Can India afford the Formula race?

While I am against the globalisation mirage of India, I think that any of us firing the gun from the shoulders of the poor and dispossessed, unless they are specifically the target of discourse, is patently unfair. I can speak only for myself and in many ways all of us who are English-speaking/educated and have access to technological modes of communication can be deemed elitist, at least at the level to access to information and its dissemination.

The subject of India’s debut in the Formula 1 circuit is bound to raise the same questions about whether we can afford it. We cannot afford nuclear weapons, we cannot afford branded goods, we cannot afford fancy cars mainly because they hog up space. Who is this 'we', though? It is not a single group.

Let us take the arguments - well-meaning though they are - raised in an email from a discussion group:

It is strange that India, a zero in international sports (track & field, football etc) is to host this most expensive of sports.

Tickets will be priced at Rs 30,000 (£400) for two days. Germany’s ace Michael Schumacher has apparently given his blessings while America’s Lady Gaga (who usually sings and gyrates near naked) has been invited to perform at the F1 event. India elites have long been hungry for the western presence and approval. There is no doubt that the track must have been planned and constructed with total foreign knowhow.

It is true that we do not have a great record in sports, but that is mainly due to the cussedness of sports politics. Our hockey team wins and they are offered a piddly sum as reward. This is supposed to be our national game. How did it come to be so? Because we were good at it, the very best. Those were not days of sponsorship. In cricket, too, we have been fairly consistent, and rather good well before the advent of IPL and one dayers and T20. We have done well in golf, in snooker, in chess, in athletics, in archery, in weightlifting, in tennis, in badminton, and we have climbed mountains. It is not about who has done better. Let us not forget that even a Usain Bolt gets disqualified.

Many of these sports require sponsorship or patronage. Remember Sania Mirza’s training was paid for by a businessman. Most equipment and clothes don't come cheap. If we send shabby-looking players, our internationalists will be the first to object about our ‘image’. Training in many of these games is in fact expensive. Yet, quite a few of our current sports stars had rather humble beginnings, if we look at any major sport. There is a pecking order, no doubt about it, but does it have to do with an elitist sport?

It is far less elitist than horse racing, and not many strive to become jockeys. Yet, every year there are a few prime derby events and it must be said it is the only sport where the gamblers get more prominence, or the owners rather than the real players. Car racing and go-karting appeal to a larger audience, and like any sport test the stamina and skill of the drivers. It is also extremely risky. India has been silently conducting racing events for years now, and the tracks outside Chennai and Bangalore do not depend on foreign knowhow. I happen to know some people and have visited the Sriperumbadur track. The glamour aspect is there primarily because cars are anyway associated with it through advertising. We should be more worried about the number of foreign cars that are entering the Indian market and roads.

If we can get thrilled about Bill Gates coming and lecturing us about philanthropy then Schumacher’s visit is great. We have had some of our own drivers play at the international level. And Lady Gaga or any pop star from any field is an added attraction. When Oprah wants to do India she does not find ordinary people but our celebrities; that ‘gay prince’ appeared twice on her show with full royal regalia making a mockery of our democracy.

As regards ticket pricing, Indians eating out cough up this much at five-star hotels; they attend western classical music concerts which cost a pretty penny; they blow up on several other products, and they are made to feel wonderful when they buy a dinner table at a charity function if Richard Gere attends. The overheads cost more than what the charity gains.

Consider the fact that 80% of Indians have to live on RS 600 a month. They would need to save four years of earnings just to watch a bunch of overrated foreign drivers going round and round the course 60 times. Clearly the event is not for the masses but probably to impress the westerners that India has come of age – it is an ‘emerging power’, no matter that it is a starkly poor and malnourished country.

I am not sure if not having these races will solve poverty. These games are indeed not for the masses, just as reading and writing in English are not.


Why Modi Refused Spandex Tights

Only crowns will do

My friend from Rajkot, Karsanbhai - "call me Kairi (Kerry), like ole IIM importex peepul are doing" - runs a shoppe selling sale phone eelektrone and all. He is also homosexyual. And very angry.

