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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

General Elections-2014: A Saga Of The Three Ps!

Five polling phases of the 9-phase General or Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) Elections-2014 have been completed. The sixth phase polling is being conducted on Thursday, the 24th of April. In this phase Mumbai too goes to poll with its six Lok Sabha seats. In this last phase of polling in Maharashtra there are 13 other seats including in Thane, Raigad, Nashik and Jalna-Aurangabad. When Maharashtra and Mumbai go to poll the malady of voter apathy comes in naturally since voting has been consistently low in these parts over the decades. Talking particularly about Mumbai the normal voting percentage has been around just 42% taking all kinds of poll into account. This General Elections things seem to be improving quite a bit, but about Mumbai fears are still there. Only tomorrow the scenario here would be clear. Anyway, we will come to this first P of our subject that is percentage of voting later.

The other two Ps are the absolute low points of this General Elections. First is personalized. Leaders of all political parties are getting extremely personal in their attacks and counterattacks. No kin of any candidate seems to be safe anymore. If someone is attacked for his rediscovered or existing wife then some other is attacked for the lack of a one. Similarly husbands, mothers, sons and even in-laws of candidates are being brought in to score more over one another as far as ‘antics’ or ‘the lack of it’ of their kin are concerned. The hapless voters are the mute spectators of such abusive missiles and they are at a total loss to understand what sort of political gains are being made out of these. We had already mentioned in these pages earlier that this time mutual attacks have plummeted to never-before lows and mere name-calling is driven out as an unnecessary detail of the past. Now the circus has stopped to be entertaining.

The most sinister P of our narrative is polarization. All political parties, major or ally or bully, are shamelessly indulging in the politics of communalism. One after the other political leaders in almost all parts are making hate speeches and divisive and inflammatory comments aimed mainly at polarizing the two major religious communities of the country. Their agenda or so-called manifestos are no longer national. They promise ‘things’ to be done for a particular community if voted to power. Those who want to come back to power are promising the opposite. ‘Revenge’ is also emerging as the underlying theme of ‘repairing’ things. Bans or restrictions have been imposed by the Election Commission of India and FIRs have been lodged too in some cases. But the leaders know well how ineffective these measures finally prove to be and so are hardly caring for these. Voters must take into account this unprecedented ‘low’ for the largest democracy of the world while exercising their democratic right.

The only highlight represented by one of the three Ps is percentage of voting thanks to the novel initiatives of the Election Commission and awareness campaigns. General Elections-2014 records high to very high voting percentages ranging from 70% to around 86% in various states of India that have voted so far. In Maharashtra the percentage has improved to around 65%, a 20% increase in some areas, so far. However, it is still low compared to other states or regions. More positively, in the Naxal or Maoists-affected regions citizens have voted fearlessly in large numbers.

Normally, high voting turnout is considered as an anti-incumbency wave. That is to say, people want a change in ruling political parties. However, due to the never-before polarization visibly obvious in the country some experts would like to ascribe this high percentage to polarization. This means that maybe due to desperation voters of a particular community want to ensure ‘their’ candidates win. We hope this is not the case. We hope the people of India are voting for an authentic and meaningful change. Amen!  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crimes Against Women: Bollywood Villains Walking Out Real!

Even C-grade Bollywood (Hindi film industry based in Mumbai or earlier Bombay) movies show a kind of stark realism in terms of depraved, regressive and malignantly anti-woman villains. If you have been following Bollywood movies for at least the last three decades you must have noticed villains who when confronted with rapes committed (on screen) by their son/sons or male relatives normally say with pride, “He is a boy only…they commit mistakes man, please understand. In my prime time I too had done a lot of merrymaking. I’ll even burn this city to save my son!” These villains are dirty rich mostly being smugglers or business tycoons or plain dons and they carry the concerned ‘screen’ police force in their pockets. They do get punished in the end by the heroes, but after all the gory regressive oppressive chauvinistic feudalistic details shown gloriously by the filmmakers who definitely seem to pander to a sizeable male section of our society. However, you can hardly deny the ‘realism’ being portrayed with ‘painstaking’ details, particularly after you take notice of what has been happening in certain states of India like Uttar Pradesh in the perspective of the on-going General Elections of the country. This particular state of Uttar Pradesh has always been feudalistic and openly anti-woman—a point that we have mentioned here on several occasions.  Stiff opposition to Women Reservation Bill came from this state only cutting across all leaders of all political parties. Having easy access to modern weapons this kind of feudalistic practices is the most dangerous one and therefore we can say that Uttar Pradesh along with few other northern states are the worst possible enemies of womankind on our planet earth.

