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Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

And we get hit again.

It was around 10:30am EST that someone at work mentioned bomb blasts in Mumbai. I opened the Times of India website to see that 3 places were bombed in Mumbai. My heart racing, I reached for the phone and called my sister, who works in Mumbai. “The subscriber you are calling is not reachable” said the message, I tried again, this time with my heart in my mouth, and my palms sweating, “The subscriber you are calling is not reachable”, it said again. I was close to tears and dialed again, this time I heard a ring, and a couple of seconds later, “Hello”! The hello was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. My heart beat returned to normal, and my heart went back to its place in my body. Those 2 minutes were the longest and most brutal 2 minutes of my life. Damn the terrorists!

How many more times do we need to get bombed for our politicians to wake up and take notice. After 26/11 we thought finally they are shocked beyond repair, and will take steps to secure the country, but Kasab’s thanda trial and the delay in bringing him to justice should have been an indicator of the cowardice of the Indian government. Now after last night’s bombing, we hear the same platitudes being mouthed. “It was a disgraceful and deplorable act”, “We condemn this heinous act”, “The perpetrators will be brought to justice”, all this is bullshit. What will happen again is that India will send a detailed, useless report to Pakistan stating that we have found evidence of Pakistani citizens being involved, only to be pulled into an endless loop of tu tu main main with them, all the while our useless excuse of a leader will not utter one word that would make us feel like our government cares about our security.

When will Manmohan Singh stand up in a public international forum and announce to the world that India knows Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism, and if it does not stop, India will not hesitate to BOMB the hell out of Pakistan! Is political correctness more important than the security of our people? Look at what the US did as soon as there was an attack on its soil? When will we learn a lesson? How many more bloody, mutilated bodies is it going to take?

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Round Robin in TN?

It is surprising that the DMK and the AIADMK take turns in winning the local elections in Tamil Nadu with unwavering regularity. Kaunanidhi, Jayalalitha, Karuna, Jaya…with an occasional loser like Pannerselvam or President’s rule thrown in! How is it that the people, who consider either Jaya or Karuna not worth the top office one year decide a mere 4 years later that they want the same person back? Do they have no long/medium term memory? Someone please explain!

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Apathy to human suffering

This past weekend we started and finished watching the 6 part PBS movie series Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State and I have been trying to gather my thoughts about it. Firstly, it was extremely hard for me to understand how a group of people can, without emotion or humanity, kill millions of fellow human beings out of prejudice. Since lots has already been said about the suffering of Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and everyone else who was different, in Nazi Germany, I don’t want to talk about that. What can you say about something as horrific as the holocaust?

What I want to talk about is something I discussed with my husband while we were watching the movie. One of the commentators at the end of the first part said that there is nothing to be learnt from the holocaust. There is nothing worth learning, because trying to get some meaning out of the incident would be equivalent to trying to rationalize what happened, and there is no way such monstrosity can be rationalized.

That seems so true. If human beings had anything at all to learn from the Holocaust, we would not have had the Rwandan Genocide, or Darfur, or Pol Pot committing atrocities in Cambodia, or 1 million would not have been killed during Indo-Pak partition. The Wikipedia article on Genocide lists the various stages of genocide and possible measures to prevent each stage. Most of the early stages are about classification of people into ‘us’ or ‘them’, manufacturing causes to hate ‘them’ enough to deny ‘them’ their basic rights, organizing military units to persecute ‘them’. In most cases of genocide, ‘them’ are always different from ‘us’ either in religion or culture or both. Most of the early stage preventive measures talk about forbidding hate speech, banning military or organized hate groups etc. These preventive measures put most of the onus on the internal government of a country and the UN, which in turn means world leaders like the United States, UK, China, France, Russia, etc. The assumption here is that the countries that constitute the governing body of the United Nations will be strong enough to openly declare that the atrocities are indeed genocide, and that they will do anything in their power to prevent it. Well, look at what happened in most genocides. The UN Security Council did not want the UN to get involved in the conflict, the US did not want to label it a genocide initially, calling it a “local conflict”, as a result of all this, a mass killing that would have been prevented had the world powers gotten involved early, went on for 100 days, and about a million people were killed. A similar thing happened when people were being killed in Darfur, Sudan. People all over the US had to protest against the government, because the government, yet again, refused to label it genocide.

