Showing posts from April, 2006

Taliban -- a wounded tiger

K Suryanarayana, the Indian engineer, who was kidnapped by Taliban on Friday, has been beheaded.

What did Taliban gain? This is not the fist such incident. What do they gain by indulging in such gruesome acts?

Inspite of all the powers we claim to process, how helpless we all are. We have won over innumerable beings that pose danger -- even in very minute ways -- to us; but why we haven't been able to win over these terrorists who seem to call the shots at will?

Does this mean that the worst enemy of human being is another human being?

Is it Nature's way of telling us: "Don't think you are invincible, don't think you have conquered everything on the face of Earth. I know how to get back at you, using your own people."

Doesn't Taliban now look more dangerous than when they presided over Afghanistan? They bombed WTC, gave a new dimension to terrorism and forced world's geopolitics into a new direction. George Bush got Taliban dislodged from Afghanistan; but …

Exit polls predict LDF win in Kerala

Exit polls conducted by Malayalam television channels have predicted a landslide victory for the CPM-led LDF in Kerala, after the second round of polling today.

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Nepal -- Trouble not over yet

Nepal is only seemingly normal. It's too early to say that we have seen the last of the troubles in the Himalayan kingdom. I don't think anything much has changed. The king decided to revive Parliament. But dissolution of parliament was only part of a larger problem, wasn't it?

The crux of the Nepal problem is a two-fold poltico-social one.

Political -- the active role the king plays in administration.

Social -- the corruption that bedevils Nepal's democracy.

Monarchy is a major issue. But, the bigger issue is corruption.

A brief peek into the past:

* From 1846 to 1951 Nepal was ruled by a hereditary prime minister of the Rana family. The Ranas were overthrown in a revolution led by Nepali congress and the monarchy.

* Ever since king and politicians took over the administration, they have always clashed over policy. First elections were held in 1959, and the very next year, the king dissolved parliament and banned political parties!

* During the eighties, there was the part…

Lessons, not regrets

There is a quote attributed to American actor Jennifer Aniston: "There are no regrets in life, just lessons." Whatever be the context in which she made that observation, it is not just a profound thought but seems to make a lot of sense.Regret is an emotional feeling that stems out of a desire or a wish that things could have been much different from what it presently is. When things go right often most of us rarely have an inclination to take notice, and be grateful. When things go wrong, some of us just don't care, while the conscientious amongst us regret. Some go on to even brood over it; not for some time, but for days on end.Regret is also a very negative emotion. The point is: why feel bad, if we did the best that could be done, and yet things went wrong? True, there is no need to regret. Suppose we didn't do our best, well, make sure we do our best next time round! To care less when things have gone wrong is worse. If we have some conscience, we…

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No rehabilitation, no Narmada dam work

Today's Supreme Court observation was bang on target. Rehabilitation is the issue; and the judges have rightly said that the dam construction has to stop if affected people aren't adequately compensated.

Both dam and rehabilitation are important. That's what Supreme Court said. And that is why both Medha Patkar and Narendra Modi felt they had won and ended their fasts.

I don't think the issue will be resolved anytime in the near future. Because the problem is not so easily solvable. The number of people being displaced and the area going under water is so huge, it is practically impossible for the government (mainly of Madhya Pradesh) to find alternative land.

The people who are getting displaced are all dependent on land for livelihood. It's not like your company is sinking, so you quit and join and another company. Is it right to be so indifferent to these people?

One of the reasons for the World Bank and other partners pulling out the project in 1990 is the high hum…

Depoliticise Narmada, rehabilitate people

Development issues should never be political. Generally they are not in developed and advanced societies.

Good roads and transportation, adequate supply of potable water, uninterrupted power, ample opportunities to pursue education and career are basic rights. And, they should have no bearing on which party is in power.

But, India is an exception. Development issues are highly politicised. So much so all development is stalled. From the tarring of the road to building of dams, examples are a legion.

