with Makode Linde and Paula Slav at Moderna Museet.
However the stunning photos and video put out in the media and on the Facebook page of Malone Aj Linde gave a negative impression resulting in the Huff Post article getting thousands of comments and shares in a matter of hours.
No one has heard about the practice of mutilation of female genitalia. If it was a widely known subject, perhaps there would be less of a negative reaction but the whole thing would have been much less shocking.
The plight of 140 million women, after all, was not as important as the negativity of depicting the race as a piece of cake with female genitalia, to be exhibited, mutilated and eaten in public.
Now there is a bit of catch 22 situations here for Makode Aj Linde. How can he talk and get awareness on an unspeakable issue except by a shocking visual which everyone can understand?
The problem here is that the number of people who misunderstood his vision are far more greater than those who got the message right.
If not for Malone Aj Linde, an artist of African origin, who could have opened the subject which is so native to Africa for discussion? How can the incident, then be considered anything racial? I wonder what would have happened if he was indeed a white Swede.
The call for the resignation of Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, the minister who happily participated in the exhibition, is equally unsettling as it is from a serious communication gap about her intentions and anti racial credentials.
From the way the whole exhibition was reported and the huge negative reaction it has generated, especially in the world African population who tent to depict it as an outrage against African race and women, it looks like its intended purpose and artistic merit are getting lost in the cry of outrage.
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Kolkata, a New Island In The Gulag Archipelago?

It is curious that in the age of the cyberspace, innocuous images in print, with arguably difficult to decipher messages, can create political storms. The cover of Economist Magazine purportedly depicting a bleak future for an Independent Scotland raised political temper, with its regional leader Alex Salmond warning:
“Economist Magazine Will 'Rue The Day' It Mocked Scotland”

There are some parallels in the resurgence of nationalist feelings in the British Isles and the Indiansubcontinent, which has seen recent electoral victories of regional parties, which is questioning the unity and integrity of the nations, which is being seriously flagged by the media.
While such expose by the media result in venting of emotions by political leaders like Alex Salmond in Europe, In India it is turning more sinister with the media choosing to be a silent observer and taking a subservient role.
Recently Mamta Banerjee, the regional leader of India's West Bengal, has gone totally bizerk by ordering and later defending the arrest of a professor of the prestigious Jadavpur University merely for circulating a collage of images poking some innocent fun at her autocratic handling of the nation's Railway Ministry.
The allusion is Mamta colluded in a 'cloak and dagger' plot with a subservient political colleague to sack an able and US educated administrator who wanted to seriously salvage the biggest employer in India facing financial melt down.
In fact the whole episode is funnier than the collage which is being described by the media as a 'cartoon' for some strange reason. A professor of Chemistry found some innocent distraction by putting together a collage of pictures of the three politicians with some captions, comparing the episode as reminiscent of a forgotten movie by the famous Bengalee director Satyajit Ray.
However when he merely circulated his artistic creation to his neighbours by E mail, it took a serious turn and became a cyber crime in the fiefdom of Mamta Banerjee, leading to the political harassment and torture of the professor by her supporters and his arrest by police on dubious charges of cyber crime.
The action of Mamta and her coterie smacks of the Cultural Revolution in China and the rule by the "Gang Of Four" during which several such 'purging' incidents were reported on a daily basis.
It is not the first time Mamta Banerjee has ridden rough should over freedom of expression. A few weeks back her government banned some prominent English Language news papers for being critical of her government.
The event caused uproar in the country about her autocratic behaviour, but surprisingly several news papers came out with editorials which gave up the fight fearing litigation with a mercurial and unpredictable female leader.
Though the media by and large reported the "cartoon" event, none of them has dared to put the controversial cartoon itself on their pages, fearing political and financial repercussions to their publications.
The very fact that an e mail message circulated only to one's neighbours should be reported to the police and the ruling government smacks of political snooping reminiscent of Hitler's Gestapo and Stalin's Gulag.
For West Bengal, the land of India's only Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and for its capital Kolkota, which prides as the political and cultural capital of India, these recent actions of the government of Mamta Banerjee, India's Giant Communist Killer, pose the question if they like to be a new island in the Archipelago of suppression of freedom of expression and democracy.

Why Enrica Lexie Is Growing Messier Like The Italian Pasta By The Hour?

Don’t get this wrong. Enrica Lexie sounds like the latest juicy revelation in the saga of former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, but it is merely the name of an Italian vessel embroiled in a legal and diplomatic tussle between Italy and India.

Initially catching little attention of the western media, the row is now assuming some serious European dimension, with Italian soldiers demonstrating in Rome against the detention and legal action against two of their colleagues.

