Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How Advani has it wrong

LK Advani , Senior leader of the BJP , the main opposition party in India, has just quit in a fit of pique.
The object of his consternation is the elevation of former protege , Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to Chairman of the Election Committee.
By choosing this moment to register his displeasure , Advani is playing the only card he thinks he had. Should the elections go in the favor of the BJP, Modi will no doubt corner the credit, and likely most Members of Parliament will also owe allegiance to Modi(since he is the one handing out the tickets)
But unfortunately the timing just makes Advani look petulant. I don't think anyone can make the case that that an 85 year old Advani is a candidate for Prime Minister or that he has the kind of personal pull anymore with the voters.
All Advani has to do is look back at history to see how he could have got a far more optimal result.
In the late 80's early 90's , as far as vote getting ability went and personal popularity went, LK Advani was probably worth more to the BJP than AB Vajpayee. That Vajpayee became Prime Minister probably had a lot more to do with how the allies felt about Advani vs Vajpayee, than the support each of them had in the BJP. To his credit , Advani was willing to play second fiddle to Vajpayee, so as to not derail the BJP's national ambitions.
Now juxtaposing that with the present times, its fairly obvious that the allies or potential allies will be a lot more at ease with anyone but Modi as PM. And what the allies want will count for a lot unless the BJP can approach the 240-250 mark by itself. You don't have to be a psephologist to conclude the chances of that happening are miniscule to none.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Treating the symptom and not the disease

On December 16th a 23rd student, boarded a bus with a male friend in Delhi. She was brutally gang raped by 6 men ,beaten and finally thrown off the bus naked; left to die.
This triggered off a massive wave of protests in Delhi as well as kicked up a firestorm in the media as well as social media.
The protestors have mostly been demanding more safety for women from the government.
I have read such  absurd slogans bandied about as "Don't tell your daughter not to wear a short skirt, teach your son not to rape".
In a sense, these protests are necessary. Since nothing in India seems to improve unless there is somebody protesting. But in another sense the protests are misguided. The anger is mostly directed at the government, but what happened is likely more a societal problem than a law enforcement one.
I am not a researcher, but I have read that rape is more about power than anything else. Men who are not used to showing respect to women, are probably more likely to react in the manner, when challenged by a woman. No government can teach and impose respect for women. That is something society does.
Brutal crimes such as these are not always restricted by geography, they have occurred in a host of countries.
 They cannot ever be completely prevented.
How do those countries deal with it?
Firstly there is an acknoledgement, that at the end of the day, a crime is committed by an indivdual, not a system, then there is a system in place, to render timely justice.
The larger question here and in millions of other cases, is how efficient is the Criminal Justice system in delivering justice? I know this is not on the minds of most people at this time.
But anything short of fixing that, would be treating the symptom and not the disease.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Medley of Absurdity

The only surviving terrorist from the 26/11 attack on Mumbai has finally been executed.
The coverage in the Indian media has been breathless about 'Operation X'. Every detail of the execution is being laid out with pride, almost like this was the equivalent of the Operation to kill Osama Bin Laden.
As absurd as all this coverage might be, I guess it makes sense when you think about how low the perception of the present UPA government is. Sure this is something to crow about.
Another aspect of absurdity is people bursting crackers and distributing sweets, like this was some joyous occasion. He was always going to hang, the real culprits, the planners are still living their normal lives freely.
Talking heads will likely hold this up as a moment of pride for our democracy, which allowed even a terrorist the right to a free trial and due process. If anything it should be a matter of shame for us, that it took us nearly
4 years and 290 million rupees to convict a man where there was no dearth of evidence, or for that matter no doubt about his guilt.
Finally there are those who believe we should not have executed Kasab.
Here are the reasons advanced:

1. Capital Punishment is barbaric and abhored by world option.
 My Response: There are certain people, who through their acts, give up all right to be treated with humanity and compassion. Would life in prison be enough for Anders Behring Breivik? Other than a misplaced moral superiority , what else is to be gained, by not executing them. Rather than waste precious resources looking after these monster, in prison, I think it is in the interest of the public, to execute them.

2.The death penalty is hardly a deterrent for a jihadi, who is motivated to achieve 
My Response: True. But that is the law. We cannot cater the deterrent to the individual deviant.

