Happy Diwali

The Prime Minister of India and myself wish all readers a very happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year.

May the coming times bring us more Indian test wins over Australia, put some sense into the incomprehensible mind of Raj Thackeray, better leaders and politicians and a secure financial future.

Stay safe.

From The Speaker's Diary

Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee seems to have understood why the Parliament is more a circus, rather than a House that debates and delivers decisions on national issues.

Chatterjee, widely respected for his conduct during the infamous cash-for-votes scandal, has taken a daring dig at MPs for making the sessions a joke. As if, meeting 32 times a calendar year at the expense of such a large, tax-paying democracy wasn't enough.

Keep the tricolour flying, sirs.

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Hun Amdavad no rickshaw walo

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is at it again.

I guess we'll see a lot of little saffron-coloured and BJP-postered three-wheelers on the roads of Ahmedabad.

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In times of appalling terrorism, a financial crisis with grave repercussions on a developing economy, the return of communal violence and ensuing vote-bank politics, it is extremely despicable that we have to deal with insane anti-social elements like the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and its founder chief Raj Thackeray.

The “new” Sena is an indisputable threat to the integrity of the Union of India with its unconstitutional, undemocratic approach to the promotion of its ideology, which for all intents and purposes, is absolute rubbish. Despite the arrest of Thackeray, it is uncertain that life in the state, and more importantly Mumbai, will improve. The inaction of the Congress-NCP government has already helped the MNS gain decent political mileage and the cause of the Marathi manoos will only pick up pace unless more rigorous steps are taken – the first being, a complete Centre-enforced ban on the MNS and its activists.

The issuance of a gag order on Thackeray was also needed, as is some stringent regulation of the media reporting on him and his malevolent politics. With his devilish charm and wicked intent, such a man can only cause more havoc with his baseless speeches and grandiose misdirection of the Marathi youth. It’s best if he is isolated in terms of his reach within the mainstream media.

The MNS are a bunch of hoodlums, whatever you say. They have little concern or respect for the concept of a sovereign India and would be willing to go to any extent to do what they intend to do. With their commitment to such ridiculous acts of violence as the beating up of Railway Recruitment Board exam applicants in Mumbai and Thackeray’s daring rhetoric against the state government and the police, one can only wonder why the rule of law had become a mute spectator in the face of such parochially divisive politics in a state that has produced the likes of B.R.Ambedkar, Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar.

What should make us more apprehensive is that such anti-India forces have a tremendous impact on the minds of the people, especially the locals. Raj is hated throughout the outline of India, but he has his own support and the concept could produce future leaders who see some logic that the majority of us don’t, in the cause. The coverage offered by the media can also be criticized, to a certain extent. Raj has been portrayed as the moral guardian of the Marathi cause, but what we as Indians should realize is that a regional cause does not exist and our democracy is THE only honorable cause.

The impact of Thackeray’s politics will bear heavy on the liberal locals. Marathi intellectuals should come out and shun his words if they have any modern sense of opinion. The loss of face that Marathis will have to face everywhere around the country and the world will be colossal, if the MNS continues to reign supreme. CM Vilasrao Deshmukh stated that no one was above the rule of law. He forgot to add that the rule of law should have been implemented in a time-bound frame and not as a show of secession to political pressure from the Centre. Ideally, action should have been taken a long time ago.

It's time Thackeray learnt a thing or two from his fellow "local". When Tendulkar was recently asked by a CNN-IBN journalist about how proud he was to be a Marathi in the wake of him becoming the highest run-getter in Test cricket, he fittingly replied:

I am an Indian first. Yes, it's true that I am proud of my state and my roots. But more than anything, I’m proud to have played for India.

Thackeray, on the other hand, seems to be telling us only one thing - Me Marathi, You Indian.

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Greatest ever? You bet

Sachin Tendulkar cemented his oft-acknowledged “Best in the World” status yesterday. The planet’s finest willow-weaver went past 12,000 runs in international test cricket, in the process breaking West Indian legend Brian Lara’s record. The 35-year old sporting icon produced not only a trademark performance in his innings of 88 (tantalizingly short of a century yet again) against Australia, but a potentially match-saving innings.

With India poised at a wobbly score of 163/4, most fans would’ve feared the worst. However, Tendulkar combined with a resolute Sourav Ganguly to string up a solid middle-order partnership and steer India through the first day of the second Test at Mohali. Ganguly himself produced an outstanding century, after partnering Tendulkar and later, Ishant Sharma and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

What is remarkable about Tendulkar, even more than his incalculable achievements, is his continued insistence that Team India remains the cause and purpose of his life and not just a medium to stage his vast inventory of talents. Tendulkar remains the role model and youth icon of millions of Indians across the country and many more across the globe.

The only glitch about falling head over heels in love with Tendulkar is that the day of his retirement isn’t far away and I shudder to think about it, even if he does go a little further and features in the 2011 World Cup. With achievements of such excellence, we can only hope and pray that Tendulkar walks away with the World Cup trophy for our beloved Team India. And cricket, of course.

If you believe that All Good is the raison d'ĂȘtre of human existence, then you believe in Tendulkar.

Image courtesy: The Telegraph

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Stop killing yourself over the TV

NDTV reports:

The Supreme Court is upset with the quality of television programmes shown nowadays.

Questioning the content of TV programmes the court observed, " Can there be a day in 365 days, a family can sit together and watch TV without an assault on basic values?"

