Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lokpal movement: Some questions and what do I think are the answers

Never before on Independence Day had a government felt as uncomfortable as it did on 15th Aug this year. And no- it was not an external force who they were worried about but its own people. Certain Anna Hazare has captured the nation's imagination and people were more than eager to listen to what he said than what Prime Minister had to declare. And to be fair to people, we have not heard much from him in recent months either. The country was rocked by corruption of huge magnitude one after another. It was attacked twice by terrorists across the border; still India did not hear a forceful voice from the top. And whenever he spoke, it lacked empathy, vigour, inspiration or sense of urgency.


Why has this movement caught public imagination?

India has moved miles in recent years. It is now a poised to become a global force. And this surge is led by normal people. Unlike China, government here did not do much or lead this movement. Only thing that they have done is to slow the progress by red tapes. Can India afford to enter into the big league with its 3rd class administrative system? The answer is NO. Therefore, it is natural that people would revolt against it. Frustrations from all these years stuffed inside had to explode and it has happened.


What right do people have to raise voice? After all they are the one who pays bribe.

Most people do not like corruption, they do not voluntary enter into this. The system forces them. Many Indians go abroad and work there. Have we heard many instances where in they tried to bribe a police officer, jumped red light or indulged into any corrupt activity? It is a proof of the fact that people are not corrupt but the system is...


But people like to take shortcuts. That's the inherent nature of Indians. How would Lokpal help in that? A law is not effective unless people follow them.

If people do not go by the rules, it is the duty of fellow citizens to find and complain to Lokpal that Mr. X has violated the law and Officer Y has not taken action...  Lokpal would take action then. That's how discipline can be brought into the society. If section of Lokpal does not act, they should also be trailed. A separate body might be required to keep a watchful eye on them.


It is not practical to prosecute or investigate 39 lakh central government employees or 2 crore state government employees. Lokpal would be overloaded.

There are two parts of the argument. (1) if we consider all 2 crores or majority of them are in corrupt practices, then it is an admission of a very serious issue and only strengthen the case of a very strong lokpal. (2) even if large part of bureaucracy are corrupt, the moment some of them would start getting punished, it would act as a deterrent and automatically the volume of corruption would reduce, therefore, large number would not remain an issue any more.


This movement is against parliamentary democracy and the method is not right. It is like blackmail.

We can either wait for the right methodology to be framed or fight back with whatever we have now. When the house is on fire, we don't wait to find a right methodology; we just put the fire off - by whatever way.

Lokpal is not the answer to everything. But- we have to start from some place. We have good laws- but enforcing authorities are flawed. They have all been taken over by corrupt people

I think govt should be happy that it is going on a peaceful and non-violent way. There is huge frustration amongst people against corruption. Anna Hazare is just channelising it to make an effective body to tackle the issue. If govt doesn't realise that- the frustration can and definitely would at some point, come out violently and that would be neither good for the country nor for the democracy.


There are so many issues, illiteracy, people dying of poverty, low quality standard of life, poor infrastructure farmers committing suicides...etc… Why are not you taking these up?

I agree there are 100s of pressing issues. And the combination of all of them is so huge that we think the situation is hopeless. And we think- nothing can be changed. We say, "is desh ka kuchh nahi ho sakta"...


BUT- we need to start something. If we do not act at all- it is not going to improve. Anna Hazare has started it. I believe this is not the end of it- once people realise that things can be changed and they need not be accept or get punished for their honesty, things would start rolling for better. When we attempt to solve a puzzle, the moment one piece falls in place, others start looking brighter. In a complex knot when you take one strand out, suddenly all others start looking simpler.


This movement should start after all the people become honest.

If we wait for 100% people to become honest in a dishonest and polluted environment, then the wait can be eternal. And by that time, corrupt people would take away everything and there would be nothing to protect (Already 50% of GDP is claimed to be stashed as black money in foreign banks). To take a leaf out of a popular movie (Life in a Metro)- We can not wait for all traffic signals to turn green before we take our cars out. 