He wanted his chief minister Narendra Modi to wear spandex tights. "I thot sadbhavna is good occasun to show davelupmeint of gas (gays) kominitee, so I toll SRK, maane Saan Rupes Kapdawala (he is producsun of mix masala meridge), we will olso go and do harmoney. We are leeving sample of davelupmeint, and sucksex of bhavna's sambhavna and sadbhavna. We thot and thot wot to geev. SRK said we will take rainbow flag. I said to him no baba rainbow has not goat saffron. Then we thot peacock feather, fur stall (stole), even letest Perees Heelturn beig to sow glaubalisasun and Perees is olso gas ikaun, na?

But SRK is little scare type. He is poor thing coat between his gasness and his Mussalmanness. He is saying if Narendrabhai says no to purse, then hole world will feel insult just like that maulana is saying Modi is insulting Islam only because he did not wear skull cape. I like SRK and all Muslims basically. But why is cape called skull only becoz it is on skull? Then why cowboy hat is not on top of cowboy?

Muslims are very touching, no, no, not like that. I am saying they are getting hurt for little little thing. Now Islam is big religion, even Dharmendra became Mussalman and Obama is also small part Muslim. How cape will insult Islam? Why they are shouting Allah-hu=Akbar when man who was ruling when 2002 heppened? This is not insult to ordinary Mussalman? I am saying it is non-issue. RSS olso saying same thing. I am not RSS. They are saying dawn pees Muslims, we have to stand for Hindu. I am standing for Hindu, but I can pees Muslims oslo. Bakwas is going on and on, and fasting is over but no one is telling our story. Hole time how to hurt Muslim or pees Muslim. I am with Muslim and loving it, like Mac bhai saying.

SRK swallowed anger, ate ten khakhras and said with brein vhew, "Why not give him spendex tights?" My bhejo went all round. It was gud idea. Simball of gasness and olso harmoney and closeness. So we took nice orange peir, XL for some lajja. We pecked it in khadi beig to sow Gandhian vel-you. Modi's chamchas wonted us to stay out. Place was full of skull capes and bhagwa dhotis. Too much attrecsun, I am telling you. SRK looked hurt, this time not like Muslim type, but gas type. He is too much attach. I must detach. What if Hindu rashtra comes? I toll him note to whurry. I was only looking.

Finally some bhakt from SIT took us inside. Narendrabhai looked weak but had hello round his hade. Later I found it was light bulb. We have packet. He thot it was kurta or something. His food tester opened. I was wondering how food tester is doing this. Bhakt said food tester tests everything becoz test buds are more powerful. Thet is why Modibhai is so orally gud, haan?

But he sow the spendex tight and said, "I do not wear Spandex tights," and ask SRK to give him his shawl. That shawl had all calligraphy is Arbi, but Modi thot it was design from Amdavad febrix. You know Mallikaben Sarabhai hes museum, I think. Why she is bringing bribery case from so long back now in open? I am liking her. She is all for gas. Leebral types hev to be or thier ghoos will become cook!

I brot this topic up becoz all are toking about skull cape and this will be fourgoaten staury. For informasun, SRK and I am heppy that Narendrabhai did not take spandex tight but he is in posessun of gas bag.

PS: The above is a fiction. Should anyone find it believable, do let me know what other categories can be peesed....I mean, appeased.

- - -

The language is Gujarati-accented English. I am afraid, I cannot make it intelligible for those who are not acquainted with it. Please ber with me!


Sunday ka Funda

There is no 'funda' here. I love this song and have been humming it, so...

And, yes, only in Bollywood can people continue to sing while making love and even reaching an orgasm! Oh, well, people do laugh and scream, so may as well sing...

Movie: Refugee
Singers: Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam
Music Director: Anu Malik
Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
Actors: Abhishek Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor
Year: 2000


Anna Effect on Delhi Blast

We all know that terrorist groups like claiming responsibility for terror attacks. The reason is not always to mislead, unless there is a syndicate involved. This is power by default, like college Romeos pointing out to sundry girls and saying, “She is mine”. 

