Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bihar Polls 2010- Nitish all the way

Laloo,  predictably  rubbished the exit polls  stating that they never come true. He was right in a way. Where the exit  polls  predicted around 40+ seats for his RJD-LJP  alliance, he got only 20+.  The BJP-JD(U)  alliance  which  was expected to get around 180 seats, ended up  getting 200 odd. It  was not just a clean sweep, it  was a virtual  Nitish tsunami  that  swept  away everything in sight.  Forget about regions, ifs and buts,  caste wise calculations, this  was one of those  emphatic  sweeps which  towered  over everything.  Even if the Congress,RJD  and LJP  had  teamed up together, at best they would have reduced the  victory margin, nothing more.   The  message  from  the Bihar  voter is clear  "We  believe in Nitish's  message for Hope, and nothing else matters".

The biggest winner though in the polls  has been the BJP, while the JD(U)  has more or  less put in the same performance, it is the BJP which by winning around 80+  seats, registered a  huge gain of 25  from last time. What this means, is that while  Nitish  is still the uncrowned lord of  Bihar, the BJP  is not exactly playing second fiddle either. Inspite of the   fact that the alliance has quite often seen cracks in recent times, both of the parties  have been going together well.   So the question arises,  "If Bihar why not in UP?".  The  fact is in Bihar, the BJP  has  had a  strong leadership both at the state and center level.  Sushil Modi  and Ashwini Kumar Choubey at  the state level,  Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shahnawaz Hussain  at the center level, have done a creditable job.  Sadly  the U.P. leadership of the BJP right now is in a shambles,  and  the party will have to seriously work on it.

Laloo  and Paswan have lost  badly, and that is an understatement.  Its been a  massive disaster for them. It is not the end of road, but certainly  Laloo  needs to face the hard reality. He is no longer the Uncrowned King of Bihar, and Muslim-Yadav votebank   has reached it's  sell by date.Nitish Kumar  has smartly  countered  Laloo's  MY  and Paswan's  Dalit  votebank, by  reaching out to the  extremely Backward castes,  and the Mahadalits.  And the major  reason is that the  masses in Bihar are in no mood to forget and forgive Laloo's  decade of  misrule. Not yet.  The thuggery of  his  wife's brother Sadhu Yadav, the  kitchen cabinet politics, the complete regression of  Bihar on all fronts during his rule, has left deep wounds which will take some time to heal.Rabri Devi  called Nitish a dishonest thief, she  was firmly put in her place by the voters, who  booted her out in both places.

As for the Congress  and it's  Yuvraj Rahul  Gandhi,  their  performance in one word- RUBBISH. What the heck  was Rahul  Gandhi  thinking, when  he  was doing  a personal attack on Nitish, it was the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.  The Congress needs to realize that  to win elections, you need strong leadership at the local level, it has virtually none so in Bihar.  One of the Congress leaders said the  party will look into why the massive  rallies could not translate into votes. It is not  rocket science you idiot. Sans a party structure, sans proper leadership,  you  just  can't  perform. And yes the Congress needs to understand it's Dilli Centric approach has no takers in Bihar.  You can't  have leaders sitting in Delhi, out of touch with the grass roots, out of touch with the local populace, and then expect to perform. 

Interestingly  on one of  the discussions,  Shekar  Gupta pointed out that  Rahul  Gandhi's talk of  2  Indias has no  takers.  In a way valid, the  average voter mindset has changed, the average person has changed. The media  and professional  poverty mongers may go on and on about "Two Indias", but the person on the street looks at it  differently. Rather  than bemoaning the  fact that there are 2 Indias, the person in the other India  wants to belong to the new India.  To put it in more simpler terms, the new Indian mentality  is more aspirational, having seen the world,  they seek a better lifestyle. Which is where Nitish scored,  he gave them the hope that  this  man could  lead them to the promised land.  The  fact is that in a state which was at the bottom rung on all parameters for a long time, Nitish's  message and focus on development,  actually gave them  a hope.  

