Reality and Rang De Basanti

Youth awakening is an overrated non-event

When I saw Rang De Basanti in 2006, I came out of the cinema hall all pumped up and ready to kill a few politicians, so to speak. Today, I look at myself and many others around me and all we remember from the intentions of that movie are the performances of the protagonists and nothing else.

During that time, I had promised myself that I would undertake a reality check once the movie is forgotten and props up in its "original cheap" DVD form. And I feel that little has changed. I feel that change is not possible through a movie. And I guess I was naive at the time, to think the same. Two years down the line "What youth awakening", I asked myself?

Youth awakening, in most honest terms, is a misleading hoax brought into the spectrum by the media, movies and many other sources to keep us peppy, positive and distracted from the lassitude that is actually omnipresent and is also the grim reality. The problem with us is that we constantly use glorified and immortalized terms like YOUTH AWAKENING to keep ourselves distant from the devil called reality.

Reality is harsh and our aversion from that probably keeps the un-truth alive and hence today's overtly-capitalist India is actually a hunting ground for emotionally profiteering units called movie production houses and their dispensable products called movies. And Rang De Basanti is exactly the realization of my defeated dreams of widespread change in the country today.

Masala movies have gained such unnecessary precedence in the hierarchy of India's priorities today that people, especially youngsters, are completely oblivious from what is important and even proud of it! As long as they can look like Shahid Kapoor or Mallika Sherawat, they are happy. As long as a movie is out every Friday, life is cool. As long as tickets are affordable, cinema halls run wild. Or rather, they run wild irrespective of that.

Indians, and again mostly youngsters, are feeding themselves on a lifestyle where the word cool is of primary importance and very conveniently ignoring everything that is essential. When a career in modelling becomes cooler than one in the Army, you can sense the misplacement of all priorities. If ever there was a mirage in front of us, it is now. Yes, a few tears roll when a massacre like Mumbai 26/11 takes place. Yes, the youth are out ranting on the streets about irresponsible governments and politicians. Yes, the youth are seemingly keen on bringing change. But all of this is tightening our eye lids and not exactly reaping change.

What do youngsters know? The Prime Minister of the country, the chief minister of their respective state? The Home minister (because he is always in the news)? Regarding our current Prime Minister, the focus is shockingly always on sardar SMSes and hardly anything else. I am certain most youngsters could write a book on the cast of their favourite TV shows, the Nach Baliyes and the Comedy Circuses, but would fail to label their family tree appropriately.

Spoilt and cowardly. At complete loss with his/her morals. Passing exams and rewarding himself/herself with visual treats and food fests. Nothing else, according to this blogger, can more objectively define the so-called young Indian. And hence, youth awakening eats the dust.

And Rang De Basanti remains a DVD.

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Artists of mendacity

There is a difference between perpetual defiance and compulsive falsehood, but Pakistan seems to have abundant talent for both.

For a comprehensive course in fabrication of accepted truth, I suggest readers visit our dear neighbours. Not only would you be taught how to be an expert in chicanery but you would be given additional training in how to accuse truth speakers and come out with your head held high.

Up until now, the self-created Frankenstein tried to throw back truth-converted-into-lies so vehemently back at India. But the bubble burst yesterday as "state actors" in Pakistan accused India of funding terrorism through its spies. Pakistan arrested four Indians in connection with Wednesday's Lahore blast, but their fallacy ultimately rose to the surface and the egg, or rather a well-cooked omelette, is on the government's face after a pro-Taliban group 'Ansar wa Mojahir' claimed responsibility for the attack which resulted in the loss of one life.

Now what, President Zardari? Any more arrows-disguised-as-boomerangs in your quiver of lies? Now what, PM Gillani? Some more war rhetoric please. We are getting accustomed to it. But why to blame this duo? The real power lies in the hand of the Pakistani Army which is using the democratic system as a mouthpiece to warn India about the dangers that lie ahead.

First the round-robin denial of Ajmal Kasav's nationality, then the denial of Pakistani involvement in Mumbai 26/11, then the accusations towards right-wing groups in India, then the accusations towards India in general and now this. Conscience is lacking and action is unlikely to be taken as Pakistan's firm stand in the war against terror is not only one of blatant arrogant but also mendacious and shocking.

Some more gibberish that we just cannot tolerate is Pakistani media persons and ex-Army men pleading with India about Pakistan facing a number of Mumbais every day. Is India responsible for the carnage in the country? Is India sending gangs of armed fanatics to unleash their bullets on innocent Pakistanis? Is India the cause of an unstable democracy? Is India bloody responsible for the failure of Pakistan as a state?

Backstabbed we are, friendless we are, but a united India is good enough for every anti-India entity, be it state or non-state, to be taken care and packed away into history. Be warned.

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The enemy within

There's more to the Antulay story than the man himself

Minority affairs minister Abdul Rehman Antulay added his name to a growing list of anti-India Indians living and breeding on Indian soil by considerable vainglory and style with his contemptuous remarks on Hemant Karkare’s death.

The irrational statements ,coming directly from a Union cabinet minister’s mouth, have hence opened the door for not only self-styled Pakistani analysts and self-proclaimed observers of the “real India” but also our very own pseudo-secularist intellectuals and others of the type to create a ripple effect at a time when the country was chasing a dreaded and proven enemy on the other side of the border with some consistency.

But Antulay’s story is interwoven with more than what “meets the eye”, so to speak in the man’s own words. Why blame him alone, as many in his band of anti-Indians would say. Antulay and his band of the eternally “oppressed” have not only provided fodder for our neighbours to feed on India’s self-created divisions with giggles and chuckles and high-fives but have confirmed in all retrospect as to where their true loyalties lie. Not in aiding Pakistan’s so-called “Hindu Zionist” campaign. Not in the progress of the “oppressed” who’s cause they so passionately have picked up. It lies in their firm fundamentalist mindset, where the right wing is the mother of all evils and the cause of so much pain and agony in our lives. Not just so much. In fact, all of it does.

In no other free-minded democracy does the base of the system itself prove so costly – the freedom. Freedom in India is reaching intolerable levels and most terror attacks or so-called anti-minority actions are followed up with all sorts of abuse by the leftist intellectuals.

Arundhati Roy articulately calls Islamic terrorism a deserving return-shot from the oppressed and asks India to look thoughtfully at the reasons for which jehad is being waged. Barkha Dutt proceeds to divide India on communal lines herself by indicating that Antulay’s remarks have embarrassed the Indian Muslim, clearly giving belief to the thought that India is divided from within. Pankaj Mishra, Vinod Mehta, Teesta Setalvad, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose and so many like-minded “scholars” feed on India’s gullible freedom like bedbugs not letting you sleep, pests screwing your crop and lice biting away on sensitive areas.