Yesterday, September 7, at 10.15 am, there was a blast near the main gate of the reception area of the Delhi High Court.12 people have died and over 70 injured. The bomb was in a briefcase. The questions will be about everything except an unattended briefcase. 

The Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (HuJI) sent an email to the media: 

"We own the responsibility for today's blasts at Delhi high court. Our demand is that Mohammed Afzal Guru's death sentence should be repealed immediately else we would target major high courts and the Supreme Court of India."

Believable? Yes. Except that other terrorist groups have also jumped in, and the suspects are from Kashmir to Kanyakumari to wherever the HuJI operates from.

The media cacophony has begun, and I am still restricting it to the print media. Read this bit from a Rediff report:

Considering that the blast has taken place outside a court, there are two angles that will come under the scanner. The first would point towards someone who is upset with the judiciary, or someone has had a case lodged there.

The other obvious angle would be terror, and by carrying out a blast outside the court a message is being sent out regarding the various cases being tried against some of the accused of both the Students Islamic Movement of India and the Indian Mujahideen.

Is this some version of the Ramlila grounds, where angry over certain issues people are taking over and pushing for ‘reform’? This implicates several innocent people, including undertrial prisoners. We have had a few rare cases of shootouts in the courtroom itself, so it is facile to suggest that because it took place outside a court someone was “upset with the judiciary”. Everyone is upset with cases dragging on, including people filing for divorce, and there are thousands of cases lodged there.

Now we come to the “obvious angle”. Despite the reference to Afzal Guru, why does the report dig out SIMI and the IM?

Let me give two angles here:

  1. After the Rajiv killers’ delayed sentence by the Tamil Nadu High Court and Assembly, certain sections of the media want to ensure that it is not seen as a precedent for Afzal Guru. Keeping silent about any mention of him is smart.  
  2. It is good opportunity to work on some home-grown terror groups, especially the Johnies-come-lately, because there is obfuscation regarding their motives and they are easier to round up as suspects.

The government has put the Delhi Police on the backburner immediately and given the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Newspapers call it a “no-confidence motion” against the police force. The fact that the NIA has already arrested three people in Kishtwar is laudable, but makes one wonder:

  • That was quick.
  • The Kashmir angle will give the government its own ammo to deal with Afzal Guru rather than be seen as following HuJI’s diktat.
  • Did the Intelligence Bureau know that the judiciary would be targeted? Even if it did, how could it handle the situation? Insist that people tag along sniffer dogs with them?

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said:

"There are obviously unresolved problems and weaknesses in our system and the terrorists are taking advantage of that. We must work hard to plug those weaknesses."

I am afraid but the job of terrorists and their ideology is not geared to merely take advantage of weaknesses. When they set their minds to something, they plan it and they can enter the most fortified citadel. It is one power centre against another. It is pretty disgusting to read what one IB source said:

"It is too early to call this is a terror attack. It appears to be a low intensity blast, and the modus operandi for now looks like it is the job of some miscreants… but we are still investigating."

This is surprising because there was no such mention of miscreants in the Mumbai Zaveri Bazar, Dadar case. Then there was talk about how outside forces were jealous of India’s economic progress. Honestly, during the London riots too no one went to Bond Street. And please do not get into the 26/11 Taj/Trident hotels reference. These were two places among others – and the idea, besides the terrorist one, was to ensure live telecast. The case has still not been resolved since we are waiting for Godot.

This seems to be the pattern. However, the IB, according to some reports, believes that such blast patterns could also mean that “there are several fringe elements on the loose capable of carrying out such attacks”.

What is surprising is that there have been some of us who have often talked about looking at the criminal angle, outside of the terror motive, but it was always the terror angle and the war on it that took up prime space. So, why this change in stand? Why is there an attempt at a more cautious approach, which should be as a matter of course?

