Tuesday, December 01, 2009

India's tainted Generals....

Today, yet again, there was news of three top ranking generals of the Indian Army caught up in a land scam. Which means they are facing corruption charges.

It's amazing to me, as to how many 'flag officers' of the Army have been suspected of some misdeed or the other. There has been a meat scam, a 'booze scam' or even a tent scam, in which Generals are suspected to be involved. The ultimate being the 'coffin scam' during the Kargil war...

Its also amazing that these officers - clearly lacking 'Officer like qualities' and who have displayed conduct 'unbecoming of an officer' have actually risen to such high ranks in the Army's hierarchy. In the latest 'Sukna' scam in the North East, the generals are commanding Corps - extremely sensitive assignments held by individuals whose basic character is suspect.

And it makes me wonder - would I ever encourage my son to join the Army? Because, at some stage he might have a Boss in uniform who is corrupt. Would my son look up to his Boss as a leader?

How come most of the cases of corruption relate to Generals? Did they suddenly become corrupt after attaining a particular rank? Or is it that they were lacked integrity and honesty, indulged in activities that amounted to corruption at various stages in their career. The higher the rank attained, the bigger the act of corruption. And the system wasn't strong and robust enough to detect such cases?

Most likely the second possibility.

In my opinion such officers should not only be subject to the military Court of Enquiry followed by the Court Martial, but punishment should be exemplary so that in future any Officer even remotely considering indulging in a corrupt practice, should think twice.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The spirit of Mumbai

'The spirit of Mumbai' has become a very 'nice sounding' phrase in recent times, particularly in the aftermath of 26/11.
When 26/11 happened, Mumbaikars came together, joined hands, lit candles, kept vigil around the key landmarks where the terror attacks happened, and voiced their opinion about the media, the politicians, the security forces and so on. According to them some of these agencies did a great job, whereas others let down the City.

Since then much has been discussed about the spirit of Mumbai and Mumbaikars in general. That they were united, they came together to express solidarity towards the victims and their families.

But hold on. Unity, the courage to come together in face of adversity and expressing solidarity is a matter of convenience - isn't it?

The point is, its all very nice to come together and talk about the nameless, faceless adversary, in this case the terrorist from Pakistan. Condemn him, hold candle light marches against him, write slogans and so on, and then go home in the evening with a good feeling that you did your bit.

Now let's talk about the enemy within.

The terrorists within India, and specifically the within Mumbai - our own desi brand of terrorists. M/S Bal Tahckery and Raj - the illustrious nephew of the illustrious uncle. Time and again, these two gentlemen and their group of goons - organised in the guise of political parties - the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, spread terror at will in the city of Mumbai.

They beat up non- Maharashtrians especially migrants from UP and Bihar threaten them and ask them to leave the City. Somewhere along the way they got the impression that Mumbai is their princely state, and they the rulers...

Another fine morning they choose to attack a large media house, beat up and threaten the staff, destroy property and generally create panic. The only difference between these two 'terrorists' and those that come from outside India, is that as of today the Thackerays cannot boast of a record of kills, and thankfully so.

The question that I want to ask the Mumbaikars is this - When the Thackerays spread terror in your City and in your hearts, where does the spirit of Mumbai go?

Now this is a different situation isn't it? Because the enemy is not hiding but right in front of you. And there's nothing you can do about this enemy except cow down to his threats, get intimidated and hide.

I don't blame the common Mumbaikar for being afraid of the Thackeray terrorism. After all, isn't the State administration and the police afraid of him? And the media? Why else didn't a single media publication or channel openly condemn a recent act of terrorism when a reputed TV channel was attacked by them in Mumbai?

Not one Mumbaikar or a newspaper or a TV channel came forward to express solidarity with this victim of violence. Where did the spirit of Mumbai suddenly disappear?

India's largest newspaper publication which is Mumbai bases, did not include even a small mention of the terror attack of Thackeray and his goons on the TV channel Office, the day after this incidence of violence happened.

Thackeray's goons created a ruckus in the State Assembly when a recently elected member took oath in Hindi. An act totally unlawful and unconstitutional by any standards. Not one Mumbaikar came forward to stage a protest, light a candle or lead a march.


When the pride of Mumbai (and indeed of India), Sachin Tendulkar was criticized and threatened by Bal Thackery simply because he stated that his Country came first for him and then his State, not one Mumbaikar came forward to express solidarity with Sachin. Not one Mumbaikar thought of leading a candle march at the Gateway of India as a sign of protest against this act of terrorism.


The answer is simple. When incidents like 26/11 happen, the terrorist is hiding. And when he hides we can come together and boldly say anything to him.
But here we have the terrorist standing right in front of us and glaring at us. And in this situation we are scared. And understandably the spirit of Mumbai suddenly dies out.

To be scared is human. Everyone knows that. But when the enemy within strikes, how you react or respond is the real test of the spirit of Mumbai.

Its high time you shed the hypocrisy- Mumbaikars.

Let us see this spirit of Mumbai re-kindled next time when your enemies - the terrorists like the Thackerays, terrorize you.

26/11 One Year Later....is India safer?

One year has flashed by -since that horrific incident - the terror attack at major landmarks in Mumbai. More than a hundred and fifty people died, including brave policemen, soldiers of the National Security guard, staff of the Taj and the Trident Hotels, guests patients at the Cama Hospital pseengers at the CST station and last but not the least occupants of the Nariman House.

Last evening huge crowds gathered at major landmarks in various cities across India, to pay homage to the lives lost to this cold and cruel act of violence. . They gathered at India Gate, The Gateway of India, in front of the Trident Hotel and the Nariman House, to name a few.

There were people across age groups and from all walks of life. Thankfully - some politicians too. Some of them overcome by force of their personal value system to be present there. Others were there perhaps because they were more bothered about the consequences should they have chosen to keep away from this event. And other Netas, who did not have the sense one year ago when the carnage happened, and remain incorrigible even today, chose to stay away.

In a way one was happy with what one saw last evening. The fact the so many took the trouble and spent time, showed that Indians were united in their shock, grief, and concern for our Country in general and Mumbai in particular.

The terrorists had a singular objective. To engineer a hate war and bloodshed between communities in India. That they failed is a foregone conclusion.

What was so special about 26/11?

In India, more than 6000 people have lost their lives at the hands of terrorists belonging to different groups, in the recent past. Let's not look very far.

In Mumbai itself in 2006, a series of bomb blasts in the local trains left more than 200 people dead and about 700 injured.

Thousands of innocent people have fallen victims to terrorist's bullets in Kashmir, in the last two decades.