There is really no point to my post. The depiction of atrocities at Auschwitz shook my faith in humanity so much that now I am certain that as long as people keep their racial, sexual and other prejudices in place, as long as there is an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mentality, there is no way to prevent killing of innocent people. And the more we keep quiet, because we are not getting affected by the events, the closer we are to meeting the same fate. As is well put in this poem:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

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Barkha Dutt

Barkha Dutt has been on my radar for quite a while now. When she is not screaming her guts out at the camera, or interrupting her interviewees with her smart-alec remarks or suing the pants off honest bloggers, she can be seen(or heard) making backroom deals with lobbyists. Even when you don’t know anything about her karname, one look at her show and you feel like she comes off as an extremely haughty and holier than thou.

I still remember the hullabaloo that followed Chaitanya Kunte’s post about Barkha’s abysmal reporting during the 26-11 attacks on Mumbai. Everyone who watched NDTV’s reporting, particularly Barkha’s would agree that her relaying minute by minute information of what the commandos were doing might have hurt the rescue efforts. In fact, it did become clear later that there was a control room from where the terrorists were tracking news channels and other outlets for live rescue information. And what happened to Chaitanya Kunte? He was bullied into taking his post down and apologizing. Shame on Barkha and NDTV for that.

Now with the Radia tapes, it has become clear what kind of ethics Barka espouses. The ones of convenience. Whenever it is convenient for her, she is ethical, but as soon as she sees an opening for a story, or something to influence the goings on, she ditches those so-called ethics. The tapes might have been doctored, as she claims they are, but this incident cements in my head the perception that Barkha is as fallible and normal as they all get. Get off your high horse Barkha!

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There is a huge ongoing debate in the US about an Islamic cultural center that is proposed 2 blocks from the WTC site. And every loser of a politician and their mothers are jumping at the opportunity to add to the noise. Most, as expected, are opposing the construction of the center, which will also include a mosque, saying it will be an insult to the memory of the thousands who were killed my Islamic terrorists on September 11, 2001.

I heard on the radio this morning that more than 50% of Americans are not sure if Obama is a Muslim or a Christian, only because he does not seem like a very religious person.(rather, he does not flaunt is religion). No one asked them if it matters to them what religion he was. Why is that important? Because there is separation of church and state in the US. So it should not matter if your leader was a Christian or a Muslim or an atheist. But in reality, it does, and Obama, instead of saying “So what if I was a Muslim”, continues to say, “I am not a Muslim, I am a Christian”. Boy, I would hate to be a Muslim in this environment. I mean, some crazy fanatics do something bad, and the whole of my community is ostracized for that. The president is ashamed of being associated with my religion, most Americans openly oppose the building of a cultural center in Manhattan, something that was on the cards for decades now.

If you hear the opposition to the Islamic center, you would think that the exact same Muslims who want the center built actually flew the plane into the twin towers. One popular republican even went so far as to say that there wouldn’t be a Nazi center near the holocaust site, or a Japanese center near Pearl Harbor. But then, isn’t it an unfair comparison? Can you say all Germans are Nazis? Similarly, a German center is very different from a Nazi center. Germans are to Nazis, like Muslims are to Islamic terrorists. There is NO CONNECTION as far as I see it. Also, there is a Shinto temple near Pearl Harbor.

I was listening to all the opposition to the center, on the radio this morning, and Sarah Palin started to talk about why it would be disrespectful to build a mosque at the WTC site. But then, the proposed center is a good 2 blocks away from the site. How far away is far enough? 10 blocks? Would that not hurt the sentiments of the public?

If all religions are to be treated equally, the Islamic center opposition really has no ground to stand on, unless they want to say that all religions, except some, are to be treated equally.

**Update** I just realized that this is my 300th post. In honor of this milestone, I would ask all of you lurkers to show yourself. Go on, show of hands 🙂

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Stupid stupid politicians

This post was going to be a very objective analysis but degenerated into a rant.

I was going to post about Telangana-related law and order problems in Hyderabad and how the students ofOsmania University are being taken advantage of by nasty, selfish politicians, but I wanted to wait to see what happens. And what happened? Madam agreed to the creation of a separate Telangana. Who is she, I ask? Who is she to dictate whether a state will be divvied up into 2 separate states, with the current capital city being left in the limbo about its future?

