The Crooked Cockroach


Posted in Uncategorized by cready on September 18, 2009

Oh my God! I can’t imagine I did not see this live on television. You must have heard about the entire Shashi Tharoor-cattle class-Twitter controversy by now. This post is about that. Well, I’m not going to put my views about whether Mr. Tharoor was insensitive or not while calling economy class travelers ‘cattle class’, but I found this gem of a Times Now debate on Amit Varma‘s [the guy with the glasses among the panelists] blog about the entire controversy and whether it was being blown out of proportion.

Its an absolute delight to see Arnab Goswami [the anchor] go “Tom..Tom..Tom..Tom!..Tom!!” some ten-fifteen times as if Tom Vadakkan were his pyaari billi. The helplessness in Tom’s non-stop chatter made me laugh like crazy when I watched it.

And here’s the second part of the debate. This is even more ridiculous. Tommy boy tells Arnab that he feels Twitter is a ‘lonely man who needs counseling’. WTF?

Let me tell you something: I did a little research after you phoned me, to find out what is the basic cause for this tweet business. Some of the survey reports that I received was Tweet is a very lonely man, and he needs counseling.

If this performance was after his ‘research’, I’m just so glad he came on televesion to tell us about his findings. I don’t know whather to call Tommy a bufoon or a genius.

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Austerity for future prosperity?

Posted in Uncategorized by cready on September 16, 2009

That’s the question I’ve been wondering about ever since news about VIPs going on an austerity drive came hit the headlines a couple of days back. First it started with the FM asking Shashi Tharoor and SM Krishna to vacate their plush 5-star accommodations in the capital and move to more modest settings. It was clarified by Mr. Tharoor later on his Twitter page that he was paying from his own pocket for it. Well, if he says so, we ought to believe the dude. Then came the PM’s and ‘Soniaji‘s’ call to ministers to practice restraint in such difficult economic times coupled with a very bad monsoon. ‘Soniaji’ made headlines for traveling economy class. Then the prince betaa Rahul himself traveled by train on a Shatabdi. The funny part is his train was pelted on its way to its destination! You might say it was just a co-incidence. I say it serves right for such cheap gimmicks. Seems like austerity is the new ‘in’ word for the political class. Actually, I didn’t even know what the word meant until this media mania started a few days ago. Kudos to the Gandhis of modern India and their followers who seem to be following only Gandhian principles these days. I wonder if they suddenly have forgotten the ways of making a quick buck by jumping into politics. So much so for the surname! You must be knowing of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s oh-so-famous Art of Living [AOL] movement. These days I wonder if the Family should actually renunciate politics altogether and start an Art of Renunciation [AOR!] course for all wannabe politicians. Anyways, people call Rahul Gandhi as Rahul baba. All now is left is to don on a dhoti, grow a meter-long beard, look around with an air of enlightenment and roam the country giving precious tips.

If my above utterances haven’t yet made it clear to you as to what stance I’m taking, here it is in blunt words : This is a cheap gimmick to gain publicity and sympathy. Plain and simple. Do not pretend to be saints when you’re not. As the title of this post suggests, this is just a way for future prosperity. When you loot public money by making shady deals here and there, where does your austerity go? When you let your supportes splurge insane amount of money on putting up posters of you in every nook and corner, where does your sympathy for the general class vanish? What about the hundreds of hours you guys waste in Parliament bickering clumsily that even kindergarten kids will find immature? People pay their money for you to be there and it costs crores of Rupees to run even one session of Parliament. What about the cash you morons divert to bribe over rival MPs in difficult times? You might warm your tushy on a questionable train seat or travel economy class directionlessly a thousand times over the country. Who cares? As this Indian Express report states, you guys are awefully smart when it comes to renovating your offices. Ya, its common sense after all – the train journey is going to last only for a couple of hours, but the seats in your to-be-renovated offices will last for five years and by doing this austeriy drama, you’ll want your delicate bottoms for another five years up there.

I’m not paranoid about Indian politicians and their ways. We have certainly elected them and they definitely should get some sort of exclusive treatment. But the tamasha that has been going on right now is just another way to fool the public. More than a decade ago, the then PM VP Singh had grabbed headlines for shunning air travel and had instead chosen to travel by road in the capital. The downshot of that was that since he was PM, roads had to be blocked for his safe passage through the city making the general public wait for hours on end for roads to clear out. What’s happening now is not very different from then. If you’re so bothered about the poor, why the empathy now? The poor were always poor and many will die poor. True, by these cost-cutting measures, you’re saving at least some tax money. But why the sudden surge of sainthood? Or were you blissfully ignorant about people’s problems up until now? In today’s world, somehow it has become fashionable to have double standards. You’ll sacrifice something only to later go on a roof top and shout out to the world as to how great you are.