Left-liberalism is reaching unseen heights in India. Their hatred for all things Indian is not only increasingly evident but even unchanging. These sympathizers of the distressed challenge the Indian state each and every day with their uttering and hysteria-driven pedagogy.

How dare they even claim to be Indians. How dare they apply for a passport and travel abroad and preach hatred towards India. How dare they call themselves concerned “human rights” activists with a natural belief that Indians are not humans, but only abusers of human rights. How dare they speak and speak and speak without any sense of responsibility.

This dreaded brand of terrorists has their “terror camps” in the mainland. They sleep, preach and breathe anti-Indian sentiments every passing day, from our own soil. They operate abroad with their weapons (ink pens and A4-size sheets) and know that they can take refuge in their freedom that always forgives and mutter any nonsense that will always find readers because intellect is admired by many, no matter how much the nonsense ingrained within it - an intellect which is actually pseudo-intellect.

By Indians, who are actually pseudo-Indians.

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King kaun hai, Shahrukh?

Aaj Tak reporter: Toh aap ko kaun lagta hai King of Khans, Shahrukh?

Shah Rukh Khan: Arey, kahaan King. Hum kahaan ke King, yaar. King toh Billie-Jean King hai. King toh Larry King hai. Hum toh employees hai.

TCGH offers an exclusive copy of HOW TO FOOL PEOPLE AND BECOME A SUPERSTAR to the response that best explains the logic in the above reply.

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Verma committee: Media guidelines issued

Former Chief Justice of India JS Verma has issued a new protocol for visual media in the country, in the wake of their contemptible coverage of the Mumbai terror attacks. If the proposed set of measures are complied with by the private television entities solemnly, then it would assuredly prevent a repeat of their wanton conduct during 26/11, and after.

Verma, in his report, states:

"News related to armed conflicts and communal violence should be shown with public interest in mind," the guidelines said.

In case of a hostage situation, the guidelines said no details like identity or number of hostages should be telecast.

It also asked broadcasters to avoid unnecessary repetition of archival footage which may agitate the minds of viewers.

"Dignity of those who are killed should be kept in mind while such incidents are telecast," the guidelines read.[Rediff]

The point regarding excessive repetition of archival footage is particularly irrefutable as TV channels have opportunistically broadcast past videos without a mention of "File footage", in a bid to retain viewers. Repeat footage is distressing and the purposes with which it is replayed again and again are beyond comprehension.

The report spells doom for our favourite television anchors as their tragedy-time histrionics will be forcefully subdued and it is certain that a few are expected to be up in arms against the guidelines. Hopefully they will, in all their frivolous opposition of these instructions and rabid pseudo-championing of freedom of speech, at least obey the guidelines. Verma states that self-regulation is essential and the only flawless way of the media living up to its fourth-pillar-of-democracy role. And it is hence upto the mediapersons to eventually protect the larger interests of the people, who are undeniably under their elephantine influence.

Barkha Dutt had written, in impudent defence of her acts, not too long ago:

Should there be an emergency code of dos and donts for the coverage of such crises? We in the media would welcome a framework for sensitive events and are happy to contribute to its construction. But it is important to understand that in the absence of any instructions on site and in the absence of any such framework we broke NO rules. [NDTV]

Isn't this what she would have ransacked a politician for if he/she had dared to indulge in any immoral showing during times of crises? Mediapersons jumped onto the bandwagon of endless opportunism during those three dark days and then have the audacity to justify their actions by blaming the absence of a code of conduct. Where was their own so-called moral self at the time?

The bottomline, and it's a sad one, is that media houses showed as much opportunism as the politicians(Narendra Modi, Manish Tiwari etc) and both combined showed more opportunism than the Indian state and people can bear altogether. In times of crises, if their capitalist mindset seeks profit and profit only and they believe that the nation was "awakened" by their constant reporting of the attacks, then it is a testimony of our times that we have slept all along and needed such factions of society to "wake us up".

LK Advani, the supposed next Prime Minister, praised the role of the media openly in the Lok Sabha yesterday. "They woke us up" and "they did national service" were some statements from the BJP leader. What he forgot was that there was another side to the media coverage, that he probably never cared to explore.

It is disheartening that the people of a superpower-in-waiting come to know their true heroes and defenders at the cost of the lives of those heroes. How morally right is this? How much the better that our heroes do not have to sacrifice their lives in order for us to come to terms with what we are facing day in and day out?

Life just came a full circle.

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A mixed bag post: Awards, Links and Cricket

It's raining awards everywhere. And I'd like to thank three of the best bloggers I've known in recent times for recognizing me and this blog.

Amit of Mashed Musings and the Indian Home Maker presented me with the Butterfly award for the coolest blog. Thank you.

Thanks for the recognition. It means a lot in these testing times when I was actually wondering whether this blog had lost its cool and become HOT because of the previous post which has a female presence that many would savour without complain. No, not Behenji.

Mampi presents me with a Certified Honest Blogger award. Thank you.

Bloggers Krishna, Vinod Sharma, Amrutha, Kiran, Kislay and Rambo Doc, kindly accept the awards from this blogger.

I'm happier than George Bush was when he came to power.

Suno, suno, suno! Over 42,000 free "wallposters" of hot actors, actresses and Enrique Iglesias can be found at the Bahujan Samaj Party website [Link]. Download NOW. Offer valid till BSP in power in Uttar Pradesh.

Former Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy writes this heavily biased pseudo-secular piece [Link] in the Huffington Post that confirms where her true loyalties lie. Some Indians hate India so much that you can sense that the only purpose of their life is to indulge in majority-bashing and minority-appeasement to give their "views" to the world. It's a shame that the West looks to such people to get an idea of what India is about, while these people on the contrary give them the exact opposite of what reality is and the exacts of what India isn't. Why do such Indians exist?

Greatbong provides a sane analysis of this piece. The exact type that should be read [Link].

WOW. What a win. India embarassed England in the first Test at Chennai, helped by one of Sachin Tendulkar's most spectacular centuries. Spectacular in cricket terms and critical terms. England basically deserve no credit for letting slip a match such as this, which was clearly in their grasp till the second session of Day 4.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is on the way to becoming one of India's greatest captains ever. With an eye-popping 100% win record in Tests, it is difficult to go beyond the Ranchi man's acumen in handling tense situations and swinging games from draws to wins. And this man definitely doesn't know how to lose.

