Saturday, August 30, 2008

Amusement for Keralites

As if to say that the mockery of governance our political maestros make every day is not sufficient to entertain the 100% literate people of Kerala (which includes the unemployed youth and the farmers who havent already committed suicide), the Malabar Tourism Development Corporation is inaugurating a 30 crore amusement park in Kannur.

The facility, is set on a sprawling 30 acre land, and will provide entertainment.

To whom?

At the very least, to the leaders who will be in charge of the management of the park. But if you think of the irony of the whole situation, then perhaps you could also share the muse.

After entertaining the people via TV channels (Congress party owns Jaihind, Commies own Kairali, NCP is starting one soon - and I cant remember who else does what - and not mention our religious-politicians also airing their own channels), the entrepreneurial skills of our "moonam class and gusthi" politicians seem to be getting better when it comes to fooling the public.

Food for thought:

What is a party that preaches so much about social inequalities and about saving the poor doing with an amusement park? Or have the people of Kannur and rest of Kerala all crossed the poverty line and gotten into the wealthy list suddenly?

When the biggest issue in Kerala today appears to be the "land mafia" and land grabbers, how easy was it to get these 30 acres? Wasnt there a big hue and cry about the 26 acres of the Golf Club in Trivandrum being a "waste" and the "concerned" leaders wanted to acquire it so that it can be shared among the landless? Have we already forgotten the crores worth of buildings destroyed in Munnar in the name of the landless? A few days ago, even the plans to expand the Trivandrum Medical College was stalled when local commie leaders opposed land acquisition under the pretext of protecting the landless. What about the land scams implicating our leaders, including that for the ISRO? The list is endless, but the memory seems to be very shortlived for our politicians.

Where will all the water and power come from for this park? They say they have a big rain water harvesting facility? But even with rains, our dams and reservoirs are unable to generate enough power, and we have to suffer through daily powercuts. God save us if there are no rains. Coca-Cola was ousted saying they are draining away the water from our land.

Trade union leaders, social activists, and cooperative bank members head the amusement park. Ofcourse, considering the amount of money the politicians fleece from the hardworking people (in the pretext of social justice and saving the poor), I am sure 30 crores is not a big deal. Also, understand larger interest and motives when political parties try to infest such organizations and councils with their own fleas. Its so evident here.

Anyway I hope this will at least do some good in the long run, and sooner or later, these politicians will realize the importance of hard work and labour. Probably they will start with exempting the amusement park industry from hartals!

Well, while we continue to slog and toil in order to feed our politicians, lets for a moment, enjoy the irony and dwell in amusement.

Are you not entertained?

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hartal or Terrorism?

This is an excellent and thought-provoking post by one of our readers, Satish from Dubai

Given below are some definitions of the word, TERRORISM, that I was able to collect.
In one modern definition of terrorism, it is violence against civilians to achieve political, religious, personal, or ideological objectives by creating fear. This includes the use of violence for the achievement of political ends and thereby influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.

The United Kingdom defines acts of terrorism in the Terrorism Act 2000 as the use or threat of action where:
· the use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public
· the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause
· involves serious violence against a person
· involves serious damage to property
· endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action
· creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public or
· is designed to seriously interfere with or to seriously disrupt an electronic system

The US FBI’s definition is "Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

In one of its rulings, the Supreme Court of India had opined that "It may be possible to describe (terrorism) as the use of violence when its most important result is not merely the physical and mental damage of the victim, but the prolonged psychological effect it produces or has the potential of producing, on the society as a whole. There may be death, injury, or destruction of property or even deprivation of individual liberty in the process but the extent and reach of the intended terrorist activity travels beyond the effect of an ordinary crime capable of being punished under the ordinary penal law of the land, and its main objective is to overawe the Government and disturb the harmony of the society or "terrorise" people and the society and not only those directly assaulted, with a view to disturb the even tempo, peace and tranquility of the society and create a sense of fear and insecurity"

Looking at the above in the context of the recent spate of Hartals in Kerala, I am inclined to believe that, to a large extent, the state is in the grip of 'political terrorists'. Can any of the political party representatives who were on the panel on a recent show aired on Asianet repudiate this? Most of them were talking as if protest is a kind of divine right. Yes, people should have the right to protest in any democratic state, but not at the expense of development or well-being of the very society that the protest is intended to aid.