To conclude, I embed here a video of another of our ‘worthy’ MPs, Jaya Prada, traveling in a bullock cart through a flooded area a few days back. Its just insanely WTF-ing hilarious to watch her shriek out like a little girl. In the end she promises to make a road in that area, thanks to her ‘terrifying’ experience.

I suggest we make all politicians go through such a similar routine so that they will realize the real problems and work their asses off to serve the people.

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The return of the Jinnah(ahaha!)

Posted in Uncategorized by cready on August 22, 2009

Hasn’t it been the best week for Indian politics in recent times? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m just so damn happy thanks to the abyss that the BJP has become. You might be amused by my crooked utterances, but I felt just so damn refreshed when their ‘intellectual’ chintan baithak fizzled out like this in the most public way possible. But I do feel bad too. I genuinely feel sorry for the victim of the moment, Mr. Jaswant Singh, who on most occasions has been the more moderate, the more restrained and the more educated face of this ‘party with a difference’.

And kudos to Jinnah, the man who continues to rock the media decades after his death, who continues to haunt this party again and again. It seems last time he didn’t scare LK Advani enough and returned this time only to kick some more ass. He must be going “Muahahahaha!!” up there in heaven with his wicked, wry, icy looks! Look at him, just look at him go with that cold-blooded stare [;)]! No wonder we Indians call him the villain of the sub-continent’s partition.

Return of the Jinnah(ahaha!)

Return of the Jinnah(ahaha!)

Yes, but all is not lost for Mr. Jaswant Singh. He might have almost cried on T.V and questioned the BJP’s decision in the most polite way possible in characteristic Jaswant style, but this report says that his book has been selling like hot cakes all over India and even abroad. The book has already become a best-seller in India with 40000 copies sold in the first week. In an age of celebrities writing books with sensational accusations and/or claims and the junta mocking their cheap attempts to sell their books [most recently by John Buchanan], this is no mean achievement for Mr. Singh. Not just because this has sparked off genuine interest in his product, but also because as he himself claims [and as Rajdeep Sardesai claims here], it is a book of considerable scholarship with an extensive research of 4-5 years. So it ought not to be ignored.

But the BJP seems to be in a major hurry to ban this book. After reports of Narendra Modi banning the book in Gujarat, a BJP leader has demanded that the book be banned all over India because supposedly, the book denigrades Sardar Patel as well. Duh. What a moron. I mean, this is outrageous. What is this nation? Some sort of communist country or Talibanic nation to ban freedom of thought? What about the thousands of times you stereo-typed Nehru as a chela of Mahatma Gandhi and criticized him? Now isn’t he too, a national icon? Mind you, I’m not taking sides here, but just pointing out that the more you speak against something, the more heat it generates, and the more importance it receives. And what the BJP has done here by banning the book is simply create a greater ambiguity about Sardar Patel’s contribution in the minds of the people, which in fact, is a greater insult to his legacy. This book might have ended up in dusty libraries where no one went, but now the BJP is making this book ‘The Satanic Verses’ or ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ of India. Jaswant Singh rightly suggested that banning writing is banning thought and banning thought will be against Indian democratic principles. If the thought is wrong, it will be discarded by the nation eventually. India is not that stupid anymore. So, it might be right to expel him because ‘he violated party ideology’, but banning thought is unacceptable. And that’s what’s wrong with the BJP. It’s members have a misplaced sense of self-righteousness in matters of religion, patriotism and the like. And what surprises me is that in spite of the same types of mistakes, they never seem to learn! It is a party entrenched so deep in historical matters that the future seems unimportant to it.

If there’s something the BJP wants to learn from it’s arch rival, the Congress, it should read this brilliant article from The Hindu about how the Congress accommodated Shashi Tharoor in spite of his pointed criticism of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in his 1997 book India : From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond. Here’s an excerpt from the book [from the article] :

Had Indira’s Parsi husband been a toddywalla (liquor trader) rather than so conveniently a Gandhi, I sometime wonder, might India’s political history have been different?