The catalyst for the win was Virender Sehwag, undoubtedly. The Delhi man's blitz in the final session of Day four had bred optimism in the Indian camp of a win. Sehwag's swashbuckling hitting took the pressure of the rest of the team and hence the fourth-highest target ever in Test cricket was comfortably chased out.

India didn't snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. They whole-heartedly went seeking victory and deservedly got it so. Period.

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How to survive a terrorist attack

A lost Aam Aadmi huffs and puffs across an unknown territory somewhere in the Land of Unprotected Civilians, chased by MP5-wielding terrorists and sinister demons armed with AK-47s. As Aam Aadmi looks around for help, he senses a glimmer of hope somewhere ahead that is shining bright. He speeds towards it.

Aam Aadmi thinks – “Oh wow! It’s President Bush – the world’s strongest man. He will help me.”

Pres Bush – “Haay! Who the hell are ya? What do you think you are doing, coming to me for security? Are you American?”

Aam Aadmi – “No, sir. But you could help me as the people threatening me might also target Americans.”

Pres Bush – “What! Who told you that I will help you? I am only concerned about the prime interests of my citizens and my country and my concept of world peace depends on that. Only if my people are threatened, I will help you. For now, all I can do is point you towards your dear Prime Minister.”

Aam Aadmi grudgingly moves ahead.

Ah! It’s the Prime Minister of India. He will save me for sure, Mr. Aadmi thinks.

PM – “See, Aam. I will give you not one, but two ways of helping yourself. But I cannot directly help you from my current position.”

Aam Aadmi – “But sir, you are the Prime Minister. You certainly can.”

PM – “Yes, but I myself am not secure. My dear rival for the PM’s post in the upcoming elections, Ms. Mayawati, has bullied me into giving her the maximum security and I stand helpless. Ms. Gandhi has been kind enough to provide me shelter in the office. So you either go to Mayawati or go to Bihar where a kind old man will help you. Or at least provide you with a train ticket to your home.”

Aam Aadmi, disappointingly, heads for the badlands of Uttar Pradesh.

The Queen of UP will help me from these dreaded terrorists, who are after my life for the past three decades, he thinks and calms himself down.

And before he could even utter a word...

UP CM – “GET OUT, Aam. I don’t help anyone. I only help myself. Don’t you know that? GET OUTTA HERE!!”.

Scared and frightened more than he has ever been, Aam tags along to Bihar.

Laluji will help me. He is known to help a lot of people in his state. I hope for the best.”, Mr. Aadmi thinks.

LPY – “Aam, I lub India. I lub avar pippals. I lub this desh ki mitti. I am agnaist all pippals who threat to unity of avar India.”

Aam Aadmi – “Laluji, dreaded terrorists are behind my life.”

LPY – “WHAT!! Why did not you tell early? Oh, I hab to run. Ok, come sum adhar time and listen to me bhashan.”

Aam, however, is extremely desperate for help. He clings on to LPY’s lungi and tries to force himself out of the situation he is stuck in. LPY smacks him on the head with his broomstick, blurts "Ki karat hai bahua!" and Aam loses grip. LPY escapes. He was later spotted savouring continental lunch on an express train.

Meanwhile, Aam moves on towards the south. On the way, he meets Amar Singh (on the way to his weekly social gathering at the Big B Adda) who offers to listen to his troubles.

Aam explains his problems.

AS – “My party helps most minorities in this country, especially those that consistently vote for us. So until the next elections, I’m afraid I cannot help you as we will have to see how many seats we gained and how important we are in the current setup.”

On reaching the Most Frequented-by-Terror Land, Aam heads to the sparkling bungalow of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan. SRK, apparently rehearsing a clown act for his next movie, seems to be taken aback by his plight.

SRK – “Aam, Kabhi Kabhi Kuch Jeetne Ke Liya Kuch Haar Na Parta Hai, Aur Haar Ke Jeetne Wale Ko Baazigar Kehte Hain”.

Aam - “WHAT!? That makes no sense”

SRK – “Kya hua? I am trying my best, Aam. This is what I do. This is what I am good at.”

Aam – “But, I need help.”

SRK – “Ha ha ha. Aam, the maximum help I can give is to sign you an autograph. We represent Page 3 of the daily news. Don’t you love our words, dialogues and movies?”

A disgruntled Aam has all but given up any hope of survival.


From a distance...

A Catwoman-like lady swoops down near Aam and shoos away the terrorists, with her God-awesome looks.

Aam – “Wow, there’s my beacon of hope. Thanks, dear lady, for saving him. Who are you?”

Masked Lady – I am Mallika Sherawat and I have just saved your life. Now pay me 75 lakhs.

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Wasted integrity

An IAS officer writes this wonderful open letter to the Prime Minister, stating the significance of action above achievement. It is action, and only action, that amounts to a great leader being remembered by history as a contributor to a nation's empowerment.

If not, then what use is it being a prime minister if, even after reaching the very top, you can’t do a damn in an hour of national crisis? Soon, all this will be forgotten and it will be back to business as usual. But then, history will judge you. If you have some conscience left, please do something. Don’t forget, “mind without heart, intelligence without conduct, cleverness without goodness are all tools, but only for mischief”. [Live Mint]

The PM is an exponent of a text-book life and glowing report cards. This is not to say that his integrity should be doubted or his honesty questioned. But when you are guided by a de-facto presence in your Cabinet, when you head a corrupt party of politicians with verified criminal records, when you can't stand up for the people of your country in times of dire need, when you represent an elite society that doesn't take up the cause of loss of so much blood until they themselves are touched by menaces like terrorism, there is little you can do but bear the majority of the blame. In this case, all of it.

It is in your hands, Mr. Prime Minister, to enforce measures and mechanisms to keep corruption and bureaucracy in check, to keep erring subordinates in control and to know when to get rid of them, to give a hard-hitting response to threats intending to destabilize a growing nation. So the fault is all yours if you don't rise to the occasion. An occasion that so desperately calls for effective activity from a position like yours.

Medals and honours are showcase material that must be deservingly publicized from the vicinity of your own home, sir. Once that door closes, you step out armed with only your focus on the next move you make and not stockpiled felicitations. "Stand up and deliver" should be the only mantra.

Keep the integrity, the honesty, the soft-spoken nature, the silence and the spongy heart for Page 3 appreciation and Congress sycophants, sir. Even Gandhiji would have shed the "Mahatma" tag so deservedly conferred upon him, if he would have failed to act on the challenges of today.

However, he didn't fail. Unfortunately, you just did.