Hundreds of people have died at the hands of the 'Maoists' and the Naxals in Maharasthra, Chhatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, in recent times.

I have not known of any such groups of common citizens collectively expressing grief and demonstrating solidarity with the victims and their families ever in the past.

Never before has compensation to victims disbursed so quickly as in case of the 26/11 Mumbai incident.
Never in the past have individual victims who died in such violence been identified individually, and rich tributes paid to them and to their families.


Is it because this time, the terrorists attacked 5 star deluxe hotels in the posh South Mumbai area, and took hostage many members of the elite strata of society?

Wasn't it something absolutely sensational - the Taj and the Trident - symbols of Mumbai's culture, under a siege?

Was the 2006 incident less horrific because it was in the local trains in Mumbai? And because we didn't know the names of the people who died or were injured?

A terror attack is a terror attack. Every single life lost is as precious as the next one - ask the families. The point that is being made here is that every citizen of this Country should have been equally sensitive to such an attack long, long ago. The same can be said about the media. Then, a strong public opinion such as the one displayed in the last year, would have forced our political and administrative system to think and act. And maybe the death toll would today have been less than 6000....

Is India is any safer than it was exactly a year ago?

The State Government and the political leaders will immediately answer with a confident 'yes' The State administration in Maharashtra decided to go a step further and showcase this claim. One more police force - The Force One - has been set up in Maharashtra to counter acts of terrorism. This force and other units of the Police staged a flag march through Mumbai, and commandos demonstrated their skills like monkey crawls and repelling, to send a message to the Mumbaikars that they are competent, courageous and well equipped.

Millions of rupees have been committed or already spent in purchasing ultra modern and sophisticated weapons for the police to fight terrorists.

All that is good. Let me however provide another perspective.

We have now perhaps prepared ourselves for a better response in future.

But are we prepared to prevent such incidents?

There were many lessons to be learnt exactly a year ago. Our combined intelligence set up consisting of various intelligence organizations collectively failed us. Between then and now we should have 'unlearnt' everything in the name of intelligence gathering and sharing. Then, we should have taken the help of friendly Countries like Israel or the US, who have had tremendous experience in tackling terror of the kind that hit India.

So the question is - how confident are we as a Country that such instances will be prevented with superior quality of intelligence, and coordination between the intelligence and security teams, so that a terror attack of the nature and scale such as the one that Mumbai witnessed is foiled before the terrorists even reach the shores of our Country?

Are we now sure that we can prevent another 26/11?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sam Bahadur - II

Here's how the Nation behaved, when Sam Bahadur, the celebrated General, the brain behind India's only decisive millitary victory, and the only Indian Army Officer to be appointed Field Marshal while still in active service - truly one of the World's greatest millitary heros, passed away in June last year.

If you want to get a taste of how India's civil society can display its incivility, check out who all were present to pay their last repects to the departed soldier, when the guns were fired in salute during the funeral ceremony on June 27, 2008:

Pratibha Patil, President of India and Commander in Chief of the armed forces - absent.
Hamid Ansari - Vice President of India - absent.
Dr. Manohan Singh - Prime Minister of India - absent.
Sonia Gandhi - daughter in law of Indira Gandhi the Prime Minister with whom Sam closely interacted during the 1971 crisis - absent.
LK Advani - Leader of the Opposition and an aspirant to the Prime Minister's position - absent
M/ Karunanidhi and Surjit Singh Barnala - Cheif Minister and Governor of the State of Tamil Nadu - the State which Sam made his home for 35 years - absent.

Let the Netas be. They are incorrigible - we all know that. But what about the armed forces?

AK Anthony - Defence Minister - absent, represented by his Deputy Pallam Raju
Chief of the Naval Staff - absent represented by a two star admiral.
Chief of Air Staff - absent - represented by a two star Air Vice Marshal

In contrast consdier this:

When Amitabh Bacchan was ill after getting ijured during the shooting of 'Coolie' Indira Gandhi flew to Mumbai to show her concern.
When Dhirubhai Ambani died, LK Advani cut short his Gujarat tour to pay his respects to what he called "an embodiment of initiative, enterprise and determination'

When Pramod Mahajan was shot dead by his brother - the Vice President of India - Bhairon Singh Shekhawat had the time to attend his funeral.

It’s still unbelievable that a government formed by Indians would be so rude and indifferent to the greatest military leader India has produced post-independence, to use the words of former army chief General V.P. Malik. Rare are the heroes of a nation admired by commoners as their idol, inspiration and icon. Manekshaw was one such hero India always looked up to with pride and excitement.

A government that decided to lower the national flag for three days as a mark of mourning when the Pope died didn't send its defence minister to attend the funeral of Field Marshall Manekshaw; nor did it allow the other two service chiefs to attend. A government, that orders the lowering of the National flag for a third grade politican, but the Nation's bravest man was denied the honor.

As someone said - "A nation that cannot honor its heros, cannot produce them either'

Our politicians failed miserably here. Thank God - that Indians didn't - and rose to say....

"Sam Bahadur - Zindabad !!"

Sam Bahadur - A soldier's General

Sam was born in 1914, in Amritsar. He was selected for the first course of the new instituted 'Indian Millitary Academy' He was commissioned into the 12th, Frontier Force Regiment, commonly called the 54th Sikhs. He saw action in the Second World War, and in 1942 was gravely injured in action - a much publicised event - when seven bullets from a Japanese machine gun whipped through his body.

Sam survived and went on to become argueably the most celebrated General not only in India but across the Globe. He rose through the millitary hierarchy through rapid promotions and held key assignments from the Director - Millitary Operations (during the crucial Kashmir Operations of 1948), then Commandant of the Defence Services Staff College. He then took over 4 Corps as GOC-in-C, just at the close of the Chinese hostilities of 1962. Sam's first meeting with the senior officers of 4 Corps is legendary, just as it was typical of his personality. 4 Corps at that juncture was a compeltely battered and demoralised army having been humiliated at the hands of the Chinese, and for good measure due to a complete failure of Indian millitary and political leadership.
In his first meeting, Sam had only this to say "Gentlemen - I have arrived. There will be no more withdrawls in 4 Corps. Thank you" Few words which most certainly would have sent a strong message to the rank and file that he meant business and that he expected every man in uniform to act dignified in the face of adversity - and most importantly, that 4 Corps was now in the hands of a true leader.

By then Sam had earned the reputation of being India's most promising and upcoming Gerneal Staff Officer. No wonder then, that he took over as Western Army Commander, Eastern Army Commander before he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Indian Army.