If people are not happy about the government and MPs, why did they vote for them? They should take part in democratic process more actively and not criticize.

Do we have an option while voting? Till the time EC starts "none of the above" option- I am either forced to vote one of the crooks or abstain. In either way, we lose and corrupts win.

Moreover many people vote for the party and not for individual. Why do political parties give tickets to corrupt people? I have voted in all possibilities. Do I still feel empowered? Have my aspirations been met by government? I guess not.


Would end this post with this dialogue from Rang de Basanti. "Zindagi jine ke do tarekke hote hain..ek jo ho raha hai hone do..bardasht karte jao..aur dusra ..Zimedaari uthao use badlne ki !!"

Saturday, August 20, 2011

100 years on- still equally relevant: Bidhir bnadhon katbe tumi

Rabindranath Tagore had written this addressing the foreign rulers. Still so relevant-

You can overturn the destiny, are you so powerful?
So powerful!!
You think in arrogance, you can make and break us
So arrogant you are!!

You think you can always drag us behind
Keep us down
But you don't have such force
Can't withstand such surge

How much ever you surround with rules
Even the weak have force
However big you might be
Not greater than god

By suffocating us
You would also not be able to survive.
When your baggage becomes too heavy
Your boat would capsize.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Top 10 IPL 4 moments

IPL 4 is drawing toward the end. As CSK and RCB is preparing for the last match of this IPL, I thought of 10 interesting aspects (Not in any order) of this edition.

1) Aa gayle mujhe maar
Chis Gayle remained unsold at the auction. Though speculation was KKR would retain him- he had no takers. Calypso King must have taken huge offence on that. When he was ultimately called in as a replacement for RCB, he did not see cricket balls… he saw SRK's butt and hit that the hardest. In no time- he snatched the orange cap. Resurgence of Gayle and his super hitting was the main highlight of IPL4.    

2) Khe Khe Aar… Khe Khe Aar
IPL matches in Eden gardens and only 20k people watching it!!! Yes- SRK made it happen. With Dada out of the equation and only Manoj Tiwari being the sole representative of local cricketing community- Kolkatans gave IPL a royal miss. Sensing the mood SRK started bring in expensive cheerleaders. There was Hritik- who till the other year was dancing for Mumbai Indians. Then there were Sanjay Kapoor, Karan Johar. But the real entertainer was Piggy Chops. Though she did not know name of any single cricketers, we loved her heavily accented chanting (khe khe aar … khe khe aar [video]).

3) Paul Valthaty
Who? Paul what? That was the first response to Paul Valthaty's cyclonic century. He appeared from nowhere- made some big runs, took wickets and then went hiding again. Discovery of Valthaty (and to some extent Raidyu) would not have been possible without IPL. Hope to see more of him in future in a real blue shirt.

4) Never say Never
His 30 ball 30 might not have set the stage on fire, but it showed if you want something badly- it happens. Yes- talking about the eternal comeback man Saurav Ganguly. He was dumped and humiliated in the auction. Even his most optimistic supporters wrote his obituary. Kochi tried to take him on board afterwards and was stopped by RCB, MI and RR. (some say on behest of SRK). We saw him in stands with common supporters watching matches. But that was another shrewd move which was followed by his donning cap for Pune warriors. Yes- at the end, he managed to paint tar on the face of his distracters (read SRK)… Yes- bande mein hai dum…

5) Blank fire
We waited and waited for them to perform. To set the stage on fire. At the end that did not happen at all. Big disappointments of the year: Irfan Pathan, Kieron Pollard, Bret Lee, Eoin Morgan, Mark Boucher, Brendon McCullum, Sreesath, Tilakratne Dilshan, Murli, Graeme Smith, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuff Pathan, Jesse Ryder….

6) Gambhir question
He played 15 matches with his shoulder injury just to earn his 11 crores. Yes that is a lot of money- but is it more than leading the Indian cricket team? Well… I don't see him as Dhoni's successor any more. And his mouthful to younger players of the team during the matches pointed how inferior he is compared to captain cool dude as a leader. To add more spice, the allegation of using banned substances would haunt him for a while I suspect.  