I am sure that the majority of the so-called "common man" will fully agree to look at this form of protest in a new dimension on the basis of the above definitions. How soon will we be able to bring about some respite to this hijack of public peace in our beautiful state?

Bring in TADA against the political terrorists?!!!

Heres something funny related to hartals/bandhs (click to enlarge):

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Kerala This Week, Ver 2.03, 2008

So last week we had the 82nd hartal in 2008 (remember we are only in August), thanks to "issues" such as inflation and other central government policies. On television, the hartal supporters from Kerala went on record to say that they were not sure what it was for. A few citizens guessed it must be against the "textbook", while expressing their ire against the frequent strikes disrupting their lives and livelihood.

The day after the strike, the media went on to report about how it paralyzed the state. Mind you, life in most of the other states went on just like any other day and hardly anyone even realized there was a hartal call in Delhi or Bangalore. Some of the media, while campaigning against hartals and strikes, do give adequate coverage to these political shows, giving them adequate publicity and mileage, and encouragement to continue with their gimmick. What with every political party running their own TV channel and newspaper/ magazine. And the average person here is jobless enough to view/read through the bull they air/write.

Most papers reported how some of the ministers from the state either "walked" or "rode on bikes" to reach their destination. They however forgot to mention that there were 2 police jeeps in front of the bike, and 3 behind, for "safety".

Most of the dailies also reported a particular story about how a mother whose child was admitted in the hospital could not travel to the child, and how the child died without the mother around. Pictures of the wailing mother were really heartbreaking, and so ironic when the papers carried pictures of politicians gleeing in joy since their hartal was a big "success".

Cornered, some of the politicians were asked what answer they have to give the grieving mother. One of them said that the mothers picture and "story" was just American Imperialism in action and that such people are out to undermine the "system". I have heard about heartless politicians, but these must be the cruellest and most venemous species ever.

Strike day also saw another regular but really worrisome feature in the state: Police becoming mute spectators. When the police tried to arrest a hartal mongerer who threw stones and damaged vehicles in the capital city, a bunch of protesters forcefully released the guy from the police jeep - that too in front of a larger number of cops. This is a regular thing in Kerala now, and I dont think anyone from any political party is in jail since they have all been released or acquitted by the government and their dutiful cops. For the amnesics, here is a recap of recent events (as reported by the press):

"The activists, who turned on the journalists covering their march to back the state government over a textbook row, were released last night after police pressed trivial charges against them"

"..Police and Student Federation activists clashed in front of the Armed Reserve Camp at Nandavanam on Wednesday evening. The violence occured ..when 32 activists, detained at the camp, attempted to escape from police custody. The trouble broke out when leaders led by the Mayor, and their district secretary, arrived at the camp gate and demanded that they be allowed to see the detained students." (The result? : the activists alleged that the police had `brutalised' the detained students and a police constable attached to the Nandavanam Armed Reserve camp, has been placed under suspension pending inquiry)

"The police have registered a case against district panchayat president, four others and 35 party workers for forcibly releasing a person who was taken into custody on charges of attacking a police personnel"

"Activists allegedly assaulted KSU state general secretary Ranjith Abraham in Kottayam. Ranjith, returning home after a KSU programme, was waylaid and hit on the head with an iron rod"

"During an party-sponsored agitation in Pathanamthitta recently, police took a district-level leader into custody. Activists stormed the police station and got their leader released."

"A leader of the ABVP, the student wing of the BJP, was attacked at Guruvayoor’s Sri Krishna College earlier this year after he defeated another party leader in the college union election. He was severely injured in one eye and had to be hospitalised."

I remember someone asking, why this blog was titled "Dog's Own Country"? Hope they are reading this post.

Onto something positive (on request!): Union Defence Minister and the State Industries Minister seem to be showing some success in rising about petty politics and bringing in investments to the state. After the Brahmos deal in Trivandrum, they worked together on another defence project in Kasargod. Kudos to them for whatever the deals are worth for the people of Kerala.

