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Showing posts from November, 2007

Have we surrendered to terror?

As families lie shattered in the three cities of Uttar Pradesh -- Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi -- following the bomb explosions there yesterday, a few thoughts come to mind:

1. In UP, yesterday it was the judiciary that came under attack. One of the reasons being spoken of is that it's a retaliatory attack against lawyers for having refused to plead for people who have been charged with terrorist motives. In neighbouring Pakistan too the judiciary has been under attack for the first time. There, it's by the nation's President Gen Musharraf, for not toeing his line and overstepping the limits that he had drawn.

2. Why hasn't our security agencies been able to ensure the safety the citizens? One headline yesterday was "Terror revisits UP". The question is when will these visitations be stopped for ever?

3. How seriously do authorities take these incidents? Even before any proper examination or analysis has been done of various attributes of the tragic event, the…

Bangalore politics stinks

Sick -- that's in one word the state of politics in Karnataka today. Since September, the state's politics has been going from bad to worse. To what depths it can further descend remains to be seen.

In yet another disgusting turn of events, Janata Dal (S) which only a week back agreed to support a BJP government, today evening changed tack, told its MLAs not to support the government in the upcoming confidence vote, forcing chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to resign. Thus BJP's first government in south India lasted just a week. This is the second time in two months that JD(S) has played the villain.

Nowhere in the world politics has a great reputation. It's the art of intrigue, manipulation, stage management and skulduggery. However, there can also be good politics: of course, it can only seemingly be good. That's when politicians behave well, stick to accepted norms of a civil society, uphold social values, respect commitment to society and work for overall social we…

Pakistan: past and future

The Newsweek of November 19 is a must-read for students of the sub-continent's politics.

One, there are two good articles on Pakistan. In the lead piece, "Pakistan's Pinstrip Revolution", Newsweek International Editor FareedZakaria speaks of the nation's struggle to break free of the military's stranglehold. "Pakistani reality is awash in grays. The task for the US and other friends of Pakistan is to guide it on a path that keeps the country stable and the jihadis at bay, pushes the political system towards greater legitimacy and openness and keeps the key forces within the society working together," Zakaria says.

The other article, 'Trapped on the Razor's Edge', is by SumitGanguly, Director of Research at Indiana University's Centre on American and Global Security. In a previous post, I had wondered why India and Pakistan have gone the way they have, though they got freedom within hours of each other from the same Britain.

Ganguly, coi…

Journalists and their family life

This week it's my turn to take leave. Last week it was my wife's. Reason: To be with our son during his studies as he prepares for his exams. No longer people take leave only for going on holiday tours. Thanks to modern-day lifestyle, dictated by long and unusual working hours, parents have less time to spend with their children.

Journalists, like us, are among the worst hit. When children are at home in the evening, we are in the office. Even though people on Sundays follow news on radio and TV, and on Mondays read newspapers, few of them realise that journalists work on Sundays too. Yes, both of us work on Sundays, and our Sunday is on a weekday! Besides, most public holidays too are working days for us, with the result, in a year, there are very few days when all of us are at home through the day!

There's an opinion that such work schedules aren't good for the family. In fact, people do ask us: "How do you manage?!" There are also parents, faced with their c…

JustFemme -- women's new e-magazine

I hope there is nothing stopping a man giving publicity to a women's venture! From Shruthi's blog I came to know of JustFemme, what's perhaps India's first e-magazine "by women for women". The cover story is about an illiterate woman who "has almost single-handedly done what hundreds of educated men and women have failed to do.... " Read on here. To read Shruthi's article, click here.

The vision statement of the e-zine is impressive: "Our Vision is to be spunky and unabashedly female. To question the stereotypes. To see reality as it is. To grow beyond." Both men and women are victims of stereotyping; only it is harder for women to break free of it. Much of the ills of the society are also a consequence of this stereotyping. It'sn't easy fighting it; requires sustained effort.

Times have changed, women have come a long way. But that's no reason for complacency. There is still a long way to go, and en route there will newer is…

Less noisy Diwali

Did anyone get a feeling that this year's Diwali is less noisy? I felt so.

Even those who went for crackers avoided the high-decibel ones. I found many children totally avoiding crackers. I am told many apartment complexes too had decided to boycott the atom bombs and the like.

This is a positive trend, and I hope it catches on and gains momentum in the coming years. Diwali, after all, is a festival of light. But during the past years it had become a festival of noise, not even sound. The worst affected are children, elders, pets and patients.

The sparklers too have their downside. The smoke pollutes the air, and the festival is a horror for asthma patients. I hope in the years ahead we get more disciplined and organised as far as festivals go.

Happy Diwali to all! Let the season usher in happiness, success and prosperity!

Stability more important than democracy in Pakistan

(Updated on Nov 10, with a new related links)

There is nothing surprising or unexpected about the emergency in Pakistan. Kargil war should have been General Pevez Musharraf's high point. But he lost that badly. He thought he could salvage some thing by overthrowing the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif. But 9/11 changed all that. The world around him hasn't been the same ever since. The purported aim of emergency to save Pakistan from terrorists sounds good, but the turmoil that could lay head is worrying so much that it offsets any signs of hope.

India and Pakistan were born together, twins so to say. But it always remains a puzzle why Pakistan has gone the way it has in comparison to India. Democracy could never take root there. Military is so much a part of the official government dispensation that whenever democracy seemed to be taking shape, the army bounced back, and it was all back to square one. The sad part is that the country has not benefited much either from democracy…

Around Bangalore and in Kolar

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Not so often I am away from blogs. As regular bloggers would admit, this online journal stuff can get addictive. The maximum duration I can stay away from blogs without any adverse effect is a week. It's mostly more important and immediate work that keeps me away from weblogs. But, before long, the urge to find some time to blog becomes compulsive.

Last week, Mr Henry Whitfield was back with us. He is a family friend of ours who first came to India from the UK in 1968, and has been coming back quite frequently; one, to pursue his passion of climbing mountains in the Himalayan region and two, to see -- not the glitzy side of India's development but -- the heritage and traditional features of the country. One of his interests is rocks and minerals.

He is easily one of my best and closest friends, for one simple reason: his attitude and approach to life, the amazing realistic view he has to everyday situations; his ability to soak in and enjoy the precious moments that life has to …