That he led India to its most decisive millitary victory in 1971 which led to the liberation of Bangla Desh is common folk lore not only in India, but in Pakistan too. For his role as India's Army Chief in this crucial period, a grateful Nation honored with with a Padma Vibhushan, and he was promoted as India's first Field Marshal - a rank that is held by an Officer till his death.

That Sam was professionally brilliant is obvious from his career graph. But he was more popularly known as a soldier's general. the safety and honor of the men he commanded was always his prime concern. He was a tough task master and a disciplinarian. Many officers who served in his chain of command or worked closely would still shudder to think of the effort required to keep pace with him. But within a tough exterior lay a very humane being. Sam by his own admission never ever punished a man in uniform, throughout his career - a fact hard to digest.

Sam believed in the values of leadership. To him, the two most important aspects of a good leader were - professional knowledge, and the ability, character and moral strength to stand upright and fight for what was right and just. And if these were true hallmarks of a leader, he always led by example. Prior to the 1971 operations, he sent a clear message to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Defence Minister Jagjiwan Ram, that for a sure shot millitary victory he would 'run the show' his way, and without interfernce from those who were not well versed with millitary matters. Sam did run his own show and led the Country to its first ever decisive victory against Pakistan - an event that restored the morale of not only the Indian Army but India as a whole.

Though a Field Marshal till he died, Sam led a quiet retired life in the Nilgiri Hills.Long after he had lost his wife 'Siloo' he continued to live in the Company of his 'Gurkha' ex - comrades in arms, and their families. Well into his nineties, he was immaculately turned out - at any time of the day. His home continued to reflect the 'millitary style' turn out too - spotlessly clean rooms, and sparkling crockery and cutlery.

Sam lived the life of a true soldier -battling his deteriorating health and old age, till he finally 'hung' his uniform at the ripe old age of 94, on June 27, 2008.

Sam Bahadur - here's a 'salute' to you.

It's been a little over a year now - when India's most celebrated soldier and the first Field Marshal of the Country - Sam Manekshaw passed away, after living a full, eventful and meaningful life.

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Story of true grit, determination and courage

Lt. Gen. Pankaj Shivram Joshi PVSM, AVSM VSM, passed away recently.

Just another army officer who fared better than others, rose to the rank of a Lt. General, then led a quiet retired life and passed on? Not really. For his life is a story of true determination, grit and courage. And an inspiration for the young and old alike. A lesson about how to live life despite adversities, and make a success of whatever you do.

Pankaj Shivram Joshi graduated from the National Defence Academy and was commissioned into the 8 Gurkha Rifles in 1967. While posted in Sikkim and involved in a landmine clearing operation, he inadvertently stepped on one. While his one leg was blown off on the spot, the other had to be amputated a few days later at the Army Hospital. He was 24 years old then.

At Pune's Artificial Limbs Center, he was fitted with a pair of artificial limbs. A fortnight later, Joshi refused to be wheeled to the limbs center which was a kilometer and a half away from where he was staying, and chose to bike it, instead. Within a month, he was on the dance floor.

However, with both legs gone, Joshi contemplated leaving the Army, for he knew that his career prospects were now equal to nothing. It is said that fortune favours the brave. Fate did intervene, and the Army rules of medical categorisation changed in 1978. Now the emphasis was not so much on the physical condition but physical capability. Joshi went through a special medical board. The board recommended that because of his will power and self training, Joshi was at par with any other Officer in terms of capability.

Joshi went on to command a battalion, a brigade and a corps. Earlier on, he volunteered to study Spanish and Russian languages. He took part in the Himalayan Car Rally as part of the Army's
team, and in one cycling expedition, he cycled 42 kms to Delhi.

In the year 2000, Lt. Gen. Joshi became the GOC-in-C of the Central Army Command - or in commmon terminology, an Army Commander, the second highest position an Officer can reach, after the Chief of Army Staff. Just before this appointment, he was Commandant, College of Combat, Mhow.

In 2001, Lt. Gen. Joshi was appointed as the first Chief of the Country's Integrated Defence Staff, based at Port Blair.

Genl Joshi's courage and determination in face of the most serious adversities anyone could face, was an example for hundreds of people both within and outside the Services.

He passed away very recently.

Many of us attribute our success and failure to our destiny or 'luck'. Gen Joshi's life however is an example of how the Bhagwat Gita teaches us to lead our lives - to "choose our destiny"

Monday, May 25, 2009

The 2009 IPL Champions....

Sunday evening. The Deccan Chargers scripted what can possibly described as a 'work of art'. And walked away with the IPL trophy. The World was amazed, and couldn't help admire.

While I sat and debated, for the nth time - whether 20-20 was the way to go, or if the traditional test matches and ODIs were the 'true' form of cricket, I sat and watched the game.

And I was immediately reminded of India's moment of glory - at Lords - 1983. When team India lifted the Prudential Cup. And were declared World Champions.

And I saw similarities. India, in the 1983 tournament were the underdogs, much as the Deccan Chargers at the beginning of the 2009 IPL.

But India came around from behind. Slowly, but surely and steadily. So did the DCs. And India excelled when it mattered, just as the DCs did.

1983 was also a fine example of a captain leading by example. Kapil Dev came in to bat against Zimbabwe, when the team was on a near collapse at a dismal 50 odd runs for the loss of 5 wickets (?). And he took over control of the situation. As if it was a matter of life and death. And then came a brilliant knock from the bat, of and unbeaten 175. India won the match and went on to the semi finals. Which was impossible, till the captain came in, and made the difference.

I thought about Kapil, when I saw Adam Gilchrist bat on Saturday. What a similarity. Adam, batting against Delhi- easily the best team in the IPL thus far. But he had made a firm resolve. And he believed in himself and his team when no one else did. Proving to the World that at that level and standard of the game, cricketing talent alone matters little. For there is hardly any difference between one player and the other. What matters is the grit, the determination and the resolve to make the difference when it matters the most. A single minded focus to achieve the goal against all odds.

And when I saw Adam bat, I was reminded of Kapil. Both captains. Both made a difference in what could have easily ended in their team's exit from the tournament.

And then the grand finale. A brilliant display of teamwork. The DCs emerging out of a crisis, when their captain went out for a duck. Massive and valuable batting contributions by Gibbs and Symonds.
And then the two consecutive wickets by Symonds which changed the game just when Bangalore was set to take the match. The brilliant catch by Harmeet Singh. Everyone played a role.
It reminded me of Krishnamachari Srikant, Yashpal Sharma at the batting crease in 1983. Taking on the mighty West Indians who had never before conceded the Championship - till 1983. And the brilliant bowling attack by - Madan Lal, Mohinder Amarnath and Roger Binnyand even an 'unheard of' Balvinder Singh Sandhu.
It was all about team play 26 years ago. And it was all about team work yesterday.
And the belief - that against all odds - they can do it.
They did - and how !

