Sunday, December 25, 2011

King of Good Times

The favourite adage of my boss in one of my earliest jobs was " tough times don't last, tough guys do". Here's a list of some guys (incl. a gal too) who could not, or may not, last the tough times... Pls note this is not a year-end list, but a compilation of the last few years. You may also nominate other candidates who have missed out a reference in the list below.

Inviting you to vote for your choice...

1. Manmohan Singh - A renowned economist, who pulled India out of a difficult financial situation as a first time Finance Minister. He was also the prime ministerial face of UPA when it retained power at the Centre. But with inflation up, rupee down, markets slumping, Hazare rising, BJP converging in Delhi, Rahul footing it out in Mayaland, the Doctor (& his government) appears to be in a coma. 

2. Anna Hazare - While his first fast chilled out the educated, urban middle class, he found Delhi December too chilly & moved to Mumbai. Would the year-end pressures in the financial capital result in a cold response? 

3. Harbhajan Singh - The Singh remained King despite the Symonds Spat & Sreesanth Slap. But when the going got tough the Tough got going... to the Ranji circuit. Wishing him a doosra life in the national team.

4. Tiger Woods - Lord of the Greens who conquered the world of golf, his life turned upside down when wifey discovered his other conquests. The downside was experienced in his game too & he has been struggling to regain the midas touch.

5. KGD6 - The discovery in the east coast was huge, befitting the Ambani tag, & was expected to change the energy scene in India. Some wanted all of it while all wanted some of it. Today, those who were rationed this gas are getting even less than what was allocated. Can BP finally bring the gas out?

6. Suresh Kalmadi - The man from Pune had a marathon run in the sporting establishment. The commonwealth games should have been the pinnacle but it was discovered that the wealth of the games was shared by a select few. 

7. A. Raja - Even as India is busy with 3G, this Raja is yet to get over the hangover of  2G. 

8. Ram Gopal Verma - The man who gave us Bhiku Mhatre has been keeping a very low profile after his visit to the Taj (Mumbai)... Ramubhai, bahar niklo, Darna Mana Hai. 

9. Veena Malik - She was Rakhi Sawant ver. 2.0, with a knack for staying in news. Then came the cover she denies... Veena, we are keenly watching ;-)

10. Nokia - The first king of the mobile world, one with the smartest designs, the smartest features, the smartest prices, was left far behind when the smartphones took over buyers' fancy. Can Microsoft & Lumia turn the tide?

11. Dictator - "...His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings....". Written in 1596, proved in 2011.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Anna wise, Rupee foolish

A disclaimer to begin with - I do not support Corruption.

If Munnabhai reintroduced the young & urban middle class to the philosophy of Gandhi & made it fashionable by indulging in the middle path via Gandhigiri, Anna Hazare has reclaimed the gandhian fringes by his hunger strike. Yes, that's what it was - a Strike. And there was nothing "gandhian" about it.

When Gandhi undertook a fast, it was a medium to cleanse the polity as well as a time to introspect. Hazare occupied the extremist, though "non-violent", position for forcing his views. As has been commented by many, Hazare's actions were nothing but blackmail. Though the educated urban middle class has been fascinated by the "gandhian" tactics of Hazare (another proof that Retro is back in vogue), it was by no means so.

Gandhi undertook fasts as a last resort. He gave ample opportunity to others, be it a foreign government or rioting countrymen, to discuss & consider his point of view. Gandhi was fighting against a foreign power which controlled the law making process. A fast was an extreme action, when all else failed & where no legal remedy was available. In the case of Hazare's agitation, the government was working towards the same objective, though not to the same extent. Hazare hijacked the mass disgust at the prevailing corruption levels to force his views. In the process, he disregarded other opinions and left no position open for discussion. 

Like Hazare, Gandhi was also fighting a political battle. But he joined the political process and sought to change it as an insider. The Congress party contested elections, formed governments & sought to change the laws by the defined parliamentary process. Hazare is waging his battle from the outside, maligning an entire class of citizens. Is this not another form of communalism? This has enabled his political opponents to term his support as narrow-based, a sliver of the electorate.

Gandhi never tried to dictate terms, but sought to bring in change. To take a case, while Gandhi promoted use of Swadeshi, he never sought to ban imports altogether despite being against it. Hazare should have taken his version of Lokpal to the parliament and have the salient features of all versions amalgamated. If he did not expect the support of people's representatives, he should have sought this from other pillars of our democracy. 

Hazare's actions may have been physically non violent but were morally violent. Had someone (respectable) from the political fraternity, say Pranab Mukherjee, undertaken a counter-hunger strike to force Hazare to end his, what would have been Hazare's response? 

The hunger strike is nothing but attempted suicide & this is unlawful. Why has Hazare not been punished by the law, something that is matter of routine for the common man?

Thousands joined Hazare at the Ramlila Grounds, leaving unfinished jobs behind in their offices & workplaces. Had they been part of a trade union strike/agitation, they might have been behind bars. Fortunately, the law treats the educated & the uneducated differently...

There were murmurs of protests from other groups who had their own version of the Lokpal bill. It goes to the credit of the government/administrative machinery that things did not go out of control.  

Of course, this is not to deny the fact that Hazare managed to get the common man involved in a political movement that affects us all. There is also no denying the fact that the Indian cricket team was losing all its matches in England, and Singham & Bodyguard were yet to be released.

Let us hope that the next time Hazare takes to the streets, he is more ethical about it. Else, one would be forced to believe what was said the other day - "Hazare has taken his battle against Sharad Pawar to another level altogether". That is one victory we all wish him!!!

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