Veteran political leader of Uttar Pradesh, ex-Chief Minister and father of the present Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav  is the Samajwadi or Socialist Party (SP) of India Supremo, though his party is mostly full of anti-social or feudalistic elements. He seems to be severely pained by fast track courts delivering death or life sentences to horrible rapists in Delhi, in Mumbai and in other places of the country in the aftermath of the barbaric Delhi gangrape and the amendments in the criminal law that followed.  While asking for votes in an election campaign this great leader commented on the crimes of rape, “Boys are just boys…they naturally make mistakes. They should not be punished with death. Our party opposes the strict laws and the possible misuse of the same.” A national outrage erupted and even after that the great leader refused to apologize, so entrenched in his ‘beliefs’. What is more, his counterpart in Maharashtra, Abu Azmi, hardly caring for the outrage or sentiments blatantly decided to add to it, although one may say dictating a little more ‘balanced’ view. In an interview to a newspaper this fittingly ‘socialist’ leader reportedly said, “You see…the rapist is punished with death because he is guilty. But the woman or the rape survivor is equally guilty, and so both should be hanged. In fact all women, married or unmarried, having sex with a man with consent or being forced should be hanged.” His ‘solution’ encompasses hanging of the rape survivor too if not already murdered.

Well, this is the way our ‘leaders’ think of or about women. This abysmally shameful exploitative and perverted mentality prevails despite the national reawakening, despite the movement for prevention of crimes against women and despite the stricter laws being formulated. What can we do? We must carry on with our crusade nationwide and at this moment of elections we must vote against all such depraved animals of our society. India, the holy land of the Shakti cult or the revered Goddesses, we must rise up to the challenge, and restore and ensure full respect and complete safety for women.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Humor: Cash on the Cards!

Our friend Mr. Thames Pond often gets bogged down by his multiple credit card accounts. He tries to get rid of some now and then, but he gets into more traps and liabilities. On the top of it he gets bombarded with new and newer card offers. Due to his inability to refuse ladies he falls into the traps cleverly set by the card executives. He is particularly scared of the wily executive called Moneycanny whose name he cannot even clearly pronounce. He is getting another call from her now. As usual he prepares to get bold with her this time...

“Hello! Can I speak to Mr. Pond please?”
“This is Pond. Thames Pond.”
“Good Morning, Mr. Pond. This is Moneycanny. Can I have two minutes of your time please?”
“Err…Ms…Regarding what?”
“Well, Sir, there is a special cash back offer for our most valued credit card holders like you.”
“Okay, tell me how do I get the cash?”
“The highest percentage cash back will be on your utility bill payments like telephone, mobile, electricity bills. This means you will regularly get some cash back every month. Then you will also get cash back on other transactions though at lower rates, but never less than one percent.”
“But I do not want to make any payments.”
“Sorry? You don’t make any bill payments or pay for other purchases?”
“I mean I don’t want to make any payment to you for this offer.”
“Oh… Mr. Pond! There is no such payment involved in this offer.”
“You mean to say I will keep on getting the cash back on just like that!”
“Definitely Sir, these are benefits for our privileged customers only. There is no annual fee and your lifetime free card is still valid with this offer.”
“Are you sure? What about hidden costs?”
“Mr. Pond, I assure you there is absolutely no hidden cost.”
“Ok then, I go game for some high cash!”
“Thanks and congratulations, Mr. Pond. I am enrolling you for this offer. Our executive will confirm your status through a phone call within twenty four hours. There is a onetime activation charge of a thousand bucks which will reflect on next month’s credit card statement.”
“I told you I am not going to make any payment to you for this offer. I asked you a thousand times about the charges. Now what’s this?”
“Sir, this is not a fee! Only an activation charge! Considering the cash backs you are sure to get continually this charge is just nothing.”
“My dear Ms…err…whatever you’d like to call this. You are making me pay thousand bucks and this will take me my lifetime to get that back through your cash backs. Sorry, I told you. Take me out of it.”
“Mr. Pond, please consider again. This offer ceases tomorrow.”
“It ceases right now for me, milady! …No payments please!”
“Thank you very much for your time Mr. Pond. Have a good day.”
“Thank you!” (click of phone disconnected)… “Ha! Ha! Ha! Got you this time, baby! Hurray!”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IPL Vs BCCI Vs Cricket: Days After The Supreme Court Interim Order!