Television is as much a curse as a boon. We neutralize it's negative impact by openly acknowledging the amount of knowledge it feeds to us. But with the kind of stuff shown on television these days, it wouldn't be wrong to state that the medium needs to be carefully observed and regulated.

Again and again.

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Quotes Today: Episode 1

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the first edition of our new show Quotes Today. We bring you exclusive bytes from the world of entertainment, political entertainment and sensational entertainment only.

So here goes. First we caught up with the two faces of Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss’ anti-smoking campaign, Shah Rukh Khan and West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. And they said:

Umm...[puff] well, yes [puff]...smoking is [puff] injurious to health.

We then left for Big Bazaar in Pune where Small B Abhishek Bachchan made a surprise visit to promote some rona-dhona...err, Drona...material. As expected, the place went into raptures. Shoppers flung their bags into the air, gasping with unabated breath, on the unanticipated arrival of Abhishek. After huffing and puffing our way through the crowd, we managed to get a few words from Abhishek. But unfortunately, Abhishek told us nothing new. He dumped the same garbage on us as he has been doing on all music and news channels.

Watch Drona. Watch Drona, damn it. Watch it, or I’ll make such unsolicited surprise trips to not only Big Bazaar, but also to Pig Bazaar, Cig Bazaar and Chor Bazaar.

Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan squeezed in with some words of her own for hubby tubby.

Abhishek played Drona real. He played it real. So watch it if he tells you. I don’t care if he uses pain-in-the-ass persuasion. But just watch it.

Finally, we managed to squiggle into the Big Boss 2 house. We were keen on asking Rahul Mahajan about his supposed entry into politics and this is what he had to say.

I will campaign for the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections after I’ve completed my current and more significant job as the official masseur of the Big Boss ladies. I might delay, however, if I get to massage Shilpa Shetty.

Hope you had a nice time. We will be back soon with another edition of Quotes Today. Till then, keep speaking.

Compiled by: Masquerading media monkeys

Image courtesy: The Hindu


Pragati and Mutiny - Two noble ventures

Being a compulsive netizen, I make it a point to read these two fantastic websites which have enlightened my knowledge about the on-goings in India to a great extent. Pragati is written by an extraordinary group of people called the Indian National Interest. You can download it for free from the site. A must read.

The second one, Mutiny, has just gone into print and you can subscribe to this brilliant magazine for just Rs. 300 a year. Do not miss out on this one. Subscribe here.

Bollywood - A misleading model for contemporary cinema

The rise of Bollywood as an ambassador for Indian culture and expression has brought along with it a gaping failure in appreciating cinema. Everything that Bollywood exposes us to today, is NOT the way we were meant to be exposed to it. Movies are meant to be a source of entertainment, but only in a limited context. The larger aim of mainstream cinema has always been more of a let-know than a let-sell. But today’s multiplex audiences fail to understand exactly that and films have become a sort of a reward that we gift ourselves in return for the “torture” of studying and giving exams in schools.

Let me explain how.

Picture a scene outside a multiplex. You are most likely to listen to fizzing sounds of “Film flop hai” or “Ticket mili kya?” The common man’s perception of cinema is a 3-hour package filled with laughs, comic pursuits, romantic flings and impractical love. He sees movies as a come-and-go show that is meant to be either a source of “time-pass” or a “chill-pill” and nothing else. All that matters is whether the product succeeds in impressing enough people to earn enough. All that matters is a new masala flick releasing week-in, week-out to keep foolhardy people satisfied. And Bollywood gives us exactly that. Even pro-social movies like Taare Zameen Par and Swades are viewed as products by the layman and he takes no positive impressions from it. The same man will line up for a ticket to a stupid, immature Bollywood flick next week, making the entire concept of understanding cinema purely a procedural one. Films have become like bureaucracy. And today, we are too contented to be in the “comfort zone” of watching mindless movies whenever we can.

Of more concern is the fact that Bollywood “stars” are treated like Gods wherever they go, irrespective of their private habits that are not meant to be taken up by growing kids. For example recently on NDTV’s Jai Jawaan, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor made an appearance. Now the mainstream viewer’s interest isn’t in the men guarding the borders but rather in the lovey-dovey couple who entertain the jawaans with their so-called patriotic fervor. Kids are more motivated than ever to be like them, to dress like them, to look good, to follow each and every day of their God-gifted luxurious lives. Eternal dumbness and a make-up box life is what they are beginning to seek, with imprudent determination.

The commercial success of Fair-N-Handsome creams, admiration for Shah Rukh Khan’s six-packs as if it was in the league of PM Singh sealing the nuclear deal and a dogged pursuit of I-will-watch-every-damn-movie-I-can outlook to this life is encouraging ignorance in multitude. The worst part is that exploitation is what will succeed such an attitude of know-less-and-less.

I don’t discount the contribution of Bollywood to uniting India. A few films have gone on to become timeless classics and are etched on the minds of contemporary India and will continue to be forever. But compare these with the unending barrage of the current stream of movies and you have to feel sad. So-called freedom appeasers will argue, and have argued with me in the past, that “Let people watch what they want to. You don’t watch it if you don’t like it”. All I can say is please watch whatever you want to, but keep your brains at the right place when you do judge a movie.

It is an ill-feeling if nothing else. Wake up and appreciate yourself. You, whatever you do for the betterment of the country, are MORE important and special than the puppets of “Indian cinema”.