The Politics of Indian Politics

Ashok Chakra - Emblem of India

One of the good things about being a blogger is that I can always pen down(keyboard down ?) my thoughts whenever I want to. I can write about a subject and give my opinion on it. Hell, I think even having an opinion is one of the greatest benefits of blogging.

Those who know me, know that I don’t really care much about Politics. Politics, for the most part, bores me. And when it doesn’t bore me, I find it too predictable.

But, the last few months have even made me take notice.

First the hulla over the Nuclear deal, then the Amarnath controversy in Srinagar, then the Amarnath controversy in Jammu, then back to Srinagar and then Back to Jammu. In between all this, Raj thakeray managed to bring badass Mumbai to its knees – More than any terrorist attack. Oh yeah, the Nuclear deal tried to rear it’s head once in between again but that didn’t provide a lot of masala, so no one bothered much

And how can I forget the Singur crisis. Mamata Bannerjee and her troupe and the excellent show they put up. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a couple of dozen incidents around the country but this should be the gist of it.

I’ve written about the Nuclear Deal earlier and my status quo on the deal still stands. I understand how the deal is good for the country but I still don’t understand how  is it bad. I understand that the left and the BJP are concerned that India will not be able to test any more Nuclear weapons after the deal, and there was an internal US govt. memo that was leaked which also said this, but how many Nuclear weapons is the BJP govt. planning to test anyway.

The last time (before the deal) we tested a weapon, India was virtually ostracized from the international community. All aide was more or less cut and the US put sanctions on US. Isn’t that the exact same scenario which the left/bjp is fearing will happen now (after the deal) ? So, what has changed ? We couldn’t clearly conduct tests then and we can’t conduct them now ?

International politics is dirty business, I agree, but is internal politics any cleaner ? The Amarnath board controversy is probably the ugliest political game I’ve ever witnessed in the country. The ugliest ever, although I’m assuming given my young age ( !! ), I’m missing out some even juicier political games played in the past.

The controversy basically started over a piece of land which  was being used by the Hindus during the 2 month long Amarnath yatra. Every year since the last couple of decades thousands makeshift tents are put up for pilgrims who stay here on their way to the Amarnath caves. The government this year decided that since the Amarnath shrine board is pretty rich, they’ll transfer this forest land, which was not being used for any other purpose anyway, to the shrine board and ask them to make permanent structures for the pilgrims to stay and stuff.

Now, as soon as the government spoke about permanent structures, all hell broke lose. Seperatist parties and leaders started calling this as a crime against the muslims and the people of the valley and basically started protesting that the government is transferring Kashmiri land to the Hindus. There were protests all over the valley and over this controversy the Chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir had to resign. The government took back the order.

Now, the Hindus in Jammu (assisted by the BJP, of course) started protesting demanding for the government to revoke the order which revoked the land transfer. The protests this time went for another couple of weeks. Well, the government now spoke to leaders of both the sides and declared that they’ve come to a solution. The solution was to give the ownership of the land for about two months each year during the yatra to the Shrine board and the rest of the time, the land is with the forest department as usual. That stopped the protests to a bit, but have the so called seperatists and the other protesting people realised that this is exactly the arrangement that was there before this whole controversy started ?

Th seperatists (led by the PDP party) took this whole controversy to stage yet another Pakistan Chalo (Walk to Pakistan) drama, but atleast they’re honest about their intentions. The BJP, on the other hand, will never claim responsibility for what they started in Jammu. They’re happy supporting the hinduists from the sidelines and waiting for the next general elections, while they all kill themselves fighting over something they don’t even fully understand.

Do you guys really blame me for not being interested in Politics ? And I haven’t even started talking about Raj Thakeray and Mamata Bannerjee yet. Oh, the bihar floods and the attacks on Christians in Orissa.

Friday Linkfest #1

So, I’ve been reading a lot. Two thousand seven hundred and ninety seven items in the last month, or so Google Reader tell me.

While I’m at it, I decided that I might as well share some stuff with you guys. After all, reading is a good thing, right ?

Here is a round up of some stuff that I’ve been reading from around the web.

Humour

Close shave with insurance

Sarcastic and Funny account of a person’s struggle to get a medical checkup done to get an insurance.

Travel

Experiencing an Asia beyond China and India

Experience Asia in the Big Apple.

Post-Olympics Beijing To Traffic: “Welcome Back!”

The olympics are over and the traffic and jams are back to this large Asian metropolis.

Technology

What would I do if I was Steve Balmer

Interesting thoughts on helping Microsoft get on the SaaS bandwagon.