7) Bharatiya cheerleading
Cheerleading in Indian style? Yes- Pune showcased it. All their cheerleaders were in traditional and classical Indian attire and danced to classical tunes. Apparently Tanusree Shankar choreographed them. Though some youngsters would have preferred run of the mill foreign stuff- to me it was one of the highlights.

8) Lolaylty never dies
KKR had to defend 21 runs in their last over against MI to qualify as no 2 team. It would have also meant fast lane to the final and qualification for champions league. But Lakshmipathy Balaji did the unthinkable, conceding 23 runs including a huge six of the last ball. Chennai all of a sudden were no 2 team. Yes- their investment on Balaji for last three years has ultimately resulted in some dividend.

9) Sidhu aur Dipu ki amar kahani
Vijay Malya replaced Katrina Kaif with Deepika Padukone as team's glam girl… Guess it was a right move. A picture is worth a thousand words J

10) Shane Warne
He apparently played his last cricket match. And ended in a winning note. No doubt he was the most colourful cricketer ever. Not only a master strategist on field but he was equally great off the field too. His calling names of Rajastan cricket board secretary might have costed him some money- but was entertaining no doubt. And watching Liz Hurley getting bedazzled was a treat beyond question.  


Friday, May 20, 2011

Manipulation, Paying heavy price and mass suicide

If someone lacks ability, success comes at a cost. However, it does not mean that the individual has to bear it on his/ her own. At times relatives take care of it, at time friends and at times it is shouldered by unsuspecting unknown people known as mass. In the later case the feeling is the sweetest. Today, when Mamata Banerjee takes her oath as chief minister of west Bengal, she must be feeling the same sweet sensation.

Do any one still remembers Swapan Chakraborty? An ordiney man- who got stuck between stone and crude bomb pelting crusaders and demonic state police in 1992. Mamata quickly played a few popular tricks to politicise the killing. Swapan's wife got a job in Manjusha and slowly went out of public attention and memory.
Same goes with 13 nameless youth, who were sacrificed to get anti govt sentiment rolling on July 21 1993. Yes that was the day Mamata had called for a march into Writers building to get power by force in French revolution style.

Time and again she played the same politics of killing and trying to gather momentary public support. However, soon she realised that this trick would not give her the mileage she is looking for. She needed something big. Something so huge that lakhs of people pay price for her rise to the zenith. Nandigram and Singur gave the same opportunity to her. She was very good in realising that Bengalies had a super inertia. They would do anything to resist the change. That was precisely the reason of CPM clinging to power, despite not delivering anything significant from 1977-2001.

She was quick to understand that CM Buddhadeb's attempts to change to work culture, his attempts to bring in Industry would only make the Bengalis feel uneasy. She fanned air to that sentiment. Thousands of people in Nandigram and Singur paid the price. What could have been a prosperous industrial hub was turned into a land of lost opportunity. Bengalis took a sigh of relief. They were not robbed off the opportunity to moan and complain… to discuss in length that how all other states conspire against us… So status quo continued… Intelligently Mamata very quickly named the status quo as "Paribartan" (Change). Top notch comedy indeed. Bengalis thought- whoa… what an idea!!! If I need not actually change but get the claim of a change- that is like getting a free lunch. Or what the corporate try to do- get "new" claim from the same old product.

Very soon people started talking about punishing CPM for doing nothing- when actually they had started doing something meaningful. It is like Keshto kaku beating up Bhombol  for a mischief he had done 10 years ago. Though Bhombol is a changed and refined person now, doing meaningful work- Kesto kaku would still punish him- because he failed to do that 10 years ago.
By now Mamata had started seeing her dream come true. The whole state of Bengal was ready to pay the price for Mamata's hunger for power. And they did the same in two phases in 2009 and 2011.