Kerala participated in the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, literally. The papers were replete with the news of the event at the "pakshi-koodu stay-d-yum". I couldnt help laughing at that. But my laughter turned to tears when I heard the title track of the hindi movie "God Tussi Great Ho" which goes " Gaaadu" "Gaadu". Quite sickening, even without seeing the movie and realizing how they have ruined 'Bruce Almighty'!

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Governance for Dummies

A few days ago, a newspaper reported a really worrisome news, which is really an extension of an even more disturbing trend.

It lists out the adhoc committee for the state chapter of the Indian RedCross Society as per a Kerala Government Order:

The ad hoc committee comprises ......a former commie MP, ...a commie councillor, ....a commie leader from Vanchiyur, ...a commie youth outfit leader, ...a former commie councillor, ...a commie leader .....a ..who is heading the nurses union of the commie..and a well known Congress Party leader.

This is a really terrible and totally disgusting policy taken by political parties. Every time they get elected, they ensure that their cronies get into key posts within all major organizations, profit making public companies, and not to mention government agencies. But I dont think the trend has reached a low like this to include the Red Cross Society too!.

While the politicians do this for their selfish gain and influence, what really happens is that misfits and people who have no clue about (and cant even understand) how to run organizations, companies, and institutions sit in the driving seat and take our state to the pits of inefficiency, corruption, and mismanagement. Until now we had to worry only about one thing: That we have totally inefficient and useless governments ruling our state forever. Now thats extended to more walks of our life.

Incidentally, this is an email forwarded by one of my friends some time ago:

A well-known political leader, was seated next to a little 5th grade girl on an airplane. The leader turned to her and said, ''Let's talk. I've heard that flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger'.

The little girl, who had just opened her book, closed it slowly and said to the stranger, 'What would you like to talk about?'

'Oh, I don't know', said the leader. 'How about nuclear power?'

'OK,' she said. 'That could be an interesting topic.

But let me ask you a question first:

'A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat grass, the same stuff. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?'

The leader turns towards his colleague in dismay. Thinks about it and says,

'Hmmm, I have no idea.'

The little girl replies:

'Do you really feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don't know shit?! '

That just about sums up the state of affairs in Kerala.


While replying to a comment, I was lucky enough to find this piece. Priceless.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Worth of an Indian Life

The series of bomb blasts across the country, so brutal and terrible, were perhaps a good eye-opener for our security agencies and the police. Its about time that they started doing their real work, and stopped wagging their tails behind politicians, some of whom even after the blasts were cruel enough to claim political mileage by trying to blame eachother of lapses. Isnt it so absurdly strange that they can be so cold to come in front of the media to score points even during such serious situations. People lost lives, but do they really care?

I mean why are the political leaders suddenly showing so much concern and shock? It is as though no Indian has died or been killed for a while, and these blasts were some surprise.

More importantly, arent we seeing so many deaths and injuries every day? Even if we forget natural calamities (which can be better met with better infrastructure and planning) and deaths due to health reasons (again can be improved with better care facilities and delivery systems), how many deaths occur solely due to our politicians and a general lack of law and order?

Very recently, in Kerala, a school teacher was thrashed to death by goons disguised as politicians, and earlier a policeman was beaten to death. Many are injured almost every day in political clashes, strikes, hartals, and politically masterminded attacks. People are killed and attacked without two thoughts. Thats as cold-blooded as it can get, and as heartless as any other terrorist attack.

So where does all this newfound, sudden concern and alarm come from? Arent they fooling us with their pretence? We will need another series of blasts for the next show of compassion and care from these brutally cold goons we call leaders.

I have to mention that there are exceptions and a lot of our elected representatives are genuine and at least trying to make good among the larger pack of wolves and swines. (Personally, I am so proud of the current Prime Minister. For once we have someone educated and sensible, and I hope he gets to continue with full support for at least another term!)

And I have a larger question. How much is the life of an Indian citizen worth?

Very little I guess. I think that is a huge problem we have in India. I dont know if its because we have a massive population or because we dont care, but we dont care or value life in India. Compare it to the US or UK or some of the other nations, where once you are a citizen (even if you are originally from another country), you get a sense of security and value for your life. But an Indian? We dont have any such values. Here we are still beating up eachother and killing eachother, like some primitives. We are still stuck in some older era.

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