Yet Another MSI-Wind review

Those netbooks have started to look really interesting. Read on for a 10-week review of the Akoya Mini aka. MSI Wind.

Email is Dead and the Counter-Argument

Ah !! The age old debate. Question to all reading this: Does anyone of you think that Email is dead ?

Life

Terrorism in India – Paying the Price for Long Time Complacency

Well thought out post on the problem of terrorism in India.

iPhone 3G in India – Vodafone and Airtel

IPHONE 3G

So, Vodafone is finally ready to launch the iPhone 3G in India. Vodafone in an SMS to all their customers announced this yesterday.

We are delighted to announce that the iPhone 3G will be available in India from August 22, 2008
It will be available in 8GB & 16GB models, priced at Rs 31,000 and Rs 36,100 respectively.

INR 31000 equals approximately $600 and I think that’s quite steep and at this price there are a lot of other alternatives available in the market. But, what do I know. Fanboys will be fanboys. I’m sure the first batch of iPhones will be a sellout and Apple will be happily adding lots more money to their account.

The Boy Who Left Home to find out about the Shiver

The Boy Who Left Home to find out about the Shiver

How many times have you watched FRIENDS, Star Trek, DDLJ or your wedding video. Ever wondered why there are these things that we go back to again and again. The logical reason is that either they are entertaining every time you watch them OR there are some memories associated with them that you RE-LIVE each and every time you watch those videos.

Well, I have one of those awesome memories about watching “The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About The Shivers”. Based on a not-so-well-known tale from the Brothers Grimm, this is the tale of a boy who has never known fear. Every year, from the time I was 8 till 11, when my cousins and I would gang up together during summer holidays at my grandparents’ house, this was our number one choice to watch. It was pretty spooky & the castle scenes scared the heck out of me when I was little, but were a lot of fun.

Recently I watched the video again and it was fun to look back at what I found scary then ;).

This is one childhood memory of mine I will always cherish.

Indian Politicians and the Nuclear Deal – The left (and right) of it

The last few days have been pretty exciting for the Indian media. The govt. (or the lack of it) has been making a lot of news lately. The Left and the BJP has been holding press conferences right, left (pun intended) and center (against the central govt., of course) and providing enough fodder for the mainstream news channels, newspapers and Indian bloggers, like me.

I’ve been trying to follow the saga of the Nuclear deal since a long time and I still don’t understand why is the Left against it. Is it only because the deal is being signed with the US of A ? And why is the BJP against it ? Only because the deal is being signed by the ruling coalition government ?

What I do understand is that the deal would ensure that India is able to purchase fuel for its Nuclear reactors. Which would mean that that India can build more civilian reactors and atleast solve the perpetual power crisis in our cities to a certain degree. Would the Left please care to answer how is that a bad thing ? Do they have any other solution to the energy problem that India faces ?

Sagarika Ghose has written an excellent article on how relevant the Left is to a modern India and I tend to agree with her viewpoint. I cannot believe that such politicians can even be allowed to exist. I understand India is a democracy and the politicians have a right to be, well, politicians, but seriously, there should be some laws against the Left parties !

Would someone care to let me know in the comments how the nuclear deal is bad for India. I haven’t seen any coverage of the views of the media on the deal. All the various channels/newspapers have been doing is reporting stupid politicians talking in favor for or against the deal. Can we have some real views please ?

The Dirty Car index for measuring Pollution !

I’ve been reading a lot on environmental issues lately, or rather a lot is being written about the environment in the media these days. There have been hundreds of articles, videos, blog posts and surveys done to find out the most polluted city in the world and the Indian media is not far behind. In almost every Indian survey/article I’ve come across, Delhi holds the dubious distinction of being the most polluted city in India.

I live in Bangalore and have at one point or the other in my life, lived in or travelled to various other cities in India like Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and a lot of other cities. Now, according to the surveys mentioned above, the level of pollution in any of these cities is nothing to be proud of. While Delhi comes right at top, most cities in India are just as bad, even if they don’t get mentioned in media.

If you ask me, I never know what to make out of these pollution surveys. How do they measure the amount of pollution in a city and how does that affect me ? I’m sure 90% of the consumers of these surveys don’t understand the numbers. I’ve never had a problem living in any of the cities I’ve mentioned and in fact, I think I’m doing quite well, health wise.

To make it easier for people like you and me I’ve devised a simple index, henceforth referred to as the DC/DV index (which stands for the Dirty Car/Dirty Vehicle Index).

Continue reading “The Dirty Car index for measuring Pollution !”