Bihar  still has a very  long way to go,  and the road ahead won't be easy. Nitish however has made some kind of  beginning, especially by improving the law and order situation,  his attempts  at  increasing the literacy rate, construction of roads. But  the real task for Nitish  and Sushil Modi, begins now. Managing  expectations can be a  huge  task,  ask  Obama.  The  massive  mandate the Bihar voter has given to Nitish,  is in effect a huge challenge to him. Now begins the actual job, getting the investments,  with the formation of  Jharkhand, Bihar  had lost  a whole chunk of it's  mineral wealth. Nitish now needs to make up for that, and more importantly  stem the flow of  Biharis out of  the state.  So while Nitish  deserves to bask in the glow of the victory,  let  us wait and see how he delivers in the future.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Response to Shakuntala Gopinath

I  was given this link to Ms. Shakuntala Gopinath's  wisdom filled  response, to a gay person, who was seeking a solution to his issue.  Watching  the way she  filed her  response, i just  decided to answer her back in my own style. The part in italics  are Ms. Gopinath's response,  the other is mine.

I read your letter. I guess you are close to 28 years old. You work for a private company. You are a loner. Your handwriting is quite feminine and tells me you are an effeminate man . I think one of the following is the reason why you are a homosexual.

I also read your response, and going by it, I can guess your age must be mentally around 10, maybe 13. You are also  pretty much a loser. Since I read your response online, i can't  make out from your hand writing, but from your  response, i can safely assume you have put  your brain, and all values of compassion, understanding, tolerance somewhere in deep freeze. 

1. Homosexuality is a genetic disorder

The jury is still out on this, while there is one school that believes  Homosexuality could be a genetic disorder, another  is not too comfortable with the fact. There have been studies in the past to prove that Homosexuality could be genetic, but again it is still in the realm of speculation. While it can't be said definitively that Homosexuality is not a genetic disorder, it can't be claimed with definitive proof that it is. The fact is the entire issue of Homosexuality is a complex one, and reducing it to a single point called "genetic disorder" makes no sense.

2. Your mother is dead and you were raised by a strict father (or) your father is dead and you were raised by a selfish mother (or) you are younger to 3-4 sisters . You have been exposed at a very young age to lot of women nudity, mostly ugly ones. You got repelled by that without proper understanding.

I can conclude you were raised by a Dad, who  passed on his closed  mindset to you and your family. The poor guy may have been just exposed to ugly nudity, but you Ms.Gopinath, have been exposed only to the ugliest kind of values, that urges one to shut off their minds to what they don't  understand.Homosexuals come from perfectly normal families. In fact many cases i have seen parents wondering where they went wrong, when it turns out their son is a homosexual.

3. You have bad friends who engage in homosexuality and talk about it

I guess you must have had the worst kind of friends.

4. You are irrationally angry towards the world and the society. You just want to contradict, and be rebellious, for the sake of it.

Right  and you  just want to make a statement for the sake of it.

5. You are a half-baked atheist, who doesn’t believe in god. No religion in the world approves homosexuality

You are atheist, you don't believe in God, No Religion approves of homosexuality, so you also must be Homosexual. Sounds like one of those   A belongs to X community, A  has a Beard, so all members of X will have Beards.

6. You have a wrong scientific mentality that leads you to think that you know everything

Better than having no  sensibility at all.

8. You are a trouble maker , anti-social

Basically the biggest trouble to Society, comes from Do gooder Busy Bodies like you.

I completely detest homosexuals. We are all created to lead a life in tune with Nature. Man – Woman relationship is like a relay race, it leads humanity to future generations. It is not just for sex, but it is very important for the unit called family.  We all eat with our mouth, for a change can we try eating with something else? Is that even possible? No.

Stupidity, Bigotry, Ignorance all in one single post. My question is how is this woman even allowed to write.

May be they can adopt,  but let me tell you, kids raised by same-sex couples will end up as criminals or mentally retarded.