The world knows India as a cricket-craziest nation and its tremendous fan-following for the game; the world understands India’s potential as the ultimate market for cricket for all formats of the game; the world acknowledges the Indian cricket Board (BCCI) as the richest one with influence and hold running effortlessly through to the very top and the world sees the IPL as India’s answer to the football league and as one of the largest sports tournaments benefiting everyone’s coffers from cricket owners, officials and players. Besides, for the IPL there are huge players’ interests, particularly budding cricketers, and numerous stakeholders cutting across India. All these factors concerning the ‘spirit of the game of cricket’ finally seemed to have shaped the Supreme Court of India order as a somewhat ‘favorable’ one for the BCCI considering the circumstances preceding it.

On the historic day of 25th March, 2014 the Supreme Court asked BCCI Chief N Srinivasan to resign giving him 48 hours to do so. The power-obsessed Chief did not do so and as on earlier occasions offered to step aside till the inquiry is over. Sticking to the ‘very serious allegations in the sealed envelope of the Mudgal report’ observation the Supreme Court came down heavily on the BCCI on Thursday, the 27th of March, in a proposal putting the future of the seventh version of the IPL in great peril. It proposed cricket’s living legend Sunil Gavaskar take over as the interim Chief of BCCI; the bench also proposed to pass an order barring India Cements (company owned by N Srinivasan) officials from getting involved with the functioning of BCCI after senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Cricket Association of Bihar, pointed out that many such officials including India Captain MS Dhoni, Vice President of India Cements, are at present part of the BCCI team and it proposed the suspension of Srinivasan or India Cements owned Chennai Super Kings (CSK) along with Rajasthan Royals (RR) from IPL-7 till the settlement of the case of betting and spot fixing  scandal before it. The court gave the  Board 24 hours to respond.

And the debate over the ‘spirit of the game of cricket’ took over throughout the country including prominent media houses. Emboldened, the BCCI appealed for allowing IPL-7 to go on as scheduled and proposed that President N Sriinvasan would step aside till the case is settled. On its interim order on Friday, the 28th of March, the Supreme Court withdrew its proposal to suspend two IPL teams asking the Board to follow on the other proposals, now made officially binding in its order. The Supreme Court asked Gavaskar to look particularly after the IPL-7 and asked Shivlal Yadav, the second-in-command of the BCCI,  to look after the admin matters. The BCCI, rather promptly, offered full compliance realizing the importance of IPL-7 being allowed to continue and that N Srinivasan would in effect continue to wield power unofficially leading to one more ‘cold war’ or ‘power struggle’ within the Board. But then, the fact remains that the BCCI has finally been forced to come down on its knees. Genuine cricket lovers would hope the IPL Spot Fixing Case is brought to logical conclusions and results by the Supreme Court in near future.