Something to think about, I bet. Time for some chintan baithak, Beemar Jhand Party, eh?

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Two books, two consequences: Shashi Tharoor on Congress icons

Vidya Subrahmaniam

A Jaswant-Tharoor comparison shows the Congress to be far more accommodating of internal criticism.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s justification for expelling Jaswant Singh is that his appreciation of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and alleged denigration of Sardar Patel constituted an attack on the party’s core beliefs, which it could not condone. Said Arun Jaitley: “No political party can allow any member, let alone a frontline leader, to write or express views against the core ideology of the party …Sardar Patel’s contribution to unifying India can be undermined by none.”

Mr. Jaitley and others in the BJP might want to read Shashi Tharoor’s 1997 book, India : From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond. The book, which Mr. Tharoor updated in 2007, is sprinkled with critical references to the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty. Yet the Sonia Gandhi-led Congress offered Mr. Tharoor a Lok Sabha ticket in the 2009 general election. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government went a further step and invited him to join the External Affairs Ministry as a Minister of State.

The “party with a difference” has always prided itself on its inner-party democracy, never missing an opportunity to attack the “authoritarian and dynastic” Congress. Yet a Jaswant Singh-Shashi Tharoor comparison would show the Congress to be far more accommodating of internal criticism. If anything, Mr. Tharoor took greater liberties than Mr. Singh, venturing with gusto into areas that the BJP would surely regard as taboo.

Consider what Mr. Tharoor had to say about one of the Congress’ greatest icons — Indira Gandhi. “Had Indira’s Parsi husband been a toddywalla (liquor trader) rather than so conveniently a Gandhi, I sometime wonder, might India’s political history have been different?”

Further, “Mrs. Gandhi was skilled at the acquisition and maintenance of power, but hopeless at the wielding of it for larger purposes. She had no real vision or program beyond the expedient campaign slogans; “remove poverty” was a mantra without a method …. Declaring a state of Emergency, Indira arrested opponents, censored the press, and postponed elections. As a compliant Supreme Court overturned her conviction, she proclaimed a ‘20-point programme’ for the uplift of the common man (No one found it humorous enough to remark, as Clemenceau had done of Wilson’s Fourteen Points, that “even the good Lord only had ten.”) Its provisions … remained largely unimplemented. Meanwhile her thuggish younger son, Sanjay (1946-1980) emphasizing two of the 20 points, ordered brutally insensitive campaigns of slum demolitions and forced sterilizations.”

Mr. Tharoor did not spare Rajiv Gandhi either, though he acknowledged that the former Prime Minister’s first year was exhilarating for people like him “who were swept up in the unfamiliar excitement of having one of our own as Prime Minister”: Instead of the “visionless expediency that had been his mother’s only credo, Rajiv offered transparent sincerity and conviction.” But then, said Mr. Tharoor, “the rot set in …Compromise followed sellout as New Delhi returned to business as usual. Charges of corruption in a major howitzer contract with the Swedish arms manufacturer Bofors tarnished the mystique of the dynasty; little children sang, Galli-galli mein shor hai/Rajiv Gandhi chor hai: ‘Hear it said in every nook/Rajiv Gandhi is a crook.’…”

The current Minister of State also took gentle digs at Sonia Gandhi, pointing out that she went to Cambridge to study English, not political philosophy. Referring to Ms Gandhi’s “renunciation” and her nomination of Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister, he said, “A builder’s daughter from Turino, without a college degree, with no experience of Indian life beyond the rarefied realms of the Prime Minister’s residence, fiercely protective of her privacy, so reserved and unsmiling in public that she has been unkindly dubbed ‘the Turin Shroud’ leading a billion Indians at the head of the world’s most complex, rambunctious and violent democracy? This situation, improbable if weren’t true, is proof again of the enduring appeal of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.”

Mr. Tharoor had a reference to Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra too. Speculating on the reasons for Ms Sonia Gandhi taking charge of the Congress, he said: “And then there is, after all, in true dynastic tradition, the need to think of the aspirations of the next generation … Their [Rahul and Priyanka] father’s seat must, observers suggest, be kept warm for one of them — and who better to nurse the Amethi constituency he so successfully nurtured than Sonia herself?”

The BJP had the Tharoor example before it. It could have taken Mr. Jaswant Singh’s book in its stride, and appeared large-hearted, as the Congress did with Mr. Tharoor. Instead, it chose to show its illiberal side.

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