Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Caste-ing (c)ouch!

The caste system that was prevalent in the Indian society granted different privileges to a person based oh their caste. This is similar to the path-breaking proposal earlier by your truly. So, it essentially meant that if you are a low caste, you can not drink from the same well, pray in the same temple, eat certain things, what not. So, one would naturally assume that being a low caste kinda sucked, right?

WRONG! Boys and Girls, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the world of reservations! A new ideology where the ‘in’ thing is to be an outcast!

How? Very simple! If you belong to a particular category, you can get whatever job you want, go to whatever institution with a fraction of the effort! And yes, you can compete in the general category as well if you’re half as good. If you don’t get through, there’s the backdoor. This backdoor is called reservation.

Now that the concept is clear, I’d like to introduce you to a disturbing trend. Despite a ceiling of 50% (WTF??!!) on reservation, a state like Tamilnadu has 69% reservation. Another interesting fact is that 87% of the state’s population qualifies for it! That means that 7 out of every 10 buses that ply in Tamilnadu are driven by someone who didn’t ‘quite’ know how to drive! Scary? You bet it is!

Unfortunately, the sad part is that 13% of the population has to work twice or thrice as hard to get into the same college or job. But who cares? Even an illiterate can do the math – 87 votes is more than 13.

Seats are reserved for Schedules Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Castes (based chiefly on caste at birth) in varying ratio by the central government and state government. This caste is decided based on birth, and can never be changed. While a person can change his religion, and his economic status can fluctuate, the caste is permanent. In central government funded higher education institutions, 22.5% of available seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (Dalit) and Scheduled Tribe (Adivasi) students (15% for SCs, 7.5% for STs). This reservation percentage has been raised to 49.5%, by including an additional 27% reservation for OBCs. In AIIMS 14% of seats are reserved for SCs, 8% for STs. In addition, SC/ST students with only 50% scores are eligible. This ratio is followed even in Parliament and all elections where few constituencies are earmarked for those from certain communities. For example, In Andhra Pradesh, 25% of educational institutes and government jobs for BCs, 15% for SCs, 6% for STs and 4% for Muslims. (That's 50%!)

And something very interesting is happening in Rajasthan as you read this: the Gujjar community wants to avail reservations and are fighting (and violently at that) to be called Scheduled Castes! To put that in perspective that we can identify, it’s like Amitabh Bachhan wanting to be a porn star so that his son can get a government job! Yes. It is that ridiculous!

Is there a way out? IMHO, the only way out is education. The whole “I will not send my son to school, but I want him to be a CEO” shit won’t fly… What we need is a paradigm shift. Reservation is just an excuse for being mediocre. According to the Sachar Commission, the Indian Muslim is not being provided the right education. And according to a related report, the Indian Christian has the highest literacy and the lowest employment rate. I agree with the BJP when they say that the reports have been manipulated for electoral reasons.

So, where will this end? I think the constitution should declare that all Indians are Scheduled Castes. And remove religion from the equation.

If you are still wondering why we can not co-exist peacefully, it’s because we have been divided by OUR constitution and played on this ever since by OUR leaders!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Read No Evil...

Caution: Longish, severely MCPish and anti-Feminazzi post

Do we really (like really, really) need Taslima back?

Taslima Nasreen, described as “a physician, a writer, a radical feminist, human rights activist and a secular humanist” by her official website, is craving to come back to Calcutta. The literary circles and activist groups are crying hoarse about her plight. Why? For those new to the newest poster-child for freedom of speech, here’s why…

Excerpts from Wikipedia: (What would we ever be without Wikipedia…)

Taslima Nasreen is a Bengali Bangladeshi ex-physician turned feminist author who describes herself as a secular humanist. From a modest literary profile in the late 1980s, she achieved a meteoric rise to global fame by the end of the twentieth century, for her severe criticism of Islam and of religion in general.”

Autobiographical books of Taslima raised controversy not only because of her criticisms of Islam but also for narratives involving the private lives of people. Taslima candidly described her sexual relationship with a number of named persons. She also touched upon her relationship with her four Bangladeshi husbands. Published in 2003, Ka, her third autobiographical book, was the first to raise such issues.”

Ka, published in Bangladesh, is a self-censored version of Dwikhonditp published in India. Dwikhonditp is said to contain critical comments on the Prophet Muhammad (according to Islamic Sharia law, criticism of Muhammad is haraam and punishable by execution, provided Sharia law is in force). The latter was also banned in India by the Calcutta High Court in the state of West Bengal on 18 November, 2004.”

Now we know why she is in exile for the last 14 years. The poor lady can not enter her own country; leave alone any country with a semblance of religion… She was unceremoniously evicted from Calcutta after fierce protests. Before that, she was assaulted during a book release in Hyderabad. She was then taken to Delhi and kept in “safe custody” fearing attempts on her life. (BTW, there is a prize on her head… In March 2007, the "All India Ittehad Millat Council" of Bareilly U.P offered 500,000 rupees for her beheading.)