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Lesson of life

In the hosptial room next to the one where my mother is admitted, was a small child - a boy of not more than 4 years, who was ill.
Yesterday in the morning, his condition worsened and he became critical. There was an alarm raised. In no time, all doctors, nurses and other paramedic staff rushed to his room to lend a hand. There was confusion. The parents realized that they are facing impending doom, were both crying in desperation.
However, in a short while, the situation turned around. Thanks to the doctors and nurses who kept their cool, and worked in a focussed manner, to avert the crisis.
Since I was in the adjoining room, I couldn't help walk across and sneak a peek. There was only one nurse keeping vigil. The parents had calmed down. All seemed to be well now.
Today I saw the boy. And the sight delighted me. For he was not only well, he was actually on his feet, and was dancing and prancing around the corridor of the ward. The smile on his little face won my heart. His right hand was bandaged and there were tell tale signs of innumerable pricks for drips and injections. He had dutifully worn the hospital dress meant for patients.The shirt nicely tucked into his long pyjamas which were folded many times aroung the ankles to fit his little legs.
A short while later, he turned away escorted by his father, and dancing into his room, to rest for the afternoon.
Looking at the child, I realized he had actually taught me a lesson. A simple principle in life. And that is, to forget pain and trouble, be happy and enjoy life. Something that most adults would not follow.
I decided that this child certainly needed to be given a ''prezzy" from me. So there are chocolates waiting to be given to him, the next time I spot him.

Friday, May 01, 2009

King and his puppy

Once upon a time, not long ago, there lived a young boy who was very very spoilt. His name was King. Easy access to a lot of money made him think he was actually a king. The fact that he was very, very  wealthy made him arrogant. And to make matters worse, he was all alone. He had no parents who could check his behavior and tell him to mend his ways and be a little humble.

The story goes that one day, this spoilt young man decided to get himself a puppy. The best that was available. He knew that all he had to do was pay for it, and this wasn't a problem at all !
So he got himself the best puppy that money could find.

Once King had this puppy, he started treating it in a very strange manner. One day he would love it and the next day he would be very cruel. Sometimes he would over feed the puppy to the point that it got sick, and at other times, he would make it starve and that too made the puppy sick. He would either make the puppy walk and walk and run and run, to the point that it would almost collapse out of fatigue. At other times the puppy would just lie in the house for hours - in fact days, without any exercise.

Close to King's home lived an old man - an expert dog trainer, who would observe everyday, how King would treat the animal. And one day, when he couldn't resist, he advised King that this wasn't the way to look after an animal. Especially a pet. But we know that King was very very arrogant. Instead of taking the old man's advice he snubbed him outright. He told the old man that he had paid a lot of money to buy the dog. And if the old man had a problem, he should buy his own, and do whatever he wanted with it. The old man obviously shocked, withdrew.

One day there was a dog show in the area where Kind lived. King believed that since his dog was a very expensive dog, he would win the dog show competition outright, without any problem.
King was so arrogant that he went around the neighbourhood boasting to all and sundry, how his dog would win the show hands down. The neighbours listened. So did the wise old dog trainer. But they all kept mum.

Then came the dog show day. There were many competitions in different categories. To his shock and horror, King realized that whatever competition his puppy entered in, he came last.
The reason was simple. King had never trained his puppy. Only confused him with his erratic behavior and attitude towards the dog. And mostly ill treated him instead of loving him.

At the end of the competition, King's pup came last. King was very angry. So angry that he decided to just walk out from the show. Leaving his puppy behind. People called out to him "Hey King ! Take your dog with you. He's yours !" And King answered. "No this dog is a loser. He can't be mine. I don't want him anymore"

The poor dog, now abandoned, was completely shocked and dejected. He was now also orphaned.
He roamed the streets of the town for days, like a mongrel, hunting on his own for whatever little food he could lay his hands on. He would brave the rain, the cold and the heat. And other dogs would attack him and he would get wounded and battered. Then  he could take it no more.
Hunger, disease and more than that his broken heart all took their toll...... 

And one cold rainy morning, King's puppy died.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Farewell - Feroz Khan

Feroz Khan passed away early this morning. The long battle with the dreaded disease, fought valiantly, is now over.

Feroz Khan joined the film industry in the early sixties, and set out to establish himself, amidst stiff competition from others like Dharmendra, Dilip Kumar, Jeetendra, and the like.
In the next two decades he acted in some of the most popular 'hits' of the times - Arzoo, Oonche Log, Safar and Aadmi Aur Insaan. And while he mostly played second lead, he managed to carve out a niche for himself. with his rich baritone voice, the sofisticated style of dialogue delivery which will always be remembered is distinctly different and 'classy'

Feroz Khan found reasonable success with his production ventures too. 'Qurbani' produced by him in 1980 turned out to be a huge block buster. Other films followed at regular intervals. Everytime, Feroz Khan came back from behind, refusing to be forgotten in the annals of Bollywood history.

The last time we saw him on screen was in the the lovable role of a 'Bhai' named 'RDX' in the recent comedy - 'Welcome'

As an individual, he stood apart from his colleagues and contemporaries because of a certain sofistication, a certain finese in his personality, which reflected the good upbringing and grooming that he had benefitted from.

With the passing of Feroz Khan, another memorable chapter in the long history of Bollywood comes to a close. Feroz Khan's quality contribution to Hindi cinema will always be remembered, especially by those who belonged to his generation.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

An open letter to Gen. Kayani from Col (R) Harish Puri

from: The News, Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dear Gen Kayani,

Sir, let me begin by recounting that old army quip that did the rounds in the immediate aftermath of World war II: To guarantee victory, an army should ideally have German generals, British officers, Indian soldiers, American equipment and Italian enemies.

A Pakistani soldier that I met in Iraq in 2004 lamented the fact that the Pakistani soldier in Kargil had been badly let down firstly by Nawaz Sharif and then by the Pakistani officers' cadre. Pakistani soldiers led by Indian officers, , he believed, would be the most fearsome combination possible. Pakistani officers, he went on to say, were more into real estate, defence housing colonies and the like.

As I look at two photographs of surrender that lie before me, I can't help recalling his words. The first is the celebrated event at Dhaka on Dec 16, 1971, which now adorns most Army messes in Delhi and Calcutta. The second, sir, is the video of a teenage girl being flogged by the Taliban in Swat -- not far, I am sure, from one of your Army check posts.