So  were  Auto Shankar, Charles Manson, Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy  all  raised  by  same sex couples,err I mean adopted.

If you parents look for a match for you, don’t say No. Let them. Try to find a manly-looking girl, like actress Tabu.

Tabu to me has been one of the most graceful looking actress, when you insinuate manly looking, just shows the warped view of feminity you have.

I will offer you advice for a good life. Will you listen to me, Son?

Thanks but no thanks.

Sorry if  the  post  sounded  a bit too personal, but  the  way the columnist attacked the  respondent  was insensitive.  My  father himself is a doctor, counselling people on sexual problems, the first principle he adopts is  never be over critical. Try to understand their problem, counsel them out of it. Here the columnist,  openly  makes  presumptions about  the  person's  character, family background,  calls him names, THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO OFFER A SOLUTION, DAMN IT.   The  fault lies clearly with the magazine, when counselling on sexual  problems  get  people who have experience in that field, please, people who  have actually spent time with the patients.  This kind of  insensitive, homophobic, shallow ranting, does not solve any issue at all.

Friday, November 19, 2010

An Open Letter to the Media

Dear  Indian Media,

At the outset, i do not want to take any  names, because i feel the issue in Question is not of a few individuals, it is concerning an entire institution. I do not belong to any political party,  nor support any  one either. I am just an ordinary, tax paying 41 year old Indian, making a living, getting along in life.

In the 80's and to a greater part of the 90's, i grew up wanting to be a journalist. I wanted to join the media and be a reporter. People like Arun Shourie, M.J.Akbar, Chitra Subramaniam motivated me.  When i saw the fearless, intrepid  reporters  exposing the scams of the high and mighty, i wanted to be one of them. When i saw men like Rajat Sharma,  Prannoy Roy, Rajdeep Sardesai  take on the high and mighty of  India, i wanted to be one of them.  That was around 20 years back.

But  that  was all in the past, over the last decade or so, what  i have been witnessing is a steady deterioration in the Quality of the media.  Where the media  should have been exposing the  system, it became a part of the system, paid  P.R  pieces masquerading as article, sensationalism  masquerading as investigation became the norm. Instead of the issues  related to the common man,  media  seemed another extension of the Rich and Famous  Show.  Covering weddings of  any two bit actors,  gushing  P.R. pieces about some random celebs,  showcasing  the lifestyles of the elite, seemed to be the norm. This  deterioration was not all of a sudden, but gradual.

The explosion of  news Channels,  just  made things worse. Where the Media,  was supposed to act with sensitivity  in exposing the issues, it turned into a judge, jury and executioner by itself. Lies and Half  truths became the rule rather than the exception.  Instead of  analysis, all we had was a kind of lynch mob mentality, where  the goal was to find a scapegoat, and  then go all out to massacre him or her.  In the name of TRP's, the media  overlooked it's  primary  responsibility and turned into a money making tabloid. People who talked about social responsibility, ethics,  accountability  were dismissed  as "dinosaurs", mocked and ridiculed.

The expose by the OPEN magazine  about  the involvement  of certain media  personell in the Telecom scam, is  a  Watergate moment. It is a moment of truth  for the media. For  long, the media  has been screaming out for  integrity, and  asking people to look into the mirror.  Well now it is your turn to look into the mirror. The picture is not  pretty,  what you see is an image that is  obese, ugly and stinking. But then pretty pictures convey nothing much, it is the Ugly images that convey  far more.  

I have seen  some  senior  journos  Tweeting away furiously about  "Lynch Mob"  mentality. But for the last 10 years, have you folks not been doing the same. Some doctors indulge in corrupt practices, and you have no  qualms in declaring that  the entire medical profession is corrupt.  Some defense personnel are caught in scams, and  you go  screaming about how the Army has become degenerate. Couple of cricketers are caught  fixing  matches, and enough for you to go on about how the entire game has been corrupted. Today when it is your turn to face the heat,  all of  a sudden  its Lynch Mobs and Mud Slinging.  