All this just for being promiscuous? Or for publishing those escapades? Or, is it just because she is a raving anti-Islamist? Maybe because she criticized The Prophet? What if she wanted more money? Vanity? Fame? Attention?

We shall never know. But what we do know is that she is ‘longing’ to return to Kolkata and is wondering why the government won’t let her. She innocently asks, “Kolkata is where I had set up my home. Can't I be allowed by the West Bengal government to return to my city?” I’ll hazard a guess – The Government and the people of West Bengal don’t F#@%ing want her back. And what makes her think that India will extend her Visa? Or will we see another “Ka” about her attempts to get her Visa extended? Hmmm… Her popularity abroad is also quite evident – “In 2005, her attempt to read an anti-war poem entitled "America" to a large Bengali crowd attending the North American Bengali Conference at Madison Square Garden resulted in her being booed off the stage

What would you do if you were in her place? How will you fight this cruel, cruel world? If you ask me, I would shut the f@#k up! I never, ever kiss and tell all. I would pray to Allah to forgive my sins and publicly apologize for my indiscretions with the pen (and whatever).

Because, my dear lady, we Indians are forgiving. But we are also sensitive people who fear God. You may have had experiences that were unfortunate. But don’t blame them on The Prophet, or The Paramatma, or The Heavenly Father. Because in India, we live by a simple code: Love your Country, honor your Gods, and respect your elders. Honestly, we don’t really care whether you believe in the same God, but we will kick your @$$ back to Bangladesh if you disrespect ours. And going by the love your people have for you, you really don’t want to go back there!

1) This is one post I sincerely pray my wife doesn’t read. She’s a bit left of center I’m more center of right…
2) I know you may say that I’m still being ‘analy Catholic’ (a good friend once remarked so on another issue) and a bigot… Maybe I am :(
3) Freedom of speech and slander are two entirely different things. If you call your dog my name, what stops me from naming a bitch after your mother and leave her out with street dogs and writing about it huh? I’m sorry, that’s not freedom of speech! [I am using this as an example and I do not intend to infringe on that copyright]
4) If you’ve read so far, thanks. Dude, you really have nothing better to do? *LOL*

Friday, May 16, 2008

The IPL saga...

Down and out? Faaar from it!

Well, if you’ve written off the Deccan Chargers, think again? Does your team really have a confirmed berth in the Semis? Think again! We shall decide who will get to the semis. So, you want your team through? Don’t piss the Chargers off!

They say that the most dangerous man is the one who has nothing to lose. So watch out for the Deccan Chargers. In a few days, we shall be at the bottom of the points table. In true corporate style, Dr Mallaya is flogging the dead horse to get up and win. And he has managed it with some of his companies. Even in Sports, the Force India team is performing much better than what was expected. I am positive that they will land among the points this season.

Now back to IPL. I’ve heard some rumors about these matches being fixed. Pratibha sent me this link that strengthens this theory. After all, why would SRK spend money to distribute 20,000 KKR style helmets in Mumbai for the final? Prats also believes that the final will be between KKR and Mumbai Indians. Food for thought, huh?

The exit of the Australian stars, the return of Tendulkar and Shoaib, Shoaib taking 4 wickets in his maiden match, all this sounds kinda scripted to me. This, in addition to the highly unprobable event of Gilly, Afridi, Gibbs, Rohit Sharma, Styris, Venu all not performing in the same match. And also the fact that Asif sits out when he’s not bowling!

Before you rubbish my claims, compare the script elements to any Ekta Kapoor type soaps:
Family drama (Brother Vs Brother): David Vs Mike Hussey, Irfan Vs Yousuf Pathan
The patriarch: SRK/Mallaya/Ambani
The matriarch: Preity Zinta
Sex: The Cheerleaders (not in my opinion, though)
Sissy boys: The cheerboys… (yuck)
The taunts and stare downs: Sledging and more…
Return from dead: Shoaib, Tendulkar
The Slap!: Bhajji and Sree Santh
Tears: Sree Santh

I can keep going on…

Being a Deccan Chargers fan, I will try my best to fuel the rumor. I would also go on to suggest that the Jaipur blasts were planned and executed by IPL so that team Jaipur can exit without match-fixing allegations. If the intelligence wings of our law enforcement need any indication of the next blast, they need to think of a successful team without a tycoon or star backing…

Enough said for today.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Deccan Chargers Wallpapers

I still keep asking myself, "How on Earth could this get so wrong?". What we have here is a team that has:

Two of the top three run getters (Sharma 296 and Gilly 308)
The batsman with the maximum sixes (Gilly 16)
Two out of five top individual scores (Symonds 117 and Gilly 109)
The highest partnership (Gily & VVS 155 not out)
and the no. two wicket taker (RP Singh 12)

And DC would have been scraping the bedrock if it wasn't for Royal Challengers' old age institution. But you know what? I still am a fan.