The surrender by any Army is always a sad and humiliating event. Gen Niazi surrendered in Dhaka to a professional army that had outnumbered and outfought him. No Pakistani has been able to get over that humiliation, and 16th December is remembered as a black day by the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani state. But battles are won and lost – armies know this, and having learnt their lessons, they move on.

But much more sadly, the video of the teenager being flogged represents an even more abject surrender by the Pakistani Army. The surrender in 1971, though humiliating, was not disgraceful. This time around, sir, what happened on your watch was something no Army commander should have to live through. The girl could have been your own daughter, or mine.

I have always maintained that the Pakistani Army, like its Indian counterpart, is a thoroughly professional outfit. It has fought valiantly in the three wars against India, and also accredited itself well in its UN missions abroad. It is, therefore, by no means a pushover. The instance of an Infantry unit, led by a lieutenant colonel, meekly laying down arms before 20-odd militants should have been an aberration. But this capitulation in Swat, that too so soon after your own visit to the area, is an assault on the sensibilities of any soldier. What did you tell your soldiers? What great inspirational speech did you make that made your troops back off without a murmur? Sir, I have fought insurgency in Kashmir as well as the North-East, but despite the occasional losses suffered (as is bound to be the case in counter-insurgency operations), such total surrender is unthinkable.

I have been a signaller, and it beats me how my counterparts in your Signal Corps could not locate or even jam a normal FM radio station broadcasting on a fixed frequency at fixed timings. Is there more than meets the eye?

I am told that it is difficult for your troops to "fight their own people." But you never had that problem in East Pakistan in 1971, where the atrocities committed by your own troops are well documented in the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report. Or is it that the Bengalis were never considered "your own" people, influenced as they were by the Hindus across the border? Or is that your troops are terrified by the ruthless barbarians of the Taliban?

Sir, it is imperative that we recognise our enemy without any delay. I use the word "our" advisedly – for the Taliban threat is not far from India's borders. And the only force that can stop them from dragging Pakistan back into the Stone Age is the force that you command. In this historic moment, providence has placed a tremendous responsibility in your hands. Indeed, the fate of your nation, the future of humankind in the subcontinent rests with you. It doesn't matter if it is "my war" or "your war" – it is a war that has to be won. A desperate Swati citizen's desperate lament says it all – "Please drop an atom bomb on us and put us out of our misery!" Do not fail him, sir.

But in the gloom and the ignominy, the average Pakistani citizen has shown us that there is hope yet. The lawyers, the media, have all refused to buckle even under direct threats. It took the Taliban no less than 32 bullets to still the voice of a brave journalist. Yes, there is hope – but why don't we hear the same language from you? Look to these brave hearts, sir – and maybe we shall see the tide turn. Our prayers are with you, and the hapless people of Swat.

The New York Times predicts that Pakistan will collapse in six months. Do you want to go down in history as the man who allowed that to happen?

Col. (Retd.) H. B. Puri

Friday, April 24, 2009

School to Blame?

My heart goes out to the parents, relatives and freinds of Akriti Bhatia of Modern School, who passed away the other day, after an asthma attack while still in School. 

Expectedly, the parents and friends of Akriti have put the blame squarely on the School for negligence which caused the death. While investigations will take their own course, let us pause and reflect on what happened, before we jump to conclusions on who was responsible.

At about 10 am in the morning, Akriti complained of an asthma attack, and rang up her mother to send the car to School so she could come home. The mother advised Akriti to go to her Aunt's place instead of coming back home. At about the same time, she informed the Class teacher about her state, and requsted to be excused and let off early.

While everyone waited for the car, Akriti was escorted to the 'sick room' where the nurse administered Oxygen to her. After a while Akriti herself informed the nurse that she was feeling better. The nurse inquired whether Arkiti needed to be put on a nebuliser. Contrary to the parents' allegation that the School did not have a nebuliser, that fact was that the Scholl did have one. It was Akriti who answered in the negative, stating that she already had had two doses of asthma medicines earlier during the day.

The parents also alleged that the School did not call an ambulance and instead wasted time waiting for Akriti's car to arrive. But the fact is Akriti herself confirmed that she was feeling better after the Oxygen. In fact, she spoke again to her mother, confirming that she is leaving School for her Aunt's place. Judgeing by Akriti's response and her inlcination and will to proceed to her Aunt's home, the Scholl allowed her to, and did not feel the need to carry the Oxygen in the car.

Akriti was put on a wheelchair to be taken up to her car, from where she would proceed to her Aunt's place. A decision taken by her own mother. Then her condition detiorated and the nurse decided that she needed to go to the hospital instead. The parents also alleged that the nurse - Lily Kutty, was not qualified. But the fact is she is a qualified nurse who has worked in a reputed hospital in Delhi, and was employed with the School for the past 18 years with a clean track record. To repeat, it was the nurse who decided that Akriti needed hopitalization immeditaely.

She was taken to the nearby hospital a mere 10 minutes' drive. Unfortunately just as she reached the doorsteps of the hospital, she collapsed, and despite resuscitation measures administered by the Doctors, she could not be revived. 

A life lost is a life lost. An irrepairable loss indeed. And one can understand fully the implications, impact, agony and frustration at losing a grown up child.

But the point is - is the School, or any individual employee involved in this mishap, really to be blamed? Even an error of judgement, can be debated. But negligence? I would not think so.

Its like saying that the mother herself was negligent, because she did not rush in her car to the School, to personally take care of her own child. Negligence? No we would hate to think that way. But an error of judgement? Possible.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's just one game won...

So, Mr. Khan's team won a match yesterday.

Big deal? Seems so, for him. In the interview with Madira Bedi yesterday, he made it more than obvious.

So what's the problem in the team owner being happy if his team won a match? No problem - in being happy per se, and expressing it.

But I definitely have a problem with the attitude with which you let your feeling be known to all cricket fans, and your fans across India and the world.

Your attitude suggests that you have a problem with all your critics and you cannot digest any criticism. So you tell the World what you will say to each critic when your team wins the Trophy and when you go back to Kolkata with the IPL trophy, riding a 'barge' ..

And while you should be thankful that your team won courtesy the Duckworth-Lewis method, your comments about M/S Duckworth-Lewis suggests utter contempt for the method as well as its authors. Being a team owner, have you by now, studied the method comprehensively? You haven't because you openly expressing your ignorance.
If you had done so, you would have appreciated it as the only scientific way to conclude a game under specific circumstances.

Using words on open media which border on being vulgar, cracking jokes which aren't really amusing many people least of all me - all suggest an underlying attitude of pure arrogance and a poor sense of humor. And above all, a very large degree of immaturity for sure.