May be years from now, this moment would not be rejoiced and pages of analysis would be done on how Bengalis committed another suicide. May be it would be too late then. May be our roots of inertia would be so deep that even if we want- we would not be able to move at all. May be I am wrong- May be Mamata would do a fantastic job. But at this moment all I see is another 7-8 years of stagnation and slide backwards. Pray to god that I am wrong in my prediction…

The price has been paid – for one lady's ambition by a suicide prone community.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

শুভ নববর্ষ

বাঙালি কি সত্যি পাল্টে গেছে? ফেসবুক  আর টুইটারের ঝড়ে কি বাঙালি ভুলে গেছে তার স্বকীয়তা? জিন্স আর স্কার্ট কি হারিয়ে দিয়েছে সাবেকি পোশাক আশাক? বাংলা তো আজ পরিবর্তন নিয়ে তর্কে ব্যস্ত. তৃনমূল না উন্নত বামফ্রন্ট? এরই মাঝে নতুন বছর আবার উঁকি মারছে তার নতুন সম্ভাবনার ডালি সাজিয়ে.  মনে করিয়ে দিচ্ছে ঐতিঝ্য আর স্বকীয়তা. না বাঙালি আজো স্বপ্ন দেখা ছাড়েনি. শত উত্তান পতনেও আছে বাঙালিয়ানার গর্ব. আজো অন্যাএর বিরুদ্ধে গর্জে ওঠা. ত়া সে সৌরভ এর ওপর শাহরুখের রাজনীতি হোক বা রিজানুরের আত্মহতায়. অমর্ত্য থেকে প্রানব - বাঙালির দাদাগিরিতে কোনো কমতি হয়নি. নতুন বছরে আমাদের আধিপত্য আরো বারুক - এই শুভেচ্ছা সকলকে. ১৪১৮ হোক আরো মায়াবী আর আরো উজ্জল.
অল্পা ও অভিজিত

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Why I consider Saurav Ganguly as inspirational figure?

Back in 1995, during a post dinner chit-chat at S-14 (one of the hostel room) some one had asked me- who is your favourite cricketer? My instant answer was, "Saurav Ganguly". By that time his international career was confined to a solitary one-day match and three runs scored back in 1992. Later that year he made a sensational come back with back to back centuries in England. Almost got branded as "test player" by think tank, made to bat at no 8, even after Srinath in one ODI. Got dropped in Sahara cup only to come back year after that with such a dominance that Pakistan saw him as their terminator and we found our new leader. A leader who was not afraid to stare at the eyes of the opponent, a leader who shook off the docile image of the nation and announced that we have arrived in the world scene.

I find him as an inspirational leader. Like all great leaders he delivered stupendous result through his team. He spotted great talents. Gave them comfort and support to perform at the top level, showed confidence in their abilities, planned their growth, supported them through thick and thin, believed in them and tried to make sure that they are successful. He was ruthless with indiscipline (Nayan Mongia episode) and respectful to the super talented (Sachin Tendulkar). He led building of the new Indian cricket. These seem to be a copy book example of a successful remarkable corporate leadership. Lots to learn from him.

Another aspect which I find remarkable is his self confidence and commitment. I had read an article in Anandabazar Patrika quite a few months after he was dropped for the 2nd time by Chapel. He was down and out by then. Spot light had shifted to some where else. People, even die-hard fans had also resigned to the fact that he had seen his last. He was alone and ignored. At time- he used to practise for hours in Eden Gardens. At times with state or club players or at times all alone. He had taken all the criticism on his running between the wicket and fitness on chin. Even after the dark- he would keep on training and running. He prepared for that one last chance… kept his head down, played the same shot thousands of times… kept himself motivated… told himself that if he gets one chance, he has to make big out of it. He believed in himself and kept focus. Eventually he got a chance and the rest is history.

People often see his comeback and praise him on his determination. I look at the grinding he had undergone to make that comeback. Look at his self confidence and strength of mind. This is an example for all of us- to believe in our ability and keep practicing for that one chance that might come our way… Saurav’s achievements can’t be measured in terms of his personal records. His success lies in the team that he had groomed and developed, his success lies in the inspiration he had provided to the lacs of Indians to come out of mediocrity and make it big in their respective fields.