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A failed state

As news channels scramble to invite our foremost expert on internal security and religious fundamentalism (read Shah Rukh Khan) to do an interview and offer relief and hope to our ravaged nation, Pakistan continues to dally on its promises of "reacting on evidence, at least". The Acorn points out that it is high time that our neighbours stop sheating mounting evidence against the role of non-state actors in the Mumbai carnage and actually undertake action.

These demands may be a fig leaf to cover their own impotence against their military establishment, but they only have the effect of reinforcing the impression that the language of diplomacy is merely a frivolous sideshow when it comes to engaging Pakistan.

[The Acorn]

In all respects, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to judge that Pakistan is a failed state. Since the immediate post-Independence times, Pakistan has been a thorn in the South Asian geo-political status quo. Their invasion of Kashmir in 1947 is well documented in history and confirms Pakistan's hand as initiators of the unfathomable conflict. Pakistan is like a child of a family that was born in the midst of much fanfare and pride for a cause (the so-called Two Nation theory), but failed to deal with changing times, failed to mature into a fine adult and hence resorts to perpetual cribbing and snivelling in a need to propagate it's demands.

The FATA is virtually uncontrollable, the Army and the ISI are principal lawmakers, the civilian government is a pawn that puppets about in the international arena seeking attention and sympathy, their President is a full-time sycophant who intends to show some heart ("India is not a threat to Pakistan") in an arena where emotions mean little and failure to learn from history holds the aces. The Taliban's open challenge to the world that they are close to sealing the deal in Pakistan poses even more grave challenges to the plight of the idea of the country.

To worsen it, Pakistani "experts" revere about their "victory" in the Kargil conflict, speak of conspiracy theories of Indian involvement in Mumbai 26/11 and hence try to keep themselves happy in their nappies. This certain gentleman is braced up for a full-scale war and warns India of annihilation in case we undertook surgical air strikes on terror camps across Pakistan. He even has the cheek to call the 1998 nuclear tests a shift of power in the subcontinent, believes that Pakistan "won" the 2001-02 standoff post-Parliament and hence probably finds the solace to live and breathe.

Grow up, kid.

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We, the inconvenience

Oh, I tell you. It's all down to the bloody politicians.

What is the Government doing for us? Where are they? Look at our corrupt public officials. The system is so dirty. Yuck!

Politics is single-handedly responsible for the decline of the concept of India as a nation.

While we should rightfully hold no inborn sympathy for the lack of leaders in the country today, it is high time we look at ourselves in the mirror before engaging in cliched rhetoric again and again. The above mentioned statements are one-liners you can pick up from many ongoing conversations across India, from ignorant youth to lecturing elders, from uninformed commoners to high society elites. Anyone and everyone talks, talks and talks.

The amount of complains, regarding the system, that we dish out everyday is becoming like a hoard of filthy, piled up vomit that nobody wants to assess and clean but everybody wants to squabble about and engage in unending chit-chats. People are forgetting the essence of democracy and are engaging in blatant generalization of the system of governance. It's high time we re-assess ourselves.

It is very convenient for people in this country to sit in their comfortable sofas, dine in multi-cuisine restaurants, engage in social gatherings, watch the latest Bollywood potboilers, go to sleep in cozy beds and then wake up the next morning to throw the "Ohs" and "Aahs" at reports of political delinquencies and national inadequacies in newspapers, while sipping a cup of tea.

It is very convenient for people in this country to rally behind a very opportunistic mass media(that shamed us with their woeful conduct during the horror days of Mumbai) and claim that everything in our system is rotten and it's best to stay out of the mess. In the process, the majority of us do not see active involvement in society and the nation as our job or cleaning up the system as our duty. If high-end ignorance is all we can offer to the country from a position of no self-sacrifice, then expect a return punch of the kind that the politicians throw at us today.

People do not bother with results of state assembly polls, but are gaping earnestly at the previews of MTV Roadies' new season. Discussions and debates are held across the country about deserving winners of TV reality shows, but no cause is taken up about what ails the system. People, who ordinarily do not give a fig to the state of affairs in the country, will egotistically jump at a chance to malign the men holding crucial posts of governance simply because it is way too convenient.

We squeal and screech at figures of India's abysmal position in the Corruption Index, but willfully offer bribes at public offices to get our work done. Bureaucracy is a pain, but WE are a part of the inherent cause of that pain. We forward nationalistic mails during days of tragedy and gloat "India should do something" and "Jai Hind" because that is ALL WE CAN DO. That is all that comes in our frequency of convenience.

At the end of the day, WE are the problem. We are the inconvenience in the system. It is very true that today's politicians are irresponsible leaders and are very responsible for the mess we are in today, but they are a part of us. They are there because we allowed them to reach there. And from a position of power, abuse is but the next thing on the list of a vehement pursuit for selfish and partisan interests.

If blame-game rhetoric is all we can engage in and personal convenience is all we can offer to the so-called "dirty system", then stop disparaging at the state of Indian politics and engage actively in our democracy to make it more accountable and rewarding. For a start, VOTE.

People ask me what ails this democracy. I wish I could hit back with a "It's me and you, my friend". I wish I could tell everyone that only WE can make this work. I wish I could create a sympathy for the broken system that is crying for our help. It's a matter of choice. It's a matter of causing that little inconvenience to ourselves to make the system work. We can revolutionize the system. Because the system is only a by-product of how actively involved we are today.

Because what actually ails this system, and this country, is ourselves. If we won't, who will?

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An Indian speaks

This is a must read.

Dear Mr.Terrorist,

My name is not Hades. Some of the more intelligent readers of The Times of Bullshit, no doubt, suspect that.

My name is Shoaib Daniyal. No, that won’t do. My name is Shoaib Mohammed Daniyal.

You say that you killed 195 people in Mumbai to avenge the maltreatment that people like me with names like Mohammed have faced in India.

Let me tell you something about my self. I did my schooling in Calcutta in one of the city’s finest schools—La Martiniere for Boys. I completed my graduation in Electrical Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and am now employed with a premier business research firm in Gurgaon.

Maltreated? How?

If there was wide spread discrimination against Muslims, as you claim, how did these institutions take me in? A cursory look at my name is all it takes, if you want to discriminate.

That’s not to say that India is perfect. To get a house in Gurgaon I had to lie about my religion. I claimed I was Christian, playing up the similarity between ‘Daniel’ and ‘Daniyal’. People would not let out their house to a person named Shoaib Mohammed Daniyal.

[The Times of Bullshit]

We need more such voices. More than ever.

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Mumbai 26/11: The way ahead

[This is the third post in a series on Mumbai 26/11]

With the dust settling on Mumbai, it is now time for the UPA Government to swing into action mode and give a fitting response to cross-border organizations and well-networked terror outfits. Let it be known that India WILL BEAR NO MORE, and this would certainly galvanize the widely angered civilian society in the country. All-party meetings need to be converted into confidence and unity boosters and plans need to be made firmly with critical analysis and affirmative promises of action.