You might be there in S. Africa to be with your team and to be involved, motivating them and seeing them win. You might be trying to tell all of this to all the viewers, but what you are ending up doing is to convey a sense of insecurity and desperation and an urge to stay in the limelight even there in the IPL tournament, unlike most other owners who maintain a low profile.

Come on Mr. Khan -its only cricket. And its only one game that your team has won.

Keep your fingers crossed. While I wish you good luck, it just could happen that you miss that ride to Kolkata on that barge..

Mayawati and her Ambedhkar Udyaan

Just across the road from where I work, there is a huge wall that has recently been constructed, of red 'Kota Stone' running all along the length of the main road for few kilometers. Obviously, there is more behind the wall, but the common passerby cannot make out what.

But now the cat has been let out of the bag. A brand new 'Dr. Ambedhkar Udayaan' is being constructed - thanks to the sole initiative of the current chief minister of the State of Uttar Pradesh - Madam Mayawati.

This park is estimated to cost the ex-chequer a whopping Rs. 300 crore. Actually the tax payers' money. It is supposed to have statue of not only Dr Ambhedkar, but of Mayawati herself. And apart from these, there are expected to be seven elephants made of granite, that will add to the glamour of the brand new park !

Why is it being built? Does the common citizen of UP want it? The answer as expected is a 'no'..

A most 'warped' sense of expression of respect to a great man? Or a way of spending public money, supposedly for a good cause and then siphoning a neat sum out of the budget?

Thankfully, the residents of Sector 15A, opposite which this park is being built, have now filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court of India, to obtain a stay. Apparently, environment related considerations have been totally ignored, in the zeal and the hurry to get this project off the ground and completed.

Two such Ambedhkar Udayaans were constructed in the City of Lucknow many years ago, by spending equally lavishly. One, very close to where I lived. And my personal observation was that the local residents went for their morning and evening strolls, walk, exercise and so on, to every single park in the area but the Ambedhkar Udyaan.

The question again is - Who are these parks being made for? And more importantly, Ms. Mayawati the self proclaimed disciple of Dr. Ambedhkar, who projects herself as probably the only individual of the present generation who truly remembers and respects this great champion of the 'downtrodden' should pause and think - Is this how Dr Ambedhkar would like to be remembered? How about spending the 300 crore rupees in improving the lives of the poor, the downtrodden, the so called 'Dalits' residing in UP?

Mayawati - wake up !Because the common man has woken up, and noted that behind your 'warped' sense of display of respect towards Ambedhkar, there's actually an attempt to hoodwink the public.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Election Circus comes to town

It's election time in India! And the common man is once again witness to what can best be described as a political circus that has come to town.

One cannot probably even count the number of parties and 'leaders' striving to come to power. But the common trait amongst all is that they do not have any election agenda or manifesto. So the best that they can do is to downgrade the opponents.

For one National party, the only salient point in their election manifesto is that the present Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is 'weak'. And they go around the Country trying to convince people not about how they will form a better, more effective and result achieving Government, but simply that the current Government should be voted out.

Then there is another party who take great pride in announcing that if elected they would ban English language and computers in the State of UP. Thankfully on this one, the people of the State have reacted and termed this agenda as outrageous, illogical and repressive. Is this party worth leading India towards progress in the 21st century, or is it yet another manifestation of the 'Talibanization' of this free, democratic and secular Nation?

Then there are supposedly great leaders of political parties who, rather than bringing anything of value to the table, can only talk of 'budhiyas' and 'gudiyas'

Desperate attempts to get elected, come to power and perpetuate corruption.

Apart from being termed outrageous and irrational, most of what these leaders say, also seems to be a joke. And collectively, all of our leaders by letting us know of their thought process, have helped us conclude that they at best can be called a bunch of 'clowns' in a Countrywide circus that has started and will continue for the next few days.

Many of these so called 'Netas', have remained in politics for decades. And in such a long time, have let their own minds rot, as also those of the masses they lead. Almost all of them have talked big and contributed next to nothing to the progress and development of India.

These men some of them well into 70s and 80s, can only think backwards, inwards from an extremely narrow minded perspective. Are they really leaders? Does merely wearing Khadi and waxing eloquent qualify them to be called so?

One election campaign doing the rounds in India, is different from the others in that it does not belong to any political party. Instead it is aimed at making Indians aware of this malaise that India is affected by. And sums it up very logically - when every Indian in service retires at the age of 60, how come these political leaders entrusted with the most significant task of running the Country have no retirement age?

The voter in India needs to think real hard this time. And exercise his franchise in a responsible manner. To bring about change. Conventional Netas, leaders and the like - all need to be 'trashed' Bring young, well meaning, serious minded people to the platform and give them a chance. Maybe people with proven credentials and track record in their professional fields be it social service, bureaucracy or even corporate management.

In short, it is the voter who has to ensure that the management of this Country is a serious minded affair and not a circus.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Cricket - Is the game greater or the money behind it?

Recently we heard about Shah Rukh Khan slamming Sunil Gavaskar, over the latter's comments on Kolkata Knight Riders' Coach John Buchanan's multiple captain theory.

India is a Country where Cricket is a passion and a favorite pastime for a majority of its citizens. But amongst all such self proclaimed experts, there are also Cricket's all time greats, one of whom is Sunil Gavaskar.

In an outstanding career spanning 17 years (1970 to 1987), Sunil Gavaskar's contribution to the game helped the Indian cricket team become an World Class team to reckon with. But more than that, this man mesmerized cricket loving fans across the World with his classy stroke play and fielding, which resulted in a long list of 'all time high' achievements, most of which remain unbroken records to the day.

It was Sunil Gavaskar who broke Donald Bradman's long standing record of the maximum number of centuries in test cricket. Sunil remains the only batsman to have scored a century in each innings of a test match, on three occasions. On his debut tour of the West Indies in 1970-71, he compiled a mammoth 774 runs individually. He was the first batsman in the history of test cricket to have scored and reached the magic 10,000 runs mark. In 1971-72, Sunil, along with Bishen Singh Bedi and Farookh Engineer, was one of the three Indians selected in the Rest of the World team against Australia.

Above all, his knowledge, skill and experience stand above all the records he created. Today, years after he retired from active cricket, the World still recognizes him as an expert of the game. He has contributed to cricket as much 'off field' as he did 'on field'

Sunil's loyalty to the Indian Cricket team which he represented for years, and to the game remain unquestioned.

As a true lover of the game, Sunil commented on the recent decision of John Buchanan to use multiple captains for Kolkata Knight Riders in the forthcoming IPL tournament.
And got slammed for it by the great Shah Rukh Khan in a manner, no ex-cricketer,leave alone a person of Sunil Gavaskar's stature would deserve.