In another happy ‘coincidence’ as far as the ‘sprit of the game’ is concerned Team India have performing quite well in the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh reaching the semi finals still remaining as the only unbeaten team of the tournament. India have topped Group 2 and would meet South Africa in the second semi final on Friday, the 4th of April while the first semi final would be played between defending Champions West Indies and Sri Lanka on 3rd April. Major setbacks of the tournament include elimination of Pakistan and England, and total annihilation of Australia and hosts Bangladesh. England seem to be the most unlucky side losing a promising match to New Zealand on D/L method and then losing a thrilling encounter against South Africa. In the last few days the pitches in Bangladesh look to be broken up leading to low-scoring matches and the chasing teams unable to reach even the lowly targets.

In the meantime Gavaskar started functioning as the new interim BCCI President and the process of throwing India Cements Ltd officials out of the BCCI is in full swing. MS Dhoni was believed to have expressed his anger at being associated with the scam and had reportedly vowed to walk out from his post in the Srinivasan company. As far as the world of cricket is concerned it has been made apparently clear that Srinivasan could no longer represent the BCCI in international meetings or conferences. However, his bid to become chairman of the ICC in July-August this year seems to remain unscathed at the moment.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

IPL Spot Fixing: Supreme Court Stumps Srinivasan! Resign Or Face Action!

We wrote in this site on June 2, 2013: “…the millions of Indian cricket fans must take up this issue and decide the next course of action. They must do enough to take the issue to the Supreme Court of India and believe in the apex court to deliver the final and lasting justice. They also must realize the immensity of the cowardly silence still maintained by cricket legends and former greats of this country and adopt their stand on cricket at large clearly.” (Read The Full Post)

And the day of justice has arrived. Today, the Supreme Court of India has described N Srinivasan, the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), as ‘filthy’ and ‘nauseating’ while asking as to why he “sticking to his chair”. The Court asked Srinivasan to resign so as to enable an independent probe into the dirty IPL Spot Fixing case and held that if he failed to resign within forty eight hours the Court would take action and issue proper order. The Supreme Court had appointed the Mudgal Committee to look into the matter and the Committee submitted its report on 10th February, 2014.

We wrote on 11th February, 2014: “One police officer from Tamil Nadu is believed to have deposed before the Committee and made some startling revelations casting doubt on Dhoni for his possible involvement in fixing an IPL match between CSK (Chennai Super Kings) captained by him and Rajasthan Royals teams…More crucially the Committee has implicated Gurunath Meiyappan for being involved in betting and passing information about his team. The Committee also confirms him to be an official of CSK, if not the owner. He is the son-in-law of BCCI President N Srinivasan. And who is Dhoni? Answers are not hard to find in this dirty saga of money, corruption and greed. Maybe Dhoni is still considered to be king like many of his team on slow and flat subcontinental pitches. The Mudgal Report also names six Indian cricketers apparently involved in match fixing and a reputed one of them is still a part of the current Indian team. The Report has a sealed envelope too that will be opened…” (Read The Full Post)

The Supreme Court bench said that the sealed envelope contained very serious allegations and the bench decided against opening it in public. The Bench will resume the hearing on Thursday, the 27th of March and will most probably take action if Srinivasan does not quit his post till then. The fate of the ‘reputed’ cricketer still in Team India playing the ICC World Twenty20 presently in Bangladesh is likely to be sealed too by that mysterious sealed envelope. The countdown has started for arguably the most powerful man in international cricket.

He defied every possible authority of the country, he defied the media and he defied the saner voices in his own Board. Now what would he do with his money power and clout? A day of reckoning inevitably comes for every sinner of this world. Already cricketers and BCCI members have put pressure on him to resign saying that Supreme Court verdict must be honored. Officially, the obsessively and endlessly greedy President maintains absolute silence, so deos the BCCI and the even the International Cricket Council (ICC) which was penetrated by the Srinivasan clout again and again.

Justice will be ensured now. The guilty will be punished. Indian Cricket and the BCCI have to come clean and be accountable from now onwards.  A very important day for the fight against corruption, greed and degeneration. Jai Ho!  
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