End political bickering and mindless analysis
When analysis and debates begin to seem meaningless in a democratic system such as ours, then it is vital for the country to realize the gravity of the situation on hand. Every situation in a democracy is wisely resolved through debate but there are times when a feeling of no-debate-please comes in and this time is one of those.

This has been the gut feeling over the past few days of outrageous national torture. Political mind games must, absolutely must, come to an end. Elections are no longer a priority in partisan sense and such a scenario is a litmus test for any politician. It is one that ultimately proves whether a politician is just a vote-hungry insensitive monster or a dedicated servant to the country.

In such times, it was hence utterly nonsensical of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to indulge in blame games as early as just two days into the terror attack. Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari responded with as much ignominy as Modi. Shut up, for once.

A case for military action
An all-out formula to eradicate terrorism from our diseased neighborhood would definitely be to engage in incisively planned military action. But it is not easy, keeping in mind the stockpile of nuclear weapons on the subcontinent. A direct attack on Pakistan can have severe repercussions, but it would be wise for India to become opportunistic of the situation as the US and other Western powers have offered complete help and have said that they stand by India in the wake of the attacks. Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor recently claimed that at least 40 terrorist camps are in operation across the LOC, which is mind-boggling considering that Pakistan is now in the post-Musharraf era. However, it also proves that the Army and the ISI still play a vital role in Pakistan’s corridors of power. And these suspect institutions have always been confirmed patrons of Jehadi groups in Pakistan. Hence, the first measure would be a comprehensive elimination of these camps from their root.

India even has the upper hand when it comes to ceasefire violations. Ironically Pakistan has indulged in cross-border firing specifically since the last two days, breaking the 2004 armistice agreement for an umpteenth time over the last few months. India has never responded strongly, nor have we taken up the case internationally. Military action must at least be responded to, dear leaders. What say, Prime Minister? It’s high time we also learn that breaking the code of history is now more pressing than it has ever been before and our illustrious honour of never having opened attack on another country is proving to be a weigh down rather than a source of motivation.

Broadcast terror evidences
Here’s a poser - What is more routine than India suffering a terror attack? Answer to the poser -> India graciously offering the evidence like a birthday bouquet to the neighbor, who is palpably callous in handling it. Next morning, the evidence vanishes and life resumes. We have been birdbrains when it comes to presenting evidence to alleged conspirators of large-scale attacks.

It would hence be wise to broadcast essential evidence across the world and hence prove the involvement of the ISI in these attacks. Broadcasting evidence would mean open humiliation of those involved and could even provoke them as the exposure of truth generally does to us humans.

The PM’s decision to summon the ISI chief to India is hence open for debate. The fact that Pakistan had first agreed and have now disagreed seems to raise suspicions as Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Gillani had first taken the decision to send him but then there was a pullback, which is sinister as it was certainly called by a much more powerful influence in Pakistan’s rickety democratic setup. And this could most certainly be the ISI or the Army.

Finish terrorists on hand
It is certain now that the laws need to be strengthened and an un-politicized central agency to specifically handle terror and only terror is needed. It is even urgent to take action against convicted terrorists in Indian jails by engaging fast track courts to deliver verdicts.

Remember that one of the fidayeen involved in Mumbai openly shouted that they want all arrested terrorists to be released. This should serve as a warning. This gives terrorist groups yet another purpose to engage in such atrocious acts of violence. If India deals quickly with all terrorists captured, then such a problem will become non-existent and would also be a major blow to cross-border organizations.

The time is ripe for our political class to set aside their personal differences and reignite our disturbed lives. The time is ripe for our leaders to show us that they do have the will to rise above partisan interests and electoral temptations and work towards chasing terrorism to its core and uprooting it from this part of the world. This is the time that we should also realize that cross-border terrorism must figure at the top of India’s priority list as it is a global phenomenon that could bring our superpower-potential crashing down to earth. This is the time. This is the NOW.

This is India. Ab, yahaan sab NAHI chalega.

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Mumbai 26/11: The least WE can do

[This is the second post in a series on Mumbai 26/11]

With the siege on Mumbai finally coming to an end after over 60 hours of constant conflict, telecasted live much to the glee of a melodramatic media that has gained immensely (in terms of money and TRPs, of course) from this attack. Oh, how they would be discussing Operation Successful-Live-Reporting of the Mumbai attacks and giving each other high-fives. CNN-IBN audaciously challenged people trying to maintain calm and vigil and attempting to drive the media away, by stating that power in the Oberoi had been cut off and hence there was no reason “not to report live”.

Enough has been said. Too much time has been wasted over petty and utterly pointless debates. Too much energy and blood has been lost in our much-maligned attempts to fight terror. We, as the people, need to step up and start making a difference. The Next Tryst with a New Destiny is upon us and if we fail to stand up and learn from history, we can never forgive ourselves or the country. As individuals, there is a lot than can be done. You do not necessarily have to be a power broker to make a difference.

End the cynicism
As Indian citizens it is our prime and foremost duty to end a cynical outlook of everything that has unfolded around us. Stop enforcing pessimistic views around you. End the “Government bekaar hai”s and “India kuch nahi kar sakti”s. Take a serious stance, be calm and spread word about the heroic acts of the bravest of us, like ATS chief Hemant Karkare and Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. Take pride in their deeds as we hardly acknowledge or credit the true heroes of our everyday lives.

Do away with “My two minutes of fame”
As responsible citizens, it is now a matter of exigency that we at least maintain silence if we can’t laud the efforts of the NSG and the Army and even the Police. Stop seeking “two minutes of fame” with churlish comments about terror in India, stop giving heed to a so-called “funny side” of this entire ordeal as most will be tempted to get back to our national pastime – ridicule authorities, the Government, politicians and everyone else from a position of no self-sacrifice. It is not a joke. It never was. If you are yet tempted to deride someone, please openly scoff at Raj Thackeray and his bunch of MNS cowards. Like chickens, they hid away in their comfortable complexes and showed their true colours to the nation in times of dire need.

Pledge to Vote
It has become more imperative than ever to realize that voting makes a difference. An individual makes a difference. YOU can bring about change. Take a pledge to vote in the Assembly polls next year and play your role in making this democracy more accountable and rewarding to its people. There are sites to help you with this, the most remarkable being the Jaagore campaign. It is time the change in us awakes and comes out in the open. Make a difference – Vote.