One might assume that this sobriety makes better sense as compared to the earlier prominent ones. Perhaps from the point of the government, yes. But is it the Anna effect where hitting out at the establishment does not make the ‘enough is enough’ brigade start their chest-thumping since they are supposed to ‘fight’ the government machinery?

Look at a couple of quotes that seem like a hangover of the rally.

“India is seen soft targets for terror attacks as political system protects only its own” – Shekhar Kapur
“Wake up Mr. Home Minister. Please protect the citizens of this country. Innocent and ordinary lives are equally important” – Anupam Kher
While most who die in terrorist attacks are the innocents – just as it is the ordinary who immolate themselves for their heroes – there have been prominent people targeted as well. It would be frightening to think that this group overtakes the corrupt security agencies angle, a reality but it cannot explain such plots. Surely, this is not like match-fixing. 

Politicians, a naturally much-reviled species, are not the only ones playing politics. There are cries against Parliament being adjourned to express solidarity with the victims. Had they gone about the business, there would be flinging of slippers, banging of tables and shouting of slogans. How would that send out any signal that we will not be intimidated by terrorists? 

Parliament is in session when bomb blasts take place; politicians are in their constituencies.

Gestures of the government getting ‘back to work’ convey nothing. At best, they are akin to messages in a bottle.

(c) Farzana Versey

Quacks of quakes

Correspondent on Headlines Today:

"It looks like the people were not prepared for it."

The 'it' is the earthquake that shook the Delhi/NCR region over an hour ago.

It says the magnitude was 6.6. TV news anchors kept saying how large it was. Experts were woken up from their sleep. This was barely ten minutes after the tremors. How would they give accurate details?

Then, they were asked what people should do.


If you are living on a high floor don't go down...Come out in the open...Go under the furniture.

How can you come out in the open if you are not to take the stairs (lifts are out)? And if the building is shaky, why will the furniture not shake?

Most people would not have felt it if they were asleep. The others would have experienced it and sat still. But, if you switched on the TV then you would be told about aftershocks and how you were part of the Breaking News.

As for the lady who made the prophetic statement that the people were not prepared, all I can say is that perhaps they can have a panel discussion on how to expect such calamities. They can also go on a hunger strike for it.

Meanwhile, latest unreleased reports state that Nature has claimed responsibility for the quake. Nature's links with terrorist organisations are not yet known and a high-level inquiry will probe into any such alliance.


India’s WikiLeaks: Wrong Aim

For all its hands-off talk, the US has been watching India rather closely.  The WikiLeaks revelations are no big deal, it is the sheer superficiality and gossipy nature that is a bit worrying, mainly because these tidbits will be seen as major issues.  

They also reveal how the different Indias are being played against one another.  It also exposes the vulnerability of the political class to American pressure tactics, or at least the desirability of US policy-makers to keep a hawk’s eye vigil as a pre-emptive drone. Here is an appraisal of a few of the subjects:

On Rahul Gandhi

“He is reticent in public, has shunned the spotlight and has yet to make any significant intervention in Parliament. His singular foray to centerstage during the UP elections was unremarkable. He is viewed as an empty suit and will have to prove wrong those who dismiss him as a lightweight. To do so, he will have to demonstrate determination, depth, savvy and stamina. He will need to develop his own networks of loyalists.  Relying solely on family inheritance may get him the top job but it will not be enough to make for a successful longterm political career.”

Is this rocket science? Or is it a soft spot for Manmohan Singh? We do know that Dr. Singh is not the power centre, but he is the one with the degree, the “upright” one. He gets to keep both sides happy, and by both we mean the Congress chief and the US chief.

Interestingly, while sniffing at Rahul’s inheritance, the cables talk about him developing a network of loyalists, like any feudal lord. I think that his reticence has left the Americans befuddled. They do not know what to expect should he take on the prime ministerial role. They know about the ‘regular’ Congress leadership and the BJP. To be noted is that the economic progress ones get prominent mention.

The “empty suit”, from the US point of view, is bound to be a bit threatening. 

