July 29, 2012
Gold, India, Indians, London, North Korea, Olympics, UK
This Johnny foreigner did enjoy the olympic’s opening ceremony. Here are few of the things which caught my eye
1. Guard of Honour provided for the flame by workers who made the olympic park.
2. The olympic flame not being lit by some big shot but by junior athletes.
3 NHS full-time staff being made star of the show.
The underlying theme for me was that small matters. This was about the “Small” person.
I suspect India will win two golds both in boxing ( A big thing for us if you forget our size). Mary Kom from the small north-east will come back home with a gold along with one of the boys from Haryana’s Villages. The small theme continues
The biggest news for me in this olympics so far was a North Korean winning a bronze in weightlifting. She comes from a small derided country.
Ah Olympic Romanticism
May 5, 2012
India, Indian Parliament, Indians, Politics, President of India, Sangma
The two traits which i look for in an Indian President would be
a) Understanding Constitutional proprietary - I don’t want the Indian President be to media savvy. I want the President to be measured and reserved in his or her comments. The person should have an academic understanding of the constitutional duties of the Indian President so his or her tenure can be controversy free. The person should not be prejudiced towards any political idea.
b) A symbol of India – The President of India should symbolise the Republic of India. I want that one person to reflect the people of India in terms of their feelings, hopes, aspirations etc. I would want that one person to reflect the hopes and feelings of the tribals of the North East, the disaffected youth of the Kashmir Valley, the aspirational class of Bombay ( I was born when it was called Bombay and no Thackeray is going to make me call it Mumbai), the sensitivities of the Tamils of Madras ( If I am going to call Mumbai - Bombay then I better call Chennai- Madras).
So if a Pranab Mukherjee can do the above two or a Narayan Murthy do the above two I will support them. But they need to reflect the above two points before they get elected.
So do I have a candidate who I wish could become the President of India ? If I had the choice I would support PA Sangma. He is a Garo tribal from the North Eastern state of Meghalaya. Coming from a region , and i am including the entire North East, which has seen a lot of violence he would symbolise the “Unity in Diversity” concept of the Union. He would be a positive role model for various communities with their unique identities on how to live with the contradictions of India. He would be able to represent disaffected youth from all parts of the country. He has been a top parliamentarian in the prejudiced madhouse of Delhi – this shows he is aspirational and a trailblazer. He has been one of the best speakers in the Lok Sabha and was considered to be tough, fair and balanced. Thus he would in my opinion reflect the image of Current Day India as well have an understanding of the constitutional duties of the President.
May 2, 2012
Abdul Kalam, Corruption, India, Indians, Legeslation, Lok Pal, Politics
Ex Indian President, His Excellency, APJ Abdul Kalam’s views on the Lok Pal Bill is something which i agree with. This man of vision, fair play and hard work has also shown he understands the psyche of India and its people. His assertion that the Lok Pal Bill is just going to fill up jails and not clean up corruption in the Government machinery is absolutely correct. He asserts that it’s the kids of today who would decide if India becomes a less corrupt society or not. He implies that the values of Indians as it stands does not discourage corruption. There seems to be a consent in Society that corruption will happen. Until we don’t bring a change in society which would change us from a country ” where there is someone always willing to sell his mother” to a country ” where corruption and corrupt people are treated as equivalent to murders and murderers” we wont reduce corruption. I don’t not mean to equate the two crimes nor do I mean to suggest that the punishment should be equivalent but I am suggesting that people from all parts of India should treat those who take bribes or offer bribes as equivalent socially to murderers. If this attitude is encouraged in the kids of today only then would we change as a country in the future. And this needs to be a national mission as corruption methods/standards differ from state to state.
April 17, 2012
Drugs, India, Indians, Punjab, Punjabis
Drugs and Punjab
I am a Punjabi but i have not lived in Punjab for much time apart from a few years here and there . Read this Tehelka Article and did not realise things had become this bad. Reminds me of that day in 1994 when my father’s acquaintance came visiting and his driver, who was a casual drug user, asked one of the soldiers where he could get opium from. Bhatinda being dry, semi-desert and harsh has always required a lot of work from its farmers than what is required by farmers elsewhere and as such has always been more influenced by intoxicants vis a vis the rest of the state. However i am surprised its spread all over Punjab. Shows how out of touch i am.
April 6, 2012
Army, India, Indians, International Relations, Politics
In a humourous way i had asked Indians to resist “Chest-thumping” about our so-called future superpower status(See April 4th Post). In this article an experienced AF officer has also rubbished the claims from a strategic perspective. Bottom line is that it will only happen if we change our attitude about loads of things including , as he specifies in his domain, the way we conduct our foreign policy which obviously will need to be tied into our defence establishment similar to how the US/Uk/France or Russia have tied their international goals/foreign policy to the way their forces are structured. I know Russia is still modernising its force structure but its on its way back.
April 5, 2012
Army, India, Indians, News, Politics
The story has even touched a raw nerve in my family as i come from an Army Family.
But I think people are missing the key point – The level of mistrust between the Army and the Civilian establishment is so high that any “suspicious” movement by any army unit at that moment of time looked like a possible coup to the Babus running this country. I am not going to judge the merits of the story yet as i feel this is not the last i am going to be hearing about this. I reserve my comments till then.
April 4, 2012
India, Indians, Power, Society, Superpower
I have heard Indians,Non-Indians and aliens suggest that India will be the next superpower along with China. In-fact the in the next few decades India will be calling the shots.