These are some of the things an ordinary Indian can do best. And they take up no time or energy of ours. And even if we have excuses to offer, we know deep inside that we have enough time and vigor to devote at least some part of our lives in honour of those dead protecting the country. If we choose to remain as sleepy and dull as we have been since the terror trail began almost two decades ago, we will never do justice to ourselves or our fellow Indians.

They say it's wise to return to normalcy. If being normal means being part of a soft democracy, if being normal means coming to terms with Mumbai 26/11 as soon as possible, if being normal means returning to focus on everyday work as if nothing ever happened, if being normal means being silent and ignorant, then it's time we forget about "being normal".

Wake up. It’s now or never.

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Mumbai 26/11: Eye-openers

[This is the first in a series of posts on Mumbai 26/11]

In the wake of the impudent run of terror attacks across South Mumbai, I believe there are certain eye openers in the context of the unity of the country when an attack of such proportion takes place. The intensity of the attacks has been unprecedented and the sheer outrage within cannot be expressed by oft-repeated rhetoric but only firm and affirmative action.

Friendship with Pakistan is a myth
First of all, yes this point is open for debate. But before you are tempted to engage in the classic version of a democractic debate that won't help in the current scenario, please realize that Jehad exists and it is being waged against India in full flow, by brainwashed youth of radical Islamist organizations in Afghanistan and Pakistan with an unforeseen determination and so-called religious pride. It is scathingly launched from the mainland of our neighbours time and again, spewn with jealousy and stitched with ammunition directly obtained from the founding fathers of cross-border terrorism worldwide, namely the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

No terrorist possesses weapons like AK-47s and MP-6 guns, unless aided by more powerful organizations. We have perenially been sceptical about the Pakistani Army, the ISI and their unstable democracy and they, all along, have been perenially envious and resentful about a flourishing, growing India. The ice has broken and maybe Shah Rukh Khan would still prefer shaking a leg with Pakistani actors on bilateral entertainment shows or the media would want to "not bring Pakistan into this so early" or Asif Ali Zardari would want to claim that "Pakistanis have a little bit of India in their hearts", but a resolute comprehension is a must and a willful, power-packed reply a necessity.

More than it has ever been.

The media is more irresponsible than we can even imagine it to be
Another eye-opener is the role of the media. The same pseudo-secular reporters "terrorizing" people across the country with their spot commentary and "latest updates". For God's sake, stop discussing the NSG movements and plans on national television. But this is not all.

Padma Bhushan Rajdeep Sardesai and fellow CNN-IBN newsreader and "analyst" Sagarika Ghose held interviews with BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad and former Armymen on CNN-IBN and started off with "communalizing" terrorism themselves. The irresponsible Ghose, who deserves an outing in a jail for her utterly shameless and senseless questions, was reprimanded by Prasad for initiating a debate such as "What is the BJP's clear stance?" when Prasad had already made it clear that the BJP will not be critical of the Government. The BJP offered full support, which is a sign of hope for politics, but Ghose and co. were hell bent on provoking Prasad and getting him to speak exactly "what the IBN team wants to hear".

Barkha Dutt, with the fakeness of a full-blooded hypocrite, interviewed two women, one of whose husbands had yet failed to emerge from the Taj. What I heard next should certainly have infuriated any rational viewer of NDTV yesterday night. "How do you feel?", "What would you do if your husband fails to make contact?", "What do you think is going on in his mind when he is out there with the terrorists?" were some stinkers directly from the mouth of a so-called celebrated journalist.

Their coverage of the attacks has been completely self-defeating and highly immoral, if nothing else. They are causing as much damage to us right now, just not in terms of lives. Shameful irreverence from such tardy mediapersons is shocking in such times. They definitely have an agenda of their own, and I can bet my entire fortune on it that the unity of the people or strict action on terrorism is not part of it. They are too happy in their petty world of pointless debates, disuniting and cynical rhetoric and brainless remarks on sensitive issues.

Get off us, you burden of ills.

True heroes will never be acknowledged on a large scale
With the kind of world we live in, where Bollywood celebrities and cricket superstars are revelled and celebrated with felicitations of the highest order, the true heroes are never acknowledged on a larger platform. The deaths of Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte pain a few of us as the rest are hardly aware or do not bother to find out who truly protects them and ensures they sleep in peace.

False heroes become public figures and every word of theirs is blown out of proportion and felicitated in the mass media and by the largely oblivious masses. Where is Raj Thackeray? Isn't this the same Mumbai? What does the Shiv Sena now have to say about "their" Mumbai being brought to the ground? What about the Marathis killed in the attacks? Karkare, Salaskar and Kamte were all Marathis. If the Thackerays were true pioneers of the Marathi cause, they would at least speak up on their behalf.

Realize, fellow countrymen, that the true heroes do not speak, do not seek fame, do not come out in the open, do not think about themselves one bit before sacrificing their lives in these circumstances.

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To the People:
I am speechless. I have a lot to say, yet words will do no justice. In the meantime, let us UNITE. It's a war. So many people dead. So many more injured. So many heroes sacrificed, including the ATS chief.

To the Media:
Put your conspiracy theories to dust, you wicked manipulators. Shut the hell up and show a heart, a human side of you. If you have any.

To the Government:
Spineless bunch of hard-hearts, realize the seriousness of the situation. It's a bloody war. A full-scale, full-fledged war in disguise of a proxy war. Only in a war do attackers come well-prepared, from open sides of the territory being defended, with a plan in mind, with a meticulous modus operandi, with intentions to kill and spread havoc of a new kind. Street terror, hotel terror, public places terror, railway terminus terror, restaurant terror. You name it and it happened yesterday. Unite now, ghastly politicians.

To the Terrorists:
Come out and face us, bloody cowards.

Also read:
Vinod Sharma, Indian Home Maker, Shantanu, GreatBong.

My Pigg's Boss Season 2 - The Rundown

Hi, ladies and gentlemen.

This is Shrillpa Slutty, your extraordinarily beautiful host of My Pigg's Boss season 2. And today, we bring you reactions from all participants so elatedly responsible for taking millions of viewers on a prearranged amusement ride with zero comic relief, gut-wrenching emotional manipulations and high-octane albeit self-triggered drama.

First, the winner....
I yam deelighted to ween the corntest. I face taff competisan from many odours, but I come out strawng. Aafter weening Roadies, I waas alreddy the Roadside Romeo of all kyuut girls and I dezerve to ween Ms. Slutty's Pigg's Boss.

Now, the runner-up....
I need to go home urgently and beat up my wife please as she is the one who is entirely reponsible for my loss.

In third....
I tried impressing the viewers with my yummy kulfi-like looks and haseen zulf-ein. But they saw beyond it and I still can't understand how I lost.