I think this is a bad move. Many MLAs and MPs resigned yesterday after this news broke, a lot of then belonging to the Congress. The fact that only a handful of local politicians actually are for this move speaks volumes about it. KCR is a drama queen. He started his ‘fast unto death’ but was caught chugging a glass of juice a few days after he started. We need a Vallabh Bhai Patel to handle idiotic politicians like him who want separation. Right now no one knows how the separation will take place. Most pro-Telangana leaders want Hyderabad to be the capital of Telangana, and a lot of the others want Hyderabad to be made a union territory. What do we(common man) think?

I don’t want to be called a Telanganaite the next time I go to India. Suddenly associating myself with a new state is not something I am looking forward to. But who is listening to me?

Most of Telangana region, with the exception of Hyderabad, is dry and poorly developed(remember the farmer suicides?). This is one of the reasons the TRS wanted a separate Telangana, because they think a separate state will garner more development funds. While it may be true in an ideal world, there are no guarantees to what level politicians can stoop. For all you know Telangana could remain the poor region that it is.

Also, what if Hyderabad is not a part of Telangana? Right now leaders from the Andhra region are in favor of making Hyderabad a Union Territory, and that will take away one developed, cosmopolitan region out of Telangana.

What about hundreds of thousands of people who have migrated from the Telangana region to the Andhra region and vice versa for better jobs/family etc? Will they be forced to move back? If not, then will the locals take up the cause and drive them out a la MNS in Maharashtra? Separation is only going to create xenophobia in people. Say hi to riots.

Are we going back in time to hundreds of Princely states? While I get the idea that smaller states are easier to manage, the real reason for separation of regions into states is very linguistic/cultural, which is not good.

After a mere 53 years of existence, Andhra Pradesh will cease to be a unified entity and be separated into Telanganaand Andhra, like it was before 1956. Seems like either the Andhra Pradesh experiment failed or our leaders failed to live up to it. I am most disappointed in the Congress. There is no other party I would vote for, but this one has let me down big time. WTH is wrong with Manmohan Singh? Why is the madam ruling the country like a dictator? Are we not a democracy? So what if KCR was on hunger strike? Whatever happened to diplomacy, to negotiating? Is this another ploy to garner votes? What if Gorkhaland wants a separate state(they have already started the fast unto death there)? What if Buldelkhand wants to separate? What if Rayalseema, Vidarbha want separation? What if?

Finally I want to really plead to political leaders to kindly leave students alone. Every small problem in AP/Hyderabad is a reason for idiotic politicians to fire up students of Osmania University and take that place over. THAT IS NOT FAIR. I spent 4 beautiful years of my life in OU and there is no other place like it. But every time there was some politicaltamasha(Valentine’s day, Dec 6th etc come to mind) in Hyderabad, the students were rounded up and asked to disrupt normal life in the city. That was when the place transformed from this beautiful place of education and fun into this monster that needs to be killed. I hated that. We all hated that.

PS: The next time we go to Tirupati we would be traveling across state lines? Shit.

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Hope for India

I am happy today. Happy that divisive politics has been voted out and hope and intellect are in. I am looking forward to what kind of ministers will be included in the cabinet. I am excited that Rahul Gandhi is working his way up from the grassroots rather than land the top job. I am also happy that the likes of Modi might never see power at the National level. But more than anything else, what I am most happy about is that the Left has been left behind by us. No more arm twisting, bargaining, anti-development crap will be entertained. Manmohan Singh has been a good PM and now with this verdict, more power to him.
I think the BJP lost because it never talked about what it would do if voted to power. The only thing they talked about was what the UPA did wrong, using Modi to criticize Priyanka, projecting an 81 year old as the PM and Modi as the future of the BJP. That, I think was the biggest mistake. If they continue to project Modi, they will face a bigger loss next time.
I think the Left did so badly was because they never did anything good while they were a part of the last government. And they tried to stop the nuclear deal and caused to government to almost fail over the issue. I am sure the drama they caused, caused their downfall.
I am impressed by the way Rahul handles himself, although, sometimes he comes across as too rehearsed. I like the way he decided the INC will go it alone in UP in spite of pundits suggesting otherwise. It paid off. I like the way he praised Advani after the BJP’s defeat in the 2009 elections. That shows class, and a good upbringing. I hope he, along with the other young guns, get positions of power in the NEW Manmohan Singh cabinet.
The only thing I do not like is that the PM, yet again, is not an elected representative of the people. Although the people who voted for the INC knew he was the PM candidate, he should have contested from somewhere(some strong INC constituency, is he was scared of a loss). We do not want this precedent of the leader of the largest democracy in the world being an appointee!

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