On Kashmir

The US Ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer had cautioned his government against any “activism” in Kashmir saying even a hint of it can prove counter-productive in view of India’s sensitivity to third party involvement on the issue. “In order for India’s efforts to restore sustainable peace and stability in Kashmir to succeed, its engagement with the separatists and with the Kashmiri people must be free of any perception of outside influence.” Roemer had outlined a slew of measures that Indian government should take to make forward movement on resolution of Kashmir issue, but warned against making these “prescriptive” in nature.

There are 20 of them, including panchayat elections, bus links, telephone connections between PoK and J&K and “to encourage separatists to participate in future elections by providing them incentives”.

The use of the term “perception of outside influence” denotes a) it exists; b) the US did not believe that many among the Indian ranks think of Pakistan as the third party; some even imagine that the Kashmiris are not a party to the dialogue. This is clever usage given American activism through certain activist lobbies.

Besides, are we to understand that the US is offering over-the-counter advice if it is not ‘prescribing’ these suggestions? They may prompt one to ask whether it is the chicken-egg story, for most of these measures have been attempted. So, was it the initiative of the government or was it ‘doctored’? What is the nature of the incentives provided to the separatists? While the movement in Kashmir has a tumultuous history, did the US jump in to consolidate the separation and even assist in some sort of infiltration well aware that Pakistan with a still-hurting ego would be keen and able?

These questions have some basis. Another cable mentions that one faction of the Hurriyat was working against another and that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was against hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani going for medical treatment to the US as he would “stir up trouble”.

This is not news. The news is that he was denied a visa because “the US official had believed Geelani's travel will ‘physically’ take him out of the political picture in India”.  It becomes clear that the intent is to promote a dogs-and-bone situation.

American covert policy in the state can be damaging in the long run, especially if it plans to ‘quit’ Afghanistan.

On Modi
“Modi is using his strong base in Gujarat to position himself for the BJP power struggle and to crow about Gujarat’s investment-friendly (but certainly not minority-friendly) record,” says one of the cables which were uploaded earlier this week by WikiLeaks. The cables sent by US diplomats in New Delhi focus on Modi's rising stature in the BJP and claim that “Modi has his eyes on bigger things”. In an assessment going back to 2005, the cables suggest Modi could be the most popular BJP leader and a potential PM candidate.

The BJP would like to keep Modi as a potent symbol, and he too is aware that at the national level he will not cut ice. Being a shark in a pond is better than being a goldfish in an ocean. Has he been on any major consultative committees where party matters are concerned? US interest in him is understandable because of the huge NRI population from Gujarat, and the fact that he has a loyal constituency of followers there. The money that should be part of the US economy being siphoned off for “Gujarati asmita (self-respect)” would not go down too well with the adopting country.

On Bengal’s commies and Taslima Nasreen

A cable sent by US embassy in Delhi to Washington after the November 2007 riots in Kolkata was titled, “Author Taslima Nasreen: pawn in political web”. It says, “After Nandigram, Nasreen represented a convenient foil for both the CPM and fundamentalist Muslim leaders in Kolkata.....it is clear India’s main political parties could not care less about Nasreen or her writing beyond how their parties’ reactions to events play to voters. Congress and the CPM continued to snipe at each other while searching for a solution that does not offend their all-important Muslim vote bank…The CPM is being accused by some of manufacturing the controversy in order to drive Nandigram out of the front pages. “

Although Nandigram was a Communist Party-corporate plot, the place where the plant was to be set up and would uproot the people had a majority of Muslims – 65 per cent. Reports state that 600 Dalits and Muslims died in the violence.  Asking Taslima to leave would not replace the ire – restricted to the community as well as on the issue of landlessness – over the takeover.  This was not the first time Nasreen was denied extension of the visa; if anyone was truly upset over her it was the Bengali intellectuals, whose personal relationships with her she had written about in her first memoir. Lajja, her book about a Hindu family in Bangladesh, was one of those convenient ruses used for another sort of vote bank.

If there is any tacit US sympathy for the writer, then it is a business decision. A stake in industrial units is what the American corporations have always strived for, the Gates-Buffett philanthropy being part of the deal-making big picture.