We still have not been able to resolve the Narmda dam controversy, even after at least 25 years. Though the project was first conceived by Pandit Nehru as part of development projects for nascent India, complex legal issues involving different states delayed the formal announcement till 1979.

Over 3,000 big and small dams are to built over a stretch of 1,200 km. The Sardar Sarovar dam is the biggest and dogged by controversy.

The supporters of the project say that the dam will supply water to 3…

Mobs overrun Bangalore

The way Bangalore descended to chaos, violence and arson during the funeral procession of Rajkumar today was unimaginable. And, it was there for all to see, across the nation, as television channels beamed images of hooligans pelting stones at vehicles, setting buses on fire, fighting pitched battles with police. We all saw a policeman being chased, cornered and beaten up by the crowd. It was a very disturbing sight. It was senseless madness on the streets as the government just stood by.

Government? Well, has there been one after S M Krishna's Congress lost power in 2004? Today's mayhem was further proof that there is no governance at all in India's famous technology capital.

At the end of the day, there was just one question on everyone's lips. What was the reason for this violence? Who gained what? And, that too during the mourning of the passing away of a such a saintly figure like Rajkumar. While fingers are being pointed at the government and police for not anticip…

Rajkumar's death

The news of Kannada thespian Rajkumar's death flashed on TV channels around 2.30 pm. My immediate thoughts were how the grief would spill on to the streets. It would be a hectic day for me in office. And, not leaving anything to chance, I left home around 3.30 pm.

I immediately got a bus which was virutally empty. But as the bus neared the city centre it began to get packed. Inside the bus passengers were keeping themselves updated on the developing situation and engaged in animated discussion as to how it will play out. The general consensus was that there wouldn't be any violence as the death was a natural one. The Brigade Road paid parking bay was unusually empty and shops had downed shutters. Streets were getting crowded with people rushing home, and the tension was palpable. In the midst of it all I was struck by an irony: While everyone was rushing home, I was rushing to the office!

In the office, reports of violence started trickling in. What started the violence was the…

Way out of caste cauldron

When things are looking up, something has to go wrong.In an ill-conceived political move, Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh is spearheading a government move to bring in enhanced level of reservation (or positive discrimination or affirmative action as known in the West) for Other Backward Castes in specialised and technical educational institutions, like the IITs and the IIMs. Worse, apparently, even super-specialised courses may be brought in the ambit. Now, admission to such courses is determined by merit alone.WHY WRONG TIMEThis issue comes at time when the world -- especially the scientific and intellectual community -- has acknowledged the superior educational standard of Indians. Our level of excellence is being rewarded, well deservedly, by way of plum postings and lucrative pay packets on global scales. Indians are going places. Economy is booming. India is no longer the country of rope tricks and snake charmers. Politicking is the last thing we want now. Arjun…

A bizarre experience

A week back, my friend ABC asked me if I could help him out with some work. Initially reluctant, after hearing from him on the nature of the task, I agreed.

Last Thursday, he called me. "When will you be free for a meeting?"

Me: Saturday...

ABC: But on Saturday Mr XYZ won't be in town. So will Monday be fine?

Me: Yea, perfectly okay. But not in the afternoon...

ABC: Around 11.30 - 12?

Me: Perfectly fine.

Monday 11.15 am. A car comes to pick me up. I reach the destination. An office. I am ushered in by a peon at the door. I walk to the reception. To the welcome smile of a lady, I pose the question: "Can I meet Mr ABC?"

The receptionist tells me that he is in another office of the same organisation. I begin to wonder if I have come to the wrong place. But quickly I calm myself with the thought that the driver couldn't have been wrong. He must have been told specifically where to take me.

In a strange place, I don't know who else to ask for. Then my thought quickly…


At the Lakme Fashion week, there was Wardrobe Malfunction.In Washington DC, there is Lobby Malfunction, as our diplomats falter trying to lobby for the nuclear deal.Closer home, my scooter refuses to start, my PC hangs more often than before, my telephone ring tone is erratic, and my time management has gone for a toss with too many things to do in too little time.What else isn't working in this world?!