The others....
Ms. Asambhaavna
I added the oomph to the show. I made the men go mad behind me. I brought the country to a halt. I loved swimming in the pool again and again. I loved being massaged. I was better than Rakhi Sawant was last year.

Ms. Ghaayal
[screaming directly at Asambhaavna]
You b*%^&. What do you mean? I was the X-factor of this show. If it's anyone, it's me who deserves to win simply on the criteria of the number of clothes covering my body. I can count them using half the fingers of one hand. Can you? Huh!

Raafool Mahafun
[trying to calm Ghaayal down with his now-patented hand massage]
Relax, baby. Chill. It's what I do best. Chill. Of course, drugs would help me chill better. Nevertheless, chill.

You all will be sued. Just wait. Let my boyfriend come and save me, like Superman. Then we'll make sure that all of you will suffer.

Ms. Slutty interrupts - Superman?

Moanica responds - Yes. He is from The Underweared. He has a lot of powers. He will unleash his wrath on you all soon.

No comments. I was hardly there.

Thank you for watching the show and making it a huge success, folks. And finally I sign off with a shake-a-leg dance with the chief guest aka my-ex flame-and-claim-to-fame, Kingg Kumar.

See you next year, prime time TV.

Commercial Break: Mahafun Massages offers FREE massages on a first-come-first-serve basis to all women and an exclusive 0.05% discount to all men.

And now for the news that matter.....

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Don't expose CNN-IBN to your kids

The devil in CNN-IBN is very much alive as it took me only a little research on their website to yield shocking images of pure sensationalism and TRP-inspired coverage of news. These will make you wonder whether IBN employs vicious monsters and blood-thirsty vampires to do their journalism for them.

Sample these:

What has the symbol OM got to do with terrorism of any form? The sensitive symbol of the Hindu faith has been shamelessly associated with terror by the IBN team. The news channel should be sued for lack of discipline in reporting.

The amount of blood displayed in the background is horrendous. This was a news item of theirs aired during the Aarushi Talwar murder case.

An image screened often by IBN in connection with murders of Indian students in the USA. The less said, the better.

When will the Supreme Court take strict action against the media as they deserve to be admonished and castigated for the irresponsibility displayed in their willful abuse of the freedom of speech?

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Rahul isn't Gandhi

CNN-IBN reports:

“Rahul is like Mahatma, doing what MK Gandhi did. Coming back to India from a foreign land to help the Indian people,” he said.

This is a very simplistic view and an unjust comparison. Maybe, RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav is rationally comparing only the one aspect of both of them returning from a foreign land to "help" Indians.

Help is the word. There is a clear difference here and Lalu's comparison is hence absolutely baseless and seems more like an impromptu utterance rather than astute wisdom.

Rahul is still only a Congress worker, a servant of the Indian National Congress of today. A faithful follower of their policies. And if he truly was open-minded and ready to rise above partisan politics, we would have heard a lot from him regarding some of the Government's incapabilities, most importantly a well-structured attitude and ethic towards dealing with terrorism. He may be clean and positive in nature, but a comparison with Gandhiji is too much, too soon.

I'm not someone whose opinion or conclusions matter, but I believe Rahul now is just Rahul Gandhi - the face of dynasty politics, a progeny of a glorified surname, not assertive or ruthless in nature to lead an India of today, a backbencher, a spoon-fed Prince with a legacy behind him.

And if the nation believes that he is young and is a beacon of hope to all the young people of this country, then we should also believe that there are a thousand, if not tens of thousands, other young people with arguably more talent and gumption to serve the country than him.

They just don't have the necessary qualifications. A last name.

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PERSPECTIVE: Politically de-motivated or lack of faith?

PTI reports:

"Politics in India has always had a deep relationship with religion in this country. I, on behalf of the BJP, want to assure the seers that maligning of their name by the UPA will not be tolerated by the party," Rajnath Singh said at a Sangh Parivar conclave.

The lack of political discipline in India has been epitomized by this insufferable statement from the President of the BJP itself. How did Singh have the nerve to indulge in such blatant oversimplification of the relationship between politics and religion when it is supposed to be his moral duty to keep the two as separate as possible? Marvelous impudence, I must say.

India’s political class has shown a sheer lack of courage to embrace the secular ideals of the country that, to an extent, the people have adopted already. The BJP has shown its communal face in all respects with an almost compulsive patronage for the Malegaon blast accused in these testing times.

Singh even goes on to add:

"These investigations are inspired by political motives," said Singh.

It is a shame that pro-communal politics of this kind is deliberately leading us to a loss of complete faith in the institutions that deserve a chance to prove themselves, like the Anti-Terrorism Squad. The squad is an independent body of the Mumbai Police and it would be wise to refrain from accusations of all sorts that only go on to malign their efforts.

How can we even contemplate a terror-free India if such irresponsible statements come up from men (and women) that ultimately lead to mass influence and a complete loss of faith in the system and society in general? How can justice be delivered to victims if the people in-charge of the system are involved in rabid manipulation of investigating schemes and label anything and everything as “politically motivated”, leaving us as de-motivated as ever and them as firm as ever in pursuit of partisan interests behind such woeful rhetoric.

What do they mean by “protect the interests” of the “saints”? Is the BJP keen on providing protection for practitioners of the Hindu faith who indulge in terror attacks? Even if proven guilty by the ATS and the courts? No religion advocates killing as a means of “defending the faith”. Not Hinduism. Not Islam. But if certain anti-national elements, irrespective of whatever their faith is, indulge in mass killings then how can they be “protected”? Only because they share the same faith, is it?

This way, I now have a fair idea about how politics functions in this country. There is a ruling Government, that apparently sells party tickets to the highest bidder making leadership a full-fledged inner-party auction and democracy a vilified punch bag, and there is an Opposition that goes beyond the dictionary definition of the word oppose and stands up to accuse independent security agencies of “being influenced” by the ruling party every now and then, in a pursuit of their faith but un-secular national commitments. In between, people die and religion is associated with politics and so-called “defenders” of their faiths resort to ridiculous accusations of all democratic institutions in the country, including the law.

So what does the average Indian do? The aam aadmi faces a complete loss of faith in the system, does not trust respectable institutions like the Army and investigating agencies, is misguided by petty politics and doubts God simply because of lack of unity and solutions. Whom to believe in, you ask? And I say, I don’t know. I don’t know whom to trust. I don’t know how to have a settled mind. I don’t know how to keep the faith. I am blank from within.

I just don't know.

