Mar 30, 2007

State sponsored Bandh?

'State sponsored terrorism' is one blithely used term in the media. Joining its ranks now is the term 'State sponsored bandh' which is becoming very frequent in India.One such instance is the declaration of a bandh on March 31 by the Tamil Nadu Government (read as DMK and its allies). The bandh is supposed to be a protest against the Supreme Court's order staying 27 percent reservation in Higher education Institutions.

There are two disturbing aspects to this issue. Firstly, if the Supreme court is the highest authority in India, then its rulings are to be respected. Every time the decision goes against the personal whims of a particular party, their subsequent indulgence in public protests of this order tantamounts to disrespecting the authority of the court and its decisions. Sharad Yadav of Janata Dal has declared the Supreme Court's order to be 'unconstitutional' and asked the Government to 'ignore' it. So ignoring the court's order is a constitutional act, while what the court says is not!

Parties would (and should) have put forth any supporting arguments for their cases when it was sub judice. So the final ruling is made only after the consideration of all the arguments. If the parties still think their views are correct and they have been handed out an unfair deal, they should react as a party to have their views heard. This brings us to the second aspect of the issue. In this case, the DMK led allies have declared a bandh bringing things to a standstill in the state. They have announced that 31st will be a state holiday and state run buses will not be operated. They have also requested the Central Government to suspend train and Air services. They are striving to portray their parties' wishes as the state's voice by these actions. If they want their opinions to be heard they should convene a meeting among themselves and contact the centre and decide how they should go forth on the issue. Instead declaring a bandh and unnecessarily suspending essential transport services for a day is a blatant misuse of power. Just because they suspend services for a day in one state does not mean their argument is valid or the Supreme court would keep in mind the bandh when they pass the judgement in the future. The parties are only publicizing their views on such sensitive issues so as to retain political mileage and gain the trust of certain sections in the society. For this selfish reason of the party, indulging the machinery of one complete state Government is highly condemnable and there must be some rule that prohibits Governments from declaring such bandhs in the future.


Mar 18, 2007

Is it just a game?

The last 48 hours has probably been the most mind blowing in cricket history ever! India lost to Bangladesh. The Irish have sent Pakistan packing home. Bob Woolmer found dead and Inzi retiring from ODIs. Is cricket being played just as a game anymore or has it been taken over by the media and commercialized to a larger than life image? Recent incidents suggest that the latter is more closer to the truth.

Seeing 'minnows' (If I am still allowed to use that word after the performance of those teams in this world cup) play their games with a spirit and enjoyment, brought a refreshing change to this world cup, or atleast I felt so. After all its a game! Why attach so much importance to it that it boils down to life or death. Predictably, Indian fans have stoned Dhoni's house and burned effigies. The media in its quest for readership and viewers have over the years sailed on the popularity of the game. Everytime there is a match or a team selection or a poor performance, there are TV shows with a 'panel of elite members' discussing about what went right and what didnt. These people assume that they know better than the captain who has to take decisions on the field. What has Mandira Bedi got to do with a cricket match? Does she even know the difference between an off side and the leg side? And the Indian parliamentarians have no business other than either commending or condemning the team for its performances.

There is no arguing the fact that Indian cricket is a money spinner like no other nation. Mass commercialization has ensured that cricket is no longer just a game but a business. But atleast shocking incidents of the last 24 hours should pull everyone back to the ground, and treat the game as what it just actually is - A Game.


Mar 12, 2007

DD Rocks!

Doordarshan, inspite of all its primitive technologies and outdated broadcasting techniques, has to be acknowledged as the pioneer in Indian television. Cartoons being shown currently in many channels inluding Cartoon Network were telecast in DD long back. One of the best ever dramas in Indian television to date is R.K.Narayan's Malgudi days on DD. Amul Surabhi, hosted by Renuka Sahane and Siddharta Kak, is probably one of the best shows ever. Being a Government controlled enterprise, it is natural that DD focussed on contents targeted at promoting values like national integrity, unity, etc.,
Ek Chidiya is one such animated video that was telecast many times in DD. I chanced upon this video today and it was a trip down memory lane. I particularly used to like the innocent looking depiction of the moon, and used to watch this video whenever it comes just to see the moon! The child's voice is so soothing,and I was surprised to know that the voice of the girl is that of Sadhana Sargam! Another one is the timeless Mile sur mera tumhara.