While Gavaskar's comments were about Buchanan and his multiple captain theory, it is obvious that Shah Rukh Khan took them personally. And instead of seeing some merit in what an experienced cricketer had to say, he lambasted Gavaskar. He also made it clear to the World that he paid money to 'buy' a team.

There is no taking away from the fact that all cricketers are professionals and play to earn a living. But has Mr. Khan bought 'slaves' by bidding for the team?

The only justification SRK had to defend his coach and the latter's controversial decision of appointing multiple captains, seems to be the fact that 'he spent a lot of money on his team' And then went on to tell the great cricketing legend "if you have a problem then you buy your own team..."

By making these comments in public, SRK has insulted and humiliated one of the greatest players of cricket with his direct onslaught, totally belittling the "Little Master's' knowledge and experience.

In saying whatever he did, SRK has exhibited how immature a person he is and how irresponsibly he can behave. And above all he has displayed an attitude that stinks of arrogance.

But this episode also makes one wonder - what are we dealing with here? Is this cricket? Little sport and mostly commerce? Where a game is going to be managed by the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Mukesh Ambani and Vijay Mallya?

Where money is everything and only money matters? And universally acknowledged authorities of the game have no say?

If this is cricket then it's no longer a great game. It's the money behind it that matters now.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Murky Politics

India was witness in the recent past, to murky politics. Not surprising though, as politics is a dirty game, more so in India. But what is unbelievable, is the extent to which our so called leaders of the Nation have stooped, to further personal gains and those of their Parties.

We saw for instance, a young 29 year old political 'nobody' trying to launch himself into what probably is the only profession he knows he will succeed in - politics. And what does he do to make a 'grand entry' into the arena? He, in the most blatant and daring manner, publicly spits communal venom, instigating illiterate and innocent rural folk of different religious communities to start hating each other. Why? So that the population is polarized and he gains votes. What an idea to launch his political career !

Then we saw a major political party with some of the supposedly respected senior politicians, all staking claim to be the ideal set of leaders to form the next Government - actually supporting this young man, and justifying his actions.

And then some other Groups, changing loyalties, and breaking alliances by the day.
Dropping friends like a hot potato. All for the sake of votes. Because through votes they can get power....Fooling the innocent masses. So innocent, that they vote but they don't even know the name of the candidate or the Party they voted for ! Or some so poor, that they will go to vote because they get paid some pittance to do so.

The cycle repeats itself, every five years. The intensity, blatancy and audacity enhanced each time. Meanwhile millions of Indians continue to get short changed, manipulated and fooled at the hands of so few...

And who are these 'few' They are criminals - petty thieves to murderers, rapists and even dacoits. Ex-civil servants, who were once branded by their own colleagues as the most corrupt bureaucrats and condemned. With their career in bureaucracy now in peril, they have jumped into the political bandwagon. You have them all. Candidates who claim they can lead this beautiful Country to progress, development and prosperity through the 21st century.

Who is to blame for this mess? It's us. The 'intelligentsia'- the upper and middle class of educated people - actually the totally indifferent ones. Most of whom do not even bother to exercise their franchise...Cynical in their view that nothing will change. Yet forgetting that as citizens of this Country, they too have a responsibility for the sorry state of affairs.

As one television campaign aptly sums it up. If we are not voting, we are sleeping - while this Country is systematically and comprehensively being led to its doom.

It is time the masses especially the educated ones, woke up to this reality. That they indeed are the ones who can influence change. That they can take the current situation head on, and either lead or participate in bringing about change. Simply by exercising their choice. It is time that each one of us recognized the collective strength of a unified movement. A movement to put an end to this form of dirty, murky politics, and to cleanse the entire system. To bring about a revolution in India.

And what better opportunity than now? Because five years later, is five years too late.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


"Do you celebrate Holi?" a colleague asked me yesterday.
"Yes - of course !" I told him. 'Maybe not celbrating Holi is the ''in'' thing -hence this question' I thought to myself.

And today, when Holi celebrations are over, I pause to reflect on how we celebrated the festival yet again - this year - today.

We celebrate Holi, by first connecting with the elders in the family. In our case, our Mother. Reaching out to her, mentally as well as physically. And on this auspicious occasion more than anytime else, seeking her blessings.

We congregate at Ma's place. All of us, brother, cousins, their families. And suddenly fill up her lonely world and life with a lot of liveliness. The entire space within the four walls of her house is filled with the sound of fun, frolic laughter and joy. The same house which was once ours. Where we lived and which once used to reverberate with people, voices, life...The house which for all times stands quiet, suddenly becomes a home. The same as is used to be, when we were part of it....

We 'reconnect' with cousins after a long time. Share what's happening in each other's lives. Remember the good old days gone by. When we were small and played together. And then experienced life each of us in a unique way as we grew up... Then coming back to the present. Making fresh resolves and promises for the future - to stay in touch and keep meeting.

And then sprinkling colors. Actually the colors are merely symbolic. But certainly a beautiful way of showering a lot of love and affection on each other. And the abundant love and affection exchanged between adults siblings and cousins, is at once 'visible' on each others' faces in the most beautiful, vibrant and colorful manner. What a lovely way of just coming together and wishing each other well !

This for me is Holi. Every year. And yes it is a big 'celebration' And I wouldn't want to celebrate Holi any other way.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Thanks - Mr. Mallya

Mr. Mallya,

We did not expect that help would come from you, of all the people. At a time, when the last memorabilia, things belonging to 'Gandhi' the 'Father of our Nation' were being auctioned by someone in some other part of the World.

Not one Indian amongst the one billion of us paused to think that these items shouldn't have left India in the first place. Not one of the thousands of the staunch followers of Gandhi or the practitioners of Gandhism raised their voice in protest at the most blatant form of insult meted out to Gandhi.

And when the issue came to light, the Indian Government, led by insensitive 'Netas' devoted full time, not to the principles that Gandhi preached and exemplified, but only to furthering their own ends, and caught in bureaucracy and red tape, just sat and watched.

The World also watched - some surprised at the attitude of our Country. And some were even amused. For they knew that 'this happens only in India'

And then you - Mr. Mallya, you took the initiative. To redeem India's prestige,lots of it lost in the eyes of the Global community. To do, what the Government of India should have chosen to do in the first place, and not allowed anyone else....

But watch out Mr. Mallya. The 'Netas' and the 'Babus' aren't ashamed of themselves.
Rather, they are waiting to get to you. They will now dig out and flash 'The Antiques and Art Treasures Act 1972' And they will tell you about Tariff Item 9705.
Which essentially means that when Gandhi's personal items, things which should have been restored to their rightful place by the State years ago, are imported by you, a common citizen, you will have to get a license from the Director General Foreign Trade. And you will have to pay customs duty for import of these items.