One of  the esteemed members of  your tribe,  felt  anguished enough to file a defamation suit against a blogger.  But  what about  a young 13 year old girl called  Aarushi, who  was brutally murdered?  You  went on a slander campaign against her,  commenting on her  personal life, you dragged their  parents through muck, murdered their reputations.  Did  you not  sit back and reflect  that what you are doing, will come back some day and haunt you? I  doubt it, considering, you have become so obsessed with playing God. You have become power drunk, arrogant, insensitive to public opinion, so don't  expect us to symphathize with you.

Political  leaders and Govt  officials  are usually corrupt the world over. Even in the West, you have politicians, business men  routinely  caught with their hands in the till.  But they have a vigilant media and a strong  legal  framework which  catches the crooks. The media's function is the Watch Dog of the democracy, but when it turns into a Lap dog, well the nation just goes to the Dogs.

Yes folks, the  heat is fairly on you. Face it. Don't  expect  civility, because for decades many of us  have been seething with anger at  the degeneration, and today when it hits a peak, the anger is bursting out. When people burst out in anger, don't  expect  politeness.  For long you have been demanding, integrity. Now  the  demand is on you,face it up. This is your moment of  reckoning, don't go by a few bad apples, there is something  rotten within your system, clean it up.  Don't  try to sweep that muck  by  uttering vague words of "Ethics"  and "Responsibility".  Sorry  but right now we have lost  faith in you. It is up to you to restore that faith. 

Yours truly,

An Ordinary Indian

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Rakhee Ka Insaaf-Big Boss circus

The decision of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry,  to re schedule the  Rakhee ka Insaaf and Big Bosss 4 shows to the 11 P.M. slot, instead of prime time 9 P.M, has predictably raised tempers amongst the media, and the "Free Speech Ayatollahs"  on  Twitter.  Given a choice, i would love to ban both the shows for their  sheer  stupidity and egregiousness, but  that is a topic of discussion for another days.

What is  amusing is the reaction of  self  styled  "Crusaders for Freedom of Speech",  railing on and on, about the decision, tweeting their usual quota of PJ's. Looking at the hysteria  generated by the "Freedom of Speech is in Danger"  junta, one would think we are just going into a dictatorship phase, where everything is forbidden.  It is another thing, that  we can't  even  make proper use of the freedom we have, but then, talk of responsibility, and  you are immediately branded a dictator,  a conservative, whatever, whatever.

Now to all those  "fuming and frothing"  against the decision, relax, the Government has not banned those shows, they still run on  Television, at 11 P.M.  What the Govt in effect has done, is  the equivalent of grading movies  for  various age groups.  Of course the "Free Speech Ayatollahs"  has another argument again  for this,  it is the prerogative of  NDTV and Colors to do it. Right  Sherlock, only in this case,neither  NDTV nor  Colors,  has even bothered to ponder over the impact of their shows, too busy as they are with their TRP's. The fact is shows like Big Bosss and Rakhee Ka Insaaf  forget about being vulgar or offensive, just cater to the lowest common denominator.

These shows  are the equivalent of the  Roman Circuses of yore, where howling mobs, cheered at the sight of hapless slaves  being torn apart by lions. Well considering the way, Reality Television is going, i won't be surprised  if  we have  such a show too. In this case though the hapless participants( the slaves) are thrown into the  arena, and we have the vultures ready to tear them apart. Yeah i can hear the standard argument "But it is my right to see", oh yeah,  many consider it their divine right  to  kill babies in wombs if they happen to be female,  does not  make it  an acceptable  practice. If  we consider it the right to produce content  catering to the Lowest Common Denominator, then be prepared for the  backlash too.

To the media, you fucking have the free speech. But as they said with great power  comes great responsibility. You have not been exercising  that responsibility, so when the Govt  comes in to enforce it, DON"T FUCKING COMPLAIN, YOU ASKED FOR IT.