But when??

Thank God for Gilly!

Sixes galore with both bat and ball!

Too silent, too long :(

Somebody say the magic words and release them from the spell!

All images owned by IPL and Deccan Chargers (

Friday, May 9, 2008

Feeling Artsy?

Image 1

Image 2

When does something cross the line from artsy to obscene? Why is a nude painting artistic, whereas half-clad cheerleading is obscene? I am referring to this article where Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul noted that the complainants, “seem to be of the type who wouldn't go to any art gallery or have any interest in contemporary art because if they did, they would know that there are many artists who embrace nudity as part of their contemporary art."

About this time last year, we had a scandal involving Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty. The court in Rajasthan ordered the arrest of the duo under IPC Section 294 (committing obscene act in a public place). What really happened was that Gere kissed Shetty on her cheeks. Thrice! The whole nation went up in arms against the incident. Recently, we had the cheerleader issue in the IPL. In both the above cases, the people in question had more than enough clothing to cover ‘objectionable’ areas.

Not so in MF Hussain’s case. He painted Hindu deities and Mother India in the nude. The kind of action that could get you fatwa’d. How different is he from the Dutch artist who cartooned The Prophet? At-least the cartoonist had sense to clothe and add a turban to the cartoon in question.

Oh I get it. The cartoonist hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims. Whereas, according to the ruling yesterday, MF was just being a ‘contemporary’ artist. I stand corrected. Depicting Goddesses in the nude is freedom of expression… How dumb of me!

Coming back to the Judge’s comment, I still have not understood ‘contemporary’ art. I hate modern art. I think inkblots have more character than most of the obscenely expensive stuff that looks worse than the paintings of a kindergarten kid high on LSD, let lose with a paintbrush. I fail to see art in them, and I have tried hard. Look at these few exhibits…
Exhibit 1
Exhibit 2
Exhibit 3
Exhibit 4

Hell! I can do better than that!

And just in case you were wondering, the first image is ‘Fishbowl’ by a kindergarten kid and the second by Picasso called ‘Still Life’. To me the fishbowl looks more artsy than the still life. But, then again, that’s me.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Is it too late?

I had once mentioned in a column, “Nothing rattles the Americans more than pictures of naked, starving brown kids”.

This has long been an ace up the pseudo-Christian groups’ sleeve to raise money – An emotionally charged evangelist inviting the wrath of God on the sinners, interspersed with pictures of brown children. Out come the wallets and greenbacks of which the children in question don’t see a cent.

Considering the present circumstances, “Nothing rattles the Americans more than pictures of well-clothed, well-fed brown kids”.

This image is now being blamed for the food crisis in the west. If George Bush and Condoleezza Rice are to be believed, the current global food crisis is because of the changing eating habits of the Indian middle-class (and the Chinese, to an extent). And to mess it all up, there is currently a hold on food grain export from India. So, what now that food is becoming as important a commodity in the global markets as petrol? Will we see a food-fight? (No pun intended)

But one man saw it all coming. And in his humble way, he tried to make a difference (from as far as I have experienced) for about two decades. He shares his first name with that of the current US President. He is the one man I love most in the world. He’s my dad.

I haven’t written about dad in this column primarily because I can’t do him justice. Daddy is from a middle-class family that came up from modest beginnings. I have had the privilege of close interaction with him and his siblings who worked hard, dispensed their duties, and brought up their children with good morals. All they ever wanted were educated children who did their duty. Their duties to their family, society, country, and the world.

But another important life lesson that he wished that I learn was about living within their means. To save for the rainy day and to invest the extra rupee. He would’ve been a hit in politics, but he is too honest for that. He could’ve been a writer, but he was too straight-forward for his times. He could have been a lot of things, but instead, he chose to be the world’s best dad.

The earliest warning that I could recollect was his diktat that we should serve ourselves only portions that we could finish. Kochu, my younger sis, learnt this the hard way… I still remember the look on her face when he had insisted that she finish the cauliflower dish that was on her plate. Now that I try and recollect his expression, I think he wanted to say, “If you don’t finish whatever’s on your plate, you’re wasting food. Then one day, 'Someone' will fall short of food and they’ll bomb you!”.

Only if his advice was heard by all. Live within your means. As a race, we haven’t saved anything for a rainy day, invested enough for renewable sources of energy. Instead, we chose to contest elections and write to criticize.

But then, not every country can make a Dad like mine!

And one thing’s for sure – If we don’t start looking like people in the picture, we need to be scared. Very scared. I suggest it’s time we started to save a meal each day so that the ‘mighty’ don’t feel threatened enough to use their twitchy bomb-fingers on us.