In those years, when commercialization was yet to touch Indian Television, Doordarshan did provide wholesome entertainment. Though DD did not have much to offer for regional viewers, its contents will be remembered much more, compared to the mindless entertainment we see on channels today.


Mar 10, 2007

Sangeedha Megam.....

Yet another magnum opus from the Maestro. Ilaiyaraja is probably one of the best things that has happened to Tamil cinema!! This song has been running in my head the full day. One of the best Preludes I have ever heard in a tamil song.

பாடல்: சங்கீத மேகம்
படம்: உதய கீதம்
பாடியவர்: எஸ்.பி.பாலசுப்பிரமணியம்
இசை: இளையராஜா

சங்கீத மேகம் தேன் சிந்தும் நேரம்
ஆகாயம் பூக்கள் தூவும் காலம்
நாளை என் கீதமே, எங்கும் உலாவுமே(2)
என்றும் விழாவே என் வாழ்விலே

போகும் பாதை தூரமே, வாழும் காலம் கொஞ்சமே,
ஜீவ சுகம் பெற‌ ராக நதியினில் நீ நீந்தவா,
இந்த தேகம் மறைந்தாலும், இசையாய் மலர்வேன்(2)
கேள‌ாய் பூ மனமே..

உள்ளம் என்னும் ஊரிலே, பாடல் என்னும் தேரிலே,
நாளும் கனவுகள் ராக பவனிகள் போகின்றதே,
எந்தன் மூச்சும், இந்தப் பாட்டும் அனையா விள‌க்கே(2)
கேளாய் பூ மனமே.....

என்னதான் சமிப கால இசையமைப்பாள‌ர்கள் முயற்ச்சி் செய்தாலும், இளையராஜாவின் பாடல்களுக்கு ஈடு கொடுக்க முடியாது என்பதுதான் உண்மை.


Mar 4, 2007

Drat! Missed again!!

Why is it that I never get to see the natural spectacles? Chennai is probably one of the dullest places to be if you want to see any natural event like an eclipse. Well, chennai has the Birla planetarium. But inspite of all my purported interest in astronomy, I have never took the pains of going there to witness a celestial event. And there were many, namely the crashing of shoemaker levy onto Jupiter, Mercury appearing against the sun, etc., for which the planetarium made special arrangements for viewing. But for some reason, total eclipses have always eluded chennai. Especially, a few years back I was very dissapointed, when a total solar eclipse was visible in north India, but not in the south. I guess being closer to the tropics puts it a disadvantage for viewing total eclipses(the very reason that makes Sriharikota an ideal place to launch rockets).

So it was with glee I heard today(March 3) that Eastern US will be witnessing a lunar eclipse, a total one at that. I happened to chance upon a picture taken of the eclipse a few minutes back, and immediately ran out to see the spectacle, unmindful of the subzero temperature. The sky was reddish as the description said. But the moon was nowhere to be seen. I guess it was near the horizon. The surrounding buildings were awkwardly tall and blocked the view. And my house was not tall enough to offer me a view over other buildings. In the end, I missed out another total eclipse.
Dont know why, but eclipses always miss me. Rather, the other way around.
Sigh!!! Anyways, I hope to have better luck on August 28.


Mar 2, 2007

Dada's nemesis

Oh No!! Just when dada is getting back in groove for his swan song in World cups, his nemesis has returned. Asoka de silva is among the panel of umpires for the world cup. There have been instances in the past, when all dada has to do was come and stand in the crease and De Silva declares him out. I am sure if someone asks Ganguly to name the people he fears the most in cricket, De Silva will be there right at the top along with Wasim Akram and others. Hope he doesnt officiate in any of India matches.


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