On Mayawati

The cables on Uttar Pradesh chief minister are a bit strange.

When she needed new sandals, her private jet flew empty to Mumbai to retrieve her preferred brand," a cable dated October 23, 2008 reported, adding she employed food tasters to guard against poisoning. "She constructed a private road from her residence to her office, which is cleaned immediately after her multiple vehicle convoy reaches its destination," the cable said in an analysis of her "eccentricities, whims and insecurities".

This fits the stereotype and again seeks to use one India against another. In this case, the dynamics are more nuanced and devious. She is seen as the Sarah Palin prototype when she is probably more like Barack Obama – the ‘other’, for whom ‘change’ is symbolic and, despite all the flaws, can become a thorny issue.

The reductionism is par for the course, and we have seen it in India too as I mentioned in an earlier piece. Many world leaders have their eccentricities and whims. Even Jinnah and Nehru were known to get their suits tailored abroad. There is an element of ostentation, but is this what the US is bothered about? Or is it the fact that its fat middle class dream gets shattered?

Of course, being Mayawati means not keeping quiet. She has shot the messenger:

“There is no iota of truth in the cable leaks. It is a blatant lie to tarnish the image of my government. The owner of WikiLeaks seems to have gone mad. He should be sent to a mental asylum by the country he belongs to and in case there is no place for him, he should be sent to UP. We will put him in the Agra mental asylum.”

Julian Assange has responded with:

“Mayawati has betrayed rational thought. The question is, has she also betrayed the Dalit? The allegations… are made by US diplomats in their private communications back to Hillary Clinton. If chief minister Mayawati has a problem with the contents of these communications she needs to take it up with Hillary. I ask that Mayawati admit her error and apologize.”

I am intrigued. How has she betrayed the Dalits? Assange sounds no different from the US administration. It is the Dalits who elected her, and she is as much of a totem for them as Obama is for the Blacks. 

In politics, you have to shed your skin and wear a mask. It is not the best thing to do, but where skin and caste matter so much this kind of upward mobility goes beyond opportunism. 

(c) Farzana Versey


What the Dickens

 Should an unfinished novel by a writer whose works have a special stamp be completed and adapted for the stage? How can anyone complete Charles Dickens’ novel? It is an adaptation for the stage, but will it then go without an ending?

Between now and 140 years ago when he died, people have apparently been curious as to how “half the psychological thriller” he wrote might have ended. In this time, I doubt if it was curiosity that killed those that passed on. Besides, on what basis is it assumed that The Mystery Of Edwin Drood was half finished? At 23 chapters, it might have been almost towards the end, or maybe it was intended for the long haul and had only just warmed up, slowly.

BBC Two has entrusted the drama to Gwyneth Hughes. She said: “The tragedy of the erotically obsessed cathedral choirmaster, John Jasper, throbs with sexual menace, murder and opium addiction. But alongside his story runs a brilliant small-town social comedy which is often laugh-out-loud funny. After all, this is Dickens, the great emotional extremist, and master of the rollercoaster ride. It’s just the most enormous fun.”

Jasper falls in love with his nephew Drood’s 17-year-old betrothed, Rosa Bud. A small portion from the last written chapter may give some peek into the story:

That he must know of Rosa's abrupt departure, and that he must divine its cause, was not to be doubted. Did he suppose that he had terrified her into silence? or did he suppose that she had imparted to any one - to Mr. Crisparkle himself, for instance - the 
particulars of his last interview with her? Mr. Crisparkle could not determine this in his mind. He could not but admit, however, as a just man, that it was not, of itself, a crime to fall in love with Rosa, any more than it was a crime to offer to set love above revenge.

As subjects go, this is as relevant today. Emotions are not dinosaurs, although there can be half-finished emotions that remain on the cusp and wait to be realised. While Hughes is not working on the novel, the act of giving it a finale when there was none is a bit disconcerting. It is like adding icing to a half-baked cake. Theatrically, even a chapter can be staged, but one would be aware of the work in its entirety.