3.He would serve as a prosecution witness in any future trial of the LET chief and the planners of the 26/11 attacks.
My Response: So your argument is keep him around for a trial that will never happen? Short of coercive action on India's part or giving Pakistan Kashmir, these individuals are never going on trial in India or anywhere else. As with most of India's enemies, its best to wait for time to take its toll, on them.

In conclusion. We should not be patting ourselves on our backs for doing what should have been done.
If I may adress the professional bleeding heart liberal, guys, really , this was the worst possible moment to stick your neck out for your principles. Its not like you guys have terrible ideas all the time. Its just that your timing sucks. And you have terrible ideas most of the time. 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

No room on the ticket

As the Presidential Elections 2012 comes to its conclusion on Nov 6th, I am struck by how the choices being presented to the American people are so much fewer than they truly deserve.
As there are only 2 platforms, all manners of political opinion, are forced to choose just 2 sides.
So if you can't stomach President Obama's economic approach, you are stuck with the Tea Party loonies , and the "Rape is the will God", nut jobs.
I think President Obama is the more likable and relatable individual. I also don't believe Mitt Romney is severely conservative as he would like us to believe.
Since the minorities are always likely to vote democrat, the only way to win for the Republican's is to appeal to amongst others, the extreme right wing Tea party , no abortion types.
President Obama, on the other hand, seems to have sensed the disillusionment in his liberal base, and has focused his attentions there.
I didn't hear all of his speech accepting the nomination, but the one part the stuck was "We will leave nobody behind"
What is that but rhetoric, and coming to think of it, socialist rhetoric? If you believe this nation believes in the principle of personal responsibility,   do we really have a choice in the matter?   Each individual presumably makes his own fate.
I don't have the numbers to back me up, but there are a lot of people in this country who are liberal on social issues, and conservative on economic ones. Sadly these people are underrepresented on both tickets.
I don't envy the task of the American voter this November.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Reply to "Why India will remain a nation of losers"

When I first read the title , I assumed automatically it must be by a Pakistani. Surely no one else had that much against a nation of 1.2billion people, many of whom we can agree are not losers.
I have to admit reading such self loathing drivel, made we want to start writing, in response  without actually reading the whole thing.
Further reading made me realize, the author had suffered the embarrassment of watching Indian television that made a big deal about India winning a silver, along with some expat friends.
I don't know Shoban Saxena or anything about him, but since he took the liberty of labeling all people who call themselves Indian losers, I will take some liberties as well.
Shoban is likely one of those idiots who turned up for candle lit marches post 26/11, but then did not bother to vote, to actually change the government responsible.
Shoban, my easily embarrassed friend, your embarrassment was really no different from having to explain to an expat friend, why the hero and heroine in a hindi movie break into song and dance with a horde of extras at every given opportunity.
You have one thing right , that sporting glory does not make a nation great. But you have so many other things wrong.
Instead of providing any kind of cogent analysis on why India lags behind in sports, you just went off on a tangential rant , that encompassed some pop psychology with a liberal dose of socialism.
Dismissing Saina Nehwal's achievement as no achievement at all, is not just wrong , but entirely mean spirited.
Saina Nehwal, went into the games as world number 5. Which meant , she had a realistic shot at a medal, but to do that she would have to play above her current ranking. She lost in the semis to Wang Yihan, world number 1, someone she has not beaten in 6 previous meetings. I see no shame in that. Medal or no medal, Saina is a winner, for what she has achieved thus far. I suggest you peruse her wikipedia page.
As far as the rest of your rant related to Vijay Kumar. It seems you are pissed of at the media. Thats ok, the media like any other commercial venture, markets what sells. So if Sania Mirza, sells more than a Vijay Kumar, what can realistically be done about that?
Now to do what you should have been doing. Offering some boring but honest analysis of why India lags in sports.
To win in sport at the olympic level, you need
1. Money
2. Organization
4.In the absence of all these a totalitarian regimes , that can pull out all stops in pursuits of medals will do just fine.

Does India remotely have a sporting culture? Cricket is a national embarrassment. Imagine being world champs in a sport contested by 12 other nations.
Michael Phelps did not happen in isolation, there was a Mark Spitz before him, and there will be many after him. Who are our sporting heroes?
Our Olympic level athletes likely have world class facilities. But what of the 5-10 year olds just taking up sport across the country(or not for the lack of equipment and facilities).
Comparing India to China in sport is plain stupid. I doubt any of us would approve of the State telling us what to do with our kids lives, which is what happens with kids identified for future sporting glory in China.