Some reasons could be -
1) We, and this includes me, live on improvisation( or as in India-we call jugaar/d). Like the United States Marine Corps we plan to improvise when we make contact with the enemy. Planning,like in the US Army, is for the Chinese with their silly belief who state it matters how well you do things rather than just the result. Setting a goal along with plans, decades in advance is just for fools and the Chinese. You see they don’t know how to to be “smart” like us Indians.Eg: Commonwealth Games 2010, My life …wait i am not a success.
2) We don’t like to see our women topless. It fine for the kidsand tribals to be topless. You see whats the point of making the poor buy clothes for their kids. Waste of Money and more importantly we are saving on scarce resources.
3) An enduring memory is of my drive from Secunderabad in the South to Shimla in the North in 2009 that is just over 2000 Kms in about 48 hrs plus. And i did that with just a co-passenger. Great Adventure. Great to see we building super-highways through the length and breadth of India. The most enduring memory of the drive was this row of 20 women outside the town of Kamptee, in India’s Premier State-Maharashtra, crapping on the side of the highway. We love being naturists.
4) Like the elite everywhere in the world, i had a roast chicken for dinner. And we tell the peasants to be happy with Rs 27 or just over half a dollar in a day.
5) We claim to be united as a nation and more intelligent than the average American but when people from the North East of India come to our national capital they are asked “Are you from Nepal or Are you Chinese ?”.
6) We go abroad and claim everyone is a racist. We just want them to be caste-ist.
7) We show solidarity with Africa and Africans by treating “white visitors as God” and Blacks as the “other end of God”.
8) We are on the way of beating the English as “the most loved nationality” in the world. Sorry my English friends, you are going to lose that title as well. Our track record is superb in the sub-continent where we are the regional power and the smaller nations love us. We liberated Bangladesh and all Bangladeshi’s “love us”. In the fact the BNP one of the two main political parties is always trying to win our affection and you cant get more Pro-Indian than them. The Maosits have taken over Nepal and love the fact that we keep on trying to influence events in their country. Who is Ang San Suu whatever from Burma wherever that is ? Didn’t we support he…..oh forget it-its Burma so what ? We created the LTTE and then fought it , then we helped the Sri Lankans fight it and then when they destroyed it we criticized them. Maldives keeps looking at us and then at the Arabs and then at Pakistan and then at the British and then look at us ? Please my Bhutanese friends – stop being the odd one out and stop hating us !! Wait I forgot we cant beat Pakistanis at being the most loved nationality in the world. They have just beaten the Anglo-Saxons to the title..
9) We grow enough grain to feed our people as well as export it but we just like to be mean by not giving them food as we would get not be able to stop our population growth if we built warehouses to store the grain for them.
10) We take aid from others and give aid to others.
Ok Ok we are good people so we should become one but should we beat our chests about it before we become one ?
March 30, 2012
General VK Singh, India, Indian Army, Indians, News, Politics
The saga of the Chief of the Indian Army and his issues with the Government have become the one of the most hotly debated topics in the drawing rooms of India. Without going into much detail, as its probably one of the most popular topics in the media now a days, I would have loved to ask the Chief a few questions about his statements -
Q1 – In regards to your age row why did it become such a public issue even before it reached the Supreme Court ? Couldn’t you have just refused to discuss it with the media or with any retired officers of the Army who would then go an blurt out on your behalf in the print and electronic media ?
Q2- Why did you not give the full facts of the alleged bribe offered to you when you gave an interview ? Why did you give only half of the information ?
Q3 – Why did you give consent to General Suhag to become an Army Commander if you doubted his integrity ?
Q4 – Why did you accuse General Tejinder Singh of offering you a bribe and then not file a FIR against him ? Aren’t you a Government Servant ? Why did you have to accuse him in the media rather than in a Police Station ?
Q5 – Do you think your efforts to change the army and civil-military relations in the blaze of media attention rather than behind closed doors will make people more resistant to change and if no, why not ?
Q6 – Having publicly accussed previous Chief’s, Retired and Serving Generals aren’t you risking cementing factions within the army which is detremintal to the Unity of the Officer Corps of the Indian Army ?
Q7 – Do you agree with General VP Malik, former COAS’s assertion, that Generals should be very sensitive on how they deal with the media as it could be “double edged sword” ? If yes do you think you adhered to that thinking ?
Gurvir Singh Dhillon
March 29, 2012
Army, India, Indian Army, Indians, Politics
Governance Please – Jaswant Singh
An excellent article on the shenanigans of the Defence Minister and the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. Jaswant Singh is a retired Capitan as well as the ex Foreign Minister of the Indian Republic.
March 19, 2012
British Asians, Honour Killings, India, Indians, Izzat
A shocking result of a survey in the U.K suggests that over 2/3′s of british asians still live as per the “ancient honour code” developed in the villages and towns of the land of their ancestors. The survey results also suggest that 18% of respondents agree with the use of phyiscal force in enforcing this “honour code”.
As a Sikh and an Indian who grew up in a cosmopolitan environment i have always felt sad when i read about “honour crimes” and “restrictive practices” of a large majority of my countrymen. Till now i always believed that improvement in educational standards of the larger population and broadening of their horizons ,would result in a debate about such practices at the town/village level. This debate i felt would change the way we as a society live , for the better. However if Britain’s experience has to be looked at , it could be suggested that i might be wrong. We may need a lot more than education and social debate to change things.