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The CAT bites hard

CAT 2008 proved to be a difficult one, as usual. Although it was definitely a lot easier than last year, you can never ever rule out the rowdy exam to come up with instant surprises. And it did.

If you took it, did you manage to tame it?

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What a MNS MMS can do

He's back. No, not Sourav Ganguly.

Dear old Raj Thackeray.

CNN-IBN reports that MNS chief Raj Thackeray cut his birthday cake on June the 14th of this year with the word "Bhaiya" written on it. A MMS clip of the same has been leaked. One of their party functionaries moved to lessen the hype over the clip with this mind-boggling comment:-

“We have a lot of north Indian activists in the MNS and it must have been brought by one such activist, but we cannot recollect who,” Party Vice-President Vageesh Saraswat said.

Wow, I never knew there were north Indian "activists" in the MNS fighting against north Indians in the state and the country. And to think their activism and moral duty is to beat up other north Indians, indulge in violence and encourage regional separatism.

Ah! Public figures are responding.

Shatrughan Sinha - Why are the other celebrities keeping quiet? Why are they not speaking up against this atrocious act?

Lal Krishna Advani - If the BJP comes to power in Maharashtra, we will make sure that no birthday cakes are ever cut as they are symbolic of Western influence on young Indians. However, we will allow saffron-coloured and orange-flavoured cakes as we know how much young Indians love and cherish the BJP.

Lalu Prasad Yadav - Nitishji, Paswanji come up on the dias. Media waale, jaraa dur khade rahe pleej.

Nitish Kumar - Laluji, haath dijiye.

Ram Vilas Paswan - Wait CM sahab, main bhi aa raha hoon. Pehle paan to kha loon.

The Holy Trinity of Bihar - We condemn this act and urge the central government to take strict action against the birthday celebrations. An inquiry needs to be ordered into whether the spelling of "Bhaiya" was correct and along which angles he cut the cake. Of our earlier promise, we will try to ensure we resign from Parliament well before our term expires, but first we need a response from the government.

Abhishek Bachchan - Birthday cake? What birthday. Shut up and go watch Drona...err...Dostana.

Mayawati - If this is the kind of respect he is giving to my fellow compatriots, I order a judicial inquiry as to why he didn't have another birthday cake with the words Behenji written on it. I'm sure he has done that too. I can't wait to get my hands on him when I become the PM.

Mukesh Ambani - I'm the richest Indian in the world. Woohoo!

England cricket team - We don't think we will be in any sort of condition to celebrate our birthdays like Raj Thackeray if India whips us 7-0.

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And Now He's Gone

He came.

He saw.

He conquered.

He came back again.

He saw it all again.

He conquered it all again.

And now He's gone.

And there will be no coming back.

Be well, do good, keep in touch.

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Don't defame the Army

NDTV reports:

Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Purohit is the first serving army officer to face a terror charge, a case that's rendered a huge blow to the image of the armed force.

As investigators try to piece together his role, what's emerged is that he could have played a key role in the Malegaon blast, advising the group behind the terror strike.

Since evidence has been found against Lieutenant Colonel Purohit, a serving officer, of his alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts, the mainstream media has unnecessarily pointed fingers at the Army and created a ruckus regarding the integrity of the same.

There is no reason to attack the reputation of the Army, one of the few credible and honourable institutions in the country, for the ideological stagnation of one serving officer. Of course, it is a serious situation that deserves to be heavily scrutinized by the ATS and even the media, but there is no reason to castigate the Army and damage it's reputation.

The Army is a shining ray of hope for the realization of a corruption-free and concretely secular India. Damage to its reputation will lead misguided youth to disrespect its contributions to the country.

And there are plenty.

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Make A Difference

It is a moment of immense pride for us Indians that a NGO has been nominated for the International Youth Social Entrepreneur Award, a prestigious award handed out by the Ashoka Group.

Make A Difference, a youth volunteer network, is the only Indian entry in this competition where 15 finalists have been chosen. 521 nominations from 60 odd countries have been cast and MAD is the only Indian entry.

It operates in three cities - Kochi, Pune and Chennai - with 321 volunteers educating over 1200 underpriveleged kids in English and computer skills. Such noble work deserves acknowledgement of the highest order.

So let's VOTE and Make A Difference.

The end of Kyunki…and other things

What is as significant to the nation’s everyday life, that is comparable to Anil Kumble’s priceless Test career or Sadhvi Pragya’s “How did so few die in Malegaon” and other taped mumbles? You guessed right. Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.

India’s most loved (and hated) daily soap comes to a close on November 6th, bringing an abrupt (what am I saying?!) end to a tumultuous saga of science-defying survival (read Baa), the 20-year leaps (which essentially kept the soap alive as viewers huffed and puffed for new faces), the timeless love story of the protagonists Mihir and Tulsi which is now television’s official reply to Romeo and Juliet, with focused family responsibilities in this case (as they never found the time to actually hang out in parks, cinema halls or daaru addas) and the warring sons who were competing for not just the bragging rights to be the numero uno recipients of Tulsi’s eternal motherhood, but also longer hair and tactically motivated piercings among other things.

The loving bahus (who were apparently oozing enough sex appeal to make Mallika Sherawat take notice and Kareena Kapoor take some more Ponds Body Lotion), the insanely provocative sounds of agitated thunder during a potential “key moment” that had the power to scare off Mother Nature herself, followed up with split-second screenshots of all characters present in the scene, dutifully dallying away at the shock revelation of either a hidden fact or a historically unproven conundrum was quintessential of Kyunki. Oh, those days.

Along with these, certain sights in households across the country will also come to a close unless and until a new Mihir-Tulsi appear on the horizon. The dumbstruck spoonful-of-food-in-hand scene, the mercilessly overcooked chapattis that would make you hurl abuses at Tulsi and gang wholeheartedly (and also make you wonder whether her troubles in the following episode, or every episode for that matter, were a resultant of your black magic skills in retaliation of freshly-cooked black chapattis), the husband-at-doorstep scenes where the wife would give an understandably logical excuse of “Arey baba, break ho tab darwaza kholoon, na?”and the actual in-fighting over the undervalued TV remote. Feel free to add your own.

So here’s a heartfelt goodbye to the cast and crew of Kyunki and while I can confidently state that you have been an immense inspiration to all Indians, young and old, there is no guarantee that you will be missed.

Kyunki...we’ve had enough.

Image courtesy: Bollywood Pictures Online

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Goodbye Jumbo

One of the all-time greats of Indian cricket has retired. Anil Kumble, I thank you for some great memories and excellent moments. But most of all, thank you for being a true gentleman, a great cricketer and an inspiring leader. You will be missed.

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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”.