Would this qualify as an adaptation of Dickens? Then, on what basis is the end assumed? We are talking not only about one form as opposed to another but also about one writing against another. We are not talking about assembly-line Mills & Boon or, for that matter, the James Bond franchise. When I see a film based on a Jane Austen novel or watch a play by Tennessee Williams, it is the authorial voice that comes through. Despite several innovative interpretations of Shakespeare, the core of the bard seeps through the props, the characters and the sheer power of language, however much it might be ‘simplified’, or indeed made pretentiously complex.

Dickens had said all those years ago: “The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.”

This is a cogent thought and might well apply to the current situation. However, I’d like to examine the two terms outside the context. The BBC is in the business of construction (rather peculiarly it has described the work as “a strange, disturbing and modern tale about drugs, stalking and darkness visible”). The raw material is there, but the blueprint is not unfinished. It builds the skeleton of a structure, start piling on the bricks and mortar, adds the plumbing, the wires, but the last few floors – let us assume the penthouse or boutique apartments – have no design. Being in the construction business it will follow the module of the lower floors. Or will it experiment and give them a special touch? Can one architect replicate another’s unspelt-out ideas?

When Dickens talks about love for the creation before, it is as conceiver. The creative process is ongoing and the creation itself grows over a period of time. Does the love for it and of it alter too? Does the pre-emptive love negate the very creativity, in that it falters? Is it weighed down by the fact of how the constructed work will ensure love?

With some writers, the love is in the lines. And that includes the fine lines on the face of a work. It is completion.


Sunday ka Funda

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent”

- Victor Hugo

Discovering new sounds where words do not matter...stunning...


Right said Omar?

Omar Abdullah is trapped between the BJP and the Hurriyat. At any other time it would have been a wonderful place to be in, berated by two extremist groups. Unfortunately for him, their reasons for putting him on the mat are vastly different.

The chief minister has been quoted from Twitter as saying:

"If the J&K assembly had passed a resolution similar to the one in Tamil Nadu on Afzal Guru would the reaction have been as muted? I think not."

The death penalty for Rajiv Gandhi's killers has been delayed by state intervention. This is unusual.

Omar is right in that there are different standards. Interestingly, the muted reaction he was complaining about has agitated people and 'unmuted' them. The BJP is going hoarse with sudden concern for Rajiv Gandhi. (They are quiet over the acquittal of Haren Pandya's killers. Pandya was a BJP man who later had a fallout with Modi.)

The BJP uses the phrase "sovereignty of the nation" rather loosely. Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, unfortunate as it was, had its own dynamics that had to do with policy. The LTTE is not an Indian organisation, although it has its supporters. Such support results in huge electoral gains.

The BJP is worried about this aspect. After all, Priyanka Gandhi had met Nalini, one of her father's killers, in Vellore jail in 2008. The death verdict was given 11 years ago. Why did the BJP not put pressure to expedite it as they have done on a regular basis in the case of Afzal Guru, an Indian?

Omar Abdullah was pointing out the double standards, and one should see this as part of a thriving democracy that we are so chuffed about, with people out in the street.

However, the Hurriyat's Mirwaiz Omar Farooq has wondered why if he is so concerned about Afzal does he not resign. Again, we are faced with a missing the wood for the trees situation.

Omar Abdullah was in fact speaking as a political leader and expressing the helpless predicament of dealing with Kashmir. He chose the wrong forum to do so.

A few 'other' questions too need to be asked:

1. Would he raise the issue in the J&K assembly?

2. If so, would it mean he is doing so on humanitarian grounds or on a legal/factual basis?

3. If the latter, then would he risk providing possible loopholes?

4. How often do fake encounters figure in the assembly?

5. Does exposing political hypocrisy - I am assuming the muted reference was to politicians - enough?

This is a question for all parties. We do live in times when terrorists too have a vote bank, that is those who are not behind establishment-buffered terror.

Answers need to be sought in the right place, unless the 'people's movement' has seeped into the system's bones. In that case, stone pelters should be excused.