At the heart of the stand off and ‘argy bargy’ is the death of two unarmed Indian fishermen who were apparently shot down by the two Italian soldiers who were on a anti piracy mission on board the ship.

The arguments and notoriously slow legal proceeding in India has taken a toll, with the two soldiers locked up in an Indian prison and the ship detained in the Indian port of Kochi since several weeks.

What has been most surprising is the appalling way both countries have handled the sensitive issue, each one not without its own hidden compulsions, and public stance each country was obliged to take.

For the new Italian Prime minister Mario Monti , there were more compelling matters to attend with the EU economic crisis and the economy of Italy itself on the verge of a crisis situation like that of Greece.  However the way the Italians have come out with out convincing and straight forward explanation of what happened has not helped the matter and enabled the Indians to react helpfully to solve the issue.

Besides, the Italian authorities have also failed to grasp the political compulsions under which the Indian government had to act in this matter.

For a start, Kerala, which is the last place people still believe in communism has a party which lost the recent election with slim margin and has an interest to politicise every issue in order to win a crucial local election held in March. The ruling congress party with slim majority and allegations of corruption with the central government which they lead couldn’t afford to let the legal path take its own course.

That Kerala has a sizable Catholic population didn’t help, with Kerala Bishops facing accusation of taking up for a Catholic foreign country.

Although, never mentioned publicly, the most sensitive reason for the stiff Indian stance is nothing but the Italian origin of Sonia Gandhi, presiding over the Congress Party, currently ruling India and several states including Kerala as the major coalition partner.

In the current upheaval based on huge ‘perceived’ corruption with the central government, any effort to resolve the issue quickly would be perceived as an “order” from Sonia to favour Italy against the interests of India.

This gives little hope of the Italian authorities finding a quick resolution of the issue. However the fact that the by election is now over without serious damage to the image of the congress party and with a convincing win give everyone some elbow room. There is also the need to solve the issue before another by election now scheduled for May.
What can be counted upon is the good humour and awareness of political sensitivities of the enlightened judiciary of the ‘God’s own country’ who is adept at playing the judicial game to everyone’s satisfaction.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

Why Can't They Make Them Anymore? Things Those Work!

If you are like me, nothing can spoil your day like a piece of sliced bread that is not toasted on its top edge. It is so annoying it is enough to spoil even your weekend when a toaster like contraption can bring scents to even gaming!

In the 21st century, when we are even capable of discovering presence of billions of inhabitable planets and water on mars, why can't we have a toaster which can toast bread on its full surface? It is in fact a scandal completely demeaning man's biggest discovery, the sliced bread.

In fact we used to have toasters which toasted all sorts of bread with out a whimper.That was until we started to get our toasters made in China!

It all started when our toaster suddenly burned out when a piece of crumb caught between the wires and we had to get a new one, made in China. The problem is that you can't get even a toaster taken for granted these days if it is made in China. It is true that they have something about the size of things in China, but when they make stuff for Europe, they need to consider the European sizes!

No one ever had to measure their sliced bread, which no one said is food that we shouldn't love or eat, but I decided to measure mine to get to the bottom>Iit is a perfect 110 X 135mm, like any common size on the shelves of supermarkets. Of course there are a few smaller ones and a few bigger ones, which we had no trouble ever with our old toaster and I never ever had to include repairing my toaster in things I need to do before I die.

It is one thing if a Chinese made toaster is not up to the mark and can't do the job even on a piece of bread of standard size. However it is totally different and unpardonable when even a new one with a very reputed UK brand, which we bought in full confidence to replace the Chinese one won't toast the bread all around. It is a real shame, it is scandelous!

It is not clear who to blame for this fiasco. Obviously the Tories are not going to accept the blame on top of every other mess from granny tax to petrol scare they are charged with. It is amazing, how a reputed company can goof up on simple things like these. It is very clear no one tested the toaster by putting a slice and toasting it. In any case no one tasted how the toast came out. So much for customer satisfaction which is forgotten and doesn't matter any more as purchasingdecisions are made on the web these days.

Obviously, the toaster must have undergone every test of safety including placing it along with the debris of Titanic to see if it will stand water because Insurance pay out is something companies have to worry about.

As for my toast, why should giving up the simple joy of a nicely and fully toasted Wharburton's smooth white bread or start my day cursing a toaster which is not man enough? Time to throw out the toaster and look for something proper, surely there ought to be others. Still it is amazing anyone had to blog about something so simple and mundane you shouldn't have to give a second thought about.

Article first published as Why Can't Things Just Work as They are Supposed to Anymore? on Technorati

Sunday, April 01, 2012
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

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