But you do know that - don't you? You took a similar step to bring back the sword of Tipu Sultan. Remember the bureaucratic hurdles you faced then?

But remember Mr. Mallya. It's great you've brought back "Bapu's personal items, which should be preserved as a part of the National Heritage. Please do not now make the mistake of handing them over to the Government. Give them to 'Sabarmati Ashram' for all we care, or to some other Institution - there are many who have pledged to propagate the principles of Gandhi.

Or keep them in your own home. After all, they now belong to you. You paid a price to buy them.

Remember, they will be preserved and will remain secure anywhere, but not with the Government of this Country.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Terror attack in Lahore - The shape of things to come?

The killing of five policemen and two others at Liberty round about in Lahore blows the lid off the security arrangements in the city, especially at a time when the Sri Lankan team was visiting the city. Yes,

Policemen fought valiantly and somehow succeeded in keeping the Sri Lankan team largely out of the harm’s way. Nevertheless it is a security lapse and a huge intelligence failure.

As soon as the incident happened, critics in Pakistan and elsewhere sprung into action blaming it on their usual suspects. While some said categorically that it is the RAW paying us in the same coin others blamed it on the jihadis from our Western borders. Probably a more intelligent interpretation, is that of Governor Salman Taseer who believes it is the very people who carried out attacks in Mumbai last year. Are we facing a common enemy?

People in Pakistan are shocked and scared. Like many incidents of terrorism in the past we don’t know if the perpetrators of this incident will ever be identified and brought to book.

Only a few years ago, terror attacks were largely confined to the remote tribal areas. Then the terrorists started moving towards the settled areas of NWFP; then later to Islamabad where they struck the army headquarters. And then there was no looking back for them.

This mishap, far from being an isolated terrorist incident has much more widespread ramifications. That the entire Country is a 'lawless' State is amply clear. That Pakistan is slowly but surely falling into the hands of the Tali ban, what with a spineless political and administrative set up, torn between the Clergy and the Military, is food for thought.

What happened to Afghanistan might be the shape of things to come in this Country too. And there is no reason to reject the thought that if Pakistan gets Talibanised, will India, its closest be the next victim?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Terror strikes cricket...

Today, cricket lovers, particularly Indian cricket fans sat and watched with a sense of renewed confidence, the Indian team redeem quickly their prestige glory temporarily lost when they lost the '20-20' series against hosts New Zealand. Redemption coming through a good batting innings in the first ODI at Napier, leaving the hosts to chase a very ambitous, if not an impossible target to achieve to secure victory.
But early in the morning, this feeling of euphoria was soon replaced by a sense of deep shock, when news came in of the cruel terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team currently touring Pakistan, in Lahore. Six players were injured but are thankfully safe.
The unthinkable and the unprecedented has happened. Never before were sportsmen targeted in such a henious manner as this. Questions and concerns that were raised about safety of players who toured Pakistan, have now probably been comprehensively answered. And no Country will be keen on sending their teams to play in this Nation, which is now slowly but surely coming completely within the grip of terrorism and 'Talibanisation'
The fear of touring India, is perceived to be no less, especially after the 26/11 attacks and bloodshed in 5 star hotels which brought into focus the stark realization that anyone irrespective of caste, class or status can be a victim.
Today's attack on the Sri Lankan team is without doubt a setback to the common citizen of Pakistan, and to the cricket fan.
For, the possibility of any foreign team coming to Pakistan to play, can at best be seen as 'remote'
The same can probably be said for the entire South Asia region, India included.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Have we humans really 'evolved' as a species, over the past centuries?
More importantly, have we "Indians' evolved as a species?
I think not...

How else then would you explain how we behave - not like an 'evolved' species but as if we had degenerated across centuries, millenniums to, to possibly the 'stone age'?
Or maybe even earlier - when we were animals?

How else do you explain how we Indians behave on the road?
Fighting for that extra inch of space and meandering our way to get to the 'front' of the row of waiting cars on a traffic light? Because we just have to be at the top of the line...nothing else matters...?
Or zipping ahead and nearly missing colliding with a shocked sixty year old woman trying desperately and helplessly to cross the road, just because you had to be ahead of her. You just had to cross the road first, before she did?

How else do you explain how easily we become victims of 'road rage' Bludgeoning a fellow human being - a father, son, husband, to death...with a stone lying by the side of the road...Why? Because he had the audacity to honk his car horn and overtake me?

How else would you explain why a man, one of our 'species' is overcome by the most 'carnal' lust, goes and rapes a ten month old girl infant? How? How could he think of 'raping' a ten month old?

How else would you explain why or more importantly 'how' a fifty year old grandfather, or father in -law, overcome by the same desire, rapes his granddaughter or daughter in-law, or his own daughter for that matter?
Or how, the most respected gentleman in his community, the epitome of decency, invites young girls to stay in his house as paying guests, and then installs CAMS in their bathrooms to satisfy his lust in another way?

Intolerance, impatience, lack of respect, regard?
What else could have come over us?
Except the fact the we, as a species, have indeed, degenerated.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Oh the wonderful, ecstatic and overwhelming feeling of 'winning' !

A long and tough journey now complete...

Of first setting sight on an objective, a goal that when achieved, would make the World sit up, gasp and wonder in amazement...

Of getting together a team of dedicated and talented members, all of whom share a common vision and are willing to 'do or die'.....

Of pulling together other resources and continuously facing challenges and problems some - financial, some administrative, social....yet being relentless and not giving up.

Of each team member committing himself or herself to give to the project, life's best ever effort.
For nothing lesser than the best would work.

Endless days, months of tireless efforts. No room for complacency, no 'letting go' or taking it easy.

Striving for perfection in every minuscule aspect of the project. For being perfect will matter.

And then the result of that toil....

The World does sit up and wonder in amazement....

"Slumdog Millionaire"  "Slumdog Millionaire" 

.....is the favorite 'chant' of the weeks, months, and now on the final day....

Nominated for, in almost every area of film making that the Oscar is awarded for..

And Then - Eight Oscars.! 

The Film world in general and Hollywood in particular, notices this one film stealing the show...

A brilliant story, and classic piece of editing and screenplay showcased in a long time.

The beautiful musical score which transcends language and geographic barriers and gets every foot tapping across the Globe.

And above all, an achievement that makes all Indians stand up in disbelief - and then with pride. Because their Country's name is now permanently 'etched' on to the walls of Global fame for all times to come.